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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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15 votes
2 answers
8k views

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 ...
SF.'s user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
300 views

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 ...
soktinpk's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
495 views

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 ...
Blake Walsh's user avatar
  • 4,231
6 votes
3 answers
647 views

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?
Mike's user avatar
  • 109
6 votes
2 answers
284 views

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: ...
kim holder's user avatar
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19 votes
4 answers
10k views

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 ...
Jose Luis's user avatar
  • 293
5 votes
1 answer
366 views

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 ...
kim holder's user avatar
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19 votes
4 answers
12k views

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 ...
agemO's user avatar
  • 301
18 votes
1 answer
15k views

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 ...
kim holder's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there drag inside a Space craft?

After watching Chris Hadfield make a Space Burrito, I saw his bits and pieces floating away here and there. Inside the ISS, and any other manned craft, there is Oxygen (and other gases) which is ...
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14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Re-entry Heat Shield Alternative

Why is it that Controlled Re-entry Vehicles (like the most recent Orion & Dragon) do not use a strong magnetic field during re-entry to "shield" the blunt shaped end from plasma ? Reasoning: ...
Firas's user avatar
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22 votes
2 answers
11k views

What is the ideal shape for a rocket?

Obviously there are many factors that go into the design of a rocket. However, to me, many rockets seem very tall and skinny. What I mean is that an ideal rocket would have as little mass used for ...
DarcyThomas's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
424 views

Are there any techniques of heat shielding an irregularly shaped object?

NASA is planning to bring an asteroid into a lunar orbit. As I understand, it's a tremendous task, even when using high specific impulse ion drives. It seems nearly impossible to safely land one on ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
357 views

Benefits of hydrogen cannon for first stage launch at sea level or 20,000 feet

I found three videos (2009 Google Tech Talk, 2011 International Mars Society Convention, 2011 Quicklaunch Inc.) from Dr. John Hunter about using a hydrogen gas cannon to launch payloads into space (or ...
bob smith's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
5k views

How much fuel can SpaceX save by landing the Falcon 9 booster on a barge?

It sounds from the text of this tweet like Elon Musk plans to continue to do barge landings over the long term: "Base is 300 ft by 100 ft, with wings that extend width to 170 ft. Will allow refuel &...
kim holder's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
3k views

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 ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
5k views

Deorbit time for satellites in LEO

According to Systems and methods for a self-deploying vehicle drag device (US 8616496 B2) patent's background of the invention: The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires ...
Romean's user avatar
  • 377
5 votes
1 answer
194 views

Is the streamlining of a launch vehicle worth the additional fuel required to carry it beyond the Karman line?

Wikipedia writes to say Low Earth Orbit spans the altitude from 160KM above Earth through 2000KM above Earth. Launch vehicles appear to be highly stream-lined. Yet only the first few score KM (as far ...
Everyone's user avatar
  • 13.6k
13 votes
3 answers
976 views

Does it snow in LEO?

How does water spray behave in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), from the side exposed to the Sun to the side in Earth's shadow? Could it be used as means of augmenting atmospheric drag and deorbiting defunct ...
TildalWave's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Delta-v from atmospheric drag

If there was a satellite that had a periapsis at 250km, approximately how much delta-v would it take during each orbit to offset the atmospheric drag? Would it be different depending on apoapsis? The ...
Catprog's user avatar
  • 434
5 votes
1 answer
545 views

Moving object in space

I am a learner in this field. I have a doubt after watching movie "Gravity". In that movie, an explosion occurs in a spacecraft and the particles of that vehicle move so faster than a bullet, (as ...
Mr_Green's user avatar
  • 203
3 votes
1 answer
700 views

Why did HARP make projectiles in the rocket shape?

HARP fired projectiles from a gun into suborbital trajectories. This type of projectile carried a scientific payload, but did not have any reaction engines (although later proposals did). Their ...
AlanSE's user avatar
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22 votes
3 answers
17k views

How does skipping off the atmosphere work?

I searched the web and found a couple entries on Wikipedia (Skip reentry & Atmospheric entry) that kind brush at the topic. The article on Stone skipping has some science and physics involved (...
James Jenkins's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
262 views

Are there any proposals to vacuum up gases in orbit for use as propellant?

Space stations like the ISS orbit at an elevation that puts them squarely in the Thermosphere, and while this has extremely rarefied gas (which is probably more accurately a plasma at many times), it ...
AlanSE's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
123 views

How much cheaper would a high level launch be from a sea level launch? [duplicate]

What is the difference in delta-V required for a launch from the highest natural point on Earth (about 8,800 m or 29,000 ft) as opposed to a sea level launch? Assuming a completely ground based ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
308 views

What is the closest to Earth you can expect lift from a solar sail?

There is no doubt that a solar sail can move you around the Solar system, and even interstellar, if you're not in a hurry. But it will not get you off the planet. Assuming your ship/satellite is in ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
37 votes
4 answers
16k views

Effect of atmospheric drag on rocket launches and benefits of high altitude launch sites

What is the approximate influence of atmospheric drag on the cost of rocket launches? Is it beneficial to have launch sites located at higher altitudes? Cape Canaveral is at sea level, but I've ...
Tomislav Muic's user avatar

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