Hot answers tagged

40

The water impact deceleration was short but it could be strong. Vertical speed with only two parachutes was 36 foot/sec or 11 m/s, horizontal wind speed during a storm could be more. Apollo 8 wind speed was 32 ft/s or 19 knots or 9.75 m/s. There were attenuator struts to reduce the landing shock. When the capsule hit the water, the attenuators extended and ...


37

TL;DR: The low technology readiness, the very, very low thrust, and the need for a catalyst bed means this was and still is the wrong technology for the intended purpose of a launch abort system and maneuvering in low Earth orbit. Low technology readiness SpaceX began working on Dragon V2 over five years ago. At that point, AF-M315E had a rather low ...


36

Would you even be able to open the door? It would depend on the capsule, but since the Apollo 1 fire, one expects crewed American capsules to have explosively-jettisoned hatches that can be activated by the crew. If you had a regular skydiving parachute with you, is there any way you could skydive and survive? Yes. Terminal velocity for falling ...


25

Apollo 12, Alan Bean. The capsule hit a rising wave, and the impact force knocked a camera out of a bracket, which hit Bean in the head and briefly knocked him out. He suffered a mild concussion and needed six stitches, but had no permanent injury.


23

Boris Volynov broken several teeth during hard landing of the Soyuz-5 mission.


22

As @OrganicMarble alluded to, the Buran Soviet shuttle was designed with turbojet engines (see here; and here, under "The engines") to extend the range of possible landing locations given the re-entry circumstances. Test versions had those engines (the same engines used in the Su-27 fighter) installed, but those were never launched into space. The version ...


19

Why wasn't the Apollo spacecraft made so that the astronauts would simply lie on the bottom of the capsule during launch and reentry, without their legs up? They would just need to be tied to the bottom somehow (to a mattress perhaps). Actually, it sort of was, later. While the standard and ideal configuration had three seats suspended from shock absorbing ...


18

I don't believe any vehicles equipped with air-breathing engines have flown to space and returned. Some test vehicles for Buran had jet engines installed, but they did not fly to space. In this picture of a Buran test vehicle, you can see that the jet engine mounts interfere with the reaction control jet nozzles, showing that this configuration could not be ...


17

Capsules like Apollo and Orion are mainly open space internally (the crew cabin); they have no problem floating by themselves (like a metal-hulled boat would). The conical capsule shape by itself will float in either of two orientations: stable 1 (base down, nose up) and stable 2 (nose down). In stable 2, the crew is hanging upside down in their seats and ...


17

American cosmonaut Donald Pettit injured his shoulder when the Soyuz TMA-1 had to fall back to a ballistic reentry following a capsule malfunction. The hard landing was further complicated by the parachute dragging the capsule along the ground after landing. Pettit was immediately moved from the landing site by a rescue helicopter.


16

The entry vehicle for the Apollo missions is the command module (CM), which has a symmetric body with an offset center of gravity (c.g.). This offset c.g. causes the CM to trim aerodynamically at an angle of attack with a resulting lift force as illustrated in figure 1. The magnitude of the lift force is not controllable; ...


15

The Red Bull Stratos jump was done from about 39km up (high altitude balloon). It was fairly straightforward, in that he jumped and opened a parachute. His max speed was just above mach 1 (800mph/1300kpm roughly) and when he moved himself from the freefall to a more traditional skydive position, he was at a more tolerable 500mph/700kph. By the time he ...


14

For Gemini, Apollo, and Soyuz capsules, lift is achieved by offsetting the center of gravity of the reentry module from the center line of the craft. This is represented in your diagram by the "location of heavy equipment" callout, and results in the tilt of the capsule relative to the flight trajectory shown. The tilt causes the body of the spacecraft ...


14

The female South Korean astronaut Yi So-yeon may have been injured in Soyuz TMA-11 on April 19, 2008. Yi So-yeon was hospitalized after her return to South Korea due to injuries caused by the rough return voyage in the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft. The South Korean Science Ministry stated that the astronaut had a minor injury to her neck muscles and had bruised ...


13

During the abort of Soyuz 7K-T No.39 launch, Vasily Lazarev was injured by very high g-loads ( up to 21.3 g, 15 g were expected) and was never able to fly to space again. It was April 5, 1975.


13

As asdfex says, it's an illusion caused by the photo angle and lighting, the cylindrical sides form a sharp angle with the (very much flattened) base. This photo shows the base of a Shenzhou spacecraft from a slightly different angle. Image credit: theregister.com As you can see, the base is convex, not flat, and its circumference has a ring of evenly ...


12

Dragon Capsules: 5 Return Visitors as of 12/2018 The SpaceX subreddit has a nice table with information on the individual Dragon spacecraft. Several of the Dragon capsules have flown multiple ISS missions. The Dragon 1 spacecraft IDs are of the form C1xx, sometimes presented with a '.2' suffix on second flight (i.e. C106 is reflown as C106.2). The Dragon ...


11

Despite a higher risk of a fire, pure oxygen also has some advantages. First, the internal pressure of the vessel is only a fifth of a normal breathing mix, allowing less structural load on the hull of the spacecraft. The resupply system is also simplified, because a system including nitrogen must have an extra tank for the nitrogen. (If you had them mixed, ...


10

According to spaceflight101: [The Soyuz capsule] is outfitted with the spacecraft's fully redundant parachute system [...] I would assume that the designers needed to keep a certain precision for the landing. If they deployed the main parachute and the backup simultaneously, the decent speed may be lowered to the point that they could no longer satisfy ...


10

The Soyuz capsule can land in water, even if that is by no means an optimal scenario. The last splashdown of a crewed spacecraft was Soyuz 23 landing in a lake in Kazakhstan. The recovery took a while as locating the spacecraft at night after the communication equipment failed was difficult. Splashdown tests have later been performed, and a water landing ...


10

The first people who approached the capsule indeed worn bomb squad gear. That is because the parachute deployment of the capsule used explosive devices and the recovery crew needed to check that they had detonated properly. From the official website Once the capsule is found, it will not be approached immediately. Pyrotechnics are used to open the parachute ...


9

According to Apollo Experience Report: Spacecraft Structure Subsystem, NASA Tech Note D-7780, pp. 15-16, that capsule was either Command Module boilerplate BP-1 or BP-2, in a "landing impact test" sometime between 1962 and 1964. The Block I landing impact test program consisted of numerous impacts of boilerplate test vehicles on both land and water. ...


8

Though it hasn't been flown yet, British company Reaction Engines has designed a Single-Stage to Orbit reusable spaceplane with rocket engines that utilize atmospheric oxygen for a substantial portion of the ascent, before switching to internal LOX tanks once above ~85,000 ft. They have already designed and performed some limited tests on the engine ...


8

The simple answer is: it was just a partial test. From the official ISRO press release, 2014-12-18: [T]his suborbital experimental mission was intended to test the vehicle performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and thus carried a passive (non-functional) cryogenic upper stage Specifically, the test objectives were: Flight ...


7

I'll look at the physical side why zu they are not used: Air breathing engines (or rather an engine) consist of two parts: Fuel (usually not the same as the rocket engines - RP-1 is out) the Engines themselves And here the tyrany of space flight kicks in: any mass you want to bring down, you first need to bring up. Which increases the dry weight in the ...


7

It's a trapezoidal hatch; I assume it went in diagonally. This is a picture of the Block I hatch from Apollo 4 (the same hatch design as Apollo 1). The blue box represents the cross-section of the vertically-tallest part of the hatch, plus a small amount of clearance; the purple box has the same dimensions as the blue box. As you can see, it should fit ...


6

Yes, they can, at least they are designed to do such. Here's some links supporting that: http://www.space.com/21541-nasa-orion-spacecraft-reusable.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_%28spacecraft%29#Crew_module_.28CM.29 " The CM is designed to be refurbished and reused." http://www.informationweek.com/government/leadership/nasa-orion-space-capsule-has-...


6

One environment the capsules definitely can't land on is steep mountain slopes. If the capsule starts rolling down the slope, there's very little the astronauts can do. This will include glaciers, buildings, generally once the capsule makes the touchdown, it better not continue falling. Forests with tall trees (like Amazon jungle) may prove lethal, as the ...


6

Yes, securing the command module on the recovery ships was considered. Every recovery ship was given a practice command module, a cradle to hold the CM (instead of lashing it down), other equipment, and training: Much special equipment was carried aboard secondary recovery ships to facilitate command module retrieval and handling. The major item on ...


5

I wanted to add some more information this answer. The Launch vehicle that carried the boilerplate was itself on its maiden flight, the GSLV Mk.III LVM3-X . It had a Dummy 3rd Upper Cryogenic Stage which was filled nitrogen to simulate the actual weight. Instead of sending a Dummy Payload, the CARE mission was undertaken. The Launcher could only ...


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