Questions tagged [mission-design]

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

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Have solid dish antennas on deep space spacecraft (as opposed to meshes) ever provided any other helpful function? As meteor shields perhaps?

This answer to Which deep space spacecraft had main dish antennas that were perforated or made from mesh? tells the tale: Galileo's troubled high gain antenna was made from "a gold-plated ...
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Why did Luna 16 go to the Moon at night? (Extreme cold vs robotic sampling & launch back to Earth)

While landing on the Sun at night has obvious advantages1 I'm curious why Luna 16 landed on the Moon at night. It was a complex mission involving robotic sample retrieval and a sample return launch ...
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How many instances are there of fiber optic cables used beyond cis-lunar space?

The first two posts linked below mention the use of a 6 meter fiber optical cable between Curiosity's ChemCam's receiver telescope on top of a tower and the spectrometer used to analyze the collected ...
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What photonics has Maxar's 1300-class bus been used to demonstrate?

Maxar's own blogpost Power and Propulsion Element: Five Questions with Maxar’s Tim Cole links to it's 1300 series platform page which says: The SSL 1300 is the world’s most popular spacecraft ...
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What do large, modern communications satellites look like inside (roughly at least)?

Modern communications satellite in GEO are big, majestic beasts. They are quite large and voluminous. They can sport quite an array of antennas and handle huge bandwidths and multiple communications ...
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How efficient was Telstar's solar cell configuration, compared to a flat panel?

Telstar was a series of communication satellites first launched in 1962. The body of the satellite is roughly spherical, with much of the outer surface covered in solar cells. This gives the ...
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What is inside Perseverance? Is the only scientific payload the bunch of instruments hanging from the arm?

Perseverance weighs about one ton, it is as big as a car. But what is inside the vehicle that weighs so much? Is the payload only the instruments hanging from the arm? Is all the remaining hardware (...
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1answer
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SpaceX launch simulation software?

Say you're a SpaceX launch engineer. You have a mission design meeting where you'll talk about different mission scenarios. The meeting is in a few hours. Would you run a quick simulation in KSP to ...
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How often are fewer than three astronauts present when moving a Soyuz spacecraft from one docking port to another?

CNN's Astronauts relocated a spacecraft outside the International Space Station (was it inside before?) says: Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, along with NASA astronaut ...
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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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Why Perseverance's landing ellipse straddled the cliffs in the river delta; why so ambivalent about the two different geologies?

The Perseverance landing site has now been named for Octavia E. Butler and from here there will be a meandering climb to get up on top of the "cliffs" that are in the delta. I think that ...
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Did/do the current Mars missions coordinate?

The answer to the question why there are several Mars missions under way concurrently is that orbital mechanics offer an advantageous launch window of a few weeks every 26 months. With more than one ...
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Why make Ingenuity survive some "brutally cold Martian nights" before its first attempt at flight?

NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover tweeted: Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter I carry, is working as expected. I’m currently charging it, but once I set it down, it’ll rely solely on its solar panels. If it ...
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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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What is "mission design"? What do mission designers do (if such a designation exists)?

The question in meta Is the mission-design tag description wrong? Should the trajectory-design tag be somehow nixed? needs some attention, so I thought I'd turn to our "panel of experts" ...
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How tall are the "cliffs of the delta" in the Perseverance rover's landing ellipse?

edit: For all the cliff-doubters in comments, here's a quote of Project Scientist Ken Farley in the new NASA video After the Landing: An Update about NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover after ...
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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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Can or 'how long will' carbon fiber survive in space

Let's assume that social activist shut down metal mines in future. And we plan to built and launch another space station. Can we build it with carbon fibre? or is there any alternative to it? ...
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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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What is the maximum force a deep space spacecraft experiences after launch?

The premise of How much of a deep space spacecraft's structural mass is useless dead weight after launch? Any plans to shed it in the future? is that the forces a deep space spacecraft experiences ...
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How much of a deep space spacecraft's structural mass is useless dead weight after launch? Any plans to shed it in the future?

After seeing this in Security SE Magnetic core memory isn't quite extinct yet. The two Voyager spacecraft used it and are still functional. Core was/is certainly non-volatile. I did some ...
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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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NASA Project Management Wall Chart

As an Undergraduate student and new to the field of Space mission design and systems etc, I want to know is there any detail explanation with examples of the jargon terms mentioned in the chart below? ...
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Why SN8 needed 12.5 km?

Is there a particular reason for chosing 12.5 km for the SN8 hop? Why 5 km for example is not good enough?
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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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Does the displacement angle change after burnout?

I came across the above image on Nakka's page about fins and what I understood is that rockets will turn into the wind during the thrust phase, and will drift slightly with the wind after burnout. But ...
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2answers
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Average acceleration of a rocket given average mass and thrust

If we assume that a small scale rocket is launched perpendicularly to the ground and ignore the drag, how can I calculate the average acceleration given that I know the burn time, the average thrust, ...
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How many burns does New Shepard have during a descent?

The Falcon 9 first stage is making two or three burns for descending: boostback burn (optional, depends on return to launch site vs ocean landing) entry burn landing burn But how many burns is the ...
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1answer
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Docking cubesat in orbit - is it possible?

Would it be plausible to launch two or more cubsat's into orbit, and then have them dock together, allowing them to pack on more hardware and even fuel, broadening their capability? If it is possible, ...
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1answer
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Nickname and citation for famous, historic three-body spacecraft trajectory design "manual"; something like "DoKaRoMo"?

There is a heavily-cited work about the use of three-body orbits with four authors, I think some at NASA at the time. I know that I've cited this abbreviation in my own posts a few times, but I can't ...
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2answers
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Patched conics Earth to Mars transfer, find Vinf at arrival at Mars

I've tried to solve a patched conic problem found on the 8th chapter of Fundamentals of Astrodynamics, Bate, Mueller and White, Dover 1971. Attached is the problem, which concerns the sub part (e), ...
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How might one redesign a "Curiosity-class" rover for a mission to Vesta or Ceres?

Vishnu Reddy (1, 2, 3) and their research group are quite active in space exploration both in Earth-based observation and now in the design of future spacecraft, and have recently pseudo-confirmed ...
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Kerbal Gone Wild - Could a DIY team create a Mercury-scale orbital capsule?

Given how much engineering has advanced since the days of the Mercury program, could a similarly scaled single-person orbital vehicle capable of repeatedly sustaining 48 hours in orbit realistically ...
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1answer
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What will happen to Chang’e 5 orbiter?

What will happen to the Chang’e 5 orbiter which will return the collected samples to earth? Will it burn up in the atmosphere like Hayabusa, or is an extented mission planned?
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4answers
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Are crewed spacecraft missions that appear stationary from the ground possible?

I've looked at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacecraft and the following question arose. For crewed spacecraft missions, can a spacecraft remain stationary in the sky i.e. not moving once launched ...
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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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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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Is this plot of deep space trajectories correct? Did most launch retrograde from Earth? Why do some change direction between planets?

This answer contains some nice plots of deep space spacecraft trajectories. Noticing that Voyage 2's heliocentric velocity dropped substantially just before 1990 I wanted to see why. Wikipedia's ...
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Tools for high-thrust trajectory optimization

I've tried using some of the freely available tools for making pork chop plots to explore the potential of transfers between planets. But as far as I can tell, these really are not designed for and do ...
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1answer
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IMLEO orbit height

Initial Mass in Low Earth Orbit is a well defined cost metric for space missions [1]. However, this is somewhat subjective since it depends on the orbit height. My guess is that there is a ...
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1answer
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Main reasons for a 2nd burn of a 2nd stage in Earth orbit?

I have seen that sometimes the second stage of a rocket is turned on and off, then after a while turned on and off again. What are the main reasons that second burn of a second state is initiated ...
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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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Has a suborbital rendezvous ever been mentioned in a serious mission proposal/study? [duplicate]

This is an odd one that's been in the back of my head for a while. Consider the LOR architecture of the Apollo missions. To return to earth from the lunar surface, it is most mass-efficient to have ...
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What are the main stages of a Crew Dragon descent?

From answers to How much time it takes for the capsules to descend from ISS back down to Earth? I understand it takes 19 hours from the undocking from ISS until it touches the land. But what are the ...
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What makes Earth-Mars transfers more non-Hohmann; inclination or eccentricity?

Answers to Why do many Mars missions launch now, if the Hohmann transfer orbit is the most propellant-saving one? and discussions below them made me wonder what makes Earth-Mars transfers more non-...
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What typically gets sent to the ISS?

I'm working on a project that aims to understand what is needed to live in space. I understand the basic concepts and vital items needed, but I'd love to see a direct example of what is already being ...
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Why did Pioneer 11 use a gravitational assist to swing above the ecliptic plane... twice?

This answer to What do the shaded vertical lines in the animation of Gravity assists of space probes, mean? shows that the Pioneer 11 trajectory brought it close to both Jupiter and Saturn, and at ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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Why is the INTEGRAL satellite in such an eccentric orbit?

The INTEGRAL satellite has a very eccentric orbit, about 0.8941 last time I checked. The explanation given is highly technical, could someone explain the reason for this in layman's terms?