42 votes
Accepted

Why does Blue Origin claim Virgin Galactic's spaceplane doesn’t have an escape system whereas Virgin Galactic's passengers are wearing parachutes?

First of all, it should be clear that this infographic is by no means objective; it's designed to put SS2 in the worst possible light, and New Shepard in the best. That said, an "escape system&...
Russell Borogove'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
30 votes
Accepted

What is the highest possible altitude of a sub-orbital flight?

Hill sphere is the radius at which gravity of the body (a planet) becomes too weak to pull an object back in, and the object enters a solar orbit. In case of Earth, that is 1.5 million km. In reality ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
16 votes
Accepted

Why does Blue Origin land the crew capsule separate from the booster?

It would be extremely unstable. There are 2 things that weight a lot on an empty rocket, the capsule and the engine. With the two of them on opposite sides, the rocket would become extremely unstable. ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
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
15 votes

Could the SpaceShipOne fly again?

There is absolutely no reason to ever even conceive of flying it again. It was retired because it successfully did the sole task it was designed to do. SpaceShipOne was unsafe1, barely met its ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
15 votes

What kind of heating would occur during a suborbital re-entry?

What kind of heating would occur during a suborbital re-entry Convective Heat Transfer is the dominant source of heat for any highspeed object moving through atmosphere. What kinds of peak ...
A McKelvy's user avatar
  • 2,482
14 votes
Accepted

Did Soviets/Russians perform any crewed (intentionally) suborbital flights?

There were only four manned Russian programs: Vostok No suborbital flights were made. See Voskhod No suborbital flights were made. See Soyuz There was a two suborbital mission: a failed Soyuz ...
Antzi's user avatar
  • 12.7k
10 votes

Is there any kind of research on *sub*-orbital rendezvous-ing with a space tug outside the atmosphere?

I can't find anything on this online. It would seem to be a useful technique as it would lower the delta-v for the vehicle that lifts the payload from the ground to the rendezvous point relative to ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Falcon 9 maximum point-to-point landing range

I agree with @OuNelson Mangela on the 4,000km figure. I got 4,052km on flightclub.io, but it was a bit of a struggle. I had to glide quite a bit between entry and landing burns to bleed off velocity ...
Declan Murphy's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Did the crew of Soyuz MS-10 pass the Karman Line?

No From Ars Technica, the failure came around the T+2:00 mark, which would have been close to when staging happens What we know is that at about two minutes, there was some sort of failure with the ...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 7,840
9 votes
Accepted

What is the delta-V equivalent to cross the Kármán line in vertical (suborbital) flight?

We can get an best-case estimate by just solving the equations of motion: $$s = \frac{1}{2}(u + v)t $$ Where $$t = \frac{v-u}{a}$$ Since we want $v = 0ms^{-1}$ at $s = 100,000m$, we get: $$s = \...
Jack's user avatar
  • 9,976
9 votes

What is the highest possible altitude of a sub-orbital flight?

Impossible to say without heavy modelling. If the Earth was a solitary, stationary object, then the highest possible altitude of a sub-orbital flight would be nigh-infinite, since it would always be ...
nick012000's user avatar
9 votes

Could the SpaceShipOne fly again?

SpaceShipOne was retired so quickly because it was a prototype. One of the key lessons-learned over the last seventy-plus years was that the waterfall model does not work when applied to creating ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 73.8k
9 votes

Why does Blue Origin claim Virgin Galactic's spaceplane doesn’t have an escape system whereas Virgin Galactic's passengers are wearing parachutes?

Because this isn't an informational infographic. This is an ad. And, as such, it is deliberately skewed to paint the advertised product in the best possible light, while disparaging the competing ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What was the point of the Redstone rocket when there was the X-15 rocketplane?

The goal of Project Mercury as stated in 1958 was to put a man into orbit safely. In order to do that, NASA wanted to send animals, first. The Russians had done exactly that, and NASA preferred using ...
Polygnome's user avatar
  • 6,926
7 votes
Accepted

How many hours long is Earth's longest possible sub-orbital flight?

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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
6 votes

What is the highest possible altitude of a sub-orbital flight?

Are you asking theoretically, or in the real world? Theoretically, there is no upper limit, because gravity extends forever. Gravity does get weaker the farther you travel, but it never reaches zero. &...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Project Mercury advance to an orbital flight on their second mission?

You have to remember that during Project Mercury, not only crewed spaceflight was in its infancy, but spaceflight itself was. The Mercury-Redstone rocket could not achieve orbit, it wasn't powerful ...
Polygnome's user avatar
  • 6,926
6 votes

What distinguishes a sounding rocket from a suborbital flight?

A sounding rocket is, technically, a rocket sent up for the purpose of taking measurements, or collecting data. The term 'sounding' is a US naval term for data measurement, and the term 'sounding ...
Absalom Davidson's user avatar
6 votes

Why does Blue Origin land the crew capsule separate from the booster?

There's 2 major reasons: safety and practicality Safety: If you look at the history of booster landings it is not a proven technology, the reliability is not good enough for safety. Don't get me ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 20.2k
6 votes

What kind of badge will tourists who performed a sub-orbital spaceflight receive?

We don't know yet. The closest we have come is Beth Moses who flew as a "test passenger" in VSS Unity VF-01 and became the first non-pilot and the first woman to be awarded the FAA ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Do the passengers in Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity spacecraft have a parachute or some other way to escape the spacecraft if needs be?

They do appear to be wearing parachutes, though they don't appear to have leg straps - could make it very uncomfortable in the unlikely event they have to be used. (They'd be left hanging from the ...
John Thomas's user avatar
6 votes

What kind of heating would occur during a suborbital re-entry?

The footage from various first stages suggest that there will be some aerodynamic heating, but the successful recoveries of Space Shuttle boosters and SpaceX and RocketLab first stages suggest it can ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How high can a sounding rocket launch and for how long time can it put a payload in freefall microgravity?

A good start is to find the upper limit, so I am going to first oversimplify it. If I launch a rocket straight upwards with the same $\Delta v$ as required for a circular orbit, my free-fall time is $...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
5 votes

Can Virgin Galactic's Orbital ship reach ISS

The answer is actually very simple, and is based on a misconception you seem to be having: Can Virgin Galactic's Orbital ship reach ISS SpaceShip2 is not an orbital vehicle. The ISS is in orbit, SS2 ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
5 votes

What materials should I use to make a suborbital amateur rocket and where can I buy them?

Titanium is too ambitious for a first project. It's difficult to machine and weld. It's also overkill: even many orbital rockets use aluminium hulls. Amateur rockets generally use plastic bodies. To ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 127k
5 votes

Calculating the projectile of rocket using RCS to tilt the flight path

You're lacking some essential data. If the rocket flies in the atmosphere, pretty much all bets are off, because it will have some sort of stabilization whose influence on the trajectory and ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
4 votes

Why didn't Project Mercury advance to an orbital flight on their second mission?

Rocket reliability was a big factor. The first 2 flights were on the Redstone, which didn't have the power to launch to orbit, for that they needed the Atlas. The Atlas had many failures in testing, ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 20.2k
4 votes
Accepted

Shape of an orbit inside a planet

You are right, it's a perfect ellipse with the center of the planet in the geometrical center of the ellipse. A little physics: The force on a body with mass $m$ in the gravitational field of a ...
sweber's user avatar
  • 781

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