Questions tagged [spacecraft]

Questions regarding the craft that house humans or equipment during space exploration.

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3
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1answer
43 views

Exoplanet orbitable in permanent umbra?

Does any planet, or Kuiper Belt Object, or exoplanet measured or surmised, orbit its star either fast enough, or slow enough and thus distantly enough to cast a long enough shadow, for a spacecraft to ...
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2answers
2k views

Are any Earth orbits in continual shadow of the Earth?

Do any orbits around Earth leave the spacecraft in permanent shadow? If not, what is the minimum amount of time that a spacecraft must be exposed to sunlight on average?
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1answer
208 views

Would GRAIL be possible on more distant airless bodies such as Mercury and Callisto?

I was thinking for quite a while about sending this question to Maria Zuber's e-mail address (she was the principal investigator of the GRAIL mission to map the Moon's gravity field), but then I ...
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1answer
81 views

How do Spaceship navigate in space?

In Space there is no air to put thrust on any other thing to expect any action-reaction forces. Then how do spacecraft go left or right or are the ineligible to take sharp moves?
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64 views

Space transport systems [closed]

For a space school space project, I was assigned of tinkering around space transport systems, which can also include mass drivers, space guns, space rail guns, space tugs with spacecraft systems. The ...
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0answers
44 views

Coatings on spacecraft structures

Traditionally, aluminium spacecraft structures have been alodine-coated to protect the surface from corrosion and resistance to scratches. However, the last few years I've noticed that more and more ...
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0answers
86 views

how to soft-kill or soft-deny a target satellite?

Thanks to the rapid growth of commercial space technologies, the use of space by new players is increasing. To prevent outlaw or problematic new spacecraft let's suppose there is a "space police&...
4
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2answers
185 views

Smallest free memory space in early space crafts equipped with a computer?

Early space crafts used magnetic memory, semiconductor memory was not available. Memory size was very small, the program was written in assembler language. Programmers worked hard to fit all necessary ...
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1answer
81 views

Navigating to moon from orbit [closed]

In short: My goal is to get knowledge about general travel in space and navigating to a certain object - with literally "low cost" tech. My primary interest is how to control and move a ...
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2answers
6k views

What are the chances that a spacecraft is hit by space junk?

If a rocket flies into space there is a possibility that it will encounter a piece of space garbage; even a small screw can be fatal. What are the chances that such a collision really takes place? ...
5
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2answers
127 views

In situ Fuel in LEO / MEO

I have been thinking on controlled de-orbiting of Satellites. You can carry a supply of conventional chemical fuel, and use it to apply a delta-V that would de-orbit them. There are also methods of ...
7
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1answer
129 views

Does cosmic radiation have a predominant 'direction of origin'?

Considering some speculative designs, and am going through radiation-shielding options. It seems that, other than during solar flare activity, the main thing to protect against on a day-to-day basis ...
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0answers
92 views

How to find a vector's elevation angle with respect to a point on Earth?

tl;dr: Spacecraft's antenna should point to a ground station but there is a pointing error. I want to express the error as a vector rather than a simple angle that a dot product provides, so that I ...
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35 views

Could magnets be used to protect spacecraft? [duplicate]

Could magnets or a magnetic wrap like material be used to shield sensitive electronic components (or any vulnerable part) of a spacecraft from cosmic rays? The earth's magnetic field has a strength of ...
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82 views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of certain radial symmetries in spacecraft construction?

I'm mainly considering the merits and drawbacks of threefold versus fourfold (or higher, like sixfold and eightfold) radial symmetries when it comes to the construction of a fuselage for a spacecraft ...
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3answers
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Is the life support system on ISS and other used manned spacecrafts fully redundant?

I just finished watching the Sci-Fi movie Stowaway where the crew of the spacecraft MTS-42 heading to Mars, gets in all kind of troubles after the failure of the single life support system. My ...
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2answers
190 views

Why don't we build an interstellar specific mission spacecraft?

Voyager 1 and 2 go at ~60k km/h, It took them approx. 40 years to leave the heliosphere and get into the interstellar space. The Parker Solar Probe is intend to reach 600k km/h. With this velocity, ...
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2answers
1k views

Minimum reentry velocity ideal for a spacecraft returning to Earth

During the return trip from Mars or Moon, SpaceX starship can refuel it's propellant tanks before reentry. It can use these propellants for reverse thrust to bring the spacecraft velocity to near idle ...
2
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1answer
40 views

spacecraft thermal dataset

For a high-school academic project, I would like to plot a graph of change in satellite's temperature over time. Thus, (I think), I'm looking for real-time temperature data of sort of any (preferably ...
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103 views

Is it possible to build a starship out of clay?

I know it may sound silly but my consideration is to reduce costs due to the amount of metal used in standard space ships. Wood/bamboo for framing and clay around it, that is it for the hull. I'm NOT ...
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2answers
3k views

Soyuz for Sale?

Reading through some stuff on the interwebs I came across some information saying that some old Soyuz Capsules are keep in a junkyard. Does anyone know if it's actually possible to purchase one of ...
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1answer
62 views

Could an orbital launcher look like a scaled up Nike Hercules?

We now have flyable, recoverable suborbital boosters, which would be the first stage. The second stage of the Saturn V rocket was able to hurl the 100 ton Skylab into an orbit over 250 miles high. ...
2
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1answer
153 views

How difficult to gravity assist brake on entry to Alpha Centauri system? [duplicate]

Say a generation ship arriving at Alpha Centauri A system wants to get into orbit (or land) on an exoplanet there. After decelerating for the 2nd half of the journey, their approach velocity is still ...
2
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1answer
257 views

When does a specific equipment at a certain temperature start to freeze in interstellar space?

This is my first post here. I'm working on a project which involves a number of problems and some parts of that are related to empty space and space exploration. I try to be focused and reflect one of ...
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3answers
653 views

Did the spacecrafts Galileo or Juno use the Galilean moons for a gravity assist before entering Jovian orbit?

Galileo and Juno are the only two spacecraft to have entered orbit around Jupiter. Did either of them use one of the Galilean moons for a gravity brake before in order to enter a stable orbit around ...
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1answer
215 views

Why are there no Mass Catchers?

When moving around in space you have to spend delta-v to accelerate and decelerate, which necessitates having an engine and control system. It would follow that a mass "catcher" would be a ...
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167 views

Future trends in Earth Observation and Communications from VLEO; are there any?

Question: In order to better understand the wider market need and uses for Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO)-enabling technologies, I'd like to ask about future trends in Earth observation imagery and ...
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1answer
209 views

Why have we not seen spin gravity testing in space? Artificial gravity created through centrifugal/centripetal force [duplicate]

Why have I not seen any spin gravity testing in space? Or, more accurately, artificial gravity created through centrifugal/centripetal force. I haven't heard of any tests in standalone spacecraft or ...
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2answers
130 views

Oberth Effect in Solar Sails: Where does the extra energy comes from?

Suppose, the reflectors of Solar Sails are opened for same amount of time at both periapsis and apoapsis. How does Oberth effect work in this case? Will Delta-V be same and hence change in Kinetic ...
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3answers
190 views

How do spacecraft reach Lagrange points?

As I understand, to reach a Lagrange point the spacecraft would need to slow down. Also, can spacecraft passing nearby Lagrange points get captured within the point?
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38 views

Apollo LM explosive valves

Why were explosive valves used on the helium pressurization systems? Are explosive valves also used on systems pressurized with Nitrogen?
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39 views

Trim controls for Apollo RCS systems?

Did any of the Apollo-era spacecraft have any method of trimming the RCS jets? Due to variable mass placement (fuel tanks and sublimators emptying, astronauts moving, item stowage, location of moon ...
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2answers
176 views

Are bicomplex numbers including tessarines ever used in spaceflight (as an alternative to quaternions)?

The answer to What are quaternions and how are they used to represent spacecraft dynamics? gives us a thorough overview of the topic and is worth a good read. I saw the HNQ Why are quaternions more ...
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3answers
3k views

Do exploration spacecraft enter Mars atmosphere against Mars rotation, or on the same direction?

I can't find information on which side of mars do probes usually enter. I suppose that probes do not enter perpendicular to the surface. They are usually represented as entering somewhat tangentially ...
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3answers
1k views

How to move in space with just solar panels or without them?

What are the technologies known to humankind, to do propulsion in space, with a spacecraft having solar panels, when: It is under ample solar flux? It is interstellar under negligible solar flux? ...
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209 views

Open source hardware at NASA

Given NASA has its open source software repository, I can not really find its open source hardware counterpart so I suppose such a thing does not exist. Is that true? The 3D models site (GitHub mirror?...
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0answers
45 views

Hill approximation of the CRTBP (Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem) derivation

Dear fellow space enthusiasts, Let us first consider the classical CRTBP equations of motion by defining the position vector of the spacecraft \begin{equation} \boldsymbol{r}=[x,y,z]^{T}, \end{...
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150 views

Most open source spaceflight missions revealed unintentionally

As of 2021 there are few fully open source satellites (OSSI-1, UPSat, FossaSat-1, Oresat, some more?) and numerous student groups building and documenting rockets. These projects are intended to be ...
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60 views

Why are rocket engines shaped like a bell rather than a gun barrel? [duplicate]

When blasting matter out of a spacecraft engine for thrust, it seems like you'd want as much velocity in one direction as possible. Why do spacecraft engines (e.g., Apollo CSM) have big bell-shaped ...
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2answers
110 views

For deep space missions, how thick must the water filled layer within the ship's hull be to effectively shield against cosmic rays? [closed]

Initially i proposed a 27cm thick barrier. But im not really sure thatll be enough
2
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1answer
75 views

Largest variety of independent spacecraft types docked, clustered, or otherwise attached at the same time?

speculation and pondering in the Pod Bay has got me wondering; What has been the largest variety of independent spacecraft types simultaneously, docked, clustered or otherwise attached in space? These ...
3
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1answer
114 views

Rocket dashboard: separation/pyro indicators

I'm curious about rocket dashboards. Separation events are big things and they depend on pyro bolts detonating and linear charges or pneumatic pushers firing immediately afterward. There must be ...
3
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1answer
81 views

NASA design handbooks and specifications

Does anybody know the designations, publication names, etc. for the design standards which NASA uses for space flight hardware? I’d like to add these resources into my engineering library.
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61 views

Why do we travel on an elliptical path towards Mars? [duplicate]

A typical rocket path to Mars is shown below: Why can’t we just cut diagonally through instead of travelling over a long elliptical path? Sort of like this:
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3answers
11k views

Why do exploration spacecraft like Voyager 1 and 2 go through the asteroid belt, and not over or below it?

I understand the risk of hitting an asteroid is small, but I'm wondering if there's a reason spacecraft usually stay on the main Solar System orbital plane.
2
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2answers
151 views

What's the fastest orbital period for a spacecraft?

I'm not asking about velocity, I'm talking about overall speed. Shortest time from perigee to perigee. This orbit would be a low, circular orbit, but I can't really find any specifics on any world ...
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0answers
29 views

Effect of delaying electron ion recombination in ion engine plumes; is a tiny additional thrust component available?

I have a follow-up question in response to this answer by @uhoh, basically asking about higher order effects alluded to in their answer. If the ion exhaust plume coming off an ion engine remain ...
2
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1answer
166 views

What would happen if the crew launched to dock with the ISS were incapacitated?

Suppose a spacecraft lifted off from the space center and within few minutes after reaching the 200 kilometers altitude on its way to the ISS, and for some reason the crew were incapacitated. Will ...
9
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1answer
676 views

Thrust of ion thruster when spacecraft is charged

I read in many articles and books that the thrust of an ion thruster is equal to $$T = \sqrt{\frac{2M}{e}} I_b \sqrt{V_b} \ \ \text{[newtons]}$$ screenshot where $V_b$ is the acceleration potential, ...
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0answers
72 views

Spacecraft altitude measurement

While in atmosphere, altitude is measured by using pressure gauges - higher the altitude, lower the pressure. How is the altitude measured once we cross the atmosphere?

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