Questions tagged [engineering]

Questions regarding the design or process of design of a spacecraft.

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2
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0answers
29 views

Technical feasibility of using Raptor engines for Vulcan rocket

According to a recent GAO report (p. 116), ULA's Vulcan rocket's BE-4 engines are "experiencing technical challenges" and there is some concern whether they will be ready / certified in time ...
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2answers
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How realistic is the 1 kg/km² solar sail in “Death's End”?

(This question has been migrated from the SciFi StackExchange.) From Cixin Liu's 2010 sci-fi novel Death's End (pages 68–69): "A radiation sail can be made very thin and light. Based on the ...
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of certain radial symmetries in spacecraft construction?

I'm mainly considering the merits and drawbacks of threefold versus fourfold (or higher, like sixfold and eightfold) radial symmetries when it comes to the construction of a fuselage for a spacecraft ...
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1answer
147 views

Why are propellant tanks filled from the bottom?

It seems that the norm is to (fast-) fill fuel and oxidiser tanks from the bottom. For example, on this drawing of the Saturn S-IC stage you can see the LOX and RP-1 fill valves at the bottom of the ...
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Did or do space station engineers need to worry about angular momentum stored in circulating fluids?

One of the ISS' main uses is to provide a long duration microgravity environment for a wide variety of experiments. For some experiments residual acceleration needs to be much smaller than average. ...
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Pressurant gas line design considerations

I am trying to understand the constraints on pressurant gas line sizes and lengths. For a static volume, the lines can be small in diameter because there is no significant flow velocity and therefore ...
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2answers
119 views

Have solid dish antennas on deep space spacecraft (as opposed to meshes) ever provided any other helpful function? As meteor shields perhaps?

This answer to Which deep space spacecraft had main dish antennas that were perforated or made from mesh? tells the tale: Galileo's troubled high gain antenna was made from "a gold-plated ...
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1answer
77 views

Since Vesta is rotating, could you dig a habitat into it near the poles?

Would building a crescent shaped habitat work if you didn't want to go all the way? Edit: I'm asking if this would be enough to provide artificial gravity, sorry not not being clear about it.
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1answer
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What do large, modern communications satellites look like inside (roughly at least)?

Modern communications satellite in GEO are big, majestic beasts. They are quite large and voluminous. They can sport quite an array of antennas and handle huge bandwidths and multiple communications ...
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1answer
152 views

Is it possible to launch a rocket with steam by using a fission reactor?

The idea is to use a fission reactor to turn water into steam pumping it outside the reaction chamber through heat pipes.
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272 views

Which explode in spaceflight more often, nuts or bolts?

The history of spaceflight is littered with exists because of exploded nuts and bolts (and upon further reflection, a whole lot of other items!) "Exploding bolts" is really a generic term. ...
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1answer
170 views

Why have we not seen spin gravity testing in space? Artificial gravity created through centrifugal/centripetal force [duplicate]

Why have I not seen any spin gravity testing in space? Or, more accurately, artificial gravity created through centrifugal/centripetal force. I haven't heard of any tests in standalone spacecraft or ...
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How heavy were Perseverance's balance masses?

Perseverance ejected two 70 kg "cruise balance masses" just before it became an airplane, to move its center of mass off axis and increase its angle of attack from 0° to about 16° to make it ...
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2answers
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Can we engrave on the Moon by focusing laser from the Earth?

I would like to know if it is possible to make an engraving or burning moon's surface by focusing high energy laser beam from earth?
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What is your experience with using NASA's Core Flight System (cFS) in a subordinate system?

Has anyone used NASA's cFS on board a discrete system mounted on board an existing satellite/rover? What is your experience like? Have you encountered any difficulty forwarding TM/TC and managing ...
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5answers
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Which US Air Force career should I be in for the best chances at becoming some sort of electrical engineer at SpaceX? [closed]

I flunked in high school and early college because I wasn't in the right mindset. No drive or motivation to do my best. I now want to pursue SpaceX's vision because it's similar to my vision, and I ...
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3answers
153 views

How do I get started in designing a rocket?

I am in the first year of high school and am trying my self at aerospace engineering,I just can't figure out a "checklist" for everything I need and how to design everything I need, it is a ...
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1answer
56 views

Small liquid rockets are hard/expensive to build, but what about to use them?

It's become a sad and oft-demoralizing truism that it's quite difficult and expensive to design or build even low-performance liquid-fueled rocket engines, and that amateurs -- even those with skills ...
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8answers
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What led NASA et al. to decide the ISS should be a zero-g station when the massive negative health and quality of life impacts of zero-g were known?

As the month of November 2020 has marked 2 decades of the ISS being operational as well as the first operational flight of a next-generation spacecraft to it, I felt it fit to ask this question today. ...
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1answer
609 views

Why is NASA sending wavy grousers to Mars?

In this answer to What are the lines on the wheels of the Perseverance rover called? Are they different than Curiosity's? and in sources linked therein we've learned that the lines across the business ...
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1answer
2k views

Why is Electron painted in black?

Falcon 9 is painted white to avoid heating the liquid oxygen. Why is Electron not also painted white? Rocket color-related questions: Why parts of RocketLab's Electron become white before launch? ...
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2answers
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How hot do rocket engine nozzles get?

What temperatures are encountered by the nozzles of rocket engines like those in SpaceX's Merlin series? Radiative or regenerative cooling, atmosphere or vacuum. There's plenty of info about exhaust ...
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1answer
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What does the connector supports on the payload adapter do?

Good day, I am currently doing a project for university in which I have to redesign the connector support for the Payload Adapter (PLA 1194 VG) for the Vega(picture shown). I would like some ...
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216 views

Can Chemical Engineer work on something related to space?

I am an undergraduate student (scientific section) living in Qatar. I have a big interest in astronomy and astrophysics and have participated in the IOAA (International Olympiad on Astronomy and ...
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119 views

Working in the space industry with a Physics degree

What roles could a Physics major be employed in within the space industry? Systems Engineer or Technician? How rigoursly do space companies adhere to engineering degree requirements in the job ...
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1answer
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Demonstrating molten oxide electrolysis on the Moon, what would require the most power, keeping it molten or driving the electrolysis?

It seems that oxygen may be extractable from oxides in lunar regolith using "some variant of the" molten oxide electrolysis. Assuming that solar energy is used in a lunar setting, what would ...
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Why are all space initiatives designed to get to space overnight when in Nature all extreme feats are achieved in a gradual process

Is the current design paradigm of space engineers still too anti-naturalistic? Why not design Space Cruisers first large & slow but steady into outer orbit, over months rather than in a day? I ...
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1answer
111 views

How did the first astronauts/kosmonauts in the 1940s/1950s *know* that the sky isn't actually a dome with “little dots” (stars)?

This may sound ridiculous, like a joke question, but I'm for real. I've been thinking a lot about things like this, but I always return to this question: Those early "space explorers" who ...
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1answer
64 views

Could a skyhook be used to change a satelites orbit from polar to equitorial?

Could this work if the skyhook also had ion engines to maintain its orbit or would the cable just snap?
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Book Recommendation on History of Spaceflight

I'm a CS/Engineering student at CalTech and I'm searching for a book that can help me better understand the history of spaceflight and the problems associated with getting humans to space. Since this ...
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3answers
140 views

Would the trajectory of a comet be altered by attaching a parachute to it?

I am curious to know if the trajectory of a comet that is on a collision course for Earth could be altered by simply attaching a parachute to it. The parachute interacting with the comet's tail should ...
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How is fuel measured in spacecraft? [duplicate]

On something like a gravity-bound automobile, fuel is measured with a float that moves a variable resistor but I would think this would not be possible on a rocket, one because of extreme G-forces ...
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1answer
793 views

Why do larger and newer rockets not use electric pumps?

Rocketlab's Electron uses an electric pump combustion cycle with no preburner so all fuel is fed into the combustion chamber rather than wasted in a preburner/staged combustion-powered turbopump that ...
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1answer
117 views

How is fuel distributed in multi engine rocket stages?

How is fuel distributed evenly to multi-engine rockets like the Falcon 9, Electron, or multi-engined Centaurs? I would presume that there is only one main propellant line that goes down the raceway ...
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2answers
239 views

What is it about parachutes that makes people always want to “re-invent the wheel”?

For technology that involves complex engineering issues, standardization and specialization is extremely helpful. If I want to design a complex ASIC IC I don't design it from scratch, I just drag-and-...
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What is the load path for thrust in a rocket engine? [duplicate]

This may be a duplicate of this question but I wasn't sure if I could hijack that one to clarify or regenerate interest there. What is the distribution of axial force in a combustion chamber? My ...
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1answer
181 views

Would a small electron microscope in a cubesat work well in space at 400 km?

There is now an electron microscope in space! Suppose that once I win a lottery I can build a small, modest SEM column and put it in a 6U cubesat that opens one side to allow the electron optics to ...
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1answer
177 views

What calculations should I do to go from LEO to the moon with an ionic motor?

my question is, what calculations should I do to be able to go from LEO to the lunar orbit? If this were done, two of these thrusters would be used https://www.cubesatshop.com/product/ifm-nano-...
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1answer
186 views

Are there active (as of 2020) developments in liquid-fuel tank technology?

This question was broken off from previous mega-question located here. I am aware of the broad liquid fuel tank types: V-2-style steel fuselage Integral steel Integral aluminum (with varying types ...
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Would it be possible to make a bubbleworld in an asteroid? [duplicate]

Would it be possible to drill a bore hole into an asteroid, fill it with water tanks and use sunlight to blow a hole large enough to fit a rotating space station inside, seal it off and fill it with ...
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1answer
127 views

How well does polymer filament survive space radiation?

I am reading Medium.com's 3D Printing Is Going to Space and Made In Space is doing something very cool. However, the point of failure in a system like this seems to be the polymer strut itself - how ...
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2answers
486 views

Which CI/CD system do/would space companies like SpaceX use for continuous integration in their devops practice? [closed]

I wonder whether there are, or are recognizable in near future, industry specifics for CI/CD solutions in a space engineering company like SpaceX, compared to other companies where mass manufacturing ...
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2answers
232 views

Space Shuttle Stack alignment

The Space Shuttle is a good example of asymmetric launch vehicle. It required heavily-gimballing engines to keep everything balanced. As a KSP enthusiast, I found that attaching the external tank to ...
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1answer
150 views

Can sunlight be utilised as a mining “laser drill”?

Can sunlight be used to bore a hole into an asteroid in the belt, so metals with a high enough melting point are left behind, ablated off for easy recovery? Or is the sun too far away?
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Are ferrofluidic seals used in spaceflight? Main applications? Human-rated?

Comments below this answer have inspired this quesiton. Wikipedia's Ferrofluidic seal sez: Ferrofluid-sealed feedthroughs routinely operate in environments including ultra-high vacuum (below 10⁻⁸ ...
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1answer
87 views

Could a magnetic scoop work as a means to refuel a tank with hydrogen in orbit?

How effective would this be or would the Earth's magnetic field make it useless? Would it take too long for this to be of any use?
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1answer
111 views

What parameters drive the development effort and cost of a liquid rocket engine for orbital launchers(LEO - GEO)?

The development cost for a rocket engine drives the cost for a launcher and can be attributed to some basic parameters Apart from the few below, what others may be critical to developing and designing ...
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1answer
118 views

Where should ion drives be placed on a rotating space station of the lop-sided dumbbell variety?

I have been working on a model of a proposed artificial gravity facility by Joe Carroll, based on this paper. It is an initial concept paper and it doesn't spell everything out, so I am trying to ...
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2answers
217 views

Help Finding A Book

I am trying to find the book that contains the following chapter: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/cami/library/online_libraries/aerospace_medicine/tutorial/...
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3answers
215 views

Is it possible to identify the main systems that would be present in a generalized space station?

What are the main parts of any space station? I have been making a 3D model of a hypothetical space station, and I'd like to ask if it is possible to identify some main components and/or subsystems ...