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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Was 39A 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
899 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
votes
3answers
932 views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
696 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
384 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
votes
3answers
682 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
367 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
350 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
825 views

Why was MarCO-B CubeSats flying away after InSight landed?

Farewell to Mars November 26, 2018 MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) away during its flyby of ...
2
votes
1answer
196 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
445 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

How were the geodetic and geocentric latitudes of the Space Shuttle defined and calculated?

The image below is cropped from https://i.stack.imgur.com/4XFaJ.jpg as described in this answer. It shows a geographic state of a space shuttle at a given instant in time. There is only one value for ...
33
votes
2answers
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
votes
2answers
3k views

How can Trident be so inexpensive? Will it orbit Triton or just do a (slow) flyby?

The recent NY Times article Neptune’s Moon Triton Is Destination of Proposed NASA Mission says (in part): HOUSTON — Is it time to go back to Neptune? Scientists representing NASA’s Jet ...
20
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
10k views

Size of Apollo era astronauts

I had read that the early astronauts were all 'short guys'. This made a lot of sense. A short man can have as much stamina and endurance as a large man, yet eat less, consume less oxygen & (...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there any reason why American spacesuits color changed over years?

From Mercury silver suits to orange Space Shuttle ones, color of space suits have changed over years. Is there any reason for it?
16
votes
2answers
3k views

Were there any CAPCOMs who were not astronauts?

The capsule communicator (CAPCOM) is the person in mission control who speaks to the astronauts. The position was invented by NASA's first flight director, Chris Kraft, who believed it would be best ...
15
votes
1answer
592 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

This BBC photo does not show a replica of Vanguard-1, what might it be?

The BBC news article The World's Oldest Scientific Satellite is Still in Orbit talks about the Vanguard program and that Vanguard-1 is still in orbit around the Earth, and near the end shows a photo ...
10
votes
2answers
916 views

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
votes
3answers
1k views

Won't the heat sensor probe interfere with the seismometer?

I've read that the Mars InSight Seismometer will be deployed before the HP3 probe. Won't the digging interfere with the seismometer? Or the shock produced will be small enough to be dissipated by the ...
9
votes
2answers
817 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
358 views

How well could the ISS attitude control system detect periods of astronaut activity?

The question Why doesn't ISS start to spin if people walk inside? is a good one partly because it has attracted several good, informative answers. One of them is particularly intriguing because it ...
6
votes
0answers
768 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: "Hmmm,...
5
votes
2answers
994 views

Why did the Apollo program become a MULTIPLE human landing program?

How did JFK's promise of landing one man on the Moon grow into a whole series of landings of 12 men on 7 missions, with even more planned? Given the motivation of the program, shouldn't Apollo have ...
4
votes
1answer
591 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
123 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
votes
1answer
227 views

Has a NASA administrator ever explained US military initiatives in Space to the press before this?

A search of the site will show that from time to time the political aspects of NASA (a US government agency) or the Space Exploration aspects of politicians have been considered on-topic in this site. ...
2
votes
1answer
153 views

Where would one deploy deep space atomic clocks?

Space.com: NASA IS LAUNCHING A GPS SYSTEM FOR SPACE NASA/JPL news: Five Things to Know about NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock NASA mission pages clock NASA Deep Space Atomic Clock Fact Sheet The first ...
2
votes
1answer
185 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

How will “InSight's onboard communications gear perform a radio-science experiment to shed further light on Mars' innards?” (Space.com)

The Space.com article How NASA Mars Lander's 'Steampunk' Claw Will Work (Video) says: InSight's mission aims to provide a detailed look at Mars' interior structure and composition. The lander ...
1
vote
1answer
242 views

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 ...
-4
votes
1answer
119 views

Why is there no exosphere demonstrating moon dust and particles in the Apollo footage?

I have read dust levitates on the moon's surface extending to 100 miles in the sky (horizon) creating an exosphere. Dust levitates because the surface of the moon and dust particles have become ...
55
votes
3answers
15k views

How did NASA prevent third parties from spoofing Apollo communications?

The Apollo crews transmitted footage to Earth using SSTV, a ham radio technique that amateurs and pirates can use to send similar messages around the world. Did NASA have any technical ...
19
votes
2answers
7k views

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 ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

Did NASA's Borg Collective-designed antennas work? Have similar designs ever been used in spacecraft beyond testing?

This interesting answer to the question Do antenna farms on spacecraft make any sense or are they purely aesthetic? in Worldbuilding SE links to the NASA Ames page 'Borg' Computer Collective Designs ...
16
votes
7answers
5k views

Why don't we put an EmDrive in space?

Once again the impossible drive is in the forefront of public news. But thus far, I am still unimpressed. NASA seems to have thrown a lot of resources, to test the viability of the EmDrive. But I am ...
1
vote
3answers
20k views

How would one go about proving humans have really been to outer space?

Background: I am 40 years old, and in my entire life the only face to face eyewitness event that I can remember where humans actually observed an attempt to fly into outer space, the craft exploded ...
41
votes
4answers
10k views

During the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster of 2003, Why Did The Flight Director Say, “Lock the doors.”?

Why does the NASA Flight Director say, "Lock the doors.", when realizing that disaster had struck for Space Shuttle Columbia, back in 2003? Does he mean lock the doors on the space shuttle that's ...
36
votes
2answers
7k views

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.
23
votes
1answer
5k views

What celestial body did NASA carve and why is it eating a spacecraft?

The Mashable.com article No one carves a Halloween pumpkin like NASA engineers shows several interesting examples. But this one I can't figure out. The caption reads only. Om nom nom. Question: ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

How will Juno establish existence of solid core within Jupiter and determine its size?

One of the set goals for NASA's New Frontiers Juno mission is studying Jupiter's interior and determining if this gas giant has a solid core and if, how large it is. This is mentioned several times on ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Will the Pluto flyby by New Horizons be broadcast online?

Obviously, there is a 4.5 hour time lag so we can't expect live video, but will they have a telecast of some sort showing images as they come in, along with the latest telemetry? Will there be a ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

“UK schoolboy corrects Nasa data error” - what precisely was the “error”?

From the BBC: A British schoolboy has discovered that a piece of Nasa's top space research is flawed. Miles Soloman, a student at Tapton School in Sheffield, was taking part in a project run ...
3
votes
1answer
213 views

What does this paper say is wrong (quantitatively and procedurally) with WISE & NeoWISE asteroid data?

I don't have daily access to the journal Icarus so when I read the New York Times article Asteroids and Adversaries: Challenging What NASA Knows About Space Rocks; Two years ago, NASA dismissed and ...
19
votes
3answers
18k views

Apollo communication between the Earth and Moon

How was it possible for astronauts to send back tv/radio signals to earth from the moon? I have just been teaching my son about waves behavior and understand that radio waves are reflected back to ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What NASA documents did SpaceX use to design their engines?

I've watched this (excellent) panel discussion titled 'Our Future in Space'. Bill Nye says at 22:48 that SpaceX got their engine design from work done by NASA, which they developed into a working ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Do Russian and American spacecraft use the same docking mechanism?

Back in the days of the Apollo era, the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project had the two craft meeting each other in orbit and docking. The stated reason for this was so that if a spacecraft from one country was ...