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zlessard

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zlessard last won the day on September 15 2015

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  1. zlessard

    Vargard Conglomerates

    Launch Time: 10:53 AM EST, May 25th 2016 Team Members Present: Varg and ard Play-by-Play: The rocket launched without issue. It continually accelerated with the help of the first engine up to the point of 52,000 meters, when that tank ran out of fuel and was decoupled. This was higher than it was expected to be at this point, which gave us extra fuel to utilize for the rest of our flight. The rocket then was accelerated until it reached the point of 70,000 meters, when the throttle was cut off and the rocket was given an angle. This was done in order to get the rocket into orbit. This was done successfully by accelerating the rocket once it reached it's maximum height. Once it was in orbit, Jebediah was able to enjoy the scenery of space for a good amount of time. After being in orbit for a bit, the rocket began the final stage: return to Kerbin. This was done by utilizing the rest of the liquid fuel to move against the path of orbit and begin the return. The rocket started to burn upon reentry to the atmosphere, but did not overheat thanks to the radiator panels installed on the sides of the rocket. Once it fell to around 4,500 meters the parachute was deployed and the rocket slowly drifted down to the surface where it landed safely in the waters of Kerbin Photographs: Time-of-Flight: 5 hours, 30 minutes, and 16 seconds Summary: Our mission was a success. We were able to make it into space, orbit the planet, and land successfully Opportunities / Learnings: Our abilities have definitely reached and possibly exceeded making it to orbit. Personally, we believe that we have the talent and brain power to be the first team to make it to the Mun. Strategies / Project Timeline: Despite the success of this mission, we will definitely need to do more research before we tackle our next objective of reaching the moon Milestone Awards Presented: Achieving stable orbit - $40,000 (50%. we were second) Achieving stable manned orbit - $50,000 (50%. we were second) Total revenue of $45,000 gained from this mission Available Funds: $125,286 (some parts were recovered, reducing our rocket's cost)
  2. zlessard

    Vargard Conglomerates

    Team Name: Vargard conglomerates Available Funds: 108,697 Vehicle Name: Vargard Quatro Vehicle Parts List and Cost: mk1 command pod, mk16 parachute, TR-18A stack decoupler x3, radiator panel x4, Fl-T100 fuel tank, LV-909 "terrier" liquid fuel engine, FL-T400 fuel tank x5, LV-T45 "swivel" LFE, rockomax brand adapter, rockomax X200-32 fuel tank, RE-M5 "mainsail" LFE total cost: 28,922 Design Goals: Our vehicle is designed to reach orbit through a series of stages that are planned out in order to maximize height and minimize danger for Jebediah. The rocket is designed to be able to return to Kerbin following it's trip in orbit, and land safely thanks to a parachute. Launch Goal: Our goal for this flight is to reach orbit and return to the ground safely, and we honestly believe that we should reach this goal. Pilot Plan: The pilot is to set off the stages accordingly. Utilize all of the liquid fuel in the first stage and then decouple, which should take the rocket to over 30,000 meters at this point. After that, more fuel is present in the next stage that will allow the rocket to continue to accelerate out of the atmosphere. At about 65,000 meters, throttle should be lowered and the rocket should be angled in order to achieve horizontal velocity. Through doing this and other maneuvers, the rocket should enter orbit. Once in orbit, Jebediah should be able to enjoy the beauties of space for a short time before the final stage is set off, allowing the rocket to return to the ground. Once plummeting, the parachute should be deployed somewhere between 2500-5000 meters, whenever it is the safest to deploy. The rocket should then land on the ground or in the water safely. Images:
  3. zlessard

    Vargard Conglomerates

    Team Name: Vargard Conglomerates Available Funds: $102,818 Vehicle Name: Vargard Tres Vehicle Parts List and Cost: mk16 parachute, mk1 command pod, Tr-18A stack decoupler, FL-T400 fuel tank x8, LGV-909 "terrier" liquid fuel engine, Aerodynamic nose cone x6, TT-38k radial decoupler x6, LV-T30 "reliant: liquid fuel engine x6 total cost: $18,242 Design Goals: Our rocket is designed to go off in 3 stages that allow it to reach the maximum height possible and drop weight when necessary Launch Goal: Our only goal is to reach 50 km and return to the ground safely. Pilot Plan: The pilot will be setting off the stages at the appropriate time in order to ensure the most successful flight. Illustrations: Launch Time: 14 minutes and 9 seconds. Team Members Present: Varg and ard. Play-by-Play: The rocket launched without issue. The first stage was dropped at around 26 km, then the second stage was unintentionally also dropped immediately after triggering the first due to one too many hits of the space bar. Regardless of this, the rocket remained intact until it was rotated to drop the extra weight. The cockpit continued up to the maximum height of 81 km. The vessel then fell to the earth, saved by the parachute and landed on the ground safely. Photographs: Time-of-Flight: 6 hours 24 minutes. Summary: In summary, the rocket reached 81 km, and returned to the ground, with Jebediah inside and safe. Opportunities / Learnings: We learned that we are even closer than we though to reaching orbit, and also to be careful when setting of stage changes, and to not have too much fuel. Strategies / Project Timeline: This launch definitely set us up to reach a goal of orbit. Milestone Awards Presented: 50 km, return to ground safely. 50% as we are the second team, so $15,000 Available Funds: 108,697
  4. zlessard

    Vargard Conglomerates

    Launch Time: 6 minutes and 15 seconds. Team Members Present: Varg and ard Play-by-Play: Rocket launched into the air without issue. Break number 1 occurred at about the 7300 meter point. At that point, the seconds engine worked until it ran out of fuel at a height of 13700 meters. Once we dropped this, there were no other forms of man made acceleration and the rocket decelerated until it reached it's maximum height of 28 km. The rocket began free falling until the parachute was deployed at about 4400 meters. The vessel then landed on the ground safely. Photographs: Time-of-Flight: 5 hours and 45 minutes Summary: In summary, the rocket launched successfully and reached a height of 28 km, and came back to the earth safely. All in all, this was a pretty successful mission. Opportunities / Learnings: Having multiple flight stages are beneficial to the flight of a rocket. Strategies / Project Timeline: It makes our goal of reaching 50 km seem more attainable. Milestone Awards Presented: Launched to 10 km - $10,000 Manned launch to 10 km - $20,000 3rd team to accomplish this, therefore we receive 25% of reward - $7,500 total Available Funds: $102,818
  5. zlessard

    Vargard Conglomerates

    Launch Time: 5 minutes 27 seconds Team Members Present: Varg and ard were both present for the launch. Play-by-Play: Rocket launched without issue, continued to accelerate up to about 4000 m, at that point the liquid fuel supply ran out and the rocket began to decelerate. Due to this, we dropped the fuel tank and engine from the rocket in order to decelerate the deceleration. Rocket continued to slow until it reached its maximum height of 6981 meters. It began to plummet. At about 4500 meters, we deployed the parachute in order to hopefully ensure a safe landing. A few minutes later, the rocket reached the ground of Kerbin safely. Photographs: No photographs, no milestones were reached. Time-of-Flight: We don't know. Sorry. Summary: In summary, we didn't reach any goals. Sorry. Opportunities / Learnings: What we most learned is that we should probably ensure that it is possible to reach whatever goal we set for ourselves before going off on a mission. Being that this mission was completed using an incredibly inexpensive rocket, it's not big deal and probably beneficial for future launches. Strategies / Project Timeline: Definitely will be more planning before future launches. Our next launch will definitely aim to break that 10 km mark, at the least. Milestone Awards Presented: Lol Available Funds: $97,328. Small modification was made prior to launch that ended up increasing the price of the rocket. That is accounted for here. Team Name: Vargard Conglomerates Available Funds: $97,328 Vehicle Name: Vargard Dos.5 Vehicle Parts List and Cost: Mk1 command pod, Mk16 parachute, TR-18A stack decoupler x2, FL-T100 fuel tank, FL-T400 fuel tank, LV-T30 liquid fuel engine, Av-R8 winglets x3. Design Goals: Launch upward to a decent height, then later return to the ground safely. Launch Goal: Our main goal is to break 10 km on this flight, Pilot Plan: Our plan for the pilot is to survive. The rocket is set up in 3 stages. The next stage should be deployed at the point that the previous one runs out of fuel supply. Illustrations:
  6. zlessard

    Vargard Conglomerates

    First Pre-launch Report Team Name: Vargard Conglomerates Available Funds: $100,000 Vehicle Name: Vargard Dos Vehicle Parts List and Cost: Mk1 command pod, Mk16 parachute, TR-18A stack decoupler, FL-T100 fuel tank, LV-909 "terrier" liquid fuel engine total cost: $1,962 Design Goals: Our rocket is designed to launch to a decent height and return to the ground safely Launch Goal: Our launch goal is to get to at least 10km, and return to the ground with our kerbal safe and sound. Pilot Plan: Our plan for the pilot is to survive. Illustrations:
  7. zlessard

    The Big 3-0

    I Googled "how much force is in a single keystroke" and I'm going to trust a source that says 12.9 N. This will help me in my overall (obviously hypothetical) analysis. Since this is my final blog post of the year I wanted to sort of wrap it up as well as possible and somehow tie in all of my other blogs. Using an online "character counter", I found out that there are a combined 50,015 characters across my 29 other blog posts, which have an array of topics ranging from pole vaulting to doomsday to Monte Alban. Not accounting for any backspacing, 50,015 is an accurate count of all of the characters I've put into these blogs. Utilizing the accepted force of a keystroke as being 12.9 N, that means I applied an accumulative 645,193.5 N to my keyboard for the purpose of these blogs. That's over 145,000 lbs of force, which seems like far too high of a number but I'm going to accept it regardless for the purpose of making this more interesting. I now wonder what type of things I could accomplish utilizing this much force that does not involve analyzing the physics behind a bladeless fan or a Mexican resturaunt. I could: Break 230 backboards (see blog no. 29) Throw a football very far Probably jump pretty high Write 28 blog posts and have enough left over force to perfectly emulate the biting force of an adult Great White Shark Push the ground really hard and pretend that the dent was caused by 32 1/4 Ford Explorers being stacked on top of each other. As you can see, if I could somehow have concentrated all of the force that I put into the creation of these blogs into a single motion, then I could have pulled off some of the most incredible feats in the history of mankind. But alas, the people are left with 30 thoughtful, well crafted and occasionally humorous blog posts that will some day be hanging in a digital art gallery. Oh what could have been...
  8. zlessard

    Shaq

    Last night, I watched a 30/30 (which is an ESPN documentary series that I would recommend to anybody) about the Orlando Magic, and one of the focal points of the documentary was Shaquille O'Neal, who was my favorite athlete in the world when I was a lad. If you've never heard of Shaq, he is a 7'1, 300+ lb basketball player. He was a force on the basketball court, for opponents and backboards alike. Throughout the documentary, dozens of clips were shown of Shaq shattering the glass on backboards or pulling down the hoop entirely, all of which occurred during games. This feat cannot be performed anymore because basketball hoops have been redesigned entirely in order to prevent this from happening. On the old hoops, the rim was only attached to the glass backboard, so if you could snap this off by applying enough downward force to it, you would shatter the backboard. This is something Shaq accomplished quite a few times. On the new hoops, the rim is actually attached to the beam holding the hoop up, so you would have to apply thousands of pounds of force to cause the rim to snap off and the backboard to shatter. On one dunk in particular, Shaq literally pulled the entire hoop down. The backboard did not shatter, but he pulled the entire hoop down. Shaq applied (estimated) over 1000 lbs of force (4450 N) in order to accomplish this feat. He admits that he did this on purpose in the documentary. This feat is one that will never be replicated by a mortal, but it is fun to look back and see what such a massive individual was able to accomplish during a much simpler time.
  9. zlessard

    Rob de Federer

    Not too long ago, I went to play some tennis against a friend of mine. Long story short, I won 6-2 despite the fact that he's a starter on the tennis team. What truly led me to my commanding victory was my dominant forehand and my supernatural ability to get on top of the ball. I even surprised myself with my ability to get topspin on the ball and still get it to go over the net. This inspired me to look deeper at the physics of the forehand. The spin on the ball is applied by sort of "brushing" the ball rather than hitting it dead on. The racket also must be tilted at an angle in order for the ball to go over the net and have as good of topspin as possible. The rackets themselves are actually of a material that is good for making spin, as they have a low coefficient of friction, allowing them to slip against themselves and generate even greater spin on the ball. Lastly, the force applied to the ball from the acceleration of the racket by my hand are what gives the ball such mind boggling speed along with the spin. All of these factors put together are what lead to my deathly forehand return.
  10. zlessard

    Baseball vs Softball

    Yesterday I was talking with my friends and we started talking about pitching, as I used to be a pitcher myself prior to this year. We ended up discussing how the way softball pitchers throw does much less damage to your arm than the way a baseball pitcher throws. Because of this, softball pitchers are able to throw every game, while baseball pitchers throw once every 5 days or so, and I definitely understand how much a shoulder can hurt in the days following a pitching outing. It really made me wonder why throwing the ball overhand is so much worse for the body than underhand, so I wanted to look at the physics behind it. What I found actually shows that softball pitchers are at similar risk to shoulder injuries as baseball pitchers, but that is a product of overuse. The pitching motion is definitely safer and more natural for a human body to perform than that of a baseball pitcher. Softball pitchers are required to throw underhanded in fast-pitch games, so it is important that they do the windmill type motion with their arms in order to apply as much force to the ball as possible before releasing it. The whole time the ball is going around the "windmill", it is gaining acceleration, thus causing a faster pitch to come out of the pitchers hand. Pitchers also tend to rock slightly and lunge forward during their throwing motion, thus applying greater momentum towards the pitch. Applying all of these forward motions gives the greatest force to the ball in the "positive x-direction" and allows the ball to reach a peak velocity upon release. So much of physics analysis on baseball pitches involves what happens to the ball as it flies through the air. It's a true spectacle to see curveballs and sliders that baffle hitters to no end. But what I'm more interested in here is the motion of the pitcher. As a baseball pitcher throws, they generally have a sort of rock in their motion, similar to a softball pitcher but usually slower. After taking a short step back, pitchers lift their legs up high and then stride towards home. This high leg kick provides a potential energy to the throw, which gets converted to kinetic energy during the stride. During the stride, pitchers begin to bring all of their momentum forward as they come closer to releasing the ball. During the stride, many pitchers use the rubber mound to push off of with their back foot, similar to how a swimmer kicks off the wall in order to shoot forward with greater speed. This push off allows the pitcher to have even greater momentum moving forward as they throw the ball. Then, once they complete the stride, pitchers release the ball towards home plate. Young pitchers are told not to go through a motion with the same force as if you were throwing if you aren't releasing the ball, as this means that their is no force acting back on you as you release, thus causing greater stress on the shoulder. If you even replace the ball with a towel, you get that force acting back on you that allows your shoulder to proceed being healthy. This "equal and opposite" force is what Newton described in his 3rd law. So, upon analysis, although they look completely different, baseball and softball motions have certain similarities. They both apply as much momentum forward as possible, and release either directly above or below the shoulder. Stress on the shoulder in unavoidable in both situations, however softball pitchers are able to be used in much greater amounts. The thing I miss least about baseball, although I loved pitching, is the pain in your shoulder the days after pitching.
  11. zlessard

    Hurricanes

    Sticking with the theme of natural disasters following my post on tsunamis, I decided to look deeper into the physics of one of the most frightening disasters: a hurricane. Starting off simply, a severe hurricane can have a power of 1x10^15 watts. To put that in perspective, that is about 3000 times the total electrical power generated in the entire world. Looking more at what happens physically, a hurricane starts when air rushes in to fill a low pressure system somewhere out over the ocean. As the air rushes in, the moisture in it condenses, which causes a release of energy which in turn warms the air. This warm air then rises and pulls more air in around it. All of this air rushing towards the center of the storm is sort of like a centripetal force, but this apparent force only occurs because of the motion of the earth. All of this moving air eventually picks up a counterclockwise rotation due to this apparent centripetal force. So all of this air rushing towards the center and in a counterclockwise manner is what gives the hurricane it's defining characteristic: the high wind. Hurricanes thrive over bodies of water, but die off once they reach land due to the lack of moisture. These massive storms are still able to destroy a lot on land before dying off. Hopefully, understanding these natural disasters will help me to remain as safe from them as possible.
  12. zlessard

    Pole Vaulting

    As a fan of the Olympics, I often find myself watching the track and field events whenever the summer Olympics comes around. One event that particularly fascinates me is the pole vault. It seems like such a tremendous skill to pull off and I honestly wonder how people do it. If you haven't seen it, basically a competitor runs at full speed with a large pole in their hands, and once they reach a certain point they stab the pole in the ground and attempt to physics themselves over a bar set high up in the air. In short, the kinetic energy (1/2mv^2) of the individual in sprint is converted to gravitational potential energy (mgh), thus making them go as high as possible into the air. While in the air, a competitor contorts themselves in order to get over the bar without contacting it, which I believe would be a fault. In doing this, they change around their center of mass to points both above and below the bar, at times, in order to get their entire body over the bar. Once over the bar, the pole vaulter lands on a large mattress type thing, that applies an impulse to the vaulter upon landing that is too small to provide any bodily injury to the individual. So thankfully, competitors are able to pull off this feat of physics over and over again for our entertainment.
  13. zlessard

    Frisbees

    Whether throwing the Frisbee around at the beach or playing a riveting game of Kan Jam, I assume most people have used a Frisbee over the course of their lives. Thinking about it more deeply, I wondered to myself how these discs are able to fly so far, and more significantly to me, how are people able to throw them in straight lines? While flying through the air, Frisbees are impacted by both drag and lift forces, similar to how a wing or propeller would be influenced. The most important factor in a Frisbee's flight is the spin of the disc. Without this, the Frisbee would simply flutter to the ground and make for an incredibly unexciting toy. The spin makes it so a Frisbee can be stable and travel long distances, similar to the analysis of a hockey puck that I did a while back. In that example, the spin made for the puck to be more stable and, in turn, more accurate in its flight. The Frisbee acts in a similar way. Generally, the lift on the front part of a Frisbee is greater than the lift on the back, which causes the Frisbee to reach greater heights, and causes a torque on the disc. The torque on the Frisbee is what causes it to drift to the left or right in flight, the main reason why most Frisbee flights aren't perfectly straight. If it is straight, the Frisbee was likely impacted with a great initial angular momentum, and the lift on the disc is insignificant. A phenomenon that you have probably noticed in your use of Frisbees is that when someone throws the Frisbee higher in the air, thus giving it more "lift", then the Frisbee is likely to have a large tail or hook within its flight. If a Frisbee is released at a higher angle, it will go much higher in the air but travel a much shorter distance, maybe even ending up behind the thrower, due to the drag force acting on the disc. This is what causes some Frisbee throws to be sort of like a boomerang. If you want the disc to travel further distances, then you'll want to apply a greater initial velocity to the Frisbee rather than a greater launch angle.
  14. zlessard

    Jordan Spieth

    For anyone that has followed golf recently, you have likely heard about Jordan Spieth's collapse this weekend at The Master's. Spieth went from having a 5 stroke lead to being 3 strokes behind, all within the course of an hour. The biggest blow came on the par-3 12th hole, in which Spieth shot a 7 and hit the water hazard twice. In watching this, you would notice that on the first stroke that went into the water, Spieth contacted the ball too far below the center of mass, causing it to go further in the air and shorter distance wise, leading to it contacting a slope. After hitting this slope, the ball took a couple bounces and ended up in the water. Then, Spieth was forced to hit his next shot from the drop zone for this hole, which was closer to the hole and the water hazard. On this attempt, Spieth did something that many casual golfers find themselves doing: he hit more grass than he did ball. This can be a beneficial thing if done in a sand trap, but on a lengthy approach shot, this killed him. The ball still went further than your average middle aged man could hit it, however the lost force on the ball from this initial contact with the grass made the ball not travel anywhere near as far as Spieth intended. This is a blunder you don't typically see from someone as talented as Spieth. He was able to salvage a 7 after hitting his next shot in a sand trap, a feat I likely would never be able to accomplish. If Spieth realized the physics implications on his ball prior to taking such a massive divot on his second shot that went into the water, maybe today we would be hearing about the 22 year old's second Master's victory.
  15. zlessard

    Tsunamis

    Everyone has heard about a tsunami, whether that be the one that hit Japan not too long ago or some other instance. Regardless of how you've heard of these water monsters, I was interested to find out more about the physics behind these. Tsunamis are basically a massive scale version of the waves that we've studied throughout our physics experiences. Rather than wavelengths in centimeters and periods measured in seconds, the waves of tsunamis are measured in kilometers and their periods are measured in hours. Their wavelengths have been measured to be as large as 500 km. Interestingly enough, the speed that these waves travel at is dependent only upon the water depth and the force of gravity. In the ocean, water depth can be 5000m, and utilizing the equation that the speed of the wave = sq rt(g·H), that means that waves would travel 221 MPH at a depth of 5000m. Tsunamis caused by earthquakes, however, have wavelengths and periods that are determined by the size of the underwater disturbances caused by the earthquake. As tsunamis approach land, the water depth decreases, thus causing the speed that the waves are traveling at to decrease. The tsunamis energy flux, which depends on speed and height of the waves, remains almost constant. As the speed decreases and the energy remains constant, this causes the heights of the tsunami waves to become much greater as they approach land. Because of this effect, known as "shoaling", tsunamis can go completely unseen at water but grow rather tall as they approach land. This is why tsunamis are often characterized by their massive waves.

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