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14

The VASMIR 200 is listed as having a thrust of 5.4 newtons, and you need 9.8 newtons to lift 1kg against earth's gravity. So 700 tonnes is going to need more than a million engines and be consuming more than 254 GW of electricity. So even if the engines are weightless this is not lifting off from earth without co-opting the power generation of a sizable ...


10

The MAKS design was supposed to do this. There is much additional info about MAKS in the answers to this question and their sources: Seeking concept art or photo of MAKS on carrier plane


6

At the end of a mission, the upper stage is usually passivated: tanks are vented to make sure the stage doesn't explode at some point. You really don't want to add more space debris by having the stage explode. There are also regulations for the final orbit of upper stages: they have to reenter within a set time frame or be put into a graveyard orbit. A ...


4

Trying to do some estimates: First, we have Space Ship Two/White Knight Two which is designed for suborbital space flights carrying humans so suborbital flight is in the foreseeable future. Orbital flight would be a different matter. Doing some back-of-the envelope calculations to guess the weight of an orbital version, I'll start by comparing the ...


3

UK's Bristol Spaceplanes has the Space Cab concept -- although the carier airplane has both Jet engines and rocket engines. UK's HOTOL concept included a manned module (complete with bubble canopy). After Rolls-Royce pulled out of engine development, Interim HOTOL was considered -- which would have been launched from the back of a Antonov An-225. I don't ...


2

The commercial CF6-80C2 engine has a mass of about 5T and a thrust of about 300kN, including intake and nozzle thrust at takeoff. As heavy commercial engines go, it’s about the best for this application. That thrust can provide 1g upward acceleration to about 15T total mass. Subtracting its mass and allowing a bit for fuel (at full thrust it burns 3kg a ...


2

Confirmed: This was NOT the final design for the Starlink Satellites. The photo below shows a Falcon 9 fairing filled with 60 Starlink satellites that have a decidedly different design. This new desgin allowed SpaceX to flat-pack more in a fairing per launch.


1

Your question is a little bit unclear. It can be interpreted in multiple different ways. Literally, when you ask (bold emphasis mine) [A]re there self-destruct ordinance present in the upper stage of the launch vehicles? The answer is: it depends. If there was self-destruct ordnance present in the upper stage of the launch vehicle when it was launched, ...


1

Self destructs are to keep it from falling on something/somebody if something goes wrong on the trip up. It's eventual fate in space has nothing to do with this. They have just as much need of a self destruct as the first stage.


1

The absolutely most basic idea? Maybe, but a VASIMR engine capable of planetary takeoff or landing is not a VASIMR engine. VASIMR engines are a type of thermal rocket -- they work by heating gas and expanding it out of a nozzle (much like chemical and nuclear thermal engines, but NOT like gridded ion thrusters). Diffuse gas is ionized into plasma and ...


1

For the first launch of the ORBCOMM Gen 2 spacecraft there was exactly 1 minute between second engine cut off and second engine restart. Our satellite was deployed during this 1 minute window.


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