# Tagged Questions

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'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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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 ...
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### Will a rocket produce more thrust if fired in air, rather than vacuum?

I've been in an argument with a friend. He claims that when a rocket engine is fired in air, it get significantly more thrust due to the rocket pushing gas into the atmosphere, and the atmosphere ...
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### Why speed of Mangalyan is constant?

I have learned in school regarding the relationship between speed,acceleration and distance is $$v^2-u^2=2as$$ The initial velocity of India's Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM, is 32 km/s source and now ...
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### 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 ...
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### When a planet has a high gravity, is it impossible to build and launch a successful chemical rocket to space?

Just recently a a large rocky planet has been discovered. "Astronomers have discovered a new type of rocky planet beyond the solar system that weighs more than 17 times as much as Earth while being ...
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### Do I need to take weight of the rocket into account when calculating escape velocity?

Here there is the old problem. I know from the old problem that the work $W_v$ that I need to make a rocket fast enough to reach the escape velocity is $$W_v= G \frac{mM}{r}$$ therefore because ...
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### How long would it take me to travel to a distant star?

Suppose I wanted to travel to one of the recently discovered potentially Earth-like planets such as Kepler 186f that is 490 light years away. Assuming I had a powerful rocket and enough fuel, how long ...
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### About the speed of light

If Mr. E is aboard a spaceship traveling near the speed of light the usual reason for the spaceship not going faster than $c$ is the (relativistic) mass of the ship increases without bound, I think. ...
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### Why do rocket engines have a throat?

Diagrams of rocket engines like this one, (source) always seem to show a combustion chamber with a throat, followed by a nozzle. Why is there a throat? Wouldn't the thrust be the same if the ...
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### How could a solar sail be powered 'Upwind' by craft's own (laser) light source?

I've just watched a Discovery Science program - Alien Encounters featuring SETI luminaries such as Jill Tarter, Frank Drake and Nick Sagan. A serious discussion on how to interpret ET messages coupled ...
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### Is a scaled-up aircraft carrier 'ski-ramp' a viable system to impart enough velocity to significantly assist a spacecraft to orbit? [duplicate]

Not a boost straight up to escape velocity, just sufficient added momentum to make a significant economic saving on fuel cost, mass and complexity of a standard launch. It seems ludicrous to me how ...
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### Max altitude of rocket [closed]

A rocket is launched perpendicularly with an initial acceleration of 10 m/s2, if the fuel runs out after 1 minute, what will be the maximum height reached by the rocket?
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### What is the cheapest way to land a grain of sand on the moon? [closed]

I have a payload that is the size and density of a grain of sand. I want to land it intact on the moon, but I am not particular about location beyond that. What is the least expensive way to get it ...
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### How to calculate the velocity needed for a rocket to get to a L1 point (escape a body without orbiting)?

I'm looking to calculate parameters around launching, say, a model rocket STRAIGHT to the moon. This does not mean through orbital insertion into a stable ~17,000 MPH relative to earth's surface and ...
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### Was Einsteins work with relativity necessary for successful space travel?

So I know that Einstein and general relativity had huge impacts on the way we view the world, but how crucial were these scientific advancements to the success of our space programs? Would Newtonian ...
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### Variational calculus problem

I've been wondering lately about a problem that comes from, among other places, an old video game "Lunar Lander". In the game there is a spaceship that has a small tank of fuel, and you're supposed to ...
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### Break speed of light with infinite mass

I've heard that a spacecraft could never exceed the speed of light because it's (relativistic) mass quickly approaches infinity and therefore there could never create a big enough rocket to propel it ...
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### How do scientists place satellites into orbit?

How do scientists place satellites into orbit? How do they calculate the gravity acting on the spacecraft in order to generate exact opposite force by means of Kinetic energy to keep the satellite ...
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### How much power would a space craft's magnetic shield require? [closed]

I've read over the decades that a magnetic shield might protect a spacecraft from cosmic radiation. Its a fascinating idea that might only be theory or science fiction at the moment. In regards to ...
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### Theoretical Space Station components [closed]

Having read some of the other answers and seeing that there is a theoretical maximum on payload with current technology, what would be the optimum dimensions of a space launch vehicle if all you ...
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### Movement in outer space via Newton's law of every action has an equal and opposite reaction

What is more effective for travel in outer space ignoring all other factors like air radiation etc. I have a 10 kg bag of rice would I travel faster throwing the whole bag at once or throwing a grain ...
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### What happens if we place a hydraulic platform under rocket exhaust

Imagine I place a hydraulic platform mechanism under a rocket where its engine exhaust is placed.This hydraulic platform is fixed on the ground. During propulsion we actuate/lift platform to certain ...
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### Can we escape Earth's gravity slowly?

I had a recent conversation with my girlfriend, who is a physics grad student. She was kind enough to listen to me rant about an idea concerning escape velocity. Unfortunately, I am still thinking ...
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### Rocket/Thrust/Gas/Free Expansion of Gas

We know, the rockets in space use Newton's 3rd law to increase their velocity and hence move. What I don't understand is how it is possible in space aka vacuum-state without air? From what I know, ...
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### What is the optimal burn direction to lower periapsis of hyperbolic orbit?

I am an engineering student who is interested in orbital mechanics. I am doing some self study before taking some orbital mechanics courses next year. I was learning about various orbit types (...
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### How big would a rocket without stages have to be?

Using currently available fuels and technology and an unlimited budget. How big would a rocket without stages have to be to make it to a stable orbit? and how big would a rocket without staged have to ...
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### Inertia and Rocket Propulsion

We were taught in school that the law of inertia indicates that an object tend to stay the way it is, so if you throw something in space it will tend to go on forever and ever. The reason an object ...
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### Why are rockets so big?

I'm curious why rockets are so big in their size. Since both the gravitational potential one need to overcome in order to put thing into orbit, and the chemical energy burned from the fuel, are ...
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### Will a relativistic rocket be destroyed by incident photons?

I have read, that as a rocket approaches light speed, objects in front of it become blue shifted and also intensity of light increases. Does this mean that at some point any rocket will be destroyed, ...
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### How to calculate thrust ratios for an object with a non centered mass [closed]

I am trying to figure out a formula that, given an initial thrust value, will give me the thrust value that I need to apply to each thruster (red) to make the overall thrust be straight up with no ...
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### 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?
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### Deriving the rocket equation

Recently I decided to brush on the those parts of classical mechanics that always gave me trouble. One of those parts was the rocket equation so I figured that I would try to derive the appropriate ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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)
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Rocket propelled by a giant monochromatic laser

I am preparing for my quals and stumbled across the following problem, and although it only requires undergraduate-level physics, I feel I can't piece everything together. "A rocket of mass $m_0$ is ...
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### 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. ...