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"

24 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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166 views

Would this Starship design alternative be viable?

Considering Starship atmospheric entry, belly dive and "bellyflop", latest iteration displays four aerodynamic surfaces, two aft fins and two carard fins. Soon will this configuration be put ...
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134 views

If Elon Musk wanted to bring back some Martian soil, would US permission be required?

A scenario occurred to me recently where the Chinese space program decided to go all-in on Mars sample return, and their schedule was such that it would happen before the NASA/ESA mission was ...
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Using electrodynamic tethers for countering precession?

One of the potential uses of electrodynamic tethers for satellites is generating thrust without needing to expend reaction mass. Could this potentially be used to counteract precession, allowing ...
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59 views

“Hybrid” statite design for a Dyson bubble?

One proposed design for a Dyson sphere is the Dyson bubble, which consists of statites (satellites that use light pressure to counteract gravity). In this design, the statites remain stationary ...
5
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1answer
229 views

Could a solar sail composed of smart glass stay near the L1 point of Venus?

From answers to this question i've learned that the Lagrangian L$_1$ point of Venus is not stable, despite the almost circular orbit of the planet and the fact that it has no moon. Nevertheless would ...
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78 views

Cooling an aerospike spike via “fuel diversion”?

My question is, could an aerospike be cooled via diverting a very small quantity of your fuel (fuel used since it has a higher heat capacity than oxidizer and won't, you know, turn your engine into an ...
3
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0answers
48 views

Can the bleed-off fuel in an open expander cycle be substituted for another liquid?

In all expander cycles, fuel is used as the working fluid to generate the pressure difference necessary to drive the pumps. This makes sense in a closed expander cycle as it'll eventually be used in ...
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139 views

If the ISS went to the moon, what would fail first

If the ISS was propelled into an orbit (any orbit) around the moon, what would fail first?
3
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87 views

Could pressurized steam be an effective propellant for satellites?

If you had a small pressure vessel and a matte black external boiler that could utilize the heat of the sun, would pressurized steam be feasible for maneuvering a small satellite?
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142 views

Why is the Fuji capsule design philosophy not seen in other proposals?

Fuji is my favorite unflown dead spacecraft proposal (narrowly beating out Dynasoar). I am well aware of why Fuji has its weird/unique design, but what I'm curious about is why it's unique. In my ...
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96 views

Can ten (or more) rockets be used together to launch one massive object?

With computer flight controls where they are today, what would stop us from building a relatively large space station on earth, but then using 10 or 20 or even 100 falcon heavy or Starship or SLS ...
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33 views

Can Lorentz forces partially cancel centrifugal forces?

If we had a tidally stabilised skyhook (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_tether#/media/File:Skyhooks.gif) with electric charge and with a vector of force aiming towards the center of the Earth, ...
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81 views

Have capsule-free taxi spacecraft ever been seriously considered for non-emergency use?

Capsules are heavy, but necessary. Or at least, they are necessary for launch, landing, and stays in space lasting more than an hour or two. But it is possible to imagine situations where cosmonauts ...
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126 views

Mining Venus' surface using lasers?

One of the issues with colonizing Venus is the harsh conditions at the surface. People have proposed using floating habitats in the upper atmosphere, where conditions are milder, and gathering ...
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176 views

Would this 'hybrid expander cycle' engine be practical?

This is another attempt at making closed expander cycle a bit more efficient (the first attempt was here). The design combines some elements of both the open and the closed expander cycles (hence the "...
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68 views

Technological challenges to sending a high altitude balloon to space and orbit from 50 km?

Below At what altitude would I have to go in a lighter than air balloon to be above all wind and just have the earth rotate underneath me? there is a comment: If you want to be above all winds, you ...
1
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1answer
136 views

Would the Yarkovsky effect ever be faster than a solar sail from a 1 AU orbit to the Sun?

Previously I'd mistakenly asked Would the Poynting–Robertson effect ever be faster than a solar sail from a 1 AU orbit to the Sun? when I'd meant to ask about the Yarkovsky effect which can be much ...
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98 views

How many Starship launches would it take to build this simple centrifugal space station concept?

Every centrifugal space station design I have seen uses either a large curved material or an inflatable structure. There have been no large scale curved material construction in space and only one ...
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200 views

Orbit to Orbit Transport Stage

Would it be faster or cheaper to have a lander, SSTO, and/or SpaceX Mars rocket to rendezvous connect with a more efficient engine or "transport stage" or another lander, SSTO? When the spacecraft ...
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151 views

Very Low Gravity Bicycle

There are a couple of existing questions about riding bicycles off of Earth. Designing a bicycle for Mars? Can you ride a bicycle on Deimos? Bicycles are lightweight and proved a reliable method ...
1
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1answer
113 views

Would mass drivers be able to transport base material on the moon more efficiently than drones?

I am a hobbyist working on a climate change adaptation idea that is a variation of orbital sun shades. It would project soil/material from the moon to provide targeted shading for whatever part of ...
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88 views

How should mass specific impulse calculated for relativistic exhaust?

This answer says: Optimising for Isp only is problematic, as it's simply: $$I_{sp} = \frac{v_e}{g}$$ Which is the same as optimising for exhaust velocity. With no constraints on thrust, particle ...
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60 views

How is it possible to reduce the weight of a high-energy laser?

To provide some context.. I have designed an interstellar spacecraft called Solar One. It employs a combination of 3 propulsion methods: nuclear fusion, beam-powered propulsion , and photon propulsion....
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172 views

Sharp nose or Blunt nose vehicle for higher rentry speeds?

Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) is a crewless, experimental hypersonic glide vehicle rocket glider developed as part of the DARPA Falcon Project capable of flying at 13,000 mph (Mach 17.53, 21,...