# Questions tagged [sub-orbital]

Questions involving trajectories that reach space but do not attain orbit.

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### Why doesn't NASA fly its rockets on suborbital trajectories to the Moon?

After trying it out in Kerbal Space Program for a while, I was wondering why NASA doesn't fly on suborbital trajectories to the Moon. When I tested this idea in Kerbal Space Program I found out that ...
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### Targeted Sub-Orbital Optimization Problem

I was messing around with some orbital dynamics for a simulator I am working on, and I came across a snag that I have not been able to figure out. Specifically, I am trying to minimize the required ...
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### What kind of rocket design would be used for Lunar/Mars E2E travel when colonized?

If/When Mars or the moon are colonized, transport will be needed between bases. Over long distances, rovers would be too slow and traditional aircraft would not work well in thin to non existent ...
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### OPS 0855 Gemini B Separation

On 3 November 1966 a modified Titan IIC launched from LC-40 in Cape Canaveral. This launch would be the only launch as part of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. Designated OPS 0855 the vehicle ...
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### Calculating the projectile of rocket using RCS to tilt the flight path

If I have main solid rocket with 800 N Thrust, 9 kg in total and has RCS thrusters 0.5 m from the center mass. Mid flight the RCS with 1 N force is activated for 2 sec. How does it affect the flight ...
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### Why are my empirical and theoretical value of mass flow rate in solid propellant rockets not similar?

For a rocket of: fuel mass $m_f$ = 6 kg, Thrust = 3.1 kN, (vs 4k using reducing catalyst to delay burn time) total powered burn time, $t_b$ = 3.5 s, (using reducing catalyst vs 1.8 sec) This ...
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### Why did Blue Origin make 5 times more flight tests than Virgin Galactic before sending their founders (Jeff Bezos for BO, R. Branson for VG) to space?

https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1413521631717122059 (mirror): Why did Blue Origin make 5 times more flight tests than Virgin Galactic before sending their founders (Jeff Bezos for BO, Richard ...
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### Why does Blue Origin claim Virgin Galactic's spaceplane doesn’t have an escape system whereas Virgin Galactic's passengers are wearing parachutes?

https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1413521631717122059 (mirror): vs. https://space.stackexchange.com/a/54072/1111 by John Thomas: [Virgin Galactic's passengers] do appear to be wearing parachutes....
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### What would it take to bring VSS Unity over the Kármán line?

There's been a great deal debate about Virgin Galactic calling 50 miles "space", while most use a 100 km Kármán line definition for the term. VSS Unity has exceeded 89 km altitude on two ...
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### How can I calculate the weight a aero-spacecraft occupant experiences during sub-orbital but non-ballistic trajectories?

Once in orbit, astronauts experience "weightlessness" relative to their capsule or space station because they are moving at the same orbital velocity as the surrounding spacecraft. I have ...
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### What percentage of the population can pass Virgin Galactic's training sessions for tourists to board a sub-orbital spaceflight?

I read on https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/26/space-tourism-how-spacex-virgin-galactic-blue-origin-axiom-compete.html (mirror): Additionally, Virgin Galactic has said that passengers will spend three ...
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### How long do the ascent and the descent of Virgin Galactic's spacecraft take?

The VMS Eve mothership releases the VSS Unity spacecraft after ca. 48 minutes. The total duration is approximately 2 hours. As a result, the ascent time + the descent time that the Virgin Galactic's ...
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### Are Virgin Galactic tourists asked to take a 6 to 8G centrifuge test to qualify, and if so, what's the point?

Regarding sub-orbital spaceflights with Virgin Galactic, claims that: Allegedly some travelers were asked to take a 6 to 8G centrifuge test to qualify Is that true, ...
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### Do the passengers in Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity spacecraft have a parachute or some other way to escape the spacecraft if needs be?

Do the passengers in Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity spacecraft have a parachute or some other way to escape the spacecraft if needs be? In the VSS Enterprise crash that occurred on October 31, 2014, the ...
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### Why isn't the engine's Case-Throat-Nozzle reusable in Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo?

I raed on https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/engine-powering-future-civilian-spaceflight-enters-collections-180971493/ (mirror): RocketMotorTwo is a hybrid rocket motor that ...
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### Which components are non-reusable after a sub-orbital spaceflight with Virgin Galactic?

I wonder which components are non-reusable after a sub-orbital spaceflight with Virgin Galactic. What I have found so far: https://www.virgingalactic.com/learn/ (mirror): With the exception of the ...
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### Could the SpaceShipOne fly again?

A similar question to that one, but this one is concerning the suborbital SpaceShipOne spaceplane. Could it be reactivated for space tourism or other purposes? I remember in 2011 some sources stated ...
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### Which X-15 and SpaceShipOne flights took Coriolis forces into account on their flight path?

I wonder whether those X-15 and SpaceShipOne flights that reached space took into account the rotational Coriolis forces, so that they wouldn't reenter above a location where it would be too far from ...
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### Could the Space X "Starship" be modified for point to point travel on Earth?

After seeing recent successes with the SN5 prototype, powered with very inexpensive LNG, designed to carry 100+ people, is this ... an airliner? A suborbital Starship could make trans Atlantic and ...
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### Is suborbital point-to-point flight on the SpaceShipTwo possible?

As of until now, both the SpaceShipTwo and its retired predecessor the SpaceShipOne, landed on the same spaceport they launched from in their spaceflights, the Mojave air- and spaceport. I wonder ...
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### Has a suborbital rendezvous ever been mentioned in a serious mission proposal/study? [duplicate]

This is an odd one that's been in the back of my head for a while. Consider the LOR architecture of the Apollo missions. To return to earth from the lunar surface, it is most mass-efficient to have ...
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### What is the highest possible altitude of a sub-orbital flight?

If you launch a rocket 101 km high and it doesn't reach orbital velocity then it will return to Earth without completing an orbit. Even though it reached outer space. But if you launch it 10 million ...
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### Can Virgin Galactic's Orbital ship reach ISS

We have all come across theories, concepts proposed missions of orbit tour as a part of space tourism. One such company is Virgin Galactic. I have had read that the SpaceShip2 will have merely 6 mins ...
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### What was the point of the Redstone rocket when there was the X-15 rocketplane?

Just a curiousity question, so don't get me wrong for I very much admire and have high respect towards the entire Mercury project, Alan Shepard (the first American in space, a national hero) and Gus ...
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### What's the minimum speed for a spaceplane to reach outer space? [closed]

From a realistic point of view there must be a minimum speed in order to reach space in a suborbital spacecraft, let's say in a spaceplane. Like there's a first cosmic velocity (for orbit) and a 2nd ...
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### How many hours long is Earth's longest possible sub-orbital flight?

This comment below How long will last the Blue Origin New Shepard space flight? says (in part): The words "suborbital spaceflight" as the first words on Blue Origin's webpage for the New Shepard ...
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### What materials should I use to make a suborbital amateur rocket and where can I buy them? [closed]

I’m trying to make a suborbital rocket to get some pictures of the Earth but I’m not sure what material’s to use and where to get them. I’ve been thinking of titanium for the shell but I’m not sure ...
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### Why didn't Project Mercury advance to an orbital flight on their second mission?

Manned programs are noted for progressing through a series of flights. Early missions focus on basic hardware and simple tasks; as the technology becomes proven, the scope and duration of later ...
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### Is there any kind of research on *sub*-orbital rendezvous-ing with a space tug outside the atmosphere?

The key difference with a plain old-fashioned orbital rendezvous would seem to be that there'd be limited time to only briefly match velocities and trajectories: Let's say a vehicle launched from ...
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### How does launching suborbital payloads on New Shepard compare to sounding rockets?

Nine NASA payloads will be launched on the upcoming New Shepard mission (NS-10) into a suborbital trajectory. How does launching them on New Shepard compare to using traditional sounding rockets? Why ...
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### Did the crew of Soyuz MS-10 pass the Karman Line?

Just wondering if Nick Hague got his gold astronaut wings.
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### What is the delta-V equivalent to cross the Kármán line in vertical (suborbital) flight?

...or, well, for a typical example - how much delta-V does New Shepard carry? For orbital launches, there's the ~1km/s estimate to overcome drag and gravitational losses on orbital launches; 8km/s of ...
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### Did Soviets/Russians perform any crewed (intentionally) suborbital flights?

Gagarin went directly to the orbit - the first manned flight was orbital. I don't know about any other Soviet or Russian spaceflights that wouldn't be orbital - except for some odd aborted launch or ...
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### Falcon 9 maximum point-to-point landing range

Has anyone here ever done enough back-of-the-envelope math to come up with a rough estimate of the maximum landing range of the F9 first stage? I'm talking unladen-swallow-quality math here -- trying ...
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### Is 678 km the new altitude record for a rocket shot "straight up" (vertical launch)?

The Space Daily April 10th Rocket Science item Europe's largest sounding rocket launched from Esrange says: MAXUS 9, Europe's largest sounding rocket for experiments in microgravity, successfully ...
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### Why does Blue Origin land the crew capsule separate from the booster?

New Shepard of Blue Origin separates the crew capsule from the booster. The crew capsule is in free fall for a while, then the parachutes open and finally the landing rockets give a brief impulse to ...
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### How will a suborbital flight country to country work?

If a suborbital flight from NY to Beijing will cover about 7k miles in an hour, what will that trajectory be and at what speed (including the Earth's rotation)? Will most of the flight be above the ...
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### How high can a sounding rocket launch and for how long time can it put a payload in freefall microgravity?

Sounding rockets or suborbital launches basically go straight up and then fall down without entering orbit. That requires much less fuel mass than to achieve 8,000 m/s or so orbital velocity. For how ...
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### What are the main synergies between sub-orbital and orbital space launch?

A number of companies are working on suborbital flight with Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and XCOR being among the most recognized today. I don't ask here about what actual plans different companies ...
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### Shape of an orbit inside a planet

If you are orbiting below the surface of a planet, and ignore drag from rocks (or orbit in a vacuum tunnel), what is the shape of the orbit? Usually, the proportionality law for gravity is \$\frac{1}{r^...
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### Is high velocity feathered configuration reentry possible?

Feather configuration for reentry used in SpaceshipOne, they say, significantly reduces heat loads on reentry by encountering most drag and significantly reducing a large amount kinetic energy at much ...
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### Do you need a heat shield to enter the atmosphere from non-orbital speeds?

Let's say you launched a rocket straight up, not intending to go into orbit. At its apogee, the rocket is (say) 200 km above the earth: high enough (though certainly not fast enough) for LEO. Would ...
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### What altitude would an ocean crossing sub-orbital flight need to reach?

So, let's save some travel time and throw a spaceship, rather than an airplane, across the Atlantic or Pacific ocean on a ballistic trajectory. How high would it have to go? How high do the doomsday ...
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### Why does the WhiteKnight2 of Virgin Galactic have so large fuselages?

Since the White Knight Two doesn't transport passengers or cargo, why does it even have a fuselage? Wouldn't a purely wing shaped aircraft be better? Is it simply more convenient to use an existing ...
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### What are the synergies between today's suborbital private businesses and space flight?

How, if at all, does suborbital flight benefit real space flight outside of the atmosphere? I mean suborbital flights as a business on its own, e.g. for tourism, not just suborbital testing of space ...
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### What are the uses and limitations of moored (powered) balloons? (Compared to GEO, sounding rockets et c.)

Why aren't moored helium balloons hoovering a few kilometers over many cities as a competing alternative to expensive satellite launches? They could provide services with local advantage such as: high ...
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### How can Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 flight be considered to have been orbital, since he did not go all the way around Earth?

How can Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 flight be considered to have been orbital, since he did not go all the way around Earth? According to the Wikipedia article about Vostok 1, the launch site was near ...
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