Bill Nye's LightSail project that me and my wife kickstarted five years ago is finally launching tonight! Woo!

It's a solar sail folded up inside a cubesat, launched into space on a SpaceX Falcon rocket.

I couldn't be in Florida to watch it live but I'm just happy it's actually happening.

Watching a rocket launch made me really curious how rockets are stabilized. they're like a pencil balanced on its eraser with fire under it. why doesn't the tiniest fluctuation in air currents cause it to tip away from vertical, faster and faster until it's rocketing sideways?

Found a good explainer:

it turns out the answer is "put the center of gravity ahead of the center of pressure", that way the influence of air currents is a stabilizing negative feedback loop.


@nindokag Passenger jets rely on a similar principle to maintain flight attitude ;)

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Refactor Camp

Mastodon instance for attendees of Refactor Camp, and members of various online/offline groups that have grown out of it. Related local groups with varying levels of activity exist in the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and Austin.

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