Engineering Topics

Week 1: A New Weather Forecasting System.


Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a Project Manager at Astrium, explains current weather satellites can only see the tops of the clouds. The satellite she’s now building, Aeolus, will be able to measure wind speeds all the way down through the cloud layers using pulses of laser light. This will improve the accuracy of forecasts, allowing better prediction of freak events such as hurricanes and therefore saving lives. Spacecraft engineer Jessica Housden explains the difficulty of building a satellite to function in the extreme environment of space. The side exposed to the sun can be as hot as an oven, while the other side can be as cold as Antarctica. She stresses the importance of using a material such as aluminium honeycomb, which is a good conductor of heat. Aeolus is nearing completion, and Dr Aderin-Pocock demonstrates the vibration test rig used to make sure it will survive its launch scheduled for 2010.

Week 1- A New Weather Forecasting System: Discussion Sheet

Week 2: How satellites are tested.

UnknownA satellite has to undergo extreme physical stresses as it is launched, during its flight and so it remains functional for 15 years. We see a satellite launch and learn what these stresses are. Each component has to be fit for purpose, thereby they must survive the vibration of the launch, substantial shock waves and explosive charges. Two rigorous tests are featured; a 20 G vibration test and a shock test. A mixture of graphics and footage lead us through this journey.

Week 2- How a Satellite is tested: Discussion Sheet


Week 3How modern materials and technology in Formula One cars reaches road cars.

p016l1wqThe opening shots of racing car drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button launch an exciting look into the makings of a commercial road car. Modern carbon fibres and a secret process is used to make a stronger and lighter interior monocell tub, traditionally used in formula one racing cars. An insiders view of the factory reveals the secretive production process of this monocell tub. Find out how the process has been streamlined to mass produce a fast, light, strong commercial road car.
How to Build…

Week 4: How does a hover lawnmower work?


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