Thursday, July 9, 2009

NASA’s Greatest Rockets: A Comparison

“Anonymous Commentor Number 3,” which, at NASA would quickly become ACN3, had a great question!

“How big is the Space Shuttle compared to the Ares?”

Ok. The first time NASA decided to go to the moon engineers created the largest rocket yet built, the Saturn V (Saturn-Five)! Here is a picture of this monster!

Personally, I believe this is the greatest rocket ever built (GREB)!!! Even now, as I am learning about NASA’s new rocket, Ares-I, it is obvious that the Saturn V’s design has an enormous impact on this project. Specifically, NASA is using heritage hardware and engineering problem solving proven by the Saturn V!!! The Saturn V is 365ft tall, for comparison, that is 65ft longer than a football field, or about as tall as a 35 story building!

Once the moon had been conquered NASA decided to create a re-usable space vehicle with a large cargo capacity. Below is a picture of the manifestation of this goal: The Space Shuttle, also known as The Space Transportation System!

(Trivia: each shuttle mission is designated with an “STS” number, this stands for Space Transportation System!! Now go impress your friends with that one on Saturday when STS-127 is scheduled to liftoff at 7:39pm Eastern Time!!!!!)

The shuttle’s height at liftoff (which includes the full “stack”) is 184ft. Remember, this includes the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) and the External Tank (ET), also known by a certain class of kindergarteners as “The Big Orange Thing!” (TBOT)

Finally, as explained in my last entry, the Ares-I vehicle is the rocket which will launch the crew on their way back to the moon! Ares-I is not quite as big as the Saturn V because in the Constellation system a separate rocket (Ares-V) is used to lift the “cargo” which includes the Altair Lunar Lander. Ares-I is shown below as well as the Ares-V and the Altair Lunar Lander.



Altair Lunar Lander:

Ok, so now we will compare the size of each vehicle with a nifty graphic representation that I found online! Click the photo to enlarge it!

As you can see, the Space Shuttle is sort of itty-bitty compared to the monsters that have/will take us to the moon!!!

In other news…..I’m not sure how, but I forgot to hook up my insulin pump this morning. I got to work and wasn’t feeling too great. Oh, and I think I freaked out my “intern-mate” that sits next to me. I put a sticky note on my computer that said in very large letters “Type 1 Diabetic” and told him that if I pass out, please just point to the sign when the paramedics arrive. Shout out to Lifesaver Intern-mate LANCE!