Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics

Celebrating the physics of all that flows. Ask a question, submit a post idea or send an email. You can also follow FYFD on Twitter and Google+. FYFD is written by Nicole Sharp, PhD.

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Monday morning Virgin Galactic and their partners at Scaled Composites reached a new milestone in their commercial sub-orbital spaceflight program, firing SpaceShipTwo’s main engine for the first time and accelerating to supersonic speeds. The upper image shows hints of Mach diamonds, formed by a series of shock waves and expansions, in its exhaust. This is very common for rockets since most have a fixed geometry, and, by extension, a fixed Mach number and exhaust pressure. (Photo credits: Virgin Galactic and Mars Scientific)

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    Coincidentally I learned today that spaceship one actually had a small amount of ablative material worn away by heat...
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