Category FLIGHT and M ОТІOIM

The Space Age

In 1947, a WAC-Corporal rocket reached a height of 244 miles (390 kilometers) above the White Sands testing ground in New Mexico. This flight opened the door to space-and encouraged government interest-because it showed that rocket technology could now launch satellites. Ten years later, the Russians launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite. So began the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Key figures
in the two rival space programs were Robert Gilruth (1913-2000), appointed to direct the U. S. Mercury astronaut pro­gram in 1958, and Sergei Korolyov (1906-1966), who led the Soviet design team behind the Sputnik program.

Spaceflight was front-page news through the 1960s as the United States and the Soviet Union competed to send astronauts into orbit and probes to the planets. Public interest in space reached a peak during the Apollo Moon landings (1969-1972).

Since the 1970s, spaceflight has developed as a multinational scientific activity and a commercial business.


The Planetary Society was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman. Its aim is to "inspire and involve the world’s public in space exploration" and to search for extraterrestrial life (life beyond Earth). A worldwide program known as SETI (Searching for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) aims to collect evidence of life on other worlds through detecting radio signals and other forms of transmissions. Currently, Earth is the only planet known to support life, although scientists spec­ulate that life could exist on Earth – type planets orbiting other stars.

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Most satellite launches, for example, are intended for communications and entertainment, such as TV broadcasting. Spaceflight has become almost routine, although tragedies-such as the losses of two U. S. Space Shuttles, Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003-reminded people just how dangerous space can be. Robot space probes have made astonishing voyages, not only to planets but far beyond our solar system. In 1990, NASA’s Voyager 1 probe took a photograph of Earth from a distance of 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) more than twelve years after it set out on a voyage through space that may well last hundreds of years.

Since the end of the Apollo program in the early 1970s, the most significant manned spacecraft has been the U. S. Space Shuttle. First launched in 1981, the Space Shuttle flies regularly into orbit, delivering supplies to the International Space Station.

The future of spaceflight will proba­bly see a return of astronauts to the Moon and possibly a manned explo­ration trip to Mars. A lunar base might be in existence before the middle of the twenty-first century, and the discovery of water on Mars could even make a Martian colony a possibility.

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• Apollo Program • Astronaut

• Future of Spaceflight • Rocket

• Satellite • Space Probe

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Подпись: Space Probe

space probe is a robot spacecraft sent far into space. To probe means to investigate, and that is what space probes do. Scientists have sent space probes to the Moon, to the planets, and beyond the solar system into deep space. A probe equipped with sensors, cameras, computers, and a radio transmitter can-within a few hours-discover more about a distant planet than has been gathered in cen­turies of Earth-based astronomy.

A robot space probe needs no air, water, or fuel during its journey through space. Its power comes from tiny nuclear plants or from solar cells that convert sunlight to electrical energy. Once set on its course, a probe can con­tinue to travel through space for years, sending images and data back to Earth.

Flyby probes pass close to their tar – get-a planet, a comet, or an asteroid. Orbital probes go into orbit around a planet or the Sun. Landers descend through the atmosphere to the surface.


Spacelab was a reusable laboratory designed for the Space Shuttle. It allowed scientists to perform experi­ments while orbiting Earth. The labora­tory, mounted inside the Space Shuttle’s cargo bay, was used on many missions. Many experiments tested the effects of weightlessness and space on living things. Spacelab missions have included life science experiments involving human astronauts as well as animals taken into space for scientific research. On April 17, 1998, more than 2,000 living creatures joined the seven crew members of the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-90) for a sixteen-day mission called Neurolab. During the mission, twenty – six experiments focused on studies of the nervous system and how it develops and functions in space. Test subjects included crew members as well as rats, mice, crickets, snails, and fish. This was Spacelab’s last scheduled flight.


О A toadfish under observation on STS-90.

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Shuttle Missions

On a standard mission, the crew com­prises five to seven members. It includes a commander, a pilot, payload special­ists, and mission specialists. The special­ists could be engineers in charge of a piece of equipment or scientists con­ducting experiments. On a rescue mis­sion, a Space Shuttle could be flown by three astronauts to bring back all seven crew members from another Space Shuttle that was in trouble.

The Space Shuttle can be used to launch satellites, to repair faulty equip­ment, to transport supplies and crew to space stations, and to perform experi­ments in space. Its cargo bay can hold up to five satellites. A satellite that needs to be placed in a high orbit above the Space Shuttle’s maximum operating altitude of 400 miles (640 kilometers) is boosted by a small rocket motor. The cargo bay also can carry a space labora­tory, inside which scientists can work comfortably.

The Space Shuttle has performed many significant missions. Scientific experiments performed on board have increased knowledge about space travel, microgravity, and how these affect humans and other living things. Space Shuttles have transported satellites into space, transforming our ability to com­municate and broadcast information. The Space Shuttle is used to carry com­ponents and crew to the International Space Station. Space Shuttle missions have installed, maintained, rescued, and repaired numerous space facilities,

Подпись: О Guided by a microwave beam landing system, the Space Shuttle makes a fast approach to the runway, lowers its landing gear, and touches down. This mission ended with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

mostly notably the Hubble Space Telescope, which the Shuttle carried into space in 1990.



stall is a sudden loss of lift that can be experienced by an air­craft in some circumstances. Pilots are trained to understand why a stall can happen, how to recognize the early signs of a stall, and how to recov­er from a stall if one occurs.

How It Happens

When a fixed-wing aircraft slows down, the speed of the air flowing over its wings decreases, and the wings produce



Angle of attack 25

Separated (turbulent) flow

less lift. While flying slowly, the pilot can increase lift by raising the plane’s nose. As the wings tip up, they produce more lift and more drag. The angle of tilt of a wing is called its angle of attack. If the pilot keeps raising a plane’s nose, the angle of attack becomes so great that the air flowing smoothly over the wings suddenly breaks away from them and changes into turbulent, swirling flow. This angle is called the critical angle of attack. When the smooth airflow over the wing breaks down, lift is suddenly lost, and the aircraft drops downward. If one wing stalls before the other, the plane may roll into a spin.

Stall also affects helicopters. When a helicopter’s main rotor spins, the blades moving in the same direction as the air­craft are called the advancing blades, and the blades traveling in the opposite direction are called the retreating blades. Air flows over the advancing blades faster than it flows over the retreating blades, so the advancing blades experi­ence greater lift. If the airflow over the retreating blades is slow enough, they can stall. The helicopter experiences a sudden loss of lift called a retreating blade stall, but only on one side. The advancing blades still produce lift, so the helicopter rolls over to one side.

Recovering from a Stall

A pilot can recover from a stall in two ways. Pushing the control stick forward lowers a plane’s nose, so that it dives and picks up speed. Air flows smoothly over the wing again, and lift returns.


When a piston engine stops unex­pectedly, it is said to have stalled, but this is completely different from the aerodynamic stall that happens to wings. If a piston engine in an air­craft stalls, the plane does not drop like a stone. It becomes a glider. As it glides down, the pilot can look for a suitable landing spot while trying to restart the engine.

Jet engines can suffer from a problem called compressor stall. The spinning compressor blades inside the engine work like small wings.

Just like wings, they can stall. If the smooth airflow entering a jet engine is disturbed, the compressor blades may stall. A common cause of com­pressor stall is a bird strike, when a bird is sucked into an engine. When a compressor stall happens, the engine makes a loud bang and loses thrust, and the aircraft turns toward the affected side.

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The pilot then can raise the nose and fly straight and level again. The other way to recover from a stall is to increase engine power. When a stalled aircraft accelerates, it lowers its nose, and smooth airflow over its wings is restored. The two methods can be used together. A stall-as well as the recovery


О Stalling will often send an airplane into a spin.

from it-always causes some loss of alti­tude, so a stall near the ground can be particularly dangerous.

Large aircraft are equipped with sys­tems that sense when a stall is about to happen. They warn the pilot by shaking the control stick and sounding a warn­ing. If the pilot does nothing, the system may push the control stick forward to automatically lower the plane’s nose.

Using the Control Surfaces

An airliner should fly straight and level unless the pilot or autopilot commands it to do something different. If its nose is too high or too low, the pilot can level the plane by tilting its tailplane, which is its horizontal stabilizer. If it is tilted up at the front, the tailplane produces more lift, and the tail rises. If it is tilted down, the plane’s tail sinks lower.

When the Bell X-1 rocket plane made its first high-speed flights just below the speed of sound in the 1940s, pilots found it difficult to control. Shock waves forming on the horizontal stabi­lizer disturbed the air flowing over it so much that the elevators would not work.



The tail of an airliner is more than just an empty shell holding the ver­tical and horizontal stabilizers. It contains a small engine, usually a turbine engine, which is called the Auxiliary Power Unit, or APU. This supplies electrical power, hydraulic power, and air-conditioning when the aircraft is on the ground and its main engines are not running. Some aircraft have APUs that supply power in the air.

Very large airplanes need an extra-large tail. The tailplane on the huge Boeing 747-400 has enough space inside to store 3,300 gallons (about 12,500 liters) of fuel, which enables the plane to fly an addition­al 400 miles (650 kilometers).

Using the Control Surfaces

О The Boeing 747-400’s tail fin is nearly 64 feet (19.5 meters) high, or as tall as a six-story building.

Using the Control SurfacesTo solve the problem, Bell made the whole stabilizer move, not just the elevator. Supersonic aircraft today still have this type of all-moving or all­flying tailplane, which is known as a stabilator.

Weight and Mass


n everyday speech, the words weight and mass are used to mean the same thing. To scientists and engineers, however, they have different meanings. Mass is the amount of matter an object is made of. Its weight is the downward force acting on it due to gravity. Mass is a number, but weight is a force. Mass is constant, but weight depends on the strength of gravity acting on the mass.

The weight and mass of an object are linked in the following equation: weight = mass x g

in which g is the acceleration the object would experience if it fell. At Earth’s
surface, this is 32 feet per second per sec­ond (9.75 meters per second per second).

For most of human history, an object’s weight meant its weight on Earth’s surface. As gravity is more or less the same everywhere on Earth, it did not matter if weight and mass were mixed up. It matters today, because spacecraft can be sent into Earth orbit and away to the Moon and planets, where the force of gravity acting on them may be quite different from the strength of Earth’s gravity.


If an object is given a push, it acceler­ates. The size of acceleration depends on the mass of the object. If a small mass and a large mass are pushed by the same force, the small mass accelerates faster. This is because the large mass offers more resistance to the force than the small mass.

The tendency of a mass to resist a change in its motion is called inertia. The bigger the mass, the greater the inertia. This is impor­tant when calculating how aircraft and spacecraft will accelerate when their engines produce a cer­tain amount of thrust.

Fighter Planes and Pilots

The Eindecker monoplane (1915) devel­oped by Dutch engineer Anthony Fokker (1890-1939) was the first modern fight­er plane. It was agile, could fly at 83 miles per hour (134 kilometers per hour), and could dive steeply without its wings breaking off-an accident all too com­mon in less robust aircraft.

Most airplanes of this period were still made of wood and fabric. The first all-metal plane was the J-1, designed in 1915 by German engineer Hugo Junkers (1859-1935). After this model, progress

Fighter Planes and PilotsINTERRUPTER GEAR

In 1915, French pilot Roland Garros shot down a German Albatross air­plane. Garros surprised his opponent by firing bullets through the pro­peller. The French Morane plane had deflectors fitted to the propeller blades, which prevented bullet dam­age. The French plane was later captured by the Germans and stud­ied by Anthony Fokker, who invented an improved system called an inter­rupter gear. This device basically made the propeller fire the gun, so the spitting bullets synchronized with the spinning propeller.

was rapid. By 1917, the Sopwith Camel, a twin-gun biplane built in Great Britain, could reach speeds of 124 miles per hour (200 kilometers per hour) and climb to a height of around 22,000 feet (6,700 meters).

Fighter pilots, known as aces, devel­oped air combat tactics and maneuvers, such as the Immelman Turn, named after German flier Max Immelman, who was killed in 1916. The most famous fighter ace was the German Manfred von Richthofen, known as the “Red Baron.” Another German pilot, Oswald Boelcke, took the lead in drawing up group tactics and organizing pilots into squadrons. Starting in 1915, pilots flew in formation instead of wandering alone in the skies over battlefields.

The First Flight

The Wrights were now ready to try pow­ered flight. Charles Taylor, a mechanic in their bicycle shop, built a four-cylinder engine. The Wrights spent three months designing a propeller, a difficult problem that produced several heated arguments.

The brothers went back to North Carolina with their powered plane, the Flyer, in late September 1903. However, bad weather and mechanical problems plagued them through the entire fall. At last, on December 14, Wilbur attempted the first flight. The plane rose briefly into the air, but the engine stalled and the plane crashed into the sand. Fortunately, the repairs were easy.

On December 17, 1903, the weather allowed another attempt. At 10:35 a. m., Orville took off. In 12 seconds of flying, he cruised 120 feet (37 meters). The brothers had three more successful flights that day, two by Wilbur and one more by Orville. The last, piloted by

ROBERT C. CLOWRY, Preildwnt and Oanaral Managtr.


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Wilbur, was the longest (59 seconds) and went the farthest: 852 feet (260 meters). That evening, a powerful wind picked the Flyer up and smashed it into the ground. The brothers packed up the pieces of the aircraft and went home.

Leaving Earth

Most probes are launched by a multi­stage rocket from the ground. There are three ways to send spacecraft into space using a rocket: sounding trajectory, Earth orbit, and Earth escape.

Sounding rockets were often fired into space during the 1940s and 1950s and are still used today. A sounding rocket can be fired to an altitude of about 100 miles (160 kilometers), at a


The fastest space launches have all involved space probes. In 1972 NASA’s Pioneer 10 was launched toward Jupiter at 32,400 miles per hour (52,130 kilo­meters per hour). In 1990, the probe Ulysses, on a mission to study the Sun, reached 34,450 miles per hour (55,430 kilometers per hour) during launch. New Horizons, launched in 2006 toward Pluto, was boosted to 35,800 miles per hour (57,600 kilometers per hour), as it left Earth’s orbit for deep space.

Leaving Earth

О Pioneer 10, launched in 1972, was the first spacecraft to fly through the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter, into the outer regions of the solar system.

О A NASA sounding rocket is fired in 1988. Sounding rockets only reach the fringes of space, but they offer an inexpensive way of gathering data.

maximum speed of about 5,000 miles per hour (8,050 kilometers per hour). After its engine burns out, the rocket begins its descent back to Earth. Scientific instruments in the nose of the sounding rocket send information to the ground by telemetry (radio) or may be retrieved by parachute.

To enter Earth orbit, a rocket trajec­tory must be at an angle so that it flies parallel to Earth’s surface. When its booster motors cut out, the top­most stage of the rocket must be going fast enough to enter orbit and not fall back to the ground under the pull of Earth’s gravity.

To escape completely from Earth’s gravity and become a planetary probe, a spacecraft must reach a velocity of around 25,000 miles per hour (40,200 kilometers per hour). It will then fly away from Earth, gradually slowing down. It may go into orbit around the Sun, or it may be attracted by the gravitational pull of a planet, such as Mars or Jupiter.

Coming Back to Earth

At the end of its orbital mission, the Space Shuttle comes back to land on Earth. During reentry, the craft adopts a nose-up angle, and heat-absorbent tiles on the spacecraft’s underside shield the crew from the intense heat. As it descends, the Space Shuttle switches to horizontal flight, dropping fast through the air toward the landing strip. With no engine power during landing, pilots have described the Space Shuttle during air flight as a “flying brick.” A Shuttle


• Most Space Shuttle missions last between five and sixteen days.

• The longest orbital mission to date was STS-80, which lasted 17.5 days in November 1996.

• Early missions carried two-person crews, but the usual crew is seven. The Space Shuttle has room for ten.

• More than 800 people have flown into space on Space Shuttles.

• Each Space Shuttle mission is given a number preceded by the letters STS, which stands for Space Transportation System.

• The energy released by the Space Shuttle’s three main engines is equivalent to the output of thirteen Hoover Dams.

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Coming Back to Earthpilot has only one opportunity to land the spacecraft-because it has no engine power for landing, the craft cannot fly around for a second try. Space Shuttle landings are usually made at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida or at Edwards Air Force Base in California. At Kennedy Space Center, the Space Shuttle lands on a 2.8-mile (4.5-kilometer) run­way, one of the longest in the world.



tealth is the ability to move in secret. A stealth airplane is designed to fly unseen, evading detection by enemy radar. Stealth tech­nology uses a combination of design factors, including materials, engines, and shape. A stealth strike aircraft can attack its target without warning. It also can fly reconnaissance missions without being detected.

Early Research

The research for stealth airplanes began in the 1950s. Air defense radar was developed during World War II (1939-1945). By the 1950s, air defenses had progressed so rapidly that almost any airplane flying over hostile territory was likely to be detected by radar. It then could be tracked and shot down with missiles. This was the era of the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in an arms race, during which both countries built up weapons supplies and advanced their military technology. Both sides used espionage, including spyplanes, to discover the other’s secrets.

At first, American strategists hoped that a high-flying airplane such as the U-2, developed by the Lockheed Corp­oration’s Skunk Works design team, could evade detection. This theory was disproved in 1960 when a U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. Later, expensive projects-such as the XB-70 Valkyrie bomber-were canceled


О After testing was completed, fifty-seven F-117s were made for the U. S. Air Force. Military planners were delighted with the plane’s ability to travel undetected and attack targets with pinpoint accuracy.

when it was realized that such airplanes left a large “blip” on radar screens, mak­ing them easy targets for missiles. By the 1970s, surface-to-air (SAM) missiles had

become so effective that few airplanes could escape being targeted once spotted on enemy radar.

Scientists did not give up, however. All airplanes, especially metal planes with heat-emitting jet engines, leave a track, called a signature, on a radar screen. The answer to escaping detection appeared to lie in finding a way to “cloak” the plane, thereby making it invisible to radar. Engineers looked for ways of reducing an aircraft’s radar sig­nature so that it would leave a smaller blip or not show up at all.

Mathematicians came up with a com­puter program, called Echo, that was able to predict the radar signature left by different airplane shapes. Studies showed that a body shape made of flat panels, or facets, could take almost all the radar energy that was hitting it and radiate that energy away from the ground, making the airplane virtually invisible to defense radars. The trick was to design an airplane of this shape, somewhat like a flying diamond, that could fly fast enough and high enough to be effective.