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Questions tagged [engineering]

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

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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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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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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
891 views

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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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
83 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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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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3answers
195 views

At what size does a bigger solar sail stop increasing your acceleration?

Is there a point where the larger solar sail would not add more thrust? What is the most thrust a solar sail can produce? Can a solar sail be added to an ion engine and work better?
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1answer
164 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, ...
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1answer
208 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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4answers
279 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 detla V capabilities? Inspired by S.F. As S.F....
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1answer
483 views

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
93 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
107 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 ...
10
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1answer
465 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
201 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
143 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
8k views

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 ...
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Is fuel tank pressure structurally important? [duplicate]

Being super lightweight structures, do rockets depend to some degree on internal pressure of their fuel tanks for structural integrity?
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2answers
828 views

Troubleshooting a DIY Ion Thruster

Been following a Make-Magazine article on how to make your own ion thruster: https://makezine.com/projects/ionic-thruster/ Went through the tutorial step by step, not seeming to get any thrust out of ...
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1answer
162 views

Are there any mechanisms that would allow automated landing on a planet after 65,000 years?

I'm pretty certain this is a "no", but I'm a biologist, not a space scientist, and I'm attempting to answer this question over on Biology.SE - basically, if we launched a (very slow) craft/object ...
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1answer
240 views

Why were individual shuttle tiles changed from white to black or black to white?

The Paper Space Scale Models website has a PDF which details changes to the STS Orbiter Markings on a per-mission basis. Most of the changes are in the tiles. It can be seen that often a single black ...
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1answer
646 views

Transitioning into space software engineering

I have been a Web Developer in London since I graduated in 2012. My skills reside mainly in the Microsoft stack (MSSQL, .NET, C#, MVC and all the front-end stuff). I have always been very interested ...
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2answers
302 views

Was computer aided design used on the Space Shuttle Program?

With the Space Shuttle system being as complex as it was I was wondering the following; did the initial engineering teams in the 70's use any form of CAD/CAE or did they simply utilize the same ...
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221 views

How long can it be reasonably expected to wait for the first flight of SpaceX's BFR? [closed]

Elon Musk has said that he's planning to launch two uncrewed BFR rockets to Mars by 2022. And of course there would be some test launches even before that. For such an enormous project, I don't see ...
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1answer
581 views

How do the booms on ISS (and other spacecraft) extend and retract?

In an answer to my previous question, OrganicMarble posted a video: The booms like through the center of ISS solar panels are quite common in space use - supporting ...
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2answers
380 views

Does the Hubble telescope use a “simple” PID-controller for its pointing control system?

I am wondering whether the Hubble Space Telescope uses a "simple" PID controller like this: Or is it using another type of control system that may be much more complex?
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2answers
686 views

Is there an equivilant to aircraft ATA100 numbering system for Spacecraft?

The ATA100 numbering system is frequently used in aircraft as a common referencing standard. "The unique aspect of the chapter numbers is its relevance for all aircraft. Thus a chapter reference ...
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3answers
408 views

How well can hybrid motors be throttled?

Pretty self explanatory: down to what percentage can hybrid rocket engines be throttled to? And what fuel / oxidiser combinations allow for the greatest throttling? I'm planning on using hybrids for ...
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2answers
509 views

How does a thermal control system of a spacecraft basicaly work?

I'd like to know how a thermal control system of a spacecraft basically works. As the only possibility to get rid of the thermal heat is through radiation, I'd like to get a basic qualitative ...
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1answer
169 views

Is there a space-certification procedure used by commercial spacecraft manufactures for electronic components?

For electronic components at the level of say electrolytic capacitors, ethernet connectors connectors, and possibly in the future fiber optic connectors/electrical signal interfaces are there well ...
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0answers
220 views

Could multimode (polymer) optical fiber Gigabit Ethernet be a better choice than WiFi inside future satellites?

In this answer the recent question Are and should satellites use wireless communication internally, rather than cables? it is stated that: This is actually an open research area and despite ...
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2answers
427 views

What happens next if the root cause of one rocket failure won't be identified?

Supposing that in a rocket failure engineers don't find what the root cause was, what will happen next? In general if the root cause will never be fully understood is there a law, rule, or standard ...
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5answers
404 views

Are and should satellites use wireless communication internally, rather than cables?

Some applications on Earth replace wires with radio communication, standard stuff like Bluetooth. It saves mass and maybe complexity. Is this done for intra-satellite communication and deep space ...
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2answers
484 views

How are spacecraft engineered to prevent overheating?

Been reading about early space exploration again, especially Sputnik 2 (1957) and Venera 1 (1961). Both of these suffered from overheating. It strikes me that a metal object will easily "absorb" the ...
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1answer
541 views

Purpose of hemisphere under shuttle nose cone (Enterprise)

I noticed a small hemisphere protruding from the dorsal side of the Enterprise space shuttle's nose cone, forward of the front landing gear. I have no clue what its purpose is but am far from an ...
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2answers
351 views

Which are the benefits and challenges for a new SLS rocket version with four SRB? [closed]

Which are the benefits and the challenges for a new Space Launch System (SLS) version with four Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB)? Benefits i mean what would gain in payload capabilities, how much more ...
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1answer
2k views

How realistic would the Sea Dragon engine be to produce given today's technology?

Just learned of the Sea Dragon proposal from back in 1962. From the Wikipedia entry The first stage was to be powered by a single enormous 80,000,000 pounds-force (360 MN) thrust engine burning RP-...
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8answers
11k views

What would be the (most difficult) challenge to make a “10,000 year satellite”?

Update: Bezos' recent Tweeted update on the 10,000 year clock. Also see The Verge's Construction begins on Jeff Bezos’ $42 million 10,000-year clock The discussions associated with the question Can ...
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105 views

How to compute angular velocity of fluid ring for passive control?

Excuse me, friends. In paper , for passive control with eq.4, how to compute beta? beta is angular velocity of fluid in fluid. the satellite has initial angular velocity, but with filled fluid ring we ...
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3answers
508 views

notation to describe an elliptical orbit? (3000km x 40000km)

For a project a professor assigned, he described an elliptical orbit by using the notation: (3000km x 40000km). Ive never seen this notation before and couldn't find much help online. I just assumed ...
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1answer
643 views

Has any work been done on alternatives to rolling element bearings in rocket turbopumps?

Specifically: Using some high pressure gas (before or after combustion) as a fluid bearing. A superconducting maglev bearing, possibly using fuel as coolant. Any related work is also welcome.
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2answers
106 views

Lessons Learned - What can space power system design teach Antarctic remote sensing systems

I know that a lot of brilliant engineering has gone into developing the space technology that we have. So, what engineering lessons about dealing with extreme cold and portable power sources do you ...
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1answer
346 views

What are the causes of Reaction Wheel Failures/Anomalies? [duplicate]

What are the mechanisms of reaction wheel anomalies? Are there any fish bone or fault tree analyses on these issues?
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1answer
565 views

Why are the nose cones of current spacecraft less pointy?

You would think that with the quest for aerodynamic efficiency in current spacecraft that the nose-cones at the pointy end of the launch-vehicle would have a sharp taper, more so for craft that aren't ...
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2answers
316 views

What mitigation procedures are in place in space systems to prevent whisker growth?

It has been found (from missions like the Long Duration Exposure Facility, LDEF) that some metals, especially tin and cadmium in solders, used in space-electronics assemblies, form crystal whiskers ...
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2answers
82 views

Monoatomic species at orbital altitudes

Besides monoatomic oxygen, what other monoatomic or chemically reactive atmospheric or environmental constituents, if any, are present at orbital altitudes that aren't present at lower altitudes, and ...
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1answer
616 views

For space-qualified electronic components, what is an “SCD”?

In terms of engineering documentation for space-qualified electronic components, what is an "SCD"? See, for example, page 6 of this document. Is an SCD a common document and does it apply to other (...
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189 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?