Questions tagged [aerobraking]

Questions related to causing a spacecraft to slow down by flying through a planet's atmosphere to produce aerodynamic drag.

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Is aerobraking used for orbit insertion for each planet with an atmosphere?

Probes designed to orbit planets can use aerobraking to help orbit insertion (as it has already been done for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or Mars Global Surveyor). Such techniques could be used for ...
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Two stage reentry from Moon/Mars

There are a number of questions addressing the desirability and/or feasibility of a slower reentry from Earth orbit in order to reduce thermal load. At least most of them run into the problem that ...
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Sharp nose or Blunt nose vehicle for higher rentry speeds?

Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) is a crewless, experimental hypersonic glide vehicle rocket glider developed as part of the DARPA Falcon Project capable of flying at 13,000 mph (Mach 17.53, 21,...
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The aerodynamic stability of the truncated cone shape

Can someone explicate the stability of the truncated cone shape of the reentry vehicle of a spaceship when moving in the atmosphere with its bottom facing forward? It seems counterintuitive that it ...
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Venus gravity assist (and aerobraking) - How much delta-V can it add?

The Voyagers made a grand tour using the gravity assist of each planet. But Jupiter, with a 12 year orbital period, doesn't always line up to be useful for spacecrafts destined to further planets. ...
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Orbital reentry glider with no heat shield

Let's assume a reentry craft designed to not use heat protection like Soyuz or the Space Shuttle, and budget is not an issue. The Concorde max surface temperature was 400 K, so let's use this as a max ...
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What eliminates the velocity when occupants return from ISS to earth, and how much?

The ISS has an orbital velocity of ~28000 km/h; the velocity $v$ relative to the landing site of the descent module is probably even higher than that most of the time. Once the occupants have landed, ...
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Aerobraking on Mars

I am looking for a calculator or formulas that can be used to calculate the aerobraking on Mars mission. I have found some data on previous Mars flights where aerobraking was used and all my current ...
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Could a reentry powered monorail and flywheel make a kinetic engine for lift?

On reentry could a flywheel spin on a magnetic bearing creating a centrifugal force to keep the ship level whilst creating a plasma air pocket from the pits in the rotating heat shield? This would ...
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Can a reentry be done slowly?

The usual approach to reentry is fast and hot. There's a lot of energy to be lost, and doing it quickly has some advantages: You can dump energy into hypersonic air, and then leave that heat behind ...
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How will BFS maneuver during aerobraking?

Pictures of SpaceX's "Big Falcon Spaceship" (BFS) delta wing don't seem to show presence of any aerodynamic control surfaces. How will it's attitude be controlled when encountering the atmosphere? To ...
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Atmospheric Entry Simulation: Numerical Inaccuracy

I am trying to make an atmospheric entry/aero-assist simulation. For the propagator, I have used conventional equations of motions in planet fixed reference frame: where the scalar states are- ...
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Amount of aerobraking to minimize Delta-V

Say a spacecraft is arriving at Saturn, can aerobrake arbitrarily, and wishes to arrive at Hyperion. How much should it aerobrake (i.e. what should the SMA be after aerocapture) to minimize the Delta-...
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What will Max Q for descent be?

I've seen lots of flight profiles that give Max Q during ascent. Around 33 to 35 kilopascals, if memory serves. But I have been having a hard time finding Max Q during descent. With the recent reuse ...
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Magnetic / Inductive braking against planetary magnetic fields?

I'm familiar with the concept of aerobraking. Consider an object like a star, or a planet with strong magnetic field (Earth, Jupiter, probably all of the gas/ice giants?) Could a probe use some kind ...
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Relativistic aerobraking

If I have a spacecraft flying at 90 percent the speed of light and it slams into Jupiter's upper atmosphere, by how much would it slow down? It's for a story idea. Thanks.
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Mathematically, what is the argument in favor of skipping reentries?

As a tangent while looking for numbers for the L/D ratio impact on entry profile, I came upon this site which seemed to favor skipping reentries in almost all cases. Reading further, I realized that ...
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Bounce off the atmosphere at reentry?

I am just watching Space Race part 3 and the cosmonauts just got their first view of Wostok. The scientist who designed the retrorockets told the soon-to-be spacemen that the rockets would have to be ...
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In what atmospheric densities or pressures have aerobrakings been performed?

How deep have spacecrafts gone into an atmosphere for doing aerobraking for orbital insertion (or as tech demos)? I suppose it is the braking force of the atmosphere that counts, is that closely ...
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Is this a first Mars aerobraking for ESA, or for anyone?

In the ESA video ExoMars at the Red Planet after about 02:10, it says: With ExoMars, ESA is going to use for the first time, a method called aerobraking for a spacecraft in orbit around Mars... ...
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Is stellar photosphere aerocapture possible, and if so, is it a viable option for rapid deceleration from relativistic speeds?

Is there a theoretical/experimental precedent for stellar photosphere aerocapture (if it is in fact, a thing)? Specifically, would using this method of deceleration be in some way more attractive than ...
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How can delta-v and aerobraking as shown in this chart be explained?

The following diagram was included in Rikki-Tiki-Tavis' answer to this fine question of a few hours ago. I am hoping somebody can explain some of the questions I have about this data. It shouldn't ...
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Multiple aerobraking

I have spent a lot of hours with Kerbal Space Program recently and I am curious about one thing. I got into orbit around the Moon and then I was able to get back to an orbit of "Kerbin" (the home ...
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Could friction heat from aerobraking be used to power propulsion?

Aerobraking has always been thought of as a way to economically decelerate a spacecraft before landing or orbit insertion. I'm asking here if it could instead be used to accelerate a spacecraft. ...
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Feathering Profile Change for Virgin/TSC/Spaceship Two

We know that the Spaceship One and Spaceship Two designs from Virgin Galactic/The Spaceship Company/Scaled Composites employ feathering for aerobraking and maneuverability. I can't seem to track down ...
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Gliding into the atmosphere

The recent question about Cessna reentering from ISS got the answers that all imply a rapid drop. But from what I know, air drag is proportional: to square of airspeed to air density to attack ...
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How can aerobraking be used to enter high orbit without landing?

It has been proposed that a human mission to Mars could park the transfer habitat in high Martian orbit while only a small capsule lands on the surface or on a moon. This in order to minimize the mass ...
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What is the word for using atmosphere to dissipate kinetic energy during reentry?

Often people will use "aerobraking" in the context of landing a space ship or probe on a planet with atmosphere. This appears to be a casual and technically incorrect usage, for example from https://...
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What are the difference in energy costs for entering Venus vs Mars vs the Earth?

From what I understand you can't use aerobraking on Mars for landing as the atmosphere is too thin. From what I understand Mars is quite problematic because the atmosphere is too thin to benefit from ...
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When does an aerobraking space craft create a sonic boom?

There are a lot of variables with the speed of sound, a sonic boom is created when all of those variables meet. the speed of sound, a critical speed known as Mach 1, and is approximately 1,225 km/h ...
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Does SpaceX performed low subsonic speed wind-tunnel runs of Falcon 9 booster in landing configuration and with legs eventually opened?

There are NASA reports on Falcon 9 runs in transonic in wind tunnel. Tests were conducted at several orientations and speeds ranging from Mach numbers 0.3, or 228 miles per hour at sea level, to Mach ...
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Why are spaceship capsules frustum shaped?

Why do spaceships have a frustum (portion of a cone) shape like e.g. the pressure capsule of the SpaceX Dragon on the image below?     I think there is some engineering stuff behind ...
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Can aerobrake maneuvers for entering orbit stress a ship over time?

Say you are in a happy future where mother ships travel between Earth and the Moon, or Mars, or Venus on regular runs, and are met by shuttles at each end of their voyages that transfer people, cargo, ...
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Why are LEO satellites not aerodynamically shaped?

In Do atmospheric tides have any impact on orbiting satellites or rocket launches? we learned that the atmosphere does impact satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and that "most satellites have ...
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Could the length of a craft affect it adversely during aero-breaking or gravity assist?

Would the length of a space craft be a limitation when considering aerobreaking or gravity-assist? I have to assume there would be some crazy stress tension on a longer body craft in one of those ...
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What precision is needed for aerocapture?

In his excellent answer to the question of how we make a round trip journey to Mars, @MarkAdler mentions that aerocapture would be used to get into orbit around Mars, saving fuel and therefore weight. ...
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Could Earth-lunar flybys be repeated consecutively without the use of propellant?

Ever since a recent orbital mechanics question, lunar flybys have been nagging me in the sense that there is obviously energy available in the system. I'm interested if you could get a repeatable ...
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Any other advantages to passive atmospheric reentry besides reaction mass economy?

From Vostok 1 to date, atmospheric reentry has been essentially passive. Passive here means that retrorockets are used to de-orbit, and then aerobraking is provided by the atmosphere. In contrast, ...