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2
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0answers
57 views

About the speed of light

If Mr. E is aboard a spaceship traveling near the speed of light the usual reason for the spaceship not going faster than $c$ is the (relativistic) mass of the ship increases without bound, I think. ...
32
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do rocket engines have a throat?

Diagrams of rocket engines like this one, (source) always seem to show a combustion chamber with a throat, followed by a nozzle. Why is there a throat? Wouldn't the thrust be the same if the ...
3
votes
0answers
54 views

How could a solar sail be powered 'Upwind' by craft's own (laser) light source?

I've just watched a Discovery Science program - Alien Encounters featuring SETI luminaries such as Jill Tarter, Frank Drake and Nick Sagan. A serious discussion on how to interpret ET messages coupled ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Is a scaled-up aircraft carrier 'ski-ramp' a viable system to impart enough velocity to significantly assist a spacecraft to orbit? [duplicate]

Not a boost straight up to escape velocity, just sufficient added momentum to make a significant economic saving on fuel cost, mass and complexity of a standard launch. It seems ludicrous to me how ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Max altitude of rocket [closed]

A rocket is launched perpendicularly with an initial acceleration of 10 m/s2, if the fuel runs out after 1 minute, what will be the maximum height reached by the rocket?
5
votes
0answers
67 views

What is the cheapest way to land a grain of sand on the moon?

I have a payload that is the size and density of a grain of sand. I want to land it intact on the moon, but I am not particular about location beyond that. What is the least expensive way to get it ...
2
votes
2answers
161 views

How to calculate the velocity needed for a rocket to get to a L1 point (escape a body without orbiting)?

I'm looking to calculate parameters around launching, say, a model rocket STRAIGHT to the moon. This does not mean through orbital insertion into a stable ~17,000 MPH relative to earth's surface and ...
8
votes
0answers
317 views

Fortran and the Apollo 11 mission [migrated]

I was just wondering, as a Fortran user. As far as I know the simulations taken in order to carry the Apolo 11 mission was written in Fortran 2. I would like to confirm this from a reliable source. ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Variational calculus problem

I've been wondering lately about a problem that comes from, among other places, an old video game "Lunar Lander". In the game there is a spaceship that has a small tank of fuel, and you're supposed to ...
2
votes
2answers
80 views

Break speed of light with infinite mass

I've heard that a spacecraft could never exceed the speed of light because it's (relativistic) mass quickly approaches infinity and therefore there could never create a big enough rocket to propel it ...
1
vote
3answers
112 views

How do scientists place satellites into orbit?

How do scientists place satellites into orbit? How do they calculate the gravity acting on the spacecraft in order to generate exact opposite force by means of Kinetic energy to keep the satellite ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

How much power would a space craft's magnetic shield require? [closed]

I've read over the decades that a magnetic shield might protect a spacecraft from cosmic radiation. Its a fascinating idea that might only be theory or science fiction at the moment. In regards to ...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

Theoretical Space Station components [closed]

Having read some of the other answers and seeing that there is a theoretical maximum on payload with current technology, what would be the optimum dimensions of a space launch vehicle if all you ...
6
votes
3answers
75 views

Movement in outer space via Newton's law of every action has an equal and opposite reaction

What is more effective for travel in outer space ignoring all other factors like air radiation etc. I have a 10 kg bag of rice would I travel faster throwing the whole bag at once or throwing a grain ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

What happens if we place a hydraulic platform under rocket exhaust

Imagine I place a hydraulic platform mechanism under a rocket where its engine exhaust is placed.This hydraulic platform is fixed on the ground. During propulsion we actuate/lift platform to certain ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

Rocket/Thrust/Gas/Free Expansion of Gas

We know, the rockets in space use Newton's 3rd law to increase their velocity and hence move. What I don't understand is how it is possible in space aka vacuum-state without air? From what I know, ...
8
votes
1answer
114 views

What is the optimal burn direction to lower periapsis of hyperbolic orbit?

I am an engineering student who is interested in orbital mechanics. I am doing some self study before taking some orbital mechanics courses next year. I was learning about various orbit types ...
3
votes
2answers
98 views

How big would a rocket without stages have to be?

Using currently available fuels and technology and an unlimited budget. How big would a rocket without stages have to be to make it to a stable orbit? and how big would a rocket without staged have to ...
0
votes
3answers
117 views

Inertia and Rocket Propulsion

We were taught in school that the law of inertia indicates that an object tend to stay the way it is, so if you throw something in space it will tend to go on forever and ever. The reason an object ...
21
votes
6answers
2k views

Why are rockets so big?

I'm curious why rockets are so big in their size. Since both the gravitational potential one need to overcome in order to put thing into orbit, and the chemical energy burned from the fuel, are ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

Will a relativistic rocket be destroyed by incident photons?

I have read, that as a rocket approaches light speed, objects in front of it become blue shifted and also intensity of light increases. Does this mean that at some point any rocket will be destroyed, ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

How to calculate thrust ratios for an object with a non centered mass [closed]

I am trying to figure out a formula that, given an initial thrust value, will give me the thrust value that I need to apply to each thruster (red) to make the overall thrust be straight up with no ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

What sort of rocket propulsion would be required to send and retrieve ores from our solar system's asteroid belt, within a 2 year period? [closed]

I am looking for a form of propulsion to achieve a fraction of C that could send and retrieve mining robots to our solar system's asteroid belt. Does this type of propulsion even currently exist?
3
votes
1answer
361 views

Deriving the rocket equation

Recently I decided to brush on the those parts of classical mechanics that always gave me trouble. One of those parts was the rocket equation so I figured that I would try to derive the appropriate ...
2
votes
0answers
76 views

How to travel between tidally locked binary planets

Two planets of roughly the same volume and mass are orbiting each other. What would be the most efficient way to travel from one to the other? Seems unlikely, but could a rocket positioned at the ...
0
votes
0answers
71 views

Rocket hovers- and then what?

If we have a rocket, using conservation of momentum we derived in my classical mechanics course $$m\dot{v}=-\dot{m}v_{ex}+F^{EXT}$$ $m$ is the total mass of the rocket and fuel still on the rocket ...
7
votes
1answer
251 views

Why is there a space between the flame and the nozzle on the space shuttle?

Why is there some space between the flame and the nozzle on the space shuttle? (see above picture)
0
votes
0answers
90 views

Where to find information about rocket launches (speed, height, trajectory)?

I want to find experimental data from real launches, with some description of a rocket like full mass, fuel mass, thrust and so on. Just trying to model it. Where to read about precise methods of ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

How does fire create thrust in rocket?

All big rockets are burning either gas or fluid to create thrust. While this is so, I have filled up a plastic bottle with air at high pressure, and it can go long distances by blowing the pressurised ...
1
vote
1answer
227 views

What is the maximal height for a water rocket's flight?

A water rocket works like this: there is a circular slot of area $A_1$ at the bottom centre of a cylinder of cross-sectional area $A_0$ and height $L$ that is filled with water to an initial height ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

Rocket propelled by a giant monochromatic laser

I am preparing for my quals and stumbled across the following problem, and although it only requires undergraduate-level physics, I feel I can't piece everything together. "A rocket of mass $m_0$ is ...
6
votes
7answers
435 views

What happens when the spacecraft velocity equals the velocity at it's exhaust?

So there I was resting me eyes thinking about rocket drives, and what-not. The thought struck me that, perhaps, even before Mr. Einstein interferes with the increasing velocity of the spacecraft Mr. ...
2
votes
0answers
136 views

Saturn V specific impulse issue in velocity modelling with Tsiolkovsky's equation against actual values?

I've been trying to model the Saturn V's velocity using Tsiolkovsky's ideal rocket equation, and in the process, I think I may have made a mistake with regards to the specific impulse? I've come up ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

Would a super-hot object launch itself into the air?

In this XKCD What If, an indestructible hairdryer outputs 2 GW of power, turning the earth under it into gas: Periodic explosions of gas beneath the box launch it into the air, and it starts fires ...
1
vote
0answers
64 views

What is the optimal diameter for the exhaust hole in a pressurized vessel to deliver highest acceleration ?

Imagine you have a sealed cylindrical vessel with a given radius with a compressed gas inside. Let's give some numbers, 5 cm radius and 100 atm pressure. You poke a hole in the vessel and the gas will ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Why is the Pegasus launched from a subsonic airplane?

Considering that the reason typically given for launching spacecraft from sea-level as opposed to mountains is that the limiting factor is velocity, not altitude, then why isn't the Pegasus rocket ...
4
votes
0answers
137 views

Saturn V F-1 engines and beyond

I read that the F-1 engine from the 1st stage of the Saturn V rocket is the most powerful engine ever created by mankind, delivering ~200 gigawatts of power. Thus, I have got two questions: Will ...
0
votes
4answers
130 views

Best EM/Photon rocket using avalable tech?

Given 10-1000 Watts of electrical power (and no other consumables), what is the current best way to turn it into thrust? Just running it through a heater on an insulating pad would result in an IR ...
0
votes
0answers
156 views

What is the optimal weight ratio of a two-stage rocket?

I've been researching this for some time now and I got stuck. The best resource I've found is this book. The "optimising a multistage rocket" part talks about a three stage rocket but it seems ...
4
votes
1answer
276 views

Oberth Effect in deep space

Does the Oberth effect only apply when in orbit of a planet or would a rocket generate more and more thrust (if kept on) even in deep space? Wikipedia explains that the faster the rocket goes, the ...
7
votes
2answers
270 views

How much Bicarbonate of Soda and Vinegar would I need to reach space?

So here is my problem - as part of my job I present some science demonstrations to children and one of the tricks I regularly use is the bicarb/acetic acid rocket. I thought the other day that a ...
5
votes
1answer
175 views

Orbital mechanics and rocketry: Is it ever a good idea to intentionally lower periapsis?

tl;dr: Hohmann Transfer appears to be the optimal way to achieve a circular-to-circular orbit, but is it possible to lower the periapsis in order to achieve a more elliptical orbit with apoapsis at ...
-3
votes
1answer
97 views

How fast will I get if I burn a comet? [closed]

Assuming I have a spacecraft which is $30,000\,\mathrm{kg}$ (roughly the size of the Apollo spacecraft). If I take a comet and (theoretically) electrolize it perfectly to hydrogen and oxygen. I know ...
0
votes
1answer
120 views

Liquid oxygen how do they use it as fuel?

Rockets are said to be using liquid oxygen as fuel. How do they use liquid oxygen since it's just oxygen, it only helps in the combustion process. How can it be a fuel on its own?
1
vote
1answer
100 views

Is a purely vertical or almost vertical orbital launch possible?

Is it possible, for the sake of argument, to launch a payload into an orbit around the earth by putting almost all the energy going at a 90 degree angle? What velocity would it take, and what ...
1
vote
3answers
130 views

What limits the velocity of ships such as voyager 1?

Voyager 1 travels at a small fraction of light speed. I've read it's fueled by hydrazine, which is a cheap combustive. Questions: What factors limit the speed of voyager 1 and similar rockets? Are ...
5
votes
2answers
590 views

What causes acceleration of particles in the expansion section of a De Laval nozzle?

A De Laval nozzle has a compression section, where the propellant is compressed (and thereby accelerated) as it moves towards a narrow section (the throat). After the throat, the nozzle widens out ...
1
vote
2answers
335 views

Can Outer Space be used for Waste Disposal?

If harmful toxic, nuclear and other wastes are dangerous if improperly disposed on Earth, can't they be launched into space? If a large, tightly bound mass of waste were to be propelled into outer ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

What if Felix Baumgartner went the other way?

How much harder would it have been for Felix to use some powered sled and head for the ISS when he stepped out of his capsule? He was already above most of the atmosphere. BTW, Is that capsule still ...
-4
votes
3answers
248 views

Speed of an object in air versus in vacuum

Okay, imagine that you are shooting a rocket down a tunnel that is 60 miles long and the rocket is travelling at 60mph, so the rocket should reach the end of the tunnel in a hour, right? Yep, in an ...