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# Launch a "Rocket" from a Spinning "Planet"

Deep Space 1 blasted off at 8:08 A !"astern Da#light \$ime% on &ctober '()
1**8+ As it rode atop a Delta rocket) it ,as launched from -ape -ana.eral) /lorida+
0o, do space engineers kno, ,hen to launch1
2ell) nothing in space stands still+ ".er#thing) either orbits around
something else) or mo.es to,ard or a,a# from something else+ So) ho, do space
engineers aim a spacecraft so it lands on ars or meets up ,ith a particular
comet or asteroid1 3ot onl# the "arth) the target constantl# mo.ing in their
different orbits around the Sun4 but our "arthl# launch pad is spinning at about
1)000 miles per hour ,hen ,e launch the rocket5
6n picking a time to launch) space engineers and scientists ha.e to
consider 7uite a number of things+ ost of them ha.e to do ,ith getting the
biggest boost possible from the big launch pad called planet "arth5 "arth goes
around the sun at a brisk 108)000 kilometers per hour !99)000 miles per hour%5 6f
our interplanetar# spacecraft aimed) in the same direction "arth is alread# going4
it ,ill get a big head start+
Also) "arth rotates east,ard on its a:is) one complete turn each da#+ At the
e7uator) "arth;s surface is rotating at 198< kilometers per hour !10(1 miles per
hour%5 So if ,e launch the rocket to,ard the east) it ,ill get another big boost from
"arth;s rotational motion+ 3o,) ,e launch east,ard+ 2e pick the time of launch !in
Deep Space 1;s case) earl# morning% to gi.e the rocket time to accelerate as it
goes part,a# around "arth+ \$hen) ,hen the spacecraft is headed in the same
direction as "arth;s orbital motion around the sun) the rocket gi.es it a final boost
out of "arth orbit and on its ,a#+
=sing both the rotational motion of "arth on its a:is and the orbital motion
of "arth around the Sun) ,e can sa.e a lot of fuel and a lot of time in getting to our
far distant destination5 Read# + + + Aim + + + >last off5
&nce launches) the first step is getting most of the ,a# out of the gra.it#
,ell) ,hich is the blasting #ou see on \$? ,hen it launches+ \$hen) #ou dump the
empt# tanks to reduce ,eight+ At the same time) turn the path so #ou build speed
and altitude to orbit) perhaps dumping additional tanks+ \$hat is shuttle pattern+
2ith a tubular multistage rocket) at each stage the tanks and engines are both
dropped and the ne:t stage ignited+ =suall#) the tanks and engines are destro#ed
in falling because the ,eight of parachutes isn;t ,orth added fuel re7uired
because of the damage done in a parachute landing+ \$he solid state rocket
boosters on the shuttle are reco.ered because the# are rebuilt in sections+ \$he
main tank barel# holds its shape !pressure of fuel inside helps% and is lost+
As the rocket reaches altitude) all of the remaining thrust is used to shape
the orbit+ 6n some cases) the first orbit is o.al so it s,ings ,a# out and ,ould
normall# came back lo, but after coasting to the high end the engines are fired
again to round the orbit into a high orbit ,ithout as much fuel use+