Questions tagged [atmospheric-drag]

Questions regarding atmospheric drag which includes the resistance offerd by a moving object in fluid

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Changes in Orbital Parameters Due to Drag

Other than STK, are there any commercially software packages available to model changes in orbital parameters due to increases/decreases in satellite drag. I am trying to figure out if aerodynamic ...
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Would this Starship design alternative be viable?

Considering Starship atmospheric entry, belly dive and "bellyflop", latest iteration displays four aerodynamic surfaces, two aft fins and two carard fins. Soon will this configuration be put ...
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Did the Space Shuttle crew have to worry about the ionosphere? What relevant training or specific briefings did they receive?

Comments below this answer tell us that the Space Shuttle always remained in Earth's atmosphere. When it visited the Hubble Space Telescope or the ISS or Mir it was still in the thermosphere and ...
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Why will OGO-1 reenter from an elliptical orbit rather than circularize first?

According to all the sources cited in Why does OGO-1's trajectory and imminent reentry come from sky surveys and NEO tracking rather than normal satellite tracking? OGO-1 is in a highly ...
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Exactly how “Ferrari-like” was GOCE? Was its drag coefficient as low as the car's?

This comment mentions: This relation between drag and mass is taken to a relative (for satellites) extreme in GOCE which I think needed to be close to Earth to accurately sense the changes in gravity,...
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Why does a satellite with a higher mass fall slower?

I was doing simulations in GMAT and I could observe that if I increase the mass of the satellite, the satellite falls slower ... and if I reduce the mass of the satellite, then it falls faster (I only ...
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1answer
174 views

How to fit, into a cubesat, 29 trackable high drag subsatellites with well-defined aerodynamic profiles

Johnathan McDowell's recent tweet says: The @AerospaceCorp Aerocube-10a cubesat carries 29 small passive high-drag subsatellites used to probe the density of the upper atmosphere. 3 have been ejected ...
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What is the difference between “body drag”, “frictional drag” and “pressure drag” for astronaut or aerobot atmospheric locomotion in microgravity?

Complaints below my answer to Would a higher air pressure on the ISS or elsewhere make it easier to “swim” in microgravity? about my spherical-cow estimate of how fast an astronaut can accelerate by &...
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How low would a full revolution around Titan and Triton be possible?

A lowest circular orbit to remain stable around the Earth is possible at an altitude of about 95 mi (155 km) while the lowest perigee for a stable elliptical orbit around the Earth would be around 55 ...
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160 views

To cool down Venus, from where would be the most economical way to bring the shadowing material into orbit around the planet?

Edit: With the help of comments below, I've changed the question somewhat. Credit: NASA, Image processed from Mariner 10 images by R. Nunes http://www.astrosurf.com/nunes It could seem that ...
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186 views

How can a meteor gain energy in an encounter with the Earth even though these answers say it can't?

The question Did a spacecraft ever use an atmosphere to accelerate away from a planet? was unfortunately given five down votes and answered with: Entering the atmosphere introduces drag, which could ...
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Atmospheric reentry drag and friction

What is the difference of air drag in ground level with let say moderate speeds like fast cars 200km/h to 400km/h with high speed vehicle reentry at high altitude where the air is so rarified. Making ...
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319 views

How much of a drag is it, orbiting the Earth in a space suit?

An astronaut in a spacesuit travels around the Earth at the same altitude as the ISS. Let's say the astronaut leads the ISS by 1000 meters along the same orbit. After one orbit, how much velocity has ...
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1answer
141 views

Can I push the atmosphere out of the way?

The problem with virtually all methods of giving a launch vehicle velocity before launch is the atmosphere. The higher the velocity, the worse the drag. In the comments to a recent question, someone ...
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1answer
115 views

What fraction of Terminator Tape™'s drag comes from interaction with Earth's magnetic field as a function of altitude? Is it ever important?

This answer states that Terminator Tape™ uses the Earth's magnetic field to generate drag to shorten the deorbit time of a spacecraft in LEO. It links to https://sst-soa.arc.nasa.gov/12-passive-...
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207 views

Why is “Terminator Tape” electrically conductive?

A 230 foot long tape deployed from the satellite Prox-1 greatly reduced how long it took to deorbit. The tape was described as electrically conductive. Was that property intended to help the ...
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What does S represent in Chris Hadfield's D = ½ ρ v² S?

Retired test pilot, CSA astronaut and ISS Commander Chris Hadfield's new Master Class advertisement video Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration - Official Trailer - MasterClass is heavily edited ...
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North Korean objects 41332 and 41333; how fast are they losing altitude?

I cited objects 41332 and 41333 launched in early 2016 as counterexamples to this answer on my highly down voted and closed but otherwise "perfect" question What regulations, agreements, or other ...
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567 views

Can dust be in orbit around a spacecraft which orbits the Earth or Moon?

In the title above, Can dust be in orbit around a spacecraft which orbits the Earth or Moon? let's define "in orbit" to mean gravitationally bound to the spacecraft long enough to go around it a few ...
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236 views

Why is the diameter of the boosters of some launch vehicles smaller than the diameter of their payload fairing?

Whilst watching yesterday's Starliner launch I've noticed how skinny that Centaur (3.1m) looks compared to the CST-100 (4.5m). Looking up the Atlas V I was amazed to find out that it has even larger (...
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Could SpaceX's Starship's landing and restart process work on Titan?

Gravity on Saturn's moon Titan is much weaker and the atmosphere is far denser than either Earth's or Mars's, which Starship seems to have been designed for. Could an unmanned starship do an Earth-...
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Can effective thrust in the more dense layers of the atmosphere be considered constant (as approximation)?

I am reading some course material about the 'Thrust load ratio'. It states the following: The thrust load ratio is: $Psi = {T \over Mg}$ $T$ being the effective thrust, equal to the actual (constant) ...
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Are rockets faster than airplanes?

Rockets are fast. Faster than anything else somebody could fly with - at least intuitively to me. But - airplanes are fast too. A rocket typically flies vertically, an airplane mostly horizontally. ...
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What was the exact nature of the observations of “solar flare activity” that delayed the launch of Vostok 5?

The interesting story of Vostok 5 recounted in Encyclopedia Astronautica's Vostok 5 (linked in comments below this answer) includes the following passage: Vostok 5 was originally planned to go for ...
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430 views

How do I calculate re-entry velocity when decaying from a circular orbit?

I am trying to find the velocity of an object during re-entry so that I can calculate the peak heat flux but I'm a bit stuck. I know how to find the velocity of the original, circular orbit (300km) ...
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What if GOCE rolled 90°?

Reading this question: Is GOCE a satellite or aircraft? I wondered what would happen if GOCE rolled 90° in either direction, so that it's solar panels become parallel to Earth's horizon, and then ...
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1k views

When do aircraft become solarcraft?

Any body travelling through particles undergoes drag. Any body able to generate lift (for instance spheres cannot generate lift) can generate lift if it undergoes drag. First by assuming one body in ...
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153 views

Coupling satellites already in orbit reduce drag and debris?

How would 2 or more satellites be joined to reduce atmospheric drag? Could a 3rd satellite tow and join 2 or more satellites that are in similar orbits to prevent Kessler syndrome? At the very least ...
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What would be payload capacity of reusable Falcon 9 if there was no atmosphere on Earth?

Reading this question and answers, I wondered what would happen if there was no atmosphere, everything else being the same on Earth. What would be the payload capacity to LEO of Falcon 9 in reusable ...
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Maximum speed based on atmospheric altitude given maximum temp?

I saw the question Could escape velocity be achieved in the atmosphere? and thought it probably could've been asked better. I'm sure there's an equation to calculate the average heat generated by an ...
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Why not increase contact surface when reentering the atmosphere?

If a craft were to increase the surface area where contact is made with air during reentry, I imagine the heat quantity per area unit would decrease, making the use of (heavy) heat shields less of a ...
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Reducing the aerodynamic drag of multi-engined rockets: aft wake area

Have there ever been thoughts of reducing the aerodynamic drag that results from the empty space between rocket engines? More precisely, this extremely low-pressure area sucks up ambient air and ...
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Does the kinetic impact of gas particles cause erosion to the surface of objects in orbit?

When satellites or space stations orbit the Earth, they are constantly experiencing a low level of aerodynamic drag from Earth's atmosphere. The ISS needs to be reboosted every few months to account ...
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Calculating the height and width of a rocket for drag

While messing around with making a little rocket launch simulator, I seem to have hit a slight wall with finding the relevant information in order to calculate the width and height of the rocket for ...
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1answer
312 views

What is typical lifetime of GTO rocket stages before reentry?

Most of geostationary satellites are launched at geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) first by rocket's upper stage. Than satellites separate and circularize the orbit by own propulsion. The upper ...
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309 views

At what altitude do the effects of atmospheric drag completely disappear?

The spate of K-questions got me thinking: At what point does atmospheric drag disappear1 with the pressure from sunlight, solar wind, or other forces becoming overwhelmingly dominant? I'm guessing it'...
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1answer
249 views

Which engine worked the hardest to keep the ISS in orbit?

The ISS has spent two decades fighting drag caused by its large size and huge solar panels pushing through the tail-end of Earth's atmosphere only a few hundred kilometers above its surface. Question:...
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Radioisotope thermoelectric generator behavior on reentry

The RTG has become a major source of power in places where solar power just wont cut it. but there has always been an issue with sending them into space. if the launch fails, radiation comes raining ...
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What are the causes of these episodes of faster than average altitude loss by the ISS?

@Cristiano's question No reboosts for the ISS shows the plot below. I don't have the original source. I've added some annotations including four arrows to indicate what looks like short periods (a day ...
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Drawbacks and advantages of two slidable & rotatable control surfaces for BFS sized spaceships

BFS (SpaceX's Big Falcon Spaceship) is in development and has seen between 2016 and 2018 three major design modifications. January 2018 I asked here how BFS planned to manoever during aerobraking. ...
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Orbital propagation: atmospheric drag

I'm developing the numerical orbital propagator. I've already implemented the Newtonian gravity (Earth, Sun, Moon), Earth harmonics, SRP and relativistic effect. The software is compared with GMAT ...
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441 views

Why does in-flight mission abort often ends in ballistic high-g reentry?

I am seeing a lot of references to the “ballistic reentry” mode of the crew return vehicle in relation to the abort during the powered ascent stage. In partiulat, the recent crewed Soyuz MS-10 abort ...
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Did the Shuttle have a drag penalty for ascent with a negative angle of attack (AOA)?

@OrganicMarble's answer mentions Because the Orbiter wings developed lift at zero angle of attack, the high dynamic pressure portion of ascent had to be flown at a negative angle of attack, close ...
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436 views

Could I use a satellite as a vehicle for delivering airborne leaflets?

Assuming I have a satellite in a decaying orbit, could I gently release leaflets from my satellite so they were on a near-identical sub-orbital trajectory and have them touch-down safely on the ground ...
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1answer
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When a Saturn V reaches max Q, what fraction of the lengthwise structural load is due to drag rather than acceleration?

Ignoring all other structural loads besides the lengthwise compression of the rocket. This is useful to know when theorizing about whether high altitude launches (e.g. from airplanes) could ...
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How much higher is the wave drag for a spaceplane compared to its induced drag

I'm working on the conceptual design of the path of a suborbital spaceplane and am trying to do basic calculations. I read that wave drag near the sonic barrier can be huge and can impede the flight. ...
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What was the ambient air density was there when/were Starman/Roadster first started playing Bowie's “Life on Mars”

When the Falcon Heavy test flight 2nd stage fairing opened at about 115 km, David Bowie started singing "Life on Mars". Okay, the Tesla Roadster's stereo started playing "Life on Mars", or at least ...
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GMAT atmosphere

I am using GMAT to propagate satellite motion with Jacchia-Roberts atmosphere model. Here is a formula used from this model which is then used to estimate the variation in drag on a spacecraft due to ...
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How can an *increase* in atmospheric temperature cause an *increase* in the atmospheric mass density?

We often hear that heating Earth's atmosphere from solar activity or CMEs increases the mass density of the atmosphere at a given altitude, causing orbiting spacecraft to lose altitude faster from ...
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Atmospheric drag effect

While propagating the satellite motion faced the strange effect. Without the atmosphere results (x,y,z coordinates in meters and ...