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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 or around other celestial bodies past our Solar system's heliosphere, and should not be confused with the term "interstellar".

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How many SpaceX 2nd stages are in heliocentric orbits?

I can think of one particularly famous SpaceX 2nd stage in heliocentric orbit that even has its own website: https://www.whereisroadster.com/ and I know one was used to send DSCOVR towards Sun-Earth ...
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Why Orion can't be used to service JWST?

Hubble Space Telescope is a marvel of astronomical tools - particularly judging by how much it moved the science. It took a lot of fixes along the way, which certainly prolonged its useful life. Its ...
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Was Hayabusa-2's plastic explosive charge the largest charge detonated beyond LEO?

The BBC News article Hayabusa-2: Japanese probe set to 'bomb' an asteroid says: The charge is carried on the Small Carry-On Impactor (SCI) device. This is a 14kg conical container attached to ...
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How can Trident be so inexpensive? Will it orbit Triton or just do a (slow) flyby?

The recent NY Times article Neptune’s Moon Triton Is Destination of Proposed NASA Mission says (in part): HOUSTON — Is it time to go back to Neptune? Scientists representing NASA’s Jet ...
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How effective is the Orion radiation protection plan?

This article gives a basic overview of the procedure for astronauts on deep space missions who need to take shelter from energetic events such as solar flares. The shelter area strongly resembles a ...
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What is the point of launching EM-1 on DIVH/F9H?

EM-1 was originally a full-up test of the SLS block 1B: Orion, ICPS (a modified 5-meter Delta cryogenic second stage), and the first stage/SRBs. NASA administrator Bridenstine’s statement on 3/13/...
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Travel Speed in Space

I have read several questions and answers here concerning achieving speeds beyond the typical deep-space exploration missions. While speed increases near the Sun for example, that can't be applied to ...
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Could outer system probes detect lasers shone at them from earth (orbit)?

Does the Voyager spacecraft have instruments capable of detecting laser light if shone at them? New Horizons certainly does. Any other probes? Is there any laser capable of accuracy and power enough ...
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How far away can spacecraft be seen with an optical telescope?

note: For the purposes of this question "optical" means near-UV through thermal IR, let's say 0.1 to 30 microns. In the question At what time in the Apollo 14 mission did the maneuver shown in this ...
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Has there ever been musical events or performances associated with deep-space spacecraft or their flyby maneuvers?

We've had several questions related to music being played (live, or recorded) in space: Music played in space (6 answers) How did Sergei Krikalev get (or build) the drum he is shown playing here? (no ...
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1answer
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Satellites around outer planets that act like amplifier to signals from voyager like objects

One issue of deep space exploration is that once the object (like Voyager) is far out in the solar system the physical distance is so great that the signal reaching Earth is very weak. I was wondering ...
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How long to surpass Voyager satellite distances using modern technology? [duplicate]

NASA's JPL just recently acknowledged that Voyager II has now joined Voyager I in entering interstellar space after 41 years of space travel. This got me to wondering: when will we ever get to Alpha ...
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Understanding the information contained in the Deep Space Network XML data?

NASA's Deep Space Network activity can be viewed conveniently at https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html but if you would like data in a more raw XML form, it can be accessed as described in this answer ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 - ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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?
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1answer
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What would an X-ray communications (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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...