Questions tagged [mission-design]

Mission design is the process of designing a spacecraft to fulfill a particular objective.

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4answers
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Requirements to orbit Pluto

I have seen this question posed often recently, without a satisfactory answer in my opinion: Why won’t New Horizons orbit Pluto? The answers I read are always along this line: too much fuel too ...
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Why isn't a centrifuge used for astronauts on the space station?

One thing I've always wondered is why don't astronauts sleep in a kind of rotating bed that spins creating force? This would allow them to sleep and would be able to simulate earths gravity. Why don't ...
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If Juno's long orbit means a lower rate of radiation damage, why the planned short orbit?

The Juno Spacecraft (also Wikipedia, launch 05-Aug-2011, Jupiter orbit insertion 05-Jul-2016) was scheduled for a burn to reduce it's period from about 54 days to 14 days, while maintaining a ...
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How does the poliastro python package "Going to Mars with Python" example work? What's it really doing?

@astrojuanlu's answer mentions the existence of the Python package poliastro, and in the documentation there I found an example titled Going to Mars with Python using poliastro among others. Input ...
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When things land on Mars what fraction of their velocity do they remove propulsively?

Some recent comments have got me wondering about this What is the distance between one of the mars's satellite revolving near the highest volcano olympus mons and the volcano olympus mons? comments ...
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Why were three engines used for the F9 1st stage landing burn (BulgariaSat-1)?

As pointed out in the question What is the “emergency crush core”?, an Elon Musk tweet about the Falcon 9 1st stage landing following the BulgariaSat-1 launch says: Rocket is extra toasty and hit ...
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How are Voyager's 16 thrusters oriented? Table that enumerates them and specifies directions quantitatively

Question: How are Voyager's 16 thrusters oriented? UPDATE: Per the 2nd half of my comment below: ...Since there was no activity here I decided to add the bounty to get this wrapped up. There are 16 ...
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Has Luna been used for gravity assist for interplanetary probes?

The Earth's natural satellite has a great deal of angular momentum that seems to me could be used to derive a considerable boost for leaving the local SOI. Has any probe used a Lunar flyby as part of ...
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How to best patch my conics?

I thought I'd try to use patched conics to see what it's like. I'll go from LEO to LXO (low Planet-X orbit), co-planar all the way. If I understand correctly, I'll have (at least) five conics. The ...
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Is it possible to "map" the Interplanetary Transport Network?

Cartographers have always been valued members of any exploration team. Even the teenage George Washington had experience with the "compass and chain." Every Terra Incognito is in need of a good map. ...
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Why is NASA planning to deorbit the ISS instead of reusing its newer modules, like the Russians will?

I was reading about Russia's plans to detach their modules from the ISS before its deorbit and use them to begin a new space station. The version I read said Zvezda (DOS-8) and Poisk (MRM-2) are ...
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Does the Dawn spacecraft have the potential for an extended mission?

The Dawn spacecraft is scheduled to arrive in initial orbit around Ceres in February 2015 with a final planned orbital change in December to reduce its orbit to a 700km altitude. At present I can't ...
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Why is DSCOVR in a Lissajous orbit? Wouldn't a halo orbit completely avoid the Sun exclusion zone?

Halo orbits are a sub-class of Lissajous orbits. See this answer for (much) more on that. DSCOVR's orbit will put it in it's Sun Exclusion Zone in about 2020 where the communications line of sight ...
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Where can I read about Lucy's complete propulsion system?

Wikipedia's /Lucy (spacecraft) says nothing of propulsion, and it's SWRI home page for the spacecraft http://lucy.swri.edu/mission/Spacecraft.html gives specification and enumerates what's on Lucy’s ...
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Can planet Earthtoo put a Tooian in orbit too?

Planet Earthtoo saw that Earth could put a person in orbit, so they wanted to go to space too. The planet Earthtoo is twice the diameter of Earth, with the same internal structure - the average ...
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Is this really Rosetta's orbit around 67P?

From this link I fount the following representation of Rosetta's orbit relative to 67P: A video from ESA depicts a similar orbit. My questions are: is that really the relative orbit? If yes: why ...
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Why weren't Saturn V and the Soviet N-1 Moon rockets made larger in order to simplify Lunar missions?

During the Apollo missions the Lunar lander was separated, turned around and docked during flight. And the command module was left in Lunar orbit during the surface mission. The Soviets planned to ...
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What powers New Horizons?

What does New Horizons use to keep itself traveling (so far), while keeping all of its monitoring and communication systems active? I did read that it leveraged force from a gravity sling shot from ...
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1answer
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How are space agencies coordinating their science missions internationally?

Is there any coordination between governmental space agencies in order to achieve complementary science goals with interplanetary and other space missions? If so, is this done somewhat informally ...
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Why doesn't the New Horizons probe fly any nearer than 10,000 km from Pluto?

New Horizons is intended to pass within 10,000 km of Pluto on its flyby on July 14. This will give a maximum resolution on the surface of 50m per pixel. This seems to me a bit of a waste, when it ...
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Are launch windows to Mars avoided if they result in landings during dust storm season?

This comment suggests that orbit before descent to Mars' surface allows a mission to delay the landing if the weather conditions are bad. I think that Tianwen-1 will be the first to put a lander rover ...
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How hard is it to fly through the tail of a comet? Has it been done?

The line between comets and asteroids is somewhat blurred (see below) but when we see a big bright tail we at least like to call it a comet. This question is about exploration of the tails of big-tail-...
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Thrown-together $200 million mission to asteroid 2020 SO; check out or nudge to longer-lasting mini-moon orbit

This tweet says in part: Earth's potential new minimoon, 2020 SO may be the Surveyor 2 Centaur rocket body, launched in September 1966. Integrating backwards shows 2020 SO2 to also be orbiting Earth ...
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Was there any launch vehicle possible that could have been used for a heavier New Horizons with enough fuel to enter Pluto orbit? (adding ~10 years)

Answers to the Astronomy SE question Can New Horizons probe turn back and start orbiting Pluto are of course no, it would have to have been a different mission with a lot more fuel and a bigger launch ...
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Why do orbits in the Iridium constellation have an inclination of 86.4°?

Wikipedia's Iridium_satellite constellation; In-orbit spares says that Iridium satellites have an inclination of 86.4°: Significant orbital inclination changes are normally very fuel-intensive, but ...
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1answer
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Is there a significant difference between launching a polar orbit mission south from New Zealand versus launching it north?

The Channel News Asia article New Zealand launches into space race with 3D-printed rocket says: Ships and planes need re-routing every time a rocket is launched, which limits opportunities in ...
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What exactly is "OMS2 Phase Angle"?

The vertical axis of this plot in this answer to How far apart are ISS launch windows? is labeled OMS2 Phase Angle (deg) and I don't know what that is. It's possible that OMS is related to things ...
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Halo vs Lissajous orbit: Which station-keeping strategy to select and when?

I'm looking for a comprehensive pros and cons of the two most commonly used station-keeping types of orbits used at libration points, Lissajous and halo orbits. When would one select one over the ...
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How will DART be able to hit a 170 meter rock dead-center at over 6000 m/s? What technologies will be use and how will they work together?

The DART spacecraft will ultimately be a kinetic energy impactor, using its 500 kg mass at a relative velocity of over 6000 m/s to slightly change its target 65803 Didymos's companion Dimorphos's ...
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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 ...
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Perseverance individual sample collection post-mission; what stops them from blowing away or getting covered and hidden by dust?

I have been seeing videos that the plan after Perseverance is done collecting samples to distribute them in 'strategic' locations around Mars for another rover to drive around and pick up later. Why ...
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2answers
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How do Field Programmable Gate Arrays affect the capabilities of probes?

FPGAs are microprocessors that can be reconfigured on the fly, through programming, to do different things. They can essentially be rewired, to change what the chip does, in ways that once would have ...
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How are B-Plane parameters actually determined for a planetary flyby?

Reading from this document, I am trying to simulate the New Horizons probe trajectory in GMAT and I am puzzled with how the authors of the original paper (by legendary mission designer Robert W. ...
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What target is the most difficult to reach in the solar system?

"Most difficult", as in the minimum $\Delta v$ required, the objective being capture into an orbit around the object. Looking through some Delta-v maps, I would suspect the answer to be some inner ...
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Why is that max-Q doesn't occur in transonic regime?

Is there any reason why the maximum dynamic pressure should not occur in the transonic regime. It is clear from this answer that the max-Q for various rockets occur outside the transonic region Do ...
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1answer
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What was the Apollo service module propellant used for on the LEO missions?

The Apollo service module carried a lot of propellant for performing the following tasks on a Moon mission: Mid-course correction manoeuvres to and from the Moon. Braking the entire CSM/LM stack into ...
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What's the marginal cost of a second interplanetary space probe copy, like Voyager 2 or Viking 2?

During the old space race days, launching double or multiple scientific probe copies seems to have been the standard. It should have the advantage of sharing the one time fixed development costs while ...
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What is the least energetic trajectory design to send uncrewed supplies to Mars?

Both Mars One and NASA have suggested sending uncrewed supply ships to Mars as part of a manned mission or colonization. These payloads can take all the time they like, not being constrained by human ...
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Premature detonation of explosive bolts when landing on hot Venus?

@Uwe's comment below Parachute material used for the Venera probes to survive 500 °C raises an interesting issue. Venus is really hot, and pyrotechnic actuators (e.g. explosive bolts, frangible ...
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Does the ISS still "need" to be at around 400 km?

The video Why is the International Space Station 400 km above the Earth? first mentions that there are fairly hard limits at 300 km (due to imminence of reentry) and 700 km (loss of protection from ...
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How much thrust is "high" thrust (for orbital transfers)

I understand that chemical rockets and nuclear thermal rockets (and possibly very high power electrical thrusters) are considered to provide "high" thrust for orbital transfers, while electrical ...
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How many times has a spacecraft docked with two or more different space stations during a single mission?

According to this answer, Columbia is the only Space Shuttle not to have docked with more than one space station. For the other shuttles, I think at least most of the time they only docked with one ...
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How far did Hayabusa-2 back off before the "bomb" went off?

The BBC News article Hayabusa-2: Japanese probe set to 'bomb' an asteroid says: The charge is carried on the Small Carry-On Impactor (SCI) device. This is a 14kg conical container attached to ...
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Most open source spaceflight missions revealed unintentionally

As of 2021 there are few fully open source satellites (OSSI-1, UPSat, FossaSat-1, Oresat, some more?) and numerous student groups building and documenting rockets. These projects are intended to be ...
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Why was ISRO's CARE reentry demonstration at 5300 m/s so slow?

This community wiki answer to What are some details of ISRO's Gaganyaan Mission currently says: Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) was launched on 18 December 2014 at 04:00 UTC. ...
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Why have astronauts had to take Soyuz capsules "out for a spin" on 15 separate occasions? (move from one Soyuz port to another)

NASA News item Space Station Crew to Relocate Soyuz to Make Room for New Crewmates says: Three residents of the International Space Station will take a spin around their orbital neighborhood in the ...
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Did the Apollo Command module really "skip" within, or off of the atmosphere as a part of its reentry program?

This answer to a question about the Shuttle reentry begins: Skipping reentries aren't unheard of. The Apollo command module performed a single skip when returning from lunar missions. but Wikipedia'...
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When an how will BepiColombo and MIO separate? (JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter)

edit: JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) is now called MIO – Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter’s New Name. With all the fanfare about BepiColombo (mine included) I didn't realize that there ...
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Most dog-legged launch?

There are enough questions about dogleg maneuvers that there is now a dogleg tag, but the definitive dogleg answer is @JakeBlockers (linked below) which includes images of a dogleg from Florida that ...
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What key mission events fell on birthdays or anniversaries due to fine tuning by Robert Farquhar?

NPR's 2014 news article and audio podcast: Space Thief Or Hero? One Man's Quest To Reawaken An Old Friend says of Robert Farquhar (NASA, Wikipedia): Farquhar is now 81 years old. He's been called the ...