Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [spacecraft-development]

Relating to creating, testing, and refining technology for spacecraft.

29
votes
1answer
4k views

How was the Skylab Rescue mission supposed to return 5 astronauts?

In addition to the three manned missions, there was a rescue mission on standby that had a crew of two, but could take five back down. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylab#Manned_missions How ...
3
votes
1answer
64 views

At which stage of rocket development does systems engineering become critical/useful? [closed]

Rockets are complicated system and the interaction of the sub-systems are even more complicated. But different subsystems tend to be developed parallels without much interaction but does so when ...
2
votes
0answers
36 views

Effect of the location of igniter in starting liquid rocket engine

What will be the effect of off axis igniter, say a Spark igniter has to be used along with a pintle? Will the igniter being off axis have any effect on engine start? Also, will an off-center igniter ...
14
votes
1answer
874 views

What is the advantage of using Helium over Nitrogen when used for pressurising LOx?

In this Twitter post of the plumbing line diagram(left half) by LauncherSpace, one can notice that Helium is used for pressurising LOx while Nitrogen is used for pressurising Kerosene. Why the ...
3
votes
2answers
229 views

What are the advantages of separating a stage few seconds after its burn out?

Will separating a stage(first) immediately after its burnout cause damage to the upcoming stage (2nd stage).? Also,do the first stage separation and second stage ignition happen at the same instant ??...
0
votes
1answer
127 views

How can articulated spacecraft components increase the risk of gimbal lock?

This answer has got me baffled. In theory, yes. In practice, no. The problem is gimbal lock... There seems to be some risk of inducing gimbal lock if a spacecraft component of sufficient mass is ...
3
votes
0answers
102 views

Do rocket labs store propellants at higher pressure than the other rockets?

It is known that the Rutherford engines run on an electric pump-fed cycle. There must be a trade-off between the tank pressure of the electron rocket and battery capacity, for batteries are dead ...
3
votes
1answer
145 views

How is payload fairing designed?

What are all the design criteria considered when designing a payload fairing (some are payload volume, drag) ?
1
vote
0answers
45 views

What is the geometric dimensions of turbo pumps present in SSME?

Here is a really well documented and detailed explanation of the SSME engine. Looking through this, one can notice that there are no details of the dimensions. I would like to know about the ...
1
vote
3answers
240 views

Why were the antennas on the spherical surface of some early satellites spiral-shaped?

In the question What's the spiral pattern on this satellite? I show this image of a spiral-shaped pattern on the spherical surface of a (presumably) vintage satellite or model thereof. @OrganicMarble'...
2
votes
0answers
52 views

Is it undesirable for LOx to splash on the walls of combustion chamber?

Typically, there are annular ports on the injector plate to introduce fuel to cool the combustion chamber. Why is LOx not used for cooling despite it being extremely cold? Given there will be a lot ...
1
vote
1answer
133 views

How is a spark plug igniter of rocket different from one used in IC engines?

US20120103302 shows a spark ignited prechamber combustion system typically used for IC engines. It basically consists of a chamber which has a input of premixed fuel-air mixture and a spark plug to ...
4
votes
1answer
179 views

Which of the orientation is preferred for static fire testing of a liquid rocket engine - vertical or horizontal?

Liquid rocket engine's hot fire testings are performed both vertically and horizontally. Vertical orientation - Falcon heavy, Falcon 9, Rutherford engine, UCSD Engine test from 2014 , Merlin 1D, ...
3
votes
1answer
122 views

What is advantage of independent pumps vs common pump in clustered configuration?

The images of the engine clustering in the Rocket Labs's Electron rocket gives an indication that there are independent drive pumps for individual engines; I am not sure of it. I am not aware of the ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

How to analytically estimate the pressure loss through an liquid injector?

A simple orifice and a pipe have well-documented pressure loss calculation. But when an injector has complicated flow patterns, is it possible to break it down into simpler sections by which the ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Which is preferred for liquid atomization - gas & liquid shear or liquid & liquid shear?

For generating a spray of droplets, liquid need to be disintegrated/atomized through shear forces. Typical injectors in IC engines and aircraft use shear between gas & liquid at the phase ...
2
votes
3answers
143 views

Is there anything like a standard for maximum temperature for mission-critical electronics in spacecraft?

In addition to radiation, acceleration, and vibration, a launch vehicle can encounter excursions in temperature, and critical electronics for guidance and control should probably be resistant to ...
5
votes
1answer
343 views

Could Space Shuttle's wings be diminished?

From Wikipedia The crucial factor in the size and shape of the Shuttle orbiter was the requirement that it be able to accommodate the largest planned commercial and military satellites, and have ...
4
votes
1answer
120 views

Once a spacecraft is in space what factors determines its top speed?

Is there a limitation of speed of a spacecraft in space because of suns gravity? Is the speed purely dependent on the engineering? Or other factors comes into play?
37
votes
7answers
24k views

Why do we not fly to space with helicopters? What are the practical altitude limits?

People will tell that there is no air, and this is why we cannot. But if I read on the internet, there is air in space, much less, but still something. for example, 100 km - 0.0000006 times as much ...
4
votes
1answer
101 views

Should spacecraft's hypergolic propellant tanks be always 100% full at launch?

So, we are designing a spacecraft, Communication satellite, interplanetary probe, etc. Anyway, extra propellant for in-space maneuvers is always good. Initially we have: wet mass cap by rocket ...
7
votes
1answer
264 views

How might excluding the UK from Galileo set the European programme back years and cost the EU billions?

edit 1: More here: Brexit 'will force Airbus work on Galileo out of UK' and now here: Brexit: UK wants £1bn back from EU if it is excluded from Galileo edit 2: And now more here: UK rebuffed over ...
0
votes
2answers
249 views

Most useless artificial Earth satellite [closed]

What if some future Falcon Heavy's launch put a regular boulder in orbit around Earth (as a secondary payload)? Well, not arbitrary one that lies by the edge of the road, rather something resembling ...
5
votes
2answers
213 views

Does stress-testing a spacecraft affect its durability?

When a spacecraft is built and prepared for a future launch, its parts and the whole spacecraft usually goes through a lot of testing - for example, the James Webb telescope has already been through ...
17
votes
1answer
728 views

Why did Apollo spacecraft use both AC and DC equipment? Still used in present and future designs?

Why did the Apollo spacecraft use both DC and AC power, requiring heavy inverters? Was it impractical to design everything to run on DC power only? Why? Are both AC and DC power still used in present ...
5
votes
1answer
240 views

Controller to reaction wheel interface

A typical controller generally gives control torques which should be applied about the axis of a satellite. How exactly is this torque applied using a reaction wheel? For example if control torques ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why was SpaceWire designed with nine wires?

I just learned about SpaceWire in this great answer about the slip-ring rotating electrical connection between its solar panel and attached sun-pointing instrumentation, and the body of the craft with ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

How large could launchers become?

I've heard that the size of Saturn V was pretty much as big as could've been built in the 1960s. And the Soviet N1 did basically fail because it was too large for their infrastructure and engine size ...
9
votes
2answers
331 views

What limits how long spacecrafts like Orion, Dragon, Starliner can support their crews' lives?

The next generation crewed spacecrafts is about to fly in the decade of 2020. Not only those in the headline here are trying to make it, but more are being developed privately and internationally. ...
21
votes
2answers
3k views

Does SpaceX use any of Falcon-9's camera data for engineering or status information, or are they “just for PR”?

I've previously asked Roughly how many self-viewing cameras are present in a Falcon 9 LEO mission? asking if it's closer to a dozen or a hundred on a log scale, because I have a hunch there's probably ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

How are remove before flight (RBF) pins made?

The CubeSat standard (CubeSat Design Specification Revision 13) requires that CubeSats have a remove before flight (RBF) pin that "shall cut all power to the satellite once it is inserted into the ...
6
votes
1answer
206 views

How did the USA cooperate with western allies during the Apollo program?

France launched its Diamant rocket to orbit between 1965 and 1975, and the UK its Black Arrow 1969-1972. Did they take advantage of NASA's rocket development experiences? Were any Apollo system ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

The Tootronaut is ready to enter the Earthtoo atmosphere, will it be twice as hot?

In this question I posed the problem of getting an inhabitant of the planet Earthtoo into low orbit (LEtooO) using conventional rocket. Judging by the great answers there, it is - to my surprise - ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the challenges to landing a spacecraft on Mercury?

I read that it would be more difficult to land (not crash land) on Mercury or even send a spacecraft in orbit around it because of the gravitational pull of the Sun and the lack of planetary ...
-2
votes
2answers
251 views

Why can't we travel at the speed of light? [closed]

I understand we may not have the technology for it as of now. But I have also heard it's because we don't have enough energy, and traveling at or near the distance of light speed will require an ...
1
vote
1answer
361 views

Is there any leaked information about the real purpose of the X-37B spaceplane [duplicate]

Is there any leaked information about the real purpose of the X-37B. It is said that it could be used as a multipurpose space-plane such as a spy satellite or demonstrating technologies for re-...
8
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the optimum shape for a spacecraft?

I understand that these days a spacecraft design is very much centred on what can be lifted into space by current rockets, hence the modular, cylindrical shape of the ISS. So, with current ...
4
votes
1answer
201 views

Why are spacecraft qualification tests expensive and time consuming?

From what I have read and from what I have heard from people who have taken a spacecraft through from design to flight, qualification testing is very expensive and time consuming, and cite this as the ...
4
votes
2answers
182 views

Can cubesats be used to qualify parts for spaceflight more cheaply than ground testing?

I've been researching what drives the cost of spacecraft, to see why many spacecraft still use very antiquated electronics and power systems developed in the 1980's instead of up to date electronics ...
5
votes
3answers
922 views

How are IMU positions decided for rockets and spacecraft?

I imagine that engineers have to decide where an inertial measurement unit (or just an accelerometer, gyro, etc.) is placed in a rocket or spacecraft. I'd like to know how are these positions decided? ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Usages of electric propulsion versus chemical engines

Both electric propulsion systems and chemical engines have been used in the history of space travel. What are the specific areas where one would have an advantage over the other? Basic Principles of ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

How do the movable-neck space suit helmet works?

Looking at Gemini´s spacesuit G-4C I always wonder how did they make the neck joint able to swivel, allowing the user to look at both directions? Wouldnt be easier to make a slightly bigger helmet (i....
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does SpaceX have a launch window for a pad abort test?

SpaceX has announced a pad abort test for the Dragon crew capsule on May 5th. They have a 4 hour launch window for the test. There is no destination, so why would there be a launch window in this ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why have no reusable launch technologies been developed?

So we had the shuttle, and they obviously reused it many times, but it always needed new rockets to get it out of Earth's atmosphere. Why is it so difficult to create a spacecraft that is entirely ...
13
votes
2answers
436 views

At what altitude does transonic compressibility become a non-issue?

I know that on the forthcoming SpaceX attempt at sea landing the first stage, they have added hypersonic fins to the first stage. I was curious as to what altitude transonic compressibility is an ...
2
votes
1answer
383 views

Has anyone proposed a serious space dirigible design? [closed]

It seems to me that heated helium with syphoned pressure regulated to 1000 mbar or less would get you halfway to the Karman line prior to expenditure of precious fuel. Has anyone thought of this?
4
votes
1answer
395 views

Advances in AI and Avionics needed for deep space exploration?

We have come a long way since the first space missions, and now we have state of the art avionics systems on board our spacecrafts. The more deep we go into space, the more autonomy our robotic ...
9
votes
3answers
305 views

Are there any drawbacks or potential dangers on using touch-sensitive instrument panels on spacecraft?

Just as seen on Orion and Dragon designs (I haven't checked on other current spacecrafts), there are a lot of benefits from using touch-sensitive panels instead of traditional electrical switches. ...
4
votes
1answer
315 views

What is the “75 percent version of Dream Chaser”?

Space Policy Online's report on IAC2014 Day Three: Stratolaunch and Sierra Nevada Courting on Dream Chaser mentions that: ... Stratolaunch would be used to launch a 75 percent version of Dream ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Do NASA currently (early 2014) have any development projects for a better space ship?

Is NASA developing a new generation os human transportation ship, or are they doing any kind of research and/or development which final aim is to invent a new space ship model? If I know well, NASA ...