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Questions tagged [atmospheric-drag]

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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 sort of 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 ...
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Drag-only and gravity-only satellite orbit propagation, need help understanding the results

I'm trying to propagate the orbit of an Earth satellite. I've tried my calculation with gravity only (no drag), and also with drag only (no gravity). The gravity-only calculations work fine and ...
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Would landing on mars during a storm considerably increase atmospheric drag?

Any chance we could harvest all those dust particles for an significant improvement in aero-breaking capabilities or would it destroy most heat-shields?
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Budgeting delta-v for atmospheric drag when orbit is elliptical?

I'm trying to calculate the delta-V budget to maintain a generic elliptical orbit. Looking at the atmospheric drag losses I can only find equations that calculate delta-V loss for circular orbits. ...
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How stable is an orbit of 335.9 km?

Spacex has recently begun deployment of its satellite constellation that will provide internet services. In their initial filings with the FCC they propose that they may have over 7,000 VLEO (very low ...
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Applying secondary orbital perturbation effects

I read about secondary effects which influence on orbit propagation like solar radiation, moon, etc. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbit_modeling). First I calculate position vector Rpqw to object (...
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Atmospheric drag vs. atmospheric heating. Which occurs first?

If I was in a circular 10km orbit (theoretical) around Earth, what will occur earlier? Will I burn up in atmosphere or be stopped by atmospheric drag?
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Modelling SpaceX's lift and drag versus angle of attack and Mach number

I've been trying to find data in the literature that would provide analytical expressions for the relationship between the lift and drag of an object similar in shape and size to the Falcon 9 first-...
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Will Mayak's large solar reflector produce a stable attitude, or is it likely to start tumbling or rotating?

In this question I've asked about the possible reflection of UHF radio signals from the recently launched Mayak cubesat once it's large metallized polymer solar reflector is deployed. However it will ...
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ISS achieving lift by using it's solar panels

Can the ISS achieve any lift by using it's solar panels as 'wings' against the sparse atmosphere? My understand is they started moving the solar panels into a 'low drag' orientation when on the ...
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Why does Earth's atmospheric density have a big “knee” around 100 km? Is there a good analytical approximation?

I've used a quick very rough approximation of the drop of atmospheric density with altitude in this answer and in this answer by using a single exponential and scale height parameter, but that's not ...
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What is the lowest altitude that an ion thruster can be used for station keeping?

What is the lowest altitude that an ion thruster can realistically be used for station keeping before its small amount of thrust is overcome by atmospheric drag? Please state your assumptions such as ...
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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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Atmospheric influences on satellite imagery [closed]

I need to know if there's any relationship between the drag force of any point in LEO with the quantity of particles or something like that that are flying in the air that makes quality of the ...
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Atmospheric density vs. altitude

I'm looking for information on atmospheric density in Earth orbit. All the atmospheric density graphs I've found go no higher than 100 km. Definitions like the US Standard Atmosphere don't go higher ...
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Shear forces between Shuttle, tank, and boosters - what pushes what?

This is the question that I should have asked here. The space shuttle and the two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) are mechanically attached to the giant tank. SRB's, shuttle, and tank all experience ...
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How is max Q for the shuttle actually defined?

In this article about max Q https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Q the shuttle launch is discussed. Since there are four distinct large objects - two boosters, one shuttle and one giant tank - there ...
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Rocket drag and lift based on flight direction - in which frame of reference?

Drag is aerodynamic force component parallel to the direction of motion. Lift is aerodynamic force component perpendicular to the direction of motion. Direction of motion with respect to what? 1) ...
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Is aerodynamic lift ever useful in rocket flight?

When a rocket is traveling through an atmosphere, the component of the aerodynamic force in the direction of motion is called drag, and the component perpendicular to that is called lift. Usually a ...
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What's the atmospheric drag coefficient of a Falcon 9 at launch (sub-sonic, large fairing)

While I said just a few hours ago that "There's almost no such thing as a dumb question! this one just might sound like one. I'm making some slides about first principles thinking applied to ...
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Atmospheric drag at 250 km

I was watching the jcsat-14 launch, and I noticed the vehicle was slowly slowing down when 2nd stage engine was off even at 250+km. Is it because of atmospheric drag or pulling force of gravity?
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Requesting an in depth explanation of heat created during atmospheric reentry,

What is(are) the root cause(s) of the heat and friction experienced during atmospheric reentry (or initial entry)? I understand that as items descend to earth they experience a force that can ...
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Could thermal energy be collected by dragging a thermoconductive device against the outer atmosphere

Atmospheric reentry is notoriously a difficult and HOT endevour. Could this thermal energy be used as an alternative energy source on earth? Could this be used through some sort of orbital charging ...
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How could a hot lander enter Titan's atmosphere without setting its hydrocarbons ablaze?

Whenever a lander enters an atmosphere, it generates a lot of friction and that heats up the heat shield. On Earth we have seen videos of spacecraft with red-hot shields. On Saturn's moon Titan, ...
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Can I use an ice cube as a re-entry heat shield?

A comment on recent popular question brought me to Stirring Tea and this entry To boil a cup of water, you'd have to drop it from higher than the top of the atmosphere. If that is true, in theory ...
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How can I estimate the Coefficient of Drag on a Saturn V rocket, a simulator or some data would be pretty awesome

I'm trying to get some information on this and its proving difficult as the information is usually acquired experimentally from what I've found. A single number at a specific altitude and speed would ...
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What is the ISS drag?

ISS constantly loses altitude to air drag and other forces (tidal, electromagnetic). While finding that rate in the sources isn't that hard, with orbital mechanics of altitude loss actually increasing ...
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Parachute on the ISS [closed]

If a large parachute were attached to the ISS, how long would it last? I know that there is very little atmosphere where the ISS orbits, but also that the atmosphere is thick enough that it needs a ...
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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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Shapes of rockets on the Earth with no atmosphere

What would rockets look like if the Earth had no atmosphere? How much easier would it be to launch satellites, and how much harder will it be to launch returnable manned missions?
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How far can the supersonic parachute in the LDSD system for Mars be placed from the entry capsule?

In this interview on NASA Edge Ian Clark, principle investigator for the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator, talked about the environment the parachute part of the system has to operate in: ...
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Why are rockets cylindrical?

What are the drag coefficients for a cylinder, a wedge, etc? I know there are other reasons for a rocket to be cylindrical that aren't related to aerodynamics such as efficiency when mixing the ...
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Could a sling launcher be used on Mars?

A sling launcher (discussed in this write-up by Landis) is a tower with a motor that spins a hub with two or more cables attached. Payload(s) are attached to the end of one or more cables and ...
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Why do spacecraft enter the atmosphere violently instead of a smooth spiral?

Why do spaceships almost make a straight line in the atmosphere when coming back to earth? This makes the ship undergo high stress and temperature. Why don't they make a spiral trajectory so that they ...
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Why is the Russian approach to the aerodynamics of their rockets different?

Russian rockets look like this: They flare them out at the bottom. With their newest rocket, the Proton, the flared shape is gone but the boosters still have caps that angle in towards the main ...