Page 1

“EverySpace Magazine International- #3” January 11, 2013 Free Online Distribution ISBN: 9788897004233




EverySpace S.r.l.


January 2013 - Free Online Distribution

ESMI- #3

“EverySpace Magazine International” - Issue 3 International edition of “EverySpace Magazine” - #3 Online publication date : January 11, 2013 Online Publication Responsible: Issuu Creator of “EverySpace Magazine” ‘s project: Simone La Torre Editor in Chief and Senior Director: Michele Caruso Company responsible of this project: EverySpace S.r.l. President: Simone La Torre General Manager: Mattia Stipa Website: ***** Supplement to information and culture newspaper “Vento Nuovo” Rome’s Court Registration n. 43 on 24.02.2010 Published on occasional cadence. ***** All of “EverySpace Magazine” and “EverySpace Magazine International” authors and contributors give their own contribution freely, accepting every responsibility in any case of copyright dispute and intellectual property used in their articles. “EverySpace Magazine” Editorial unit gives its disposal to the party entitled, in those cases where it wasn’t possible to date back the holders of intellectual properties of topics, citations or images used in this number. ***** Advertising on this page is subject to fee. ***** Editorial supervision, graphics, layout, and quality technical assurance by EverySpace S.r.l “EverySpace Magazine” is an exclusive project of EverySpace S.r.l.


ESMI- #3 Agenda


All good things come in threes! by S. La Torre

Amazing! Man went on the Moon! by D. De Angelis




Rolling south! by M. Caruso

by U. Pica

Hypersonic aircraft by G. Currao

Orbits: never-ending falls by M. Sciarra

ESM Interview: Samantha Cristoforetti by C. Riso, D. De Angelis, and A. Menchinelli

13 21

The Space Shuttle

26 29 32



Extra: “Space People�: W. von Braun by D. De Angelis

Contact us!

ESMI- #3

rees! th in e m o c s g All good thin Dearest readers, here we go! The 3rd issue of “EverySpace Magazine International” is ready! As always, we edited every minute detail to offer to you the best reading experience ever. This issue is especially important because, besides including an exclusive interview to Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman of the history who went in orbit, and besides the scientific articles that fascinate you a lot every time, we decided to expose ourselves with an article that will make history, titled: “Amazing! Man went on the Moon!” In this article you will find all the answers to the question that is instilling in our mind from many years: did we actually go to the Moon? Or was it a cheat? Obviously, the answer is yes, we really did. I cannot do anything else but wishing you a “space reading”, as usual, because the articles of this issue will come along with you to discover charming and space age realities, although very relevant. Simone La Torre

President and Co-Founder at EverySpace S.r.l.

“EverySpace Magazine”,

Space, Simply!

Follow us on Facebook at:


A picture of the Moon.

Rolling South! by Michele Caruso “EverySpace Magazine” ‘s Editor in Chief and Senior Director.

Flying from one side of the Earth to the other in just one hour on hypersonic planes will soon be possible. A dream that can become reality. The last conquest of aerospace engineering. An achievement that will revolutionize our conception of distance, our perception of the world and its dimensions. Traveling has always fascinated mankind, from primitive men who crossed the Bering Strait, the explorers that during the 16th century set for a journey to the unknown, to the great space expeditions during the 20th century. I have always believed that every trip has a connection with infinity, an infinity that enshrouds the vast plains, but also the immensity of the sky, with its mobile immobility. As Guy de Maupassant wrote: “The journey is a door through which we escape from the reality we know and we enter in an other reality that is unexplored, that seems like a dream”. The night sky offers us the possibility to quench our thirst for infinity. The night sky itself is a perception of an infinite and mysterious bond between many parts, a wonderful adventure for our minds.

We wish you a pleasant reading!

ESM - #2


ESMI- #3

Among the other thing, my last trip to Mozambique few weeks ago gave me the precious opportunity to gaze upon the Southern hemisphere's sky, a breathtaking blanket of stars that dots the night sky. Among all these stars, there are four azure stones that shine like a kite of frozen diamonds. It is the Southern Cross, lying there on the heart of the night. And now, as we set our course for these stars, the journey of our magazine continues.

Amazing! Man went on the Moon! by Dario De Angelis Student of Aerospace Engineering

Translation by Luca Nardini

On the 20th of July 1969 (American time), the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM, for friends), code name EAGLE, landed on the Moon's surface. A few steps and the astronaut Neil Armstrong said the famous quote:

ESMI- #3

« That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind. »

Man's footprint on the lunar surface.


But is it all true? In 1976, the Americans Bill Kaysing and Randy Reid published their book “We never went to the Moon”, in which they claimed that the landing on the Moon was a lie because, according to them, in the 60's no one had the necessary technology to achieve such an exploit. Later, in 2001, Fox (the American TV channel) relaunched the theory of the lie by interviewing a group of “space experts” to demonstrate that the moon-land was only an invention of the American government and of the NASA to try to win the Cold War.


ESMI- #3 To be honest, the available videos and pictures of the moon-land leave some doubts: why are stars not visible in the background? Why does not the LEM create a huge crater during landing? Why did not we go again on the Moon? But, most importantly, how the hell can the American flag wave if there is no wind on the Moon? These are all reasonable questions but, as it often happens, they all have an easier answer than we think. Let us take one step at the time and start by analyzing the picture in this page. How can it be possible that the astronaut Buzz Aldrin (Pilot of the LEM, second man on the Moon and source of inspiration for the creators of Buzz Lightyear) is so visible, while we can not see the stars in the background? It is very simple: anyone who has even a little knowledge of photography knows that it is almost impossible to photograph bright objects and objects in the darkness at the same time. That is because the film can capture only a certain kind of light. Taking into account the combined effect of the sunlight, the lunar and the spacesuit reflex, the astronaut was literally shining. Therefore, since the picture wanted to capture man's landing on the Moon, it was impossible to capture the dim light of the stars in the background as well. For the same reason (the reflex of the lunar surface), it is possible to clearly see the astronaut's body, despite the fact that the light comes from his back.

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon’s surface.


Let us now consider another “photographic anomaly” using the words of Fox: “On the Moon, the only light source for the astronauts was the Sun. However, in this picture taken by Apollo 14, the shadows go in different directions, thus indicating more light sources. The shadows of the rocks should be projected Eastwards, like the LEM.”

The shadow of the LEM is not parallel to those of the rocks... obviously!

! It seems impossible, but also this myth (“the diverging shadows”) is based on inaccurate observations. To prove this, it is sufficient to look at the following picture:

Diverging shadows? Here is the explanation in this picture by Ian Goddard.

As you can see in this picture by Ian Goddard, the diverging shadows are not caused by multiple light sources, but by the soil inclination. The same effect can also be caused by a light source low below the horizon, like the Sun at sunset, that hits distant objects, the LEM and the rocks, thus creating shadows with different directions.


ESMI- #3

Let us now talk about the crosshairs. The crosshairs seems to be beneath the flagpole.

These crosses are used to help scientists understand at what distance a mountain is placed or how big an object is. I propose you an experiment. Take a black hair, a white pasteboard and a light source (for example the lamp in your room or a torch). Now stick the hair to the pasteboard, light it and take a picture. Apart from this “Art Attack”, you will find out that in the picture you can not distinguish a black hair because it has been “absorbed” by light. It is the same thing that happened to the crosses from the lunar pictures; it is impossible to distinguish them on bright objects. Under the LEM's nozzle there are

Let us now move on to something more no signs of scientific. destruction. Duh! How can the LEM land without creating a huge crater? After all, we are talking about a spaceship of several tons traveling at a very fast speed. Before thinking about the space, let us imagine a more “terrestrial” situation: when we park our car we certainly do not do that at a 100 km/h speed, we brake! In the same way, after exiting the lunar orbit, the astronaut Buzz Aldrin slowed down before landing. Now time for some simple math: during landing, the LEM's engine was able to provide a thrust of about 1300 kg through a 1.5 square meter-nozzle (the cone beneath the LEM through which the exhaust gas are expelled to generate the thrust). The pressure during landing that we obtain dividing the thrust by the area is around 0.1 kg per square centimeter. It is not much of a deal! As a comparison, think about an average person (about 80 kg). This person generates a pressure on the floor of 0.2 kg per square centimeter, double the LEM's! This is the reason why thinking that the LEM could leave a crater on the landing site makes no sense at all.


ESMI- #3

Moving on, let us analyze the following question: “But if we were able to go to the Moon 40 years ago, why are we not going there anymore?” It is a very intriguing question, but once again, it is based on wrong data. Actually, between 1969 and 1972 twelve people in total landed on the Moon and are able to testify it. Therefore, technically, it is untrue that we did not go again to the Moon. In the following years however, after collecting all the data, the NASA believed that additional missions were not justified from the economical and the astronauts' security point of view (because a space travel is not exactly what we may call a “promenade de santé”). In the future, thanks to the advent of robotics and further development in the field of space missions, plans for the construction of small scientific bases on the lunar surface have already been taken into consideration. We finally reach the one million dollar question: how can the American flag wave in the void? Could it be some kind of photographic effect, or is it because the pictures were taken on Earth, maybe in the famous Area 51?

The flag seems to be waving on the Moon.

Obviously it can not be a gust of wind, since in the void there is no air, thus no wind. But so how can it be waving like that? Once again the solution to this mystery is incredibly easy! First of all, we must remember that the flag is not a standard flag. If we take a closer look at the picture, we can see that the flag has second pole on the top to keep the flag in position. It may seem only a detail, but it is here where the solution lies. In fact, both Aldrin and Armstrong reported that the horizontal pole did not open completely as it should have. Just think about the curtains at your place. They have folds even without wind. In the same way, it looks as if the flag is waving. NASA found this incident so funny that in the following missions astronauts received the order not to open completely the horizontal pole in order to recreate the same effect of the first moon-land.


ESMI- #3

In case you are not convinced yet, let us now consider an undeniable proof of the transit of man on another celestial body. All it take is to analyze the 380 kg of lunar rocks that the astronauts took back to earth during their missions... Rocks do not lie! In fact, traces of glass were found in the samples. And now you may wonder: “So what?” Well, the traces of glass in those samples were produced by volcanic activity and the impact of asteroids on the lunar surface about 3 billion years ago. The difference between lunar and terrestrial rocks is that on Earth the presence of water causes these particles to disappear in few million years, therefore these rocks must forcibly come from another planet (or in our case, a satellite). Some might say: “I do not believe unless I see it”. No problem. In 2009, NASA published the pictures taken by the satellite Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter during his transit at 25 km from the lunar surface, in which it is possible to see the remains of the lunar module, the scientific instruments used during the Apollo 14 mission and an astronaut footpath.

Picture taken by the LRO in 2009. On the surface, proofs of the moon-land are clearly visible.

M o re o v e r, i f w e c o n s i d e r a l l t h e employees of NASA and the other enterprises that took part in the Apollo project during its 10-year development, we have about 400,000 technicians, engineers, managers and astronauts. As professor Longuski of Purdue University points out, it would have been much cheaper to send astronauts on the Moon than to create such a lie. Convincing such a great number of people to keep the secret would have been almost impossible.

Saturn V during lift-off.

Plus, the USSR was watching closely the whole project and the launch of the Saturn V. The war between the two superpowers was so intense that if the USSR had the minimum suspect that Apollo 11 was only a bluff, it would not have hesitated to unmask the USA. On the contrary, it acknowledged its defeat in the space race.


ESMI- #3

ESMI- #3 In this few pages we have analyzed all the theories of those in favor of the idea of a big lie and demonstrated that man really went on the Moon. Through the use of scientific and historical proofs as well as common sense, we have seen how these theories are fascinating, yet based on inaccurate data. What is certain is that thanks to the effort of thousands of technicians, engineers and astronauts we have taken our first “small step” in the space.

The heroes of the first human mission to the Moon.

References for “Amazing! Man went on the Moon!” - September 2012 in Italy


The Space Shuttle by Udrivolf Pica Student of Space Engineering

Translation by Maria Maddalena Petrocelli

It starts like a rocket and land like a glider, powerful and delicate at the same time; Shuttle is composed essentially by 3 parts: the orbiter, the only element put into orbit that moves spacemen (it is the airplane-shaped element in the photo), the orange outer tank (that contains the liquid propeller) and two booster rockets, placed laterally, which gave the 80% of the total thrust of the aircraft during launch. Space Shuttle in flight.


ESMI- #3

One of the most complex machines ever built by man, a dream came true thanks to the highest engineering, a shuttle capable to bring man into space and bring him back safely on the Earth: the Space Shuttle, a common name to indicate the “Space Transportation System�. It all started more than 40 years ago, immediately after the conquering of the Moon in 1969. The American space project already proposed, among the future aims, a human mission on the red planet: Mars. On the strength of the technological overtaking to the detriment of the Soviets and driven by the craving to explore our universe, NASA engineers and scientists started working to make a space airplane, that is a reusable vehicle capable to carry out weekly journeys between the Earth and a low orbit (at a height of 200-300 km), a bit like a common bus, just to make things clear. The development started in 1972; August 12, 1977 the first flight of the shuttle without engine took place, carried at altitude and then dropped from a Boeing 747; the first space flight of Space Shuttle was April 12, 1981 during the STS-1 mission. Space Shuttle Columbia, commanded by the experienced spaceman John W. Young and with Robert Crippen as pilot, achieved 17 orbits in little more than two days, returning safely to Edward Air Force Base. Before the operational use, three further flights (STS-2, STS-3, STS-4), between 1981 and 1982, were made to test the whole system.

ESMI- #3 The complex was assembled in the “Vehicle Assembly Building” at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and then moved, by means of a moving platform, to Launch Complex 38. The shuttle is launched in vertical position, like a conventional rocket: the thrust (as already anticipated) is given by its three engines and two lateral boosters (SRB). After nearly two minutes from the launch the two SRB are expelled and the shuttle continues its flight until the planned orbit by using its own engines, powered by the propellant contained in the outer tank: hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Once the orbit is reached, the main engines are turned off and the tank is abandoned while burning in the earth’s atmosphere. The shuttle is projected to reach orbits at an altitude included between 185 and 643 km with an equip composed from two to seven spacemen (ten in case of an emergency recovery mission). During the maneuver to come back, the shuttle reduces its speed through the maneuvering engines until it is on a descent trajectory which allows it to cross the various atmosphere layers and come back on Earth. It lands without propulsion, like a glider. The whole system was withdrawn form service July 21, 2011, after 135 launches. The most important mission carried out have allowed both to launch satellites (among which the Hubble telescope) and several interplanetary probes, to conduct scientific experiments in space, and the maintenance and building of space stations. During the Space Shuttle program five orbiters were built, two of them were destroyed in accidents and the other three remained active until the end of operations: • Columbia (OV-102): it was the first orbiter in operational service. It made 28 flights

between 1981 and 2003 before being destroyed during its return to atmosphere February 1, 2003. Columbia weighed 3,6 tons more that the more modern orbiters: its wings and fuselage were heavier. Columbia had an instrumentation to control and monitor lots of flight parameters during the first flight test. • Challenger (OV-099, ex-STA-099): it was the second orbiter assembled (in 1982). It

flew for the first time during the STS-6 mission. It was destroyed during the launch of its tenth flight, STS-51-L, January 28, 1986. • Discovery (OV-103): its first flight was in 1984, during the STS-41-D mission. It

completed 39 missions becoming the Orbiter with the major number of flights. It was withdrawn form service after the STS-133 mission. • Atlantis (OV-104): its first flight was in 1985 during the STS-51-J mission. It was

withdrawn form service after the STS-135 mission (it was the last that flew).

• Endeavour (OV-105): its first flight was in 1992 during the STS-49 mission. It was assembled after the loss of Challenger and carried out 26 flights. It was withdrawn form service after the STS-134 mission.

All five Space Shuttles during lift-off.


Mission profile of the Space Shuttle.

January 28, 1986 Challenger Shuttle was destroyed 73 seconds after the launch, killing the whole equip of the STS-51-L mission. The cause was a fault at O-ring gasket, in the lower segment of the right solid-fuel rocket (SRB). It was the twenty-fifth mission of the program and the tenth flight of the Challenger. The Rogers Commission report highlighted the mismanagement of the program from NASA: the problem that provoked the accident had already been identified but undervalued because of a short-sighted approach and the lack of dialogue among the various responsible people. Moreover, the report revealed that the risks of the missions were more than estimated. February 1st, 2003 Columbia orbiter, since the heat shield was damaged by a piece of outer tank detached during the launch, disintegrated when returning to atmosphere killing all the members of its equip. Once again the maintenance of the Program from NASA was challenged: the anomaly that brought to the disaster was already known, but it was never solved. Moreover, the tight assembling schedule of the International Space Station imposed in 2001 from NASA because of budget cuts put under pressure the American space agency so much that it undervalued the risks. When, 18 months after the accident, flights restarted with the STS-114 mission, many measures were adopted to limit the risks. At every mission a going over of the heat shield (through the Boom Sensor System Orbiter) once it reached orbit was imposed. If the evaluation had found unsolvable problems, another Shuttle would be launched for a rescue mission. Besides the two disasters just mentioned, the huge annual costs (several billion dollars) and a change in space policy from U.S.A led the United State Senate to closedown the Shuttle Program with the last mission, started July 8, 2011. The present (and the future) is represented by the so-called “expendables” rockets, that is, disposable rocket engines. Basically it is an economic reason: the maintenance and the risks of a reusable shuttle did incline for the current choice. “United Launch Alliance” or ULA, a Joint Venture of two big industries like “Lockheed Martin” and “Boeing”, born in 2006, is a company working for United States government supplying the 3 current space launch systems: Delta II, Delta IV and Atlas V.


ESMI- #3

ESMI- #3

Atlas V during lift-off.

Although the spatial world runs without stopping, all the coming human missions will have to be grateful to Space Shuttle Program for everything this wonderful 30 years have led. Thousands of engineers, scientists, technicians, almost 800 million kilometers covered, thousands tons of propellant burned, about 4 million of single pieces for ming the final launch system. The contribution of this legendary space machine broadened the human boundaries and prepared the basis to satisfy in the best possible way the strongest desire of our nature: exploring.

Space Shuttle during lift-off.

References for “The Space Shuttle� - September 2012 in Italy

John F. Guilmartin; John Maurer, A Space Shuttle Chronology (in en), NASA Johnson Space Center, 1988. Joseph Allen, Entering Space (in en), Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1984. Henry S. F.1987 Cooper Jr., Before Lift-Off: The Making of a Space Shuttle Crew (in en), John Hopkins University Press. George Forres, Space Shuttle: The Quest Continues (in en), Ian Allen, 1989. Tim Furniss, Space Shuttle Log (in en), Jane's, 1986. Gene Gurney; Jeff Forte, The Space Shuttle Log: The First 25 Flights (in en), Aero Books, 1988. Dennis Jenkins, Space Shuttle: The History of Developing the National Space Transportation System (in en), Walsworth Publishing Company, 1996. Kerry Mark Joels; Greg Kennedy, Space Shuttle Operator's Manual (in en), Ballantine Books, 1982.


Hypersonic aircraft by Gaetano Currao Student of Space Engineering

Translation by Luca Nardini

Mini glossary: -

Mach number: it defines the speed of a vehicle in relation to the speed of sound (e.g. Mach 5 means that the object is five times faster than sound). USAF: acronym for United States Air Force. -

When an object reaches a speed more than five times faster than the speed of sound, we are then talking about hypersonic speed (which means “more than supersonic”). A very pragmatic person could say something like: “Do we want to go faster? No problem! Let us build more powerful and aerodynamic planes!” However, such pragmatism does come with two problems: how can a plane reach hypersonic speed? And what are the effects of such high Mach number? To answer these questions it is necessary to underline that unfortunately such high speed is unreachable for a common plane because of a crucial technological limit. Up to date, the record for the fastest plane that is able to autonomously take off and land is held by the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, that can reach a speed higher than Mach 3. However, this plane was created in the 70's, at a time when the investments in aerospace development were very high. The technological limit that we just mentioned is related to the functioning of modern jet engines (known as “air-breathing” engines). The exhaust gases are expelled at a faster speed than the air drawn into the engine through an inlet duct. For obvious reasons, the planes that use this kind of engine (the common civil aircrafts) can not go faster than the exhaust gases because when the two speeds coincide there is no more thrust and the engine uses fuel only to maintain cruise speed. In other words, it can not go faster.

SR-71 Blackbird.

So, it would seem as if it is impossible to exceed a certain speed. To overcome such technological limitation, scientists are developing a new generation of engines (in particular, there those called “scramjet”, that work only at a hypersonic speed. In other words, if the plane does not reach a sufficiently high speed before activating these engines, they are useless).


ESMI- #3

Basically what we got is an engine that can go extremely fast, but do not have a plane that is able to reach the necessary initial speed to turn it on and use it. Do not despair. So far, the studies of these technologies entailed the use of rockets that gave the initial thrust, thus allowing the planes to even reach Mach 20. It must be stressed the fact that during hypersonic flight the heat on the planes' surface is extremely high. In fact, there is a shockwave around the vehicle that generates levels of temperature and pressure at a distance of few centimeters from the surface that are really difficult to tolerate. Such fluxes of heat are the main reason why small asteroids disintegrate before entering the lower layers of the Earth's atmosphere. For the same reason, when satellites reach the end of their lifespan we simply let them fall attracted by gravity (during the reentry they reach hypersonic speed, thus disintegrating). Going further into details regarding the temperature issue, let us image we are the surface of reentering capsule that reaches Mach 20. At a few centimeter distance from us, the air temperature is nearly 11000°C (19.832°F, about three times the Sun surface temperature). This “warmth” is too intense even for the most advanced materials. For instance, the capsules have a “ablative” heat shield, that protects the main body by deteriorating and evaporating, thus dispersing the heat. It has been demonstrated that to reduce the heat flux on the surface, the latter must be very big (this is the reason why the Space Shuttle reenters – or more precisely, used to reenter – the atmosphere on its lower part in order to expose as much surface as possible to the heat flux).

NASA’s X-43.

Big dimension are not a problem during reentries because it combines the need to reduce the heat flux and to have as much resistance as possible in order to slow down the vehicle before landing. The same can not be said for a hypothetical hypersonic scheduled flight, where little resistance is required (in other word, an aerodynamic shape).

ESMI- #3


ESMI- #3 This explains the futuristic shapes of these state-of-the-art planes. Generally speaking, you can recognize a hypersonic plane because you can not tell which is the fuselage, the wings and the engine. In the picture, we can see how the X-43 looks like a “big wing� with a strange inlet duct. The latter is the scramjet engine itself, a special duct that compresses the air and then expels it at a enormous speed. The initial compression starts already around the plane's surface. In other words, the plane's belly itself works as an engine. X-43-A during the ascent phase.

Boeing X-51-A Waverider. Art representation.


ESMI- #3 The Boeing X-43 is part of the Hyper-X Project by NASA. In November 2004, this plane set a speed record by reaching and maintaining a speed of Mach 10 for about ten seconds. The initial speed had been given by a Pegasus rocket fired by a B-52 bomber. Once at a 36 km altitude, the plane separated from the rocket and started its scramjet engine. The X-51 set the record for the longest hypersonic flight with a scramjet engine, maintaining the speed for three and a half minutes, though it failed to reach Mach 6. Should the new series of tests due in 2013 give satisfactory results, the USAF will start studying applications of this technology. A cruise missile with a scramjet engine would be able to cover 1000 km in fifteen minutes, excellent for long range attacks. Another project of great interest is the prototype HTV-2 (Hypersonic Technology Vehicle) aka Falcon, developed by Darpa. The last mission of this prototype was a half success. It was sent at a high altitude using a Minotaur IV rocket and then began its high speed descent. The HTV-2 was able to reach Mach 20 (about 23.000 km/h, 14.300 mph). Unfortunately, the vehicle was unable to maintain the speed for the expected 30 minutes. What there is more to say? Much, much more! This is only the tip of the iceberg! The future seems to be full of surprises. Will we be able to build civil hypersonic planes? The USAF affirms they can do it by 2035! Planes that can cover the distance between New York and Los Angeles in fifteen minutes... And then what? Will a Third World War break out (let us hope not!) because of the use of rockets that are able to hit anywhere around the globe within one hour? Will we get tired of hypersonic speed and start developing ultrasonic speed? The only thing that I wish to each and everyone of us is to get our hands on these technologies and to give a contribute, even if a small one, to a future that will change our and our children's life.' Darpa’s HTV-2.

References for “Hypersonic aircraft” - September 2012 in Italy


Orbits: never-ending falls by Matteo Sciarra Student of Space Engineering

Translation by Maria Maddalena Petrocelli

From the time of Aristotle and Ptolemy, planetary motion has always been associated to the motion of concentric spheres in which the celestial bodies then known were “set”, that is the Earth (that was the central sphere around which the motions of the other spheres took place) and, in order, The Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Representation of Ptolemy’s model.

The official birth of modern Astronomy can be dated around 1609, when the mathematicians Johannes Kepler published the first two of his laws on planetary motion, followed by the third one in 1619. The three Kepler’s laws are:

1. The orbit of every planet is an ellipse with the Sun at one of the two foci. 2. A line joining a planet and the Sun sweeps out equal areas during equal intervals of time.

3. The square of the orbital period of a planet is directly proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit.


ESMI- #3

Scheme of Kepler’s first and second laws.

In this image we can see a schematic representation of the first two Kepler’s laws: there are two planets on elliptical orbits and both revolve around the Sun at the common focus between the two orbits (f1), while the other two foci (f2 and f3) are empty; for planet 1 also the two areas A1 and A2, that is two equal areas which outer curved segments are covered at the same time, are represented. Since from the image it can be seen that segment A1 is longer than A2, it is possible to say that the velocity of the planet is not constant along the orbit and that it must be quicker when it is closer to the Sun and slower when it is further away. Moreover, the third law tells us that the further the planet is from the Sun the longer the time to cover a full orbit around will be. Starting from the definition of these three laws, now we will try to examine the notion of orbit and, in particular, we will see how they can be considered as the “never-ending” fall of a body toward another that could be, depending on the cases, the Earth, the Sun or another celestial body. Orbit Literally, an orbit is the trajectory that an attracted body, for example a natural or artificial satellite (such as the Moon for the Earth) or a planet, covers around the attracting body, that will be a planet in the first case, or the Sun in case of the Solar System. In 1687 Isaac Newton, in his work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (in English: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) proved that celestial bodies are attracted and move according to the law of universal gravitation, that is: two bodies attract themselves with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. According to it, they can only move along a specific type of curved orbits, named conical: these curves are obtained intersecting a plane with a rotating cone (obtained by handling a straight line around a fixed point belonging to the same line) and can be closed, like a circumference or an ellipsis, or open, like a parabola and an hyperbole.

ESMI- #3


Conic sections.

The type of section will vary depending on the angle between plane and cone: so we will have a parabola (1), an ellipsis (2 at the top), a circumference (2 at the bottom), or an hyperbole (3). Kepler’s laws, as reported above, refer therefore to elliptic-shaped orbits, but this doesn’t mean that some celestial bodies may cover different trajectories like, for example, some comets coming from the deep space that have hyperbolic open orbits, pass just once near the Sun and then get lost into the space; the case of periodic comets is different, like Halley’s comet, that passes near the Sun nearly every 76 years and will return in 2061. Newton’s tube We just saw what an orbit is: but how is it possible that a satellite (for example) continues revolving around the Earth without falling on it? To explain it let’s go back to Newton’s Principia and to an illustration of them.

Netwon’s tube.

Let’s assume we have a tube on a mountain higher than the atmosphere of Earth (so that we can ignore the friction) and to shoot a projectile horizontally, that is parallel to the Earth surface in that point. Ideally, the projectile will fall in a certain distance from the tube, depending of the muzzle velocity (trajectory A).


ESMI- #3

Netwon’s tube. Modern representation.

By shooting “harder”, that is by increasing the muzzle velocity, it will fall at a longer distance (trajectory B) until, reached a certain velocity, the projectile won’t succeed touching ground, but will complete a revolution around the planet until it pass again to the initial point and will start a new revolution. Now let’s see what we told in advance: the projectile will continue falling to the Earth for an infinite time, without ever touching it. Obviously the satellites won’t be put in orbit through a tube! They will be launched through rocket engines (called launch systems) which, though starting vertically, will curve during their rise until they will launch the satellite in orbit horizontally, just like the hypothetical projectile shot by Newton’s tube. Getting back to our image, we can see that the muzzle velocity is so high to make the orbit circular (trajectory C): this velocity is called first cosmic velocity, or velocity of circulation, and is obtained through the equality of the force of gravitational attraction and the centrifugal force due to the curved trajectory of the satellite (it the same force you can perceive when you are driving a bend too fast and it seems as if something “pushed” you toward the outside of the band). By increasing the muzzle velocity, more and more elliptical orbits will be covered (trajectory D), until reaching a velocity -called second cosmic velocity or escape velocity- so high that the orbit became parabolic, that is open, so that the satellite will indefinitely move away from the planet. For the Earth, this velocity is about 40320 km/h (at the ground level), or lower if the body will already be in orbit. For even greater velocities, the trajectory will became hyperboles and will represent escape trajectory, too. Types of Orbits Depending on the average distance from the Earth, we will have different types of orbits: - Low Earth Orbits (LEO), with altitudes between 200 and 2000 km. They are also used as parking orbits if higher orbits need to be reached; - Medium Earth Orbits (MEO), with altitudes between 2000 and 35786 km. They are generally used as telecommunication and position satellites (GPS, Galileo, etc.); - Geostationary orbit (GEO), is circular and placed exactly at 35786 km: this distance is determined by the fact that a satellite located into a circular orbit at that altitude has a rotation velocity around the Earth equal to the Earth’s rotation velocity. In other words, a satellite placed at GEO equatorial orbit seems to be stationary to an observer on the Earth; for its feature, this orbit is mostly used by telecommunication and TV broadcast satellites; - Sun Synchronous Orbits (SSO), strongly inclined orbits that exploit an interference in the orbit caused by the Sun so that a satellite placed on this trajectory overflies every given point always at the same local solar time. In this way the solar lighting on the Earth surface is the same at every revolution, fact that helps the observation since the lighting conditions are roughly unchanged orbit after orbit; - Interplanetary transfer orbits: they are hyperbolic orbits, as previously described, that allow to escape from Earth attraction; nevertheless, once coming out from Earth’s sphere of influence, they represent elliptical orbits with respect to an hypothetic observer placed on the Sun surface because it is necessary to reckon with the Sun’s gravitational attraction even far from the Earth.

ESMI- #3


ESMI- #3 A typical example of interplanetary trajectory can be that covered by Cassini spacecraft, that permitted to land on Saturn through two flying-offs “close” to Venus, one to the Earth and one to Jupiter, by exploiting the so-called “gravity assist effect”, landing on Saturn almost 7 years after the date of its launch.

Scheme of Cassini interplanetary trajectory.

Cassini in flight near Saturn. Artistic representation.

References for “Orbits: never-ending falls ” - September 2012 in Italy


EverySpace Magazine interview: Samantha Cristoforetti by Cristina Riso, Dario De Angelis, and Alessandro Menchinelli Students of Aerospace Engineering

Translation by Claudia Alvarenga

After a long a struggling training, before many emotions and risks, at the launch, there is a moment when you think : “Why am I doing this?” . After 20 years from his mission, Franco Malerba, the first Italian astronaut aboard the International Space Station, has no doubts : “No”, he replies, “what you think is : finally!”. The anniversary of his historical launch, together with the celebration of 50 years of Italian and American cooperation, have represented a chance to open the new Italian Space Agency in Rome, on the 25th of July 2012 and celebrate how space missions’ past, present and future is “blue” , not only like astronauts’ uniforms’ color. Many people have taken part to this event, such as ASI’s (Italian Space Agency) president Enrico Saggese, who resumed the stages of the “italian” conquer of space, Lory Garver, NASA’s Deputy Administrator, who expressed her gratitude towards our country for what done in the last 50 years, wishing for a such long collaboration in the future, the Minister of Science and Education Profumo and almost everyone in the Italian astronauts team. In order, Franco Malerba, Maurizio Cheli, Umberto Guidoni and Roberto Vittori (except Paolo Nespoli, who wasn’t there), have told about their launch experiences and what has guided them in reaching their goal, while the “new” members of the team, Luca Parmitano (connected from Houston, where he’s currently training) and Samantha Cristoforetti, have described their training for future missions, respectively expected in middle 2013 and the end of 2014. In such occasion, at the end of the celebrations, we met Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian women astronaut in history, to ask her some questions.

Samantha talking at the conference.

Samantha during an interview.


ESMI- #3

ESMI- #3 How did you decide to be an astronaut? This is a job that pulls together all my passions : flight, science and technic. Moreover, it is bracing to work in an international and multicultural environment with an important aim, that is making the first steps towards not only a planetary culture, but able to move in space. You are the first Italian woman astronaut and you are training for a six month long mission in orbit. How do you feel? Certainly emotionally charged, very motivated, very enthusiastic and also very busy, as training is hard and requires high attention and focus. Ever thought of what you will miss once in orbit? Sure I will miss many things… let’s see! What will your task be, once aboard on the International Space Station? There are no strictly defined tasks, exception made for the captain, who will obviously be an expert astronaut in charge of coordinating the crew’s activity. Everyone else is equally regarded and a detailed assignment of the tasks will be given later. As a consequence, there will be and adaptive training based on everyone’s task, but it will mainly regard of maintaining and scientific activities, and robotic activities, that is managing the Internationals Space Station’s mechanical arm: in 2014-2015 there will be many approaching vehicles which requiring to be “grabbed”. Eventually, there might be some extra-vehicular activity. Speaking of current events, what do you think about funding cuts to national companies? No guys, this is politics! With regards to private companies, do you think they might be a new business? I’m not very keen in this field but I wish these projects could expand the idea of Space : the more people will be able to go, the more happy I will be. What would you suggest to a young girl sharing your wish to become an astronaut? The advice I’m giving to the young is to dream. I wouldn’t want to be misunderstood by saying this, as by “dream” I do not mean something not attached to reality. When I talk about dreaming, I refer to the ability of having a strong passion which is the driver, a concrete incentive to action and an everyday motivation. It doesn’t matter that the dream will actually come true, because obviously if there are many people willing to go to Space, for most of them the dream won’t come true. Nonetheless, if they do have a so moving passion, they will surely be professionals, regardless of the field they will choose, and better people, that is happy and satisfied.


After involving us with great passion and determination which guided her until now, Samantha jokes complaining about the many questions about her experience, as a woman, in a male dominated environment and the possibility that her capacities could be underrated : those are old fashioned questions, she says, things are not like this. When a journalist asks her how such job may conciliate with family, she’s not scared and her answer is: “Anything can be conciliated, depending on what you mean by “conciliated”. If you mean that at 35 you wish to have 11 kids and be often home to bake apple pies, the answer is no!”. Treasuring her words, we can only thank Samantha for her time and her important advice, wishing her all the best for her new, exciting “blue” adventure in the International Space Station.

“EverySpace Magazine” correspondents interview Samantha.

Roberto Vittori listening to the celebration’s first talks.

ESMI- #3

Luca Parmitano greets on Skype from Houston.



Space People - W. von Braun

ESMI- #3

by Dario De Angelis Student of Aerospace Engineering

Translation by Claudia Alvarenga

Name: Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr Surname: von Braun Date of birth: March 23, 1912 Place of birth: Wirsitz, Prussia (now Poland) Field: Rocketry

W. von Braun

On September 7th, 1944, a Third Reich scientist experiments his studies on London: the dreadful rocket V2, the first “modern” rocketry’s military use. Such weapon is so fast to hit the target even before the engine’s roar. On July 20th, 1969 (American date), the whole world is breathless watching the Apollo 11 flight, bringing Neil Armstrong and his fellow men to the Moon. The vehicle used is Saturn V, a three stages rocket with liquid propeller, in fact the greatest rocket ever made. The skies’ terror and marvel were both created by the same person : Wernher von Braun. At first not really attracted by science, after reading Oberth’s “Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen“ (“By Rocket into Planetary Space”) , young von Braun gets involved in physics and rocketry. Newly-qualified, he joins the “Spaceflight Society” agreeing to do any kind of task, as long as having the chance to learn the most by Oberth and Nebel. Despite first several fails, von Braun’s commitment is rewarded with the nomination as Peenemunde’s nazis base technical director, where he could lead his research on liquid propeller’s combustion. The scientist had never been a Nazi party supporter, but space research required long times and high expenses, but the army saw the chance of creating a very effective weapon which, at the same time, wasn’t forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles (in fact reducing Germany’s military power to zero) as, in such Treaty, ballistic weapons were not taken into account , not yet invented. By the joint of those two needs, that is funds on one side and weapons on the other, in 1944 the Vergeltungswaffe 2 (retaliation weapon 2) was born, also known as V2. Such ballistic weapons’ predecessor had a range of nearly 400 Km, a maximum velocity of 5200 Km/h and was capable of hitting a target with 800 Kg of trinitrotoluene and ammonium. In 1945, allies were just around the corner. Together with 500 fellows, Von Braun left Germany to give himself up to the United States. Once emigrated, scientists survived from SS got started to carry on with research. Since hate towards Nazis was still really intense, German refugees led their work nearly in reclusion, to avoid attacks (in Belgium and Great Britain, Von Braun was considered as a criminal, having caused 2700 deaths and more than 6500 injuries).


W. von Braun showing a project.

ESMI- #3

W. von Braun and “his” Saturn V.

At first, funds for rocketry were not enough in America too, but it was the Soviet Union to help out Von Braun. Russians were indeed the first ones to orbit a satellite, the Sputnik, touching off the American’s government reaction, meant to fill up the scientific gap with the other world superpower. With required fundings and a team of scientists he chose, a wait of a year was enough to the launch of the american satellite Explorer-1, put on orbit by the rocket Jupiter-C. In 1960, due to the increasing relevance given to the conquer of space, president Eisenhower founded a new government agency in the aerospace sector : NASA. In the same year, Von Braun was elected as a director of Marshall Flight Space Center, as long as he could keep working on his Saturn V. Thanks to years of hard work and research, finally, on the 21st July 1969, the German scientist saw his greatest dream come true : reaching the Moon. In the years after, he kept working with NASA, being the planning director in 1970. Times were now changed, Space lost popularity and funding started decreasing, hence he decided to retire and dedicate the rest of his life to divulgation in American universities and creation of the National Space Society. He worked for several companies, like the German OTRAG, the first private company to build a launcher and he fought for reducing the war use of ballistic weapons. Von Braun died in 1977 at 65, and now rests Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia. Despite he stated to be ashamed for the victims he caused with his research, he will always be remembered as a two-faced scientist, able to drive humanity towards the unreachable, but to cause thousands of victims in order to proceed with his research, as well.

References for “W. von Braun” - September 2012 in Italy


Saturn V on the launch pad.

ESMI- #2

ESM - #2


“EverySpace Magazine” and “EverySpace Magazine International” are national projects, owned by EverySpace S.r.l., an Italian company working on an international level in the aerospace field. Among EverySpace S.r.l. ‘s goals there is to show that the results of the highly advanced research made in the aerospace field are not reserved to astronauts… but they continuously involve us and directly influence our every day life.

Contact us! You read “EverySpace Magazine” and want to know more about one or more topic discussed? Would you like to fulfill your curiosities in the scientific field? Would you like to give us an advise about a topic to discuss in the next numbers? Here’s what to do : visit our facebook page (, “like” us and write what you would like to know. Our entire Team is at your complete disposal! We’re looking forward to answer your questions!

Advertising To buy an advertising space on our Magazine, visit our website and email us to We will give you information and tell you about the prices to publish your announcement and logo on our pages.

ESMI- #3


ESMI- #3

“EverySpace Magazine International” is an exclusive project of:

Supported by:


“Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.� - K. E. Tsiolkovsky

Take a look at our website:

"EverySpace Magazine International - #3"  

"EverySpace Magazine" is a revolutionary free online program, created by the Italian company EverySpace S.r.l., aimed at students and reader...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you