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16
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2answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
10answers
3k 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.
6
votes
3answers
677 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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
279 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
296 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
338 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
130 views

Best EM/Photon rocket using avalable tech?

Given 10-1000 Watts of electrical power (and no other consumables), what is the current best way to turn it into thrust? Just running it through a heater on an insulating pad would result in an IR ...
6
votes
7answers
434 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. ...
4
votes
2answers
362 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
939 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
591 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?
2
votes
2answers
168 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
142 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
172 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
286 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 ...