Questions tagged [power]

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

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51 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
100 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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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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1answer
100 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
249 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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162 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 ...
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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
168 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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115 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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266 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
91 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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52 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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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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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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95 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
116 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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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 ...
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190 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 ...
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1answer
170 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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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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491 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 ...
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1answer
479 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. ...
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235 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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387 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 ...
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846 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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161 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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'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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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
260 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 ...
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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 ...
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998 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 ...
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1answer
230 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
275 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 ...
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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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816 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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482 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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280 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 ...
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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
200 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 ...
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1answer
424 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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264 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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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. ...
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477 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 ...
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3answers
415 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 ...
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4answers
6k views

Why wasn't an RTG used on the Juno spacecraft?

When I first heard about the Juno spacecraft, I was surprised that it would be using solar panels to generate power throughout the mission. Why wasn't a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) ...
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586 views

Solar cells in series

Most of space-based hardware operates on solar panels composed of lots of photovoltaic cells connected in short series that produce around 28V; lots of these are connected in parallel to produce ...
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Are cubesats deployed with fully discharged batteries? Even those on Sherpa?

I'm pretty sure that at least some large satellites are deployed with their batteries charged so that they can initialize themselves, get their own attitude and position, and possibly establish some ...
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WHY did Rosetta have to go into hibernation for 2.5 years?

It seems the Rosetta spacecraft was put (put itself) into hibernation 08-June-2011. It spun itself up to stabilize its attitude, then shut down navigation, attitude control, communication systems as ...
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371 views

Can Red Dragon generate electrical power after a Mars landing, or will it rely only on battery power?

Red Dragon will presumably have to shed or re-stow solar arrays before any landing. What will be the source of electrical power after landing?