Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Astronautics and Space Essay

Astronautics and Space Essay

Among various programs of space exploration NASA’s Mars Exploration Program is probably the most successful one. Several missions were conducted over thirty years, including Mars Pathfinder of 1997 and Mars Exploration Rover (MER) of 2003. These two missions had much in common in technical characteristics. Both included spacecrafts with similar cruise stages, aero shells, parachute design, and airbags. However, two robotic rovers of MER (Spirit and Opportunity) have better mobility and equipment, carrying all scientific instruments in the landed parts. The MER mission has brought two major discoveries – the traces of water on Mars and Heat Shield Rock, the first meteorite found on another planet.

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International Space Station, the international project, was started in 1980-es. Being a joint program of five space agencies (NASA, ESA, JAXA, CSA, and Roskosmos), ISS first launched a crew in 2000. However, the construction was delayed seriously due to shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. This incident caused the major halt of NASA Shuttle program that affected the process of ISS construction soundly. Currently NASA and other ISS participators accepted the new schedule, planning to complete the ISS program by 2010. In my opinion, there may appear other construction delays in this project, as it already happened before. For instance, such significant project may undergo budget problems or research delays.
Answering Questions

1. What was the name of the first American space station and when was it launched?.
a) Salyut 1, May 1973.
b) Skylab, April 1971.
c) Salyut 1,April 1971.
d) Skylab, May 1973.

2. The Cassini high-gain antenna was the contribution of.
a)ESA.
b)ASI.
c)JPL.
d)NASA.

3. The power used by the transmitter on Voyager spacecraft to communicate with Earth is in the order of magnitude of.
a)Thousands of Watts.
b)Millions of Watts.
c)Hundreds of Watts.
d)Tens of Watts.

4. What is the preferred orbit for telecommunication satellites?.
a)LEO.
b)MEO.
c)GEO.
d)HEO.

5. Which subsystem is not part of a spacecraft Bus?.
a)Payload subsystem.
b)Attitude control subsystem.
c)Power subsystem.
d)Telemetry, tracking, and command subsystem.

6. What is one of the advantages of liquid rocket fuels over solid fuels?.
a)It is cheaper to manufacture.
b)It is cleaner to burn.
c)It is less explosive and thus safer.
d)Fuel combustion can be regulated to produce variable thrust.

7. What is the name of the first component of the International Space Station put into orbit?.
a)Unity Node.
b)Russian Service Module.
c)Functional Cargo Block.
d)JEM.

Note: “Zarya” was the first module; in 2 weeks “Unity Node 1” was launched to join together with “Zarya”. Both are considered to be the first modules in IIS.

8. A comet or asteroid hit the Earth some 65 million years ago. How large was the diameter of the comet or asteroid?.
a)I kilometer.
b)10 kilometers.
c)100 kilometers.
d)1 meter.

9. What does the expression "economies of scale" pertain to?.
a)The total cost of the project is reduced by the addition of very efficient processes.
b)The development cost is spread over a large number of items, thus the cost per item is less.
c)The project is a large scale project offering many opportunities for cost reduction.
d)None of the above.

Note: Economies of scale characterizes a production process in which an increase in the scale of the firm causes a decrease in the long run average cost of each unit; hence I suppose it is the answer C.

10. Magellan spacecraft.
a) used type IV trajectory.
b) used type I trajectory.
c) landed on Mars.
d) was launched by a Delta II rocket.

11. What is the major similarity between Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions?
a) There is no similarity between the two missions.
b) the same exact type of rover was used for both missions.
c) the same entry, decent, and landing technology was used for both missions.
d) the objectives of the missions were the same

Note: I guess the aim of both was the same – exploration of Mars (answer D). However, there were some similarities between both missions, I described them earlier in this paper (answer C).

12. Specific Impulse is:
a) The thrust generated by a rocket.
b) A measure of effectiveness of a rocket fuel.
c) Energy generated by a rocket.
d) None of the above.

Note: Specific Impulse is a way to describe the efficiency of rocket and jet engines. It represents the impulse (change in momentum) per unit mass of propellant. Thus I think it is answer B.

13. What is the name of the first robotic vehicle sent to planet Mars?
a) Opportunity.
b) Mars Pathfinder.
c) Sojourner.
d) Spirit.

14. The boundary created between the solar wind and the interstellar wind is called:
a) the magnetosphere.
b) the heliosphere.
c) the heliopause.
d) the ionosphere.

15. Which statement is false?
a) Cellular phones used in urban areas use satellite communications.
b) Fixed Service Satellites use the C band, and the lower portions of the Ku.
c) Sales transactions including credit cards are mostly provided by a VSAT satellite.
d) Detection of missile launches is an example of a reconnaissance satellite mission.

16. The Martian atmospheric pressure is approximately:.
a) the same as atmospheric pressure on Earth.
b) 100 times smaller than on Earth.
c) 10 times greater than on Earth.
d) 10 times smaller than on Earth.

17. A comet has a bright tail because:.
a) Dust particles scape the comet's gravitational field and reflect sun light.
b) Friction between it and the sun's atmosphere creates a hot trail.
c) Photons emitted from it interact with the solar wind.
d) High energy gamma rays undergo lamda-epsilon transitions.

Note: Comet has tail because Sun radiation pushes the tiny dust particles in the direction from which they came, I guess the answer A is correct.

18. How are the planets outside of our solar system discovered?
a) By taking their picture with the Hubble space telescope in the visible spectrum.
b) By X-ray measurements.
c) By gamma ray measurements.
d) By analyzing the induced perturbations in the movement of their star.

19. What was the name of the first asteroid encountered by Galileo spacecraft?
a) Dactyl.
b) Ida.
c) Gaspra.
d) Shoemaker-Levy 9.

20. What kind of trajectory was used by Cassini spacecraft?.
a) Type I trajectory.
b) VVEJGA trajectory.
c) VEEGA trajectory.
d) None of the above.
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