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66 votes
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Why does this researcher have a "clear plastic bag" over their head?

She is wearing an ELSA - Emergency Life Support Apparatus. It provides breathing air for a few minutes in case of emergencies, for example to escape a burning building. The clear plastic hood is used ...
asdfex's user avatar
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55 votes
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If the ISS had an emergency, how long would it take to get a rocket to it?

A brand new rocket to be launched will have to be assembled, and that's a long process, though I do not know how long. But if it's for an emergency, you may find ready rockets. After the Columbia ...
Speedphoenix's user avatar
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54 votes
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Apollo 14-17 - Why didn't they keep the Lunar Module docked as a lifeboat for the way back to Earth?

Without the descent stage, you have a far less capable lifeboat. Looking at Wikipedia, the ascent stage had two batteries with a total capacity of 592 Amp-Hours (some of which would have been used in ...
Eugene Styer's user avatar
  • 1,852
38 votes

Could Apollo have survived the lander toppling over?

Automated hazard detection and avoidance remains a difficult and obviously not fully solved problem. The sole hazard detection and avoidance technique used with the Apollo mission was to have a human ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 74.9k
31 votes

Are there any plans for handling people floating away during an EVA?

A nitrogen cold jet thruster system called SAFER (Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue) is part of the US EVA suit ensemble. If a crewperson gets loose they can fly back using SAFER. (Image source) SAFER ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
31 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 ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 74.9k
29 votes

How would a mousetrap for use in space work?

Other suggestions here for trap mechanisms may have incorporated consideration of zero gravity on the operation of the trap, but not upon the mouse itself. In zero gravity, searching for a mouse is no ...
Michael MacAskill's user avatar
28 votes

Apollo 14-17 - Why didn't they keep the Lunar Module docked as a lifeboat for the way back to Earth?

The primary purpose of every Apollo Moon landing mission was to land on the Moon. Once the vehicle had passed safety checks and had made the lunar orbit insertion burn, the next step was to separate ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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25 votes
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What would the procedure be in the event of a collision warning on the ISS

This kind of situation, while not exactly frequent, has happened on ISS multiple times. With the large amount of debris out there, tracked objects do intersect the ISS orbit from time to time. There ...
Tristan's user avatar
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20 votes
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Why didn’t the space shuttle’s engine-out checklists include steps for attempting a relight?

It was impossible to restart the engines in flight. If for no other reason, the pressure/temperature conditions for the "start box"1 were not met in flight. Also, Post Shutdown to Engine Ready was ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
20 votes
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Have space station occupants always had a return vehicle ready?

Yes, all human occupied space stations to date have had a return vehicle for every crew member. To my knowledge (and general consensus), that includes Skylab, Salyut, Mir, Almaz and China's Tiangong. ...
geoffc's user avatar
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19 votes

How would a mousetrap for use in space work?

There are many types of mousetraps, the traditional "snap trap" is unlikely to work well because it is dependent on pressure. Lethal traps like snap traps would be undesirable: Humane concerns Dead ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 20.3k
17 votes

How would a mousetrap for use in space work?

A solution that comes to mind is to seal off one section of the ISS at a time and depressurize it. Finding and removing dead mice may be somewhat easier than finding and removing live ones that are ...
Dan Pichelman's user avatar
16 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/...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 9,560
15 votes

Have space station occupants always had a return vehicle ready?

As it happens, yes, but it wasn't always considered a necessity -- the Skylab and Freedom mission rules were "happy" that another return vehicle could be launched to bring them back at the ...
user44124's user avatar
  • 163
14 votes
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What happens after a crew finishes putting out a fire?

A spacecraft fire is an extremely serious situation. Even if no serious damage is done to spacecraft systems, the cabin atmosphere is likely to be highly contaminated by toxic combustion products and ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
14 votes

If the ISS had an emergency, how long would it take to get a rocket to it?

The ISS does not have emergency's that require a rocket to bring supplies. It can have an urgent need of something. Either everyone stays on the ISS or some/all crew leave. It is downhill all the way ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
14 votes

Could Apollo have survived the lander toppling over?

Well, the LM was 23 feet tall and weighed at least 2000 pounds in lunar gravity, once they used up all the landing fuel. (That's 7 m and 1 tonne, or, to be really precise, the force one tonne would ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
13 votes
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Slide rope way from launch pad of space shuttle?

Yes, I am a source for this information :) Here are some pictures I took of the escape system while standing on the launch pad tower during the STS-124 Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. The ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Can Stratolaunch land with the rocket still attached?

Stargazer can definitely land with the rocket still attached. In fact Pegasus is usually loaded to Stargazer (with or without payload) at Vandenberg and then ferried to its actual launch site (CCAFS, ...
Carlos N's user avatar
  • 4,474
13 votes

Have there been any setbacks due to COVID-19-- like delays or data-loss?

Definitely. There's an article in Spektrum.de on it. It's in German, but it references some English-language articles. A referenced article (English) says that launches at the Guiana Space Center (...
Greg's user avatar
  • 4,287
12 votes

How would a mousetrap for use in space work?

I believe that funnel traps should work in zero-gravity. They are not active, do not use gravity or springs. Gravity may help the mouse fall in for those with opening at the top but imho that is not ...
jkavalik's user avatar
  • 5,128
11 votes
Accepted

Could the ISS stop rotating wrt the stars for a few days, then start again?

This is not a full answer, but some numbers: What are the ISS moments of inertia around design axes? The total moment of inertia of the station is about $M = 55\cdot 10^6 \rm kg m^2$ How often must ...
asdfex's user avatar
  • 15.1k
11 votes
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Has DSS-43 ever been used in high power mode (>>20 kW) for an emergency situation?

Edit: I modified the answer in 2022, added new data on communications with Voyager. The sort of emergency that would require this power level is rare. You're looking at events where a remote (deep-...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
11 votes
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Had using the LEM's engines for a lunar abort "never been tried like this?"

WRONG. Grumman had already planned for that scenario nearly four years prior to the accident. The Grumman-directed Apollo Mission Planning Task Force reported on studies of abort sequences for ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
11 votes

Apollo 14-17 - Why didn't they keep the Lunar Module docked as a lifeboat for the way back to Earth?

Another factor here: The reason the lunar module existed in the first place. The Saturn V was nowhere near powerful enough to send a rocket to the moon and bring it back. It would have taken at ...
Loren Pechtel's user avatar
10 votes

Why would a space shuttle have flown a normal first-stage and early-second-stage ascent trajectory during an RTLS abort?

Please refer to this diagram while reading this answer. RTLS is not selected until after SRB sep: The earliest RTLS selection is made at 2m30s allowing time for SRB sep induced transients to be ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
10 votes

How would a mousetrap for use in space work?

Modern problems require modern solutions! You can't rely on gravity. what you want is a modified vacuum cleaner. Essentially a suction device with a metal grill to catch the mouse (nobody wants to ...
Ruadhan2300's user avatar
9 votes

If the ISS had an emergency, how long would it take to get a rocket to it?

It depends on readiness of a rocket. Rocket assembly is rather long process. If you compare the dates of rocket delivery to launch facility and the launch you'll find that usually it takes about month ...
Heopps's user avatar
  • 9,061
8 votes

How would a mousetrap for use in space work?

Same as on Earth, just get a cat! I venture to speculate that the felonaut has the advantage in microgravity. Once a cat holds on to something with its claws, and while waiting there detects a mouse ...
LocalFluff's user avatar

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