Questions tagged [history]

Questions pertaining to the history of space exploration. Includes how current things will be viewed historically from the future (e.g. Apollo Moon landing sites 100 years from now)

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Can you help me fill in the gaps in my liquid-fuel rocket propellant tank technology knowledge?

I am currently aware of the following types of propellant tank technology: Steel fuselage, used in the V-2/A-4 & other rockets of its era (essentially a plane body) Integral steel tanks, first ...
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How did the U.S.S.R manage to rotate the N-1 from horizontal to vertical?

The title says it all - but I heard that NASA considered horizontal integration for the Saturn V couldn't be considered, as lifting the rocket to a vertical position would require an immense ...
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What were the differences between the STS Orbiters?

There were six STS orbiter vehicles, of which five were operational for space flight: OV-099: Space Shuttle Challenger OV-101: Space Shuttle Enterprise OV-102: Space Shuttle Columbia OV-103: Space ...
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Given unlimited funding and global cooperation, could there have been a manned space craft made in the year 1850-1860? [closed]

All my life, I've been speculating in my head about all kinds of "alternative timelines". One of the most intriguing to me are all the ones that concern space and "steampunk" technology. Recently, I ...
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Who are these people inside Apollo Command Module (presumably posing for advertisement photoshoot)?

In an attempt to find photos from any of Apollo missions that portray Sony TC-50 voice recorder/player that was used in these missions I came across the following picture: There is better quality of ...
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Did Apollo astronauts play on the Moon their pre-recorded music?

Apollo astronauts were equipped with Sony TC-50 cassette voice recorder/player (described in this answer) primarily for recording voice with mission related notes, but they could (and did) listen to ...
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100 views

What Earth satellite remained in orbit the longest before reentering?

@BillGray's excellent answer in September 2018 mentions that the Soviet magnetospheric research satellite 1977-093A (NORAD 10370) was expected to reenter the atmosphere in 2019 due to effects ...
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What was the first unplanned “over-the-air” software update of a spacecraft?

From time-to-time spacecraft have had to be rebooted, in one case Voyager 2 mutinied and had to be reprogrammed and in another Opportunity had it's memory "hacked". As far as I know, deep space ...
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What was the first rocket with de Laval (convergent-divergent) nozzle to fly?

Rocket engine Wikipedia article states that Goddard was the first to use a De Laval nozzle on a solid-propellant (gunpowder) rocket engine, doubling the thrust and increasing the efficiency by a ...
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When was Newton “not good enough” for spaceflight; first use and first absolute requirement for relativistic corrections?

Concepts in Special Relativity (1905) and of General relativity (first developed between 1907 and 1915) substantially predated spaceflight; they were well known and had been tested well before objects ...
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Were there any cases of woodpeckers damaging Shuttle External Tank insulation other than that of STS-70?

While researching information about Shuttle External Tank insulation, I came across this quite unusual problem: woodpeckers! The Wikipedia entry on STS-70 states that: ... on 31 May 1995 shuttle ...
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How was motion blur mitigated in the early Earth-observation satellites?

The Corona Photographic Surveillance Satellite had one (later two) panning cameras for observations: (Cameras on Corona - source) The cameras panned over a 70 degree arc perpendicular to the flight ...
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How did the star tracker on the Corona (Key Hole) satellite work?

The first Corona Photographic Surveillance Satellite was launched in 1959. Starting from the third mission, launched in 1961, the satellites were equipped with a star tracker. From Wikipedia: ...
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490 views

How did the Corona (Key Hole) satellites film canisters deorbit?

The Corona Photographic Surveillance satellites transferred photos back to Earth by releasing a canister with the film, which would deorbit, re-enter, release a parachute and then a plane would ...
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Who was the first to successfully implement on practice ablative heat shield?

Up until Shuttle/Buran era, all manned orbital reentry vehicles used ablative heat shield for reentry (Vostok, Mercury, Voskhod, Gemini, Soyuz, Apollo). This made me curious about who was the first in ...
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Were flown lunar rover miniature license plates approved for the Apollo-15 flight?

A page in Space Flown Artifacts describes miniature lunar rover license plates that Dave Scott carried to the moon and back: These miniature license plates were manufactured by Boeing (makers of ...
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Are more details about the fatal rocket motor accident at Cape Canaveral in April 1964 available?

The 1966 book The Life and Death of a Satellite by Alfred Bester contains an account of a accidental ignition of a third-stage solid rocket motor in a Delta rocket spin test facility at the Cape which ...
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How did the USSR track Gagarin's Vostok-1 orbital flight? Was tracking capability an issue in the choice of orbit?

For the USA's Mercury flights, a number of tracking stations were installed around the globe. John Glenn's first orbital flight was tracked with them, plus a number of ships. (Tracking stations used ...
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446 views

Why multiple GPS satellites are never launched on the same rocket?

From what I've read, GPS satellites have been always put in orbit one at a time. In contrast, Galileo (aboard Ariane or Soyuz) and GLONASS (aboard Proton) sometimes are launched at the same time. Is ...
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259 views

What was the operational lifetime of a shuttle tile?

The statement "While some of the individual tiles on the shuttle might last 10 missions" from this excellent answer has led a questioner to make the statement "someone here at Space Stack-Exchange ...
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120 views

Why would the Shuttle-Transtage have been unusable for science missions?

In the 1970s and early 1980s, NASA and the DoD evaluated four different existing or proposed upper stages for use with the space shuttle: The Centaur hydrolox stage (specifically, the Centaur G/G' ...
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Good example of early and simple orbital mechanics?

I am doing a talk on Katherine Johnson at my school extremely soon and I was wondering if you could give a relatively quick example of a simplified calculation in any kind of orbital mechanics ...
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Where did the Wake Shield Facility end up?

The Wake Shield... ... was deployed in the wake of the Space Shuttle at an orbital altitude of over 300 kilometers (186 mi), within the thermosphere, where the atmosphere is exceedingly tenuous....
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History of the planetary flyby for gravitational assist; first conception, mathematical demonstration, plan, and execution?

Planetary flybys for gravitational assists are a stable of deep space missions. When did the following things happen? First documented realization that gravitational assists in spaceflight were ...
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Did anything specific happen on the 16 or 22 March 1992 passes of a Lacrosse I surveillance satellite over Tehran?

After reading the question Predicting non-Iridium flares and Why NOSS satellites flare? I found the following page linked in Wikipedia's Naval Ocean Surveillance System. The h2g2 (The Hitchhiker's ...
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Is there any work in English that gives a systematic treatment of Soviet/Russian rocket engines?

There seems to be some piecemeal information online such as RussianSpaceWeb.com, and of course, Sutton's History of LPRE gives an anthropological treatment of Soviet/Russian rocket engine lineup ...
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Does the depiction of water blobs in the Salut-7 movie reflect an actual event?

In the beginning of the very cool Veritassium video The Bizarre Behavior of Rotating Bodies, Explained, the host Derek Muller says: In 1985, cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov was tasked with saving ...
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How often has NASA brought in people from outside to be responsible for making important decisions?

Spaceflight Now's NASA still looking for new human spaceflight chief says: In August, Bridenstine said NASA is “looking wide and far” for a new human spaceflight chief at NASA Headquarters. “...
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Were there any non-state organizations to organize space flight and colonizations in the second half of the 20th century?

Today, we observe a real boom of private spaceflight. Was there anything similar in the second half of the 20th century, at least were any people founding ventures for space business beyond satellite ...
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Were Soviet missions to Skylab ever considered?

The question How was Skylab's orbit inclination chosen? gave some rationale as to why Skylab was in such a high inclination (close to today's ISS at 51.6). Was there ever consideration (during and ...
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Why were Europe's first few satellites so stylish? Why the pronounced alternating white and black stripes?

In The Century of Space Science, edited by J.A. Bleeker, Johannes Geiss, M. Huber, viewed in Google books I ran across the following text and images. Both satellites are quite stylish looking and ...
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Why would low pump inlet pressure result in such a spectacular explosion? (Vanguard TV3)

In the short US Naval Research Laboratory video Vanguard 60th Anniversary: A Look Back at about 03:46, Mr. Alton E. Jones says: Most people are curious about as ...
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Function of the separated, individual solar cells on Telstar 1 and 2? Why were they “special”?

The image below shows a part of a backup satellite for Telstar 1 and 2. In addition to the many small and highly segmented solar panels, there are what look like individual elements of the same kind ...
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How were the 100+ antennas around Telstar 1 and 2 configured?

Telstar 1 and 2 demonstrated routing of telephone, television and other communications types between continents. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum pages below contain images of the satellites. ...
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When did they stop routing long-distance phone calls through satellites? What was the maximum volume at its peak?

I have read that in the early 1960's Telstar 1 and 2 were the first satellites to route long distance telephone calls. I seem to remember that long, long ago, long distance (overseas?) phone calls ...
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Where to obtain Appendix B of STS Historic American Engineering Record TX-116?

At the close of the Shuttle program the National Park Service and the Smithsonian (maybe others as well) embarked on a project to document the Space Transportation System as part of their Historic ...
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What is a good book on pre-Mercury space programs?

It seems that most books on the history of space flight begin with Sputnik and, except for something about von Braun and Goddard, and maybe Ziolkowski, pretty much proceed as if nothing much happened ...
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What did the Apollo 12 multispectral Four-Camera system look like?

From Apollo 12 Mission The camera equipment carried by Apollo 12 consisted of one 70-millimeter Hasselblad EL camera, two Hasselblad data cameras, two 16-millimeter Maurer data acquisition cameras, ...
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Where are remains of laika?

I have already tried searching about laika But one thing i am not able to find What about remains of famous space dog laika? where are her remains? In space or fell back to earth?
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Did Wernher von Braun really have the “Saturn V painted as the V2”?

A comment below the question Did von Braun have “a thing” for fins? Why did Saturn I block 2 get fins because it's a “von Braun” rocket? suggests that Wernher von Braun had the "Saturn V painted as ...
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Saturn I's four outer engines' gas generator exhaust, why not vent to the side like the four inner engines?

At about 04:58 in Scott Manley's new video NASA Might Be Giving Away A Saturn I Rocket - Here's Why I Love This Vintage Booster he says: So the four engines in ...
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Did von Braun have “a thing” for fins? Why did Saturn I block 2 get fins because it's a “von Braun” rocket?

At about 05:55 in Scott Manley's new video NASA Might Be Giving Away A Saturn I Rocket - Here's Why I Love This Vintage Booster he says: So the Saturn; the first ...
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Puzzler: which Apollo 8 astronaut would have been positioned furthest sunwards 20 minutes after lunar insertion?

This Classic @DavidHammen answer to the question Who has been the closest to/furthest from the Sun? says: This bodes well for an Apollo astronaut being the person closest to the Sun, but bodes ill ...
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What radio frequencies were used by the Soviet space program circa 1961? (“Lost Cosmonaut” recording)

The recent Joe Scott video The Mysterious "Lost Cosmonaut" Recording | Random Thursday describes radio recording said to have been made by the Judica Cordiglia brothers from Italy in the early 1960's. ...
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How did skeptics of rocketry think rockets work?

About 50 years ago, the New York Times retracted an unsigned editorial from 1920, in which it was argued that rockets cannot work in vacuum. See this blog, or wikipedia. (alas, I was not able to ...
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How is foot-pounds of energy defined?

Tom Lodgson's classic textbook Orbital Mechanics: Theory and Applications frequently measures energy in foot-pounds, which I'd always thought to measure torque. The book doesn't define it. Is it the ...
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How was the cosmonaut of the Soviet moon mission supposed to get back in the return vehicle?

In the Soviet Moon mission, for which the ill fated N-1 launcher was built, we know that the cosmonaut responsible for landing on the moon was to transfer from the equivalent of the command module to ...
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What was the procedure for Lunar Orbit Rendezvous? [duplicate]

I've read the following questions: Why was orbital rendezvous considered so controversial? Could an Apollo LM land uncrewed? How "hard" did Apollo 12 turn left just before it landed? And ...
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What is the current location of Link-built Apollo Mission Simulators?

There seems to be confusion about the final disposition of, and even the number of, Apollo Mission Simulators built by Link Flight Simulation Division. This question is not about any simulator built ...
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Was Arthur J. Schwaniger one of very few US born NASA scientists using metric units?

Free-return trajectories were studied by Arthur Schwaniger of NASA in 1963 with reference to the Earth–Moon system. Those trajectories were used for the first Apollo missions. Mr. Schwaniger, who ...