Questions tagged [refueling]

Questions about adding additional propellant to a spacecraft after it is in space, in order to allow it to go further, carry a greater payload, or to continue to maneuver or maintain attitude control.

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1answer
165 views

Why we do not refuel and assemble in orbit?

Using simple math or playing Kerbal SP inevitably leads to re-using first stages and refueling in orbit for missions far away. It seems, it is always the most economical and simple approach to refuel ...
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1answer
100 views

How much fuel, (in tons) will a dedicated tanker be able to deliver to a starship in LEO?

The starship tankers that will refuel starships in orbit will only carry fuel. I’ve heard it described that at first they will simply be normal starships, but with more fuel leftover when they reach ...
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1answer
86 views

Is an electric fuel tug from LEO to moon orbit economically feasible?

Does it make economical sense to use an electricaly powered fuel tug to supply a moon landing program with fuel? I am imagining an architecture of launching a 25t payload of mostly fuel into LEO which ...
5
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1answer
104 views

Tradeoffs sending a tank of fuel ahead of a crewed mission to another planet?

This is something that I'd seen in the BBC fictional documentary Voyage to the Planets. There, as the crew arrives in the orbit of Mars, there's a tank that has already been sent there so that the ...
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1answer
96 views

Is present-day plumbing technology enough to make refueling of hypergol rockets safe? What about only in space?

Sadly, all of the currently commonly used chemical rocket fuels that are either hypergolic or storable are horribly toxic/corrosive/explosive. RP-1 is so safe you can pour it out of a gas can, but ...
4
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1answer
392 views

How long does it take to refuel a rocket?

I've been wondering how long the refueling of a rocket, say the falcon 9 takes. That's it.
5
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2answers
158 views

How do you mine water on Mars?

Water is required for human explorers of Mars and it is also widely expected to be used to synthesize methane rocket fuel for the return trip (by combining the water with CO2 and energy to create ...
4
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1answer
298 views

Why do two Starships dock in such a manner their heat shields face opposite sides?

In the Starship Launch Animation, first, a crewed Starship launches and reaches orbit. Then the fuel tanker Starship rendezvous with the former and docks like this for orbital re-fuelling. It can be ...
11
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1answer
371 views

How can Northrop Grumman's Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1, 2) “dock with 80% of satellites currently in a geostationary orbit”?

Parabolic Arc's Mission Extension Vehicle Headed for Space discusses Northrop Grumman's Mission Extension Vehicle, which is only briefly described in Wikipedia. The article states: A satellite ...
7
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1answer
663 views

Is it possible to refuel the James Webb Space Telescope?

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be an incredible addition to the scientific community once it is launched and operational but the relative short planned mission time will make this a time ...
9
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1answer
87 views

VLEO - ion thrust using atmospheric molecules?

For very low Earth orbit satellites such as the SpaceX Starlink, would it be at all feasible to design an ionic thruster that carries no onboard fuel? Instead it would simply scoop the atoms directly ...
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1answer
272 views

Is a Mars return mission by Starship possible without local propellant production, given the current specifications?

Let's imagine that Starship and Super Heavy were currently operational delivering the anticipated performance and reliably performing orbital refueling. As far as I know, Starship is capable of ...
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2answers
180 views

How to slow a spinning spacecraft externally?

I came accross the is question What are the consequences to breaking the ISS? and wander how would a spacecraft be made to stop spinning from the outside? Scenarios might include (but are not limited ...
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0answers
109 views

What fuels would make refueling in space more dangerous/complicated?

I saw the question: Has in-space refueling been done? And was actually beginning to wonder, is refueling and transferring propellant dangerous in space? I understand that this would most likely be ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Capacity of the BFR tanker — how many flights to fully refuel the spaceship?

So, the current plan for the BFR has the spaceship massing 85 tons and carrying 50 tons of cargo plus around 1000 tons of fuel and oxidiser (according to wikipedia), most of which is presumably ...
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2answers
2k views

Can five refillings of the BFR second stage be useful to get to the Moon? To Mars? All five in Earth orbit?

EDIT: Here are some BF numbers from the video: ...
10
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1answer
685 views

Is BFR refilling in space purely milli-g “gravity” feed rather than using pumps and/or pressure?

On-orbit refueling of the SpaceX BFR upper stage is necessary for trips to the Moon and Mars. In the presentation at the "International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, SpaceX CEO ...
9
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1answer
330 views

Has on-orbit refueling ever been demonstrated with cryogenic fuels?

Looking at the question Has in-space refueling been done?, it looks like all fuel transfer operations in orbit have been done with room-temperature hypergolics. Has on-orbit transfer of cryogenic ...
9
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3answers
521 views

Liquid settling in tanks during orbital refueling

I am interested in orbital refueling, not for satellites (though that’s a good idea) but for manned exploration and infrastructure. For instance, to support a lunar base we would want regular flights ...
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2answers
327 views

ULA: bringing propellants from Earth “Avoids Earth's Deep Gravity Well”?

I read SpaceX’s biggest rival is developing “space trucks” to ferry cargo in an orbital economy in Quartz which linked to this April 2016 outline of ULA's view of Transportation Enabling a Robust ...
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2answers
396 views

Is Landsat-7's propellant resupply port “robot-ready”? (Restore-L mission)

update 2020-11-20: OSAM-1 (Formerly Restore-L) Continues to Make Progress, Fuel Tank Installed note: the recent 2019 news Northrop's satellite refueling spacecraft launches on October 9th which is ...
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3answers
2k views

Viability of orbital refueling

One of more successful tactics in Kerbal Space Program in order to get big missions with a lot of delta-V going is to launch the big interplanetary craft (with landers, rovers, service modules and ...
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3answers
7k views

Has in-space refueling been done?

Before the Apollo program committed to the lunar orbit rendezvous mode, one of the Earth orbit rendezvous proposals involved launching two Saturn Vs, one with the Apollo spacecraft and large lunar ...