Questions tagged [power]

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

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12
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3answers
2k 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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2answers
431 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?
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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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101 views

How are Curiosity's batteries doing after all these years? 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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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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At what incline would curiosity require twice the electrical power to drive compared to a flat grade?

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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1answer
275 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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38 views

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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4answers
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Why aren't solar collectors in space solar power concepts placed closer to the sun?

I've been thinking about space solar power for quite some time, as to how it could be more profitable than ground based solar power. From all the concepts that I have seen the main problem I always ...
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38 views

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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4answers
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Are there any safe-to-launch alternatives to RTG's for outer solar system exploration?

In the past two decades, NASA has launched at least three missions that use RTG's: Cassini Mars Science Laboratory New Horizons Those launches include plutonium, which is a reason for some to oppose ...
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8answers
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How could a fast powerful rover on Mars be powered electrically?

Background The rovers on Mars are slow and weak. If I am to believe what I read, MSL Curiosity only produces 1/6th of a horsepower electric effect, 125 watt. In order to perform tasks like deep ...
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2answers
504 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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1answer
97 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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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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1answer
154 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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1answer
171 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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1answer
154 views

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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2answers
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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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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 ...
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0answers
70 views

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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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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1answer
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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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2answers
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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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3answers
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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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1answer
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What is the power requirement of a spacesuit?

A spacesuit is a fairly easily identifiable piece of equipment in spacecraft. It's purpose is to keep it's interior distinct from the exterior in terms of the pressure, and temperature differentials ...
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1answer
170 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 ...
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190 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
343 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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0answers
69 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
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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
108 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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3answers
499 views

Could Earth's electric grid be used to power rocket launches via cable?

If our regular huge power plants on the ground could be used to power part of a rocket launch, launch mass would be smaller since fuel would not have to be carried on board. I wonder what are the main ...
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2answers
205 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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5answers
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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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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?
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5answers
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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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0answers
296 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
189 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
321 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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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? ...
4
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1answer
218 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
119 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
330 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
150 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
55 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
894 views

Would it be practical to use the electrical charge of the Lunar surface as an energy source?

This question discusses the charges that exist on the Lunar surface. Would it be possible or practicable to use the differential between the surface and subsurface or different locations on the ...
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4answers
166 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
88 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
121 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,...