28

The only casualties in space (above the Kármán line) are the crew of Soyuz 11 who were still in orbit when they died but about to reenter the atmosphere. All other casualties like Komarov in Soyuz 1 or the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster were during reentry well below the Kármán line. The Soyuz 11 was about to land so you may count that as "during return ...


20

I found the following "far out" spacecraft: TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) recently launched, not in final orbit yet Spektr-R IBEX or Interstellar Boundary Explorer Geotail Here are their IDs: TESS 43435 2018-038A Spektr-R 37755 2011-037A IBEX 33401 2008-051A Geotail 22049 1992-044A I downloaded both TLEs and ...


17

If you count nonhuman astronauts, then yes, many animals have died in space.Laika was not the first, but was probably the most famous.


14

The Mariner 3 and 4 Mars flyby probes had angled vanes at the end of its solar panel arms which provided passive stabilization of the spacecraft from solar radiation pressure:


11

The drawing shows a Crookes Radiometer. They seem to spin nicely in even a little bit of sunlight. The common explanation is light pressure on the black vanes. Unfortunately, they don’t work that way. Photons bouncing off the white side transfer more momentum than ones absorbed by the black: of the mechanism was light pressure, they’d turn the other way. ...


9

I don't have a list to find the highest, but I suspect that Spektr-R RadioAstron (used for long baseline radio interferometry) is one of the highest altitudes that isn't associated with a Lagrange orbit. The moon interacts with its orbit, so the apogee changes over time. According to the User Handbook the apogee distance will vary from 286,938 to 371,...


9

The main culprit is the Kozai mechanism. Basically, with objects in orbits of this sort, you can swap from a highly inclined, nearly circular orbit to one that's more eccentric and less inclined. It's not quite that simple here, because the Velas are significantly perturbed by the sun, moon, and the earth's oblateness. But the overall effect is that swap of ...


7

This is exactly what we call a solar sail. This works for orbit maintenance if the orbit isn't too low. If it's too low, the total impulse (force times time) lost to drag over one orbit is greater than the light-pressure (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_pressure) impulse over one orbit, and the orbit still decays, just slower. Solar sails have the ...


7

could a satellite have a stiff sail like the white side to let light pass and like the black side capture light to provide enough force to keep it in orbit? Not really. Let's ignore the point Crooke's Radiometer works on different principles. Yes, you can use solar pressure to give your craft acceleration, and yes, changing the surface color will vary ...


6

Running the numbers... As far as Delta-V goes, Directly Braking into a high circular orbit is the most expensive, Aerobraking into a Hohmann transfer to your destination is less expensive. Aerobraking and Parachute landing is the least expensive. We'll concentrate on calculating just the Delta-V that the spacecraft uses while flying by/orbiting Earth. The ...


6

How many hours long is Earth's longest possible sub-orbital flight? "Orbit", and thus "orbital" and "sub-orbital" is another one of those words like "rocket" whose definition alters significantly with context. Any trajectory under gravitational influence and not dominated by atmospheric influence can be considered an "orbit", but here at S.SX we usually ...


5

There are a few other VELA and Explorer satellites, 2 SOLRAD missions and the Japanese GEOTAIL mission from 1992: | CatalogNum | SatName | IntlDes | Country | Launch | Site | Inclination | Apogee | Perigee | Period | +------------+----------------------+-----------+---------+------------+-------+-------------+--------+---------+---------...


5

On May 30 there had been a meeting concerning the status of Spektr-R. Afterwards Roscosmos published a statement at https://www.roscosmos.ru/26397/ Here a machine translated version using www.DeepL.com (if any Russian speaker is around and would like to provide a real translation, I'll be happy delete this answer): Spectrum R: Mission accomplished, data ...


4

In a way, yes — the US Naval Academy cubesat ParkinsonSAT was designed with four faces asymmetrical, with solar panels offset to one side and reflective tape occupying the remaining space, creating an angular moment of solar radiation pressure, and this has succeeded in keeping the satellite spinning at a rate of several RPM for years. Apparently they have ...


3

A Crookes Radiometer was one of my most memorable gifts as a little kid. The fact that sunlight would push the black side more than the white side of each vane proved that atoms exist, or at least so said the back of the package. I was seeing atoms! Changed my life. As @BobJacobsen points out, these guys require low pressure gas to work, and they need the ...


3

A late reply here, but perhaps it'll be of interest to those finding this post as I did. Space-Track is not especially helpful for tracking the really high-flying junk (it's not very important to them). Current record-holder for height is XL8D89E, an unidentified object in a roughly three-month orbit found by the Catalina Sky Survey in 2015. It's ...


3

The newly-edited question states "When using a solar sail to create thrust while in orbit around Earth the orbit gains eccentricity. When the orbit becomes eccentric the orbit nears the atmosphere." If the orbit's semimajor axis a remains fixed, then increasing eccentricity indeed drives down the periapsis radius. But application of a force component in the ...


3

Borrowed from this answer to the question What artificial satellite has the farthest orbit around the Earth?. You can read more about their orbits in that answer. I found the following "far out" spacecraft: TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) recently launched, not in final orbit yet Spektr-R IBEX or Interstellar Boundary Explorer ...


2

As noted in the comments, both methods potentially break down. Kepler's method is mathematically exact, but as formulated here it breaks down as the eccentricity approaches 1. The mean and eccentric anomalies become undefined for a parabolic orbit because a parabola lacks a center. Numerov's/Cowell's method approximates the propagator with a Taylor series ...


2

Mars return velocity is about 11.4km/s [1] (NASA gives 11.56km/s [2]). LEO orbital velocity is about 7.8km/s. Bringing enough fuel to do this (3.6 km/s) would increase the size of the rocket needed for liftoff manifold. Each kg of payload exponentially increases the size of the LV. And you need the engine for the burn, and need to store the fuel over ...


2

One of the biggest ones is TESS, which is using a specific orbit to avoid gravitational interactions with the moon to observe deep space, specifically to look for planets. A few other things that can be done are observing the magnetic field of the Earth, which can be from a very high distance. They could be used to get a fuller picture of the Earth for ...


2

Apparently this question was edited while I was answering it. To the question, "Can you generate lift?": in a word, no. For two main reasons. First, lift as we know it, and as codified in the classical lift equation, is generated in a collisional gas, i.e. the average distance between molecular collisions ("mean free path") is much smaller than the ...


1

Well, no. I mean, technically, yes, a few have perished on the outer side of the limits of what we define as "space", as User Darkdust notes, but no one's died except during launch and reentry. Definitely no "lost in space" incidents. It all depends on how one defines "space", namely how far the boundary is from the surface (50 miles was considered at at ...


1

It’s a bit of a cheat, but a satellite at L4 or L5 is roughly 100 million miles from Earth, quite stable, and has a one year period to its motion around Earth. That’s seems to be the farthest stable & orbit-like setup. Whether one considers L4 and L5 “orbiting the Earth” is a question for another day...


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