The point of Lagrange points
Q: A spacecraft is headed to the L2 Lagrange point, and once it arrives, sadly, no other spacecraft will be able to take advantage of L2, because obviously two spacecraft can’t simultaneously occupy the same point in space. Is this statement true or false and why?
Your challenge is to answer the above in a maximum of 250 words that someone in any field could understand. Email your response by noon Eastern Dec. 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to have it published in the next issue.
ESCAPING THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE: In the November issue, we asked you to explain why digging a trough in a runway would help get stretch version of a passenger jet off an island in the Bermuda Triangle.
TWO WINNERS THIS MONTH: To take off on a short runway, the pilot will need to lift the nose higher than usual to generate the required lift. This will make the tail go down more than usual. With a longer-than-usual airplane, the tail will drag on the ground unless a trench is dug. (This is also why the bottom of the aft end of the C-130 is inclined.)
John Fay, AIAA associate fellow, Freeport, Florida
A stretch version of a passenger jet would need a higher-than-normal Angle of Attack for an early lift off due to the “short” runway. That would have caused a “tail strike” before lifting off safely. For this reason, he instructs the other flyers to help him dig a trough in the center of the runway toward the far end to prevent the tail strike.
Savas Uskent, AIAA member, Istanbul