orbital mechanics

Lockout prisoners in space movie backdrop

Lockout: plagiarism, space shuttle design, and how to skydive… from space!

Plagiarism

John Carpenter, this movie, and Escape from New York plagiarism. Metal Gear Solid also as an Escape ripoff. Running popular media through a “Hideo Kojima filter” to see what comes out.

Space Shuttles

Side-mounting your spacecraft. Flying  a brick. Deorbiting and landing in the space shuttle’s “orbiter.” Wiggle-worm descent. Having only one chance because all of your fuel was spent getting out of orbit. Returning to shuttle-like designs with mag-lev mountain-ramps.

Inert gas asphyxiation

Nitrogen! Biologically inactive gas asphyxia vs potentially-toxic: CO2, CO, etc. Hypoxia.

Falling out of space

The slim odds of hitting the ISS when accidentally de-orbiting. Space is… small? Understanding what “orbit” really means. HALO/HAHO jumping, Baumgartner’s Stratos jump, and the incredible difficulty of jumping out of orbit ffs. Copyrighting all of the “totally radical” stunts.

Breaking the sound barrier

The difference in the “speed of sound” at different atmospheric densities. Terminal velocity at high altitudes. Air is more “sticky” than you might expect. Why didn’t Felix Baumgartner “burn up” on reentry?

Orbital decay

“Jumping down” from a space station and how that is not sufficient for deorbiting. Megaconstellations and space junk.

Links:

How to Land the Space Shuttle… from Space by Bret Copeland: YouTube
Escape From New York: Decipher SciFi

Gravity 2013 movie backdrop

Gravity: decompression sickness, orbital mechanics, and jet chairs

Criticism

Sloppy orbital mechanics and the value of science-adjacent entertainment.

Ed Harris

Forever the voice of Mission Control.

Space is dangerous

Almost as scary as the ocean.

EVA jet chairs

NASA’s MMU. The new tiny one: SAFER! Giant rectal rectangle jet chairs?

Where and how things orbit

Earth-orbital distances. Where different kinds of man-made satellites operation and how they are not likely to run into each other roughly ever. The utility of geostationary orbits.

earth orbits

Wikipedia has the awesome animated version here

Orbital impacts

Relative velocities. Could you dodge a sniper bullet? IRL ISS escape procedures. Soyuz escape plans.

Deadspin

Glowing blood and possible alien infections. Human sensitivity to positive and negative g-forces. Trying to push more blood to your head for mental superpowers.

Orbital transfer

And impromptu deorbiting. How to crash a probe into mars (by accident).

Pressurization

Chinese space stations, then and now. Station entrance and exit procedures. Finally the Star Trek balloon analogy comes in handy! Decompression sickness/the bends during EVA. Portable life support systems. Sokol and ACES, and their insufficiency for extra-vehicular activities.

Fire extinguishers

…in spaaaaaace. Carbon dioxide. Water. Super soakers. Fire emergency procedures.

EVA Suits

Past designs and modern designs. Future EVA suit developments. Constrictive suits directly against the skin rather than creating an atmosphere around the body: the biosuit. The NASA Z Suit that looks like Buzz Lightyear, and operating EVA suits at the same pressure as your space station.

Reentry

Soyuz reentry angles. Heat shielding. Trying to point in a particular direction.

Lifting

The complete obviousness that heavy compound weight lifting is the major solution to muscle and bone loss in space. Bro do you even lift? Vacuum-based space squat rack.