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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13
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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5answers
893 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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688 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 ...
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1answer
154 views

Will future deep space optical communications "ground stations" actually be in space, or on the ground?

Deep space communications ground stations are on the ground because their transmit and receive electronics alone is bulky and heavy, not to mention their 34 and 70 meter dish antennas! But those ...
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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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573 views

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
198 views

Where would one deploy deep space atomic clocks?

Space.com: NASA IS LAUNCHING A GPS SYSTEM FOR SPACE NASA/JPL news: Five Things to Know about NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock NASA mission pages clock NASA Deep Space Atomic Clock Fact Sheet The first ...
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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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2answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
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What would it take to get a message to another star?

Let's assume that we've somehow detected the existence of an extraterrestrial civilization through "passive" means, such as detecting a suspicious exoplanetary atmospheric signature. We're now hoping ...
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1answer
334 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 ...
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1answer
578 views

What spacecraft has had the greatest total propulsive delta-v?

How fast is fuel escaping a rocket for it to reach the escape velocity 11 km/s? was an active and well-received discussion! It's always exciting when we first realize that a rocket can go much faster ...
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0answers
103 views

Where can I read about Lucy's complete propulsion system?

Wikipedia's /Lucy (spacecraft) says nothing of propulsion, and it's SWRI home page for the spacecraft http://lucy.swri.edu/mission/Spacecraft.html gives specification and enumerates what's on Lucy’s ...
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3answers
719 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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3answers
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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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10answers
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Have spacecraft photographed each other beyond Earth orbit?

There are several answers to Could a spy satellite image another satellite? and one answer with several examples to How many spacecraft have taken a “Pale Blue Dot” type photo of the Earth from beyond ...
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2answers
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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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2answers
547 views

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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1answer
528 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 ...
22
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2answers
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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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3answers
341 views

How far away can spacecraft be seen with an optical telescope?

In the question At what time in the Apollo 14 mission did the maneuver shown in this image happen, and what exactly was happening? I've included the image and information below. The caption says that ...
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2answers
922 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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1answer
507 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 question How well can Voyager 1 separate Earth signals from Solar ...
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3answers
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What if the Voyagers had remained within the plane of the ecliptic?

On their last big-planet flybys, both Voyager 1 and 2 were given substantial kicks out of the plane of the ecliptic. If this wasn't so, and their flyby's were adjusted to stay within the plane of the ...
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4answers
657 views

First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans?

Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are ubiquitous now, but I still remember riding my bike to Radio Shack and buying my first LED, checking the diagram on the back of the package, and getting a battery and ...
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1answer
581 views

How many Space Shuttle payloads ended up beyond Earth orbit?

Before I'd read Why did the Ulysses probe reach Jupiter much faster than Galileo? and this answer to What's the largest rocket that was carried to space inside a Space Shuttle? I never really ...
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1answer
741 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 ...
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3answers
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Which deep space spacecraft had main dish antennas that were perforated or made from mesh?

A long time ago I was considering asking why the dish antennas on some deep-space probes were perforated metal or mesh (presumably to save weight), while others were solid. I'm trying to finally ...
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2answers
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What is ESA's Solar Orbiter's target inclination?

The BBC News article European SolO probe ready to take on audacious mission links to the ESA video shown below and contains this 5 minute audio interview with NASA deputy project scientist on the ...
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1answer
153 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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1answer
92 views

"...extending the Starlink network using longer-range laser comms and relay satellites to reach Mars and Starships in-transit" (Musk & Shotwell)

I have it on good authority that SpaceX's Elon Musk and Gwynne Shotwell: ...have talked about extending the Starlink network using longer-range laser comms and relay satellites to reach Mars and ...
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1answer
197 views

How well would optical fiber work on the Moon or Mars?

Optical fiber used for data transmission over long distances is usually made from ultra-pure SiO2 and carefully doped with germanium in the core to elevate index of refraction. Fiber amplifiers ...
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1answer
163 views

How can the data rate be increased in noisy outer space?

What can we do to improve the data rate in outer space? I see that there are some noise sources that affect the signal quality between ground stations & deep space. As I've read so far in various ...
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4answers
7k 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 ...
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1answer
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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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0answers
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How will NASA's software for autonomous navigation in cis-lunar space be tested; what information is processed, what outputs evaluated?

note: it's been a year and a half and Capstone is scheduled to be launched soon, so perhaps there is more information available now? NASA news item NASA Funds CubeSat Pathfinder Mission to Unique ...
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1answer
347 views

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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2answers
477 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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1answer
78 views

Textbook or scholarly discussion of equations used by the SDP4 part of SGP4 TLE propagators beyond Space Track Report #1?

(the famous) Space Tract Report #3 discussed at length in Dr. T.S. Kelso's Revisiting Spacetrack Report #3, AIAA 2006-6753 Describes the "deep space" corrections to the original SGP4 known ...
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1answer
331 views

Did the Perseverance rover's Atlas 5 really "leap off the pad"? If so, was it because the payload is tiny, or because it's going to Mars?

Spaceflight Now's ULA’s Atlas 5 is NASA’s go-to rocket for nuclear-powered space probes quotes Tory Bruno, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance: “This rocket is going to leap off the pad with ...
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Long delay-doppler measurements on deep space craft; couldn't optical measurements be made intermittently, mixed with contacts to other spacecraft?

In this comment below Will future deep space optical communications “ground stations” actually be in space, or on the ground? in response to a discussion about ground stations being used for tracking ...
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2answers
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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 Propulsion ...
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1answer
406 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 ...
5
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2answers
1k 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?
5
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1answer
110 views

Are NASA (and ESA?) deep space spacecraft now generally able to store and forward messages between themselves?

There are discussions under the current answer to Will Curiosity and the Mars 2020 rover be able to communicate with each other via a Mars orbiter? about the feasibility of MRO receiving a message ...
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1answer
2k views

Has magnetic core memory been used beyond the Moon?

@aml's comment under @OrganicMarble's answer to the question Did the IBM System/4 Pi computer have radiation-hardened versions for Skylab and Shuttle? says: @uhoh- according to wikipedia, the AP-101B ...
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1answer
89 views

What's the highest heliocentric inclination achieved by a deep space probe, without using the outer planets?

Wikipedia and this answer explain that it will take several flyby's of Venus for ESA's Solar Orbiter to reach 34° of inclination. Question: Currently, what's the highest heliocentric inclination ...
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1answer
156 views

If a comet-sniffing spacecraft were launched today, could it catch up to newly-discovered ε>3 C/2019 Q4 (Borisov)?

As found in this answer to What makes scientists already so certain that Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is a comet and not an asteroid? the orbital parameters of this eccentricity > 3 visitor to our solar ...
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0answers
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How much did each MarCO 6U cubesat weigh?

Yes the answer is zero now because they are weightless, but I used past tense. In any event, let's try to find a good, reliable source for each spacecraft's mass and whether that number is dry or ...