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The original design concept was for the Orbiter to ride piggyback on a manned, reusable winged booster. When budget realities forced elimination of the booster, it was replaced by the tank/solid booster combination, but the piggyback mounting was retained. link to image source


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The best place for the tank is below the orbiter just above the engines. This placement allows short and straight pipes from the tanks to the engines. All parts could be balanced and aligned. No heavy gimbaling necessary. Solid fuel boosters could be aligned parallel to the tank. Separation of the tank from the orbiter is as easy as a conventional stage ...


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To melt your asteroid you need heat. A lot of heat. But the sun is very hot (1.57×10^7 Kelvin, according to wikipedia); the sun is also roundish, so you can't really focus all of that heat, but it's probably more than hot enough. So the question then is how big a lenses can you make? If you can make a big enough lens, and keep it pointing the right ...


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In Europe this is covered by the European Space Components Coordination. Among other things, they maintain a list of components that are qualified for use in ESA missions in agreement with standard "ECSS-Q-ST-60, Space Product Assurance - Electrical, Electronic and Electromechanical (EEE) Components". On the ESCIES website (European Space Components ...


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EEE-INST-001 and EEE-INST-002 are the guidelines for COTS parts screened for space service levels 1, 2 and 3. These assume you will perform functional screening to eliminate infant mortality and that you have a good idea of the high reliability service life duration. I designed, qualified, installed and verified FO on the space station. All electronics ...


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