Questions tagged [power]

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

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Why the Space Shuttle electrical system is so complex?

This is me, having too much free time and deciding to learn how the electrical system of the Space Shuttle worked. So, because I couldn't find any "easy to read" diagram online, I built a ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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What is the relationship (if any) between NASA's Kilopower project and its request for 40 kW reactor designs?

Gizmodo's NASA Wants to Put a Nuclear Reactor on the Moon begins NASA is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory to develop a non-solar power source on the Moon by ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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How many watts of electricity are available for systems during a Mars transit?

The 40+ year old Voyager probes have three Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) currently producing 249 watts, losing around 4 watts per year. They began with 470 Watts. The Curiosity Rover's ...
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7 votes
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Is lunar exploration going to need a whole heck of a lot of RTGs? If so, have they started firing up the RTG-making reactors yet?

The November 16, 2021 Northrop Grumman Press Release Highly specialized team to design vehicle for sustainable lunar surface mobility operations begins Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), is ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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How to compute each of these link budget terms?

The terms in Equation are all in decibels (dB), which is logarithmically scaled. In Equation, $P_{rx}$ is the received peak power, $P_{tx}$ is the transmitted peak power, $G_{tx}$ is the transmitter ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Maximum lift of a helicopter in Mars' atmosphere?

Maximum lift of a helicopter in Mars' atmosphere? Inginuity has been a success. It begs the question of full-scale helicopter transportation on Mars. However, low Martian atmospheric density means a ...
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3 votes
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What transportation energy “currency” would be most suitable for mobile machinery on the Martian surface?

What transportation energy “currency” (methane, H2, electricity) would be most suitable for mobile machinery on the Martian surface? Photovoltaic (PV) cells or nuclear energy will likely be the only ...
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4 votes
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What are the specifications for electrical connectors that can be used for repeated mating in space?

We’re working on an interface between satellites that when docked has to transmit power and data. The interface needs to have a port for transmitting power and data. Majority of the connectors ...
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6 votes
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What will Lucy do for power during its first hour after launch?

Based on When will Lucy deploy its solar panels?, I learned that Lucy will unfold its solar arrays 1 hour after launch. How will it be powered during this hour? Does it have batteries that are charged ...
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5 votes
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When docked, do Dragon solar panels contribute to ISS mains power?

What it says on the tin. Does a docked Dragon trunk section contribute to the ISS's batteries? I'm aware it would probably be minimal though due to orientation and occlusion of the panels, and when ...
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Could a satellite use a Miniature Atomic Clock (MAC) to provide GPS services?

I've been investigating GPS satellites and I got curious about onboard atomic clocks. I found this following paper on the concept of a CubeSat GPS constellation using Chip-Scale Atomic Clocks, and ...
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How would I determine the power usage for a X-Band High Gain Antenna?

Currently I have that for a X-Band High Gain Antenna functioning at 8 Ghz, diameter of 3 meters, and a power transmission of 13.1dBW (20 watts) at a distance of about 8.5 AU has a Gain of 52.44 dBi, ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Why are RTGs so inefficient?

I recently learned about how an n-type and p-type "sandwich" with different thermal properties can create a potential difference in the presence of a temperature gradient. The subsequent ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What are the Basics of CubeSat Power Supplies and Systems?

I am going to go ahead and apologize for my ignorance surrounding this topic, as my background is Aerodynamics, and not Electrical Engineering. From what I understand, CubeSats typically generate ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Are power nuclear reactors (including advanced designs) really vastly less "aggressive" in design than NTR cores?

It is my understanding that solid-core nuclear thermal rocket reactors are extremely aggressive designs that operate at the limits of materials and have an incredibly high specific thermal power. Do ...
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1 vote
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Which fuel cell fuels have been demonstrated in space?

Combination of fuel cells and electric motors - whether it has been used as part of an electric pump-fed cycles? gives a short summary of fuel cells and lists the following energy-containing fuels ...
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17 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why exactly does Curiosity's RTG make more electricity on cold days?

There is a fascinating factoid in this answer to MMRTG- thermal and electrical output: The electric power of the thermocouples depends on cooling influenced by the environment. On a cold day on Mars ...
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5 votes
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Electrical power requirements for Starship or Falcon 9

Anybody know where one could dig up electrical requirements for Starship? In other words, if Starship were sitting on the launch pad drawing power prior to launch, what would the load be? I imagine ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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At what inclined grade would Curiosity or Perseverance require twice the electrical power to drive compared to driving on flat terrain?

Motors have losses and friction, and compaction of soil by a rovers wheels are lossy as well. Driving over bumps/topography requires extra work going up that isn't recovered when going back down. The ...
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5 votes
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How are the Curiosity rover's batteries doing after all these years (and all these cycles)? Have they degraded significantly?

Curiosity has spent 2820 sols on Mars and this answer to About how long will Curiosity last on its nuclear power? points out that its batteries may wear out faster than its RTG. Question: How are ...
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HDEV Goodbye Video- similar projects planned?

I just found that nice "Goodbye HDEV" video on the Columbus-Eye-Projekt-Webpage. (http://columbuseye.rub.de/) Seems like the HDEV-housing is already burned during re-entry. Does anyone know ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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ULA's ACES upper stage with IVF - Why are they using internal combustion engines?

I recently read out about ULA's ACES (Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage) upper stage with IVF (Integrated Vehicle Fluids), which crazy as it sounds, has two six-cylinder engines developed by Roush that ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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What are the power specifications for Curiosity's 6 driving motors and the voltages of the two batteries, and what are the sources?

To calculate the maximum travel time for Curiosity without recharging its batteries, I would like to know the power specifications for its driving motors. And we need to know how much energy can be ...
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9 votes
2 answers
569 views

Could a thermal nuclear propulsion double as a nuclear reactor?

Nuclear thermal propulsion takes hydrogen and introduces it to enriched uranium that then heats up the gas and expels it to create thrust. Could you use also use the uranium to heat up water instead ...
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2 votes
1 answer
133 views

Using recent technology, how much electrical power could a nuclear reactor launchable by a low-level heavy-lift vehicle be developed to produce?

The main purpose behind asking this question is to ascertain the potential power-to-weight ratio of reactors built using modern-derivative technology (i.e. either Generation III derivatives or ...
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0 votes
0 answers
53 views

Antenna required to reach titan

There are two 12U cubesats, one in Earth orbit and one in orbit around Titan. They have a transmit power of 700 W (for short periods) and have identical antennas. What diameter and what type of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
187 views

Exchange diameter for power in parabolic antenna

If I want to reduce the diameter of a satellite dish, how much power should I add to the transmitter? how is this formula? As I have already been informed a little in this other question I asked: X-...
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3 votes
2 answers
505 views

Does NASA really report the power of rockets in horsepower?

On a recent episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson said: And to this day NASA will still report the power of rockets in horsepower, which is completely absurd, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How many "main" batteries does the ISS have? How many are still nickel-hydrogen?

CBS News's Third all-female spacewalk completes job of swapping out batteries says: NASA is in the process of replacing 48 older-generation nickel-hydrogen batteries in the station's solar power ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Mass of a circumlunar power transmission line?

The most easily available power source on the Moon is solar power. This has the obvious drawback that the night is two weeks long, during which you would probably still need power for a base to ...
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4 votes
0 answers
34 views

Is there a tool for modeling what power requirements different satellite modules have?

Reading about FADsat made me think of this because it does exactly that. Maybe a better question is does anyone know of a tool like FADsat?
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4 votes
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What was the transmitting power of the Apollo astronauts' PLSS VHF radio transmitters?

I'm assuming many of you are familiar with Larry Baysinger. A radio amateur who independently detected and recorded the transmissions from the Apollo 11 EVA using a homemade antenna. Larry Baysinger ...
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5 votes
2 answers
383 views

How hot was the surface of RTG radiator which powered ALSEP on Apollo-12?

The last 5 Apollo missions that landed on the moon (starting from Apollo-12) deployed Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) which was powered by radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG) ...
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4 votes
3 answers
296 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 - ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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5 votes
0 answers
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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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1 vote
2 answers
824 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 ...
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2 votes
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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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2 votes
1 answer
163 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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2 votes
2 answers
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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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0 votes
0 answers
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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?
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5 votes
1 answer
317 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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7 votes
1 answer
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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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2 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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14 votes
1 answer
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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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15 votes
2 answers
545 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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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3 votes
0 answers
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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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