Questions tagged [engineering]

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

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8 votes
1 answer
284 views

Has any spacecraft to date suffered catastrophic gasket degeneration in space?

A gasket is a precisely formed body of some (yielding) material placed at a mating surface usually to prevent leakage. It may also be constructed of an alloy as was done in early IC engines. ...
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why was the Hubble Space Telescope purged with nitrogen gas?

Wikipedia states that The telescope had to be kept in a clean room, powered up and purged with nitrogen, until a launch could be rescheduled. Spacecraft are always kept in a clean room ...
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8 votes
2 answers
427 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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25 votes
2 answers
5k 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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33 votes
1 answer
8k views

How do manned spacecraft achieve an airtight connection while docking?

By another question I was reminded how hard it is to build airtight equipment such as vacuum chambers from multiple pieces. Docking or berthing space ships / space station modules is a rather similar ...
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13 votes
1 answer
10k views

What material properties would be necessary to shield a lander from the environment of the Venusian surface?

On March 1, 1982, the Venera 13 lander survived for 127 minutes in an environment with a temperature of 457 °C (855 °F) and a pressure of 89 Earth atmospheres (9.0 MPa). This says nothing of the ...
14 votes
4 answers
5k views

How feasible is it to harvest isotopes of Helium or Hydrogen from the gas giants?

The gas giants in our solar system have abundant quantities of Helium and Hydrogen. Is it possible to harvest these resources there? Does NASA have any plans to build some permanent base in space for ...

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