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37 votes
Accepted

Is there such thing as plasma (from reentry) creating lift?

This appears to be a garbled recounting of a problem that occurred during STS-1 entry due to a mis-match between predicted and actual hypersonic pitch trim. Image Source All that happened was that ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

Do we actually know what re-entry looks like?

Do we actually know what re-entry looks like? Yes. There are thousands of photographs and videos taken of entry from inside and outside of crewed spacecraft. And, hundreds of human beings have seen ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
19 votes

Has any vehicle prior to Starship's IFT3 "taken a selfie" during reentry?

Although it doesn't exactly match your question requirements, in the early days of the Shuttle program Columbia had an instrument mounted on its tail known as the SILTS pod (Shuttle Infrared Leeside ...
Steve Pemberton's user avatar
16 votes

Has any vehicle prior to Starship's IFT3 "taken a selfie" during reentry?

Several of the Apollo missions filmed their reentry using the 16mm film camera, looking out of one of the CM windows. Example: Apollo 15. A few weeks ago, Varda released ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
9 votes
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If Steve is at 300 km, and SWARM is >440km, how did SWARM measure Steve's temperature?

I want to offer some input to the above --- I'm thrilled in the level, depth, and knowledge reflected in the questions and discussion. This has been eye opening for me.... Citizen Scientist has a new ...
Eric Donovan's user avatar
6 votes

Do we actually know what re-entry looks like?

As of 2024, we now have close-up external footage from SpaceX Starship, eg this video.
Kaia's user avatar
  • 161
5 votes
Accepted

Solar Reflective Plasma Drive

Sounds a bit like a solar thermal rocket. Here's a diagram of one from page 49 of Solar Rocket System Concept Analysis. It would use a pair of parabolic reflectors to use sunlight to heat propellant. ...
Starfish Prime's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Why were the three 122-cm diameter conductive spheres for charge collection in the Shuttle's Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators black?

From page 10 of "Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC): Description of instrumentation": A set of three truncated spherical conductors was selected. The spheres will be ...
Christopher James Huff's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Saint Elmo's fire on the ISS? What are these green glowing balls of plasma on a solar panel? Dangerous?

It's an internal reflection. I wish I knew of what exactly, but here's the same line of green LEDs in a different picture. Some gadget in the cupola. I am not promising this is the source, but the ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

How did three 1.2 meter spheres and a Xe+ plasma contactor keep the Shuttle "grounded"? What did they look like?

An excellent summary of the mission can be found here: https://earth.esa.int/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/a/atlas SEPAC involves the firing of a 1.6 Å 7.5 kV electron beam accelerator from the ...
Freddie R's user avatar
  • 2,544
4 votes
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What is the nature of a "flux tube" between Saturn and Enceladus, and what does "L‐shell=4" mean?

A "flux tube" is a magnetically-confined conduit that allows charged particles to flow between one place in a planet's magnetosphere and another. An "L-shell" is a subset of a ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
  • 18.3k
3 votes

Help understanding vectors in diagram from "Magnetohydrodynamic flow control during reentry" and the actual goal of this research

Question 2 is easy: yes, it keeps the spacecraft cooler, but it also immensely increases the drag, which causes re-entry much sooner than friction alone would. Question 1 is a bit trickier. The ...
Ryan C's user avatar
  • 7,972
3 votes
Accepted

How long did the plasma blackouts of Perseverance's signals to MRO and direct-to-Earth last during its seven minutes of terror?

There are some misunderstandings here (similar to this question) that make the question(s) a little malformed. Roughly what frequency was used in the link(s) between Perseverance and MRO? From ...
BrendanLuke15's user avatar
3 votes

Is this description of the "dipole drive" and how it would work physically correct?

I think you're right. A finite pair of charged screens, with zero net charge, can't create an infinite potential well; the potential far away from the device must return to zero, which means that the ...
ScottBurson's user avatar
2 votes

If Steve is at 300 km, and SWARM is >440km, how did SWARM measure Steve's temperature?

In a later (independent) interview with Eric Donovan, he states the height was 450km. I suspect that in the presentation to the ESA meeting he should have said "300 miles", which is 482 km; ...
JohnM's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes
Accepted

Could Steve have hurt the ISS?

Science Magazine carried a March 2018 research article about this: Elizabeth MacDonald et al "New science in plain sight: Citizen scientists lead to the discovery of optical structure in the upper ...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
  • 12.7k
2 votes
Accepted

What are, and what has been learned from making plasma crystals in space? Is a tl;dr-like answer possible?

2019: https://www.roscosmos.ru/26185/ Исследования, проводимые космонавтами на борту Международной космической станции, меняют взгляд на процессы, которые моделируют на Земле. Олег Кононенко начал ...
A. Rumlin's user avatar
  • 7,863
1 vote

How did three 1.2 meter spheres and a Xe+ plasma contactor keep the Shuttle "grounded"? What did they look like?

What did they look like? Unsurprisingly, like black spheres! Supplementarily, I've just run across the following image in Popular Science's The silliest names scientists have given very serious ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
1 vote

If Steve is at 300 km, and SWARM is >440km, how did SWARM measure Steve's temperature?

Editor's note: I'm maintaining here information from user Roger until he decides to migrate on his own. Answer to the question: "Can you add a link or citation that confirms that the temperature of ...

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