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Questions tagged [engineering]

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

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0 answers
73 views

RL10 Injector Plate

Could anyone enlighten me with this puzzle ? The following frames are screenshots from an P&W RL10 engine's video. It's actually the top view of Fuel Injector Manifold and the LOX/Injector Domes (?...
0 votes
1 answer
193 views

What practical tasks did you start working on in programming PLD/FPGA for spacecraft?

There are a great many areas of application of PLD/FPGA in spacecraft. Let's take as a basis this classification of domains and subdomains, proposed in the November 24, 2023 FPGAInsights.com blogpost ...
2 votes
0 answers
87 views

Would (Dual Concentric inline Powerhead) FFSC Cycle engine be possible to engineer

I,ve been wondering if it was possible engineer and how we would we work it out DUAL preburner inline FFSCC ENGINE with concentric core and individual concentric turbine inside one another and maybe ...
1 vote
0 answers
77 views

What is the ratio of air and ethyl alcohol that must be in order to power a rocket engine? [closed]

There is a rocket engine that will run on a fuel pair: air + ethyl alcohol, but what percentage of components should be supplied ...
5 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why does the heatshield have to be on the outside?

To what extent has internal insulation been tested to deal with the heat of re-entry? In the case of Starship, is the existing steel strong enough (to be non-ablative!), or would a different type of ...
1 vote
0 answers
105 views

Aspiring to Build a Space Rover from Scratch – Where to Begin? [closed]

What fundamental concepts, beginner-friendly resources, or online courses would you recommend for someone starting with little to no background in robotics? At first, I want to build a an autonomous ...
15 votes
1 answer
684 views

How much energy is lost by damping yaw from a SpinLaunch?

SpinLaunch hopes to launch a 200 kg satellite from a ground-based centrifuge, at 5000 mph, and more troublingly, at 450 rpm aka 7 tumbles per second. (The 3000 rpm figure mentioned in its tech sheets ...
1 vote
0 answers
154 views

How do I transfer passengers from the non-rotating dock to the rotating habitat ring of my space station? [duplicate]

For a story I'm working on, my characters have just docked with a space station in Low Earth orbit. It's set in the 2080s, so we're assuming no game-changing leaps of technology, merely what's ...
6 votes
0 answers
115 views

Looking for Apollo Flight Control Hardware Blueprints (such as RHC, THC and COAS)

I've been looking to build replicas of Apollo flight control hardware such as RHC, THC, ACA, TTCA and COAS, and am looking for detailed engineering drawings that show dimensions and internal ...
6 votes
1 answer
883 views

Manned Spacecraft/Space Station design Requirements

I am looking for some document that summarizes all the aspects that need to be taken care of during design (structural resistance, life support system, thermal regulation, etc.). Something similar to ...
32 votes
8 answers
8k views

Apollo: what was the big deal?

I am curious what aspects of the Apollo program were impressive/advanced from an engineering perspective, in the 1960s and 1970s. That is, what would have made an educated engineer say, “Wow, they ...
9 votes
1 answer
290 views

How far did the MUSTARD project get?

http://www.astronautix.com/m/mustard.html As described above, MUSTARD was a BAC project to develop a fully reusable VTO/HL shuttle to transport crew and payload to earth orbit. There were many ...
2 votes
1 answer
225 views

Why are some satellite solar arrays arranged in a zig-zag pattern

Some of the solar panel arrays I've seen on satellites are arranged in this weird zig-zag pattern. Even when they're fully deployed they still have this arrangement. Why? What's the benefit from doing ...
0 votes
0 answers
50 views

When sending a ship to mars what is the optimal travel path [duplicate]

its pretty self explanitory but I need to figure it out but not something from the past a ship that could be sent in the next 5-7 years what would be my time frame using the least amount of fuel and ...
2 votes
0 answers
180 views

HTOL vs VTOL first stages

For a generic launch vehicle, would Horizontal Take off be better than VTOL like most orbital launch vehicles?
0 votes
0 answers
125 views

What is the propellant tank weight or weight ratio on dry weight of liquid propellant rocket engine?

I need propellant tank ( or oxidizer tank)'s dry weight- without propellant and engine mass. For example ARES-V's dry mass at earth departure stage is 21,795 kg, What percent of this is tanks' dry ...
3 votes
1 answer
143 views

Equations evaluating engine performance

What kind of equation would best evaluate a rocket engine's performance in foreign atmospheres such as Mars? Does it matter that specific impulse does not consider air resistance? Should I focus on ...
5 votes
0 answers
169 views

How Spacex's Raptor Rocket Engine starts?

How does the Spacex Raptor rocket engine start? What are the different stages of startup? Is the propellant pressure in the tanks sufficient to drive the turbopumps and ignite the preburners and then ...
1 vote
0 answers
64 views

Weld name and symbole notation [closed]

My questions are in regards to thin metal sheets. Are these weld joints standard in the industry? What weld type is preferred for thin metal sheets? What is the proper name and symbol notation for ...
3 votes
1 answer
91 views

What material can a maser sail design use?

A quick recap for photon sails: Photon sails are conceptual spacecraft propulsion systems that would generate thrust from radiation pressure. Types of photon sails include solar sails, laser sails and ...
4 votes
0 answers
178 views

What is the largest number of rocket engines ever successfully used on a single craft as of 2022?

A fully stacked Starship was rolled to the pad this week for testing. The byline caught my eye, though (emphasis mine) SpaceX moves a massive rocket with 33 engines to its launch pad for tests No ...
8 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
157 views

Would a ring system for the Earth be a net benefit in terms of climate change? Is an artificial ring feasible? [closed]

The greenhouse effect as I understand it is because sunlight hits the Earth, and is re-radiated as infrared heat, which is then trapped by greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, like CO2 and Methane. So ...
34 votes
8 answers
13k views

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. ...
1 vote
1 answer
572 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?
9 votes
1 answer
242 views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
192 views

Why do "Relativistic Light Sails Need to Billow"?

The University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science blogpost How to Design a Sail that Won’t Tear or Melt on an Interstellar Voyage links to two new Nano Letters papers: Matthew ...
7 votes
1 answer
312 views

What systems onboard the JWST are redundant and which are not?

Examining the capabilities of the JWST I figured that a lot of systems, e.g. the rotation wheels are redundant in order to avoid/reduce risks of failure. Right now as I write this the Gimbaled Antenna ...
2 votes
1 answer
201 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
68 views

Would a system of geosynchronous magnetic field satelites around Mars protect it from solar wind?

My entire life I've been obsessed with space travel, for the passed few years I've liked the idea of terraforming. I've learned a lot lately and i think I'm ready to begin research for some ...
21 votes
3 answers
3k views

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. ...
0 votes
1 answer
176 views

Why don't robotic spacecraft have "general purpose" companions?

TL;DR: Why don't we have minion bots with WD-40 and duct tape, alongside every robotic mission? I am a software engineer, but I also enjoy and am good with using manual or power tools. Therefore I ...
2 votes
0 answers
100 views

What would have to be done to Perseverance's twin rover Optimism to make it capable of a limited Mars roving mission?

A comment under If the James Web Space Telescope goes up in smoke, is there a backup? mentions that the Perseverance rover has a twin and supports that with a link. I looked, expecting to see some ...
7 votes
1 answer
294 views

A few question about aerospace engineering from a high school student [closed]

I am a high school student who has an intention to study Aerospace Engineering in college. Does a degree in Aerospace Engineering open up a lot of career opportunities in the foreseeable future? ...
3 votes
3 answers
1k 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 rigorously do space companies adhere to engineering degree requirements in the job ...
1 vote
0 answers
967 views

What does it take to be an Astrodynamics Engineer?

Astrodynamics is really complicated and requires some incredible intuition for not just physics, but math and programming. Most job descriptions for Astrodynamics Engineer say something about a degree ...
10 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
25 votes
3 answers
5k views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
287 views

How can I become an astronaut?

For EU citizens to envisage a career in space, as an astronaut, the following ESA handbook gives details about the selection process. Similar information for US citizens can be found at this NASA site ...
5 votes
6 answers
2k views

If money weren't an issue, what's the best way to get maximum mass to LEO in 1 year? 5 years? 10? [closed]

I can kick this over to World Building if it's more appropriate, but I was hoping to get an actual technical examination of this. So here's the question: if money were not an issue and for some reason ...
7 votes
2 answers
499 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. ...
10 votes
4 answers
697 views

Who are the actual lead designers of manned spacecraft?

By "lead designer" I mean a person who oversaw the preliminary design phase for a manned spacecraft, being intimately involved in and ultimately responsible for crucial design choices and compromises. ...
9 votes
1 answer
411 views

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 ...
3 votes
0 answers
121 views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
598 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 ...
6 votes
0 answers
137 views

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. ...
5 votes
2 answers
174 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
71 views

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 ...
9 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...