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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What is the white vapor seen immediately prior to and during the early part of the launch? [duplicate]

As most modern rockets rest on the pad much white vapor is seen. Is this propellant being vented or condensation from the surrounding air due to the extreme cold of the rocket body?
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Can we use a drone instead of rocket? [duplicate]

I would like to know if it is possible to use a drone instead of the rocket to launch a satellite into orbit. If no, then I would like to know why, and if yes, then in which countries would this be ...
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Self destruct mechanism on upper stages

In a follow up to this question: the upper stage of the launch vehicles are usually treated as orbiting debris after the launch mission completion. In that case, are there self-destruct ordinance ...
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Can jet engines be used to launch a rocket?

Following up on my previous question Can a VASIMR Plasma engine be used to launch a rocket?, I was told that VASIMR plasma thrusters are inefficient in an atmosphere. I then had the idea of using jet ...
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Can a VASIMR Plasma engine be used to launch a rocket?

When I was in primary school, I spent countless hours designing spaceships that probably wouldn’t work. It’s only now that I’ve stumbled across some of the old drawings and actually thought if it ...
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Could a balloon or airplane launched rocket get humans into orbit?

There are working systems based on aircraft and balloons which can launch satellites into orbit with the help of a rocket booster. All of these are fairly small payloads. Are there any studies of the ...
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Earth Rotational Vector and Orbital Inclination

I'm doing a project regarding orbital launches and i'm kinda confused about how to calculate orbital inclination from launch sites. I've simplified my model so I can ignore fuel and the rocket ...
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Velocity of a rocket needed to get to Mars

At 2:16 in this video, Don Pettit says he used the Rocket Equation to determine the velocity of the rocket needed to travel to Mars, which was 16 km/s. I am not sure as how he did it though, and was ...
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How many Starship launches would it take to build this simple centrifugal space station concept?

Every centrifugal space station design I have seen uses either a large curved material or an inflatable structure. There have been no large scale curved material construction in space and only one ...
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How to find the optimal launch trajectory for a rocket launched from a planet with an atmosphere?

I originally asked this question on maths stack exchange As the title states I am trying to find the optimal launch trajectory for a rocket launched from a planet with an atmosphere (Earth) in order ...
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Was the payload bay of the Space Shuttle depressurized before launch?

We know that the payload bay of the Space Shuttle Orbiter carried satellites, pieces of equipment for repairing satellites and components of the International Space Station. Was the payload bay of ...
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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 ...
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Why doesn't Ariane-5 lift off at T=0 seconds?

I have seen Ariane-5 lift off at T+07 seconds and not at (or close to) T=00 seconds. The following statement is from the Ariane-5 User's Manual (Page 35, Section 2.3 - Typical Mission Profile): The ...
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Better launching location to Neptune

I'm a big fan of space movies, especially when they're based on actual science and/or near-future. So of course I went to see Ad Astra (IMDB). In a nutshell, Brad Pitt's character flies into an orbit ...
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Launch to orbit delta-v penalty from Venus compared to Earth?

Thinking about the no atmosphere caveat here made me think of Venus, which is the opposite of no atmosphere for solid/rocky bodies in our solar system. Earth's low orbital velocity is about 7.8 km/s. ...
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How is this reentrant storage area on JAXA's HTV 8 protected during launch?

The image below is from Spaceflight Now's Fresh batteries, experiments on the way to the International Space Station In the photo there appears to be a giant reentrant "hole" in the side of the HTV ...
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What is falling off the Saturn V at launch? [duplicate]

At 4:07 in this video you can see that large objects are falling of the outside of the rocket. What are those?
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If a comet-sniffing spacecraft were launched today, could it catch up to newly-discovered ε>3 C/2019 Q4 (Borisov)?

As found in this answer to What makes scientists already so certain that Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is a comet and not an asteroid? the orbital parameters of this eccentricity > 3 visitor to our solar ...
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Is the monetary cost of space programs misleading?

Car production in the us costs about a million tons of steel per year which is maybe 99% recycled. Say a rocket costs 100 tons and is expendable. Launching 100 rockets yearly is a decent share of ...
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Why were there so many icicles in this Space Shuttle launch area? (Challenger disaster)

The blogpost Lessons From NASA Disasters: When Curiosity Deficits Kill is about the importance of freedom of curiosity for members of organizations. However it contains many Space Shuttle-related ...
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Features seen on the Space Shuttle's solid booster; what does “LOADED” mean exactly?

The question Please explain the time reference shown in Shuttle launch engineering video links to the very cool video Ascent - Commemorating Shuttle. After about ...
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How would the shuttle perform various attitude changes during ascent?

How would the Space Shuttle have performed each of the following maneuvers during ascent? Pitching the nose away from the external tank ($+$Y). Pitching the nose toward the external tank ($-$Y). ...
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Why would low pump inlet pressure result in such a spectacular explosion? (Vanguard TV3)

In the short US Naval Research Laboratory video Vanguard 60th Anniversary: A Look Back at about 03:46, Mr. Alton E. Jones says: Most people are curious about as to ...
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Why RFNA is used in orbital rocket and why it leaks?

The red fume can be seen in some ballistic missile tests and of course here for the case of Chinese KZ-1A orbital launcher. i wonder what's the usage and why it leaks.
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What is a propellant burner trailer?

CNN and NPR have pointed out that the US president recently tweeted a surveillance photo of an explosion of a rocket on a launch pad. One of the items identified in the photo is labeled as a ...
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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 ...
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Where can I find launch trajectory data of the space shuttle?

I am trying to mathematically model the launch of the space shuttle (up to 120km altitude) from Cape Canaveral Florida. It would be really handy if I could check my calculations with some real launch ...
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How is imbalance handled in the Delta IV heavy?

All the engines of the Delta IV are not ignited at the same time: One of the lateral engine is started few seconds before the other. I imagine there is a good reason for not starting all engines at ...
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What factors determine the altitude at which rocket exhaust plumes start blooming hugely?

The images below are from a much larger set of photos in Spaceflight Now's August 8, 2019 article Photos: Atlas 5 paints the sky with spectacular sunrise launch. They show several effects related to ...
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What would happen if one Ariane V SRB did not ignite properly? (there may be no lock-down mechanism)

The excellent answers to What are these circular spots on these Ariane V SRB nozzles? tend to indicate that unlike the IV, the Ariane V simply rests on two flat surfaces under the SRBs at launch time, ...
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What sounds did the Apollo astronauts hear during launch

I've looked through the Apollo Technical Debriefings 11, 12, 14-17, for descriptions of the sounds the astronauts heard during take off. Here is one example, from Apollo 15: *3.0 POWERED FLIGHT SCOTT ...
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What exactly is rhumb-line control in the context of a launch trajectory?

The conference paper SS-520 Nano satellite launcher and its flight result SSC18-IX-03 from the 32nd Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites linked in this answer describes the use of rhumb-line ...
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Is it possible to get a spacecraft into earth orbit using Linear Eddy Current Braking on an orbital runway?

The "Space Runway" [I have slightly edited this to clarify some issues that have been raised] Luke Parrish mentioned an unusual and novel space launch method to me. The idea is to get a spacecraft ...
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Experiments during ascent

Has any astronaut or cosmonaut personally performed experiments, that could only be done by a human in flight, during the ascent phase of a flight. If so, what kind of experiment(s) did they perform?
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What are the historical fastest and longest time between take off and orbit insertion?

The question is restricted to payloads having described at least 2 orbits. When watching launches, it appears that between launch and orbit insertion, the typical time interval is few minutes (...
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How much did all the space agencies spent on rockets launching and space exploration? What are the benefits for me and you? [closed]

I thought about how much does one rocket cost to build and launch and it came up with roughly $500 million including everything. That made me pause and wonder for myself what it is that's out there ...
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How often were Space Shuttle launches scrubbed?

Reading Mike Mullane's book, Riding Rockets, it seems like shuttle flights were scrubbed, more often than not, during countdown after the crew had boarded, due to some sort of systems failure or ...
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Compressed gas thruster for an orbital launch vehicle?

Is it possible for a compressed gas thruster to be used to launch a spacecraft into orbit? Let's say, it's already moving at 250MPH(111.7 meters/second) relative to the planets surface. Planets ...
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How do you correct inclination at launch to ISS?

Launching from Florida 28.5 degree inclination to rendezvous with ISS at 400km to 51 degree inclination of ISS
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Orbital insertion accuracy for SpaceX payloads

What is the orbital insertion accuracy of SpaceX for positioning its payload (for example satellites)? How close do they get to the requested or target orbital parameters? I tried to research this on ...
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Why aren't rockets launched by a ground explosion through a gun barrel? [duplicate]

I'm watching this clip of a Russian anti-sat or anti-ICBM rocket launched from a silo and of course note that its early acceleration is much higher than for large spacecraft launchers. Why isn't cargo ...
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What do astronauts have to do for their bodies to withstand launch?

"you have to push your lungs forward through the drag of the atmosphere." That is a quote from Chris Hadfield's YouTube clip for his MasterClass. Is there a list or description of what an astronaut ...
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Why did GRACE mission have launch window?

GRACE mission which was launched on March 17th, 2002 had a 10 minutes launch window. The mission was to launch a couple of earth observation satellites. And interestingly, NASA's GRACE Launch Press ...
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Does flying two boosters close together affect efficiency?

When returning the side boosters of the latest Falcon Heavy launch to their landing site, their trajectories keep them right next to each other, and I noticed that a "wall" of vapor is visible midway ...
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Does launching rockets produce a sonic boom?

I've been watching rocket launches, and the commentator often remarks when the vehicle has gone supersonic. There is presumably a sonic boom at this point, right? Is it just that we don't hear it on ...
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Does the FAA have anything to do with landing on the Moon specifically?

The Motley Fool's Space Investors, Rejoice! There May Be Something Worth Mining on the Moon begins with: It's been four years now since Bigelow Aerospace filed its application with the Federal ...
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How much higher could g be before we couldn't launch rockets? [duplicate]

Obviously having a higher gravitational acceleration makes it harder to get rockets into orbit / escape. How much stronger could earths gravity be before we would no longer be able to do the sort of ...
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Need help understanding staging shown in infographic of Titan launch of Hexagon satellites

The NPR News item I Spy, Via Spy Satellite: Melting Himalayan Glaciers discusses use of declassified historical satellite images that include glaciers, and link to the newly published and Open Access ...
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How much did it cost to refurbish the Launch Complex 39 hardware after an Apollo Saturn V launch?

A launch pad used for a rocket of some 30-35 MNewtons of thrust does not come out of it unscathed. It must be refurbished before it can be used again. How much does that cost? As an indication of such ...
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Launch Azimuth for Southeast launches

I've got the formula for launching to space going Northeast as $$\cos(inc) = \cos(lat) \sin(az)$$ and that works great but what if I wanted to go southeast? For example, I know that from a ...

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