Questions tagged [engineering]

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

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7answers
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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
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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
55 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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32 views

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
128 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
223 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
101 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
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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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0answers
47 views

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
90 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
127 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
172 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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0answers
101 views

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
100 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
367 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
209 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
142 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
82 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
109 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
91 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
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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
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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 ...
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2answers
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How does the Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand work?

This photo instantly provokes a ton of questions in me: It shows the Dynamic Test Stand at Marshall SFC with the Enterprise, which was a Space Shuttle test vehicle, suspended for vibration testing. ...
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1answer
554 views

Sea level static test of an upper stage possible?

As we know that for the upper stages of the rocket, we need high propulsion efficiency thereby high specific impulse. For that we employ a nozzle with higher expansion ratios. Now, if we conduct the ...
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3answers
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Why isn't there research to build a standard lunar, or Martian mobility platform?

While many terrestrial mobility platforms have been very successful, why are we spending millions to every rover device making it unique? Sure enough, different worlds offer different conditions, but ...
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1answer
190 views

What exactly are Tindallgrams? (spaceflight related)

The word "Tindallgram" appears in three posts: this answer to How complex was the math and physics necessary to place Apollo 11 on the moon? What is a “Lear Processor” and how did it work? this ...
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2answers
189 views

Would a nuclear turbojet with a chemical afterburner be a suitable intermediate between a pure nuclear turbojet and a nuclear thermal rocket?

NOTE: This is not the place to question the fundamental viability of nuclear propulsion in aircraft and spacecraft. For context, in a spaceplane, the higher speeds you can attain under air-breathing ...
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1answer
843 views

How are umbilical connectors held in place until their intended detachment?

When a rocket is on its launch pad, umbilicals allow the flow of liquids, gases, electric power, and signals to the spacecraft. The umbilical is detached from the spacecraft at or before launch, to ...
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How is this engine put together? [duplicate]

I'm going through How to DESIGN, BUILD and TEST SMALL LIQUID-FUEL ROCKET ENGINES and am confused how their sample engine is physically built together. This is a picture of their assembly where the ...
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3answers
611 views

Overcoming the speed of light thanks to ion thrusters

I am wondering if I could build an ion thruster, that is capable of exit velocity bigger that the speed of light. If I start with the equation for calculating exit velocity $v_e$ of a particle of ...
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0answers
127 views

Parasite Satellite

With computers and technology becoming lighter and is also effected by drag. Could a small satellite that lacks certain systems be designed to utilize an existing satellites systems like radio, solar ...
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0answers
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Maturity of interplanetary rockets technology with known fuel supply is close?

Considerably, the scale of current jet propulsion rocket technology to leave Earth is closely connected to the target delivery mass, mission goal and the required fuel quantity to lift and deliver ...
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0answers
118 views

What is currently known as the thinnest combination of material to hold 1 atm in space?

What is currently known as the thinnest combination of material to hold 1 atm in space? Note: must define what the composing materials are.
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Does Rocket Lab's Rutherford have margin for uprating with improved battery technology?

We've seen with SpaceX's Merlin engines that the initial design had a lot of headroom for subsequent increases in chamber pressure and mass flow rate (from supercooling and densification) to gain ...
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1answer
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Why is a purging process necessary for static firing test of liquid rocket engines?

In Chapter 7 of Modern Engineering for Design of Liquid propellant Rocket Engines by Huzel and Huang, mentions the following engine cut off procedure. The cutoff sequence usually consists of ...
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0answers
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Career in Planetary Science with an Engineering background

I am passionate in achieving a career in Planetary Science. I have a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering background with an average academic record. I want to pursue a career in Planetary ...
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1answer
108 views

What parameters of an rocket engine determines whether it is fit for any more static hot fire test?

Typically engines built are repeatedly hot fired to analyses their performance. In between tests, what are the review that the engine undergoes? How is an engine gauged suitable for a hot fire ...
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0answers
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Is it undesirable for LOx to splash on the walls of combustion chamber?

Typically, there are annular ports on the injector plate to introduce fuel to cool the combustion chamber. Why is LOx not used for cooling despite it being extremely cold? Given there will be a lot ...
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1answer
539 views

Which of the orientation is preferred for static fire testing of a liquid rocket engine - vertical or horizontal?

Liquid rocket engine's hot fire testings are performed both vertically and horizontally. Vertical orientation - Falcon heavy, Falcon 9, Rutherford engine, UCSD Engine test from 2014 , Merlin 1D, MASA ...
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1answer
357 views

Can an air conditioner be made to work with 0 gravity?

In another question: How does the freon compressor work at 0 gravity? This seems overly complicated to get some cold air in space. Can an A/C compressor (we use in our house) be made to have gravity ...
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3answers
581 views

Can a solar sail be added to an ion engine and work better?

Has there been a concept vehicle that uses both solar sails and ion engines? Does the added mass of each system increase or reduce the spacecrafts total delta V capabilities? Inspired by S.F. As S.F....
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1answer
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How does a space probe differ from a satellite in terms of materials used and size?

Both of those space vehicles are meant to carry out different tasks. How are materials selected for both of them such that it benefits their task? And is size a debatable factor while building these ...
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1answer
388 views

How to identify loads for a Payload Adapter System during Rocket Launch?

Good afternoon, A classmate and me are doing a project for university in which I have to perform several structural analysis of the Payload Adaptar System 937C from Ariane V (picture shown). The ...
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2answers
156 views

Shock absorbing alternator possible for a rover?

Could replacing a Rovers struts (maybe a faster one that uses shock dampers in the future) with magnets similar to a shack flashlight but more heavier duty work well for recouping energy from movement ...
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1answer
501 views

What improvements does SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 have over prior version?

Does SpaceX disclose what improvements their Falcon 9 Block 5 will have over the Block 4 model? If so, what improved features will it have? I have heard general comments about it in the news, but I ...
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2answers
623 views

Why is the word 'Block' used along with a number to indicate the rocket version? [duplicate]

Why is the word "block" used to indicate a rocket's version? Based on usage, I sort of understand what is meant, but I am confused why the word "Block" is used. Examples: Falcon 9 Block 5 SLS Block ...
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1answer
169 views

Can airplane aluminium be used in low altitude rocket? (1km)

Can aluminium which is using in airplane construction be used in rocket? I consider, 1km is not altitude where resistance can destroy some parts of important rocket. Most probably rocket impulse will ...
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4answers
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Why is SpaceX building the Big Falcon Ship before the Big Falcon Rocket?

I believe that SpaceX is planning on building the BFS (Big Falcon Spacecraft) before the BFR (Big Falcon Rocket), which serves as the first stage for the second-stage BFS. Does anyone know why they ...