0
votes
1answer
47 views

Launching a unpropelled rocket

I have read about the application of railguns and other ground powered launch, where there is no need to carry any propellant in the rocket. I am wondering, to what velocity should the vehicle ...
2
votes
1answer
174 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Term for “atmospheric ricochet” due to wrong “angle-of-attack”

I watched "Apollo 13" yesterday, and they had the "angle-of-attack" problem that had to be manually solved, to prevent the ship from "ricochet[ing] off the atmosphere like a rock skipping off a pond". ...
15
votes
10answers
4k views

Why do space crafts take off with rockets instead of just ascending like an aircraft until they reach space?

I guess it's not a very educated question, but I never quite understood why spacecrafts have to shoot up and can't just reach space by simply continuing an upwards ascent like an airplane.