Why Space Shuttles Take Off Only Vertically

Video Channel: BRIGHT SIDE
The view of a rust-colored rocket carrying an orbiter on its back and rushing to the sky on its fiery tail is iconic. But considering the last Space Shuttle launch was back in 2011, is this the last we’ll ever see of such a thing? What’s next? Could an improved shuttle be made that takes off and lands like an airplane?

Our planet is a complex hodge-podge of all kinds of matter, which is combined into an impressive mass. All that mass works like a colossal magnet that allows the Earth to maintain one thing we all know and love – the atmosphere. But the atmosphere itself is also filled with matter. Airplanes don’t struggle this much with getting through the atmosphere. But what about shuttles?

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Why it's not so easy to get through the atmosphere 0:57
The little wings of a space shuttle 3:29
How rocket engines work 4:10
What if a shuttle was modified to use the atmosphere like planes? 5:28
A space elevator 6:35
SpaceTram 7:35
Will people use planes as a way of getting into orbit? 8:14

#space #rocket #brightside

- Going through a vacuum is like cutting through the air, whereas getting through the atmosphere is like going through jelly.
- Airplanes don’t struggle this much with getting through the atmosphere, because they use its density to lift up from the ground and maintain altitude.
- Two things help them with that: the thrust of their engines and the form of their wings.
- Basically, wings make it so the airplane can glide on the air. But of course, that wouldn’t be possible without a huge force pushing the airplane along.
- But let’s look at that space shuttle. The first obvious things are the cute, tiny, stubby wings that wouldn’t be any use for a horizontal takeoff.
- The airplanes’ engines need air from the atmosphere to work. The shuttle’s engines obviously didn’t, since atmospheric air would’ve been hard to find in space.
- To fly up, a rocket engine has to throw off enough thrust, and burn the right amount of fuel to do the job.
- The power of a shuttle with three engines and two boosters is around 7.8 million pounds of thrust!
- But would it even be possible to fly a shuttle into orbit if it was modified to use the atmosphere like planes? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
- To escape the atmosphere, any object that starts from the Earth would have to be fast enough to cross the point of so-called escape velocity.
- This velocity is needed to overpower the gravitational pull of the planet and let an object go into orbit.
- A space elevator is the concept of a huge tower that connects to a satellite at the top, which moves in line with the rotational movement of the Earth itself.
- Сarbon nanotubes were proved not sturdy enough for building a tower this huge, so the search for an ideal material continues.
- Another project that uses a similar approach is called a SpaceTram. It’s a vertical vacuum tunnel that pushes a magnetically levitated shuttle.
- It’s possible that people will use planes as a way of getting into orbit. The plane won’t go to space by itself. Instead, it’ll be used as a launch platform.

Music by Epidemic Sound http://www.epidemicsound.com/

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