CWN - News & Information for Coventry & Warwickshire 20x21spacer.gif (59 bytes)What's New?Search CWN
Professor Sees Work Head Off Into Space 

A Warwick university professor is going to watch 10 years of her work take off into the skies tomorrow.

The secrets of turbulence and its effect on drilling for oil, sending messages to submarines and the design of planes could move a step forward with the cluster satellites Rumba and Tango.

RocketThey should be launched from Kazakhstan just after noon, and will then head out about a quarter of the way to the moon, and settle into orbit.

The timing is critical as they have to meet up with two others launched last month, and they could end up in orbit together for between two and four years.

The scheme is very technical for most people to understand, but then this is rocket science!

The professor will be watching the take-off via a video link in London. Prof Sandra Chapman is hoping the second launch tomorrow will be as successful as the previous one in July.

But four years ago, she saw her work explode as the Ariane rocket was blown up after take-off. The rocket was malfunctioning and would have crashed, so an engineer pushed a button.

That blew the rocket up taking million of pounds of work by Prof Chapman and others went up in smoke in French Guinea.

She is more confident of a successful launch tomorrow, but more nervy of a successful link up with the satellites already launched.

Earlier this year she became Warwick University’s first female professor of physics. She has been at Warwick five years and thinks the research created by the data coming down from the satellite should keep her busy for anther decade.

Prof Chapman said:

Prof Sandra Chapman“The work is part of the ESA (European Space Agency) and we are actually ahead of the Americans in this field.

“I am about 95 per cent sure that the launch will go ahead Ok, but it is whether it meets up together with the satellites already launched that could be a problem. There is extra fuel on board to correct the problem, but we want to save fuel if we can to keep it going for longer.”

She will be working with colleagues in Sheffield and France to analyse the data.

Prof Chapman drew a comparison with watching four corks bobbing about on the water to watch the effect of turbulence and the height of waves and how they interact with each other.

The professor explained that turbulence around the earth can affect drilling for oil, communications sent to ships on the other side of the globe by bouncing signals off the ionosphere, and the design of aircrafts – and all these could all benefit from the research.

Some of the data will be converted to make a virtual reality record of the results.

Prof Chapman said:

“It is a just a shame that some of the key people won’t be around to see the results. It takes a long time to get these going, and then a long time to look at the results, and some people won’t be here to see how it all works out.”

The information will be used to further information on chaotic behaviour in astroplasmas, models of extreme events such as solar flare and and the behaviour of the Earth’s electromagnetic tail.

1x22rule.gif (89 bytes)
Help support CWN - buy your books online with Amazon

150x15more.gif (274 bytes)



Belgrade Theatre, Coventry - book online!

CWN / Education / University of Warwick / 08 Aug 00

©1995-2000 Coventry Internet Developments Ltd

This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM