APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

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APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by APOD Robot » Fri Feb 28, 2020 5:06 am

Image South Celestial Rocket Launch

Explanation: At sunset on December 6 a Rocket Lab Electron rocket was launched from a rotating planet. With multiple small satellites on board it departed on a mission to low Earth orbit dubbed Running Out of Fingers from Mahia Peninsula on New Zealand's north island. The firey trace of the Electron's graceful launch arc is toward the south in this southern sea and skyscape. Drifting vapor trails and rocket exhaust plumes catch the sunlight even as the sky grows dark though, the setting Sun still shinning at altitude along the rocket's trajectory. Fixed to a tripod, the camera's perspective nearly aligns the peak of the rocket arc with the South Celestial Pole, but no bright star marks that location in the southern hemisphere's evening sky. Still, it's easy to find at the center of the star trail arcs in the timelapse composite.

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Re: APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by orin stepanek » Fri Feb 28, 2020 11:15 am

Stack10_electron1024.jpg

🚀 The Electron's launch makes a beautiful photo!😎
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Re: APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by sillyworm 2 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:00 pm

Do we leave any sort of debris in the atmosphere when we send these satellites up? Approx how many satellites now orbit our planet? How do we know when we've reached the max that can fill the skies?

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Re: APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:00 pm

sillyworm 2 wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:00 pm Do we leave any sort of debris in the atmosphere when we send these satellites up? Approx how many satellites now orbit our planet? How do we know when we've reached the max that can fill the skies?
Rocket launches leave an assortment of combustion byproducts behind, depending on their fuel. Some rockets use only hydrogen and oxygen, which produces only water. Others use hydrocarbons or complex solid mixtures that leave behind nasty stuff and particulates. But the total amount of pollution from rocket launches is tiny compared with all the other sources of man-made pollution.

There's room for trillions of satellites if we just consider the volume available to us. The challenge comes from the fact that they are moving, and deliberate action is sometimes required to avoid collisions. But where you require deliberate action, you also open up the door to errors and failures. And, of course, as you increase the number of satellites, you also increase the number of failed satellites, which cannot have their orbits adjusted to avoid collisions.

There are two or three thousand operational satellites in orbit, and tens of thousands of pieces of debris. I guess we'll know how many is too many when there's a chain reaction collision and we have a shell of debris above us that locks us out of space.
Chris

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Re: APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by neufer » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:03 pm


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_(rocket) wrote:
<<Electron is a two-stage orbital expendable launch vehicle (with an optional third stage) developed by the American aerospace company Rocket Lab to cover the commercial small satellite launch segment. Its Rutherford engines, manufactured in California, are the first electric-pump-fed engine to power an orbital rocket.

Electron is designed to launch a 150 to 225 kg payload to a 500 km Sun-synchronous orbit. In October 2018 Rocket Lab opened a factory large enough to produce more than 50 rockets per year according to the company. The price for delivering up to 150 kg to a 500 km Sun-synchronous orbit is about $6 million per launch, which offers the only dedicated service at this price point. During its second flight on 21 January 2018, Electron reached orbit and deployed three CubeSats.

Moon Express contracted to launch a lunar lander on an Electron to compete for the Google Lunar X Prize. None of the contenders met the prize deadline, but the launch remains scheduled. The rocket is launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on Mahia [the word māhia means "indistinct sound" or "scrofulous swelling"] Peninsula, New Zealand.>>
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Rutherford wrote:
<<Ernest Rutherford (30 August 1871 – 19 October 1937) was a New Zealand-born British physicist who came to be known as the father of nuclear physics. In early work, Rutherford discovered the concept of radioactive half-life, the radioactive element radon, and differentiated and named alpha and beta radiation. This work was performed at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is the basis for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry he was awarded in 1908 for which he was the first Canadian and Oceanian Nobel laureate. At Cambridge, Rutherford started to work with J. J. Thomson on the conductive effects of X-rays on gases, work which led to the discovery of the electron which Thomson presented to the world in 1897.>>
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positronium wrote:
<<Positronium (Ps) is a system consisting of an electron and its anti-particle, a positron, bound together into an exotic atom, specifically an onium. The system is unstable: the two particles annihilate each other to predominantly produce two or three gamma-rays, depending on the relative spin states. The orbit and energy levels of the two particles are similar to that of the hydrogen atom (which is a bound state of a proton and an electron). However, because of the reduced mass, the frequencies of the spectral lines are less than half of the corresponding hydrogen lines.

Positronium in high energy states has been predicted to be the dominant form of atomic matter in the universe in the far future if proton decay occurs. Natural formation of positronium atoms is predicted to begin in about 1085 years. These atoms are postulated to have sizes vastly exceeding the present observable universe, with estimated initial radii of a trillion megaparsecs. Due to their immense sizes, natural positronium atoms would have very long lifetimes, estimated at 10141 years.>>
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Re: APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by neufer » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:06 pm

Chris Peterson wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:00 pm
There are two or three thousand operational satellites in orbit, and tens of thousands of pieces of debris. I guess we'll know how many is too many when there's a chain reaction collision and we have a shell of debris above us that locks us out of space.
  • Worse comes to worst, we can always put Mike Pence in charge of it.
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Re: APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:19 pm

neufer wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:06 pm
Chris Peterson wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:00 pm
There are two or three thousand operational satellites in orbit, and tens of thousands of pieces of debris. I guess we'll know how many is too many when there's a chain reaction collision and we have a shell of debris above us that locks us out of space.
  • Worse comes to worst, we can always put Mike Pence in charge of it.
Sure. Pray for a miracle as a matter of policy. What could go wrong?
Chris

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Re: APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by TheZuke! » Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:29 pm

So, when a 1st stage (intended for re-use) splashes into an ocean, would the engines have cooled off enough to keep them from being damaged by contraction?
I'm guessing that is why SpaceX lands them on a barge.

@neufer,
The positronium reference was interesting (I had never heard of it previously) why was it included in today's APOD comments?
Did I miss something?

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Re: APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by neufer » Fri Feb 28, 2020 5:14 pm

TheZuke! wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:29 pm
The positronium reference was interesting (I had never heard of it previously)
why was it included in today's APOD comments?
Because Ps consists of "electrons" and anti-electrons.
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: South Celestial Rocket Launch (2020 Feb 28)

Post by Mountainjim62 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:13 pm

neufer wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:06 pm
Chris Peterson wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:00 pm
There are two or three thousand operational satellites in orbit, and tens of thousands of pieces of debris. I guess we'll know how many is too many when there's a chain reaction collision and we have a shell of debris above us that locks us out of space.
  • Worse comes to worst, we can always put Mike Pence in charge of it.
Or Joe Biden, If nothing else his family could get richer! :lol2: