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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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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407 views

How do I calculate the time it would take for a space craft launching from earth to reach another planet?

I am making a matlab program the my final project for my programming class in college. I have chosen this problem, but I am bashing my head against the wall trying to figure out the equations and how ...
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425 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. ...
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264 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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886 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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82 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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381 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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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 ...
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How Earth communicates with Voyager I?

After taking a basic signals & systems class and learning about the frequency domain, I started wondering: How the heck do scientists still communicate with Voyagers I and II??   Do they ...
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441 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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86 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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971 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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131 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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464 views

Rocket launch from a mountain

If we were to build a high speed rail up the side of a mountain like in some ScFi movies, what is the velocity needed at the point of living the mountain excluding angular momentum from earth’s ...
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1k 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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374 views

Low-temperature hobby rocketry

I work with a lot of Boy Scouts who want to complete the Space Exploration merit badge. It's a great program, and one of the coolest requirements is building, launching, and recovering a model ...
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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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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
905 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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10answers
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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.
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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 ...
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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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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 :-)