The Spaceships of Ezekiel
Are there Flying Saucers in the Bible?


The Spacecraft - Part H


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Chapter 4

The Spacecraft (Part I)

(Part H)
Go to Chapter Part: A B C D E F G H   Comments

The flight to earth

    The mothership circles around the earth with a speed of almost 34,000 kilometers per hour (21,300 mph).  [p.46] 

    The smaller spacecraft that separates from it for its flight to the earth begins its descent with the same rate of speed. At the end of the flight its speed relative to the landing point must be reduced to zero. We are therefore confronted with a braking action of huge magnitude.

    For the largest part the braking force required is produced by the aerodynamic drag of the vehicle. This fact illustrates the significance of the shape of the lower body of the spacecraft.

    Two aspects must be considered in connection with the braking process: the heat generated by air friction, and the magnitude of the deceleration. The heat is subject to limitation mainly by the properties of materials available for the heat shield. The magnitude of the deceleration has a direct impact on the crew and must be kept within limits they can bear without damage to their health.

    The entry trajectory can be calculated on the basis of this twofold limitation.

    Despite its high aerodynamic drag, toward the end of its journey to the earth the spacecraft is still falling with a speed exceeding 200 kilometers per hour (125 mph). The rocket engine is used to reduce this residual speed to zero, which is achieved in a short time. Of course, the spacecraft could land directly on the earth and later take off again by using its rocket engine only. But because of its mission, which we will investigate later, it must have the capability to cut off the rocket engine earlier. This is the reason for the presence of helicopters which seems somewhat surprising at first glance: If the rocket engine must be cut off before the completion of the descent, the flight can only be completed by aerodynamic means, that is, by means of the helicopters.

    As we have seen, the helicopters must be in their upper position for aerodynamic reasons so long as the descent velocity is high. Conceivably, they could be rotated into their working position relatively early, that is, soon after the sink speed has dropped into the subsonic range. The rotors would then first work windmill fashion, and a slow increase of the angle of attack of the rotor blades would later reduce the sink speed. Obviously, however, the repositioning of the helicopters at such high velocities would be risky for stability reasons; in addition, the high blade loads would result in high helicopter weights.

    On the other hand, the speed is greatly reduced anyway by the aerodynamic braking. It is better, therefore, to leave the helicopters in their upper position as long as possible and to start the rocket engine as late as possible. The engine thrust will entirely or almost entirely reduce the sink speed to zero, and the deployment of the helicopters can then be done while the craft is momentarily hovering or at a very low rate of descent. With that, all risks are avoided.

    For the spin-up of the rotors some residual speed can be used or a desired rate of speed can be achieved by reducing the engine thrust. After the rotors have reached their normal speed of rotation, the main engine is cut off.

    With this operation the spaceflight as such is over. During the next and last phase the spacecraft operates as a helicopter. Taking into account that reserves are certainly desirable should complications arise, it may be assumed that the helicopter flight would normally begin at an altitude of some 3000 feet above ground.

    In most cases the commander will have to look for spots suitable to set down the landing legs before he can land the spacecraft. To that end he will keep the vehicle hovering for some time and will move it horizontally in various directions. He can carry out these maneuvers by using either the helicopters or the control rockets. Because of the slower and less precise reaction of the helicopters, the commander will probably prefer to use the control rockets. Since a continuous observation of the terrain is carried out, the spaceship moves very slowly. Therefore, compared to its great mass, its aerodynamic drag is very low and it moves practically without friction. Any movement resulting from a brief firing of control rockets can therefore be stopped only if other control rockets are fired in the opposite direction. This applies to horizontal movement, to tilting around two axes, and to a rotation about its vertical centerline. To an observer the control rockets will appear to flicker in an irregular manner, giving the impression of a very lively and manifold activity.

    Finally, the commander sets the spaceship down on a suitable site. The flight to earth has ended.  [p.48] 


       The Spacecraft (Part I)