The Ability to Hold Off the Heat - Deepstash

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The Ability to Hold Off the Heat

The Ability to Hold Off the Heat

  • Going to the Moon is no easy task, and it’s only half the journey. The farther a spacecraft travels in space, the more heat it will generate as it returns to Earth. Getting back safely requires technologies that can help a spacecraft endure speeds 30 times the speed of sound and heat twice as hot as molten lava or half as hot as the sun.

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Introduction

Introduction

When a spacecraft built for humans ventures into deep space, it requires an array of features to keep it and a crew inside safe.

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Radiation Protection

Radiation Protection

  • As a spacecraft travels on missions beyond the protection of Earth’s magnetic field, it will be exposed to a harsher radiation environment than in low-Earth orbit with greater amounts of radiation from charged particles and solar storms that can cause disruptions to critical computers, avionics and other equipment.
  • Humans exposed to large amounts of radiation can experience both acute and chronic health problems ranging from near-term radiation sickness to the potential of developing cancer in the long-term.

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Proper Propulsion

Proper Propulsion

  • The farther into space a vehicle ventures, the more capable its propulsion systems need to be to maintain its course on the journey with precision and ensure its crew can get home.

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Systems to Live and Breathe

Systems to Live and Breathe

  • As humans travel farther from Earth for longer missions, the systems that keep them alive must be highly reliable while taking up minimal mass and volume.
  • Even small systems have to function reliably to support life in space, from a working toilet to an automated fire suppression system or exercise equipment that helps astronauts stay in shape to counteract the zero-gravity environment in space

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Constant Communication and Navigation

Constant Communication and Navigation

  • Spacecraft venturing far from home go beyond the Global Positioning System (GPS) in space and above communication satellites in Earth orbit. To talk with mission control in Houston, Orion will use all three of NASA’s space communications networks.As it rises from the launch pad and into cislunar space, Orion will switch from the Near Earth Network to the Space Network, made possible by the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, and finally to the Deep Space Network that provides communications for some of NASA’s most distant spacecraft.

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