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Questions tagged [reentry]

Questions related to the movement of human-made objects as they enter atmosphere of Earth or other planetary bodies with atmospheres from space after being successfully launched.

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After a spacecraft departing from the ISS has performed its deorbit burn, what is the altitude at the perigee of its elliptical orbit typically?

I am attempting to quantify how aggressively returning spacecraft reenter the atmosphere. There is likely a trade-off between aerobraking more gradually and splashing down accurately. I'm hoping that ...
phil1008's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
2k views

How does flying a steeper entry trajectory make the exclusion zone smaller?

This interesting answer Why did SpaceX change the landing site from the Pacific (ITF-1, ITF-2) to the Indian Ocean (ITF-3 and subsequent flights)? contains the following paragraph: However this type ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
113 views

How much more stressful would the Indian Ocean reentry have been for Starship IFT-3?

The flight tests were originally supposed to end in the Pacific, but was switched to a steeper trajectory that ended in the Indian Ocean for IFT-3. Assuming all had gone perfectly, how much harder ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
45 views

Has anyone estimated Super-heavy's return flight telemetry during IFT3 while assuming that its center engines all relit on schedule?

By telemetry, I mean a chart of altitude, speed, remaining propellant, and possibly dynamic pressure, versus time.
phil1008's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
95 views

Simulating the thermal heating of a nose cone exiting an atmosphere

I have a simulation that describes a vehicle traveling at very high speeds (near or even above orbital) up out of the atmosphere and into space. I'd like to chart the rate of heating ($\dot{q}_{conv}$ ...
phil1008's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
339 views

Would Starship do a direct descent into the atmosphere and aerobrake or do a capture burn before aero braking

Due to re-entry heating and the sheer velocity when coming in from solar orbit into the Earth's SOI, will Starship do a capture burn to slow it down before entering the atmosphere or just go for a ...
Lawn Hollander Lawn's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
404 views

Shuttle dance bank angle timeline

I'm trying to see how much capacity the Shuttle had for reducing reentry temperatures by adjusting trajectory. So far, I've only been told then the Shuttle banks up to 80° during reentry. But is that ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
172 views

Starship maintaining tank pressure during reentry and landing

Starship relies on tank pressure to gain it's full structural strength. During reentry, the tank walls heat up, causing the ullage gas to heat up, causing pressure to rise. How will Starship prevent ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
135 views

Was Starship 28 equipped with a "black box" designed to enable the recovery of flight data after a RUD during reentry?

Other terms used to describe a "black box" include Flight Data Recorder (FDR), Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), MADS (Modular Auxiliary Data System), and OEX (Orbiter EXperiments) recorder. ...
phil1008's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
167 views

How do modern space capsules ascertain their position during the communication blackout phase of reentry?

In this video recording of Orion's reentry, you can hear and see the RCS thrusters firing during the communication blackout phase. During the communication blackout, I would assume that GPS would not ...
phil1008's user avatar
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-6 votes
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How do we know Starship 28 was lost?

As I see it, they lost communications, and almost immediately called it a loss. This seems odd. Surely a blackout is expected due to the plasma?
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Has any vehicle prior to Starship's IFT3 "taken a selfie" during reentry?

I'm curious about images (or videos) that a) Include both a portion of the vehicle and its re-entry plasma wake, and b) That were taken at near-orbital (high-hypersonic) velocities or greater. I ...
phil1008's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Starship IFT-3: Plasma appears, then disappears

How is that possible? It's not like it lost velocity or gained altitude in that time period.
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
187 views

Will there be a controll mechanism to keep spacex starship in a controlled position during coasting and/or reentry?

Looking at the really interesting imagery from Starship Flight 3, it is obvious that Starship is rotating (tumbling-ish) during coasting, and also during the initial reentry phase. The plasma streaks ...
Roger Wallberg's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
160 views

What's that material on the Varda capsule that looks like cake sugar icing?

Watching and listening to this amazing footage of the Varda capsule's atmospheric re-entry, what is the nature and role of the material used on the parts not subjected to the high temperatures of ...
user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why does the Falcon 9 first stage perform a burn at 60 km altitude?

When falling back to Earth, why does the Falcon 9 first stage perform a burn at about 60 km (37 mi) altitude during re-entry instead of performing a longer burn closer to the drone ship? Would it have ...
Old Man John's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
116 views

Why did MR-3 and MR-4 perform a retrofire?

Mercury-Redstone 3 and 4 were suborbital spaceflights and would have re-entered anyway. Yet, the spacescraft made a retrofire burn after apogee. Was it to adjust the path to land at a specified spot ...
Old Man John's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
81 views

Will the next deorbiting reactor be on a "safe disposal" trajectory, or re-enter as an uncontrolled derelict?

Kosmos 954 was a reconnaissance satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1977, powered by a nuclear reactor containing 50Kg of highly enriched uranium-235 Soviet officials … lost control over the ...
Woody's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are the bottoms of spaceplanes black?

The traditional answer is that it's because black radiates heat better. The problem is that in order to get rid of heat at all, the surface must glow brighter than the surrounding plasma. And that ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
43 views

What figure-of-merit (FoM) is used to characterize the performance of a launch system's reentry-and-landing system?

I'd like to make a table that compares the performance of different launch systems such as The Space Shuttle, Falcon 9 plus Crew Dragon, and Starship. Engine ISP and thrust-to-weight ratio would be ...
phil1008's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
703 views

Does the Starship Super Heavy need to do a reentry burn

SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage boosters perform what SpaceX refers to as an entry burn to slow the stage as it reenters the atmosphere. Since the Starship Super Heavy booster is made of stainless steel ...
thunder's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why does the heatshield have to be on the outside?

To what extent has internal insulation been tested to deal with the heat of re-entry? In the case of Starship, is the existing steel strong enough (to be non-ablative!), or would a different type of ...
Dagelf's user avatar
  • 517
2 votes
0 answers
197 views

Why are tiles used instead of other novel solutions, for non-ablative heatshields?

Are tiles that much more cost effective as a thermal protection system? What other novel methods have been tried? The obvious issues seem to be different thermal properties and rigidity and how to ...
Dagelf's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
6k views

Person falling from space

A person at rest 500 km above the Earth falls straight downwards. She has a snug magical force field around her that is totally rigid and completely protects her from outside heat. The force field ...
CapIsland's user avatar
  • 199
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Did Starship Ship 25 burn up on re-entry?

SpaceX Starship Ship 25 launched and managed a successful separation from the booster and reportedly made it into space before the autonomous flight termination system activated, destroying the ...
Wiggo the Wookie's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is the largest object/mass that can survive entry into the earth's atmosphere from space without heating to 40 degrees C, or above?

This question is of interest because there are terrestrial organisms, such as bacterial and fungal spores, and even complex multicellular organisms, such as tardigrades, which can survive deep space ...
Mike Darwin's user avatar
32 votes
1 answer
4k views

Apollo 13's plutonium RTG re-entry into the Tonga Trench: Good shootin' or good luck?

Plutonium powered RTGs are encased to survive re-entry. According to the Wikipedia article on Apollo 13 RTGs were used to power … the scientific experiments left on the Moon by the crews of Apollo …...
Woody's user avatar
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6 votes
5 answers
3k views

Earth re-entry from orbit by a sequence of upper-atmosphere dips to reduce kinetic energy?

There are quite a few questions on this sort of theme here, and I've also read one or two other things, like non-ballistic re-entry. So this might be a duplicate, but I don't think so. To clarify: I'm ...
mike rodent's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
145 views

square-cube law and thermal protection tiles (TPS)

Yesterday, I asked a question about the square-cube law and propellant tanks. Do larger rockets tend to have a better mass ratio due to the square cube law? I have a very similar question about ...
Krzysiek's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
49 views

Hypersonic dynamic shift in large vs. small lifting bodies

Background: Lifting bodies have been tested at small scales, though not during re-entry. For instance: the NASA HL10 Such Lifting-Body designs are seemingly here to stay with craft such as Dreamchaser ...
AnarchoEngineer's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
258 views

Could you skim along the Karman line using a parafoil?

Imagine a person just wearing a spacesuit equipped with a parafoil returning from low orbit. Could they maintain altitude starting at 7.8 km/s above or along the Karman line slowly losing speed—maybe ...
Prototypist's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
3k views

How dangerous is tossing equipment off the ISS?

On 2023 June 22, during an ISS spacewalk, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin "tossed overboard" three no longer needed devices, "off the back of the space station in a direction that ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
137 views

Inflatable tank/balloon use for recovery

Hopefully this idea makes sense. Basically if you've seen the space-truck (ROOST), you'll get where I'm going with this. I'm wondering whether an inflatable tank/tank lining could be used to produce ...
AnarchoEngineer's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
1k views

What kind of heating would occur during a suborbital re-entry?

What kinds of peak temperatures would a stage similar in proportions to the Space shuttle with a similar belly-first approach experience when re-entering from a low suborbital trajectory (similar to a ...
XBN's user avatar
  • 189
3 votes
1 answer
335 views

Would the steel frame/skin of Starship be able to endure loss of a heat shield tile during reentry?

STS-27 was able survive reentry without a tile because the was over a metal component with sufficient thermal inertia to serve as a heat sink without melting. Would the steel frame of Starship be able ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
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19 votes
1 answer
3k views

How did STS-27 survive reentry after losing a thermal tile?

My buddies and I have been arguing about this for a while, speculating about the upcoming Starship test. STS-27 suffered damage on ascent that knocked off a tile & damaged hundreds more. It only ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why don't SpaceX boosters belly flop?

The first F9 booster landing attempts failed because the booster broke up. After that, they began lighting the engines in the upper atmosphere to slow the booster. It seems to me that their problem ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
351 views

How can Starship belly flop with a full payload?

Starship had an empty weight of under 100 tons. Of this, less than 12 tons is accounted for by the engines. Starship is supposed to be able to make atmospheric entry with a 150 ton payload in the nose....
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
169 views

Will there be a flame around the capsule from Stoke Space Technologies during reentery?

Stoke Space Technologies (https://www.stokespace.com/) will send fuel through the heat shield of its capsule to keep it from heating up. They actually mentioned that they are more concerned that the ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
133 views

Design constrains for non-aerobraking re-entry vehicle?

Currently, getting from orbit to ground always involves aerobraking to shed lots of orbital velocity. This is a dangerous, stressful maneuver which also cannot be repeated with same vehicle due to the ...
Euphoric's user avatar
  • 249
0 votes
1 answer
117 views

Does an inflatable heat shield have some capacity to be used for LEO Earth's atmospheric entry?

It was originally designed and tested by NASA for Mars missions. In my case, it does not have to work 100%. Even if it survives for only 1 minute or so, during atmospheric entry - it could add some ...
TheMatrix Equation-balance's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
362 views

Do larger less dense objects heat less while entering the atmophere?

When a space craft enters the atmosphere, it gets hot and heat shielding is needed. Do objects with more surface area and less density heat up less then heavier, smaller objects? Could an object with ...
Justintimeforfun's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
106 views

What do they call “all the provisions provided during the launch campaign or atmospheric re-entry of a spacecraft“ in the context of astronautics?

I am reading an entry in a French dictionary and translating it into English. This entry is “sauvegarde.” In a general context, this term is translated as “safeguard,” “protection,” or even “...
Micheal Gignac's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
4k views

How much does it cost to return 1 kg from the ISS to the Earth? What are the parameters influencing this price?

I heard in a few places downmass is a limiting factor in the ISS national lab capacity. Is that true? According to NASA's pricing plan, it actually costs more to get downmass than upmass. Why is that?
nadav zilberman's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

During spacecraft reentry why is heatshield side down the most stable orientation?

During reentry, why is the orientation of the spacecraft where the heat shield side leads the vehicle the most stable? I'm not sure how accurate KSP is, but when I reenter the atmosphere headshield ...
learningmath12345's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
204 views

What is the reason Starlink satellites took 4 days to re-enter during the accident on February 2022?

I am reviewing the incident that knocked out 39 Starlink satellites earlier this year. As I explain in this thread, there was a modest magnetic storm on the 3rd of February, which increased ...
Playstation_waifu's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
241 views

Does a capsule rotate naturally during atmospheric re-entry?

If during atmospheric re-entry a capsule (with a shifted center of mass to produce lift) does not produce any rcs thrust, will the capsule naturally roll? and why?
Sebastyen Laroche's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Has NASA used a consistent definition of "entry interface"?

The question "Orion re-entry velocity: Why is it higher than Apollo?" has an unstated but critical assumption: that re-entry is measured at the same point for both missions. The point ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 15.3k
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Orion re-entry velocity: Why is it higher than Apollo?

Title says it all. I am puzzled why Orion will be traveling faster than Apollo.
Christine Ocho's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
158 views

How to compute orbital decay of a cubesat?

I'd like to compute the orbital decay of a cubesat in LEO/VLEO due to atmospheric drag. Here is what I've done: Based on the Satellite Orbital Decay Calculations document coming from the Australian ...
Astronaute's user avatar

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