Sunday, June 04, 2006
The Force Is Strong In This One
One more thing with the tethers and I'll let it go for a while. A pair of tethered modules coupled and interacting in various ways in LEO is a perfect chance to try out visible force and torque vectors, a new "visual helper" (Control-F9) feature in Orbiter 2006. In the picture above, the gray vectors are total force (F, mainly gravitational for the background module, pointing toward the Earth's center), and the blue vector on the foreground module is thrust (T, from a 360 kilo-Newton pulse of main engines, which is adding to the other forces to shift the resultant force toward the other module). Lift and drag vectors are not relevant above the atmosphere (these are cool to see on the Delta Glider flying around in the atmosphere). The magenta torque vectors are also not visible here - magnitude too small at this particular moment (see Flickr for another example showing torque).
Forces and motion made visible on your PC screen. Orbiter is a physics lab in a fancy 3D space suit!