Questions tagged [uncrewed-spaceflight]

Questions about space flight activities without humans onboard.

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17
votes
2answers
5k views

Are fans ever used in un-crewed spacecraft?

The question For a Venus bound space probe could could a fan be used to prevent overheating? got me thinking. Most if not all crewed spacecraft have had fans to move air for one reason or another. ...
2
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1answer
100 views

Has SpaceX said much publicly about uncrewed landings on the surface of the Moon or Mars?

It seems like this would be very good publicity as well as a necessary proof of concept, and SpaceX certainly has some experience with robotic/automated landings on Earth. I'm assuming this will be ...
16
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2answers
6k views

Has any object launched from Earth gone into the Sun?

I've seen a lot of questions about the $\Delta V$ required to reach the Sun from the Earth (~22-30 km/s if I remember correctly), firing a bullet into the sun, etc. But has this ever happened? Has ...
3
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3answers
207 views

Where in the solar system could a nuke be tested without anybody noticing?

Testing nuclear weapons is difficult on earth because of the large number of parties that want to prevent such tests from happening. Say that a country with a space program wants to test a nuclear ...
23
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2answers
5k views

Were there any unmanned expeditions to the moon that returned to Earth prior to Apollo?

Apollo 8 orbited the moon, and obviously Apollo 11 landed. I'm wondering if there were any test missions to get unmanned ships to the moon and safely back to Earth? It seems like a big jump to ...
2
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1answer
192 views

How much less fuel do rockets burn with higher G force?

How does G force at launch differ between spacecraft when it comes to efficiency between crewed and uncrewed space flight? Does less time in the atmosphere equate to a savings in fuel for an ...
7
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1answer
99 views

Has JPL been affected by the November 2018 California wildfires?

The Deep Space Network Now page shows no activity at all. Two hours ago, there was only testing on two of the Madrid dishes (so it's more than a faulty webpage). I've never seen anything like it ...
3
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3answers
468 views

Have “QR” or other 2D barcodes been used in spaceflight?

Wikipedia: QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. ...
6
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3answers
1k views

How would the International Space Station be maintained unmanned?

Russia's lunch to the ISS failed and the crew may have to leave it unmanned. How would the ISS run without a crew? Could some one else take it over or squat in it? https://www.npr.org/2018/10/11/...
38
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7answers
25k views

Why do we not fly to space with helicopters? What are the practical altitude limits?

People will tell that there is no air, and this is why we cannot. But if I read on the internet, there is air in space, much less, but still something. for example, 100 km - 0.0000006 times as much ...
78
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7answers
18k views

What can the KSP game actually teach about spaceflight and orbital mechanics, and what are its limitations?

I have seen at least several different users mention that they've found Kerbal Space Program helpful to understand issues of spaceflight and orbital mechanics. According to Wikipedia: While the ...
11
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1answer
466 views

How much manual flying is done in a modern manned spacecraft?

Considering we live in an age of unmanned spacecrafts, with computers more than capable of managing everything from attitude control, burns, to docking and insanely precise powered landings; how much ...
19
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2answers
2k views

Could an Apollo LM land uncrewed?

I believe that Apollo mission control had the ability to upload data and commands to the LM's guidance computer as long as they had an operational communications link. I'm wondering if, from the point ...
5
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1answer
351 views

Are SpaceX competitors planning to create reusable vehicles

Although I know programs and visions of many space companies, I'd like to ask, does anybody knows if there is any competitor to SpaceX that wants to create a reusable rocket in the future? Let's ...
5
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1answer
309 views

Deep space craft antenna aiming

In order to aim an antenna at Earth, how do unmanned spacecraft find their own orientation (xyz position in space, what direction it is flying and which direction the antenna is pointing)? Are they ...
0
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1answer
167 views

Help me build a space shotgun so I can shoot Venus from Jupiter

If one wants to move an object from orbit around one planet in the solar system and have it collide with another, what information is needed, and how would one go about calculating such a thing? For ...
5
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1answer
221 views

How does the Dream Chaser manned differ from Dream Chaser cargo?

The CRS (Cargo Resupply Services) 2 contract was announced with three winners, SpaceX for Dragon, Orbital for Cygnus, and SNC for Dream Chaser. How will the cargo version of Dream Chaser differ from ...
7
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1answer
295 views

What is the problem with pressure?

Among other reasons, the high pressure of Venus and the gas giants atmospheres are often stated as one of the major problems for an unmanned lander. They say the pressure will "crush" the probe. Why ...
19
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2answers
26k views

Launch Accelerations: Values, history

This topic: What G-forces do different launchers cause? indicates that current satellite launchers are limiting peak acceleration to about 4g. I'm pretty sure the STS (Shuttle) did the same. My ...
8
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6answers
1k views

Technology for unmanned spacecraft to exoplanets

I am interested in the possibility of sending unmanned reconnaisance spacecraft to study exoplanets, especially Earth-like ones with the ultimate goal of detecting alien life. Certainly earth-based ...
29
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3answers
4k views

Is the “airship to orbit” mission profile feasible?

By one of those weird coincidences, I had been on JP Aerospace's site mere hours before reading this question about space dirigibles here. Their mission plan seems too good to be true. They are ...
12
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4answers
1k views

What is the least energetic trajectory design to send uncrewed supplies to Mars?

Both Mars One and NASA have suggested sending uncrewed supply ships to Mars as part of a manned mission or colonization. These payloads can take all the time they like, not being constrained by human ...
3
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0answers
147 views

Could electrodynamic tethers power long-term unmanned satellites around the Sun, Jupiter, or Saturn?

Assuming you have the budget to research electrodynamic tether powered unmanned satellites, and you had a cheap way of getting them in to earth low earth orbit, would they be able to use electricity ...
18
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5answers
7k views

Olympus Mons - viable Mars landing site?

I'm becoming interested in how Mars missions are planning their landings. One aspect I see brought up time and again is Mars' awkward atmosphere - 'just enough there that you have to care about it'. ...
6
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1answer
188 views

What time of events is given for probes a long way away from Earth?

Philae is to land on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko today at 17:02 CET. The comet is currently 3.409AU away from Earth. That means signals from the lander take a little over 28 minutes to reach Earth. Does ...
16
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1answer
576 views

What could the X-37 be useful for?

While U.S. Air Force doesn't disclose the tasks and roles for the X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle class spacecrafts, there are many things known about the vessel, such as its delta-v budget, its cargo bay ...
20
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1answer
696 views

Extending Use of ISS Beyond End of Mission

Given that the ISS will eventually come to the end of its mission (currently extended to 2020 (source)), would it be possible to re-purpose it for non-human space flight? To clarify: does the ...
21
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7answers
4k views

Why didn't the Apollo program do an uncrewed landing/ascent rehearsal?

They had a crew round the Moon before going for landing, but they didn't test any of the new landing and ascent operations uncrewed on the lunar surface. Why? Couldn't it be done by remote control? ...
0
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1answer
5k 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 ...
8
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1answer
444 views

How many space craft have been intentionally crashed through 2014?

A couple of comments on the question Has there been any mission to land on a planet or moon in the Outer Solar System? suggesting that there is no scientific benefit to a crash on a moon, reminded me ...
3
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1answer
113 views

Additional tasks for ATV, HTV, Dragon and Cygnus

The Progress cargo vessels are often given additional tasks of technical or scientific value. Typically performed after they undock from the station. Many of them participated in the series of ...
14
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5answers
859 views

Why don't unmanned launch vehicles include launch escape system for payload?

Mention of Launch Escape System (LES) brings to mind images of the crew on board a spacecraft ejecting at launch; the crew being the most valuable cargo on board. Launch vehicles may also be unmanned,...
5
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2answers
2k views

What are the risks involved in amateur high-altitude ballooning, and how can we mitigate them?

Over the past few years, it's become somewhat of a trend to send up high-altitude balloons and post videos on internet. Well-known examples include Toy Train in Space and Picard & Kirk in Space. ...
13
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4answers
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 ...
9
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1answer
237 views

Have Mercury/Gemini/Apollo produced any unmanned descendants?

It is well known that Russian manned spacecrafts gave birth to multiple unmanned satellite projects (such as Bion spacecrafts, for example). Have Mercury/Gemini/Apollo spacecrafts or their direct ...
19
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1answer
535 views

How much of the Interplanetary Transport Network is currently known?

The Interplanetary Transport Network is a network of mathematically-defined paths through our solar system that would require little to no energy for a spacecraft to follow them, albeit at very low ...