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40 votes
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Why did the Apollo capsule have seats if the astronauts never were sitting in it?

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 ...
Uwe's user avatar
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37 votes
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Could one skydive from a space capsule that just had a parachute failure during re-entry?

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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
25 votes

Which astronauts or cosmonauts were injured by a hard landing?

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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
23 votes

Which astronauts or cosmonauts were injured by a hard landing?

Boris Volynov broken several teeth during hard landing of the Soyuz-5 mission.
Heopps's user avatar
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22 votes
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Have Air-breathing Engines ever been used on a reentry vehicle, could they be?

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 ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
  • 18.2k
19 votes

Why did the Apollo capsule have seats if the astronauts never were sitting in it?

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 ...
Chris Stratton's user avatar
18 votes

Have Air-breathing Engines ever been used on a reentry vehicle, could they be?

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 ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
17 votes

Which astronauts or cosmonauts were injured by a hard landing?

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 ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
16 votes

Could one skydive from a space capsule that just had a parachute failure during re-entry?

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/...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 7,708
16 votes

How do we control a Reentering Capsule in the denser part of the atmosphere?

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 ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
14 votes

How do we control a Reentering Capsule in the denser part of the atmosphere?

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 "...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
14 votes

Which astronauts or cosmonauts were injured by a hard landing?

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 ...
Uwe's user avatar
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13 votes

Which astronauts or cosmonauts were injured by a hard landing?

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.
Uwe's user avatar
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13 votes
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Why does the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft appear square in this picture?

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 ...
Dave Gremlin's user avatar
  • 2,409
12 votes
Accepted

How many capsules have visited the ISS more than once?

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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Decision Factors for using 100% $ O_2 $ cabin atmosphere in early US space program

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 ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Are crewed capsules equiped to land pretty much anywhere in the world?

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 ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Why is the Hayabusa2 capsule collection team in protective gear

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 ...
user2705196's user avatar
  • 1,291
9 votes
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What was this capsule dropped from a truck?

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" ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 47.4k
8 votes

How do space capsules float on water?

The Gemini capsule floated because it had thousands of hollow balls made of extremely thin aluminum, each composed of two half-spheres welded together, the size of ping pong balls, which were embedded ...
Kathy's user avatar
  • 81
8 votes

Have Air-breathing Engines ever been used on a reentry vehicle, could they be?

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 ...
MikeB's user avatar
  • 909
8 votes

Why was ISRO's CARE reentry demonstration at 5300 m/s so slow?

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 ...
geometrian's user avatar
  • 1,807
8 votes

Mystery balls! Gemini apparently had "thousands of hollow ping-pong-sized balls made of extremely thin aluminum embedded within its walls". What?

A damaged hollow structure would sink; a damaged hollow structure filled with hundreds of hollow structures can't sink: I would call it "hyper-redundacy" of buoyancy.
jumpjack's user avatar
  • 3,003
7 votes
Accepted

In designing the Apollo capsule, was consideration given to lashing it down?

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, ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 47.4k
7 votes

Have Air-breathing Engines ever been used on a reentry vehicle, could they be?

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 ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 200
7 votes

AS 204 / Apollo 1 fire

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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
6 votes

Are crewed capsules equiped to land pretty much anywhere in the world?

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, ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 54.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Why was ISRO's CARE reentry demonstration at 5300 m/s so slow?

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 ...
Navoneel Karmakar's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Will there be a flame around the capsule from Stoke Space Technologies during reentery?

Short answer: yes. The "flame" is not produced by combustion in the sense that the heat shield is burning away, but rather the air itself is turning into plasma due to the extreme heat of ...
Antzi's user avatar
  • 12.6k
5 votes

What was this capsule dropped from a truck?

It was one of many Apollo boilerplate drop tests. See this page for many more drop test images. Some images of boilerplates 1, 2.
Uwe's user avatar
  • 48.4k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible