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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102 views

Was there a rocket launched to space with Japanese manga characters painted on it?

In How common is it to dedicate rocket launches to popular causes? I mentioned a launch for which I could not remember the details. I'd seen photos of a rocket, Japanese I believe, that would be ...
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How common is it to dedicate rocket launches to popular causes?

The BBC's Space Plane: Mysterious US military aircraft launches says: The launch was dedicated to front line workers and those affected by the pandemic. A message including the words "America ...
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What was so “Mini” about Minitrack?

In the US Naval Research Laboratory video Vanguard 60th Anniversary: A Look Back Roger L. Easton says: Now, how did Vanguard Start? I think it’s fair to say that Milt Rosen started the ...
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Did NASA develop any crewed moon landing programs between Apollo and Constellation?

I just assumed that NASA has always been developing some plan to get humans back on the moon since Apollo was cancelled. But while attempting to verify this, I found that this doesn't seem to be the ...
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Heart attacks & suicides in NASA Mission Control of the 60s?

On page 280 of Mike Gray's book Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon (1992), Gene Kranz, legendary NASA flight director in Gemini & Apollo missions, is quoted as saying: It ...
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Missing Launch Vehicle

Early Soviet era launch vehicles had a variety of designations, e.g. the well known Vostok launcher and its derivations have been known as the R7, 8K72, Semyorka, SS-6, Sapwood, A-1 and SL-3 . I'm ...
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157 views

Did they mount the Apollo Mobile Service Structure (MSS) to the launch pad using nuts and bolts to be prepared for a storm?

The Mobile Service Structure (MSS) was used for every launch preparation of the Saturn V. It was removed some hours before launch. The MSS is the white tower on the left side. The MSS was moved and ...
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How did they access the LM to mount the flag package while the Apollo stack was already on the launch pad?

NASA decided rather late to take a flag to the Moon on the Apollo 11 mission. In fact, they were so late that the package containing the flag was only attached to the leg of the LM on July 9th, two ...
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141 views

Why were two simultaneous command transmissions interpreted by Kosmos 57 as an order to begin the descent?

This answer to Encryption in radio system points to the Wikipedia article Kosmos 57 which says: The unmanned spacecraft was destroyed on its third orbit around Earth. Two ground control stations, ...
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Why was ISEE-3 “the most cost-effective spacecraft we ever had” in 2014?

NPR's 2014 news article and audio podcast: Space Thief Or Hero? One Man's Quest To Reawaken An Old Friend quotes Robert Farquhar (NASA, Wikipedia) when discussing the ISEE-3 mission before the ISEE-3 ...
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What key mission events fell on birthdays or anniversaries due to fine tuning by Robert Farquhar?

NPR's 2014 news article and audio podcast: Space Thief Or Hero? One Man's Quest To Reawaken An Old Friend says of Robert Farquhar (NASA, Wikipedia): Farquhar is now 81 years old. He's been called ...
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Why did the Apollo lunar missions not let all astronauts at least set foot on the Moon's surface? [duplicate]

All Apollo lunar missions had a third crew member who remained on board the command module. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing#Crewed_landings Imagine being the guy who has to risk ...
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What other options to egress the Apollo Lunar Module were considered, given the height of the LM hatch above the ground?

The egress hatch of the LM is almost 3.5 meters above the Lunar surface. The astronauts descended using a ladder, which is actually quite high above the ground (see also this question). Were any other ...
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How and/or why did Elon Musk mistweet Roadster's C3 so badly?

In this answer to How close would the Tesla Roadster with Starman have to get to Earth in order to become attracted and fall on Earth? I just wrote: When Roadster was launched from Earth Elon Musk ...
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Who called the Lagrangian points as “Libration” points and and why was the terminology “Libration” used?

I am curious about the naming and why were the equilibrium solutions of the CR3BP called as Libration points? Who called them that and what is the history behind it?
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153 views

First radio contact between an Australian and a spacecraft? First voice communications?

Launched east from Cape Canaveral at about 30 degrees north latitude, the first few orbits have an opportunity to pass over Australia because it's big and roughly antipodal, especially as the Earth ...
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Were there contemporary criticisms of NASA's pre-Challenger plans to exclusively use the Shuttle for US launches?

Before the Challenger accident, NASA planned to use the Space Shuttle as the exclusive launch vehicle for the US. While the other major launch vehicle families were never quite discontinued, I know ...
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What programs did David Scott add to the Apollo computer for Apollo 15?

David Scott was the commander for Apollo 15. He was also a main point of contact between MIT, who developed the Apollo flight computer, and the astronauts who were going to use that computer. ...
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99 views

How did the automatic sextant on the late-1950's MIT Mars Probe work?

The reason MIT was chosen to develop the Apollo guidance computer was their Instrumentation Lab. They specialised in inertial navigation and had done impressive work on inertial navigation for ...
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What equipment was taken from Earth to the surface of the Moon and back?

During the Apollo missions, basically everything was left behind as soon as it was no longer needed. Of the approximately 45-48 tons that the CSM+LM weighed at launch, only 10% made it back to Earth. ...
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What specific contributions have ballooning experiments made to manned space flight?

I am vaguely aware that the US space program wasn't just kicked off after Sputnik. There is a history of balloons and sounding rockets that never seem to get mentioned in the books I've read, and ...
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88 views

Was there a spacecraft that was clearly the first to be put in a polar orbit?

Was there a first spacecraft put in a polar orbit? It might not be clear if it's too hard to say what high inclination orbit is or is not polar, for example if 91 satellites were launched in 0, 1, 2.....
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What were the two circa 1965 semi-polar missions launched from Cape Canaveral?

Teslarati's SpaceX sets date for first Florida launch of its kind in more than half a century says That November 1960 launch thus shut down East Coast polar launches to avoid overflying Cuba and ...
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Will SpaceX use a special launch maneuver for the SAOCOM 1B mission?

Teslarati's SpaceX sets date for first Florida launch of its kind in more than half a century explains that something different will happen. For those that want to read the article first, I've used ...
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103 views

Did the Saturn IB have eight equally spaced fins around its circumference?

This answer to Saturn V Small Rectangles On S-II Stage includes images and links related to the Saturn IB rocket. It shows what I think is an unwrapped representation of part of a circumference which ...
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Name any misssions which were conducted due to urgency or due to some emergency in a very limited time?

I would like to know if there were any space missions which were conducted due to an immediate emergency and I wish to know how they were managed.
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Why were later Russian engines inferior to the NK-33?

In terms of thrust-to-weight ratio the NK-33 engine developed for the Soviet N-1 rocket was by far the best in the world at the time, with a thrust-to-weight ratio of 137. But subsequent Russian ...
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83 views

How did NASA fund searches for extraterrestrial life before 1993? How were the searches done?

The BBC's Astronomers want public funds for intelligent life search says: Nasa once funded the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence to the tune of $10m a year. But the funding was scrapped in ...
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102 views

Are all of these tweeted examples of spaceflight failures US failures?

This verified tweet from MJ Azari Jahromi, ICT Minister of Iran, found in Livescience's Iran satellite launch fails to reach orbit says: Today "Zafar" satellite launch failed. Like many scientific ...
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How were video tape recorders adapted to work in orbit in 1962?

Livescience's Satellite spies gigantic 'fuzzball' clouds spreading near Australia coast says: Actinoform clouds were first captured by NASA’s Television Infrared Observation Satellite V in 1962, ...
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Could New Horizons take a “Pale Blue Dot”-like image this year?

Answers to At what exact time was the Pale Blue Dot image taken? say that the famous image was taken by Voyager 1 on 14-Feb-1990 and it took until May of that year for all the data to be sent back to ...
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What is this font used in Apollo / early Shuttle NASA documents? (possibly OT)

Seeking the name of a font used in Apollo NASA documentation and some early shuttle documents as well. Examples: from SSME Pocket Data Book From Apollo 12 / SA 507 Flight Manual Recognizing this ...
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What was the first use of analog to digital conversion in a satellite?

This answer to Do the Voyager probes transmit analogue or digital data? states that the Voyagers sent only digital data. This is no doubt mostly because analog data was digitized and store digitally ...
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160 views

HTP as oxidizer for main propulsion

Please anyone elaborate why hydrogen peroxide is not used as an oxidizer for main propulsion. I see that everyone agrees on this but from my point of view its a big flaw. I think that industry has ...
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What is the story behind specific impulse being expressed in seconds?

I've heard a couple of explanations but none of them quite make sense. One was that the German rocket engineers used metric and the American rocket engineers used the English system and seconds were ...
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Estimated 13.77 billion years is this age of observable universe or the entire universe? [closed]

Can we calculate the age of entire universe not just the observable part ? If any type of EMW will never reach earth how can we ever know ?
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Can you help me fill in the gaps in my liquid-fuel rocket propellant tank technology knowledge? [closed]

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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191 views

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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191 views

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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116 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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191 views

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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1answer
106 views

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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288 views

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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563 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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