Stan Draws Spaceships 1: Expendable Launch Vehicles

Stan Draws Spaceships 1: Expendable Launch Vehicles


Hello. My name is Stan, and
I like to draw spaceships. I’m making these videos to teach
people about the ideas and engineering behind space travel, and also to learn
more about those things in the process. For the first few videos in this series, I’m going totalk about the different
kinds of spaceships there are. They come in a lot of
varieties and functions, but to start with let’s look at launchers. A launcher is basically any
machine that gets you from here – below the Earth’s atmosphere at 0 velocity, to here – above the Earth’s atmosphere,
going at least 25 times the speed of sound. There are a lot of launcher
varieties – real and speculative, but I’m going to reduce them
to three major categories, and in this video focus
on the variety of rockets known as expendable launch vehicles. All rockets currently operating
today are expendable. They lift off, burning kerosene, or hydrogen or methane
mixed with liquid oxygen, and carry a teeny-tiny payload –
roughly 2% of their mass – on top. They shed mass as they go by dropping
heavy engines and fuel tanks and lighting a new set of smaller engines
running off of smaller fuel tanks, and repeat this as many times as is needed until that little bit at
the top is above the air, and going sideways really fast. Why do we throw away all
this expensive hardware? The main reason is that trying to recover
this hardware is really difficult. Adding reusabilty to a rocket adds mass, and adding mass means you need more fuel
for the engines to get going fast enough, and that adds mass. And the goal of the launcher is
to get *something* into orbit. Preferably something other
than just the launcher itself, like a satellite, or a capsule
– namely, the payload. Shaving weight and keeping the rocket
strong enough to withstand the aerodynamic and heating forces it will encounter
to recover it is extremely difficult. So far, no one’s figured
out exactly how to do it, but a lot of smart people are trying. There are many varieties
of expendable launchers: Rockets like the Atlas II, a stage-and-a-half design
derived from the Atlas missile; The Delta II, a two-stage liquid
rocket with strap-on solid booters; The Soyuz launch vehicle, two-stage core
with liquid-fueled side mounted boosters; And the Delta IV, with two boost
cores around the sustainer, carrying a second stage. And of course, many others. If you have suggestions for something
you’d like to see in future videos, please leave them in the comments below. In the next video I’m going to talk
about partially reusable launchers, and after that we’ll explore
fully reusable launchers. Thanks for watching Stan Draws Spaceships.

70 Replies to “Stan Draws Spaceships 1: Expendable Launch Vehicles”

  1. This has real potential and I will watch it passionately. I would love to hear more about SpaceX's Falcon 9 and the Delta IV.

  2. You do great work Stanley and we all appreciate it! Great job!
    Looking forward to seeing you in the Enterprise In Space engineering meetings when you can attend!
    Made in Space made big news today!
    The video you did here is awesome!

  3. This is great! Please make a ton more because I'm going to watch every second, even if I'm already a huge space nerd.

  4. Cool idea and simple delivery! Thanks for doing it with some real enjoyment. Looking for ward to more.

    (Although I must admit I was a little disappointed here you didn't tuck in the Saturn V in your booster rundown. 🙂 )

  5. The animation of the stage falling and breaking up in the atmosphere was beautiful. Excellent work. I'm really looking forward to the next one!

  6. Great video, looking forward to seeing many more of these! One suggestion could be an explanation of launch windows and the Hohmann transfer for interplanetary missions.

  7. Incredible video. It may not be as exciting, but I would like to learn about all the different pre-launch system checks. When you are watching a launch and for a few minutes before launch they always confirm that everything is working. I want to know what everything is.

  8. I have a three question/wish list –
    (a) can you discuss the qualities of vessels that would explore and mine asteroids, in difference between vessels that would mine NEA asteroids, Main Belt asteroids, moonlets, Comets, Charonids and KBO's? and

    (b) can you speculate what space vessels would be possible if EM drives turns out to actually work? and..

    (c) can you explain how much thrust is required to propel a space vessel across interstellar distance in a manner of years, decades, centuries and millenia ? What are the physical/engineering requirements for interstellar craft with all these above travel times, especially if those crafts carry meat humans….

  9. I absolutely love the art, animation and simplicity of the explanations! I can use these videos with my kids! Thank you so much.

  10. Awesome!!! Love the level of accuracy. Instant subscribe. This is going in my list of top science channels like smarter everyday, veritablium, minute phys, etc. you can thank the orbital mechanics for leading me here – you should go on their show!

  11. Great!
    I love those small realistic details like exhaust expansion in vacuum. Nice touch!

    P.S. You could draw perfect KSP tutorials )

  12. At some point, could you perhaps do a video about different types of stage design and configuration, and which ones are optimised for which situations? I feel like that would help to expand on the topic of staging since you so briefly mentioned it in this video.

  13. Why not have a episode series with Stan-Draws-Satellites.
    For when Juno approaches Jupiter in July.
    And the launch of of OSIRIS-REx and the ExoMars.

  14. Maannn, stuff I know but damn I love these! Please keep this coming! I've been looking for good animations to explain spaceflight and whatnot but most get are still a little much for some of the people I'm showing. This is perfect, very short and to the point but really. It's fun to watch. Great job man! Can't wait for more!

  15. The perspective parachute deployment was beautiful, I have no idea how people can make stuff like this… 🙂

  16. Draw my favorite. A electrodynamically reboosted rotovator that grabs hypersonic aircraft in the upper atmosphere, tosses them into orbit and conversely grabs orbital aircraft, slows them down to hypersonic velocities and places them back in the atmosphere. And then how it can reboost its orbit by interacting with the geomagnetic field.

  17. I wonder how 3d printing will effect expendable rockets… Metal printers exist, and they'll make building the engines (the most complex/expensive part) really easy to replace, since the only cost of complexity to a printer is time, and even then that cost is pretty small…

  18. Great video however you said all rockets are expendable. The falcon 9 is reusable which was my only issue but over all wonderful video and keep up the good work!

  19. This is incredible! Mad respect on the animation work, I can't imagine how much effort would go into this.

  20. Damn, exactly 1 month after this video was uploaded SpaceX landed it's first F9 booster. Didn't expect progress that quickly!

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