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Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

(OP)
There are a variety of launch vehicles in society. Ballistic, shuttle and experiments designs. What is the best? has one been discovered?

In golf the divots make the ball more aerodynamic but you'll never see an f-16 mechanic hammering dents into the plane...

RE: Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

Your question is confusing.  Spacecraft fly in space, so the ideal shape is spherical or cylindrical.  Ascent lasts under 9 minutes, so shape is essentially irrelevant.  Shape for original shuttle was predicated on re-entry.

TTFN
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

Launch vehicles are not the same as spacecraft.  The best launch vehicle profile is the one you always see, minimal frontal area with maximum volume - cylindrical with a pointy end. Not exactly irrelevant since the launch vehicle is often the single largest expense in the project.

I'd say the ideal shape for a spacecraft - in space - is the most functional one.

On a completely seperate topic, dimpling versus smoothness for aerodynamics has been discussed here and elsewhere repeatedly, a simple search followed by some reading should answer your question.

RE: Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

Unmanned space vehicles do not need provide a pressure vessel, so any shape that encloses the craft's functionality will do.  However, for manned vehicles that are pressurized, round shapes maximize stress distribution.  

TTFN
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

The Space Shuttle basically proved that with enough speed - a brick could fly.  Not my opinion - it was agreed to by a number of astronauts.

Rutan's "shuttle-cock" plane flew and glided quite well

So it really depends on what you are trying to do and mission requirements.

RE: Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

Quote:

In golf the divots make the ball more aerodynamic

Erm, that would be "dimples". Divots are made of sod wink

RE: Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

At  E X T R E M E L Y  high speeds, even 1 H2 Molecule per KM has to be considered, but other than that, you're relatively free to make whatever erector-set tinker-toy you need.

RE: Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

(OP)
This question has been satisfactorily answered. Spherical is the best shape for a spacecraft. Wind tunnel experiments have proven this. Though there is no air or physical wind in space having a vehicle that can accomplish a variety of missions is key in designing a 'well rounded' spacecraft. (haha)

As pointed out divots are not on golf balls. I am not a golfer and have no desire to be, sorry for the confusion. Additionally the statement about dimples making a ball more aerodynamic was not a question.  

Commercial Astronautic Space Association
http://snydersite.webstarts.com/

RE: Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

What about the disk shape UFO?
That spins

Mfgenggear

RE: Is there a best shape for spacecraft?

(OP)
Mfgenggear,
There is no conclusive evidence of disk shaped UFOs. However, at great speeds a disk shape would create a loud sonic boom in Earths atmosphere. Rendering a UFO of this shape easily identifiable by this sound and shape, if it were observed (making it a non-UFO or identified object).

Commercial Astronautic Space Association
http://snydersite.webstarts.com/

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