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Questions tagged [spacecraft]

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

6
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1answer
333 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 ...
6
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1answer
199 views

What are the future prospects for spacecraft autonomy

edit: Possibly helpful information in Gizmodo and YouTube. In general spacecraft are supplied with propulsion systems often with substantial redundancy in the plumbing and engines or thrusters so ...
3
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2answers
122 views

Were there any spacecraft not configured for a spacewalk?

Since the first spacewalks were preformed, have there been any spacecraft that didn't allow for a spacewalk?
-2
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1answer
122 views

How would molten or liquid metal be transported in open space? [closed]

How to transport a ball of liquid, molten metal nearest to the Sun possible? It must be close to the Sun for the metal to stay molten. However, to stay safely cool enough, the spacecraft must always ...
1
vote
1answer
282 views

Liquid shield for spacecraft? [closed]

Could an alloy of hot or cold liquid metal be made magnetic by adding electricity to the molten ball to give it magnetic properties to wirelessly attach it to a space craft to use as a shield shown in ...
13
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2answers
597 views

Can the Right Ascension and Argument of Perigee of a spacecraft's orbit keep varying by themselves with time?

I came across the orbital data for a low Earth orbit spacecraft and one thing which I am not able to understand is why does its Right Ascension of ascending node and Argument of Perigee keep changing ...
4
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1answer
72 views

Why do GEO satellites need different types of antenna?

Why do GEO satellites like the one shown in the picture below need different types of antenna? Is there a reference library or website where we can get more information on different antenna types, ...
24
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9answers
6k views

Would a grinding machine be a simple and workable propulsion system for an interplanetary spacecraft?

I am wondering if any space agency has ever considered using a grinding machine as a propulsion system for an interplanetary spacecraft. This system would not be used to lift the spacecraft off of a ...
1
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3answers
155 views

Does it make sense to invest money on space investigation? [closed]

I recently saw this picture - drawn by the excellent Spanish cartoonist 'El roto' Translated (please, don't hesitate to edit the question if you find a better translation) They looked for signals ...
8
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5answers
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 ...
5
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1answer
5k 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....
3
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1answer
301 views

Simulation software for AOCS/GNC?

I would like to know what are the simulation software tools available as of today (free or commercial) to perform some attitude and orbit control (AOC) or guidance and navigation control analysis, I ...
1
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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 ...
7
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1answer
1k views

How to calculate the complete true anomaly motion in an elliptical orbit?

The true anomaly motion as I understand, is not constant in an elliptical orbit. The rate of change of true anomaly is not constant as in the case of circular orbits, in which case the true anomaly is ...
1
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1answer
113 views

Astrophysics on “The Martian”

In the movie the martian what was the purpose of the hermes crew in blasting a part of the ship? Was that explosion on the front or back of the ship? After the explosion what happened to the speed ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

If a MarCO-type CubeSat were in orbit around Bennu, what kind of power would it need to communicate with the Deep Space Network?

This is a follow-up question to: What is the lowest power signal that the DSN can detect? Essentially, I have determined that the asteroid Bennu (ranging from 25 to 350 million kilometers from Earth) ...
1
vote
1answer
84 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 ...
0
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2answers
82 views

What is a safe speed in space for spacecraft?

Does traveling fast as possible shortening the duration of the mission lessen chances of collision or mechanical failure, or does traveling slower in space in some way safer?
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, ...
15
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2answers
1k views

What is the most distant planet from the Earth that a spacecraft has visited to date?

What is the most distant planet from the earth that a spacecraft visited has visited so far? What was the mission and when did it happen?
2
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1answer
97 views

What is the lowest power signal that the DSN can detect?

It is said that the Deep Space Network can detect low-power signals sent from Voyager in the range of 10^-16 W. I can't seem to find any sources that indicate what the minimum power requirement of a ...
3
votes
2answers
133 views

Sources of Xenon or other noble gases in space?

Xenon is a common choice for ion thrusters, though other heavy noble gases could work due to their low ionization potentials. I got thinking about building or refilling future space travel ion ...
4
votes
3answers
358 views

Walking in a rotating spacecraft and Newton's 3rd Law of Motion

I am wondering how Newton's 3rd Law of Motion would apply in the case of a man walking the length of a rotating spacecraft. Please reference the drawing below. Say that there was a spacecraft ...
4
votes
2answers
372 views

Has the Moon's shadow on the Earth (solar eclipse umbra) ever been photographed from beyond Earth orbit?

Here is a great answer with photos of the shadow of the moon on the Earth's surface (umbra) during a total solar eclipse, taken by real people in space, and links to even more of them. I think there's ...
24
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3answers
4k views

When will we send floating probes to Venus?

Recent plans on human missions to Mars have sparked many discussions, one of which is about if we should colonize Venusian upper atmosphere with Zeppelin like floating ships and cities first. NASA ...
7
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1answer
497 views

What are these Space Shuttle cockpit elements and what are they for?

In a book I'm reading, there is a figure showing the inside of a cockpit of a Space Shuttle.The labels point out various pets including an aluminum plate, an avionics bay, and an open grid panel, as ...
1
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1answer
85 views

Would it be possible to reach Mars using the same fuel-saving method SpaceIL's Beresheet is using?

A few minutes before SpaceIL's Beresheet spacecraft was launched into space, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu congratulated SpaceIL and all those involved and said: "We are already waiting for you to ...
3
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2answers
158 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
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4answers
6k 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
134 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
47 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
653 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
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
107 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
287 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 ...
17
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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?
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
97 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
60 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 ...
28
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
332 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
votes
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
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3answers
280 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 ...
1
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1answer
50 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
votes
1answer
168 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
votes
1answer
157 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 ...
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3answers
247 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
323 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 ...