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Questions tagged [fuel-depots]

Questions about propellant depots placed in space or celestial bodies to allow propellant refueling of space vehicles or artificial satellites, to extend their range, payload capacity, or orbit sustainability.

11
votes
1answer
511 views

Design of 1970s era orbital fuel depot

Multiple concept art examples for a 1970s orbital fuel depot from Marshall Space Flight Center show cylindrical tanks perpendicular to a central core. But then at one end of the central core are ...
4
votes
2answers
318 views

Could refueled upper stages re-enter by retro-propulsion?

Let us suppose we manage to mine water on the Moon and return lots of it to LEO. Would it be hard to design an upper stage that could refuel at that depot, and uses that fuel to return to the surface ...
10
votes
3answers
380 views

Liquid settling in tanks during orbital refueling

I am interested in orbital refueling, not for satellites (though that’s a good idea) but for manned exploration and infrastructure. For instance, to support a lunar base we would want regular flights ...
16
votes
5answers
943 views

Is atmospheric skimming for propellant feasible?

A recent comment in a discussion of satellite refueling mentioned the possiblity of a spacecraft dipping into the atmosphere from LEO to obtain oxygen. Similarly, the science fiction RPG Traveller ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

What are the economics of upgrading versus refueling satellites?

It is sometimes suggested that fuel produced on the Moon or on asteroids could be launched more cheaply to dock with and refuel for example communication satellites in GEO to extend their operating ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

What would be the incremental cost of launching 1 ton of LOX/LH2 into LEO? [duplicate]

I am asking this question in a context of feasability of orbital fuel depots. I understand that cost/kg estimates exist (2-14 k$/kg): What is the current cost-per-pound to send something into LEO? ]),...
2
votes
0answers
66 views

Would a low pressure container lower hydrogen leakage in space?

Hydrogen, for rocket fuel, tends to leak even through metal containers. Launchers carry hydrogen cooled to liquid in order to save storage space for aerodynamical reasons, but that is unnecessary in ...
4
votes
2answers
432 views

Should we use Mars as the main source of interplanetary fuel? [closed]

Robert Zubrin makes a compelling case for using Mars as a site to make methane fuel for the return trip back to Earth. However, maybe there is an additional refinement to this model; In addition to ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How much does a hydrogen tank weigh compared to the hydrogen in it?

For the kinds of tanks used in upper stages, what is the ratio of the weight of the tank to the weight of the hydrogen? Are larger tanks more efficient? This is for considering transport of hydrogen ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Why would orbital fuel depots make sense?

Under what conditions would fuel depots in earth orbit make sense? As it costs $X/kg to launch something into space, wouldn't it cost the same to launch fuel by itself as it would to launch it as ...
6
votes
3answers
536 views

Does any group have a serious proposal to build & maintain a station at L1?

To me, it's a no-brainer that the Earth-Moon L1 location is a strategic locale, sort of a forks of the Ohio in local space. I've seen some proposals to put some long-term station there, but has anyone ...
13
votes
5answers
668 views

Are there any plans to establish depots in space?

Fuel weight is a major limitation on the range of manned spacecraft. It might make sense to pre-position fuel tanks (establish depot/depots) in orbit with different planets and moons to serve as ...
12
votes
1answer
200 views

Are there any proposals to vacuum up gases in orbit for use as propellant?

Space stations like the ISS orbit at an elevation that puts them squarely in the Thermosphere, and while this has extremely rarefied gas (which is probably more accurately a plasma at many times), it ...
11
votes
2answers
371 views

Is it feasible to pump fuel into orbit?

Imagine a huge fuel depot in geostationary orbit. Suppose further that it is tethered to the Earth and that there's a large hose snaking down all the way. Is it feasible to pump fuel up 35,786km? Can ...
5
votes
1answer
83 views

Would fuel depots allow lighter fuel tanks for post LEO use?

In addition to the benefits of smaller and more frequent launches (and perhaps other benefits), could fuel depots also provide a modest benefit in reducing the mass of fuel tanks for vehicles leaving ...