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Questions tagged [design]

Questions about how space vehicles and related hardware are designed.

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1answer
87 views

Why didn’t the space shuttle external tank have pressure-relief vents?

During a space shuttle abort, it would have been vitally important not to allow the vehicle to droop below 265 kilofeet during powered flight, as excessive aerodynamic heating below 265 kft would have ...
6
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1answer
271 views

Why are planetary probe RTGs tilted at a jaunty angle?

This image from here: Does the Dragonfly project (quadcopters on Titan) envision attached RTG's or would they be static and revisited for charging? and this image show that the RTGs on these two ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Why latest Landsat satellites have solar panel on only one side?

It is normal for satellites to have solar panels on both sides of the body. But Landsat satellites, from Landsat 4, seems to have the solar panel on only one side. Are there any specific advantages ...
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6answers
9k views

Why can't they just drop a solar winch down from a shuttle and have planes fly up and clip things on?

Why can't they just drop a solar winch down from a shuttle and have planes fly up and clip things on? I know of the idea to have a space lift but the cable necessary is too expensive. Why can't we ...
3
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1answer
136 views

Could protons in the Sun's solar wind be used to create a photonic laser thruster for a spacecraft?

I have a conceptual idea for a photonic laser thruster for a spacecraft and I am wondering if this particular idea has already been thought of and whether or not it is capable of generating enough ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the most aerodynamic Satellite?

From what I understand at least in the lower orbits you want the least amount of drag possible. My brain is telling me that a long pole or submarine shape satellite orientated to the direction of ...
6
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3answers
206 views

What are some notable computer systems used in space probes?

I was reading about Cassini and learned that it used a CPU architecture I'd never heard of before, called MIL-STD-1750A. This got me thinking. What are the most common (or otherwise notable) CPU ...
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0answers
87 views

Are 2 satellites joined better than 2 apart?

Could new satellites be designed to intercept other older functioning artificial satellites or space junk already in orbit to add weight to the new satellite in order to last longer in orbit?
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0answers
36 views

Conditions and sensors that can be used for parachute deployment?

I'm looking for an explanation on ideal conditions/considered factors when a parachute is deployed (particularly in large competition rockets). Also what sensors should be used to measure these ...
4
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1answer
125 views

Why does PSLV use four stages to get to LEO, and why do they alternate solid, liquid, solid, liquid?

Is there a simple way to explain why ISRO's PSLV launch vehicle uses four stages to get to LEO, and why they alternate as follows: ...
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1answer
120 views

How to waterproof a rover?

What changes would be needed to a late model rover to enable it to function under water? What would prevent a rover from functioning under water as is? related: https://astronomy.stackexchange.com/...
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1answer
98 views

What is the maximum pressure a rocket body can experience?

Given that the alloys (typically made of aluminum or titanium) are optimized for being as light and as durable as possible, what is the maximum pressure a rocket like the Falcon 9 would be designed to ...
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3answers
3k views

How is thrust transmitted from strap on boosters to the central core?

Strap on boosters of a lot of heavy launch vehicles seems to be attached with just a few "flimsy" struts. Here are few images for reference : Some of the possibilities: These support structures ...
6
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1answer
126 views

Could a Roton-like SSTO work?

The Roton, developed by Rotary Rocket Company, was an attempt at SSTO using a helicopter rotor for takeoff and landing. This particular concept was cone-shaped with a tip-jet rotor on top and an ...
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2answers
211 views

Orbital reentry glider with no heat shield

Let's assume a reentry craft designed to not use heat protection like Soyuz or the Space Shuttle, and budget is not an issue. The Concorde max surface temperature was 400 K, so let's use this as a max ...
17
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2answers
3k views

Did NASA's Borg Collective-designed antennas work? Have similar designs ever been used in spacecraft beyond testing?

This interesting answer to the question Do antenna farms on spacecraft make any sense or are they purely aesthetic? in Worldbuilding SE links to the NASA Ames page 'Borg' Computer Collective Designs ...
3
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1answer
67 views

Where can I find schematics of rockets with their stage sizes?

I want to recreate real rockets inside a space sim game called KSP, but for that I need to know what sizes those rockets have ( diameter, height, etc ), not just in general, but each of their stages ...
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0answers
139 views

Why is heated Helium used for tank pressurisation in Falcon 1?

Here in Falcon 1 user guide, in table 2-1 in page 8, heated Helium is mentioned as used for tank pressurisation. What will be the temperature of such He and why is heated He used?
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2answers
212 views

Do some solid rockets burn faster at the bottom? What's an extreme case?

Discussion in comments below this answer relate to how much solid rockets or SRBs burn bottom-to-top versus radially outward. I am sure I've seen a diagram somewhere showing that different designs ...
5
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1answer
103 views

What does this drawing by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky illustrate, or represent?

The Kinetic video (ironically titled) The first rocket scientist - Robert Goddard begins with an introduction to the even more first rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and shows the following ...
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3answers
295 views

Why were the antennas on the spherical surface of some early satellites spiral-shaped?

In the question What's the spiral pattern on this satellite? I show this image of a spiral-shaped pattern on the spherical surface of a (presumably) vintage satellite or model thereof. @OrganicMarble'...
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1answer
206 views

How big of an external tank to replace the shuttle SRBs with more LH2 and LO2?

The space shuttle ascended using two types of propulsion: (1) liquid hydrogen and oxygen stored in the external tank and burned in the main engines on the orbiter, and (2) the solid rocket boosters. ...
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0answers
723 views

What colors were used in the Apollo Lunar Module interior, and why?

There are lots of publications and blog posts on the exterior colors of the Apollo Lunar Module (a function of material choices), but I've struggled to find any information on the interior colors and ...
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5answers
335 views

What are some practices of space exploration that are no longer acceptable?

I'm sure that for every good idea that made it into a spaceship design, there had to be plenty of bad ideas. There's most likely a bunch of old designs (or practices) that passed previously, but would ...
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3answers
145 views

3D Printing Rocket Parts

The Rutherford Rocket engine is a 3D printed battery powered engine. While the engine is made for small rockets, is it possible to use elements of 3D printing and battery power for launches of bigger ...
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2answers
174 views

Is it true that hydrogen is the only practical fuel for upper stages?

Consider this quote about early designs for the Saturn upper stages: Formalized as Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) on February 7, 1958, the group examined the DoD launcher requirements and ...
6
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1answer
100 views

Is there internal diagram of Zvezda or information about the internal size of Zvezda?

I found a diagram of Zvezda showing the external features, but I can't find one showing the internal features. Does an easily obtainable diagram exist?
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0answers
83 views

Optimal Thruster Layout For Cubesat

I am working on a simulation of a Cubesat for rendezvous. Using the Clohessy-Wiltshire equations I calculate delta-v. Now that I know the thrust needed for operation, I would like to know how to ...
3
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0answers
97 views

How would the antenna on a spacecraft in GEO be provided an electrical ground?

I would like to understand better what specifications or guidelines address the electrical grounding/Earthing a parabolic reflector Antenna in GEO to minimize the potential difference with respect to ...
0
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1answer
107 views

Could the interaction of the Sun’s solar wind and trapped plasma ions be used to propel a rocket through interplanetary space?

I have recently had a renewed interest in comets and how comet tails are formed. From studying this process, a thought occurred to me that perhaps plasma ions can be created within a long hollow ...
4
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1answer
163 views

Generating power in zero-g

When generating electricity, energy is lost to friction in mechanical bearings (e.g. turbine or generator bearings) and as heat, through resistance in transmission wires. If you were generating ...
10
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1answer
702 views

How does a space probe differ from a satellite in terms of materials used and size?

Both of those space vehicles are meant to carry out different tasks. How are materials selected for both of them such that it benefits their task? And is size a debatable factor while building these ...
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4answers
5k views

When did the concept of “stages” enter rocketry?

The staged rocket design is common now, but at some point in the history of rocket design it must have been revolutionary. When was the staged design introduced? Was it quickly accepted or did it ...
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2answers
116 views

Shock absorbing alternator possible for a rover?

Could replacing a Rovers struts (maybe a faster one that uses shock dampers in the future) with magnets similar to a shack flashlight but more heavier duty work well for recouping energy from movement ...
7
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1answer
332 views

What is the function of this array of what looks like mirrors on TESS?

The Mashable.com article TESS is about to become your new favorite NASA mission shows a beautiful photo of the TESS spacecraft in a state that looks like it is nearly ready to launch. There is a ...
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2answers
1k views

Why are centrifuges not used on the space station? [duplicate]

The low tech county fair ride in the picture below is a centrifuge. How difficult would it be to send modified one like this picture to space? It could spin on non bearing engine indefinably to ...
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4answers
312 views

What is currently used to protect spaceships from meteoroids?

What is used to protect a Mars or possibly interstellar spacecraft against meteoroids and asteroids? How risky it it to travel through space and does higher speeds equal more risk? Would a long ...
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2answers
2k views

Earthing system in space?

On Earth, we have a good reason to deploy electric devices with an "Earthing system": this helps to avoid dangerous leak currents on surfaces. Now how is this solved on a spacecraft?
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1answer
186 views

Would a rotating wheel spacecraft “flip”?

I am looking over some proposed rotating spacecraft such as the Nautilus-X and the Ares from the movie The Martian as well as much more fictional ones such as from the Jovian Chronicles and even Halo. ...
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6answers
7k views

Do spacecraft ever release unneeded gases into space?

My child is learning about the human body and frequently wants to know whether his favorite things work the same way. He asked me if spaceships fart (we've talked about Firetrucks and tailpipes, to ...
6
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1answer
185 views

How spacecrafts are built e.g. Dragon, Orion, etc?

What materials are using to build nowadays spacecraft? What kind of joints of main structure is used - is it a welding, riveting or something else? Where can I find such informations? Any books, ...
22
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1answer
3k views

Why does the ISS cupola have Interior Protective Sliding Windows

As shown in the center right part of the picture, the International Space Station cupola has an interior sliding window frame, maybe detachable, such as cameras among other instrumentation. Note that ...
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1answer
149 views

What matters are kept secret in space companies? [closed]

I already googled blueprint of rockets, I came to know that US space companies revealing their "blueprint of rockets". But still are there any matters kept secret in space companies?
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1answer
270 views

Why were individual shuttle tiles changed from white to black or black to white?

The Paper Space Scale Models website has a PDF which details changes to the STS Orbiter Markings on a per-mission basis. Most of the changes are in the tiles. It can be seen that often a single black ...
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2answers
2k views

Where are cameras mounted on the 'Starman' payload of today's F-H launch?

Where are the cameras on the Starman mounted? I see it (the entire payload) is a small engine with the roadster mounted on top of it. There are camera shots of the nozzle of the payload, of the ...
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2answers
915 views

Where does the thrust act in a rocket engine and how is it transferred to rocket structure?

A rocket engine is basically a device that generates a high pressure inside the chamber and the pressure difference creates a force. A nozzle helps in effectively accelerating the flow and increases ...
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1answer
619 views

Would a hex-cluster of SpaceX boosters around a central booster lift a large payload into space?

I'm sure it's possible, but would it be wise to place a hex-cluster of SpaceX boosters around a central booster to get a very large payload, or one going to a very high orbit, into space? Maybe even ...
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1answer
184 views

Did a fuel tank ruptured by a ballpoint pen really sever an engineers finger?

In Ars' series on the Apollo program Eric tells a story about the Lunar Module from NASA lore... ...recounted in Apollo: The Race to the Moon, a technician working with a test version of the ...
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2answers
5k views

Why did SpaceX retire Falcon 1?

Why did SpaceX retire Falcon 1? Wouldn't it have been more cost effective then Falcon 9 for lighter missions?
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2answers
368 views

Was computer aided design used on the Space Shuttle Program?

With the Space Shuttle system being as complex as it was I was wondering the following; did the initial engineering teams in the 70's use any form of CAD/CAE or did they simply utilize the same ...