Questions tagged [spacecraft]

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

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13
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
403 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, ...
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8answers
7k 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 ...
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3answers
296 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 ...
4
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1answer
677 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 ...
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3answers
3k 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
2k 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 ...
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1answer
288 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
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1answer
203 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) ...
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2answers
126 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?
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1answer
2k 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, ...
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2answers
2k 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?
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1answer
208 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 ...
4
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3answers
453 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
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2answers
469 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
121 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 ...
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2answers
167 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 ...
0
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1answer
152 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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1answer
178 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
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1answer
131 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 ...
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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?
29
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1answer
5k 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 ...
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1answer
403 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 ...
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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 ...
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5answers
14k 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
5
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3answers
373 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 ...
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1answer
75 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
207 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 ...
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1answer
240 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
415 views

Could a bottle rocket be up scaled to achieve orbit?

Could you construct an orbital stick stabilized rocket, by scaling up a firework?
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4answers
380 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 ...
8
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1answer
2k 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 ...
4
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4answers
755 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
42 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
164 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 ...
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0answers
61 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 ...
2
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1answer
427 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 ...
4
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0answers
47 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 ...
0
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1answer
952 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
93 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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2answers
220 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 ...
4
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1answer
235 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: ...
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0answers
881 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? ...
10
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1answer
923 views

Why aren't magnetic bearings used more frequently in reaction wheels?

This answer implies that it's due to budgetary constraints, but given that Kepler, Dawn and Hayabusa all had reaction wheel problems with lubrication before the end of the planned lifetime, it sounds ...
8
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2answers
318 views

Would Elon Musk's roadster be able to rotate itself using its wheels as reaction control?

If so, couldn't it also rotate itself sideways somewhat by turning its front wheels? (assuming it has 4wd and electricity.)
3
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1answer
122 views

Nadir sensor for a spacecraft attempting to land

Is it possible theoretically for a sensor to detect Nadir? This could actually be of extreme value as generally spacecraft attempting to land need to maintain certain heading w.r.t Nadir as a function ...
2
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1answer
402 views

Do astronauts have to use sunscreen?

Of course the space suits can block most part of the radiation, but do the astronauts need to use sunscreen to protect their faces from the radiation passing thought the helmet or passing through the ...

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