All Questions

20
votes
2answers
4k views

How was magnetic tape decay prevented in Voyager 1?

I had recently learned that Voyager 1 uses magnetic tape to record data. Voyager 1 has been going on more or less strongly since 1977 (before I was even born!), and the wikipedia article states that ...
7
votes
1answer
341 views

Are custom semiconductors used on board spacecraft/robots?

Spacecraft/robot are usually chock-a-block with instruments. These are usually devices with some electronics to them. These are probably semiconductor, or vacuum-tube devices - I may be wrong! ...
9
votes
1answer
244 views

Would gold in space tend to collect in pockets like it does on Earth?

I was reading Does gold come from outer space?(BBC News). If the majority of gold on Earths surface does come from space would it tend to be equally distributed on comets and asteroids, or would tend ...
22
votes
3answers
16k views

Delta-V chart mathematics

Could someone explain me the mathematics behind the Delta-V charts one can find on internet such as:                 &...
7
votes
1answer
640 views

Smallest launch vehicle by dry mass

What is the smallest launch vehicle, by dry mass, to have delivered a payload to orbit? I am guessing that this might be either a re-purposed sounding rocket or something from the high-end of the ...
8
votes
2answers
145 views

Theories of what asteroid macroporosity actually means

Pretty good science has nailed down the fact that a significant fraction of asteroids have macro-porosity of 10% or more. It seems this was more or less established as of a 2003 paper, and here are ...
7
votes
1answer
181 views

Have Magnetorquers been used anywhere outside of the Earth?

On Earth, small satellites often include Magnetorquers. A magnetorquer allows the satellite to re-orient itself without using fuel in a way more permanent than magnets. While not every planet has a ...
7
votes
1answer
239 views

Could a magnetorquer be used in orbit around Mars?

One way to align a spacecraft into a certain manner while in orbit around a body is the use a Magnetorquer. Does Mars have enough of a magnetic field to allow such a device to operate?
5
votes
1answer
261 views

Any other advantages to passive atmospheric reentry besides reaction mass economy?

From Vostok 1 to date, atmospheric reentry has been essentially passive. Passive here means that retrorockets are used to de-orbit, and then aerobraking is provided by the atmosphere. In contrast, ...
8
votes
2answers
604 views

Could Magnetorquers be used on the ISS?

The way that the ISS manages it's attitude now is to use a set of reaction wheels for primary control, and occasionally firing small thrusters to allow the wheels to despin themselves. This isn't ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

How long did it take, at a minimum, to prep a shuttle for launch after it landed?

The Space Shuttle relied on a pair of SRBs, and fuel supplement in the External Tank for it's launch. Assuming Payload, Service parts/consumables, Crews, SRBs, and ET were ready - How long did it ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Nuclear thermal rocket specific impulse calculation uses 1 amu, is that wrong?

Following the parameters in the Wikipedia nuclear thermal rocket article, it seems to paint somewhat of a shaky world view. Consider these quotes: Current (2010) 25,000 pound-thrust reference ...
30
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do the exhaust flames from cryogenic stage engines appear to be separated from the nozzle?

Why do the exhaust flames from cryogenic stage engines appear to be separated from the nozzle?
15
votes
1answer
34k views

What is the current cost per kg to send something into GSO/GEO?

I was reading this article and thought it was reasonably cheap, probably because I mistook LEO for GEO. What is the going rate to get something into GeoStationary Orbit and Geosynchronous Equatorial ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

What's the maximum amount of time the ISS can go between resupply runs?

Typically a cadence of one resupply mission every couple months is maintained. If this cadence were to be interrupted for whatever reason, how long could, say, the current crew size of three members ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

What were Prince Sultan's duties in STS-51-G?

Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Saud was the first (and so far only) Saudi astronaut, and was included in the crew of STS-51-G as a payload specialist representing Arabsat. Does that mean his role was ...
7
votes
1answer
387 views

How much power loss does the LLCD suffer in transit?

Space.com writes to say (freeform improved quote): The LLCD (Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration) space terminal is designed to beam data from the moon at a rate six times faster than the best ...
5
votes
0answers
398 views

What can an astronaut do better than the Curiosity rover? [closed]

Firstly, I want to say that I'd be the first person with their hand up when asked, "So who wants to go to space?". There's nothing I'd love more than to go. But from looking at the amount of ...
15
votes
2answers
715 views

How would a probe land on Europa?

Say we send a craft to Europa which would then launch a probe to land on the surface of Europa. Let's say for the sake of this question that the probe weighs more or less like the Opportunity rover. ...
9
votes
1answer
421 views

Has a non-space treaty citizen ever been in orbit?

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, according to Wikipedia is ratified by any country with a chance of getting there - Article VI Makes each member country responsible for it's citizens actions. ...
8
votes
1answer
397 views

Cargo delivery from the ISS to Tiangong

Consider I have a 10 kg object I want to deliver from the ISS to Tiangong-1 station. The object can not go through the land and launch again cycle. Can any of the present day spacecrafts do the ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Can you buy land on the moon?

The two primary documents regarding legal niceties on the Moon and often mentioned are: Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which according to Wikipedia is essentially ratified by any country with a chance ...
28
votes
1answer
56k views

What is the current cost-per-pound to send something into LEO?

As a student of economics and finance I would love to learn more about the cost structures of sending a payload into orbit. More specifically - What is the cost-per-pound to send something into LEO ...
9
votes
2answers
530 views

Payload mass scale economy

What is the "payload mass" curve in relation to "cost to orbit?" I mean: preparing a whole launch system for delivering a single cubesat to LEO would be an overkill, the cost to bring such a small ...
6
votes
1answer
202 views

What happens to an RTG if the demand exceeds supply?

NASA writes to say As the electrical power becomes less and less, power loads on the spacecraft must be turned off in order to avoid having demand exceed supply. A lead battery would 'die' if ...
5
votes
0answers
1k views

What is the average cost of satellite construction over the last 10 years? [closed]

In the last 10 years what was the Highest and lowest, construction cost of satellites launched? What are the mean and average costs of satellite construction over the same period? Where "a" ...
10
votes
1answer
161 views

Milestones in LEO launch technology

Since the automobile came into existence towards the end of the 19th century AD, motive technology has evolved rapidly Multiple Stroke Engines Rotary engines Square block Vee engines Hybrid engines ...
8
votes
1answer
427 views

Does cost to orbit make the sale for a satellite launch service?

Wikipedia writes to say ...The Space Race sparked unprecedented increases in spending on education and pure research, which accelerated scientific advancements and led to beneficial spin-off ...
7
votes
1answer
817 views

Do rocket exhaust plumes really provide a pathway for lightning?

This Wikipedia article states that Rocket exhaust plumes provided a pathway for lightning when it was witnessed striking the Apollo 12 rocket shortly after takeoff. My question is whether this ...
7
votes
1answer
416 views

Would a frog on the side of a rocket be enough to steer it substantially offcourse?

Recently, someone posted this picture in The Pod Bay, our chatroom: It shows a frog being blown off of the launch of LADEE, a lunar probe. It got me thinking: Would a frog, successfully holding on ...
10
votes
1answer
458 views

What are the chances of getting struck by lightning while in Earth orbit?

Getting struck by lighting in Earths upper atmosphere is a real possibility. It is often found in the 100km range, and can reach 400 km (250 mi) in diameter. The ISS has an orbit of 400km, and as ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

Did NASA provide the wrong year for Voyager 1's close approach to AC +79 3888?

This article says it will pass by the star in about 40,000 years. However, my quick and dirty calculation shows that Voyager will only be about a few light years away in 40,000 years, still quite a ...
4
votes
1answer
255 views

Can you have a relaxing full body massage in zero G?

This question is a bit more complex then it sounds at first. On Earth when getting a massage you lay on a table and gravity and friction holds you in place while the therapist pushes, pulls and ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

How does the gravity of a massive non-spherical object act on things around it?

Firstly, not sure if this question ought to be in the physics SE site. Please let me know if it should. Secondly, I don't know a whole lot about physics (I'm just inquisitive). So please try to keep ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What's our limit in sending probes to distant bodies?

Currently, we're able to aim probes at various bodies in the solar system pretty well. Do we have the technology to send a probe to Alpha Centauri? If we're aiming at a star, approximately how far ...
10
votes
1answer
584 views

Will Pluto's atmosphere collapse prior to New Horizon's visiting it?

It is thought that Pluto's atmosphere will freeze as it moves further from the Sun. We know that Pluto was it's closest to the Sun in the 1990's. Is it known if the atmosphere will freeze prior to New ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Where are the upper stages for the Voyager/Pioneer stages?

I was reading this question, and was trying to remember an article I read many years ago. It seemed the article was indicating that there is a chance that one of the boosters from one of these ...
27
votes
1answer
3k views

How many astronauts have reported an alien encounter of some kind?

This question will be controversial, so I want to start out by saying that I am not advocating any sort of conspiracy. I'm merely acknolwedging the fact that there are numerous claims that some ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What was the first man made object to leave our solar system?

We have a lot of man made objects flying around the universe. Which one was the first one out of our solar system? How far away from the sun was it when it became "out of the solar system?
6
votes
1answer
59 views

Will any near future lunar missions use GRAIL data?

Lunar missions are known to be the subject to the exceptionally disuniform gravity. GRAIL generated a very high resolution gravity map of Luna. Will any missions to Luna in the near future (say, ...
6
votes
1answer
91 views

Is LOI usually performed on the far side of Luna?

Wikipedia writes to say Once the spacecraft reached the far side of the Moon, its rocket motor was fired in order for it to be captured by the Moon's gravity into an elliptical lunar orbit.[27] I ...
10
votes
1answer
134 views

Are there propellant-less ways to balance at an unstable orbital point?

A station situated somewhere like EML-2 is really at an unstable point. I've heard of crafts using rocket firing to maintain that position in response to small deviations. Could you do this without ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Would placing an X-ray telescope on the surface of the Moon be a good idea?

Instead of placing an X-ray telescope in orbit or deep space, would building an X-ray telescope on the surface of the Moon an good idea, since it has no atmosphere? If no, please don't forget to ...
7
votes
1answer
333 views

If there are Earth size bodies drifting in space could we identify them?

I don't think there is any reasonable doubt that comets have been ejected from ours and other solar systems and are drifting in the vast voids of space. If there where larger bodies say the size of ...
26
votes
4answers
12k views

Is there any stable orbit around a black hole?

Is there any stable orbit around a black hole so that the spacecraft will remain in orbit without any disturbance over a long period of time ?
12
votes
3answers
4k views

Would there be any benefit to sending a probe to a black hole?

It's perfectly safe to orbit a black hole - as long as you don't cross the event horizon, you're fine. My questions is this: is there anything we could learn by doing so? Since nothing can escape a ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

Are there any plans to send a probe to orbit a black hole?

Since a black hole only has as much gravity as it did before it collapsed, it's perfectly safe to orbit it. Do any countries have plans to send a probe to orbit a black hole? What is the timeframe?
10
votes
1answer
163 views

What data are used to do these 3D asteroid renderings?

The number of asteroids that have been directly photographed is very limited, because the probes that do so are very large budget and public. That's why it's surprising to see images like this of ...
28
votes
3answers
33k views

How to programmatically calculate orbital elements using position/velocity vectors?

I would like to build some orbital mechanical software from scratch. I feel that this would be a great way to learn the steps required to calculate different Kepler orbital elements of an object, plot ...
11
votes
1answer
22k views

Do only Eagles walk on the moon?

Neil Armstrong was an Eagle Scout and the first person to walk on the moon. I have heard that everyone who has walked on the moon (through 2012), was an Eagle Scout. Is it true? If so other then ...

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