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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Delta-V of ion thrusters

So I recently started a podcast along with a cohost. It's all about spaceflight. We ran into a question we couldn't quite resolve due to conflicting information on the internet. Put simply: Can the ...
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3answers
7k views

Why doesn't a cigarette lighter generate thrust?

The way thrust is created by a rocket is discussed here: How does fire create thrust in rocket? If you look at a typical rocket, say V2, it has two primary tanks — one which stores the fuel and the ...
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4answers
966 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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5answers
2k 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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Rocket needs to make course correction what mass of gass must be expelled [closed]

A(n) 5200 kg rocket traveling at 3900 m/s is moving freely through space on a journey to the moon. The ground controllers find that the rocket has drifted off course and that it must change direction ...
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1answer
87 views

Why is specific impulse measured in seconds?

Specific impulse is usually defined as: $$I_{sp} = \frac{F_T}{\dot m ~ g_0} $$ This comes out in seconds. I interpret it as follows: If I want $F$ Newtons of thrust, every second I must burn a ...
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2answers
326 views

What are the main issues that are preventing a human mission to Mars? [closed]

Is it just because it'd be very expensive? Or are there serious problems that need to be dealt with, studied and solved? If so, what are they?
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0answers
39 views

Accelerating rockets by periodic explosions? [closed]

Since in the outer space friction is almost 0, couldn't we accelerate a rocket to reach much faster speeds than that of the current limit by periodically starting and stopping the engines? I think ...
2
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1answer
957 views

Why doesn't NASA use RAMJET rockets to get into space?

I would think an open cylinder type rocket where the rocket fuel gets injected into the "hollow" cavity that air is going through would be a more effective than the rocket fuel just burning itself. ...
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1answer
408 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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1answer
40 views

Thrust and specific impulse of a rocket

A picture of the question this originates from is given below. Note: I normally work with SI units and am mostly unfamiliar with those used here. The specific impulse of a rocket can be calculated ...
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2answers
84 views

Rocket Propulsion, delta V, acceleration and time. How do they relate?

I'm trying to understand rockets in a vacuum. As I understand it the, Tsiolkovsky rocket equation gives me the change in velocity of a rocket + payload after expelling a certain amount of fuel. But ...
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1answer
73 views

How can I caculate the time to traverse a distance with the Tsiolkovsky equation?

Using the Tsiolkovsky equation I know what the change in velocity is after burning x amount of fuel. $$ \Delta V = V_e \dot\ log(\frac{m_1}{m_1-m_2}) $$ $m_1$ is my starting mass and $m_2$ is the ...
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2answers
112 views

How to find a condition that ensures that the rocket immediately takes off?

For the rocket in a constant gravitational field, how to find a condition that ensures that the rocket immediately takes off? Update: I apologize. Let's try again. So my question: For the rocket in ...
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0answers
35 views

Rocket in constant gravitational field [duplicate]

A Rocket in a constant gravitational field, what are the conditions required for the rocket to take off immediately? (in terms of $m_0,μ,g,v_r$), where $m_0$ = mass of the rocket at $t=0$ $μ$ = mass ...
3
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2answers
471 views

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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1answer
60 views

How does the space shuttle move in a vacuum? [duplicate]

If there is no friction in space, then how does the space shuttle boost? According to Newton's law we move by pushing something; in space, there is vacuum, so how the space shuttle moves without ...
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3answers
463 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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4answers
93 views

Which is the right explanation for rocket motion? [duplicate]

What actually causes a rocket to move? Is it the pressure in the rocket engine or the amount and velocity of mass that is being ejected out. The reason I am asking is, I found these two explanations ...
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5answers
2k views

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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2answers
196 views

Understanding of the $m v^2/2$ formula for kinetic energy

I have some problem to intuitively understand why the kinetic energy grows quadratically with the velocity (at least in non-relativistic case). Assume the following experiment: we launch an unmanned ...
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1answer
49 views

Does the outflowing water create a thrust on the bucket?

Let's consider the the bucket with water, which has a small hole at the bottom. Let the bucket lift up with a constant force $\vec F$. Water in the bucket, of course, flows out of it. Questions are ...
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1answer
95 views

Do objects launched from Earth retain the Earth's lateral inertia (67,000mph)

We've probably all heard of the gun on a train theory. Fire a bullet that would normally travel 500mph on a train that's moving 200mph (in the same direction the train is moving) and you've now got ...
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1answer
42 views

What are the preferred height and diameter proportions for a rocket model?

I'm pretty sure, that if you make a rocket that's relatively small in height compared to diameter, it will most likely not fly very high and probably spin out of control. What about a rocket that is ...
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5answers
144 views

Does lunar module need the same amount of fuel for landing and take off?

Let's assume there is no atmosphere and let's assume there is no change in weight due to fuel consumption, will reactive rocket need the same amount of fuel for landing on a planet as for take off? ...
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6answers
3k views

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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3answers
595 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 ...
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1answer
139 views

What would have been required to boost Mir into a stable orbit?

In 2001, the Russian space station Mir was deorbited and burned up in the atmosphere, after $4.2 billion in expenditures. As it was orbiting within the thermosphere, it was encountering perpetual drag ...
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1answer
45 views

Relationship between momentum and energy for rocket-powered aircraft

I'm trying to write a problem for my students in an algebra-based physics class. We have a flight simulator and I've got a glider in the simulator that has a couple rocket boosters attached. Students ...
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0answers
71 views

Trying to modify the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation for the real world

Everyone knows about the famous Tsiolkovsky rocket equation. However, he formulated the equation neglecting many things. So, here, I am trying to find the real equation. My thinkings: Suppose, the ...
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0answers
25 views

Relativity question [duplicate]

If a rocket is traveling away from earth, why does time pass slower for the rocket if from the rocket's perspective, earth is going away from it?
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4answers
167 views

Why is $M\frac{dv}{dt} = v_{rel} .\frac{dm}{dt}$ correct and $(M - dm)\frac{dv}{dt} = v_{rel} .\frac{dm}{dt}$ wrong?

Newton's 2nd law of motion can't be applied for mass-varying systems. Another force, known as Thrust must come to play. It can be measured using law of conservation of linear momentum. ...
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1answer
51 views

Do de Laval nozzles have to be asymmetric?

All pictures of de Laval nozzles I've seen have an hourglass shape where the convergent section is shorter than the divergent section. Is this necessary to attain supersonic exhaust velocities, or ...
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0answers
47 views

Why does NASA use gold to hold heat in even though its conductive? [duplicate]

I heard that NASA uses gold to prevent heat loss even though gold is conductive. How does NASA prevent heat loss with a conductive material?
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1answer
54 views

Delta-v required to get to Medium Earth Orbit?

Does anyone know what's the delta-v you need to get to Medium Earth Orbit (the delta-v for 7,000 km high orbit for example)? I know that to get to LEO you need around 9.5 km/s (including gravity and ...
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1answer
51 views

Maneuvering a space shuttle using propulsion systems?

A colleague and I randomly started on this subject, and, not being very good at anything science / physics related we were stumped at how this might work. So the question is: If I park my space ship ...
3
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2answers
155 views

Variable mass dynamics: Particle and Rigid Body

I'm encountering some issues in the understanding of some basic concepts about the dynamics of variable-mass particles and rigid bodies. For what I found, for example reading On the use and abuse of ...
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3answers
79 views

Would the rotation of a space ship in vacuum slow it down

Firstly , a few disclaimers : English is not my native language so I may use the wrong technical terms. Please notify me and I will correct the question. As a CS major , I've only taken one class ...
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2answers
33 views

Detecting radioactive material at a distance

I have heard a lot about the failures of even the best-funded anti-ballistic missile technology. The usual explanation is that ABM is very hard after the boost phase because of evasion techniques and ...
3
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1answer
100 views

Burning fuel in space while accelerating and deaccelerating

Is it true that for acceleration in space we need not the same quantity of the fuel than during the deacceleration stage?
2
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1answer
89 views

Why does Philae have only three legs?

Can anyone explain why comet lander Philae has only three legs? Isn't it obvious that it now has problems that it would not have had if it had four legs arranged as a regular tetrahedron - or even ...
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0answers
34 views

Why didn't all three of my electrical fuses ignite? [closed]

I built a rocket that used 3 x solid fuel motors. To ignite them I used 3 electrical fuses, which are basically a thin filament of wire which heats up when given enough voltage. Only 2 of the 3 fuses ...
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8answers
5k views

What is a rocket engine thrusting against in space?

I know Newton's third law of motion might be the answer for this but still I am wondering how the rockets could thrust in the empty space and move in the opposite direction. I guess an astronaut ...
6
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1answer
145 views

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 ...
14
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3answers
5k views

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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1answer
88 views

The Law of Conservation of Energy and Time

The Law of Conservation of Energy essentially states that in a given closed system, the total energy at any instance of time should be equal. This includes the kinetic energy, gravitational potential ...
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1answer
60 views

Why was the asteroid 101955 Bennu chosen by the NASA OSIRIS-REx sample return mission?

Please explain it in simple terms. Why was THIS asteroid chosen among all the thousand of asteroids?
5
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2answers
953 views

Why do rockets jettison fuel tanks? [duplicate]

I'm trying to understand why rockets have multistages releasing their fuel tanks. Say a rocket $R$ has two fuel tanks $A$ and $B$, which respectively have masses $m_a$ and $m_b$, and the mass of the ...
5
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2answers
635 views

What properties would the ideal material for spacecraft construction possess?

Assuming we develop the capability to send a robot to study Gliese 518, or any of the Earth-like planets discovered in the neighbourhood; the spacecraft would need to travel through the Solar System ...
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105 views

spacecraft thrust through means other than liquid propellants

Is there any way of achieving effective thrust in space without using conventional fluid or gas propellants such as rocket-fuels or supercooled material? For instance: gaining thrust through solar ...