Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

What would the Venus landers look like today?

Between 1966 and 1985, several probes, mostly of Soviet design, successfully landed on Venus. Many of them continued operating long enough to send back audio, images, and various measurements, though ...

debris venus lander  
asked by Psychonaut 21 votes
answered by PearsonArtPhoto 13 votes

What is a "fee area" exactly and why is it named that way?

On the map of Stennis Space Center, from the early 1960s when it was still named "Mississippi Test Facility"/"Mississippi Test Operations", part of the area is labeled "Fee ...

nasa terminology facility  
asked by Ludo 17 votes
answered by Organic Marble 18 votes

Was Venus once seriously believed to be lush under its cloud cover?

Mars was once believed to have canals, and some astronomers seriously argued that they were artificial. The atmosphere of Venus was first observed in 1761. Wikipedia kind of skips over the period ...

history venus  
asked by Wouter 17 votes
answered by Oscar Lanzi 16 votes

What's this creature on the Canadian Space Agency coat of arms, and why is it there?

The Canadian Space Agency has a coat of arms with the following creature on it. What is this creature, and why is it there? A1 Aardvark / CC BY-SA (

insignia space-agencies  
asked by DrSheldon 16 votes
answered by Russell Borogove 31 votes

Highest apogee of a Soviet/Russian crewed spacecraft?

I wonder which Soviet/Russian crewed spaceflight reached the highest apogee and how high. For America, the highest apogee ever reached is 1,368 kilometers (~ 850 mi) by Gemini 11 (except that America ...

orbit soyuz-spacecraft vostok-program voskhod-program  
asked by Giovanni 15 votes
answered by Russell Borogove 10 votes

Challenger Shuttle: could the crew have survived?

Some sources point out that the shuttle cabin stayed intact following the solid rocket booster explosion, and that in fact, it is likely the crew died upon the cabin impact into the ocean. The space ...

space-shuttle launch-escape-system shuttle-challenger  
asked by Jan Stuller 13 votes
answered by Organic Marble 32 votes

What was "inertial" about the Inertial Upper Stage?

The Inertial Upper Stage was a rocket upper stage that could boost payloads launched on the Space Shuttle or Titan rockets to higher orbits or to interplanetary missions. What was inertial about this ...

space-shuttle upper-stage  
asked by DrSheldon 12 votes
answered by Russell Borogove 17 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

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. (75-...

launch spacex engine-design raptor  
asked by geoffc 68 votes
answered by geoffc 78 votes

How far south can one see a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida?

I'll be in Miami this Thursday 30th of March and there is a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida (if it's not delayed). I won't be able to drive north to be on ...

launch spacex kennedy-space-center cape-canaveral  
asked by Christophe Broeckx 11 votes
answered by Antzi 7 votes

Why do we not fly to space with helicopters? What are the practical altitude limits?

People will tell that there is no air, and this is why we cannot. But if I read on the internet, there is air in space, much less, but still something. for example, 100 km - 0.0000006 times as much ...

spacecraft spacecraft-development uncrewed-spaceflight  
asked by Zlelik 39 votes
answered by jacksonj04 71 votes

How do I find out how far Falcon Heavy's Starman is from earth right now?

I cannot find out how far from earth Starman of the Falcon Heavy is right now, or at any time for that matter. How would I find the distance?

spacex falcon-heavy tesla-roadster  
asked by Holger L 15 votes
answered by PearsonArtPhoto 12 votes

How does Voyager 1 send signals to Earth?

I recently studied that Voyager 1 has traveled a distance of 125.01 AU as of August 3rd, 2013. I wonder, how would it be able to communicate with the Earth? How much time does it take for the signal ...

voyager communication  
asked by Hash 38 votes
answered by TildalWave 38 votes

Why is my Earth simulation slower than the reality?

It took me a long time to create a simulation of the Earth like that. I wanted to show the real spinning speed of the Earth. Here's my video: From this NASA live ...

earth simulation movement  
asked by user2824371 36 votes
answered by Star Man 72 votes

What made NASA shut down the Shuttle program?

Recently NASA shut down its Space Shuttle program. Between the first launch on April 12, 1981, and the final landing on July 21, 2011, NASA's space shuttle fleet --Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, ...

nasa space-shuttle spacecraft-development space-program  
asked by Hash 37 votes
answered by David Hammen 27 votes

Can you answer these questions?

Is the surface environment of Venus corrosive?

Venus famously has clouds of concentrated sulfuric acid in its upper atmosphere. Frequently I will see posts here citing the acidity of the atmosphere as a challenge to probes on the surface (such as &...

planetary-science venus  
asked by Mark Foskey 2 votes

What are the electrical requirements of the antennas used in Starlink?

My interest is in both the antenna for the ground segment (the "UFO on a stick") and the antennas for the space segment (phased arrays if I'm not mistaken). I couldn't find around much more ...

antenna starlink  
asked by Paolo Squadrito 3 votes

J2000 to current ECI transformation matrix

I want to find the transformation matrix that converts an ECI frame at some time 't' (lets say t = 1st January 2020) to J2000 ECI frame (that is ECI frame at noon of 1st January 2000). From what I ...

orbital-mechanics earth rotation frames eci  
asked by Ayush Mehta 1 vote
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