90

Initially, everything. The ISS started out as Mir-2 with some extra modules added soon afterwards. Then lots more over the next 10 years. The initial modules, Zarya and Zvezda, which housed living quarters, reboost, attitude control, solar power, life support, and docking modules. Each additional component and module made the system better, but the ISS is ...


43

Disclaimer: I worked as an aerospace engineer for 15 years for the USAF. Our organization managed the 53 Federal Stock Group (1) (among others), which includes Bolts, Screws, etc. By this I mean to suggest I have some (dusty) knowledge of this subject. While the quality control is very much a part of the process, as suggested, that alone is not the only ...


41

The previous answer lists hardware components supplied by the Russians to the ISS. I would like to add the experience and knowledge that Russia brought to the project. The USA's experience was limited to Skylab space stations, with only 3 expeditions, consisting of a single module. Russians have experience in: Life support systems, which work for many ...


36

Rangers 3, 4, and 5 each had a seismometer encased in balsa wood to limit the impact loads.


32

Rocket thrust is given by the equation $$ F = \dot{m}v_{exit} + A_e(P_1 - P_2) $$ where $\dot{m}$ is the mass flow rate, $v_{exit}$ is the average exit flow velocity across the exit plane, $A_e$ is the cross-sectional area of the exhaust jet at the exit plane, $P_1$ is the static pressure inside the engine just before the exit plane, and $P_2$ is the ...


25

In addition to the other answers, the docking system mounted on the Shuttle Orbiter itself was also supplied by the Russians. This system was used to dock with both ISS and Mir. Here's a picture I took on Endeavour's aft flight deck showing the docking system control panel, also supplied by the Russians. It looks completely different from any other Orbiter ...


21

For a solid sphere - Absolutely not! This calculation from http://www.aleph.se/Nada/dysonFAQ.html explains why: 8) How strong does a rigid Dyson shell need to be? Very strong. According to Frank Palmer: Any sphere about a gravitating body can be analysed into two hemispheres joined at a seam. The contribution of a small section To the force on the ...


19

"Rusting", or more chemically correct "oxidation", is a reaction with oxygen in the atmosphere. Iron reacts with oxygen and turns into iron oxide, the reddish-brown substance commonly referred to as "rust". In space there is no atmosphere with any oxygen to react with, so any iron in space would not rust. This, however, assumes that there is really no ...


18

No, it couldn't. The Curiosity rover is 2.9 meters by 2.7 meters by 2.2 meters. It's tiny little scoop is 7 centimeters by 4.5 centimeters by 2 centimeters (or so; I can't find a reference on the last dimension). Assuming that the burrow is at least four times the volume of the object, this means more the robotic arm needs to make a million scoops with that ...


16

The claim may be based on a misunderstanding. The solid rocket boosters are made in Utah and transported to the launch site in 4 segments by rail, which does limit their size. But it's not the track gauge that determines this limit, but the the loading gauge, which is only very indirectly related to the track gauge. However, the diameter of the shuttle ...


16

Parts for use in aircraft have to be certified. This means they need to be produced from standardized materials, using a standardized and traceable process. The part must be checked thoroughly during production, and the entire history of the part must be recorded. The tests and paperwork often account for most of the cost of the part. \$100 bolts are not ...


15

Mars has extensive iron oxide ore. Much of it on the surface. Not readily extracted, but extractable with the correct smelting process. It has silicates, as well; this allows for glass. It has carbon dioxide; with a solar panel farm, and a cracking solution, that's oxygen for the taking. And that's just materials available readily at surface. Mars will ...


15

Italian inventor and Monolite founder Enrico Dini believes it is and is together with UK based Foster + Partners working on a prototype massive D-Shape 3D printer that would use Lunar regolith as source material. They are testing 3D printing techniques using simulated regolith to which they're adding magnesium oxide. End results are fascinating:   ...


15

Electromagnetism To be as practical as possible, the Space Shuttle mission STS-75 experimented with a space tether. For the record, the tether did break. To be fairly exact, it did break for reasons that wouldn't have broken it if the line had been shorter. So in a certain sense (but only a limited sense), we have already seen a space tether break ...


15

While not a matter of materials science, my A&P gave me his explanation of the subject when my plane was in for annual: Mechanic: These two screws are identical. This one comes from Home Depot and costs 25 cents. This one is comes from an aviation supplier and is certified for use in your plane; it costs \$2.00 per screw. If I use the Home Depot one ...


15

This is a remarkably interesting exchange. I would like to add a few concerns (as an engineer, I go straight for the problems)... Full culm bamboo is a remarkably inefficient product to transport and thus any use in space would require bamboo to be grown in space. On Earth, we consider bamboo inefficient if it is not grown within about 200 km of its end use....


13

I would like to firstly echo the suggestion to read Project Rho. Throughout the entire site, there is a tremendous amount of hard science and it is all deeply entertaining. http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/spacegunexotic.php In short, a space war would look more like the Cold War than any other war we've known. With nuclear ICBMs, we ...


13

Many Mars landers have used heatshields made of cork powder in phenolic resin, including Viking and Schiaparelli. (ESA uses a material called Norcoat Liège, "liège" being French for cork.)


13

I think that Soyuz launcher uses wooden parts in engine ignition process (proof link in Russian: https://geektimes.ru/post/273782/)


11

The Flame Trench is the big hole used to manage the flame from the rocket initially. Here's a shot of the Space Shuttle's Flame Trench: A closer look at the flame trench at LC-39A from the Space KSC blog: Note that essentially it deflects the flame so that it won't damage the rocket. All flame trenches have similar objectives. My favorite example comes ...


11

In addition to the answer of Tristan I would like to add few more points The thrust in the rocket is equal to $T=\dot m V$ (Assuming the rocket nozzle is operating at its optimum condition) The Thrust is a strong function of the exhaust velocity $$V=\sqrt{\frac{2 \gamma R_{{}^{\circ}} T_{{}^{\circ}}}{(\gamma -1) \mu }\left(1-\left(\frac{P_e}{P_c}\...


10

Definitely not 3D printing. You should look for the mirror side of 3D manufacturing: substractive methods like CNC milling. Take a solid lunar rock, carve it into any arbitrary shape you desire, construct whatever you wish from carved components, add minuscule amounts of organic sealant brought from Earth. Use solar furnace to melt metal, cast it in CNC-...


10

We definitely could not build a Dyson sphere with current technology. The first problem is a lack of material. To build it at any reasonable distance from the sun, the volume of even an extremely thin shell is greater than all the planets, plus the asteroids, and the Oort cloud. After that problem, one has to move all the mass to the shell. That is a ...


10

Yes, eventually, but we would first have to establish structural stability of any such rocks, get a sense of Martian subsurface seismic activity, seasonal changes to its thermal characteristics, how fast would aeolian processes block access to it, amount of volatiles embedded within the rock that could collapse it during drilling or with higher temperatures ...


10

No, it's indicative of insufficient Quality Assurance (QA), which is supposed to prevent defects, not of bad design. I'm not sure what Factor of Safety (FoS) is used for Falcon 9 struts in question, but judging by numbers given and failure at 1/5th the design limit, it seems to be close to 2.5, assuming maximum load factor of 6 g (page 33 of Falcon 9 Launch ...


10

In general, you want the minimum number/thrust of engines that gets you off the launch pad safely -- in the real world this is typically a TWR of 1.2-1.4. The TWR increases rapidly as fuel is used, so if that minimum thrust level can be achieved it's almost always more effective to carry additional mass in fuel rather than engines. You're correct that the ...


9

Usage as blast containers I found a short article by NASA investigating the use of aluminium foam. Whilst they don't intend to use it for the majority of the space craft design they do intend to use it to replace their blast containers. NASA were looking for a replacement for their blast containers, the job of which is: The blast containers are used ...


9

Pressure Drops. Generally there are multiple sensors which means you can localise the area. Thermal Camera. Rocket Fuel is generally kept cold. So any leaks are going to show up. Unexplained Gas Emissions. It is quite easy to see venting of something from where it should not be.


9

You might be confusing it with the balloon tanks used by the original Atlas and the Centaur upper stage. The Shuttle external tank was not a balloon tank - it did not need to be pressurized to be structurally stable under its own weight - but the pressurization did contribute to its ability to withstand flight loads, as is the case for almost all liquid-...


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