Tag Archives: rocket science

CHEOPS launch postponed due to ‘Software Error’

The scheduled launch of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Characterizing Exoplanets Satellite or CHEOPS telescope, set to usher in a new era of exoplanet research was cancelled today.

Credit: ESA.

The launch, which was set to take place at 12:54 am local time (roughly 4am ET) from the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana was called-off due to what the University of Bern is calling a software error. The institution was set to live stream the event. 

The launch has been rescheduled and is expected to take place within the next 24 to 48 hours. The official revised launch time and date will be announced at 6:00pm (ET). 

CHEOPS is loaded aboard a Russian Soyuz-FG, which will place it in a low-Earth orbit. The procedure — which will take around 145 minutes to complete — will result in CHEOPS taking a rare pole-to-pole orbit. 

The CHEOPS mission is designed to observe exoplanets in relatively close proximity to Earth. The aim of this is to select viable targets for future investigation by the next major development in both the fields of astronomy and exoplanet research — the James Webb Telescope, set to launch in 2021. 

It is hoped that by using a combination of these instruments, researchers will finally be able to uncover characteristics of rocky exoplanets, which has been tricky up until now. This will include discovering if such bodies can maintain atmospheres and deduce the chemical compositions of these atmospheres.

It is likely that when the launch does occur, live coverage will be provided by the ESA on its website. 

thruster

Rockets 101 – How to turn during flight

Outstanding control is what distinguishes a toy rocket from a real one. And it is of quintessence to be able to channel the rocket’s direction. In the case of a NASA launch, failure can mean hundreds of millions and years of work down the drain. In the most extreme, it can mean the difference between life and death. To be able to fly is cool, but what’s cooler is being able to pinpoint the destination and the trajectory of a rocket or shuttle.

In most modern rockets, this is accomplished by a system known as Gimbaled Thrust.

thruster

In a Gimbaled thrust system, the exhaust nozzle of the rocket can be swiveled from side to side. As the nozzle is moved, the direction of the thrust is changed relative to the center of gravity of the rocket and a torque is generated.

As a result, the rocket changes direction. After necessary corrections are made, the exhaust nozzle is brought back to its initial state.

 

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The angle by which the rocket’s nozzle swivels is known as the Gimbaled Angle.

Up, Up and Away!

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PC: NASA, learnengineering, achingtentacles,campnavigator