Man in Space by P. Radhakrishnan

By P. Radhakrishnan

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45 kg) of fuel can produce in one second. This is also known as the propellant's specific impulse. Solid propeilants have a lower specific impulse than liquid propeilants. Also, it is not controllable, once ignited. Before 1940, black powder(gun-powder) was almost the only solid propellant employed in rockets. It was not until World War II that other successful solid propeilants became available. Three important types of solid propeilants are now in use. These are double-base (for exam pie, nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine), composite type (an inorganic salt as oxidizer suspended in an organic fuel generally mixed with fine metal particles), and composite double-base (combination of the other two).

We feel a force which we call its weight. Similarly, a man standing or seated in a chair does not feel weightless because he is prevented from freely yielding to the earth's pull by the ground in the former case and the chair in the latter. Likewise, weightlessness is felt in the space vehicle only when it is not being driven by the driving force of its rockets or opposed by any other force. Weightlessness begins only when the propelling rocket is cut off and the spacecraft starts falling in reaction to the pull of gravity.

Although pooh-poohed by the powers that be in those times, he was later proved right when Galileo first turned his telescope to the skies. Galileo found four moons circling the planet Jupiter; enough proof that the earth with only one moon could not be a pre-eminent member of the solar system. Galileo later developed the basis for the laws of motion. In the early 17th century, Johannes KEPLER formulated the laws of planetary motion, one of which stated that the planets orbit the sun in oval paths called ellipses, and not circles, as Copernicus had believed.

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