Questions tagged [design]

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

28 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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Were solar concentrators on HS-702 just a stop-gap measure until triple-junction PV cells were available?

According to Gunter's Space Page discussion of early versions of the Hughes HS-702 Bus: The first version of the 702 used solar arrays with concentrators. These concentrators tended to early fogging, ...
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144 views

Are black and white stripes any better than uniform gray for thermal control?

Q: What color is a spaceship? Several answers and comments on Why were Europe's first few satellites so stylish? Why the pronounced alternating white and black stripes? contain phrases like "...
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211 views

Why is the diameter of the boosters of some launch vehicles smaller than the diameter of their payload fairing?

Whilst watching yesterday's Starliner launch I've noticed how skinny that Centaur (3.1m) looks compared to the CST-100 (4.5m). Looking up the Atlas V I was amazed to find out that it has even larger (...
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116 views

How does the SpaceX Dragon nosecone separate?

SpaceX's Dragon uses a nosecone to protect the docking port during ascent. The nosecone seems very large. 1/3 of the capsule's height large. And yet, it separates while the second stage engine is ...
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256 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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133 views

Why is the relative axial position of oxidizer vs fuel tank inverted in the upper stages of most rockets?

In the first stages of most rockets, e.g. Atlas V, Delta IV and Falcon 9, the oxidizer tank is stacked on top of the fuel tank, with the usual explanation that such an arrangement gives the rocket a ...
4
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190 views

Are LiPo batteries more suitable for 1st stage electric power than Li-ion batteries?

I've just ran across two mentions in Scott Manley's videos of LiPo batteries (Lithium-polymer) in first stage launch applications. These involve power levels of megawatts. Why The Electron Rocket May ...
4
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241 views

What were Hubble's jerk and jounce limits? Did JWST have the same?

From Wikipedia: In physics, jerk is the rate of change of acceleration; that is, the derivative of acceleration with respect to time, and as such the second derivative of velocity, or the third ...
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140 views

What is the specific compression strength of an orbital tower structure?

Taper ratio is a central concept for space elevators and tethers. It tells how much larger the cross section of the tether has to be at one end of the tether, compared to the other. Being a ...
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67 views

(Possibly fictional) Can you locate this mysterious Project Orion design with NERVA engines as RCS?

Some years ago, I happened to see a drawing of a hypothetical Project Orion (the Nuclear Pulse Propulsion one) type spaceship, that had the notable (and highly questionable, IMO) feature of having a ...
3
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109 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 ...
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191 views

Would a mass driver that uses a cushion of air to suspend its capsule be more efficient?

The Hyperloop is like a mass driver - magnetically accelerate a capsule in an evacuated tube. But it uses air bearings and linear induction motors, unlike other designs. Considering SpaceX's CEO Elon ...
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38 views

Have there been any square 4U (2x2) cubesats?

How much did each MarCO 6U cubesat weigh? suggests that the density of a MarCO 6U cubesat might be as low as 0.75 g/cm^3 whereas I think they are usually about twice that. That led me to speculate ...
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92 views

How to design heatshield bluntness?

How is the bluntness or curvature of a heat shield of a reentry spacecraft designed? If the answer depends on size and mass, consider a deep space sample return "mini capsule" 50 cm in ...
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74 views

Minimal heating a realistic reentry vehicle could achieve?

In this question, I asked whether it would be possible to make a reentry vehicle that could slow down from orbit and glide to the ground entirely passively. The answers and comments point out several ...
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147 views

What was the volume of the Space Shuttle orbiter, not just the crew cabin or cargo bay but the total volume of the entire craft?

For context, after an in-depth Google search, I asked the question "What was the volume of the Space Shuttle orbiter, not just the crew cabin or cargo bay but the total volume of the entire craft?" on ...
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41 views

Special Case Constellation Analysis Approach: Walker Constellation with Circular (e = 0) orbit in LEO

I am familiar with the general approach to propagate orbits using orbital parameters, and how to account for basic J2 perturbations. I am looking to perform some analysis on large walker ...
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58 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 ...
2
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104 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 ...
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424 views

LEO constellation design

I am designing a LEO constellation (altitudes between 300-600 to be more specific) for a term project and i have some issues. My goal is to design a satellite constellation which takes images of a ...
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9 views

How much did each MarCO 6U cubesat weigh?

Yes the answer is zero now because they are weightless, but I used past tense. In any event, let's try to find a good, reliable source for each spacecraft's mass and whether that number is dry or ...
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34 views

Essential sensors for cubesat ADCS

We are building a 3U satellite to orbit Earth and measure space debris. Between gyroscope, GPS, IMU, magnetometer, Sun sensors and star tracker, which would be essential sensors for the ADCS? Or ...
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74 views

How will SpaceX's VisorSat work? How could a sunshade articulate to shade parts of Starlink satellite as it orbits the Earth?

CNET's Elon Musk wants SpaceX to launch the next generation of space telescopes says: The billionaire entrepreneur said that "VisorSat" satellites equipped with a sunshade to block ...
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94 views

What is the limit to which we can scale up uniformly in all directions Space Shuttle SRB before it becomes unable to take off?

Let's say we like the Space Shuttle design so much, we want to use it as a reference for our new rocket. But we want to build rocket which will be capable of launching larger payload into Earth's ...
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85 views

How does the inter-propellant seal works in kerosene/LOX and UDMH/NTO rockets?

I get that the inter-propellant seal on the SSME LOX HP pump is simply a series of cascading regular seals trying to eliminate bleed-through by venting and letting boil at each stage, so that when ...
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44 views

How much more hardware is needed in a cross-fed CBC rocket than a non-cross-fed one?

Is it just a matter of adding a multi-in fuel manifold?
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241 views

How to optimize a Pulse-Width Pulse-Frequency (PWPF) modulated attitude control system?

Is the optimization process for fuel used, response time, thruster activity different? How is the trade-off between these done? Also, is there a better controller for on-off RCS thruster system?
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338 views

How was the Stabilo crewed re-entry vehicle supposed to work? A tractor engine with four nozzles?

ARCA Space's webpage for the Stabilo program has a description and an image. Hydrogen peroxide monopropellant? Reaction closer to the crew than the nozzle? With thrust at the top, it seems that ...