Questions tagged [design-alternative]

Questions about alternative designs the asker has thought of, such as "why was X built this way and not this way"

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What policies and capabilities are in place to induce hypothermia for the purpose of reducing hypoxic brain damage in EVA depressurization?

Depressurization incidents during EVA will have hypoxia as the ultimate cause of death or permanent brain damage. If an astronaut’s brain is deprived of oxygen, irreparable damage occurs after about 4 ...
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8 votes
6 answers
4k views

Orbital Supercomputer for Martian and Outer Planet Computing

As we know, computing will (and really has) been important to research missions for space science and exploration. I read about the Spacebourne Computer program HPE and NASA used for the ISS as proof ...
0 votes
0 answers
126 views

Space travel employing magnetic fields as a prime mover

Does anyone know if there exists in the public domain any data relating to the Bell Telephone experiments during the 1940's ( possibly earlier ) ?. The purpose of the experiments was to establish a ...
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3 votes
2 answers
393 views

Could a Robert Goddard style motor mount be used for powered landing of SLS solid boosters?

The thought of pairing SLS solid boosters on just about anything one wants into orbit led to the thought of recovering them on barges at sea. We all remember Robert Goddard's top mounted rocket engine ...
1 vote
2 answers
188 views

The costs of a single SLS solid fuel rocket booster

Why didn’t Nasa cluster four solid fuel shuttle boosters around an Atlas V booster. The thrust would be substantially more than that of the SLS, with no fueling problem on the launch pad. It would be ...
-1 votes
1 answer
73 views

Could Spin Solve Needs for a Hot Water / Steam Rocket?

Instead of the old concept of nuclear thermal steam rocket, could we use spin in a pill shaped rocket to provide structural integrity, flight stability, energy storage, artificial gravity, and ...
2 votes
0 answers
51 views

"Semi" hybrid rocket? Throttleable solid fuel rocket?

Are there any published examples of "hybrid" rockets that used a propellant grain of mixed solid fuel and oxidizer where the injected component was only needed to sustain the burn without ...
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2 votes
0 answers
101 views

How do different stages attach to each other?

I started learning about rockets recently, and while searching for information, I found some ways that different stages separate, but I wandered if it was possible that they could reattach to a ...
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6 votes
1 answer
575 views

Why aren't smaller fairings used for smaller payloads?

I saw this picture of the DART spacecraft being encapsulated in its payload fairing. Why doesn't SpaceX manufacture a smaller (shortened or thinned) fairing for the spacecraft? It reduces mass and is ...
1 vote
1 answer
206 views

Would ejecting propellant close to light speed result a '"dream engine"?

"Dream engine" I assume as pictured in the old science fiction: a single stage rocket that can take off from the Earth and then freely travel at least over Solar system, landing multiple ...
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-2 votes
3 answers
302 views

Why fly to the moon when you can fly away?

I am not a NASA employee or a scientist, but why do we fly to the moon when it looks easier to fly away from it and wait for it to approach the craft. Then put something permanently in a polar orbit ...
0 votes
1 answer
120 views

Spacewalk From Earth To Luna [closed]

A question that I have not seen but have been curious about…… I have a little bit above average (I think) of how gravity works or what gravity is but can’t figure this out; Let’s pretend that we make ...
0 votes
2 answers
177 views

Could a Stirling engine be used to produce more electricity in space?

A Stirling engine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine) is an engine which uses temperature differences to turn. In space it is hard to conduct heat so very often the sunny side of an object ...
3 votes
1 answer
108 views

"Tandel Missile" design with engines forward of their fuel tanks

Whilst looking for something else entirely, I came across this amazing looking rocket design mentioned in passing on this nasaspaceflight.com forum page, talking about the San Diego Air and Space ...
-4 votes
1 answer
156 views

Could using magnetism principles aid us in achieve near speed of light travel

Could a vehicle with ferrous properties be passed threw a hollow tube, that had coils spaced out in intervals, and which produced strong magnetic field in the vacuum of space, create speeds close to ...
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1 vote
1 answer
138 views

Collecting suns cosmic rays

Is it possible to collect the Sun's cosmic rays positive and negative particles in different coils , using electromagnetic coils, 50 meter diameter collimating coils with solar cells to power the EM ...
1 vote
0 answers
149 views

Would a ring system for the Earth be a net benefit in terms of climate change? Is an artificial ring feasible? [closed]

The greenhouse effect as I understand it is because sunlight hits the Earth, and is re-radiated as infrared heat, which is then trapped by greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, like CO2 and Methane. So ...
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1 answer
200 views

Why aren't clusters of F-15 or SR-71 engines used for a boost stage for rockets? [duplicate]

A cluster of say 8 F-15 or SR-71 engines in my mind could make a viable first stage for a small rocket. Second they can land the stage back to the ground and if my guess is right they could go to up ...
7 votes
2 answers
399 views

Helium balloon as a rocket

This question is not about rockoons, which are rockets using balloons as launch platforms to start from a greater altitude. This question asks about using the balloon itself as the rocket, like a toy ...
18 votes
5 answers
11k views

Why doesn’t NASA build its rockets using graphene?

Graphene would be a great material to build a rocket out of. Graphene is extremely thin. One single atom thin layer of graphene can withstand 15 000 000 pascal . A square meter of this material only ...
6 votes
1 answer
205 views

Can we use magnets to land a spaceship (Starship)?

Can we use magnets to land a spaceship (Starship)? We could give the landing legs a magnetic flat surface or something and then the controller can reduce the magnetic strength or in other words, ...
13 votes
4 answers
1k views

How does Spinlaunch manage the counterweight right after launch?

Spinlaunch has successfully launched a suborbital test vehicle from a 1/3 scale demonstrator, see for instance aviationweek.com or space.com. While spinning up the arm, perfect balance is achieved ...
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3 votes
2 answers
293 views

Solid Core Antimatter Engines: Do they have a point?

On the graph discussed in this question, I was surprised to see "antimatter" listed as one of the engine types... with a disappointing performance equal to solid-core nuclear thermal rockets....
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1 vote
1 answer
171 views

Using Chimborazo as a rocket launching platform

Please consider this. Chimborazo is a sleeping volcano at 01°28′09″ S 78°49′03″ W. Its peak is 6263 metres above the sea level and because it is very near of the equator, the peak is more than 2 ...
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15 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can cosmic ray muons be used to replace GPS for positioning information in 3D on Earth and underwater?

Task & Purpose's The Navy is testing a GPS-like device that doesn’t require satellites “The future is extremely bright for this line of research." begins: The Navy is researching a new ...
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7 votes
2 answers
759 views

Are In-Flight Electrically Heated Steam Rockets Possible?

I wonder if a rocket that uses electricity from internal batteries to heat water in its tanks to high pressure would be able to use that pressure to take off. Is it possible? I've researched here and ...
3 votes
0 answers
168 views

Why did NASA never launch crewed Orion missions on a Delta IV Heavy to the ISS?

Following the successful EFT-1 mission, why didn't NASA start launching crews to the ISS on the Orion spacecraft? This question deals about why crews weren't sent to the Moon, but I wonder why wasn't ...
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14 votes
3 answers
1k views

A way to overcome fuel limits on JWST and its operational lifetime; "clip-on" propulsion systems in development that might work in the future?

I was wondering: Although it has been widely publicised that the JWST has a lifetime limit. Is it not it possible given current technology regarding drones and the JWST itself as proof of concept to ...
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3 votes
1 answer
187 views

Has "parasitic radar" ever been used in space?

Synthetic aperture radar or SAR is becoming a hot field of Earth observation of both natural and human activity. It is very power hungry as the beam needs to deliver sufficient power over each square ...
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5 votes
1 answer
239 views

What is the smallest object our current technology is capable of launching into space?

Well, I'm quite ignorant about space exploration in general, but I hope I don't make too many misconceptions. So, from what I could find on the internet, there is a certain type of spacecraft ...
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1 vote
0 answers
51 views

Are there any projects of flying launch pads on high altitude ballons? [duplicate]

It is possible to fly up to 30 km with high altitude balloons. Is it possible to build an island there with launch pad on it? Will it help to fly to space?
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22 votes
4 answers
3k views

Could an electromagnet be used to raise the apogee of a satellite orbiting Earth?

Suppose we have a satellite orbiting Earth in an elliptical orbit, which has an electromagnet inside it. As the satellite goes from its apogee to its perigee (i.e. losing altitude), it turns on the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
101 views

What are the forces affecting superconducting MRI-magnet on low-earth orbit and could you accelerate a satellite with these forces?

In superconducting magnetic levitation the magnet levitates on top of the superconducting material (Meisner effect). In space, the electric current of the solar wind should create a magnetic field ...
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0 votes
1 answer
157 views

Do two opposing centripetal forces still cancel each other out in space? [closed]

I've conducted a test with two fans connected to each other. The top fan was setup to spin counterclockwise and the larger fan spun clockwise. In my test, it showed that once the two fans reached the ...
11 votes
2 answers
5k views

Could sheets of stacked graphene be used as part of a heat shield, since its melting point is 3000k to 5000 K

Since graphene material is the strongest manmade material, with "magical" properties, I wonder if it could be considered for use as a heat shield, since its melting point is 3000 to 5000 K ...
0 votes
1 answer
128 views

Can Vacuum nozzles be used as cooling radiators in LEO?

Radiators are used for thermoregulation of spacecraft. https://www.academia.edu/934756/Thermal_Control_Handbook . Their effectiveness requires their surface be exposed to deep space, not an IR ...
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3 votes
2 answers
220 views

Can ISS trash be used as reaction mass for orbital maintenance

There have been a number of videos posted about trash being hand-pitched out the back of the ISS. This seems like a waste of potential reaction mass, especially since it cost $20,000/kg to get it up ...
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5 votes
1 answer
254 views

Has anyone explored using sound as a heat shield?

I edited original post to better reflect question. I was looking around to see if anyone had explored the idea of using (Ultrasonic or Hypersonic)sound to deflect heat from a ship. Specifically sound ...
3 votes
0 answers
59 views

Could not an adapted RASSOR appear to be crucial for the Perseverance rover to find possible biosignatures on Mars?

Is it not very likely that most of the material that could contain possible biosignatures, like clays and carbonate containing minerals, will be below a layer of dust or regolith on Mars ? That the ...
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5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where to send invention ideas?

I invented a new type of thruster for satellites. I would like to know where can I send the report I made. The report was reviewed by several physicists and engineers in my environment, but I would ...
3 votes
1 answer
251 views

Can the cryogenic expansion of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen be used to pump a rocket engine?

A common fuel amongst rockets is that of the combination of cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. I looked at the design of a simple rocket using this cocktail that is the propellant and found ...
4 votes
0 answers
161 views

Exterior "running lights" on ISS?

In Scott Kelley's memoir "Endurance," he describes how challenging it is to navigate the exterior of ISS when in Earth's shadow, and he mentions that his Russian colleagues would just stay ...
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2 votes
1 answer
86 views

Decomposing HTP through regenerative cooling for use in closed expander cycle

HTP or high test peroxide has a long history as a low cost and high reliability oxidiser, and has had a lot of recent attention for its pseudo hypergolic nature when passed over a catalyst bed. ...
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4 votes
3 answers
584 views

Merging Shuttle and External Tank to reduce reentry heating

The Space Shuttle needed a high-performance heat shield that caused much grief over it's operational life. Having a large surface area on a reentering vehicle reduces temperatures by causing the ...
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22 votes
6 answers
5k views

Why is it not concerning from a cost perspective to have so many engines on Starship?

Starship is meant to imitate (to a degree) the affordability of passenger jets. This applies to Earth-to-Earth travel as well as space travel. Jetliners started with 4 engines, but have since migrated ...
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18 votes
5 answers
5k views

Exactly why does Starship need to be this big for interplanetary travel?

As discussed in several answers to Isn't Starship way too big? Starship's unusual size is due to it being intended for missions to the Red Planet. But why? Even a smaller ship could satisfy the ...
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4 votes
0 answers
57 views

Giving rocket propellants an opposite charge for perfect mixing?

One of the challenges in achieving theoretical efficiency is the mixing of both an oxidiser and fuel. This means separating both propellants from each other whilst pairing them with their counterpart. ...
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0 votes
2 answers
183 views

Can we land on an asteroid and ride on it?

If we could land on an asteroid, not necessarily a human, we would save the fuel consumed for flying the spacecraft and we will benefit by having the systems on it running for a very long time.. If ...
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1 vote
1 answer
111 views

When was advertising on Earth from space first proposed? By who?

How big will a space billboard have to be to be visible? can be seen to raise an interesting question. Question: When was advertising on Earth from space first proposed? Who proposed it? This can ...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Using coolant as 3rd propellant

Rocket engines often have 2 propelants, one of which is used to cool the engine and after that the hot propellant is injected in the combustion chamber. Would make sense to have a third propellant ...

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