Questions tagged [space-station]

A space station (or orbital station) is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew, which is designed to remain in space (most commonly in low Earth orbit) for an extended period of time. For questions about specific space stations (e.g. the ISS, MIR, Salyut 1-7, Tiangong or Skylab), please use corresponding tags.

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62
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3answers
8k views

Is there no physical security in space, other than being in space?

I saw Gravity the other day and while visually and emotionally compelling, and besides the liberties taken with orbits, something else struck me as unrealistic, but I'm not sure if it is or isn't:...
43
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2answers
4k views

Why does the International Space Station produce so much methane?

According to NASA, roughly "1,000 pounds of methane are produced on International Space Station and dumped overboard as waste gas every year"[1]. It seems like an awful waste to just get rid of it. ...
33
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1answer
6k views

Why does there appear to be a 180-degree stereo microphone array outside the ISS?

I was watching a feed on the latest footage of Hurricane Matthew as seen from the ISS just now, relayed from NASA TV. Suddenly, I spotted something poking out of the ISS hull in the footage that ...
28
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2answers
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What thickness/depth of water would be required to provide radiation shielding in Earth orbit?

If using water or ice as a radiation shield how thick/deep would it need to be? Would it make a difference if the water was frozen (water ice being less dense then liquid)? Edit I would like to ...
25
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2answers
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Why did Salyut 7 freeze over, while ISS requires massive cooling system?

The cosmonauts from Soyuz T-13 mission "wore winter garb, including fur-lined hats, as they entered the station." "Frost covered the walls and apparatus. " Essentially, the heat balance of Salyut 7 ...
24
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0answers
8k views

Why is artificial gravity not included on space stations? [duplicate]

I'm wondering why artificial gravity is not included on the ISS, or on the currently planned OPSEK. There are long-term health effects of weightlessness, which would be avoided, using artificial ...
22
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3answers
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Is any space station planned to be put in orbit in decade 2014-2024?

ISS will be closed by 2020. Are there any other space stations planned to be put in orbit in decade 2014-2024 that have really chances to be built?
20
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3answers
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How best to maneuver inside a large room within a space station using only arm and leg motion?

Imagine the following thought experiment: An astronaut is inside an extremely large room within a space station. Suppose that she, for whatever reason, is initially at a zero velocity with respect ...
20
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2answers
2k views

When Mir's attitude control computer failed, why did the station immediately start rotating?

Re-reading Linenger's Off the Planet and encountered a question from long ago that I never had found an answer to. During Mir's troubled old age, the attitude control computer would fail frequently. ...
20
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2answers
2k views

What is the largest naturally occurring body that could be hollowed and safely lived in?

Some proposals for living in space envision finding an asteroid that is a solid chunk of something (i.e. Nickel Iron), hollow it out, slap on an air lock, and you have a home. Add a drive and you ...
20
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2answers
2k views

Is there an ISS replacement planned?

Are there plans for another space station when the ISS is deorbited or de-manned? What are the details of these plans, if any? Bonus: How would a space station be built without the Space Shuttle?
19
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3answers
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How does astronaut activity from within affect a spacecraft?

Can physical activity from within a space craft affect it somehow? For example if somebody on the ISS performs repairs involving a lot of hammering, would it perhaps affect the station's orientation a ...
19
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5answers
3k views

How can you make a vacuum proof rotatable seal?

Many systems have been discussed where you have a rotating spacecraft for artificial gravity purposes, with a portion of the spacecraft that doesn't rotate, perhaps the engine for instance. I've been ...
18
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4answers
5k views

Is a midspace space station between Earth and Mars practical?

A recent answer included the following: For example if you were to start a colony on mars, in this order for supplies and other necessities to be delivered there would need to be a network of space ...
17
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1answer
513 views

Are there any promising next-generation space station cooling technologies?

The ISS had problems related to ammonia more than once. These problems happened in different calender years, and it seems like almost every "near miss" that makes the news about the ISS is connected ...
16
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4answers
2k views

Why was the ISS so much more expensive than Mir?

The Wikipedia article on Mir places its total cost at a little over four billion dollars. The ISS on the other hand, is at 150 billion and that figure will surely increase more over the coming years. ...
16
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5answers
3k views

What would the Δv cost of bringing the space shuttle external tank to orbit be?

There was an independent proposal that the space shuttle external tank could have been lifted all the way to orbit, and then used as a structural material in space stations. In terms of propellant ...
16
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2answers
1k views

Do we have any idea when Tiangong-1 will deorbit?

In March 2016 China's Manned Space Engineering Office announced that all Tiangong-1 telemetry had failed leaving no ability to safely control the space station's decent. With what we know about the ...
16
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3answers
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Feasibility: self-sustaining colony on Mars vs. Space Station

What’s more feasible: to build a self-sustaining colony on Mars or as a self-sustaining space station? The 1976-book The High Frontier advocates the latter while Elon Musk seems pretty confident that ...
15
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3answers
2k views

Has a spacecraft ever docked with the same space station twice in one mission?

Has a spacecraft ever docked with the same space station twice in one mission? This is the "corollary" to the question How many times has a spacecraft docked with two or more different space stations ...
15
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2answers
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Are there any theoretical size limits of man-made space stations/structures?

The question speaks for itself. If the answer is "yes", what are the problems in creating a large-scale space structure, maybe even dozens of kilometres large? What about moving & repositioning, ...
15
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2answers
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What would determine the interior temperature of a large space station?

If one calculates the black-body temperature of an object in space, it turns out that it would be at room temperature somewhere between the orbits of Earth and Venus. But due to the greenhouse effect, ...
14
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4answers
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Have space station modules already been replaced?

After reading this question, I understand that it is simpler to replace a space station than to repair it in order to continue its activity. All modules in a space station may not have the same ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Scott Kelly age vs Twin's

Scott Kelly just returned from nearly a year of orbiting the Earth in the space station. How much younger is he than his twin, now that he has spent a significant amount of time, traveling at high ...
13
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5answers
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Why does the material for space elevators have to be really strong?

If the space elevator platform (The very top) is orbiting a planet in a geosynchronous orbit, wouldn't the forces on the elevator "rope" be minimal?
13
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1answer
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Why was Skylab allowed to fall, instead of being pushed into a higher orbit and preserved for the future?

Consider how valuable ancient artifacts are to us. look at this fancy stick! In as little as a few hundred years debris from skylab would be way more valuable. I'm baffled why the agency didn't want ...
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2answers
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Tiangong-1 reentry impact place probabilities

Following all the news concerning Tiangong-1, I have seen the following plot made by the Aerospace Corporation where Blue area: null probability of impact Yellow area: high probability of impact ...
13
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1answer
2k views

Artificial Gravity on board the ISS and its derivatives

Was the implementation of artificial gravity ever seriously considered for use on board the ISS and its derivatives? If not, why?
13
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1answer
238 views

What kind of leak rates do modern habitat modules have?

I thought I was going to be able to answer this question for myself, after seeing the paper Determination of On-Orbit Cabin Air Loss from the International Space Station (ISS). But it turned out that ...
12
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3answers
2k views

What stability issues plague long artificial gravity cylinders?

The Kalpana One presents itself as a practical modern design for a space station with artificial gravity. One of the tweaks that it made was to limit the length to diameter ratio. This leaves it ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Could the space shuttle be permanently left in orbit as a space station?

Could the space shuttles have been left in space and used as temporarily visited space stations? One could put a modified spacehab in the cargo bay, with solar panels and with which the Soyuz/Dragon ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Largest inhabitable volume in space

When you look at space ships, capsules and stations, one thing that is lacking in space is… space. As in: pressurized volume a human can freely move in. Most are tiny tin cans. So I was wondering, ...
11
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0answers
151 views

How does increased environmental radiation affect medication potency, long and short term?

The issue of the effects of radiation on medication potency is not only important for long term stays in the ISS, but also very important for longer duration journeys and even for colonization. One ...
10
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1answer
233 views

Why would we ever build a base on the surface of a planet?

With how much delta-v it costs to reenter space from the surface of a planet or moon, why would anyone ever build a base/station on the surface, rather than in orbit? Is there some reason assembly ...
10
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1answer
554 views

What are the various propulsion systems on the ISS?

I understand there is a propulsion system on each of Zvezda and Zarya (NTO-UDMH I assume, given their heritage, though set me straight if you know better). Do any of the other permanent ISS space ...
9
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2answers
385 views

Would the life support systems on the ISS and STS work well also in 1g?

Changing gravity level can be a problem for flows of fluids, gasses, heat and for structural loads. Much equipment designed for Earth gravity fail in microgravity (even light bulbs and ballpoint pens)....
9
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1answer
629 views

Are space stations compatible?

I know that there are (at least) two space stations in operation: The ISS and the Chinese one (which I don’t remember the name now) Imagine, that China, EU, Russia and USA agree on cooperating in the ...
9
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1answer
282 views

Did Skylab have a fixed orientation?

I can not find any reference for this, but it seems to me that Skylab, unlike the International Space Station, had a fixed attitude instead of rotating to have the same side always facing the Earth. ...
9
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1answer
365 views

Why have space stations become less volume-efficient despite technological progression?

If you compare the pressurized volume of all the space stations launched to their mass, their volume-efficiency (in this context volume divided by mass) seem to decrease over time. In chronological ...
9
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4answers
446 views

How is a Deep Space Gateway station in Lunar orbit helpful for going to Mars?

I'm reading that NASA plans to use a Deep Space Gateway, a space station in some kind of Lunar or Lagrange orbit, in order to send astronauts to Mars. How does such a "gateway" assist human ...
9
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1answer
167 views

Shape of shielding for a tidally-stabilized LEO space station

Let's say that we're going to seriously shield a manned space station (to the tune of 1-2 m thickness) in LEO so that radiation doses are a reasonable multiple of background on Earth. Let's also ...
8
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5answers
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Do 3D printers in space stations mean a significant cost reduction?

I just watched a VSauce2 video, at the end of which certain NASA animations were shown about some of their recent innovations. One of them included use of printers in the ISS. Do they actually mean a ...
8
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3answers
960 views

Is there an upper limit for the internal size of space stations?

I was reading about the various TransHab proposals (at http://www.astronautix.com/craft/traodule.htm, among others), and I started to think about pushing the idea to its limits. Assuming you had a ...
8
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2answers
581 views

Why is Bigelow BA330 expandable instead of fitting fairings?

Bigelow Aerospace develops expandable (inflatable/foldable) space stations. Their flagship is their cylindrical BA330 which has the dimensions 13.7 by 6.7 meter when expanded. Current ISS modules seem ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Would a solar windmill in space be practical?

From this question we know that solar cells be problematic the farther you get from the sun. We know that solar sails provide viable propulsion far from the sun. Would it be practical to use a solar ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Folding structures in space - What are the potential benefits and problems?

I wonder what the most important potentials and problems are with folding out structures in space. The basic idea is to achieve large structures in space while reducing launch mass and launch volume, ...
8
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2answers
201 views

What is the current state of commercial space stations?

Many years ago, in the 2005 - 2010 area, it seemed like there were a lot of proposals to create commercial space habitats. These included inflatable modules, usage of spent fuel tanks, and ...
8
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3answers
867 views

Building space stations with the original, smaller shuttle

In an answer to a recent question we see a plan for many space stations as part of a space infrastructure, with a surface-to-low-Earth-orbit reusable shuttle as another part. This shuttle eventually ...
8
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1answer
439 views

Orbital station for Mars missions

While reading through the comments on a question on the difficulty of a manned mission to Mars, people brought up the issue that sending supplies in advance would lock in the landing site. It seems to ...
8
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1answer
459 views

Has the Earth's shadow on the Moon (lunar eclipse) ever been photographed from Space?

The questions Has the Moon's shadow on the Earth (solar eclipse) ever been photographed from beyond Earth orbit? Is this the only eclipse where Moon's shadow on the Earth (umbra) has been ...