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Questions tagged [spacecraft]

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

3
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2answers
157 views

What are the modifications done to carry a different spacecraft with the same launch vehicle?

I was curious to know what exactly are the changes done in any reusable launch vehicle to carry various different spacecrafts? Is there any standard procedure that is followed? Like do they change ...
37
votes
4answers
5k views

Why wasn't the Mars Climate Orbiter's fatal error caught prior to launch?

The Mars Climate Orbiter failed in 1999 due to: ground-based computer software which produced output in non-SI units of pound (force)-seconds (lbf·s) instead of the SI units of newton-seconds (N·s) ...
0
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1answer
130 views

How would you eject an object from an airlock for maximum velocity? [closed]

If a space explorer needed to eject an inert object from a cylindrical airlock that was roughly barrel shaped (length >> diameter) at maximum velocity, would they be better suited to position the ...
2
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0answers
44 views

Spacecraft Inertial Data

I am a developer of motion analytics algorithm. Having been using a 9 Dof IMU strap-down onto human and land vehicles for this algorithm. Would be interested to run my algorithm of a spacecraft IMU ...
0
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2answers
518 views

Can you use magnets to travel through space?

My thought process is that there is very little friction in space minus gravitational pull. Which could be a good thing if you wanted to go faster or slow down. The question is, is it possible to ...
2
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1answer
76 views

Highest velocity impact between a spacecraft and a solar system body? What about for a dedicated impactor (spacecraft component)?

In this answer I mention the proposed impact of DART: Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission Double Asteroid Redirection Test The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Element of the ...
6
votes
1answer
287 views

The aerodynamic stability of the truncated cone shape

Can someone explicate the stability of the truncated cone shape of the reentry vehicle of a spaceship when moving in the atmosphere with its bottom facing forward? It seems counterintuitive that it ...
2
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1answer
231 views

Liquid shield for spacecraft? [closed]

Initially this question was going to be on how to improve the Parker Solar Probe shield. While time passed I saw other possibilities for using this method for active shielding. Could a shield heated ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

How to calculate the kilowatt hours (kW-h) needed for a solar-electric engine to produce a given delta-v?

A spacecraft is in LEO and I would like to reach a certain point in space; let's say Mars. If I look at the diagram in this answer I see that the delta-v from low Earth orbit to low Mars orbit is ...
3
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3answers
255 views

What is the largest delta-v ever produced in space from mechanically stored energy?

The math behind this answer suggests that while the delta-v delivered from hand-throwing an object from the ISS would not produce prompt de-orbit and atmospheric reentry, it would still lower the ...
16
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1answer
3k views

How is sunlight simulated in spacecraft testing, given its brightness?

How could a light source like the sun be approximated on Earth for testing, given how much brighter it is in space than anything else?
3
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0answers
103 views

Is it possible to see a spacecraft orbiting the moon with a pair of binoculars? [migrated]

On this clear early morning over London, I was studying the moon with a pair of binoculars and noticed a tiny dot of light that appeared to trace a slow orbit around the moon. I reckon it moved ...
28
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1answer
4k views

Why are spaceship capsules frustum shaped?

Why do spaceships have a frustum (portion of a cone) shape like e.g. the pressure capsule of the SpaceX Dragon on the image below?     I think there is some engineering stuff behind ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Are there any photographs of the frozen waste water after a urine dump in space?

Astronaut Mike Massimino talks about watching the urine freeze outside of the spacecraft. He said they would all watch, it was something beautiful to see. Are there any photographs of this, or has ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Physical characteristics of Explorer I whip antennas

What was the diameter of Explorer I's whip antennas, and what material were they made of? I am trying to write a simulation of the satellite's spin reorientation. The Smithsonian lists antenna ...
27
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the 'lights' inside Shuttle main engines at landing?

I have a night-landing photo of the Shuttle showing lights (I assume some type of glow-plug to burn off extraneous fuel). My understanding is that only the OMS engines burn to begin reentry. Can ...
18
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6answers
9k views

Why can't they just drop a solar winch down from a shuttle and have planes fly up and clip things on?

Why can't they just drop a solar winch down from a shuttle and have planes fly up and clip things on? I know of the idea to have a space lift but the cable necessary is too expensive. Why can't we ...
40
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5answers
12k views

Why haven't more spacecraft/satellites been hit by debris?

It is touted by the media that space is becoming more dangerous and risky due to an increase in space debris. Why haven't more craft been hit by the debris? I presume that it is not at a critical ...
2
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1answer
302 views

What is the terminal velocity on Mars?

How would I calculate the terminal velocity of Mars? What is the terminal velocity of a balloon entering Mars' atmosphere? Would a balloon pop if dropped from space?
58
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1answer
8k views

How was New Horizons able to direct data so precisely back to Earth?

The New Horizons space probe is sending back images of Ultima Thule, 6.4 billion kilometres away. Barring having a very large power to send information back on a very large angle, it seems to me ...
4
votes
3answers
266 views

Why doesn't New Horizons have a tracking function

Dr. John Spencer mentioned in the live feed for the Ultima Thule flyby they're taking a series of LORRI shots along a precomputed path hoping to capture the KBO. What were the obstacles to equip the ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Effective range of a laser propelled solar sail

The ongoing Breakthrough Starshot program proposes the use of high powered lasers on Earth to be aimed at a solar sail with the intention of propelling it to the star Alpha Centauri. To be more ...
2
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1answer
162 views

What was the last US manned space program?

I needed some info for a project. I tried some Google search but couldn't find an answer. US decommissioned it's space shuttle in 2011. Columbia disaster was in Feb 1, 2003. We're there any manned ...
3
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1answer
148 views

What was the view from the Apollo spacecraft while travelling to the moon?

From what I read on the internet, I took around 3 days for Apollo 11 to get to the Moon. I'm curious what was the view from the windows of the spacecraft during the journey. What did the astronauts ...
-1
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3answers
240 views

Could a bottle rocket be up scaled to achieve orbit?

Could you construct an orbital stick stabilized rocket, by scaling up a firework?
4
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4answers
320 views

Using what technology one can keep a spacecraft truly non rotating

Inspired by the question I thought maybe a photon thruster can be used for precisely giving thrust to maintain spacecraft attitude. But soon I realized that for high precision attitude control, one ...
2
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0answers
81 views

Atomic (Quantum) Inertial Sensor

In relation to the question I was looking for the perfect sensor that would help me achieve perfect non rotating spacecraft. My search made me look for exotic phenomenon that can be utilized for such ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Gliding into the atmosphere

The recent question about Cessna reentering from ISS got the answers that all imply a rapid drop. But from what I know, air drag is proportional: to square of airspeed to air density to attack ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Is the UK's Skylon Project still going forward?

I have read a lot about Skylon which is a single stage to orbit concept space plane with a SABRE engine designed by the UK think tank Reaction Engines limited. However, in recent months it seems like ...
8
votes
1answer
605 views

Why are the nose cones of current spacecraft less pointy?

You would think that with the quest for aerodynamic efficiency in current spacecraft that the nose-cones at the pointy end of the launch-vehicle would have a sharp taper, more so for craft that aren't ...
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

ISS Destiny Module inner wall: thickness set by internal atmospheric pressure or by mass density needed for meteor shielding?

In their 2006 paper Christiansen et al. describe the "stuffed Whipple shield" wall of the ISS's Destiny Module. The outer skin, the Whipple shield's "bumper" layer, is a thin layer of aluminum (alloy ...
4
votes
4answers
633 views

Missions at or soon-to-be at Mars and their DSN “codenames”?

I'm "mining" old DSN data and would like to see all communications with spacecraft around Mars. A quick snapshot in their data shows the following codes. I can guess that ...
3
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0answers
35 views

How composite materials used in space tech? [closed]

guys, my name is Muhamed-Kanapiya. Now I am studying at Eurasian National University in Astana, and my specialization is Space vehicles and technologies. My master`s work about using composite ...
2
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1answer
72 views

How does Accion System's TILE propulsion module compare to an equivalently sized Hall effect or an Ion thruster?

Accion systems claims that it's TILE propulsion module can be scaled up to match the performance of a Hall effect or Ion thruster minus the clunky tanks and propulsion management systems. This would ...
1
vote
0answers
55 views

How many ships are ready to launch? [duplicate]

In the wake of the Russian launch failure to send more astronauts to the ISS, it got me thinking. How many "ready to fly" ships are there? And, if an accident were to happen and the current ISS crew ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Can we survive Van Allen belt radiation?

Is it true that it is impossible to survive Van Allen Belt radiation? I mean do human die on the spot or latter in their life with cancer?
25
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9answers
11k views

Assuming a spacecraft is traveling in a constant rate and our Astronaut will exit it to a space walk, will he be “left behind” by the spacecraft?

Lets say our Spacecraft is traveling to a remote Galaxy at a constant speed of 1/X of the speed of light. A brave Astronaut is leaving the spacecraft to a space walk, while not being attached to the ...
3
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1answer
4k views

Difference between true anomaly and mean anomaly

What is the difference between true anomaly and mean anomaly in orbital mechanics? I want to understand the physical meaning of mean anomaly, for example true anomaly is the angular position of a ...
2
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1answer
343 views

What was the cause of the cooling system issue in Sputnik 2?

I've heard that there was a problem in the cooling system on sputnik 2. But, was it an engineering error? Obviously a dog cannot survive such harsh conditions. Did the engineering team overlook this ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

How can I know if NASA Horizons output is measured, calculated, estimated or what-else?

This link allows downloading from NASA Horizons server data about the distance of a body (OSIRIS-REX spacecraft ) from the Sun (see link here): How can I know how the distance is obtained? Is it ...
6
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1answer
266 views

Radial variation of atmospheric pressure in rotating O'Neill cylinder-like ship? (Rendezvous with Rama)

Sir Arthur C. Clarke was a science writer as well as a prolific writer of science fiction (including hard SF*), and his stories usually had a substantial footing in science. His book Rendezvous with ...
4
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0answers
37 views

What is a four-orbit rendezvous? [duplicate]

In a book I'm reading, there is a sentence like this: However, such a long rendezvous is cramped, uncomfortable and not the most efficient use of time for astronauts or Mission Control, and so ...
32
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is there a large wooden ball on Mariner 3's magnetometer?

Wood is good for certain niche space exploration applications, but the one below is not for spaceflight. According to the documentation for the archived photo: Several spacecraft were built for ...
0
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1answer
737 views

What is the density of Hydrogenated Boron Nitride Nanotubes (H-BNNT)?

And I also wanted to ask if I constructed a wall made out of it, with GCRs and SEPs and Neutron radiation (basically every radiation in space) from the other side, how many kgs per m^2 of H-BNNT would ...
0
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1answer
75 views

What were the different tests that were conducted pre-launch of Apollo 11?

I’ve done some research about the Apollo 11, and I don’t really understand what happens with different kinds of pre launch tests. For example, what are first-stage propellant tanking tests? And also, ...
2
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3answers
204 views

Would it be better to build a Mars-fairing ship on land or in space?

This answer says: We do not have a human-rated rocket which can send a sizable payload to Mars. The Falcon Heavy is certainly capable of sending a payload there, but the rocket would need to be ...
19
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5answers
3k views

What would be necessary in order for us to achieve a single stage to orbit, reusable rocket?

I have read articles and seen videos explaining why an SSTO (Single Stage To Orbit) rocket* is not possible. But I was wondering... What would be required to achieve this? Answers can be literally ...
4
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1answer
117 views

At what point when travelling faster and faster around the earth are you not gonna be falling back again (7km/s? 8km/s?)

My dad and I thought about a problem we had when discussing Earth's gravitational field. This wasnt the original question but I still would like to know the answer. So essentially my question is: ...
0
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0answers
251 views

How to calculate azimuth and elevation angles from satellite point of view of a ground station?

How to find azimuth and elevation from satellite of a ground station when yaw, pitch, roll, lat, long position of satellite and lat, long position on ground are given? ...