Colloquially referred to as one of the hardest professions, rocket science is actually a common name for spacecraft/space-systems engineering. However, one can also generalize this to include all forms of rocketry, including rockets that are not capable of space travel.

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Why have so many fringe/cr*ckpot space propulsion concepts been treated seriously lately? [on hold]

I'm sure everyone here heard (and got tired of hearing) about the so-called impossible drive which "NASA" (actually one group and Johnson) is said to have "validated" (actually didn't validate) last ...
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49 views

How can I caculate the time to traverse a distance with the Tsiolkovsky equation?

Using the Tsiolkovsky equation I know what the change in velocity is after burning x amount of fuel. $$ \Delta V = V_e \dot\ log(\frac{m_1}{m_1-m_2}) $$ $m_1$ is my starting mass and $m_2$ is the ...
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52 views

Rocket Propulsion, delta V, acceleration and time. How do they relate?

I'm trying to understand rockets in a vacuum. As I understand it the, Tsiolkovsky rocket equation gives me the change in velocity of a rocket + payload after expelling a certain amount of fuel. But ...
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34 views

Rocket in constant gravitational field [duplicate]

A Rocket in a constant gravitational field, what are the conditions required for the rocket to take off immediately? (in terms of $m_0,μ,g,v_r$), where $m_0$ = mass of the rocket at $t=0$ $μ$ = mass ...
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1answer
44 views

How does the space shuttle move in a vacuum? [duplicate]

If there is no friction in space, then how does the space shuttle boost? According to Newton's law we move by pushing something; in space, there is vacuum, so how the space shuttle moves without ...
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2answers
103 views

How to find a condition that ensures that the rocket immediately takes off?

For the rocket in a constant gravitational field, how to find a condition that ensures that the rocket immediately takes off? Update: I apologize. Let's try again. So my question: For the rocket in ...
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4answers
88 views

Which is the right explanation for rocket motion? [duplicate]

What actually causes a rocket to move? Is it the pressure in the rocket engine or the amount and velocity of mass that is being ejected out. The reason I am asking is, I found these two explanations ...
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45 views

Does the outflowing water create a thrust on the bucket?

Let's consider the the bucket with water, which has a small hole at the bottom. Let the bucket lift up with a constant force $\vec F$. Water in the bucket, of course, flows out of it. Questions are ...
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84 views

Do objects launched from Earth retain the Earth's lateral inertia (67,000mph)

We've probably all heard of the gun on a train theory. Fire a bullet that would normally travel 500mph on a train that's moving 200mph (in the same direction the train is moving) and you've now got ...
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1answer
45 views

Delta-V of ion thrusters

So I recently started a podcast along with a cohost. It's all about spaceflight. We ran into a question we couldn't quite resolve due to conflicting information on the internet. Put simply: Can the ...
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1answer
36 views

What are the preferred height and diameter proportions for a rocket model?

I'm pretty sure, that if you make a rocket that's relatively small in height compared to diameter, it will most likely not fly very high and probably spin out of control. What about a rocket that is ...
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5answers
120 views

Does lunar module need the same amount of fuel for landing and take off?

Let's assume there is no atmosphere and let's assume there is no change in weight due to fuel consumption, will reactive rocket need the same amount of fuel for landing on a planet as for take off? ...
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1answer
38 views

Relationship between momentum and energy for rocket-powered aircraft

I'm trying to write a problem for my students in an algebra-based physics class. We have a flight simulator and I've got a glider in the simulator that has a couple rocket boosters attached. Students ...
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1answer
136 views

What would have been required to boost Mir into a stable orbit?

In 2001, the Russian space station Mir was deorbited and burned up in the atmosphere, after $4.2 billion in expenditures. As it was orbiting within the thermosphere, it was encountering perpetual drag ...
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64 views

Trying to modify the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation for the real world

Everyone knows about the famous Tsiolkovsky rocket equation. However, he formulated the equation neglecting many things. So, here, I am trying to find the real equation. My thinkings: Suppose, the ...
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24 views

Relativity question [duplicate]

If a rocket is traveling away from earth, why does time pass slower for the rocket if from the rocket's perspective, earth is going away from it?
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2answers
192 views

Understanding of the $m v^2/2$ formula for kinetic energy

I have some problem to intuitively understand why the kinetic energy grows quadratically with the velocity (at least in non-relativistic case). Assume the following experiment: we launch an unmanned ...
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4answers
166 views

Why is $M\frac{dv}{dt} = v_{rel} .\frac{dm}{dt}$ correct and $(M - dm)\frac{dv}{dt} = v_{rel} .\frac{dm}{dt}$ wrong?

Newton's 2nd law of motion can't be applied for mass-varying systems. Another force, known as Thrust must come to play. It can be measured using law of conservation of linear momentum. ...
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42 views

Do de Laval nozzles have to be asymmetric?

All pictures of de Laval nozzles I've seen have an hourglass shape where the convergent section is shorter than the divergent section. Is this necessary to attain supersonic exhaust velocities, or ...
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47 views

Why does NASA use gold to hold heat in even though its conductive? [duplicate]

I heard that NASA uses gold to prevent heat loss even though gold is conductive. How does NASA prevent heat loss with a conductive material?
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1answer
46 views

Delta-v required to get to Medium Earth Orbit?

Does anyone know what's the delta-v you need to get to Medium Earth Orbit (the delta-v for 7,000 km high orbit for example)? I know that to get to LEO you need around 9.5 km/s (including gravity and ...
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1answer
55 views

Why is specific impulse measured in seconds?

Specific impulse is usually defined as: $$I_{sp} = \frac{F_T}{\dot m ~ g_0} $$ This comes out in seconds. I interpret it as follows: If I want $F$ Newtons of thrust, every second I must burn a ...
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3answers
68 views

Would the rotation of a space ship in vacuum slow it down

Firstly , a few disclaimers : English is not my native language so I may use the wrong technical terms. Please notify me and I will correct the question. As a CS major , I've only taken one class ...
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2answers
141 views

Variable mass dynamics: Particle and Rigid Body

I'm encountering some issues in the understanding of some basic concepts about the dynamics of variable-mass particles and rigid bodies. For what I found, for example reading On the use and abuse of ...
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2answers
33 views

Detecting radioactive material at a distance

I have heard a lot about the failures of even the best-funded anti-ballistic missile technology. The usual explanation is that ABM is very hard after the boost phase because of evasion techniques and ...
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1answer
65 views

Burning fuel in space while accelerating and deaccelerating

Is it true that for acceleration in space we need not the same quantity of the fuel than during the deacceleration stage?
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83 views

Why does Philae have only three legs?

Can anyone explain why comet lander Philae has only three legs? Isn't it obvious that it now has problems that it would not have had if it had four legs arranged as a regular tetrahedron - or even ...
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1answer
50 views

Maneuvering a space shuttle using propulsion systems?

A colleague and I randomly started on this subject, and, not being very good at anything science / physics related we were stumped at how this might work. So the question is: If I park my space ship ...
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32 views

Why didn't all three of my electrical fuses ignite? [closed]

I built a rocket that used 3 x solid fuel motors. To ignite them I used 3 electrical fuses, which are basically a thin filament of wire which heats up when given enough voltage. Only 2 of the 3 fuses ...
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8answers
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What is a rocket engine thrusting against in space?

I know Newton's third law of motion might be the answer for this but still I am wondering how the rockets could thrust in the empty space and move in the opposite direction. I guess an astronaut ...
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1answer
81 views

The Law of Conservation of Energy and Time

The Law of Conservation of Energy essentially states that in a given closed system, the total energy at any instance of time should be equal. This includes the kinetic energy, gravitational potential ...
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1answer
57 views

Why was the asteroid 101955 Bennu chosen by the NASA OSIRIS-REx sample return mission?

Please explain it in simple terms. Why was THIS asteroid chosen among all the thousand of asteroids?
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933 views

Why do rockets jettison fuel tanks? [duplicate]

I'm trying to understand why rockets have multistages releasing their fuel tanks. Say a rocket $R$ has two fuel tanks $A$ and $B$, which respectively have masses $m_a$ and $m_b$, and the mass of the ...
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1answer
74 views

How much fuel is needed for a constant-acceleration rocket?

My son and I have been discussing the concept of a constant-acceleration rocket, as described here and here. We're willing to assume advanced technology such as a fusion rocket, which, according to ...
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3answers
185 views

Escape velocity of satellites

I know that the equation for it is $$v^2 = \frac{2GM}{r},$$ and with that, the rocket should be launched at that speed. But could it go much slower spending much more fuel to escape from gravity ...
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46 views

Is it possible to build a huge spaceship like the one of of Star Trek or Prometheus?

Ok, so theoretically, is it possible to build a spaceship like the ones we see off of Star Trek or Prometheus or will physics not allow it? What are some challenge faces such an task. Also, is there ...
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3answers
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spacecraft thrust through means other than liquid propellants

Is there any way of achieving effective thrust in space without using conventional fluid or gas propellants such as rocket-fuels or supercooled material? For instance: gaining thrust through solar ...
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1answer
47 views

Can we use water as fuel for nuclear thermal space propulsion?

As I know, the working fuel of choice is Hydrogen because of its low molecular mass. When it comes to escape velocity, the estimate vary too much, from $8$km/s to $50$km/s (gas core reactor). ...
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2answers
292 views

How can Excel be used to model the flight of a rocket? [closed]

Firstly, sorry for any silly mistakes or improper use of this website - this is my first time using it! I am trying to use Excel to model the flight of the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket using the real ...
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32 views

How did Goddard's rocket reach 41 feet in under 2.5 seconds?

I'm working on a simple rocket flight simulation, and am trying to reproduce aspects of Goddard's first successful rocket flight. My sources put the empty weight at 5.75-6lbs, loaded weight 10.25-10.4 ...
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Is interstellar flight possible in near future in a way that would keep our civilization alive?

Is interstellar flight possible in the near future in a way that would keep our civilization alive? I mean is it practically possible to obtain technology that would enable us to travel to nearby ...
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1answer
108 views

What's the point of NASA's impossible space engine? Wouldn't a mirror work better?

My understanding (which is very little) is that the point of NASA's recent virtual-particle engine is to convert solar energy into momentum. That's fine, but what's the point? If the spacecraft is ...
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NASA's “Impossible” Space Engine

Recently, there was some news that said that the researchers at NASA have come across some impossible kind of space engine which does not require any fuel. I have read at a few places like here, here ...
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66 views

Ziolkowsky Rocket Equation

I've looked at multiple sources on the internet and just can't wrap my mind around it. If I reference the wikipedia page on it; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsiolkovsky_rocket_equation I am getting ...
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Terrestrial Space Elevator Construction - Plausability

Framework If there was a cable constructed at the equator about the circumference of the Earth, and if this cable had sufficient strength to remain intact while erect, call this tensile strength T. ...
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0answers
116 views

How to calculate launch angle for tangentially launched satellites?

What is the value of theta for a satellite not falling back to the Earth if it is launched from the direction tangent to the surface of the Earth? I have found the escape velocity which is 11.18km/s, ...
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3answers
669 views

Would a craft travelling increasingly close to the speed of light appear to be decelerating?

I've been pondering the implications of time dilation. Is it right to assume that if a craft was travelling at a speed very close to the speed of light (>= 0.9999c for example), that to an external ...
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2answers
483 views

Is there an upper limit to a rocket's size/payload? [duplicate]

It's obvious that as you increase the payload of a rocket, you need to also increase the amount of rocket fuel. Yet, as you increase the amount of rocket fuel, you are also increasing the overall mass ...
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2answers
222 views

How should I throttle my rocket to reach highest altitude? [closed]

"Real world" problem. Suppose we want to launch a rocket equipped with an engine which can be throttled as we prefer. Suppose also that the amount of fuel burnt per time is directly proportional ...
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1answer
101 views

How much time passed for the passenger traveling with at speed-of-light spaceship? [duplicate]

Let's suppose we have a spaceship with the exact speed of light. If a traveller takes this spaceship to go to proxima centauri (approximately 4 years light away from Earth) and come back, we (as ...