Questions tagged [end-of-life]

Questions related to extending the lifetime, and determining when the useful period of a satellite has ended

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how to estimate the fatigue life of a launch vehicle in conceptual or preliminary design?

A launch vehicle undergoes vibrational loads during ascent (and descent for reusable ones), how can the fatigue life be estimated in conceptual or preliminary design? Is there any data or standards ...
جامکلو حسن's user avatar
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How will InSight's hardware be damaged if the heaters fail?

InSight is scheduled to "die" due to the Dust on the solar arrays. From what I understand, once the power goes out, there won't be a way to keep the computers and batteries warm at night, so ...
RAD6000's user avatar
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Why procure a separate de-orbit vehicle for the ISS? Why can't the ISS flip over and de-orbit itself?

From NASA Solidifies Planning to Deorbit ISS in 2031: ISS average altitude estimates targeting re-entry early 2021 Figure 4. shows the ISS end-of-life de-orbit altitude, cargo resupply, and de-orbit ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Why is ~280 km one month before reentry the lowest altitude that the final ISS crew may see? Isn't that cutting it kinda close?

Writing this answer to When will the ISS deorbit? I came across Space Policy Online's NASA Solidifies Planning to Deorbit ISS in 2031 and the image below. It shows the estimated last crew occupying ...
uhoh's user avatar
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BBC: "A rocket launched by Elon Musk's space exploration company is on course to crash into the Moon and explode." Will it really explode?

The line following the title of BBC's Elon Musk SpaceX rocket on collision course with moon reads: A rocket launched by Elon Musk's space exploration company is on course to crash into the Moon and ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Why end-of-life GPS satellites given orbits that seemingly still intersect active satellite orbits but with a different period? Recipe for disaster?

This answer to Where are MEO satellites put at the end of their operational life? says (currently in full): This is an active area of research. As you noted, the main satellites that are in MEO are ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Where are MEO satellites put at the end of their operational life?

At the end of their operational life, satellites on geostationary orbit and higher are put in a graveyard orbit that is higher than their operational orbit. Satellites in LEO are slowed down so that ...
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State of Starman?

If Starman had been human and not a dummy, what would their state be now? Preserved or decayed? Dried? Frozen?
Martin Kochanski's user avatar
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What is/was Spitzer's schedule for end-of-life and what will be its final status?

Space.com's NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is no more. Here's what's next for infrared astronomy. says: The best infrared eye in the universe† has closed, and scientists will need to wait at least a ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Why does it take Spaceway 1 (satellite) two or three months to dump 73 kg of bipropellant?

I read on https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/01/directv-races-to-decommission-broken-boeing-satellite-before-it-explodes/ (mirror): In the time available, DirecTV said "it will be ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
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Would spacecraft rot or degrade over time faster on Mars, on The Moon, or in space?

One question I really wanna ask; do spaceship's rot? If they do degrade, does being on Mars, on The Moon, or in space increase the rotting speed of the spaceship? If so, in which environment would ...
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Will ESA's Solar Orbiter crash into Venus? If so, why?

The BBC News article European SolO probe ready to take on audacious mission links to the ESA video shown below and contains this 5 minute audio interview with NASA deputy project scientist on the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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How can Northrop Grumman's Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1, 2) "dock with 80% of satellites currently in a geostationary orbit"?

Parabolic Arc's Mission Extension Vehicle Headed for Space discusses Northrop Grumman's Mission Extension Vehicle, which is only briefly described in Wikipedia. The article states: A satellite ...
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In what state are satellites left in when they are left in a graveyard orbit?

I had this idea for a fictional scenario in which a forgotten satellite, like a communications satellite that was decommissioned because it was replaced by a newer model, was hacked into and then ...
Greg's user avatar
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Total delta-v expected from Lightsail-2's solar sail before end of mission, and why end it so soon?

While Bill Nye has recently gotten quite upset at us for some things (strong language for Bill Nye warning), in the video below he expresses heartfelt thanks to all members of the Planetary Society ...
uhoh's user avatar
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What will (or did) end of mission look like for the MarCo cubesats?

These two 6U's are the farthest cubsats from Earth. Are they still talking to us and being talked to? With loss of remaining propellant for momentum unloading needed for high-gain antenna pointing ...
uhoh's user avatar
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How would wheel attrition of MSL Curiosity play out to end of mobile mission?

Let's assume a scenario where wheel damages is what ends Curiosity's mobility on Mars. What kind of damages to the wheels would cause immobilization? For example, would a wheel collapse (i.e. become ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
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Could the Voyager spacecraft be spin-stabilized to keep their high gain antennas pointing towards the Sun (and therefore Earth)?

A suggestion has been made that the Voyagers may run out of propellant and so may not be able to maintain pointing near the Earth for communications. According to @BowlOfRed's answer: Although the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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How would the Voyagers finally die if allowed to transmit to the bitter end?

According to this answer and this question the Voyagers will run out of power to "operate a single instrument" in 2025 for Voyager 2 and a little longer for Voyager 1. It is purported to be the end of ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Coupling satellites already in orbit reduce drag and debris?

How would 2 or more satellites be joined to reduce atmospheric drag? Could a 3rd satellite tow and join 2 or more satellites that are in similar orbits to prevent Kessler syndrome? At the very least ...
Muze's user avatar
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Do owners of reentering spacecraft notify the countries' whose airspace they are likely to violate and seek permission?

@PearsonArtPhoto's answer contemplates: Any object that is below 100 km now is considered an aircraft, and technically needs the permission of the country over which it is flying to enter that air ...
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How long could a spacecraft be attached to ISS?

I've recently noticed how the "Design life, when docked to Space Station" parameter, varies across some of the modern spacecraft that are capable of docking to ISS these days: H-II Transfer Vehicle - ...
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Is there an end-of-life policy for Martian satellites?

When a terrestrial satellite nears the end of its useful life, it is often de-orbited to burn up in the atmosphere or sent up into a graveyard orbit. This is done to prevent the satellite from being ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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Has the answer to PopSci's question "How Many Years Does The Space Station Have Left?" been published?

This answer to the question Why does the ISS have to be destroyed? begins It doesn't, not really, but there will come a time when it will simply not be worth keeping it up. and mentions a study, ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Why are deorbited satellites allowed a slow orbit decay instead of burning them up rapidly?

In "What are the conditions for re-entry of an object in a (highly) elliptical orbit?" Eerie asks about orbital mechanics of orbital decay of decommissioned satellite: starting with extremely ...
SF.'s user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
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How can Cassini be a source of potential biological contamination?

In Wikipedia they mention that the Cassini spaceship will be destroyed in by sending it into Saturn's atmosphere: However, due to the spacecraft's dwindling fuel resources for further orbital ...
Moudiz's user avatar
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When Juno finally de-orbits into Jupiter, will metal sink to the core, or remain in the atmosphere?

The answer would have to be best scientific guess or theory, rather than fact, but has any thought been given to what actually happens to the metallic elements of a spacecraft de-orbited into Jupiter? ...
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Why destroy Juno at the end of the mission?

As follows from the mission timeline: Launch - August 5, 2011 Deep Space Maneuvers - August/September 2012 Earth flyby gravity assist - October 2013 Jupiter arrival - July 2016 Spacecraft will orbit ...
Creative Magic's user avatar
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Why would Cassini need to reach 64 degrees inclination before "threading the needle"?

The NY Times article Cassini’s Final Mission: Obliteration says that the Cassini spacecraft will end it's more than a decade long exploration of the Saturn system by raising the inclination of its ...
uhoh's user avatar
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What typically ends a satellite's life?

It has been my opinion that running out of station keeping propellent is what usually ends a satellite's useful life. Is this true? How much do different factors play in a satellite's lifespan? Some ...
HopDavid's user avatar
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Why is NASA planning to deorbit the ISS instead of reusing its newer modules, like the Russians will?

I was reading about Russia's plans to detach their modules from the ISS before its deorbit and use them to begin a new space station. The version I read said Zvezda (DOS-8) and Poisk (MRM-2) are ...
kim holder's user avatar
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Can the Philae lander survive one orbit of 67P? [duplicate]

The Aphelion of Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko is about 5.6829 AU. It has a orbital period of 6.44 years. If it stays on the comet for the entire period of its orbit, can it be usable when it is in the ...
tempusfugit's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
481 views

How many space craft have been intentionally crashed through 2014?

A couple of comments on the question Has there been any mission to land on a planet or moon in the Outer Solar System? suggesting that there is no scientific benefit to a crash on a moon, reminded me ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

How big of a problem is the Lunar eclipse in April 2014 for LADEE?

I've been watching this NASA ScienceCasts video on YouTube (also published on NASA Science), and towards the end the narrator mentiones the end of life for the LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust ...
TildalWave's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
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Could Cassini crash land on Mercury?

I saw a news article once that discussed having Cassini use gravity assists to crash land on Mercury to end it's life. Is this even possible, and is there a chance that this could actually happen? Or ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
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20 votes
1 answer
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What are the end-of-life options for large classified satellites?

The Delta IV Heavy recently launched NORL-65 to a low Earth orbit. Some of these missions will be in the range of 390 km altitude with circular orbits. Plus, the Delta IV Heavy is a big rocket, with ...
AlanSE's user avatar
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14 votes
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What is the life expectancy of a geosynchronous satellite dependent on?

When a geosynchronous/geostationary satellite is launched, how do its designers calculate its life expectancy? A random sampling of some communication satellites suggest that ~ten years might be the ...
coleopterist's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
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How do space missions preserve their batteries for so long?

If I have a set of rechargeable batteries, I count myself lucky if I can get them to last for more than 2 years. Yet there are many spacecraft out there, which use their batteries much more regularly ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
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39 votes
3 answers
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Why decommission the ISS?

What concerns, besides orbit decay and continued cost of operation (and potentially, a critical failure) are the motivations behind decommissioning the ISS by 2020? I mean, I'm fairly sure it would be ...
SF.'s user avatar
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