Questions tagged [power]

Questions regarding energy used to operate a mechanical or electrical device.

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4
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3answers
223 views

Ion Drives specific impulse somewhat of a false economy?

I've been working through a thought experiment with a friend of mine, with some of my previous questions already being (very helpfully) answered on here :) Here's the current issue I have though - ...
3
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1answer
115 views

Are there fuel cells for methane + oxygen? Could there be?

Hydrogen + oxygen fuel cells powered the week-long Apollo missions to the Moon and Shuttle missions to orbit, and there is a industry trying to build itself around hydrogen-fed fuel cell-based road ...
4
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0answers
155 views

Power supply for StarShip?

Early renderings of the Mars Colonial Transport showed 2 fan shaped solar arrays deployed while in space. I haven seen any depictions of the StarShip with a solar array either in orbit or standing on ...
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2answers
230 views

What form of Electric Current Powers Spacecrafts - Alternating Current (AC) or Direct Current (DC)?

Almost all spacecrafts launched by humanity consist of electrical components which require electricity to run. Usually, spacecrafts are either powered by a Solar Panel or using Radioisotope ...
2
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0answers
64 views

How strong would a magnetic field have to be to protect interplanetary craft?

The following suggests that this is a possible idea to protect crew on interstellar space flight: Is NASA doing research on "mini-magnetospheres" to protect crew from radiation in space? ...
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1answer
114 views

Has any mission to Titan tested the idea of producing electricity from Saturn's magnetic field?

From an answer to Astronomy SE question How does Titan maintain the atmosphere And we know the idea of generating electricity with a coil orbiting through a planet's magnetic field is sound in ...
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2answers
102 views

What is the ideal propulsion for an inner solar system spacecraft?

I've seen the X3 ion thruster named as the future for traveling between planets. Would the ideal spacecraft have only one propulsion? Or would it have multiple sources such as hydrazine and solar ...
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35 views

Have nuclear reactors been used in space [duplicate]

Have nuclear reactors ever been used in space as a way for power, instead of solar panels? If not, have any plans for one ever been made?
3
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1answer
130 views

What is the current status of Stirling engine-based radioisotope generator technology?

@Heopps' cool answer to the question Any proposed missions to explore the black liquid on Titan? Technical challenges? has an interesting line: ASRG generator was planned as compact energy source ...
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1answer
269 views

What are the ISS's eight “power channels”? How do they work?

c|net's NASA troubleshoots mysterious ISS power issue links to the NASA Blog post Crew Waits for Dragon Mission While Teams Troubleshoot Power Issue which says: Monday morning, teams identified an ...
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2answers
167 views

Could electricity be generated from a Martian dust storm?

This helicopter is producing static electricity from the blades moving through the dusty air. Along with the electricity provided by wind generators could additional power be created this way from ...
14
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1answer
2k views

How does electrical safety system work on ISS?

Is there any possibility that the power consumption is greater than power supply on ISS? What happens (or potentially would happen) if we plug too many electric devices so that ISS couldn't handle it? ...
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1answer
177 views

How exactly does Curiosity's floating bus work, and how does it continue to operate when voltage drops from 11 to only 4 volts?

@Hobbes's answer calls attention to Emily Lakdawalla's book The Design and Engineering of Curiosity : How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job which led me to reading excerpts in several Planetary Society ...
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1answer
117 views

Why satellite’s solar panel wattage is often listed in specifications?

What is the purpose of listing the power output (Wattage) from solar panel, without the energy/power specification of batteries or other electrical storage devices? Do satellites often use the power ...
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2answers
283 views

How did the Mir crew recover from the power outage following collision with Progress 34?

There are several accounts about how and why the collision between Mir and Progress 34 happened and that it ended in Mir being completely dark and silent: "'For the first time I experienced a ...
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1answer
98 views

How feasible is wind energy generation on Mars? [duplicate]

Spacecrafts and rovers tend to have dust settled on their panel which leads to reduced power generation. If wind turbines could power the instruments, then the seasonality of solar power generation ...
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0answers
54 views

What are the tradeoffs of circularly unfurling solar panel over linearly deploying solar panels?

Martian landers like Phoenix and Insight uses circularly unfurling solar panels. The regular satellites make use of linearly unfurling panels. What are the primary reasons why linear unfurling ...
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4answers
148 views

Radioisotope thermoelectric generator behavior on reentry

The RTG has become a major source of power in places where solar power just wont cut it. but there has always been an issue with sending them into space. if the launch fails, radiation comes raining ...
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0answers
85 views

Use or tests of multimode optical fiber for cubesat battery charging or datalink while in storage, or waiting to launch?

the idea of POF or power over fiber is to couple a moderate amount of solid state laser light, say a few hundred milliWatts or even several Watts (or potentially more, but it gets more challenging), ...
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1answer
105 views

power system redundancy in launch vehicles

Is the power supply system redundant in launch vehicles? If so, how is it achieved? For example, is there redundancy at the battery pack level or converter level? How much battery packs will there be,...
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1answer
122 views

How will JAXA's space elevator-testing cubesat experiment work?

The Infobae article Japón inicia hoy el ambicioso proyecto de construir un ascensor espacial which translated from Spanish into English by Google says Japan begins today the ambitious project to ...
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0answers
78 views

Have inflatable solar arrays ever been used in practice?

Was trying to find some "experimental" solar panel designs, and came across a rather fascinating design idea, inflatable solar panels. I feel like something this compact would work stupendously for a ...
5
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2answers
196 views

In what ways could a US-based commercial space company legally use nuclear power?

At the moment, commercial usage of space seems to be the next big 'thing' in space exploration. Much of this (tourism, commercial launch companies, etc) will likely use solar power or fuel cell ...
4
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1answer
173 views

Generating power in zero-g

When generating electricity, energy is lost to friction in mechanical bearings (e.g. turbine or generator bearings) and as heat, through resistance in transmission wires. If you were generating ...
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0answers
285 views

What kind of power is referred to in “the…most powerful all-electric propulsion communications satellite ever produced”

The Florida Today article On second flight, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch 'brute' of a satellite from Cape describes the upcoming SpaceX launch of SES-12. Next to this tiny image of (presumably) ...
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1answer
575 views

Why was the ISS' DC vacuum cleaner replaced with an AC version? Are there “wall sockets” throughout the ISS where it's plugged in?

The question Why did Apollo spacecraft use both AC and DC equipment? Still used in present and future designs? and especially the answer there reminded me of something I'd seen in the YouTube video ...
3
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1answer
560 views

Cosmic rays can be new energy source [closed]

Space is filled with cosmic rays that are high-energy particles. If we could convert that energy into electric (or any other) energy, then we could use it to power a rocket anywhere in the universe. ...
6
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2answers
246 views

Using Kilopower without shielding

The KRUSTY reactor (the first actual test under the Kilopower project) is shown in this image. As can be seen, about half of the mass is shielding. Suppose we were using the reactor on an umanned ...
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2answers
417 views

If we make a “Ring around the earth” in orbit - a wire ring in orbit - could we use it generate electricity?

I envision a conductive wire that is extruded out of a satellite as it completes it orbit, and then goes past it's start point a bit before stopping the extrusion. Then the satellite is sent to grab ...
4
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1answer
851 views

How does SpaceX Falcon Heavy Starman live feed transmitter work?

I'm curious to find out answers to the following questions: Where is the antenna for the live feed transmitter of starman located in the payload? How is the transmitter being powered? Related to 2nd ...
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1answer
162 views

What is the distribution of ∆V amongst different stages of rocket flight?

How is rocket energy (or fuel consumption) is distributed between gaining orbital velocity gaining orbital height fight aerodynamic drag
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1answer
67 views

'Space Transit Habitat' source(s) of energy

What are the sources of energy for a Space Transit Habitat(manned) in terms of both propulsion( after passing over the Low Earth Orbit) and required electric facilities)through a 6-8 month voyage to ...
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5answers
5k views

How does a solar eclipse affect satellites?

Satellites are somewhat closer to the Moon than the Earth is (Or rather, can be), and might well have the sun blocked from them. Furthermore, they can move somewhat more than the Earth, and thus have ...
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1answer
277 views

heat recovery thermodynamics in space

Let me try ask it this way. How efficient is current power generation thermodynamic cycles in space? Is it even used? My info is that most spacecraft use PV solar panels, is the heat turned to energy ...
4
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1answer
6k views

What is the maximum speed an ion engine can propel a spacecraft at?

I read that with our current ion propulsion technology it is possible we could send a craft moving the maximum of 100km per second, or around 62 miles. However we seem to be limited by how strong of a ...
18
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1answer
1k views

Why did Apollo spacecraft use both AC and DC equipment? Still used in present and future designs?

Why did the Apollo spacecraft use both DC and AC power, requiring heavy inverters? Was it impractical to design everything to run on DC power only? Why? Are both AC and DC power still used in present ...
2
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1answer
232 views

How can satellites serve a large number of devices on earth?

Say we have a LEO satellite. There are 5000 low power devices on earth (They are in the close vicinity, can be served by same satellite) which needs to be communicated with the satellite. Now my ...
17
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3answers
2k views

Potential high temperature power sources for a Venus lander

What power sources are viable on a 'long term' Venus lander? An RTG relies on a temperature differential, and is not likely to be doable with a 457C 'cold side'. Based on this answer there is not ...
3
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2answers
278 views

How to transport gigawatt-level power across a 100km distance?

I'm investigating the idea of transporting gigawatts of electrical power to the first stage booster of an electrical rocket. The first stage booster, like Falcon 9's recoverable first stage, stages ...
12
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5answers
5k views

Can cosmic background be harvested for energy?

I know it would be awfully weak, but it's present even where all other power sources would be unavailable - could cosmic level radiation be used to power minimal set of systems of a probe, say, a ...
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1answer
890 views

What is the relation between the rocket equation and work, energy and power?

Say, I'm given the data typical to the Rocket equation in its many variants: $\Delta v, I_{sp}, m_f, m_0, ρ, T$ (thrust) and the likes. And someone asks me "What's the horsepower of the space shuttle ...
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2answers
496 views

Tritium as energy source for probes?

There's this ingenious little hack video: "How to make tritium nuclear battery at home". The idea is very simple: "tritium keychain lights" - tubes with tritium and luminophor - placed between solar ...
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3answers
290 views

What kinds of nuclear reactors are suitable for operations in space? (Beyond thermionic and RTG)

If we want a nuclear power plant in space with a capacity similar to that of a conventional water boiling turbine nuclear power plant on Earth today, what kinds of fundamental design changes would ...
17
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2answers
1k views

Why are RTGs different colors?

This is an image of the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) for Cassini: This one was for one left on the Moon: And this one is for the Multi-Mission RTG, used by Curiosity on Mars: One is ...
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2answers
202 views

Power requirements for solar electric interplanetary vehicle

I am interested in electric propulsion for manned interplanetary craft. There must be a lot of models for a craft able to travel to Mars, for instance. I am wondering what the power requirements seem ...
9
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1answer
433 views

How much power would an Alpha Centauri probe require for communication?

Project Longshot report (1988) says: A laser with an input power of 250 kilowatts would allow for a data rate of 1000 bits per second at maximum range." Yet Breakthrough Starshot website (2016) ...
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2answers
273 views

Temperature of photovoltaic cells vs efficiency - is it ever actively controlled?

The efficiency of photovoltaic cells is surprisingly strong function of junction temperature. Hotter usually means lower efficiency. If one searches for example for images and sites tagged with "...
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2answers
154 views

Has the choice of photovoltaic junction types for newer spacecraft converged on one, optimal solution?

On earth, the photovoltaic cell junction for mass production tends to be just silicon, although there is a variety of material types - single crystal vs multicrystal or polycrystal, or even amorphous. ...
10
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1answer
488 views

Do geosynchronous satellite launches require a tight launch window?

I thought only launches to rendezvous (resupply, repair, space station expansion etc) and direct launches into interplanetary trajectory require precisely timed launch window. Then I read: Geosync ...
2
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3answers
435 views

Would it be possible to power a Venus lander using a temperature differential?

Venus has an average surface temperature of 735K. Would it be possible to harness this extreme temperature and use it to generate electricity? After all, that's the principle a radioisotope ...