The Physics Of Space Shuttle Essay

1503 Words Dec 3rd, 2015 7 Pages
In the last 35 years, 789 out of 833 people have returned to Earth on a NASA Shuttle. However, seven of the casualties were from a failed reentry of the atmosphere which occurred on February 1st, 2003 when the STS-107 Columbia burnt up and disintegrated during reentry. In this log, one will learn how a space shuttle is designed and how the trajectory a ship takes to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere safely.
Space is everything, discovered known places, and also the dangerous unknown. However, when astronauts and cosmonauts return to Earth from space, it take a lot of hard work to return safely. The first step to reentry is knowing how drag and gravity will affect the flight. The astronomers and astronauts use an equation to show drag on the ship reentering the atmosphere. The equation is: Fdrag=12V2CDA. In this equation, ρ, represents the density of the air at which the ship is entering (kg/m3), V, is the ship’s velocity (speed) (m/s), CD represents the drag coefficient, which will be discussed later, and, A, represents the surface exposed to wind. To understand the equation, one has to understand what each part of the equation means. The drag coefficient applies to the shape of the ship and how streamlined the shape is. A streamlined shape that is commonly used for leaving the atmosphere is the cone shape. The problem with the cone when reentering the atmosphere is the friction with the air. On a cone shape, as the point of the shape speeds toward Earth, the air friction is…

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