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The catapult and society
Transcript of The catapult and society
Invention and Discovery
designed by Péter Puklus for Prezi
A Time Long Ago...
Before the invention of current aircraft catapults, airplanes weren't able to take off from ships due to the space needed to take off and land.
The invention of the steam and electromagnetic catapults have made it possible to launch and land planes out at sea from a ship.
With all of the harm done to the environment due to the catapult, it is easy to overlook the advantages. The invention of the airplane catapult has allowed airplane jets to take off much closer to the mission location because it propels the takeoff of the plane.
The aircraft carriers carry and launch many different kinds of jets and airplanes. Since the early 200 BC, the catapult was used in times of war to propel the weapon. One purpose that was never intended by Archimedes, was its use in the times of peace. In times of peace, the catapults are still used to complete reconnaissance and search and rescue operations, in these cases, the catapults are not launching the weapon, but rather the advanced spy planes.
Tie it Together
The overall invention of the airplane catapult provided invaluable military advantages because of its ability to launch planes from a ship. Furthermore, the evolution of the catapult due to environmental concerns initiated further advancements in the technology as a whole.
Planes would have to launch from the land which drastically limited the distance that could be covered due to refueling needs.
This limitation was not acceptable for the US government. So they began investigating possible alternatives.
Steam catapults were invented in 1952 and were the first widely used aircraft catapult.
Current steam powered catapults use 1350 pounds of steam sourced from a nuclear reactor to launch a single aircraft. On top of the steam, the oil and hydraulics used to brake the catapult also have a large impact on the environment.
Electromagnetic Catapults (EMALS)
The electromagnetic powered catapult used in a single 3 second launch could power 12,000 homes. This type of catapult offers 30% more energy than its steam counterpart to launch heavier jets. The total power that this catapult can produce is 60 mega joules of electricity.
The Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is an improvement over the steam catapult when it comes to sustainability. Current EMALS are manufactured at a 14,000 sq. ft. facility in Massachusetts. “EMALS lowers overall operating costs and reduces maintenance over current steam catapults, and provides less ‘wear and tear’ on carrier-based aircraft. EMALS also expands the mission envelope by launching a broader range of naval aircraft with less stress on the ship and aircraft systems.”
In the early 1990s, Congress earmarked funds to be used in order to construct the airplane carriers that the catapults are used on. Without the funding from the government, the airplane catapult would not have been created. The main purpose of the airplane carriers was to be a “flexible maritime instrument for responding to the variety of potential local conflicts and crisis situations--ranging from humanitarian assistance to peacekeeping, conflict management, and war termination” (Aircraft Carrier Funding). The need from a political standpoint is what creates the necessity for a catapult.
The catapult has provided historical and current advantages in military technology because of its ability to propel large weapons through the air over long distances in a relatively compact and powerful way.
"Advanced Naval Control Systems." QinetiQ North America. 2014. Accessed November 6, 2014. https://www.qinetiq-na.com/products/pscs/ancs/.
- This source was used to find more information on the production of the EMALS catapult system. This source also explores the improvements to the new technology to improve stress and wear on the ship and on aircraft. This source extends my thesis that although the catapult systems use a lot of energy, they are improving over time.
"Aircraft Carrier Funding." Aircraft Carrier Funding. October 26, 1993. Accessed October 30, 2014. http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/docs/931026-cr.htm.
- This source is from the congressional record which recounts how the Congress allotted funds to build and develop airplane carriers for the navy and air force. I used this information to show the political impact that the catapult has had. The information on funding from the government shows that the catapult and other military technologies are addressed through political means. This source supports my theses that the catapult is an integral part of war and government funding.
"Aircraft Carriers." Military Analysis Network. March 11, 2000. Accessed October 30, 2014. http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/cv.htm.
- This source discusses the use of the airplane carriers not only in times of war, but in times of peace as well. I used the information about the catapults role in launching spy planes and search and rescue aircraft in order to challenge my thesis that the catapult is used to propel the weapon. In this case, it is used to propel the intelligence.
Armbruster, Ben. "The U.S. Has 10 Aircraft Carriers, China And Russia Have 1 — Now Paul Ryan Wants More." ThinkProgress RSS. April 9, 2014. Accessed November 6, 2014. http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/04/09/3424666/paul-ryans-budget-more-aircraft-carriers-fewer-jobs/.
-This source provides information on the number of US aircraft carriers in the fleet as of April 2014. I used these data numbers to show the overall lack of need for mass production of the catapult. The source challenges my these that the catapult poses a hazard; however, the lack of production is supplemented by the large amount of testing that has to be conducted per year.
"Catapult Water Brake Tank and Post Launch Retraction Exhaust: Nature of Discharge." Phase I Final Rule and Technical Development Document of Uniform National Discharge Standards (UNDS). January 1, 1999. Accessed November 6, 2014. http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/vessel/unds/upload/2007_07_10_oceans_regulatory_unds_TDDdocuments_appAcatapultbrake.pdf.
- This source was used to show the discharge of harmful substances into the environment that is caused by testing the launching of airplanes using an on-board catapult system on a yearly basis in the US alone. The source has statistics about the amount of fresh water and oil that is pumped into the environment per launch and per year. It also breaks it down by catapult type. I used the information to show the sheer amount of waste the catapult produces. The source supports my thesis that the technology is improving but still harmful to the environment.
"EMALS/ AAG: Electro-Magnetic Launch Recovery for Carriers." Defense Industry Daily RSS News. August 18, 2014. Accessed October 30, 2014. http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/emals-electro-magnetic-launch-for-carriers-05220/.
-This source was used to explore the environmental impacts of the airplane catapults in use today. The source provides real numbers to back up the fact that these catapults use a lot of energy and resources in order to run. I used this data that it provided to extend my thesis that the environmental impact of the catapult is negative due to its use of large amounts of energy.