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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5 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why not use containers to clean up small space debris?

Small space debris is a serious problem. I think that if a large container orbits full of space debris and sweeps up small pieces of space debris that fit into the container, the space debris can be ...
1 vote
0 answers
83 views

Tether materials considerations for sky hook with jet engine

Suppose a skyhook was deployed with orbital dynamics mechanics such that when its hook side (opposite the counterweight) entered the atmosphere, it was nearly stationary with respect to local air ...
2 votes
0 answers
65 views

Would (Dual Spool and Concentric Powerhead) FFSC Cycle engine be possible to engineer

I,ve been wondering if it was possible engineer and how we would we work it out DUAL SPOOL FFSCC ENGINE with concentric core and individual concentric turbine inside one another and maybe it could ...
3 votes
3 answers
184 views

Could a rotating skyhook use a sail or wing to make orbital corrections to keep the structure in orbit?

Imagine a rotating skyhook with the majority of its length in the thermosphere, but whose hook side (as opposed to the counterweight side) has the ability to deploy wings or sails. Suppose that ...
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

An alternative architecture for a mission to Mars

This image, which is supposed to represent the current architecture of the mission to Mars by NASA, raised a wave of emotions. People find it too long and complicated. But is it really possible to ...
1 vote
2 answers
248 views

What can possibly accelerate space elevator to these types of extreme velocities?

Is it possible for a space elevator not to just reach speeds of a few hundred km/h, but much faster. Since in the future, people might want to go up to GEO to maybe work there and come back home on ...
3 votes
1 answer
196 views

connecting two satellites [closed]

How strong would my bond have to be if I wanted to closely connect (30cm - 1m link) two satellites on the same orbit in LEO? (I can move the satellites however I want to have them close to each other) ...
13 votes
5 answers
2k views

Cyanobacteria as Life Support?

I'm aware that cyanobacteria are responsible for the Great Oxidation Event and are very effective at turning CO2 into oxygen so it stands to reason that with the proper nutrients for the bacteria, you ...
0 votes
0 answers
62 views

Misting/Fogging Nozzles as Rocket Injectors

Misting and Fogging Nozzles are nozzles often used in irrigation and cooling. They basically use high pressure to break the liquid into tiny droplets achieving really great atomization. I think these ...
0 votes
3 answers
173 views

In Zero G, can excess heat be used propel a spaceship forward?

In Zero G, can excess heat be used propel a spaceship forward? I was looking for a similar answers online, and have bounced around a few places, I found this question, and it's responses thread useful ...
0 votes
0 answers
61 views

What conferences have technical sessions that cover credible and transformative alternatives to chemical-rocket-based launch?

Constraints Some examples of such technologies are described on Wikipedia's Non-Rocket Spacelaunch page. But, to clarify a bit further... I found list of such technologies in Figure 2.1 of a document ...
4 votes
4 answers
461 views

Alternative small mass payload transportation from the moon to L5 besides rail gun and mass driver?

This question asks about a low cost transportation from the lunar surface to a space settlement at L5. Moon mining is can be a revolutionary breakthrough in sustaining a space economy, but large scale ...
1 vote
3 answers
303 views

launch rocket like bullet from steam/air rifle?

I've included an image depicting how exhaust energy from a rocket launch can be recouped by turning it into a large scale pressure cooker by the use of some kind of platform=sabot (thanks @...
4 votes
1 answer
249 views

Shuttle-era mission profile for a desperation moon mission

It is 1996. For reasons best left to Worldbuilding SE, it has become a matter of civilizational life and death to send humans to the moon and bring them back to earth as soon as possible. Everybody is ...
15 votes
3 answers
5k views

What are the biggest challenges for high altitude rail-gun launch systems?

Use a maglev railgun for initial acceleration - in a new, hyperbolic tunnel facing eastward - this exits from the burrowed -undergrade- track to Equadors' Mt. Chimborazo peak - (a mountaintop both 6 ...
6 votes
2 answers
253 views

If a spacecraft's double hull filled with water is hit by a micrometeorite, could the water freezing or surface tension stop the leak?

I'm thinking about the possibilities of water storage also serving radiation shielding for long space journeys (months to years). Assume within the solar system but outside of upper earth orbit. ...
8 votes
7 answers
2k views

Embedding foundations from low lunar orbit?

Reading about Lunar Crater Radio Telescope and Lunar regolith thickness and composition, (roughly 5-10m of soft soil) and anchoring in soft regolith, would it make sense, in order to anchor large ...
4 votes
1 answer
209 views

Solar Turbines on the moon

Related to other questions about power generation on the moon. URL's will be added shortly... Given that force is experienced by objects hit by sunlight, such as a solar sail, would a turbine of some ...
3 votes
2 answers
373 views

Can propellant tanks in a pressure-feed rocket be pressurized by burning the propellant inside those same tanks? Recipe for Ka-BOOM?

Pressure-fed liquid fuel rocket engines use pressurized propellant tanks to deliver propellant to the combustion chamber, rather than pumps. This eliminates the mass, cost and complexity of the gas ...
6 votes
4 answers
351 views

Deorbit ISS vs. Preserve ISS as raw materials for ISM?

Recent news: NASA Seeks Proposals from US Industry for Station Deorbit Spacecraft (ISS) NASA has released a request for proposal from U.S. industry for the U.S. Deorbit Vehicle (USDV), a spacecraft ...
-6 votes
1 answer
302 views

Hydrogen-propelled space elevator [closed]

I'm working on a space elevator design using kerosene-burning jet engines and dirigibles supporting 1km stages of pipeline and cable stretching up to the end of the stratosphere (~50km), then using ...
-6 votes
1 answer
179 views

Windmills in Space [closed]

What if we put a windmill like we use now in space like on moon or a space station so its attached to the surface and since we have no wind we use air tanks in the blades to rotate, everytime it slows ...
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

Would orbital ring platforms affect the orbit of a planet?

If we built an orbiting platform of sufficient mass (let's say, made from harvested asteroids) that was anchored at both poles of the planet it surrounded, would such an addition to the planet's mass ...
-4 votes
1 answer
227 views

How does SpaceX prevent fuel from cluttering together in zero G [closed]

What is the solution to stop fuel inside starship collecting in center of the tank during zero G flight? Here is a rough sketch of starship with rudimentary diaphragm system to control flow of fuel ...
14 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
235 views

Can a spinning water film cool an engine cheaper and better than ablative?

Ablative cooling us an incredibly simple way to cool a liquid rocket engine, when compared to regenerative cooling. But ablatively cooled engines are (presumably) hard to refurbish. Why not inject a ...
1 vote
1 answer
163 views

Could a skyhook with double pendulum catch a payload with zero velocity?

It's my understanding the the tip of a rotating skyhook would be travelling at ~3.6 km/s (Mach 10), which presents a major problem. Could this be overcome by attaching a second, smaller, also rotating ...
0 votes
1 answer
86 views

Semi-Cryogenic HTP/LH2 engine?

Also see HTP as oxidizer for main propulsion (for more info on history of H2O2/HTP in rocketry) Note: HTP and H2O2 will be used interchangeably I know the Black Arrow LV (The first orbital lipstick) ...
-7 votes
1 answer
167 views

Wouldn't it be easier to send human heads instead entire human bodies for space exploration? [closed]

A major part of what makes human space exploration extremely difficult is the infrastructure required to support the human body outside earth. It requires resources just to launch into space due to ...
1 vote
1 answer
184 views

space is a vacuum there is no drag, so would hydrogen harvesting from space to use as fuel be possible once in orbit? [closed]

If space is a vacuum and there is no drag, would hydrogen harvesting from space to use as fuel be possible?
2 votes
1 answer
137 views

Inflatable tank/balloon use for recovery

Hopefully this idea makes sense. Basically if you've seen the space-truck (ROOST), you'll get where I'm going with this. I'm wondering whether an inflatable tank/tank lining could be used to produce ...
7 votes
2 answers
154 views

Would a laser seismometer work from lunar orbit?

Lasers today have become extremely sensible, they can detect sub-millimeter movements of a surface from a distance. Could this feature be exploited to create a lunar seismometer working from a probe ...
4 votes
2 answers
274 views

Have engineers designed a docking procedure that uses a boom/pole that “catches” the target and pulls itself in?

Watching Dragon/Endeavour dock with the ISS, I was curious as to how they used thrusters to orient the spacecraft and “soft dock” with the ISS. The narrators didn’t mention what happened after the ...
0 votes
0 answers
106 views

SSME/RS-25:; Why arent high pressure and low pressure pumps coaxial?

The Space Shuttle Main Engine low pressure pumps to prevent cavitation at the main pumps. This pumps were driven by separate turbines fed by high pressure fluid from the main pumps. Why? It just adds ...
4 votes
1 answer
765 views

SSME/RS-25: why seal between LOX pump and preburner?

Both the the fuel and oxidiser preburners ran fuel rich. In order to prevent the preburner gas from entering the LOX pump and blowing it up, they had this complex double seal with a gas purged void in ...
-1 votes
2 answers
92 views

Higher density medium tube from sea level to space for travel

Is it theoretically possible to build a strong sealed tube from Earth's sea level all the way to Space, fill it with a medium (such as water) that has a higher density than humans. And then humans ...
8 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why can't buoyancy of air be used to support a mega structure as an alternative to a space elevator?

The reason for asking this question stems from recent articles about large loss of strength of carbon nano tubes with even single atom movement, tested samples showing high vulnerability to space ...
1 vote
2 answers
604 views

Flying saucer shape rocket vs cylindrical shape rocket

Here's my hypothesis- Cylinder shaped large rocket is not suitable for vertical landing due to its high center of mass and bulky weight. However an equally weighing saucer shape rocket has more ...
19 votes
5 answers
6k views

Wouldn't it make sense to use parachutes for aborting test flights rather than destroying the whole rocket?

Recently, a SpaceX test flight was aborted by blasting the whole device. Wouldn't it make sense to have parts of such rocket be equipped with parachutes when test flights are performed, so at least ...
5 votes
1 answer
287 views

Why wasn't Buran mounted on top of Energia?

Since unlike the Shuttle, the Buran did not carry the main engines, why was it not mounted on top of the external tank equivalent - Energia's core stage? And even better, why wasn't Energia's second ...
0 votes
1 answer
169 views

Why didn’t the N1 use detachable boosters like the Soviet’s did on Soyuz?

Why did the N1 (to my inexperienced eye) have a massive rework? Soyuz, Vokshod, Vostok, Sputnik all showed that detachable side boosters worked. If side boosters work, why wouldn’t the N1 just had ...
2 votes
1 answer
231 views

Is Electromagnetic Propulsion Like Radiation Pressure propulsion?

while browsing for new propulsion methods I found the following interesting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_pressure "Radiation pressure (also known as light pressure) is the mechanical ...
1 vote
0 answers
78 views

What if satellites could be recovered during a launch failure? [duplicate]

How heavy would a capsule have to be to return a satellite safely to earth in the event of a launch failure? Would a satellite survive the loads endured by astronauts during an abort? If not, is there ...
0 votes
0 answers
72 views

Inserting optical elements into a ring laser gyroscope to sense all three axes

Ring laser gyroscopes (RLGs) leverage the physics of ring laser interferometers and the Sagnac effect to sense rotation in a single plane. My understanding of RLGs is that they are independent systems ...
2 votes
2 answers
238 views

Lunar Starship descent motors' tank design

Just recently NASA has announced the Lunar Starship as the winner of the Artemis lunar lander contract, which I have to say I'm very excited about. In the latest render however, the nose cone of the ...
-2 votes
3 answers
306 views

Can Solid Rockets (Aluminum-Ice) have an advantage when designing light space-tug for LEO?

This is a new subject for Space Industry – heavy spacecraft (1200-ton) in LEO that have to burn hundreds of tons of propellant to get going to their destination. It looks inefficient to launch 7+ fuel ...
4 votes
1 answer
136 views

Would it make sense to compress air around a bell nozzle during booster ascent?

Regarding boosters having one single liquid fuel engine, such as Delta 4 for example. Would some sort of annular aerodynamic device, attached to the skirt and placed around the bell nozzle, help ...
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Sending a Soyuz ship interplanetary - a plausible option?

This is my first time on Space Exploration SE, although I have participated quite a bit over on Worldbuilding. Anyway, as an avid sci-fi reader, I have been wondering if sending a Soyuz interplanetary ...
-2 votes
1 answer
237 views

Why is insulation used in spacecraft thermal control?

The temperature of spaceships can range from -126° C to 149° C. Wouldn't it be better for the spaceship envelope to have as high a thermal conductivity as possible to even out the temperatures (the ...
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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