Questions tagged [rockets]

Questions regarding the boosters or thrusters used to propel man-made objects. For rockets firing opposite the primaries, see [retrorockets]. See wiki for other related tags.

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22
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3answers
4k views

Fortran and the Apollo 11 mission

I was just wondering, as a Fortran user. As far as I know, the simulations taken in order to carry the Apollo 11 mission was written in Fortran 2. I would like to confirm this from a reliable source. ...
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1answer
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Constant acceleration Rockets

One recurring idea is to use continuous thrust in a spacecraft to create artificial gravity. Of course this would need a whole lot of fuel and is thus very impractical. But how impractical exactly? I ...
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Could humanity have traveled in space with knowledge of only Newtonian physics? [closed]

Could humanity have entered the space age without relativity theory or quantum physics? (Other non-Newtonian physics would be allowed, it is actually the importance, or lack thereof, of relativity and ...
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3answers
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Challenges Facing Hybrid Rocketry

The concept of hybrid rocketry is very interesting, and seems like it has many advantages over its solid and liquid forebears. But having only a superficial idea of the challenges preventing it from ...
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3answers
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What distinguishes a sounding rocket from a suborbital flight?

What are the differences between a sounding rocket and a suborbital flight? Sounding rockets have long been used for science purposes. Some of them have trajectories elliptic enough to do ...
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2answers
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What eventually killed the Augustine Commission Report Option 4B, Directly Shuttle-Derived Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle, a.k.a. DIRECT?

Before the Space Shuttle retirement, there was a huge pressure on NASA, U.S. Administration, and everyone else directly involved in U.S. human space exploration using Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle (HLLV) ...
20
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1answer
13k views

What is the escape-velocity for our galaxy?

What should be the escape velocity for our galaxy and can we calculate it? For instance, if we assume that we don't know the mass of our galaxy, you may consider it as small 'm'.
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2answers
679 views

Why is the nozzle of Delta IV capped?

Source: Lockheed Martin press release: Boosters for Orion’s Launch Vehicle Arrive to Cape Canaveral, Image credit: NASA In the above image you can see that the nozzles are not open; instead they are ...
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What ULA innovations was Michael Gass alluding to during latest U.S. Senate address?

I've read an interesting article that mentions Michael Gass, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance (ULA), alluding to ULA innovations during the latest Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing ...
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Can a rocket be launched while it rains?

All videos of rocket launches I ever saw were performed in clear weather conditions. I also read many reports about launches which were delayed because of bad weather conditions. What are the ...
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4answers
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What is the intent of attaching legs to the rocket?

SpaceX Adds Landing Legs to Falcon 9 Rocket for Next Launch Still thinking why they added legs to the rocket's first stage? What are the advantages of attaching the legs to the rocket? Does that ...
6
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4answers
680 views

Why not plug it into the wall?

So, I've been reading a bit about thermal rocketry, from NTRs to beamed propulsion ideas. Now the basic concept is to squeeze more Isp out of traditional propellants such as liquid hydrogen. ...
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645 views

Can a booster be designed to withstand 10,000 Gs?

In Could any existing gun reach the Karman Line?, Richard Graf's Kickstarter campaign for his Starfire space-gun is referenced & discussed. Setting aside my native skepticism for a project with ...
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What is the rationale behind the manned versions of SLS?

A recent answer included this graphic of projected SLS versions: So even the smaller version is capable of lifting 70 tons to orbit. Is there a reason other than politics to use a rocket that ...
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3answers
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What is the most widely used first-stage rocket engine in operation today?

I'm trying to do some research on this but very much struggling to work it all out. I'm looking for a cutaway diagram of said rocket engine (ideally one used on a first-stage), but I can't for the ...
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3answers
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How are rockets tested (hot fire)?

Given that the majority of the operation of a chemical rocket is at different altitudes / pressures than at ground level, how are hot fire ground tests conducted to gather useful information about ...
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1answer
522 views

How do you handle variations in launches with a solid second stage?

Watching the Antares launch for Orb-1 mission of Cygnus, I was thinking about the booster. First stage is built in Ukraine by the company that makes the Zenit. They use the NK-33 engine, (Called an ...
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2answers
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of assembling a launch vehicle horizontally?

While reading up on the Soyuz rocket, I noticed this: Soyuz rockets are assembled horizontally in the MIK Building at the launch site. The rocket is then rolled out, and erected on the launch pad. ...
7
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4answers
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Are composites used by space programs?

Wikipedia says this about the Boeing Dreamliner: The 787 was designed to be the first production airliner with the fuselage assembled with one-piece composite barrel sections instead of the ...
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1answer
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What was the first man-made object to enter space?

According to this article, the german V-2 rocket from WW2 had a max altitude of 206 km when launched straight up. That's clearly above the 100 km requirement to be considered 'in space.' The V-2 was ...
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How are fuel tanks filled with cryogenic hydrogen?

Cryogenic hydrogen can react with the atmospheric Oxygen to produce an explosion: as well as being cold enough to liquefy (and possibly solidify) atmospheric oxygen, which can be an explosion ...
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2answers
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Was VentureStar a bad design or simply ahead of its time?

VentureStar was (IMHO) a pretty cool design; a reusable space plane designed for low running costs and rapid turn-around seems like just what the world needs. However, it was cancelled in 2001 due to (...
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1answer
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Did VentureStar technology lead anywhere?

VentureStar seemed to make a bit of progress before being cancelled in 2001. Did any of the technology developed for this program lead anywhere? For example, its aerospike engines or high-tech fuel ...
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1answer
552 views

How are fuel leaks discovered on a rocket?

Most are aware of the fact that the launch of GSLV has been aborted due to a fuel leakage, but how was the cryogenic fuel leak discovered? I'm not interested in this case only, but in general. What ...
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Which currently operational orbital launch vehicle achieves highest system-specific impulse?

I'm primarily looking for comparison of currently operational orbital launch vehicles by system-specific impulse, or Issp, and to get a fair impression of achievable rocket propellant performance and ...
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1answer
371 views

How does a spaceport differ from a launch pad?

How does a space port differ from a launch pad in construction and what makes them different?
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How big would a manned ascent stage for Mars need to be?

For a manned mission to Mars that isn't a one-way trip, we'll need an ascent stage that can reach orbit from Mars' surface. How big would this need to be to transport e.g. 3 astronauts to orbit? We've ...
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2answers
290 views

Could parts be salvaged off the Apollo thrusters found on the ocean floor?

In March of this year, Jeff Bezos' team found Saturn V engines on the ocean floor: While they will probably be placed in a museum, I'm wondering if there could possibly be a more practical use for ...
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1answer
170 views

Do developing space programs generally use an existing booster design, or make their own from scratch?

There are already many great booster designs out there - take for example the Saturn V, which has enough power to reasonably put almost anything into orbit. Do new, developing space programs often ...
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1answer
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How much fuel was used for a Space Shuttle launch?

Many of us have watched the launch of a Space Shuttle space ship, I think: a giant red rocket, some smaller, and the way smaller space ship on the red one. It reaches Mach 23 to be able to leave ...
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3answers
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What is meaning of T in rocket launch countdown?

In Rocket Launch countdowns I noticed That they count with respect to some parameter T as: T-10 seconds T-9 seconds . . . T-0 seconds Why not simply count as 10 9 8 . . 0 ? http://www.nasa.gov/...
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5answers
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Why does a rocket engine provide more thrust in a vacuum than in atmosphere?

According to NASA Each Space Shuttle Main Engine operates at a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen mixture ratio of 6 to 1 to produce a sea level thrust of 179,097 kilograms (375,000 pounds) and ...
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1answer
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Why do the Shuttle's external tanks appear to be rusted?

Wikipedia article states as STS-1 at liftoff. The External Tank was painted white for the first two Space Shuttle launches. From STS-3 on, it was left unpainted. I wonder why the ...
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What are the mystery Falcon 9 v 1.1 objects?

There are 20 objects in orbit associated with the Falcon 9 v 1.1 launch. So far only 1 has been identified. 5 were payloads of the launch, plus the booster and some debris. Bottom line, 11 objects ...
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What exactly causes stranded upper stages to explode?

Usually if an upper stage experiences a failure before it can "passivate" itself (empty tanks, drain batteries, etc.), it's only a matter of time before it explodes. For recent examples, see any of ...
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How do we make a round-trip journey to Mars?

I've been to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where I saw the huge Saturn V rocket... This was used to get to people to the moon. It had a Lunar Module to propel itself on and off the moon's surface ...
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1answer
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What went wrong, Falcon 9 1.1 first flight with first stage landing attempt?

They are reporting that the three engine relight in the upper atmosphere worked. But the relight of a single engine, lower down for pretend landing on the water generated too much torque and the fuel (...
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2answers
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Could I build my own spaceship?

We all know that for most people access to space is currently pretty limited because space flight services are expensive, as they are in short supply. Suppose I wanted to bypass an expensive service ...
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3answers
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Why do the exhaust flames from cryogenic stage engines appear to be separated from the nozzle?

Why do the exhaust flames from cryogenic stage engines appear to be separated from the nozzle?
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1answer
440 views

Does cost to orbit make the sale for a satellite launch service?

Wikipedia writes to say ...The Space Race sparked unprecedented increases in spending on education and pure research, which accelerated scientific advancements and led to beneficial spin-off ...
8
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1answer
981 views

Do rocket exhaust plumes really provide a pathway for lightning?

This Wikipedia article states that Rocket exhaust plumes provided a pathway for lightning when it was witnessed striking the Apollo 12 rocket shortly after takeoff. My question is whether this ...
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Where are the upper stages for the Voyager/Pioneer stages?

I was reading this question, and was trying to remember an article I read many years ago. It seemed the article was indicating that there is a chance that one of the boosters from one of these ...
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0answers
154 views

Do solid propellant engine needs optimum temperature? [closed]

Do solid propellants have an optimum temperature to burn effectively? If so, what is the range of temperature needed?
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4answers
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Why do pump and pressure fed liquid engines need to operate at high pressures?

There is apparently some confusion as to why pump or pressure fed liquid rocket engines need to operate at high pressure to product significant thrust, based on the comments to this question about ...
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3answers
718 views

What's the advantage of using an SLS system rather than a number of small lift rockets?

I just read this article, in which former director Kraft is described as deriding NASA's current plan to use a single heavy-lift vehicle (Space Launch System, or SLS) as a primary launch platform. Why ...
16
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1answer
841 views

What should I consider in choosing what launch to see live?

I've never been to see a rocket launch. I'd like a checklist of what to consider in choosing where to go, what type of launch to pick, and what to allow for in terms of missed launch dates or other ...
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Why are Europe’s Air & Space Academy and DLR urging ESA and CNES to reconsider the use of solid fuels for the proposed Ariane 6?

With Ariane 6 launch site selected, CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, the French space agency) was aiming to freeze the design of the new rocket in May 24, 2013. A few days after and that same ...
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1answer
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For a 3 booster rocket, why do they start with igniting the starboard booster, followed by the center and port?

In today's launch of the Delta IV heavy, it was stated that the starboard booster rocket would be ignited first, followed by the port and centre boosters. I would have thought this would give some ...
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What is the vapour/smoke that comes from a rocket before launch?

While a rocket is waiting on the platform during the final countdown, it often seems to have clouds of steam or something similar escaping from it. Is this normal, and what are these clouds?
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How do rockets prevent rear-ending after stage seperation?

On the third flight of SpaceX's Falcon 1, the following failure occurred according to one narrative. We turned off the first-stage engine and then proceeded to separate the vehicle stages; however, ...