Linked Questions

5 votes
1 answer
303 views

After a spacecraft departing from the ISS has performed its deorbit burn, what is the altitude at the perigee of its elliptical orbit typically?

I am attempting to quantify how aggressively returning spacecraft reenter the atmosphere. There is likely a trade-off between aerobraking more gradually and splashing down accurately. I'm hoping that ...
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Aborting a de-orbit maneuver

I was contemplating on how a de-orbit may be abandoned post completion of the orbit burn, say, from LEO. A situation in which this might be necessary would be detecting a breach in the heat shield ...
4 votes
3 answers
383 views

Starship deorbit process

It does not seem to me that SpaceX will use thrusters similar to Draco to deorbit Starship, and I think firing a Raptor would be too powerful. All I can imagine is that it will use ullage gases ...
21 votes
4 answers
10k views

If the Space Shuttle missed its landing approach, what could have been done?

As I understand it, the Space Shuttle was essentially a glider when it was coming back to land, and the engines were not there to facilitate powered flight. So what was the procedure, had the Space ...
6 votes
1 answer
3k views

What happens to orbit after a radial burn?

We know from Hohmann or bi-elliptic transfer maneuvers that a burn in the tangential direction of an orbit changes the radius of the orbit. But what happens to an object in orbit, when there is a burn ...
2 votes
1 answer
258 views

What is the fuel cost of deorbiting a kilo of space junk?

Removing debris from LEO requires a significant delta-V which most schemes propose to accomplish via rocket propulsion. Source The ratio of launch fuel to payload mass is often given as 9:1 for LOE. ...
2 votes
2 answers
258 views

Commencing atmospheric re-entry

Once a decision is taken to get back home (earth), a spacecraft, I think has two options: 1 - To reduce its speed (by firing the thrusters located in the forward or something similar), so that it is ...
46 votes
2 answers
7k views

Why were the Space Shuttle's main engines placed on the orbiter?

Since the main engines can't be used after external tank separation, what's the reason for having the engines on the orbiter rather than just building a third rocket on the stack instead of the ...
2 votes
0 answers
147 views

How much force is required to expedite reentry of space debris?

I'm trying to understand how much a small reduction in orbital velocity can affect the orbital decay rate of space debris. I understand that there are multiple factors to consider, such as debris in ...
40 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why doesn't JWST use ion thrusters?

Since the L2 point is unstable, JWST needs engines to maintain its orbit. It uses mono-propellant engines which have given it a 5-year minimum lifespan. Why weren't ion engines used instead? Wouldn't ...
3 votes
2 answers
364 views

Soyuz/spacecraft deceleration speed for reentry

I recently saw a program by Prof. Brian Cox (Human Universe Ep.1) where he mentioned that just by using two equations - f=ma and the universal law of gravitation, you could calculate how much a ...
28 votes
3 answers
7k views

How hard do you have to throw something off the ISS to make it deorbit?

During Expedition 41 Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst replaced a failed pump on the outside of the ISS. I am guessing they took the broken pump back inside the ISS and returned it to earth in one of ...
3 votes
0 answers
203 views

In Crew Dragon do the astronauts feel like flying upside-down?

When looking at Crew Dragon flight paths diagrams I saw that for phasing burns and deorbit burns they don't use the side thrusters, as I would expect, but four thrusters mounted at the "top" ...
34 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why is the X-37B's large nozzle offset to right from the spacecraft's mid-plane?

Perhaps I'm naive to think that the single large nozzle at the back of the X-37B is a nozzle for an engine, but regardless of the purpose, gas exiting from a nozzle will produce thrust. Is the X-37B's ...
2 votes
3 answers
2k views

Circular to elliptical orbit delta V requirements

this might be a dumb question, but i've been recently trying to calculate the delta V to deorbit a satellite, and I've run into a problem. Assuming a 400km circular starting orbit(and disregarding ...

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