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Questions tagged [deep-space]

Questions about deep space travel and observations that are related to the distance between the object in question and the Earth. For example, questions about communications delay, radial resolution, means of propulsion through the interstellar medium, e.t.c. Deep space does not exclude space near ...

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Why might NASA need to “practice moving a spaceship in different orbits in deep space”?

The NASA.gov feature Q&A: NASA’s New Spaceship says Q: NASA’s really building a spaceship?! A: That’s right! NASA is working with its partners to design and develop a small spaceship ...
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0answers
21 views

Are there plans or a program for an optical relay pathfinder for deep space?

In Glenn Research Center's Richard Reinhart's slides Space Communication and Navigation TestbedCommunications Technology for Exploration for the 2013 ISS Research and Development Conference I saw an ...
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1answer
80 views

Queries regarding deep space missions [closed]

What is deep space refers to? We have not even explore our nearby planets (till Mars) then why space agencies are going for deep space missions (like voyager-1 and voyager-2)? What do they want to ...
2
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1answer
54 views

What's the largest area dish antenna sent beyond the Earth-Moon system?

In the same vein as the question What's the largest aperture telescope sent beyond the Earth-Moon system?, I'd like to ask, what's the largest area antenna dish sent beyond the Earth-Moon system? If ...
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4answers
2k views

When was the last time that Starman/Roadster was seen?

Starman/Roadster (2018-017A, 43205) is a Falcon 9 2nd stage with a red sports car attached, in a heliocentric orbit in deep space. It was tracked by telescopes for several weeks at least after launch ...
7
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4answers
1k views

Could a Falcon Heavy assembly or something similar be useful for deep space missions? [duplicate]

Please forgive me, I'm a stargazer not an astronomer, nor a rocket scientist. If one could get a complete, fully fueled Falcon Heavy assembly into space, say for example by sandwiching one between ...
4
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1answer
112 views

Once a spacecraft is in space what factors determines its top speed?

Is there a limitation of speed of a spacecraft in space because of suns gravity? Is the speed purely dependent on the engineering? Or other factors comes into play?
20
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1answer
1k views

How an americium-241 RTG would differ from one using plutonium-238?

@TomSpliker's great answer mentions that ESA might be looking at producing Radioisotope (powered) Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) based on the radioisotope americium-241. 241Am is a "kinder and ...
1
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1answer
116 views

First interplanetary launch from California! How far from Earth will InSight be when it separates from the Centaur 2nd stage?

The Phys.org article Bound for Mars—countdown to first interplanetary launch from California says: In the early morning hours of May 5, millions of Californians will have an opportunity to witness ...
5
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3answers
278 views

How bright is starlight in deep space?

Say I'm way out in deep space and on EVA. If I turn off all sources of illumination, can I basically still see, or am I severely impaired by darkness? Of course I can still see the stars, but will ...
12
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1answer
713 views

Why can't Falcon Heavy accelerate deep space payloads as fast as Atlas V and Delta Heavy?

A Falcon Heavy with an expendable core costs $95M and lifts 2.5x as much to GTO as the Atlas V. It's Pluto injection orbit payload is nearly half of the Atlas V's GTO payload. In the answer to this ...
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1answer
72 views

Can we get different images of the Milky Way? Or solar system?

The orbits of the planets are coplanar. We send probes out along this plane to explore planets. Why can't we send a probe perpendicular to this plane (say due north from the earths perspective) and ...
2
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1answer
137 views

Is NICER/SEXTANT the first civilian “spacecraft” to determine it's own position in space without GPS or uplinked data?

Computers on board spacecraft can determine their positions using a combination of uplinked data from the ground and for those closer to Earth, GPS/GNSS. (See this answer and this question for ...
7
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1answer
503 views

How to calculate data rate of Voyager 1?

I've read the following passage in the answer to the Quora question How can Voyager send a signal strong enough for us to receive, in spite of its enormous distance from us? And how can it have the ...
10
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2answers
348 views

Mass of food per astronaut per year for an extended deep space excursion?

Until food can be grown or synthesized reliably and effectively in space, a manned deep space mission needs to bring all of the food with it, or cache some of it ahead of time. Roughly what would be ...
9
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1answer
200 views

What's the record for the longest time a deep space craft has functioned without a reboot?

The question How is Voyager 1 still operating? and the interesting comparison to the record times that Earthbound servers have run without reboot got me thinking about deep space spacecraft. I'm ...
14
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2answers
677 views

How is Voyager 1 still operating?

I watched a documentary on Voyager 1 and 2 last night and wondered "how is the digital equipment on them still operating"? I work in IT, and decided to look up what the longest running servers were - ...
4
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1answer
187 views

Could a molecular cloud be breathable?

Molecular clouds in deep space are fascinating objects. Various organic molecules have been found there (including alcohol, heh heh). So if one of these clouds contained about 20% of oxygen, would it ...
1
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1answer
142 views

How are the velocity and range of a spacecraft measured from ground based stations?

How are the velocity and range of a spacecraft measured from ground based stations? For example we can go on NASA's website and look at the real time data for the mission status of their past ...
1
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2answers
302 views

What is the highest non-optical frequency used or tested for use in deep space communication?

For dish antennas used to transmit a signal over large distances, the on-axis gain scales as $D^2/ \lambda^2$ or $D^2 f^2 / c^2$ where $\lambda$ and $f$ are the wavelength or frequency and $c$ is the ...
28
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3answers
3k views

What does NASA mean when they use the term 'PDT (ERT)'

In a graphic describing Cassini's final approach to Saturn NASA lists the timestamps as 4:55 am PDT (ERT). What does this mean? I am assuming that PDT mean pacific time, but I can't find out what ERT ...
12
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1answer
334 views

Flying fuel tanks! Which deep-space spacecraft had the largest fuel mass fraction?

The Los Angeles Times' Deborah Netburn just wrote a really nice retrospective; ‘OK. Let’s do it!’ An oral history of how NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn came to be with plenty of photos and quotes ...
5
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1answer
215 views

What is the Trump-era path to deep space?

Starting with George W. Bush, the presidents of the United States have presented an ambitious plan to the public to attain human travel of deep space. Bush's Vision for Space Exploration, announced in ...
2
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1answer
146 views

How many spacecraft have taken a “Pale Blue Dot” type photo of the Earth from beyond cis-lunar space?

How many spacecraft have taken a "Pale Blue Dot" type photo of the Earth from deep space? A "Pale Blue Dot" type photo would be a photo of the earth from far away; for the purposes of this question ...
5
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0answers
98 views

What approximate bitrate is required for interplanetary spacecraft GNC?

What is a rough estimate for the bitrate needed for GNC (guidance, navigation, and control) of an interplanetary spacecraft from Earth? I know it varies a great deal from case to case, but I want an ...
5
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2answers
314 views

Is secure communication in space important?

How important is secure communication in space? Science-related research is often made public, but does that mean all communications must be unprotected?
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5answers
364 views

Why doesn't thermal radio emission from a DSN “hot dish” completely swamp the benefits of a cold LNA?

The 70 meter DSN dishes are often used to receive the weakest signals, and so their receiver LNAs have cryogenic front-ends in an assembly that also contains a LHe refrigerator and vacuum system. If I ...
0
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1answer
265 views

What are the main sources of radio noise & interference limiting deep space data rates and availability?

Let's call "radio" anything electromagnetic below 300 GHz (1 millimeter), unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise. The as yet unanswered question How well can Voyager 1 separate Earth ...
4
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2answers
582 views

How do we track the exact location of the spacecraft which is millions or billions of miles away from us?

How do we track the exact location of the spacecraft which is millions or billions of miles away from us? What things do we study for tracking purpose? How exactly do we predict?
0
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1answer
113 views

How can the data rate be increased in the space which is full of noise?

I am curious to know what can we do to improve the data rate in the space? I see that there are some noise sources in the Space that affect the signal quality between ground stations & deep space. ...
1
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1answer
316 views

How will astronauts live in Spacex's red dragon?

If SpaceX's Red Dragon will ever bring astronauts to the red planet, would it need to connect to a deep space habitat? I'm asking because the red dragon seems to be too small for a seven or eight ...
2
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1answer
196 views

How have/how will Indian ground stations be used for comms or tracking of deep space spacecraft?

I have a few data points, but not the big picture. 19-10-2016, the Giant Metre Wave Telescope was used to monitor the doppler shift of a beacon signal from the Schiaparelli spacecraft as it descended ...
18
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1answer
2k views

In deep space missions, how much of the journey is pre-programmed and how much is “direct” control?

Regarding deep space missions, like the Rosetta mission, how much of the journey to the final destination is pre-programmed vs. recalculated on the fly? For the Rosetta example, was the whole sequence ...
6
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0answers
140 views

What would an XCOM transmitter look like?

The NASA news article NASA’s NavCube Could Support an X-ray Communications Demonstration in Space — A NASA First mentions the potential use of X-ray wavelengths for improved range of deep space ...
4
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4answers
511 views

Probes on a Solar System Escape Trajectory

Not one probe that has or will leave the Solar System (Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, and New Horizons) has a Solar Power System. This leads to the question, is there a reason behind ...
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0answers
138 views

Do ring laser gyros age with laser and dithering disabled?

Laser fading seems to be a known issue with ring laser gyros. With their STEREO-B probe, NASA experienced a different, "unexpected" failure mode, giving false readings. The Honeywell MIMU's were well ...
15
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3answers
856 views

Has an SRB been considered for use in orbit to launch to escape velocity?

Has an SRB been considered for use in orbit to launch to escape velocity to deep space? Consider SRB disposable and deep space vehicle continues on liquid propulsion. SRB conserves liquid propellants ...
10
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1answer
737 views

Why is the Deep Space Industries Prospector 1 using water propellant instead of hydrazine?

A lot of satellites use hydrazine propellant but the Prospector 1 is using water. What are the benefits and drawbacks of that decision?
5
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3answers
465 views

Are these really deep space amateur radio satellites?

In this answer there is a link to an amateur radio website listing what looks like satellites of interest to that community. The list is long (over 400 lines) and has a designator character in the ...
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1answer
83 views

Calendar of deep space arrivals?

There are some calendars for upcoming launches, like the Reddit one. Is there some corresponding calendar for arrivals and other planned events of all ongoing deep space missions? So that events like ...
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0answers
34 views

Most far away location reached thus far [duplicate]

So far, what is the furthest space exploration machines have been able to reach in the universe? Thanks.
0
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2answers
283 views

What is the distance of the Sun-Jupiter L4 and L5 points relative to Jupiter?

What is the distance between Jupiter and the L4 and L5 points of the Sun-Jupiter system? I need it to attempt to calculate the $\Delta v$ needed to reach Jupiter from there.
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2answers
242 views

Why can't we travel at the speed of light? [closed]

I understand we may not have the technology for it as of now. But I have also heard it's because we don't have enough energy, and traveling at or near the distance of light speed will require an ...
3
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2answers
159 views

Would it make sense to design a standard stage for deep space missions?

There are standard launchers and standard upper stages used for many different missions within cis-lunar space. Deep space missions are so rare maybe it makes no sense to try and come up with ...
8
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1answer
444 views

Autonomous Navigation for deep space missions

Autonomous navigation started in early phases of deep space exploration as a provision to achieve accuracy for planet/natural satellite targeting and approach, where radio tracking accuracies were low,...
0
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1answer
313 views

Is there any space objects database? [closed]

I wonder if is there any databse about space objects, giving information about types and may be relative positions of objects in space. I'm asking this because my company aims to develop a software ...
12
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1answer
494 views

Was there ever a non-sterilized probe sent to a celestial body?

A shootoff from my other question, has there ever been a deep space probe that was not sterilized to prevent micro-organism contamination of the celestial body? I'm thinking early space age history, ...
25
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4answers
6k views

Why do deep space probes have to be sterilized?

Correct me if I'm wrong but a probe to Mars will take months, during which time it's exposed to a vacuum and irradiated by the sun. It sounds to me like this would kill any micro-organisms on the ...
9
votes
2answers
946 views

Interplanetary ranging accuracy?

What are the two or three most accurate technologies used to determine interplanetary spacecraft distance (e.g. Doppler / radiometric tracking...), and what accuracy is currently obtained from such ...
4
votes
1answer
624 views

Error detection and correction techniques on New Horizons data

As New Horizon's signal is so weak, probability exists of errors in detected signal. What error detection and correction codes are used in the signal? Is it known, what is the error rate in received ...