Questions tagged [engineering]

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

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192 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
134 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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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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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
72 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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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
108 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
75 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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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
195 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 ...
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1answer
650 views

Why does the YF-75D nozzle have such a strong spiral pattern?

Why does the YF-75D nozzle material have such a strong spiral pattern? Is it a result/biproduct of a manufacturing process only, or does it have some specific function? edit: The last, cropped ...
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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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103 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 veracity 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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515 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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Why do KSC crawler-transporters use caterpillar treads instead of rail tracks?

The two Kennedy Space Center crawler-transporters, used to transport Saturn V, Shuttle and SLS rockets to the launchpad, move on caterpillar treads: Here's a SpaceFlight Insider video clip about ...
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4answers
280 views

What engineering processes (satellite/space vehicle related) require an atmosphere

So we all know that there are lots of engineering processes that are made 100 times better by negligible gravity, and that certain engineering process need to be performed in a vacuum (electron beam ...
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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
123 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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Becoming an astronaut with engineering background

Which engineering branch will be most suitable for becoming an astronaut, and what other options do I have if I want to become an astronaut with an engineering background?
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1answer
413 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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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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592 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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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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How are fuel tanks filled with cryogenic hydrogen?

Cryogenic hydrogen can react with the atmospheric Oxygen to produce an explosion: as well as being cold enough to liquefy (and possibly solidify) atmospheric oxygen, which can be an explosion ...
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2answers
8k views

What is the ideal shape for a rocket?

Obviously there are many factors that go into the design of a rocket. However, to me, many rockets seem very tall and skinny. What I mean is that an ideal rocket would have as little mass used for ...
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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 ...
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8answers
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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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443 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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3answers
495 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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112 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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1answer
871 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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85 views

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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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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247 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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160 views

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
1k 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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What is the difference between Space Dynamics & Astrodynamics in the engineering perspective?

Within the context of Aeronautics, there are seemingly different meanings corresponding to Space Dynamics and Astrodynamics. What is the difference between them in an engineering perspective, such as ...
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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
102 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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70 views

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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2answers
337 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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1answer
157 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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3k views

Why do pressure fed engines have combustion instabilities?

Reading about the Sea Dragon idea, I came upon this argument against it, which sounds compelling, but relies on more detailed knowledge than I have: Those are to be pressure-fed to avoid "...
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1answer
352 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
386 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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381 views

What are the practical engineering difficulties in building and launching large inflatable modules?

Currently there seem to be two efforts under way: Bigelow Aerospace RKK Energiya The latter source (an article in the Popular Mechanics by Anatoly Zak) intimates that structural creep is a major ...
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1answer
311 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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1answer
2k 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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268 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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1answer
495 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 ...