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Questions tagged [design]

Questions about how space vehicles and related hardware are designed. See also [structural-design] and [engine-design].

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11 votes
4 answers
3k views

How do satellites operate below their operating temperature?

As we all know, space is a vacuum and doesn't support "temperature" too well. However, when a probe is placed away from a star, the temperature is quite enough to damage electronic ...
Aerospace_Nerd's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
201 views

How have rocket propulsion system designs developed over the years in terms of effectiveness?

I am working on a research project about developing rocket propulsion designs for school. More specifically, I am researching how rocket propulsion designs have changed over the last century, in terms ...
Aryan's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
0 answers
69 views

How to do Preliminary Analysis of Spacecraft Primary Structure?

I'm looking for specifics as to how preliminary analysis on spacecraft primary structure is performed (prior to CLA). I understand LV providers include CG load factors in their user manuals, but how ...
Retsied's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
0 answers
123 views

Mass Breakdown of Apollo CSM by Subsystems? (also Cost Breakdown)

I am looking for a mass breakdown of the Apollo Command and Service Module by subsystems, like this Lunar Module's chart from the NASA publication After LM. I am particularly interested in how much of ...
mini earth's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
617 views

How do you design a spacecraft with a spinning section for "artificial gravity"?

Science fiction spacecraft sometimes have a section that spins to provide "artificial gravity" through centrifugal forces. I'm thinking in particular of the Discovery spacecraft from the ...
John McCarthy's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
148 views

What are the major tradeoffs for a launch vehicle having either one 400 kN engine or eight 50 kN engines?

Given the problem of choosing to build and launch a small rocket to put a smallsat into orbit with either of these two configurations, what are the major tradeoffs between them? For specific issues ...
Muhammad Ahsan's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
114 views

Looking for Apollo Flight Control Hardware Blueprints (such as RHC, THC and COAS)

I've been looking to build replicas of Apollo flight control hardware such as RHC, THC, ACA, TTCA and COAS, and am looking for detailed engineering drawings that show dimensions and internal ...
mini earth's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
883 views

Manned Spacecraft/Space Station design Requirements

I am looking for some document that summarizes all the aspects that need to be taken care of during design (structural resistance, life support system, thermal regulation, etc.). Something similar to ...
Saturn V's user avatar
  • 1,335
8 votes
1 answer
275 views

Why is a cartoon character visible in the artist's rendition of the McDonnell Douglas X-33 proposal?

I think I have figured out the what, it’s just the who, when, where and why that I don’t have the answer to. In 1995 during Phase I of the X-33 program NASA received proposals from Rockwell, McDonnell ...
Steve Pemberton's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
227 views

Why did SpaceX change Falcon 9’s engine configuration?

Why did the Falcon 9 go from a 3x3 configuration to a ring of 8 around a central engine? Was there some sort of aerodynamical advantage to be found or something? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
Blue Skin and Glowing Red Eyes's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
427 views

Ariane 6 upper stage schematic showing integration of APU

I've been reading about the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) on the Ariane 6 upper stage and am looking for a schematic showing how it's integrated into the stage. From Thermal Control of the Cryogenic ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
50 views

When sending a ship to mars what is the optimal travel path [duplicate]

its pretty self explanitory but I need to figure it out but not something from the past a ship that could be sent in the next 5-7 years what would be my time frame using the least amount of fuel and ...
Henry's user avatar
  • 9
3 votes
0 answers
179 views

Why was the LES on Apollo white?

In below images they’re red for Mercury (both on the Redstone and Atlas boosters). But the Apollo ones are white. Why were the Launch Escape Systems of Apollo white?
Blue Skin and Glowing Red Eyes's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
76 views

Can a Delta IV Medium fairing be put on a Delta IV Heavy for small payloads?

The Delta IV Heavy has a bigger fairing because it's able to lift heavier/bigger payloads, as we saw in this question. But if a payload is small and still needs a Delta IV Heavy because of its high ...
Nobody's user avatar
  • 154
2 votes
2 answers
375 views

Why is the Ariane 5 shorter than the Ariane 4?

Looking at below image, which compares heights of rockets, I couldn’t help but notice that the Ariane 5 was a short and fat rocket compared to the Ariane 4 (tall and thin). Why would this be ...
Blue Skin and Glowing Red Eyes's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is the Delta IV Heavy taller than the Delta IV Medium?

Looking at below picture, the Delta IV Heavy is clearly much taller than the Medium. Is there any specific reason why? https://www.space.com/15078-rocket-launch-delta-4-milestone.html
Blue Skin and Glowing Red Eyes's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
3k views

What changes to Voyager could have been made? [closed]

If during the planning and construction of the Voyager missions they knew what we know now, what changes to the missions would have been most helpful in augmenting the science obtained?
user277093's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
135 views

Design constrains for non-aerobraking re-entry vehicle?

Currently, getting from orbit to ground always involves aerobraking to shed lots of orbital velocity. This is a dangerous, stressful maneuver which also cannot be repeated with same vehicle due to the ...
Euphoric's user avatar
  • 249
24 votes
1 answer
8k views

Why was there a minimum height for astronauts?

According to this answer the minimum and maximum they could be were: Pilots: Height between 62 and 75 inches. (1.57 to 1.90 meters) Mission Specialists: Height between 58.5 and 76 inches. (1.49 to 1....
The Rocket fan's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
269 views

What is the simplest rocket design that can reach orbit

I am curious on what the simplest possible rocket design that have been proposed which could reach orbit. My first thoughts would be earlier rockets like the Atlas LV-3B, but then I consider the ...
Nhan Nguyen's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
124 views

What is the propellant tank weight or weight ratio on dry weight of liquid propellant rocket engine?

I need propellant tank ( or oxidizer tank)'s dry weight- without propellant and engine mass. For example ARES-V's dry mass at earth departure stage is 21,795 kg, What percent of this is tanks' dry ...
Emre's user avatar
  • 1
5 votes
1 answer
598 views

Why is there a need for a "forward skirt" segment on SLS solid rockets?

The SLS solid rockets have a "forward skirt segment" above the five true rocket propellent segments. What is the purpose of this segment? I believe that it contains the avionics for the ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 9,720
9 votes
2 answers
505 views

In Apollo hardware, why were sump tanks needed?

I'm looking at the Apollo CSM Propulsion Systems. These were bi-propellant hypergolic systems. However, for some reason each type of propellant was divided into a storage and sump tank. For example, ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 4,596
1 vote
4 answers
319 views

Selecting an optimal Isp / what makes an Isp too high (mostly for high Isp)

When, and why, is it possible to have an Isp (usually of an ion or nuclear engine with Isp far beyond the limits of chemical fuel) that's too high? What makes the Isp too high, and (other things being ...
ikrase's user avatar
  • 8,873
18 votes
1 answer
5k views

What are the "disks" seen on the walls of some NASA space shuttles?

I'm deep-dive researching older NASA shuttles, and a few elements in this image of a toilet (which could be found on display at JSC in the early aughts) stood out to me. See the red circles I added to ...
Sylvester Silencio's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
64 views

Material defects and its testing for manufacturing of parts

Is there any literature report on what is the level of testing at NASA on the defect sizes in raw material for manufacturing of parts for space shuttle and other space vehicles? For example, what is ...
Suddhasattwa Ghosh 's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
171 views

How would building rockets on other planets and moons influence their design?

John D. Clark's Ignition! says that a frequent problem with choosing propellants has been that they can be very challenging or dangerous to handle, or that they have a high melting point or a low ...
zucculent's user avatar
  • 248
2 votes
0 answers
197 views

Earth to Mars Transfer using GMAT

I saw a couple of people mention here that in order to change the epoch date from the given Mars transfer example on GMAT I would need to change and re-optimize initial conditions. How would I do that?...
user47478's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
197 views

Why wasn't the wind and thermal shield of Insight's deployable seismometer integrated into the instrument before deployment?

This fascinating question and answer covers how Insight's seismometer was deployed by its robot arm, and how a subsequent robot arm maneuver covered it with a wind and thermal shield. What parts of ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
222 views

Spinlaunch Safety

How could the Spinlaunch concept ever be made so that, in the event of an anomaly where it is released at the wrong angle, it wouldn't obliterate a small town or city center? Launch sites at Cape ...
RC_23's user avatar
  • 200
1 vote
2 answers
273 views

Specifications for Spacecraft interior and exterior paint colours

Are there specifications for Crewed mission spacecrafts in terms of interior and exterior paint colours? I.e. Only specific paint colours are required internally and externally. Can these paint ...
Prashant Akerkar's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
1k views

Black/White patterns on SLS boosters, fairings - Are these still roll patterns

The main purpose of the large black/white patterns on many of the early rockets was to make it easier to spot whether the rocket is rolling. The pattern on the Saturn V was changed to avoid picking up ...
Andrei Herford's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Two-Stage Fully-Reusable Shuttle

In chapter 6 of SP-4221 "The Space Shuttle Decision" they are talking about the fall of the "Two-Stage Fully Reusable Shuttle". In one paragraph they talk about how this Two-Stage ...
Jeroen Smink's user avatar
  • 1,134
2 votes
0 answers
245 views

Using belt drive in LEO spacecraft?

I am designing a concept for a LEO spacecraft and need to transmit mechanical power (0.5Nm @200rpm rotation) over a distance (1-2ft). Chains or belts would be a natural choice for terrestrial ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 53
3 votes
0 answers
134 views

JWST - coordinates of each of the 18 mirror segments?

I am curious about the relative orientations and locations of each of the JWST’s 18 hexagonal mirrors, when they are in place. The unfortunate (and subsequently corrected) problem with Hubble’s ...
Bruce Simonson's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
426 views

Mystery balls! Gemini apparently had "thousands of hollow ping-pong-sized balls made of extremely thin aluminum embedded within its walls". What?

This fascinating answer says that "The Gemini capsule floated because it had thousands of hollow balls made of extremely thin aluminum, each composed of two half-spheres welded together, the size ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
  • 10.9k
9 votes
1 answer
749 views

Why aren't off-axis reflector telescopes more popular for space telescopes? Have there ever been any?

It seems that: The light gathering capabilities would be slightly better without the blocked aperture (clear aperture is a premium for fairing-limited space telescopes) The diffraction patterns from ...
Alonda's user avatar
  • 491
5 votes
1 answer
193 views

Has Falcon 9 block 5's design stopped evolving?

Spacex famously iteratively improves the design when developing rockets, with each unit being slightly (or not-so-slightly) better than the previous. These days Spacex seems to be focusing most of ...
Speedphoenix's user avatar
  • 5,324
0 votes
1 answer
109 views

Why does Q-SAT look like a buckyball?

Tech.China.Com.cn's August 7, 2020 article Tsinghua University Successfully Launched Gravity and Atmospheric Science Satellite (Chinese, title translated to English) includes the image above of what I ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
1 vote
0 answers
105 views

What fraction of the Kapton thickness on the ISS' solar panels was likely eroded throughout their lifetime? Predictions? Measurements?

Background @Tristan's answer to How are the silicon PV cells constructed in the ISS's solar panels? Are they as flexible as they appear here? informs us that Kapton is part of the "blanket" ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
1 answer
812 views

How is a desired chamber pressure achieved in a liquid rocket engine

Before everyone responds that this has been asked before, I have read through every relevant post I could find here and believe my question has not been clearly covered. I also understand that "...
rockets_go_boom's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
175 views

What is this term in the link budget equation from Space Mission Analysis and Design (SMAD)?

Looking at the 3rd edition of Space Mission Analysis and Design by Wertz and Larson, their equation (13-4) presents the link equation, $\frac{E_b}{N_0} = \frac{PL_\ell G_t L_s L_a G_r}{k T_s R}$, with ...
NeutronStar's user avatar
  • 1,049
3 votes
0 answers
87 views

How the number of Sun sensors is chosen for a given spacecraft and mission?

I have to study an ADCS sensors suite and I am struggling to find a criteria to decide how many and in which directions the sun sensors shall be mounted, considering that they are coupled with star ...
Massimiliano's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
318 views

How can the proposed LUVOIR space telescope slew to different directions while keeping the sunshade in a fixed orientation? What compensates?

In this answer to Why does JWST have such a big Blind Spot? I mention that it moves as a rigid body; in order to change the direction the telescope is pointing the whole spacecraft slews, including ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
0 answers
127 views

General range of maximum RPMs used in reaction wheels in spacecraft?

I was wondering what would be the general range of RPMs used in Reaction Wheels (RW) on a satellite, and I have several closely related questions on this topic: It would definitely depend on the max ...
lqope54's user avatar
  • 47
0 votes
1 answer
176 views

Are any space agencies working on an (essentially) 100% reliable sterilization technique for spacecraft bound for subsurface ocean worlds?

One answer to my previous question Is there any demonstrated or even proposed technology that can sterilize a spacecraft with 100% certainty and yet leave it electronically functional? asserts: ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

Has SpaceX chosen to drop the Transpiration cooling of Starship? If so, why?

Earlier, there was news about a proposed concept for Starship to include "transpirational cooling" in its reentry heat shield design. These days there is less news about this and tests so ...
Mhd Afz's user avatar
  • 411
3 votes
0 answers
344 views

Biggest periscope camera that could fit inside a Starlink satellite; how thick are they?

If all Starlink satellites had phone tier cameras & simple scopes, could images processed by their super-resolution imaging network be competitive? is a cool question and to integrate a reasonable ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
2 answers
342 views

Why haven't we seen more origami in spacecraft?

I remember watching a few videos awhile back talking about origami designs in spacecraft: Origami in Space: BYU-designed solar arrays inspired by origami Engineering with Origami I've only done a ...
0xbad1d3a5's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why do Teledesic satellites look so weird? What are these structures and where's the satellite bus?

source enlarged and sharpened To my untrained eye I see a weird claw or flower-like antenna array with eight petals in the shape reminiscent of concave dish but not really, that look like they might ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k

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