Thursday, December 3, 2015

Space1 Temperature Winter Climate Rocket Launch

Typical perfect winter launch conditions include flat land for many miles in every direction, a white snow field cover with few snow drifts and ice, a clear blue sky and no wind. However, what is the effect of the freezing cold on Space1 equipment for launching Safety Rockets?

Temperature is a concern during conventional space launches. NASA showed the world that launching in freezing temperatures with rubber O-rings on the SRB solid rocket boosters was a condition to avoid, when the space shuttle Challenger blew up.

How does temperature effect Space1 systems? The Safety Rocket does not use rubber o-rings but does contain other systems. How do these systems perform under winter conditions? Can we launch space tourism rockets in the cold winter, from more polar vantage points? What is the limit of cold for space launches? And if the design for winter launches is a go, what are the advantages in doing so?

The system can be divided into the rocket, launch system, space capsule, space suit, and avionics. The rocket has engines, the capsule has cameras and windows plus a pressure related environment, and the space suit has electronic and mechanical sensors.

More testing is needed for the engines to record and study performance under freezing temps. Electronics have posted operating temperature ranges. However, it becomes necessary to fully understand the way a sensor operates.

The sensor that uses heat cannot exceed the specs for ambient temperature, such as the accelerometer. The pressure detector will be affected by temperature. Cameras may have windows and lenses that frost over. Thawed ice on components, with conductive dust or lint contamination, may short circuit, so keeping items sealed in a clean environment is required. Humidity control is important. The case for engines and dry weather is to avoid static electricity which can cause engines to ignite prematurely and parts to have spontaneous combustion.

Sensors related to limits of their thermodynamic environments and vibration will be studied. Numerous unmanned test flights are scheduled after the Madonna Concert during winter of 2016.