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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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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Did the designers of Voyager neglect the angular momentum of the tape recorders?

I have heard many times that the designers of the Voyager spacecraft neglected to account for the angular momentum of the tape recorders (on which data was stored). To compensate for it after launch, ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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Origin of term “Block I”, “Block II”, etc

In NASA spacecraft development, subsequent versions of a design are referred to as "Block 1", "Block 2", etc. What is the origin of this naming convention? Why not just call them "Version 1", "...
10
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1answer
879 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 ...
6
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1answer
420 views

What information was stolen from JPL during the Raspberry Pi hack?

The Engadget article A rogue Raspberry Pi helped hackers access NASA JPL systems highlights an incident where a networked Raspbery Pi at JPL was used to gain access to several other networks, ...
6
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1answer
777 views

What does it mean when a software is called open-source for US-release only?

I saw this answer about MarsGRAM, and when I clicked on the NASA software link to read about it I saw at the bottom of the page a blurb for EarthGRAM 2010, an atmospheric model for Earth with likely ...
4
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1answer
297 views

Current and near-future space suit odor reduction technology

Fox News' Bill Nye says Mars colonies won't happen: 'Are you guys high?' gives some highlights of science educator Bill Nye (The Science Guy)'s thoughts on Mars, moving there, living in artificial ...
3
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1answer
108 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
541 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 ...
2
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1answer
263 views

What cosmic ray sensor is attached to this Balloon?

This short BBC News item shows a very large high altitude balloon lifting a science payload to measure high energy cosmic rays for about 100 days, circling the Earth perhaps twice in the process. ...
37
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3answers
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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 ...
17
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1answer
670 views

How did NASA's Deep Space Network encode and broadcast music to Opportunity?

@Ingolifs's answer to the question What was the last message to Opportunity today (13 Feb '19)? quotes ArsTechnica's Opportunity did not answer NASA’s final call, and it’s now lost to us: Late ...
9
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2answers
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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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1answer
910 views

Which Voyager spacecraft “mutinied”, and what really happened?

The August 2017 BBC News Science in Action podcast The Algae that Changed the Earth includes other topics, including the following: In August and September 1977, Nasa's probes Voyager 2 and Voyager ...
6
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1answer
214 views

What force do the armed guards guarding the Crew-1 crew belong to?

In the comments to the question Why were the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts backed up by guards with automatic weapons?, the question was raised what force the guards in the photo belong to. In particular, ...
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0answers
862 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
446 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
286 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
244 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 ...
3
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0answers
130 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 ...
3
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1answer
238 views

How to understand this complicated plot for Mariner 4's mid-course correction (to Mars)?

The 2015 DrewExMachina blog post Mariner 4 to Mars has an interesting looking plot! Below is the associated text, and the image caption. But I still do not understand all of the lines and labels in ...
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7answers
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Would it have been cheaper and/or faster to put a James Webb-like Space Telescope on a balloon instead of a rocket?

I've just noticed the following items: CNET: NASA to send stadium-size balloon skyward to study the cosmos JPL/NASA News: NASA Mission Will Study the Cosmos With a Stratospheric Balloon Even in 2020 ...
3
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1answer
100 views

Why aren't there any trajectories for the Viking missions in JPL Horizons' database?

Horizons has calculated trajectories for deep space spacecraft, including six objects related to Apollo 8 through 12. See an (old) list in the currently unanswered question What was Chang'e-2'...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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Power and frequency units used in 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 ...
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2answers
263 views

NASA at sIxty years, will there be a new moonshot mandate?

NASA is sixty years old still going strong. There are few organizations that have made such an impact to man's quest for knowledge in such a short time span. The contributions are many, and its ...
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How did NASA remotely fix the code on the Mars Pathfinder?

In 1997, NASA remotely fixed a bug that caused priority inversion on their Mars Pathfinder. How did they go about doing this? What kind of communication protocols are used? How do they update the ...
38
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4answers
7k views

Are there any space probes or landers which regained communication after being lost?

Recently, ISRO Vikram lander of Chandrayaan 2 lost its communication just before 2.1 km from lunar surface. ISRO staff still trying to regain the signals. Are there any space probes/landers which ...
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5answers
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Why hasn't NASA planted a stationary lab on Mars yet?

Why does NASA send rovers such as Curiosity instead of remotely building a small building on the surface of Mars?
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5answers
15k views

Does NASA have an end-of-the-world policy?

If an asteroid were detected, shooting towards earth with enough speed and certainty that it would all but guarantee a sequel of the end of the dinosaurs. Observatories and space agencies would almost ...
41
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2answers
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Did the Saturn V rocket have any purely aesthetic features that didn't serve an actual function?

The rocket itself is magnificent, yes, but with so many ins and outs to it, curious if the entire design was solely purpose built, or if there were features specifically for aesthetic purposes.
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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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4answers
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What constellation is on the NASA logo?

While watching the ORB3 Antares explosion press conference, I began to wonder about the design of the NASA logo. Do the white stars on the blue background represent some particular stellar pattern, ...
17
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3answers
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Does the Voyager team use a wrapper (Fortran(77?) to Python) to transmit current commands?

I assume that the vast majority of the people who created the software for these missions are now retired (the "space pensioners" of the Voyager mission). Here's a very good summary of the current ...
9
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2answers
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Text of John Houbolt's letter proposing Lunar Orbit Rendezvous for Apollo?

On 11/15/1961, John Houbolt, an engineer at the Langley Research Center, wrote a nine-page letter to Robert Seamans, associate administrator of NASA. (Referenced in this NASA retrospective.) This ...
17
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2answers
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NASA Launch Control: was all of its capacity ever used?

The NASA Launch Control Center at Cape Canaveral has 4 Firing Rooms. Each can support the launch of a spacecraft. Similarly, the VAB was divided into four bays, each large enough to support assembly ...
8
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2answers
557 views

Has NASA “gone south”? Why are astronauts needed to explore the Moon's south pole?

Wired: Why America Wants to Send Astronauts to The Moon's South Pole “Before we put boots on the ground at the poles, we urgently need a robotic water ice prospecting mission to the lunar poles,” ...
6
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1answer
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Hows does “Glenn Research Center's sapphire refractive secondary concentrator” work?

Clicking through NASA.spinoff.gov I came to the page for spinnoff 2001 Glenn Research Center and found this: Glenn Research Center's sapphire refractive secondary concentrator will be used with ...
4
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1answer
466 views

How would the Apollo telescope have worked in the Apollo command module? Where would it be located and how would it be operated?

In the Vintage Space video episode Missions we Lost When Apollo was Cancelled, there is discussion of the Apollo Telescope and the Block 3 command module after about ...
0
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0answers
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How will NASA's software for autonomous navigation in cis-lunar space be tested; what information is processed, what outputs evaluated?

NASA news item NASA Funds CubeSat Pathfinder Mission to Unique Lunar Orbit says: The pathfinder mission represents a rapid lunar flight demonstration and could launch as early as December 2020. ...
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8answers
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How can I, a high school student in Bucharest, go on to become an ISS astronaut?

I study at a High School in Bucharest, and I want to know what kind of education or subjects I need so that I can work in an International Space Station and stay there for 6 months. In the high ...
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6answers
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Why did Armstrong pilot the LM, when Aldrin was tasked as Lunar Module Pilot?

Buzz Aldrin is credited (or was tasked) with being the Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot. However in fact it was Neil Armstrong who piloted the craft down when the LM guidance computer overflowed, with ...
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1answer
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Is potable water in the American & Russian segments still stored separately?

This article writes to say An interesting fact is that the Russian and American segment water supplies can’t be mixed. The U.S. water uses iodine for bacteria control, while the Russian water uses ...
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2answers
910 views

How did the US government shutdown of 2013 affect NASA operations?

At midnight on October 1, 2013 the US government entered the state of government shutdown where all functions deemed non-essential are suspended. This shutdown lasted 16 days. How did this shutdown ...
14
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How useful is placing an asteroid in Lunar orbit?

Quoting from NASA warned plan to send humans to Mars may fail news article: The Obama administration is opposed to another moon landing, saying such a mission would be too costly. It wants ...
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3answers
826 views

What would be the configuration and performance for Saturn V with all stages RP-1/LOX?

Saturn V had RP-1/LOX 1st stage with 5 F-1 rocket engines. The 2nd and 3rd stage used LH2/LOX J-2 rocket engines, 5 and 1 respectively. At that time NASA had an advantage to launch heavy payloads ...
11
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1answer
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Could supplies have been launched to Columbia?

I've seen the discussions of whether NASA could imaginably have saved the crew of Columbia if they'd known about the damage to the wing in time. A lot comes down to the maximum time the crew could ...
9
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1answer
420 views

What's the current timeline for NASA's Mars orbiter laser communications?

Dr. Jim Green, Director, NASA Planetary Science Division, mentioned during his "The Martian": Science Fiction & Science Fact talk for the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention (you can ...
8
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3answers
719 views

Why does NASA plan to put a meteoroid in Lunar orbit instead of Earth orbit?

NASA is working on an asteroid retrieval mission. A small asteroid will be moved into Lunar orbit where it will be visited by space walking astronauts. Since it will be only max seven meters in ...