Questions tagged [spacecraft]

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

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17
votes
1answer
434 views

What is the purpose of Hubble's aft vents?

What is the purpose of the 4 vents at the aft section of the Hubble Space Telescope? The spacecraft is operating in vacuum and the interior of the telescope is devoid of any gas, so venting seems ...
0
votes
1answer
6k views

What's the record for the fastest orbit around Earth? [closed]

I am just curious what record is fastest orbit around the Earth. Although I suppose there are three different metrics one could use to measure what does one mean by fast so here are the three I ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Have any spacecraft been launched or proposed to make a survivable close encounter with the Sun?

Have any spacecraft been either launched or proposed which involve a survivable close encounter with the Sun? This would include solar observation missions as well as any missions designed to make a ...
13
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2answers
3k views

Does NASA have spacecraft that are specifically made for orbiting around the Sun?

Does NASA have projects with spacecraft which are specifically made for orbiting somewhere around the Sun? If yes, what can they be used for?
8
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2answers
269 views

When approaching target planets/moons, how frequently do spacecrafts take photographs?

When a spacecraft approaches its target (whatever is it a moon or a planet), how do they take photographs about it? Do they take as much as possible, or just in certain situations? What does it ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What factors determine whether a spacecraft/probe/satellite uses gyroscopes or propellant thrusters to rotate?

Say I'm designing a probe or satellite. To control its attitude, I can add some gyros, or I can put thrusters on each corner, or I can add both and pick one in flight according to the situation. How ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is it not possible to deorbit in a shallow glidepath?

The fiery re-entry of spacecraft has been a staple of spaceflight since the beginning, making ablative heat shielding a necessary component of any craft wishing to return to Earth intact. This is the ...
7
votes
1answer
448 views

Have the micronewton thrusters developed for the LISA mission been flight tested yet?

JPL together with Goddard and a private company called Busek Company Inc. developed a new type of propulsion system known as micronewton thrusters for the LISA mission (which has since had a name ...
11
votes
2answers
455 views

How was the Giotto spacecraft reactivated from hibernation mode?

The Wikipedia article on Giotto states that: Giotto was the first spacecraft to be re-activated from hibernation mode. How was the reactivation accomplished? Does the statement mean the ...
16
votes
5answers
23k views

Can magnets be used to launch spacecraft?

I assume there is some reason we don't use magnets to launch off Earth. Are they not strong enough? Isn't magnetic force technically stronger than gravity?? Would either of these work: A tube tunnel ...
13
votes
2answers
21k views

What is the farthest a spacecraft has traveled away from earth?

I know there are some awesomely far spacecraft that have been travelling for decades away from earth, but which is the farthest? And has it discovered something amazing?
8
votes
1answer
289 views

What is “forward rotation” of a spacecraft?

According to ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM): Forward rotation of the spacecraft has been completed successfully. What kind of maneuver is that and what is its purpose?
14
votes
2answers
861 views

How is gyroless operation possible?

I was reading recently about the near-loss of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft back in 1998, in this Wikipedia article. This article mentions that Only one gyro remained ...
13
votes
5answers
719 views

Are there any plans to establish depots in space?

Fuel weight is a major limitation on the range of manned spacecraft. It might make sense to pre-position fuel tanks (establish depot/depots) in orbit with different planets and moons to serve as ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

On which device data gets saved on spacecrafts? [closed]

How does it? I have a turning hard disk drive in my pc, but I think it would break if I put it on a rocket. Also, what speeds do those things have?
15
votes
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?
12
votes
1answer
269 views

Can the rovers on Mars see the comet flyby?

Within a few days Comet ISON is going to make a close flyby of Mars. Will the rovers on Mars have a chance to take a look at the comet as it approaches Mars?
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there any type of mechanical bearing that can be used in the full vacuum of space?

Plenty of spacecraft seem to have moving parts. Space shuttle doors open, robot arms manipulate things, etc. This is perplexing, when we consider that lubricating oil probably won't remain liquid, ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

How many successful Soyuz launches have there been?

From the first Soyuz to the launch vehicles used today, how many launches have been deemed successful?
12
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1answer
2k views

Why was the Hubble Space Telescope purged with nitrogen gas?

Wikipedia states that The telescope had to be kept in a clean room, powered up and purged with nitrogen, until a launch could be rescheduled. Spacecraft are always kept in a clean room ...
24
votes
3answers
6k views

Do spacecraft have similar structural integrity requirements as submarines?

When a spacecraft performs a splashdown maneuver, a recovery team is standing by to retrieve the capsule and its human contents quickly. A flotation collar is deployed to increase buoyancy and ...
48
votes
14answers
21k views

Why are there no spacecraft rotating for artificial gravity?

Spacecraft rotating to generate artificial gravity through "centrifugal force" are commonplace in science fiction but not in reality. Considering the problems in long missions (among others: bone loss,...
38
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the software running on any existing or decommissioned space probes available for download?

I was wondering if it was possible to download the software that runs any of the computers on existing or decommissioned space probes, landers, etc. For example, could one download the software that ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How is spin stability used in spacecraft?

I understand the basic concept inasmuch that the gyroscopic effect is used and that the rigid body is given an initial spin around an axis of maximum mass moment of inertia (MMOI). However, can ...
32
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the total mass sent into orbit over all history?

I would like to find a good estimate of the sum total amount of payload that humans have put into space, that is, over all years, all space programs, and all types of payload that reached orbit. ...

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