This post is here because I was looking at the Landsat 8 information and when it would launch. It will launch on February 11, 2013. Landsat 7 is up in space now. Landsat 7 is used to get images of the Earth. When I do a post on Landsat 8, I’ll explain.
For now, here is a satellite picture from Landsat 7. This is an image of Cape Cod and I have used it before this post.
I started wondering, how do they get that thing up high into space. This led to finding more information.
First, I had to look at Earth’s atmosphere. A brief look.
Second, I had to look at the rockets used to launch artificial satellites. Artificial satellites are things like Landsat 8, commonly just called satellites. Natural satellites are objects like the moon.
Atlas V is the rocket I chose to use as an example.
For a bit, I got so confused that it was a wonder I could think at all. My main gripe is the language and technical terms I ran into all throughout my information gathering. I chose not to use them in this post, unless I really had to do so.
Most of the pictures are from NASA.
This is a diagram of Earth’s atmosphere from NOAA.
This is a diagram of satellite orbits.
This is a diagram of Cape Canaveral. This is where a lot of space vehicles are launched. It is called Kennedy Space Center.
An artificial satellite has to launch into the correct orbit. Otherwise it can’t do what it was sent to do. This involves a lot of calculation. They need to know where they want the satellite to be in which orbit.
The rocket goes straight up from the launchpad and goes through the layers of Earth’s atmosphere.
After that, the rocket heads east. It heads east because that is the direction the Earth’s orbit.
The speed that the Earth rotates at Cape Canaveral is 894 miles an hour. This helps the satellite go into orbit.
The rocket keeps track of where it is in relation to the Earth. This is called an Inertial Guidance System.
To put it in basic terms. The rocket knows when to turn east at 120 miles high. It fires small rockets and turns the launch vehicle east. The satellite is then released. Rockets fire again and the satellite separates from the launch vehicle.
This is a picture of the Atlas V first stage being put into the launch frame at Kennedy Space Center. These Atlas V pictures are from the Van Allen Probes launch.
This is the Van Allen Probes capsule being lifted above the first and second stages.
This is a picture of the Van Allen Probes capsule being put onto the elevator of the launch frame.
This is a picture of an Atlas V booster separation. I couldn’t find one from the Van Allen Probes Mission. The picture is by, United Launch Alliance.
A drawing of the two probes separating from each other.