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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42
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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 ...
37
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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.
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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: ...
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2answers
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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
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3answers
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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
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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
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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
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1answer
242 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
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3answers
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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 ...
15
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1answer
3k 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 ...
14
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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 ...
10
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2answers
6k views

Why did NASA close the space shuttle program? [duplicate]

The era of the space shuttle program was one of the highlights in the history of space exploration. Why did NASA decide to retire the space shuttles, or why aren't they planning to start a new program ...
9
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2answers
525 views

How effective would the ARES aircraft be?

NASA has been working on a glider aircraft they wanted to send to Mars - this is the Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey. (ARES) How long would it be able to travel? What would be the possible ...
8
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1answer
285 views

Any regolith lunar samples tested for organics?

I looked over this NASA report and it seems to me they didn't analyze for traces of organics any of the deep core samples. Is my assumption correct and if yes why wasn't this test considered?
6
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2answers
6k views

Which are the chances of a programmer without engineering-related degrees to work in space industry?

If someone is a programmer, but without any kind of knowledge or know-how about engineering and would want to work in space industry, what would be his chances to find a job anywhere? (NASA or other ...
44
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3answers
8k views

Why did the Space Shuttle fly upside-down normally

After reading this answer I found out that the space shuttle normally spent its time upside-down. Why is that? I'd guess it has to do with shielding from the sun, but I can't back that up with ...
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5answers
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Is there any evidence that NASA was worried about deep lunar dust?

It was once theorized that the moon might have deep oceans of dust, potentially a problem for any craft landing on its surface. I've heard that NASA was concerned about this possibility in the early ...
28
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4answers
3k views

What will be NASA's successor to the Saturn V rocket?

The Saturn V rockets were the "tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status and still holds the record for heaviest payload launched and heaviest payload capacity to ...
22
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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, ...
16
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1answer
3k views

Did Michael Collins ask for a fourth gimbal for Christmas? Is there a recording or transcript?

Did Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins ask for a fourth gimbal for Christmas, while looking for the lunar ascent module? If so, is a recording of this available for posterity? Or a ...
13
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1answer
6k views

Did NASA use metric units for the Mercury missions?

Did NASA use metric or English units for Project Mercury? For example, did they measure delta-v in meters/second or in feet/second?
11
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1answer
590 views

What were the differences between the LLRV and LLTV?

The LLRV (Lunar Landing Research Vehicle) was used to develop the LLTV (Lunar Landing Training Vehicle), but were there design differences between the two? Were any major lessons learned from the LLRV ...
10
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2answers
700 views

Can we talk to Pioneer 6?

My question is relatively simple in the essence that it takes few words to ask, but scientifically may be a nightmare. In 2000, the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex sent a message to ...
9
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1answer
860 views

Why is InSight's nylon parachute a “soft good”?

NBC News' Mars InSight's landing team leader is all 'nerves and excitement' ahead of risky touchdown includes a conversation with Rob Grover, "who leads the team in charge of InSight's landing at NASA'...
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369 views

Why is there no video of the first steps of Apollo 16 and 17?

In doing research in to the first words said on the surface of the various Apollo astronauts, I found there was no video of Apollo 16 and 17, at least until they had been on the surface for a while. ...
8
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1answer
770 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 ...
7
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2answers
832 views

What role does the NASA deputy administrator play?

A new deputy NASA administrator, Dava Newman, has been appointed. What is the actual function of a deputy administrator in NASA? What kind of decisions will she be responsible for? And is a deputy ...
6
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1answer
905 views

Does Star Trek's adherence to naval tradition have roots in NASA or earlier real organizations?

I know this sounds off topic, but bear with me. This is a question about real world space agencies. Is it well established that Star Trek follows naval tradition. For example its ranks come from ...
6
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2answers
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Would NASA be financially self-sufficient if it could keep all revenues from patents?

I am wondering if NASA could be financially self-sufficient if they kept all revenues from patents of technologies they have developed since the Apollo program. To answer this, I would like to ...
6
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3answers
1k views

Which orbital maneuver is currently regarded as the most viable for a human mission to mars?

I realize that there are different orbital maneuvers for different goals (e.g. optimizing time, efficiency, cost, etc.). However, which variables are currently considered as the most important to be ...
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250 views

Was the nutation problem of the Ulysses spacecraft successfully mitigated? If so, how?

I ran across this https://web.archive.org/web/20070812135755/http://ulysses-ops.jpl.esa.int:80/ulsfct/rgpCafe/NutGame/index.html which lead me to 1, 2 and 3, links connected to the Ulysses Nutation ...
3
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1answer
157 views

Was the Orbit Pavilion triggered by real communications events?

The October 2016 NASA JPL news article Art Turns Public Eyes (and Ears) Toward Space describes an artistic interpretation of the communications between a number of NASA Earth satellites and ground ...
3
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1answer
153 views

Short EFT-1 missions launch window

I have been following the Orion flight test this morning hoping that the engineers could finally manage to launch the spacecraft on time and I was disappointed when the scrubbing was communicated. ...
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2answers
169 views

What can Halosat do that can't be done already?

The GIF included in the BGR article Watch the International Space Station poop out a tiny satellite that will search for (missing) matter which shows a 3U 6U cubesat ejected from the ISS. The article ...
0
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1answer
133 views

Why would different Shuttle orbits have different mission directors?

The Wikipedia page for NASA Flight director Holly Ridings contains a portrait with two other STS-117 mission flight directors. The caption there says: Flight directors for the STS-117 mission in ...
0
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1answer
216 views

How will the Gateway-before-boots sequence benefit US business, economic and technological development?

Update: Several people were kind enough to make helpful suggestions about this question. I'm looking strictly for well-reasoned, fact-based answer only. Thanks! In the question More complete source ...
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3answers
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Could the museum Saturn V's be refitted for one more flight?

Even though we will not build new Saturn Vs, there currently exist three Saturn Vs in museums. Could any of these rockets be refitted for flight? If not, what specific component would prevent the ...
19
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1answer
1k views

Why have a 10 minute pause at T-4 minutes?

I was watching the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket launching NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) to Mars today, and the countdown contained a planned 10 minute pause at T-...
17
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1answer
3k views

If the space shuttle computers all output contradictory commands, how is it chosen?

The space shuttle computers use triple-redundancy, and if one computer contradicted the other two, it would be ignored. I read that if all three gave contradictory output, one computer would be ...
15
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3answers
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The Moon's shadow could not possibly look like this — could it?

The NASA Goddard video Tracing the 2017 Solar Eclipse is a visualization of the calculated shape of the umbra during the upcoming August 2017 total solar eclipse, as it moves across North America. ...
15
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3answers
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What happens to Insight's parachute on Mars?

All of the animations I see show the heat shield detaching and falling to the ground, then Insight detaching and landing. There is no information about what happens with the upper part of the heat ...
15
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2answers
737 views

Is NASA launching fewer interplanetary missions?

We were discussing this in the chat room yesterday, and I thought it might make an interesting question. While missions are lasting longer today than they perhaps ever have, it seems like there are ...
13
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0answers
299 views

How did “the kid” (John Meisenheimer) calculate that there was a wave in the jet stream and Explorer 1 would be okay to launch?

The tough but timely question NASA at sIxty years, will there be a new moonshot mandate? links to the NASA YouTube video NASA 60th: How It All Began which shows a lot of really nice, historical file ...
11
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1answer
755 views

Why does NASA use the position title “Pilot”' for crew members who are not in charge of piloting the spacecraft?

Why does NASA use the position title "Pilot"' for crew members who are not in charge of piloting the spacecraft? For example famously Buzz Aldrin's position was Lunar Module Pilot but his spacecraft ...
11
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1answer
2k views

What do astronauts do with their trash on the ISS?

Astronauts often stay more than a year on the ISS, they produce trash like any other human. Is there like a limit that they may produce ever day or maybe some measures were put in place to reduce the ...
11
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1answer
767 views

Growing food in space

I can't find info on NASA site, but saw a picture of romaine on ISS and am wondering how it maintains its shape in zero-gravity- why doesn't it spread out, what makes it grow up...?
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2answers
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How did Conrad let Bean drive Apollo 12? Did anyone get in trouble?

In the NPR News item and podcast It's Been 50 Years Since Apollo 12 Landed On The Moon reporter Geoff Brumfiel says: The trip back went smoothly. Conrad let Bean drive the spaceship a little bit, ...
9
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980 views

Why does NASA still use film cameras?

According to this video, NASA still operates some cameras for tracking rocket launches that use film: According to NASA, they even have some film cameras placed around their launch site loaded ...
9
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4answers
4k views

Why were Solid Rockets chosen for the SLS

The SLS and the STS seem to be the only rockets utilizing SRBs... Why did they choose to go with them over LH/LOX or Kerosene/LOX? Wouldn't it also be easier to upgrade those rockets in the future?
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3answers
665 views

Is there any active collision avoidance aboard the spacecraft in Mars' orbit?

Wikipedia writes to say As of 2009, about 19,000 pieces of debris larger than 5 cm (2.0 in) are tracked,[1] with another 300,000 pieces smaller than 1 cm below 200 km altitude Control collision ...