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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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 ...
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273 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: ...
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488 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?
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616 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 ...
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1answer
98 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?
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1answer
351 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 ...
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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 :-)
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1answer
892 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?
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1answer
331 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 ...
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3answers
250 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 ...
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3answers
137 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?
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71 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?
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352 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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
1k views

Why are there more vertical takeoff than horizontal for spacecrafts?

Vertical takeoff requires disposable rockets (would it a satellite rocket), which is a money loss, and also a lot of fuel, because initial velocity is zero. Also vertical takeoff seems risky, involves ...
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1answer
78 views

What is the mass of the LEGO figurines being launched with spacecraft Juno?

What is the mass of the LEGO figurines being launched with spacecraft Juno? How much additional fuel will be needed to get them to Jupiter?
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1answer
157 views

What is lighting up Space Shuttle Endeavour's main engines?

Al Jazeera has a terrific collection of Space Shuttle photos. In photo #11 we can see something bright in each Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) as Endeavour lands. What might that be? A reflection off ...
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2answers
720 views

At what fraction of the speed of light have people traveled?

I'm guessing that, this would be someone in a rocket or something... When they hit their top speed, at what fraction of $c$ are they traveling?
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1answer
296 views

Home-made Shock diamond

Is there any way of creating a "home-made" effect of shock diamond phenomenon that I could take a picture of? If so, How could I make one?
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2answers
187 views

Get into orbit from the Redbull jump position to a satellite position by using a cord/rope?

Its difficult to put this into the title. I was watching the Redbull Jump and noticed that the height of this is at 39 kilometres (24 mi) the atmosphere pressure is at I believe about 0.4% of that at ...
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1answer
93 views

Why is there no oxidizer in space?

Just as a thought experiment. One factor in the economies of space exploration is that of fuel. This may be split as MSL - Earth Orbit Earth Orbit to Inner Solar System Beyond. In each of ...
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3answers
511 views

Conservation of Energy in Different Frames of Reference

Say I have a bucket of fuel that can produce 150J of energy by combustion. No matter what frame of reference an observer or the bucket of fuel is in, since the configuration of molecules stay the ...
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1answer
322 views

What path would advanced spaceships take to move between planets? [closed]

Right now, space travel is all about carefully moving between orbits. If you want to go from Earth to Mars, you wait until the two planets are correctly aligned, and then place yourself into an ...
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0answers
105 views

Reaching the speed of light, rockets [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Double light speed Someting almost faster than light traveling on something else almost faster than light Well I've been wondering quite a long time about this ...
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1answer
381 views

Rotation of Rockets

I referred the Roll program in space shuttles. But, I can't understand the mechanism. So, They rotate during the launch in order for proper alignment. I know that only tilting, gimbaling or using ...
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2answers
2k views

Difference between deltaV and specific impulse

When reading any literature regarding space propulsion, I keep getting about these terms deltaV and ISP or specific impulse. I know specific impulse is supposed to be the velocity the propellant mass ...
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3answers
201 views

How empty of fuel are spacecraft booster rockets typically?

A recent XKCD What-if article mentions the situation where each additional kilogram of cargo to LEO requires an additional 1. 3 kilograms of fuel, which in turn requires fuel to carry ...
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6answers
1k views

What are the most realistic ways of high speed space propulsion?

Liquid and solid chemical fuels in rockets are very expensive and inefficient. I have heard of solar sails but what are the most realistic space travel fuels that will be used in the future to get ...
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723 views

Why do rockets accelerate fastest horizontally?

I've heard that rockets accelerate fastest when travelling horizontally to the ground, not downwards or upwards. Is that true, and why?
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137 views

Rocket needed to send 100 gram of mass to outer space? [closed]

What kind of rocket would be needed to send 100 gr of mass to outer space? The mass can be moulded in any shape, but it would need not raise above 40 °C of temperature during the ...
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3answers
841 views

How does $F = \frac{ \Delta (mv)}{ \Delta t}$ equal $( m \frac { \Delta v}{ \Delta t} ) + ( v \frac { \Delta m}{ \Delta t} )$?

That's how it's framed in my Physics school-book. The question (or rather, the explanation) is that of the thrust of rockets and how the impulse is equal (with opposite signs) on the thrust-gases and ...
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1answer
297 views

Rocket drive and conservation of momentum

I am currently reading through some lecture notes of Physics 1 and in a chapter about the dynamics of the mass point, there is an example covering the rocket drive. Let $v$ be the velocity of the ...
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1answer
100 views

Orbits for space missions

I am just wondering say if there is an expedition where some astronauts are sent to the moon, how do they choose the trajectory for the spaceshuttle (or whatnot)? I mean there are many possible ...
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1answer
749 views

ICBM : throw weight and boost phase duration

I've seen a statement, that reducing boost phase duration by 25% of an abstract ICBM would reduce its throw weight by several times. I don't get how is that possible. Shorter boost phase - less ...
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1answer
251 views

Additional accelerating force during take off of a rocket?

During the take off of a rocket, the exhaust produces some pressure below the rocket, which gives an additional force. How large is this force in comparison to the force produced directly by the ...
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0answers
388 views

Rocket engines design & materials [closed]

Does anyones know which materials (or type of steel) are used to make rocket engines nozzles & combustion chambers? What are the tricks to reduce temperature of the engine except trying to cool ...
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5answers
2k views

Maximum speed of a rocket with a potential of relativistic speeds

Ultimately, the factor limiting the maximum speed of a rocket is: the amount of fuel it carries the speed of ejection of the gases the mass of the rocket the length of the rocket ...
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2answers
781 views

Rocket engines: air & vacuum

Could you please help me understand what is the difference between rocket engines designed to work in air (first stage) and vacuum (later stages)?
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148 views

Quickest “flights” across Atlantic and round the world

With the dawning of the private space industry, if someone was to build a rocket-based craft that powers you up and then glides in for a landing, what would be the quickest you could get across the ...