Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a rocket as it blasts into space? This is what you would see if they were transparent.
It takes plenty of thrust to get a rocket into space, and this requires fuel, a lot of fuel. In this marvellous animation, YouTuber, Hazegrayart, launches the Saturn V, Space Shuttle, Falcon Heavy and the Space Launch Systems (SLS) into space.
Oh yes, and he's made them transparent. That way, we can see just what's going on in each one. What you'll notice is how much fuel each uses, and just how quickly it gets depleted. The red fuel is kerosene RP-1, the orange is liquid hydrogen LH2, and the blue is liquid oxygen LOX.
Although it would have been nice to see data like altitude, speed and duration of each rocket, the attention to detail on each spacecraft is astounding. It's also fascinating to see how technology has changed in the decades between the Saturn V, which first launched in 1967, to the Falcon Heavy in 2018.
The Saturn V remains the only launch vehicle to carry humans beyond low Earth orbit, with a total of 24 astronauts launched to the moon between 1968 and 1972. It launched both the Apollo program and Skylab – the first American space station – suffering only one partial failure in 13 flights.
The Falcon Heavy from SpaceX is a different beast. Originally designed to take humans beyond low Earth orbit, is has been repurposed as a cargo vehicle. But, its claim to fame is that its booster rockets successfully return to Earth, land themselves, and can be used again.
The Space Shuttle, as we all know, could also return to Earth and land safely because, basically, it was a glider on steroids. There were five of them that flew 135 missions between 1981 and 2011 when they were retired. Although designed as a low Earth orbital spacecraft, the Space Shuttles were instrumental in various operational missions, like launching numerous satellites, interplanetary probes and the Hubble Space Telescope. These missions included many science experiments in orbit and aided the construction of the International Space Station.
The SLS is the primary launch vehicle for NASA's deep space exploration projects, although it is yet to launch, with the first date set for November 2021. It is the replacement for the Space Shuttle and has been in development since 2011. The SLS has been designed as a heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle and will deliver crewed lunar flights in the Artemis program, as well as a possible follow-on mission to Mars.
So, with all that said, it's time to check them out in action. Transparent, in this case. Be sure to check out the Tesla attached to the top of the Falcon Heavy once the last two body panels fall away. It's a hoot!