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15
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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.
19
votes
3answers
10k views

How long does it take to travel 36 light years with tolerable acceleration and deceleration?

The recent discovery of HD85512b only 36 light years from Earth has promising attributes to harbor life. Assuming we want to travel there, we cannot instantaneously jump to light speed, (StarTrek ...
1
vote
1answer
64 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?
0
votes
2answers
419 views

What alternative shapes may a rocket heading into orbit have?

It looks like most rockets that head out of Earth, or even into orbit are pencil shaped (or nearly so). I would take this to mean there is some mass of air such vehicles push out of their way. What ...
0
votes
0answers
97 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
3answers
1k views

Can the technology behind Particle accelerators can be used for space propulsion?

As I understand, the kinetic energy of the proton beam in a hadron collider is quite large. Can you build a space propulsion system that is based on accelerating a proton bean to relativistic speeds ...
2
votes
0answers
84 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
79 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
262 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)
3
votes
1answer
146 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
579 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
307 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
152 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
313 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
96 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
67 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
306 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
169 views

Is the fuel burn for a satellite launch affected by the position of the moon relative to the launch site?

The gross mass of a satellite rocket is tiny compared to that of Earth, and Luna. Between them, however, the two bodies set up tides in bodies of water which itself is again considerable mass. At ...
12
votes
4answers
315 views

Why are spacecraft made to “spin” after launch?

At some point after launch, usually just before or after separation from the last booster stage, spacecraft are often made to "spin" (about the axis of their trajectory)? See e.g this You Tube video. ...
2
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
145 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
320 views

How do aerospace engineers choose a landing system? (Curiosity rover)

The Sojourner rover with the Mars Pathfinder used a entry, descent, and landing system involving airbags to land on Mars. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers each used more-or-less the same system ...
4
votes
2answers
432 views

How much thrust would be needed to turn a hobbyist weather balloon into a deep space probe?

I was reading the article Weather Balloon Space Probes that says you can put your own balloon probe at 65,000 ft temporarily. Is it even remotely possible to raise the probe high enough using ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

neutron transport approximations for nuclear rocket modelling

I'm pretty ignorant regarding neutron and nuclear transport modelling, but i'm interested in trying to pursue it for a particular pet project. It regards modelling of nuclear reactions like those ...
18
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the possibility of a railgun assisted orbital launch?

Basic facts: The world's deepest mine is 2.4 miles deep. Railguns can acheive a muzzle velocity of a projectile on the order of 7.5 km/s. The Earth's escape velocity is 11.2 km/s. It seems to me ...
6
votes
1answer
213 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
98 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
145 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
111 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
700 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
3answers
140 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
408 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
173 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
352 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
417 views

At what launch angle will a (model) rocket keep flying straight?

When a model rocket is launched straight up with an angle of 90degrees to the ground it will do a 180 flip when it reaches the apex of its flight and then dive straight down to Earth. If I were to ...
2
votes
1answer
148 views

Sideways motion between a vertical launch from a planet and landing [duplicate]

I saw a video some days ago (Hello Kitty in Space) of a schoolgirl successfully launching a balloon into space which later popped and landed ~47 km from launch site. If I vertically launch an object ...
1
vote
2answers
876 views

Can someone explain the Hall effect thruster to me?

I am in high school, and am doing a major research project on Russia. Part of that is a section on the space race, and ion engines/hall effect engines have come up several times. Unfortunately, Google ...
1
vote
2answers
252 views

Will a rotating object traveling along a linear path continue to rotate forever in space?

Suppose engineers built a cylinder-shaped space ship which rotates to create artificial gravity: ...
3
votes
3answers
461 views

Does launching a rocket in lower density air require more or less fuel?

Given two environments that are identical, except for air density (e.g. Cape Canaveral, but at Mount Everest's height), would launching a rocket require more or less fuel at the lower air density?
2
votes
2answers
520 views

Which is the heaviest present day lifter (rocket)? And is it comparable to the Saturn V rocket?

I know of the Ariane 5 ECA, the Delta IV rocket and a few more, but which of the present day's rockets is the top heavy lifter, say, to low Earth orbit (LEO)? Although it is not a certain fact, I ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

What is the most convenient rocket engine to use exclusively in space?

I mean what parameters should a rocket engine that is used exclusively in space (last stage of a lunar rocket for instance) have?
0
votes
1answer
321 views

Space Rocket Lift Efficiency and the Gyroscope?

I'm no physicist apart from basic 3d web animation, I'm just curious and please feel free to correct my misuse of terms or inadequate speculations. I've been reading a lot on gyroscopes and ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

Why do rockets have multiple stages?

What is the advantage for rockets to have multiple stages? Wouldn't a single stage with the same amount of fuel weigh less? Note I would like a quantitative answer, if possible :-)
5
votes
1answer
746 views

The most distant point from the earth that a space shuttle has reached

What is the most distant point from the Earth that a space shuttle has reached? When did this happen?
3
votes
1answer
315 views

Nuclear Salt Water Rockets: viability and follow-up

This is the original paper by R. Zubrin proposing the Nuclear Salt Water Rocket design. Basically the design is that a capillar set of pipes store a uranium salt-water solution, inside a cadmium ...
1
vote
3answers
232 views

Dynamics of a Rocket

I am interested in modelling the trajectory of a rocket from the Earth to the Moon by solving a differential equation numerically. Below are some key facts and assumptions I am using. I want to make ...
1
vote
3answers
132 views

Do spacecraft engines suffer from carbon accumulation the way typical petrol/kerosene engines do?

Just wondering whether the spacecraft engines/drives, or their booster rockets accumulate carbon the way car/truck engines do. What about ion/methane drives?
5
votes
1answer
67 views

Why do rockets need a cosmic ray detector?

I was watching the video Video camera installed on rocket that reaches 121,000 ft., and this rocket has a cosmic ray detector. Why is this needed in a rocket?
5
votes
3answers
319 views

What sort of propulsion would we require for interstellar travel?

Further to this question I asked recently, lgritz makes a very astute observation about the massive fuel requirements to travel 36 lt yrs with known fuel technology today. So, if conventional rocket ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Max rocket speed in interstellar space?

Interstellar space propulsion...if a spaceship were to get beyond our Sun's gravitational pull and since there is no atmosphere/wind/friction in space...does that mean, if an engine was constantly ...