Questions tagged [technology]

Questions relating to the use of technology to further space exploration.

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2 votes
2 answers
176 views

How did the cost of delivery of cargo into orbit change with technology maturation?

I had an argument with my friend recently about the effect of technology maturation on spaceflight cost. In the process, I managed to find this infographic: Image source The trend for cost reduction ...
13 votes
4 answers
2k views

Do any systems in space use Artificial Intelligence yet?

Technology has apparently advanced to the point some states in the Untied States are debating AI managed cars. The thought comes to mind that space is relatively less crowded than most streets on ...
3 votes
2 answers
269 views

Has Demonstrator-1 2021-006BX demonstrated a hydrogen-oxygen combustion engine fueled by electrolysis yet?

NASA's NASA CubeSat to Demonstrate Water-Fueled Moves in Space says: A NASA CubeSat will launch into low-Earth orbit to demonstrate a new type of propulsion system. Carrying a pint of liquid water as ...
23 votes
1 answer
1k views

What paper size do they use on the International Space Station?

We know they have at least one printer on the ISS – that's NASA-supplied so it would be in the US Orbital Segment. Presumably there is a printer in the Russian Orbital Segment as well. (Mir had a ...
3 votes
3 answers
400 views

Could the Lunar Lagrange Points work for space telescopes?

Every orbit in space has its pros and cons. Low Earth Orbit has accessibility but frequent eclipses whereas a Solar Lagrange Point is clear and stable but distant. In the case of the Lunar Lagrange ...
3 votes
1 answer
434 views

ESA: Does the ESA initiate the development of necessary new technologies if it is necessary? Does the ESA create new space missions?

I tried to do some research but I couldn’t find any definitive answer to this: Does the ESA initiate the development of necessary new technologies if it is necessary? And does the ESA create new space ...
2 votes
1 answer
185 views

Has there ever been a fully-reusable big-dumb-booster design proposed?

I know of fully expendable Big Dumb Boosters, as well as "smart" reuse in systems like NEXUS (all versions) and their contemporaries, what I'm trying to figure out (after hours of sorting ...
3 votes
1 answer
90 views

What material can a maser sail design use?

A quick recap for photon sails: Photon sails are conceptual spacecraft propulsion systems that would generate thrust from radiation pressure. Types of photon sails include solar sails, laser sails and ...
8 votes
2 answers
243 views

What will the live video and audio quality be like when astronauts next set foot on the moon?

What will the live video and audio quality be like when we watch an Artemis crewmember set foot on the moon? The quality of the original Apollo footage from the 1960's is terrible by today's standards....
5 votes
1 answer
105 views

With our current technology, how large could we make a useable space-based VLBI telescope?

I am trying to find an equation that models the current technical limits that we have on creating an effective space-based VLBI telescope. Variables that are likely relevant in the model: distance of ...
24 votes
5 answers
19k views

If human space travel is limited by the G force vulnerability, is there a way to counter G forces?

I read somewhere that prolonged G forces (even 2 Gs) are not tolerated by human physiology and that this ultimately limits our ability to sustain space travel. Are there any tactics to reduce G force ...
7 votes
1 answer
6k views

How do we create a zero gravity environment on Earth?

I have read somewhere that to-be astronauts are trained on Earth to be deft enough when they are in space which has zero gravity. How do we create a zero gravity situation on Earth? On Earth, even if ...
27 votes
5 answers
11k views

Could a helicopter fly on Mars?

Helicopter drones are awesome fun down here on Earth, but what if... we took one to Mars? This sounds like a good question for Randall Munroe. But I read about a proposal to send a helicopter drone (...
28 votes
3 answers
2k views

What happens to defunct lunar and Mars rovers? What technological barriers prevent humanity from creating a perpetual rover?

What happens to defunct lunar and Mars rovers? What technological barriers prevent humanity from creating a perpetual rover with sun batteries or nuclear portable reactors for use on Mars, the Moon, ...
29 votes
6 answers
5k views

Could liquid airlocks work?

I was looking through an old copy of Moon Miner's Manifesto a while ago and found the concept of a liquid airlock in an early issue. It is on page 32 of this issue from 1988. It posits this as an ...
3 votes
2 answers
271 views

Could we get free O₂ on Mars?

I think that the new Mars rover in 2020 will make oxygen, from thin Martian atmosphere. I think Mars' atmosphere is 90% $CO_2$. Carbon dioxide is made of $C$ and $O_2$. $O_2$ is oxygen, so can't we ...
-1 votes
1 answer
243 views

Can we launch from the moon?

Would it be possible with currently rocket technology or technology towards the end of its development (ex. SLS, Starship, New Glenn, etc.) to launch from the moon. Of course, we would send down a ...
-1 votes
1 answer
156 views

Could we launch from the moon to another planetary body? [closed]

Would it be possible with currently rocket technology or technology towards the end of its development (ex. SLS, Starship, New Glenn, etc.) to launch from the moon. Of course, we would send down a ...
20 votes
6 answers
6k views

What are some of the obsolete technologies that space agencies used in day-to-day work during the 1960s?

This may be a vague question, please let me know if more info is needed. As we know, NASA put a man on the moon using technologies that we no longer use, like slide rules and entire teams of people ...
60 votes
3 answers
21k views

Curiosity: Why did they "reinvent the wheel" instead of using pressure tires?

Curiosity rover's wheels seem a bit tired and show signs of wear and tear, as reported for example in this Discovery News article from May 22, 2013. This damage only increased since then and wheels ...
16 votes
2 answers
4k views

Has any piston machine been used on a space mission?

Inspired by question about engine lubrication in space. Piston engines are not used for propelling spacecraft, but there are some possible uses for especially Stirling engines and compressors: ...
44 votes
1 answer
9k views

How (the heck) did Lunokhod 2 drive, navigate and survive a ~40 kilometer drive over four months on the Moon using 1970's technology?

Mashable.com's Every rover, ranked by distance traveled on the moon and Mars; The 13 rovers, ranked. calls attention to this amazing feat, and a review of basic statistics and discussions on odometry ...
34 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why are the recent flights of two billionaires discussed in terms of space travel?

Recently, there has been much attention on the fact that billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson were passengers in very high-altitude flights. Reputed media outlets discussed these events as &...
3 votes
1 answer
145 views

First hemispherical resonator used in spaceflight? First used on a deep space mission?

This answer to How exactly did Cassini provide rock-solid attitude control to enable high resolution low light imaging? (1.2 arcsec/pixel for narrow angle camera) says: Cassini was the first ...
4 votes
2 answers
354 views

Was the teletype machine on MIR the first printer in space? Is there a photo, and what frequencies were used?

Seeing the video KK5IM 2021 Shack Tour spotted in The Ham Shack lead me to What paper size do they use on the International Space Station? which begins: We know they have at least one printer on the ...
5 votes
2 answers
573 views

What are some common (but non-obvious) materials that are particularly unsuitable for spaceflight?

If a product was to be made for use in space, there may be certain materials or certain combinations of materials that might work well on Earth, but be particularly unsuitable for spaceflight ...
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Were Nixie tubes used by a space program?

I’ve been receiving this ad from a company selling Nixie tube clock kits online: The technology that was used in the first space shuttles and submarines can be in your home and moreover in a unique ...
3 votes
1 answer
145 views

Is there any significant difference between NASA and EU technology readiness levels?

The wikipedia article for technology readiness levels lists the NASA and European Union definitions. I've put these into a table: Level NASA EU 1 Basic principles observed and reported Basic ...
8 votes
1 answer
949 views

How was Enterprise held/released from the carrier 747 for the Shuttle approach and landing tests?

Related to my other question: What are the benefits of using pyrotechnics on spacecraft? When the Space Shuttle was first flight tested (Enterprise approach and landing tests) it was released from a ...
8 votes
1 answer
760 views

What are the benefits of using pyrotechnics on spacecraft?

NASA always appears to use pyrotechnic devices (NASA standard initiators for explosive bolts, frangible nuts, etc.) to release elements (spent stages, fairings, etc.) where SpaceX appears to be using ...
15 votes
3 answers
4k views

Could Von Neumann probes be forbidden by technological limitations?

The famous Fermi paradox asks an important question: if space-faring civilizations exist and are not extremely rare, why are they not already here? Von Neumann proposed a probe, that flies to nearest ...
26 votes
5 answers
3k views

Technology: How would a state-of-the-art space shuttle be built?

As the title states, if a space shuttle 2.0 were to be built with current technology, in which ways or areas might it be superior to the original space shuttle? Which components are most ripe for ...
-2 votes
1 answer
157 views

I think I have an idea of how to stop global warming, where can I share it? [closed]

It is quite simple space technology that will require a lot of funds and some physical and biological research, but I think it is realistic to create it because the idea is simple (build special space ...
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to move in space with just solar panels or without them?

What are the technologies known to humankind, to do propulsion in space, with a spacecraft having solar panels, when: It is under ample solar flux? It is interstellar under negligible solar flux? ...
6 votes
3 answers
33k views

Starlink vs 5G technology, are they directly competing services?

While the world is preparing for 5G mobile technology (which involves new devices for smartphones and stations), SpaceX is going to roll out its Starlink "constellation". What I did not know is that ...
1 vote
1 answer
153 views

Is space habitation a technology problem or is it really just a mass (cost) problem?

There are a lot of challenges with space habitation. Gravity, radiation, fuel for reactions to maneuver, water, atmosphere, food, etc. etc. NASA and many others are working on all kinds of solutions ...
5 votes
1 answer
179 views

Are there any studies or technology envisioned for Mars entry and landing without a parachute?

Are any space agencies examining the possibility of a Mars landing without a parachute? It wasn't clear to me if the use of the HIAD (Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator) would eliminate ...
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the maximum practical deltaV obtainable from a chemical rocket launched from earths surface?

What is the maximum practical deltaV obtainable from a chemical rocket launched from earths surface? Not an exact number as there are too many variables but an approximate maximum assuming a 10,000kg,...
16 votes
1 answer
849 views

What are the differences in technology between OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa missions?

Up to now two spacecraft have been launched for an asteroid sample return mission. The first one Hayabusa is a completed mission and now OSIRIS-REx is an ongoing mission. Hayabusa was launched in 2003,...
4 votes
3 answers
862 views

Challenges to building a human habitat on Titan (Saturn's Moon)?

I have been studying Titan for a while, reading documents from Cassini and Huygens (probes). On Titan there is an atmosphere, layer of clouds, seas of hydrocarbons (fuel and plastic for many centuries)...
4 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why doesn't the USA use structurally stronger rockets for the more important launches?

Russia uses the R-7 ICBM-derived Soyuz launch vehicle for most of its space launches. The advantage of it is that there's no concern on what the weather is like on launch day and Soyuz launches almost ...
3 votes
1 answer
172 views

Is it possible to create an overridable inflatable airlock seal?

If the information I obtained is correct, inflatable airlocks are sealed by the air pressure and cannot be unlocked unless the pressure is lowered(correct me if I'm wrong). Additionally, airlocks ...
2 votes
1 answer
560 views

Orbiting bolo technology viability?

I have recently read Seveneves and loved the use of certain technologies in it. Has anyone put serious study into the bolo hanglider hanger and possible viable usage of a similar technology?
3 votes
1 answer
142 views

Getting to Titan and beyond - technology knowledge management to get... anywhere

The article which made me to post this question is actually about (not yet) getting to Titan, but these words provoke thought for any space exploration target, please note it's a NASA engineer telling ...
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is feathering?

I heard that Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo just tested something called “feathering”. What is it? How come I didn't hear about the shuttle doing this, it is unique to Virgin Galactic's ship?
5 votes
2 answers
4k views

How do these Apollo mission control displays work?

In a recent question there's this image of a display in the restored Apollo Mission Operations Control Room 2: I always wondered, how do these displays work (the original ones from the 60s/70s, not ...
14 votes
4 answers
1k views

How do spacecraft measure onboard gravity?

How do spacecraft measure onboard (micro)gravity at any given point in time (especially when subject to the gravitational fields of multiple bodies)? I'm guessing that rudimentary accelerometers won't ...
6 votes
1 answer
426 views

Project Starshot acceleration

A recent question about Project Starshot's communication asks about one of the seemingly insurmountable problems with this project. There is however another problem that has bugged me ever since I ...
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

How is a space suit climate controlled? [duplicate]

I understand how one could be heated, but how does the space suit cool the water that is noodled throughout it exchanging heat with the body? Why is this method used over traditional methods like a ...
2 votes
3 answers
923 views

Stability of rocket during flight; why does the lift force change direction when the center of pressure moves?

I am currently learning about fins and the role they play in the stability of a rocket during flight. I came across a relatively minor problem. Here is one of the resources I'm looking at: http://www....