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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 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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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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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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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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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 is the feasibility of launching a probe to Sedna?

This dwarf planet reaches perihelion in the summer of 2076. At a distance of 76 au, is it feasible to launch a probe that would reach Sedna in time? With an orbital period of over 11,000 years, this ...
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How precise must be the antenna orientation to communicate with a deep space probe?

I guess that everyone is familiar with the problem of aligning a TV satellite dish: some degrees off and the signal you desire is gone. How sensitive is communication with deep space probes to this ...
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Are nuclear-powered engines the way to go for space exploration?

I often think about the future of humanity and how to achieve it. Despite criticism, the USA and USSR achieved significant scientific breakthroughs, such as: putting the first man in space landing ...
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Interstellar eavesdropping

For about a century, humanity has broadcasted noise to space in the form of TV broadcasts, radio, etc... The nearest star is 4.242 light-years away, so for about 90 years, aliens -- if they exist in ...
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Delta-v of deep space maneuvers in deep space missions like Voyager or Pioneer

What are typical delta-v for deep space maneuvers, used by deep space missions to outer planets or for "interstellar missions" ? For example, Voyager 1 now has 17 km/s speed relative to the Sun. What ...
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3answers
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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Diurnal Signature of Earth in Angular state tracking

'Diurnal signature of the earth related to the the rotation of the earth is utilized and 24 hours of amplitude and phase data is used along with Ranging and Doppler shift data to calculate Angular ...
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What software can be used to determine deep-space trajectories?

In What are the choices today for orbital mechanics simulation software?, an entire range of software was listed for many platforms. I'd like to narrow this down a bit. Specifically, two questions: ...
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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 ...
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Cubesats in lunar orbit and beyond - how does communication work?

Somewhere I read that there are serious plans to send a cubesat into lunar orbit. A few years ago, the ISS was also offering a launch opportunity for such a mission. I guess that it was actually ...
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of sending a telescope into deep space? [closed]

When I first heard of the Voyager missions I thought this: why not do the same, only make it a telescope? I thought it would surely see a lot of things we can't see from Earth or the inner Solar ...
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1answer
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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,...
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2answers
714 views

How can we form a data-communication relay chain for deep space exploration?

The power that deep space probes have allows an RF communication capacity of a few kbps from a range like Pluto-Earth. If we go into optics, the range will be better. But, of course, we want to send ...
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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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1answer
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Would placing an X-ray telescope on the surface of the Moon be a good idea?

Instead of placing an X-ray telescope in orbit or deep space, would building an X-ray telescope on the surface of the Moon an good idea, since it has no atmosphere? If no, please don't forget to ...
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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 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 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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1answer
553 views

Does Voyager 1 do anything to be more observable?

Currently, Voyager 1 is floating through the emptiness of space. Does it do anything to indicate its presence, like a light source onboard or broadcasting a signal that makes it more observable to ...
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2answers
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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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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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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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1answer
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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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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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1answer
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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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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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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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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 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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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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1answer
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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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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. ...