Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

Did any astronauts on a mission complain about waking up?

A bit of a strange question that comes from "The Martian" - in Chapter 12 is a sequence about the entire crew waking up and some complaining about it. I would expect that on a 31 day mission every ...

asked by Michael Stachowsky 15 votes
answered by Erin Anne 29 votes

Are the EVA suits used in the ISS and in the NBL same or different?

Are the space suits used in the International Space Station (ISS) and in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) same or different? They look similar, but they are used in two different media - one in a vacuum ...

iss spacesuits eva  
asked by Intellex 14 votes
answered by Organic Marble 24 votes

Why did a shuttle astronaut have an open book during ascent?

In the top right of the video of a shuttle launch an astronaut has an open book resting on (attached to?) the left thigh. What was the purpose of this book? The astronaut then seems to take a pen or ...

space-shuttle microgravity ascent  
asked by Bob516 12 votes
answered by Organic Marble 24 votes

What (if anything) could have caused all three shuttle main engines to stop at the same time?

From my previous question, you'd have a bad time if it happened. What could cause it to happen, if anything? My parameters are: The engines must STOP, but not destroy the vehicle simply by having ...

asked by Michael Stachowsky 11 votes
answered by Organic Marble 26 votes

Is it possible to use gases instead of liquids as fuel in a rocket engine?

Im reading about rocket engines and I have a question about is it possible to use fuels in the form of gases than a liquid in a rocket engine?

rockets fuel liquid-fuel  
asked by Ethan 10 votes
answered by tsg 25 votes

Where is BepiColombo?

BepiColombo is a probe that was sent towards Mercury in October 2018. It will flyby Earth in April 2020, but I would like to know where it is in the meantime. Is there a website that shows where in ...

probe bepicolombo  
asked by usernumber 8 votes
answered by Intellex 8 votes

How long is a day on the Moon?

I am moving to live on the Moon, I have a solar panel that only makes power when the sun shines on it. I will need to charge batteries to give me power during the lunar night. But I can't figure out ...

the-moon colonization solar-power  
asked by James Jenkins 7 votes
answered by Oscar Lanzi 8 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

What are the choices today for orbital mechanics simulation software?

I used to be familiar with the various choices out there for orbital mechanics simulation software. Alas, those days are gone. What are the choices today, preferably sorted by platform? This ...

orbital-mechanics software astrodynamics  
asked by Erik 102 votes
answered by Erik 28 votes

How many extraterrestrial bodies have hosted a "lander" which returned images?

For the purposes of this question, we will consider a "lander" any probe which was sent to the surface of an extraterrestrial body or entered the atmosphere to a point which exceeds an air pressure of ...

probe lander photography  
asked by called2voyage 108 votes
answered by duzzy 204 votes

Why is SpaceX considering Methane as fuel for their next engine, the Raptor?

Currently, SpaceX has developed the Merlin 1 family (1B (Falcon 1), 1C (Falcon 9 v1.0), 1D (Falcon 9 v1.1/F9-R/Falcon Heavy), vacuum versions and sealevel versions) which are LOX/RP1 based. ...

launch spacex engine-design raptor  
asked by geoffc 67 votes
answered by geoffc 76 votes

What makes Ada the language of choice for the ISS's safety-critical systems?

We have it on good authority that Ada is widely used for "safety critical software" on at least the US side of the International Space Station. Of all the possible languages to choose from, what are ...

iss safety software flight-computer computing  
asked by uhoh 101 votes
answered by Morgloz 72 votes

What is a "suicide burn"?

The term suicide burn occasionally comes up in answers and comments, usually without any real explanation or definition. What is meant by the term "suicide burn"?

terminology entry-descent-landing  
asked by a CVn 32 votes
answered by Russell Borogove 51 votes

Why doesn't SpaceX land boosters in Africa?

Apart from the obvious answer that it'd take too long to get the booster back across the Atlantic, why doesn't SpaceX leave the main or centre booster in space a little bit longer and guide it to land ...

spacex rockets falcon-9 falcon-heavy recovery  
asked by ChrisF 25 votes
answered by GdD 65 votes

Does the Voyager team use a wrapper (Fortran(77?) to Python) to transmit current commands?

I assume that the vast majority of the people who created the software for these missions are now retired (the "space pensioners" of the Voyager mission). Here's a very good summary of the current ...

nasa voyager software python computing  
asked by Mornon 17 votes
answered by Hobbes 33 votes

Can you answer these questions?

What are the advantages of solid iodine propellant and how is it used for ion propulsion?

I was reading about different sources of propellant for ion thrusters, Xenon being the most common. However, in more recent articles I've found more and more mentions of Solid Iodine being used as ion ...

ion-thruster solid-fuel  
asked by Magic Octopus Urn 2 votes

Unusual position of shuttle astronauts' arms during ascent

During the ascent of STS-135 the astronauts seem to be keeping their elbows up away from their sides with their hands forward. It can be seen throughout the ascent, here are two clips when it ...

space-shuttle astronauts ascent  
asked by Bob516 2 votes

When did ion propulsion first see some serious development efforts?

In the video below at about 01:35 Dr. Marc D. Rayman, Chief Propulsion Engineer, NASA JPL mentions that the first time he had heard about ion propulsion was on the Star Trek TOS third season premiere ...

propulsion ion-thruster electric-propulsion  
asked by uhoh 1 vote
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