Questions tagged [launch]

Questions regarding the takeoff or the liftoff phase of the flight of a rocket and the set of activities required for preparation of the launch vehicle leading to it.

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How much deltaV would it take to launch from the top of mount Everest straight up then circularize at 200km once in space?

I realize there are several similar questions, but i didn't see mention of the amount of deltaV needed beyond saying there is a slight benefit that is more than offset by dozens of social/political/...
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Example using NASA GMAT to model a sounding rocket launch

I'm wondering if anyone has an example GMAT script that describes a sounding rocket launch and return. Not necessarily looking for high fidelity but just something that shows the parameters for a ...
4 votes
1 answer
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How do space launch providers calculate how many millipeople a rocket launch could kill?

I was intrigued by this post which states... To get a license you have to show that your launch will kill no more than ~1 milliperson, which usually means not flying close to population centers. I ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Why are rockets launched from speed 0 instead of giving them a speed boost with a terrestrial vehicle? [duplicate]

One thing that was very clear when playing Kerbal Space Program is that you need a lot of fuel to launch a rocket. What's worse, the more fuel you add, the heavier the rocket gets, requiring even more ...
3 votes
0 answers
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Does Starship perform a launch tower avoidance maneuver?

Does Starship perform a launch tower avoidance maneuver? If yes, is this accomplished using gimbaled raptor engines or RCS rockets? How far laterally is the Starship axis shifted by this maneuver and ...
9 votes
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242 views

What rocket uses the largest percentage of Fuel/Oxidizer before liftoff?

inspired by this question: How much propellant is used up until liftoff? which asks how much propellant (fuel/oxidizer) a typical rocket uses before liftoff. What has been or is the most non-typical ...
13 votes
4 answers
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What is the most widely used first-stage rocket engine in operation today?

I'm trying to do some research on this but very much struggling to work it all out. I'm looking for a cutaway diagram of said rocket engine (ideally one used on a first-stage), but I can't for the ...
13 votes
3 answers
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Why does the Falcon Heavy Rocket have a higher payload than the Space Shuttle?

The Falcon 9 heavy rocket has a thrust of about 5,340,000 pounds (23700 kN) with a LEO payload of 140,660 pounds (65.7 t). The Space Shuttle, on the other hand, had a thrust of 6,780,000 pounds (30000 ...
30 votes
5 answers
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Do any launches bypass LEO?

If sending a payload to GEO (geosynchronous orbit) or any other high orbit, you could start off launching to LEO (low Earth orbit), and then use a Hohmann transfer to raise the height of the orbit. I ...
9 votes
1 answer
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Most recent launch of a nuclear reactor, and current barriers to launching the next one?

The question What happened to Kilopower generators? about Kilopower nuclear reactors got me thinking. Answer(s) to How many nuclear fission reactors have been launched into space? How many are still ...
10 votes
3 answers
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Do larger rockets tend to have a better mass ratio due to the square cube law?

Do larger rockets tend to have a better mass ratio due to the square cube law? I mean, larger tanks have a better surface-to-volume ratio, so their weight-to-volume should be improved
21 votes
3 answers
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Why are rocket launches so sensitive to weather?

I've been following the upcoming launch of the Antares rocket to resupply the ISS (scheduled for today, July 13, 2014). This launch was originally scheduled for May, and has been rescheduled multiple ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Hover Slam Landing: How is it Done?

I want to simulate a hover slam landing. Is there an overview of the maneuver anywhere? I'm especially interested in the control algorithm used to bring the rocket stage to a halt at just the right ...
12 votes
5 answers
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Why does launching east result in an orbital inclination equal to the latitude of the launch site?

As mentioned briefly in this answer and this Everyday Astronaut video: And just as a reference, if you launched straight east out of Kennedy Space Center, you'd be on a 28.6° inclination which you ...
12 votes
1 answer
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Is there a record for unbroken series of "successful launches" by some objective criteria? Who has it now? What has to happen for it to change hands?

From the (I'd say) historic and pivotal hearing Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Defense Subcommittee (Chairman Durbin) Time and Location: 10:00 a.m., in Room SD-192 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building ...
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How many U.S. launch vehicles have failed on initial launch? [duplicate]

I'm doing some research about U.S. launch vehicle failures, and particularly failures occurring during the first vehicle launch. I'm trying to get some data about how frequently failures like this ...
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2 answers
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What is the problem with aborting a Space Shuttle launch?

In the question Why didn't the Space Shuttle have a launch escape system? there was discussion in the commentary about why the Space Shuttle could not safely abort through much of its envelope. ...
5 votes
1 answer
345 views

When does the space shuttle stop its gravity turn?

I am trying to model the launch of the space shuttle (up to 120km of altitude) from Cape Canaveral, Florida. In order to do so I would need to know when the gravity turn part of the flight starts and ...
16 votes
2 answers
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NASA cost estimating and Falcon 9

I have found this interesting report Commercial Market Assessment for Crew and Cargo Systems Pursuant to Section 403 of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-267), published in April 2011. In ...
35 votes
7 answers
12k views

Why didn't NASA use the shuttle to make a profit?

My understanding is the shuttle was designed as cost-effective workhorse, a space-van to ferry cargo up to the ISS, conduct zero-G experiments and put satellites into orbit. So why didn't NASA take ...
8 votes
3 answers
3k views

How much does smallsat launch to LEO cost?

In early 2021, SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and Virgin Orbit list prices as follows: ...
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What conferences have technical sessions that cover credible and transformative alternatives to chemical-rocket-based launch?

Constraints Some examples of such technologies are described on Wikipedia's Non-Rocket Spacelaunch page. But, to clarify a bit further... I found list of such technologies in Figure 2.1 of a document ...
4 votes
4 answers
469 views

Alternative small mass payload transportation from the moon to L5 besides rail gun and mass driver?

This question asks about a low cost transportation from the lunar surface to a space settlement at L5. Moon mining is can be a revolutionary breakthrough in sustaining a space economy, but large scale ...
11 votes
4 answers
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Why don't we launch spacecraft from the Moon?

The Moon has less gravity than the Earth and its own orbital speed around the Earth removes some of the velocity required to leave the Earth-Moon space, right? We could send probes or spacecraft much ...
4 votes
1 answer
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What are some examples of stepping-stone applications that would be suitable for iteratively advancing mass driver technology?

Since their inception, rockets have improved over many design iterations. Each iteration was funded because it unlocked some kind of new value, such gaining an advantage in a geopolitical conflict, ...
1 vote
3 answers
306 views

launch rocket like bullet from steam/air rifle?

I've included an image depicting how exhaust energy from a rocket launch can be recouped by turning it into a large scale pressure cooker by the use of some kind of platform=sabot (thanks @...
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Can an orbital rocket have an airplane first stage? [duplicate]

The first stage of SpaceX's Nov 18 Starship launch was the Super Heavy. According to the Wikipedia page, it packs 3,400 tones of fuel. In the launch video, it shows the rocket reaches 27 km of ...
15 votes
3 answers
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What are the biggest challenges for high altitude rail-gun launch systems?

Use a maglev railgun for initial acceleration - in a new, hyperbolic tunnel facing eastward - this exits from the burrowed -undergrade- track to Equadors' Mt. Chimborazo peak - (a mountaintop both 6 ...
6 votes
2 answers
779 views

Aerodynamically - can a rocket be over 30 meters in diameter?

The past and current designs of rocket launchers have diameters up to 8-10 meters (Saturn-5, N-1, SLS, BFR), up to 13-14 meters for max cross-section dimension for Space Shuttle and Energia-Buran (...
15 votes
1 answer
639 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 ...
13 votes
1 answer
587 views

What is the utility of this peanut-shaped ground facility?

The following image is from GSLV-F11 GSAT-7A Mission: Location: Second Launch Pad (SLP), Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, India. Please click here in case you want to see the image in ISRO's ...
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is the largest and/or heaviest object that could be sent to space?

What is the largest and/or heaviest object that could be sent to space? I know the space station is sent in pieces but I am looking with one launch.
3 votes
2 answers
3k views

How can I find sources for Launch Trajectories?

The trajectories of space launches and the deployment of their payload (both scientific and commercial) are certainly carefully monitored by the space agency or company providing the launch capability,...
14 votes
1 answer
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What computer programs does ITAR say I can or can not write, or share, or use in the US?

After reading this answer by someone knowledgeable in the field, I realized that I still don't understand even a little bit what International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (and its cousins) does ...
26 votes
1 answer
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Why are Falcon 9 main engines throttled down and up shortly after launch?

On the official webcast of SpaceX's Iridium-4 mission a "throttle down and throttle back up of the Falcon 9 first stage engines" is mentioned. Why would one throttle down at a crucial time ...
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Could a spacecraft take off from Earth using nuclear thermal rockets?

If enviromental concern was not taken into account, could you use a nuclear thermal rocket such as NERVA or Pewee to take off from Earth's surface into low Earth orbit? If not why? Is a launch ...
14 votes
4 answers
2k views

How does Spinlaunch manage the counterweight right after launch?

Spinlaunch has successfully launched a suborbital test vehicle from a 1/3 scale demonstrator, see for instance aviationweek.com or space.com. While spinning up the arm, perfect balance is achieved ...
16 votes
2 answers
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Amateur satellite launch

Has there ever been a successful satellite launch done by amateurs? I mean both building the satellite and a rocket to carry it.
11 votes
3 answers
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GSLV MK2 vs Falcon 9 - Reasons for Huge performance difference

Yesterday ISRO operated the GSLV MK2 launch vehicle, which is a medium lift launch vehicle with a capability to lift 5 tonnes to LEO. I just compared Falcon 9 with GSLV MK2. Falcon 9 capability to ...
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5 answers
469 views

Is the launch of a rocket slow because the change in velocity (delta_v) should be as small as possible because of energetic reasons?

Does it make sense to keep the launch of a rocket slow because the change in velocity (a.k.a. delta_v) should be as small as possible because of energetic reasons?
4 votes
0 answers
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What caused the H3 rocket to squeal so loudly after its launch abort?

Immediately after the H3 rocket's first launch attempt was aborted, a loud squealing noise could be heard on the live stream. What was this? The only thing I could find about it when searching the ...
1 vote
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How can I know which direction a launch will be?

I'm in SOUTH FLORIDA and try to watch all the launches from here. Sometimes, the rocket seems to head south and come right overhead. How can I tell what direction a launch will take? Thank you. M
2 votes
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What orbital inclination of a HAVOC mothership would optimize the success of an abort-to-orbit?

In Phase 3 of NASA’s HAVOC proposed mission for a buoyant probe to the Venusian atmosphere, a crewed atmospheric probe de-orbits from an orbiting mothership. The probe is a solar-electric propelled ...
60 votes
5 answers
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What are the towers around the SpaceX launch pad used for?

I noticed four(?) towers around the SpaceX launch pad during yesterday's aborted launch Image credit NBC News What are the towers used for? Tracking? Radio communications?
3 votes
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Energy Needed for Lunar Lander to Ascend?

Is it possible to calculate how much energy was expended when the Apollo 11 lunar lander ascended from the Moon's surface to join the Command Module in lunar orbit? Many relevant parameters for the ...
2 votes
2 answers
225 views

In theory, could this redesign of the launch profile reduce fuel use? [duplicate]

This is a purely theoretical question, because I suspect that trying to build a launch system of this sort would pose its own set of very complex problems. That said, the Wikipedia page for the ...
26 votes
4 answers
7k views

How quickly could a space agency get to the ISS in case of an emergency?

Here's the situation: The ISS suffered from some kind of catastrophic failure. The crew is unharmed, but the nature of the failure includes: The destruction of any present vehicles capable of ...
11 votes
4 answers
450 views

Powered Explicit Guidance: Should rocket be pitching down at orbital insertion?

I simulated an orbital insertion using Powered Explicit Guidance as used in the space shuttle. The PEG algorithm works great. I hit all my targets: altitude, velocity, orbital inclination, longitude ...
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2 answers
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Higher density medium tube from sea level to space for travel

Is it theoretically possible to build a strong sealed tube from Earth's sea level all the way to Space, fill it with a medium (such as water) that has a higher density than humans. And then humans ...
2 votes
0 answers
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Is the rocket exhaust plume at liftoff of a liquid fuled rocket cold? Can it condense? [duplicate]

I try to understand what the exhaust cloud on the ground from the start of Starship consists of. Of course it was unusually mineral-rich, but I try to understand whether we saw much else, apart from ...

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