Questions tagged [nasa]

Questions pertaining to activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a United States government agency that deals with space exploration and research.

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190
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6answers
19k views

Can I borrow a lunar rover?

According to Wikipedia there are 3 LRVs sitting on the moon, in very well defined locations. Would China, or whomever gets to the moon with a person next, be able to get in and drive around in an LRV ...
23
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1answer
2k views

If I wanted to reconstruct an entire Apollo mission's crewed spacecraft trajectories, what are the key sources of historical data I'd look for?

The last few images in Robert A. Braeunig's Apollo 11's Translunar Trajectory; and how they avoided the heart of the radiation belts are fascinating and a bit perplexing as discussed in this answer ...
30
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6answers
10k 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 ...
13
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1answer
906 views

Did NASA tell the Skylab astronauts to “Stop running around!”?

This answer to the question starts with: This video may help to answer your question. Starting at about 00:24, you can see an astronaut running around the "exercise wheel" of Skylab (an early NASA ...
43
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2answers
4k views

What's the baseball bat for? (seen in CRS-8 berthing NASA TV broadcast)

Watching the CRS-8 Berthing live broadcast on NASA TV I noticed a baseball bat resting on top of a console in the front left part of the room, so I took some screenshots. Looking closer, it seems to ...
1
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1answer
171 views

When was the idea behind the DESCANSO Book Series first conceived, by whom, and what is it's “mission”?

When was the idea behind the DESCANSO Book Series first conceived, by whom, and what is it's "mission"? When I'm looking for information on deep space issues including communications and ...
19
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3answers
16k views

How much of an advantage do equator-proximal launch sites provide?

Comparing ESA's Kourou (5° off) with NASA's Cape Canaveral (28°) and JAXA's Tanegashima (30°) launch sites, how advantageous is proximity to the equator? Considering the fact that the ESA and all of ...
10
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1answer
2k views

Is this really the Saturn V computer only, or are there other systems here as well?

The BBC News article Apollo in 50 Numbers; The Technology shows an image of the Saturn V's computer along with the caption: The Saturn V's computer was probably the largest computer ever blasted ...
10
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1answer
571 views

What ever happened with that pressure suit design based on elastic tension in contact with skin?

I remember several years ago seeing a pressure suit design based on carefully engineered elastic material in contact with the skin. Instead of pressure on the skin produced by a pressurized gas, the ...
8
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1answer
425 views

What is the function of this array of what looks like mirrors on TESS?

The Mashable.com article TESS is about to become your new favorite NASA mission shows a beautiful photo of the TESS spacecraft in a state that looks like it is nearly ready to launch. There is a ...
4
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0answers
542 views

How will the Lunar Gateway go to L2 and L1; how much delta-v is needed?

In a talk to the press which can be heard in the YouTube video NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Explains the Lunar Gateway, NASA director Jim Bridenstine says after about ...
15
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3answers
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How much RF transmit power does DSN need to send commands to Voyager?

I recently looked up how weak the Voyager signals are when they get to Earth from the 22 W transmitters (as of September 2013, it was roughly -245 dBm). But that got me wondering how many watts of ...
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3answers
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What would NASA have done if they knew Columbia was catastrophically damaged?

When the Columbia Shuttle broke apart in 2003, it was known after the launch that a piece of foam had fallen and hit the Shuttle. NASA apparently chose not to investigate it as well as they could have....
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2answers
2k views

How did NASA determine the distance and velocity of voyager 1?

According to Wikipedia At a distance of about 125.97 AU (1.884 × 10$^{10}$ km) from the Sun as of September 9, 2012, it is the farthest manmade object from Earth As of 2013, the probe was moving ...
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2answers
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How does NASA get information from space probes?

So I have briefly gone over answers to how things are stored as from this answer: https://space.stackexchange.com/a/2273/1247 but how is the information sent back? I'm thinking of probes like the ...
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1answer
1k views

How were Frenet frames and Gram–Schmidt orthonormalization used in spacecraft orbit calculations?

I haven't seen the film Hidden Figures yet, but I have read and listened to some dialogue clips in this NPR Review. In it they mention a Frenet frame and the Gram–Schmidt process for ...
4
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2answers
418 views

Understanding the information contained in the Deep Space Network XML data?

NASA's Deep Space Network activity can be viewed conveniently at https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html but if you would like data in a more raw XML form, it can be accessed as described in this answer ...
55
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3answers
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Curiosity: Why did they “reinvent the wheel” instead of using pressure tires?

Curiosity rover's wheels seem a bit tired and show signs of wear and tear, as reported for example in this Discovery News article from May 22, 2013. This damage only increased since then and wheels ...
37
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3answers
57k views

What made NASA shut down the Shuttle program?

Recently NASA shut down its Space Shuttle program. Between the first launch on April 12, 1981, and the final landing on July 21, 2011, NASA's space shuttle fleet --Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Why so many STS-61's?

Wikipedia's STS-61 says that it is not to be confused with STS-61A, STS-61B or STS-61C. Why were there so many STS missions where the name included the number "61"?
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3answers
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What missions could be done with Orion on Falcon Heavy?

Orion is being developed in tandem with the SLS. But Falcon Heavy is scheduled to fly earlier, early 2015, and be cheaper. So I wonder what kind of missions Orion could do with FH. Could it for ...
15
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2answers
1k views

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 ...
13
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2answers
3k views

Does NASA hire foreign nationals as astronauts?

I've dreamed about it ever since I was six, and where I live people laugh at me when I tell them about this because for one, no one's ever been an astronaut in my country and two, I'm a girl. But I'll ...
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1answer
99 views

What's the method behind this TDRS triplet inclination “madness”?

Previous "method to the maddness" questions: 1, 2. The image below is from Why does TDRS 1's inclination evolve so much differently than that of all the others starting in 1995? and I've used it a ...
30
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1answer
3k views

Why do the Shuttle's external tanks appear to be rusted?

Wikipedia article states as STS-1 at liftoff. The External Tank was painted white for the first two Space Shuttle launches. From STS-3 on, it was left unpainted. I wonder why the ...
9
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2answers
992 views

Apollo Mission Operations Control Room 2 display, what do these numbers indicate?

There are some really beautiful photos in Ars Technica's NASA’s restored Apollo Mission Control is a slice of ’60s life, frozen in amber See also NYTimes' NASA Reopens Apollo Mission Control Room ...
9
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2answers
389 views

Could InSight lift off and move somewhere else?

InSight used its built-in thrusters for the final stretch of the Entry, Descent and Landing, and the thrusters seem to still be attached. Would it have been at all possible for InSight to lift off ...
3
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2answers
358 views

Where is Lucy going? (asteroid mission)

On Halloween (31-Oct-2018) NASA Goddard announced that Lucy has a green light: NASA’s Mission to Jupiter’s Trojans Given the Green Light for Development All I have are these links which are now ...
41
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3answers
15k views

Why did NASA use U.S customary units?

NASA was using U.S customary units (inches, feet, nautical miles, pounds, tons, US gallons etc.) during the Mercury and Apollo programmes, and beyond. There are significant disadvantages to using U.S ...
49
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2answers
18k views

Why don't the Space Shuttle's tires explode in the vacuum of space?

According to this NASA article the tires are inflated to 340 psi (main gear) and 300 psi (nose gear). At landing, there is significant strain, but what about in space? Are the tires exposed to vacuum ...
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2answers
2k views

What's the coin on the Curiosity rover?

The image above was taken from the Curiosity rover (I hope). There appears to be a coin in the image. Is that really a coin or some kind of button? Is it really present on the rover? If it is ...
13
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1answer
1k views

How were vibrations supposed to be handled in an Ares I?

The basic concept of an Ares 1 consisted of a five-segment SRB and some liquid-fuelled upper stage. The SRB was derived from the four-segment Space Shuttle SRBs. A similar concept was later promoted ...
2
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2answers
373 views

What event determined the transfer of control from Kennedy Space Center to Houston?

Launches at Kennedy Space Center in Florida were managed by the on-site launch control center. At some point in the mission, authority was transferred to the mission control center in Houston, Texas. ...
30
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1answer
5k views

What are these membranes at the aft end of the Shuttle that get torn off during lift off?

The link to the Space Shuttle launch video. At 1:30 mark, three circular disks get torn away. It happens immediately after the engine ignition begins. Here is a cropped image of the Discovery after ...
29
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5answers
18k views

Why does a rocket engine provide more thrust in a vacuum than in atmosphere?

According to NASA Each Space Shuttle Main Engine operates at a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen mixture ratio of 6 to 1 to produce a sea level thrust of 179,097 kilograms (375,000 pounds) and ...
29
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1answer
4k views

Why were there beeps punctuating the voice communications during missions such as Apollo?

Voice communication between ground and spacecraft during missions such as Apollo seemed to be always punctuated by beeps. What was the origin of these beeps? Were they some sort of unavoidable ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Was LC39A built with a rocket much larger than the Saturn V in mind?

The interesting question What are the most difficult challenges SpaceX will face getting astronauts to Mars by about 2025? links to Elon Musk's position paper Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species ...
9
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1answer
805 views

How were the Space Shuttle missions named?

For example, why was the 19th Shuttle mission named STS-51F instead of something more obvious like STS-19? Side note: One reason I'm asking is because in the DVD commentary of Apollo 13, Tom Hanks or ...
3
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1answer
100 views

Has TDRS-13 officially graduated from “TDRS school” (entered into service)?

According to Wikipedia: TDRS-M, to be renamed TDRS-13 upon entry into service, is an American communications satellite operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. The ...
2
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2answers
505 views

Has (theoretically) metastable metallic hydrogen been considered for use as a propellant?

I'll just point to the following two questions and their associated answers for background: For the recently reported production (January 2017) of metallic hydrogen in the laboratory - what is the ...
36
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3answers
4k views

Why don't 3-parachute descent systems collide and collapse?

The Orion reentry vehicle will have a parachute system. Like Apollo, they'll have 3:     Orion Parachute Drop Test on May 1, 2013 A model of NASA's Orion spacecraft glides ...
21
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2answers
5k views

What were the “pills” that were added to solid waste in Apollo 7?

In the BBC News Worldservice podcast 10, 9, 8, 7: The dramatic missions that made the Moon landing possible told by retired astronaut Nicole Stott (Expeditions 20, 21, STS-128 and STS-133) after ...
16
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2answers
691 views

Was there any “practical” advantage to having different crews for each Apollo landing?

So, out of the 24 men that went to Moon orbit and back during the Apollo program, just three of them did the trip twice, but landings where always done by a different crew. From the politician's ...
9
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2answers
3k views

What is the ISS maximum altitude?

I see two threats to the ISS as its altitude goes up: Cosmic/solar radiation, which would endanger the crew and the electronics aboard. Orbital debris, which would have higher relative speed and ...
6
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0answers
815 views

Did NASA “publish”, then “delete” this and other photos of the ISS leak?

A tweet by @NASASpaceflight (Chris B - NSF, "Managing Editor of NASASpaceFlight.com" says: ISS Leak summary: First thought was MMOD strike. Then NASA released pics. Lots of people: "...
4
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1answer
273 views

How many people spoke to Apollo 8 from outside the US?

@PearsonArtPhoto's answer links to the page Apollo 8, 21 – 28 December 1968 by Hamish Lindsay at honeysucklecreek.net. It shows a clipping from The Canberra Times front page, "With thanks to Mike ...
4
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1answer
395 views

How will the Voyager 1 manage to generate electricity in the future or even now?

Voyager 1 has gone far enough probing the interstellar spaces outside the Solar System, after its Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators would completely decay the radioactive material inside, the ...
4
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1answer
195 views

What exactly are Tindallgrams? (spaceflight related)

The word "Tindallgram" appears in three posts: this answer to How complex was the math and physics necessary to place Apollo 11 on the moon? What is a “Lear Processor” and how did it work? this ...
2
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1answer
192 views

3D celestial puzzler; why InSight's two RISE horns point slightly south of east, and north of west?

note: possibly helpful: LaRa after RISE: Expected improvement in the Mars rotation and interior models Contraindre la structure interne de Mars avec GINS @karthikeyan's excellent answer links to ...
2
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0answers
76 views

How will Mars 2020 rover Perseverance's selfie skills compare to Curiosity's? Will it have any additional selfie-related capabilities?

The design of the Mars 2020 rover Perseverance benefits from years of operational experience with Curiosity. While 2020's instrument suite differs in several ways it looks remarkably similar to ...

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