Skip to main content
55 votes
Accepted

Has any space agency saved Earth from a major calamity any time?

More fundamental, and a question if it counts as a 'space agency' act being NOAA led but weather satellites not only reduced the fatalities associated with weather data collection but increased the ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
45 votes

Has any space agency saved Earth from a major calamity any time?

Ozone depletion was hypothesized and first measured without the means of satellites according to the wikipedia article. However, satellite data was apparently very helpful in showing the scope/size ...
TAR86's user avatar
  • 489
40 votes

Has any space agency saved Earth from a major calamity any time?

Has any space agency saved Earth from a major calamity at anytime? There are historians who believe that the US–Soviet and US–Russian collaboration, for example in the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, the ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
31 votes
Accepted

Is 678 km the new altitude record for a rocket shot "straight up" (vertical launch)?

New Horizons went into Earth parking orbit first, so it doesn't count. For a suborbital direct ascent trajectory, some early lunar probes (USSR's Luna-1 for example) would hold this record. Otherwise, ...
Jonathan McDowell's user avatar
22 votes

Why is JWST Launching from French Guiana?

The Ariane 5 launch vehicle and all the work associated with the launch is ESA's contribution to the JWST project. In return, ESA gets at least 15% observation time: ESA's participation in the JWST ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.5k
20 votes

How will the UK leaving the EU affect ESA?

The EU and ESA are not related. They have different member states, where neither is a subset of the other. The only potential issue is simply economic. If the British exit from the EU results in a ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
  • 58.2k
18 votes

Why are Europe’s Air & Space Academy and DLR urging ESA and CNES to reconsider the use of solid fuels for the proposed Ariane 6?

This is a pretty interesting question in retrospect now. When it was asked in 2013, booster re-usablity was just a gleam in SpaceX's eye. The first Falcon 9 attempt to land a booster wasn't until ...
SafeFastExpressive's user avatar
17 votes

Has any space agency saved Earth from a major calamity any time?

As yet, no space agency has blasted anything that may have posed a hazard to Earth. One of the issues with blasting such hazards is the numerous fragments of the blasted object may pose a greater risk ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 13.1k
17 votes

Has any space agency saved Earth from a major calamity any time?

Like diverting meteor path away from Earth or blasting giant asteroid which was expected to impact Earth etc. Not yet. However, later this year (between 26 September 2022 and 2 October 2022), NASA's ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Why does JWST make images of planets from solar system?

Quite simple: JWST is capable of making images with much better resolution in a different spectrum. Land based telescopes cannot make such clear images due to the atmosphere being in the way. ...
Ruben's user avatar
  • 1,154
16 votes

Is 678 km the new altitude record for a rocket shot "straight up" (vertical launch)?

Not sure if this counts, but New Horizons was launched directly into an escape trajectory and did not enter orbit. It made it to Pluto and beyond. From Wikipedia: New Horizons was launched from ...
Steve's user avatar
  • 1,174
12 votes
Accepted

Why has ESA never flown a crewed spacecraft?

From 1985 to 1992, ESA worked on a human space program, using the Hermes spaceplane (to be launched by the Ariane 5 then in development). This program was cancelled due to rising cost and the loss of ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
12 votes
Accepted

What is the large circular device with a dozen concentric circles on Sentinel 3B?

It appears to match the "X band antenna" on this diagram: (Taken from https://directory.eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/c-missions/copernicus-sentinel-3 -- But they credit ESA for that ...
Saiboogu's user avatar
  • 6,417
12 votes
Accepted

Why is the Heat Shield of ESA's Solar Orbiter Black in colour?

Apparently, black was chosen despite its thermal properties. This 2005 paper was written at the end of the assessment phase where technical feasibility of the mission has been demonstrated. It shows ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
11 votes
Accepted

If the ESA has its own deep space network, why does it use NASA's?

The DSN is used alongside ESTRACK. For Rosetta, for example: NASA’s DSN network has provided continuing, routine support to the Rosetta mission since the start of the mission (see “Tracking the ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
10 votes
Accepted

Possible places for a launch complex in UK and continental Europe

The Baltic Sea is far too crowded to make it the range area. At any point of time you can see at least several ships within view distance. For the same reason, while it might seem like the isle of ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55.1k
10 votes

How much of an advantage do equator-proximal launch sites provide?

I would like to add my own answer based purely on math, which is not as complex as you may think (but I explain each term and everything else so it looks long). We only need a couple equations. First ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 4,596
10 votes
Accepted

After SLS, what is the next rocket building project for NASA?

As a general rule, NASA tries to stay out of the launch business and focus on the science business. SLS is a weird holdover partially imposed upon NASA by Congress. Companies like Rocket Lab, SpaceX, ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
9 votes

How will the UK leaving the EU affect ESA?

The effect should be small, but possibly non-zero. There currently exists growing cooperation between EU and ESA. Within the EU-ESA membership agreement, one of the noted obstacles is the membership ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 11.7k
9 votes
Accepted

Is it justified that ESA is pushing to launch Rosalind Franklin even after Schiaparelli landing failed?

Schiaparelli was a test mission. During its descent, it recorded and sent lots of data which was analyzed and gave ESA the information it needed to proceed with the Rosalind Franklin mission.
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
9 votes

Why is JWST Launching from French Guiana?

It turns out that there is only one currently operating rocket that has the width (5.4 meters), length, and the payload capacity (6200 kg to a C3 of ~ -0.75). Atlas V 551 is very close, it has the ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
9 votes

What is the current status of ESA/Roscosmos cooperation with regard to the ExoMars Orbiter?

A March 17, 2022 statement by ESA, has declared the suspension of ExoMars. ExoMars ESA’s ruling Council, meeting in Paris on 16-17 March, assessed the situation arising from the war in Ukraine ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 13.1k
9 votes
Accepted

Why was JWST cancelled in 2011?

In the United Sates when big projects are slipping and way over budget, there are points in the process where the government has to decide if the project should continue. In 2011 JWST reached one of ...
mhoran_psprep's user avatar
8 votes

What is the large circular device with a dozen concentric circles on Sentinel 3B?

After reading @ Saiboogu's answer explaining what this is, I found some additional helpful information. This is an isoflux antenna, designed to provide an approximately constant flux of broadcast ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
8 votes
Accepted

Why does ExoMars need stereo ground-penetrating radar "eyes"?

A single basic radar antenna can't tell you much. The most basic radar setup involves a fixed sending and receiving antenna and some software and drivers. Modern radar then uses a frequency ramp up or ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.6k
8 votes
Accepted

Was solar newbie Solar Orbiter able to get "closer" to the Sun than Parker Solar Probe so quickly?

Other spacecraft have been closer, but none have carried Sun-facing imagers. Source: The link you provided ("Other spacecraft" is linked to an article about Parker Solar Probe) Q: Or did ...
CallMeTom's user avatar
  • 3,316
8 votes
Accepted

Is the ESA's DELTA Stochastic?

I think the question in your title and the question posed in your body might have different answers. DELTA itself contains a stochastic process for collision prediction (see page 2) and so is ...
Erin Anne's user avatar
  • 12.4k
7 votes
Accepted

Help understanding BepiColombo's weak capture at Mercury's L1 and need for delta-differential one-way range measurements

"Weak capture" means that the spacecraft will enter the Mercury's gravitational sphere of influence along a weak stability boundary. These weak stability boundaries are one of the key mathematical ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 75.3k
7 votes
Accepted

What are the bumps on the Vega rocket

Closer view: (Cropped from here) They are retro-rockets used in the stage separation system. Source A CFD image of the thrusters firing: Source
Organic Marble's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

What exactly is an F-mission?

It is a “Fast Mission” opportunity. These are missions that address an opportunity in the near future that would possibly be missed with the normal mission development timeline. Historically, ESA ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.5k

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