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How did the Lunar Module dock with the rest of Apollo 11 and what is the "CSM"?

The Apollo spacecraft consists of three major parts: The Command Module (CM), a conical module where the three crew members live during launch from Earth and travel to and from the moon, and which re-...
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53 votes

What are these green text/line displays shown during the livestream of Crew Dragon's approach to dock with the ISS?

The display shown is from the screen of one of the Space Station Computer laptops in the US Lab. This was being downlinked to Mission Control in Houston to monitor the functioning of tools used by ...
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44 votes
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Has in-space refueling been done?

Short answer: Space stations have been refueled on orbit, as well as some small demonstration missions. Long answer: There is only a limited number of objects that this is even an option. There are ...
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33 votes
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Reasons behind the "Transposition, docking and extraction" maneuver

Three factors come to mind from my reading over the years: Heat Shield integrity, Escape Tower limitations, and avoiding fuel over the CM on the pad. Throughout this answer, keep in mind that the ...
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32 votes
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What would happen to the ISS if the Russians undocked their part?

The US Orbital Segment maintains ISS attitude, so tumbling is not an immediate problem. The need to desaturate the control moment gyros used to maintain attitude and the need to reboost the ISS to ...
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28 votes
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Why was Space Shuttle Atlantis selected for Mir docking so frequently?

Looking at old manifest documents, it seems pretty clear that Atlantis (OV-104) was outfitted with all the hardware for Shuttle-Mir missions and they used her exclusively for that until they couldn't ...
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27 votes
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Docking in space

There were issues with the docking system so it possibly it needed to be more complex. Docking is always a trade off of mechanism simplicity VS event simplicity. Just using pipe flange with bolt holes ...
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26 votes
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What exactly makes the "bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang!" sound just before "Houston, we have hard dock." in the Apollo 13 movie?

Around the perimeter of the docking system are a set of 12 spring-loaded latches that lock the two spacecraft together. I believe the latches trip as the retractable probe pulls the two spacecraft ...
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21 votes
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What is the "ISS's Keep Out Sphere" and what is its radius?

NASA has made a list of requirements for spacecraft approaching the ISS. SSP 50808 is an ITAR controlled document that identifies the requirements for rendezvous, proximity operations, and ...
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21 votes

Why use a Mars orbital Earth return vehicle for sample return?

Earth Orbit Rendezvous is a method for applying brute force. Mars Orbit Rendezvous actually improves efficiency, potentially by a lot. A Mars sample return (or, for that matter, a straight-up crewed ...
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20 votes
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Can X-37B dock with the ISS

Yes and no. The current X-37 as flown by the US Air Force is not equipped with any docking ports (PMA, CBM or APAS) as described by @geoffc, nor does it have an attachment for the SSRMS (aka Canadarm) ...
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20 votes

Has a spacecraft ever docked with the same space station twice in one mission?

The first, experimental redocking was performed on Soyuz 29 (though by crew of Soyuz 31) with the Salyut 6 station. Afterwards, the maneuver was repeated several times, usually between different ...
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20 votes
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How many spacecraft can dock at the ISS at once?

Short answer: 8 For great info on available ports, check out this question on ISS Docking ports. I will link in the awesome picture from that question here. The Russian segment has 4 docking ports....
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18 votes
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With six spacecraft currently docked at the ISS, how could Santa (or anyone else) deliver presents?

Considering how all the usual docking/berthing ports at the station are occupied, Santa would likely arrive in a Dragon Crew/V2 or a Boeing CST-100 vehicle. These are the next US vehicles that will be ...
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17 votes

What would happen to the ISS if the Russians undocked their part?

Spacecraft such as Cygnus has previously been used to boost the ISS and might be used again, although with some difficulty with finding an appropriate launch booster. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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16 votes
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Does the ISS team plan cargo flights when at half crew on purpose?

While I don't have a complete answer I thought I'd share what I've found in the hope that someone can come up with something better. I can find nothing online about exactly how and why the visiting ...
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16 votes
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Did all of the Space Shuttles dock with multiple space stations or crewed spacecraft?

Columbia did not. Despite being in service during the Shuttle-Mir and International Space Station programs, Columbia did not fly any missions that visited a space station. The other three active ...
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16 votes
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How are Kounotori modules unbolted? Who or what does the unbolting?

The bolts are part of the Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM). The Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) is a complex collection of latches, bolts, Ready to Latch (RTL) indicators ... and computers to control ...
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15 votes
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What is Crew Dragon approaching in this picture?

User DarkDust provided this explanation and video link: As you can see in the video of the approach at about 08:00 this structure is appearing. It's in the foreground, Dragon is moving towards ...
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13 votes
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How were the Apollo 13 CM and LM able to undock without the engines of the SM?

According to this article: The docking tunnel connecting the two ships was pressurized, though, so the idea was to use that pressure as a kind of “air spring” to push the two spaceships apart. ...
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12 votes

Has in-space refueling been done?

The ISS is periodically refueled by its cargo supply ships. NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission has experimented with refueling satellites. DARPA's Orbital Express demonstrated hydrazine refueling (...
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12 votes

Reasons behind the "Transposition, docking and extraction" maneuver

Probably the biggest reason is they did not want to cut a hole through the heat shield, same reason the Soyuz has the ascent/descent element in the middle of the stack, instead of at the top. But ...
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12 votes
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How many docking/berthing operations can a CBM port tolerate?

ESA has a doc about the design of the docking ports (IDS - Internation Docking Standard, sometimes also called NDS NASA Docking System, sometimes called LIDS - Low Impact Docking System. Though ...
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12 votes
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How many times has a spacecraft docked with two or more different space stations during a single mission?

When USSR were in the final stages of putting Mir in to orbit, Salyut 7 was still in orbit containing many devices and equipment that the USSR wanted on Mir. So on 13th March 1986 the Soyuz T-15 ...
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12 votes

Who performs the docking procedure?

While the LM pilot flew the rendezvous and approach, the command module pilot took over once the craft were a few meters apart and flew the actual docking maneuver while the LM held a fixed attitude. ...
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12 votes
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What are these giant NASA boxes?

Fig. 35 View showing active EFBM The "JPM/C2-09" marker is a dead giveaway: Its Kibo! JPM here means "JEM Pressurized Module" (with JEM being Japanese Experiment Module, the original name of Kibo). ...
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12 votes

Why use a Mars orbital Earth return vehicle for sample return?

In this question I suggested, that, on the face of it, the SS520-5 sounding rocket could get about 5kg from the surface of Mars onto a trajectory to hit Earth. That rocket (a three stage solid fuel ...
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11 votes
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Can a Boeing CST-100 be used to provide station reboost?

The answer is yes, it can used to re-boost the ISS. According to the information in spaceflightinsider.com and in rocket.com Aerojet Rockedyne site in the RCS engines paragraph, in a declaration of ...
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11 votes
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Are space stations compatible?

The International Space Station's PMA docking adapters and Tiangong-1 both use passive APAS-95 docking adapters for spaceship operations; the ISS additionally uses CBM connectors for connecting ...
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11 votes
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What module(s) on the ISS do the Soyuz dock to?

Given the International Space Station's modular design, it appears spacecraft such as Soyuz and resupply freighters such as Progress can attach to many different modules. This NASA diagram from 2008 ...
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