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Questions tagged [history]

Questions pertaining to the history of space exploration.

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Was the gravity turn used in early spaceflight?

Reading through the Wikipedia article about Gravity Turn, specifically the Use in spaceflight section, it seems that the Gravity Turn was not used in early spaceflight. Is that correct? For example, ...
2
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1answer
82 views

Better source for the 1967 photograph of Surveyor-1 by Lunar Orbiter-3?

In 1969 Apollo-12 Lunar Module pilot Alan L. Bean photographed Apollo 12 Commander Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr. standing next to Surveyor-3 because despite all of NASA's technological innovation that had ...
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1answer
161 views

Has a NASA administrator ever explained US military initiatives in Space to the press before this?

A search of the site will show that from time to time the political aspects of NASA (a US government agency) or the Space Exploration aspects of politicians have been considered on-topic in this site. ...
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88 views

What does this drawing by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky illustrate, or represent?

The Kinetic video (ironically titled) The first rocket scientist - Robert Goddard begins with an introduction to the even more first rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and shows the following ...
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2answers
142 views

Why were the antennas on the spherical surface of some early satellites spiral-shaped?

In the question What's the spiral pattern on this satellite? I show this image of a spiral-shaped pattern on the spherical surface of a (presumably) vintage satellite or model thereof. @OrganicMarble'...
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Is there, or has there ever been anything remotely like an electron microscope in space?

I'm guessing Cmdr Hadfield's tweet is only showing an old file photo, but electron microscopes can be quite handy and complement optical microscopes, at high or even low magnification as shown here. ...
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2answers
83 views

How did Syncom-3 achieve eight stages of frequency doubling? I only see seven in the block diagram

@BlueCoder's nice answer to Syncom-3 was the first geostationary satellite. Anyone know of a description of the onboard electronics? mentions that the the master oscillator was doubled eight times to ...
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1answer
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Syncom-3 was the first geostationary satellite. Anyone know of a description of the onboard electronics?

I am interested in any description of the electronics on Syncom-3, the first geostationary satellite. I've been able to find quite a bit of general information. There was a pair of 2 Watt TWTs and ...
3
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Apollo-11 AGC core memory has 5 wires per core (rather than 3 or 4) - why?

Apollo-11 AGC core memory has 5 wires per core (rather than 3 or 4) - why? I am referring to this image in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_Guidance_Computer#/media/File:...
3
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1answer
110 views

Which mission delivered the first ever complete photograph of the Earth?

So far, I found a picture made from a captured V missile launched in US to image part of the Earth. Which mission did deliver a full view of the Earth from the space? Note. Of course it's ...
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66 views

Can I obtain the audio of president Eisenhowers message coming to me from a satellite circling in outer space?

I remember hearing a recording of this speech some time ago. However searching for it again has been difficult, which led me to believe that I probably heard a recreation from someone else. In this qz....
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Why was orbital rendezvous considered so controversial?

It's popularly understood that the Apollo program only selected lunar-orbital rendezvous as a mission profile after first thoroughly rejecting the direct ascent profile. It seems as though the ...
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1answer
94 views

What do these GPS-related emblems represent? Does one of them show “Marvin the Martian”?

The Wikipedia page linked in @OrganicMarble's answer about the Air Force Space and Missile Museum contains the image below, of a (now retired) GPS monitoring station. To the right of the station ...
3
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1answer
87 views

Where is the LC-19 launch console now?

Julia Bergeron's recent tweet from Florida shows an electronics console that looks to be mid-20th century. Above it is written LC-19 but there are other ...
2
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1answer
212 views

Is this ISS artwork old but accurate? Was there a radiator that looked like this once?

Along with today's NPR.org news article NASA Needs Backup Plan To Maintain U.S. Presence At Space Station, Watchdog Says there is a big of ISS artwork of the ISS. The caption says: International ...
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3answers
360 views

In what ways did the Soviet Union “observe the Apollo Moon landings closely”?

@DarkDust's comment says: If the USSR had had just a tiny amount of doubt whether the landings were faked, they would have used that for propaganda. Loudly! They observed the landings closely and ...
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2answers
128 views

Space station Freedom - purpose (specialisation) of pressurized modules

A project of Space station Freedom had a long evolution and eventually ended as US segment of International Space Station. For ISS we know specialisation of pressurized modules. What were purposes ...
4
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1answer
95 views

What attitude have past and modern manned spacecraft maintain(ed) relative to Earth?

I hope this question is not too broad. It is inspired by another question. We know that ISS keeps its nadir pointing to Earth's surface. What about other manned spacecraft? Do/did they have ...
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How do we know the Apollo Moon landings are real?

Since about 1976, conspiracy theories denying the Moon landing and claiming it was all faked have cropped up. As a website devoted to answering questions about space exploration, we receive questions ...
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2answers
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What is the difference between Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center?

Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center are both at pretty much the same location in Florida. I do not understand why they are referenced separately in media. How much are they separate entities? Is ...
9
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1answer
209 views

What is the cause of the data discrepancy between these two Apollo 11 Reports

Table 7-11 on page 7-9 of MSC-00171 Apollo 11 Mission Report lists the CSM/S-IVB separation occurring 3 hours, 17 minutes and 4.6 seconds into the mission, at an altitude of 4110.9 nautical miles, at ...
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2answers
283 views

How would the space shuttle have been retrieved following a TAL out of Vandenberg?

Had the space shuttle ever launched out of Vandenberg AFB, its primary transoceanic abort landing (TAL) site would have been Mataveri International Airport (SCIP) on Rapa Nui (Easter Island; Isla de ...
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1answer
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Could weight have been saved on the Apollo CSM using an alternative main engine?

It's well known that the Apollo service module's main engine, the AJ10-137, was oversized for its mission. The initial plan was to use it for liftoff from the moon surface. My question is - how much ...
6
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1answer
332 views

What is BECO? (Gemini) Same as MECO?

This answer links to this answer which shows the acceleration g-force envelopes experienced by early astronauts, reaching as high as almost 7.5g! Both show BECO, which is what I might call MECO or ...
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1answer
140 views

Has an object ever been put in orbit where the first stage was always at maximum thrust?

Variable thrust through changing the number of engines burning, or through propellant throttling, or other means is often/usually done to reduce maximum aerodynamic stresses on the rocket as well as ...
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1answer
3k views

What is the biggest piece of space junk?

What is the biggest of space junk in orbit? What was it used for and is there a picture? Source: Wikipedia
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142 views

Apollo 11 ascent data/observation mismatch

I'm researching the Apollo 11 ascent to orbit and found an article showing a mismatch between the observation and the Boeing data The launch video shows the rocket punching through what appears to be ...
5
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1answer
785 views

What Soviet-era space-related film is this Nick Stevens tweet referring to?

@antzi's post in chat lead me to the Nick Stevens' Twitter account in which I found the following 9-Apr-2018 Tweet: Soviet film, dramatized version of #Korolev and #Gagarin with the ADU-1000 Pluton ...
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Were the Apollo lunar ALSEP transmitter signals ever analyzed or used after the experiments were shut down?

This answer to the question Why were the “perfectly functioning” seismometers placed by Apollo 12, 14, 15 and 16 astronauts all shut off in 1977? links to a NASA News Release No: 77-47 dated September ...
4
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1answer
126 views

Got Milk? Why is the term “colloid” used in “Colloid or Electrospray thruster”?

From this answer to the question "Difference between colloid thrusters and electro spray thrusters" I've extracted the following: According to the Wikipedia article Colloid thruster they are the same ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the most heated exoatmospheric conflict to-date?

This tweet by ISS Archaeology (quote-tweeting Norishige Kanai) got me wondering: with all the accumulated time humans have spent in space, surely there have been disagreements, frustration, and ...
4
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1answer
108 views

Why were some Launch Complex numbers skipped?

The Cape Caneveral Launch Complexes are numbered from 1 to 47, but curiously some numbers seem to have been skipped. The missing numbers are LC-7, LC-8, LC-23, LC-24, LC-27, LC-28, LC-33, LC-35, LC-38,...
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149 views

Identify this rocket and launch site from Gilligan's Island episode?

Since @geoffc has broken the "Gilligan's Island Barrier" with this answer I'd like to ask about the Space-themed episode 22 of Season 3 "Splashdown" which aired on February 20, 1967. What launch ...
13
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1answer
2k views

Why were the Sputniks launched to such high apogee?

Sputnik I was launched to reach as high as 939 km above the sea level and made 1440 orbits. Vostok I with Gagarin aboard was launched to 327 km for one orbit. Wouldn't 200 km or even less be enough to ...
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1answer
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How accurate is this Apollo Command Module replica, and why would it be copper-colored?

Reading the Quartz article How do you design an office for robots? I saw what is certainly a replica of most likely an Apollo command module ("space capsule") in several of the photos, the largest of ...
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2answers
142 views

What was going to lift the components of Space Station Freedom?

For the Space Station Freedom (predecessor of ISS), what was the plan for lobbing the various components up into orbit? Was it going to be launched on a modified Saturn V like Skylab was, or were the ...
5
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1answer
335 views

How did astronaut Ellison Onizuka's words end up in my passport?

Astronaut Jack Fischer's Tweet about the late Ellison Onizuka (lost in the shuttle Challenger disaster) mentions that Onizuka is quoted in US passports. I looked, and sure enough it's there, right ...
3
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1answer
121 views

Origin and history of the traditional tree planting ceremony at the Cosmonaut Hotel?

Looking through NASA Johnson's Flickr I saw this photo (and also this one). The complete caption is shown below. Expedition 49 Preflight nhq201609160011 (09/16/2016) --- Expedition 49 flight ...
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1answer
172 views

Did a fuel tank ruptured by a ballpoint pen really sever an engineers finger?

In Ars' series on the Apollo program Eric tells a story about the Lunar Module from NASA lore... ...recounted in Apollo: The Race to the Moon, a technician working with a test version of the ...
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1answer
71 views

Looking for information about a space-related footage and film resource [closed]

There once was a website called Space Films, I think that was it. The web site featured restored official video footage from NASA and others of various space launches over the years (i.e. Gemini, ...
2
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1answer
179 views

What satellites were launched into a polar orbit from Cape Canaveral in the 1950s and 1960s?

Historically, most launches from U.S. soil that have headed into a polar or near-polar orbit have been launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. However, in a recent article written by ...
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2answers
142 views

How were polar or retrograde satellites launched in the early 80s?

Many satellites (such as the recent Iridium launch) need to be in either slight retrograde or polar orbit. Since Kennedy Space Center is located on the east coast of Florida, rockets that need to go ...
3
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1answer
509 views

Why has ESA never flown a crewed spacecraft?

According to Wikipedia, ESA has never had a crewed spacecraft. While this is reasonable, it's striking that no ESA crewed spacecraft is in development right now. What's the rationale behind this ...
3
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1answer
244 views

What are the thrusters present on the side of the Mercury-Atlas launch vehicle?

I just watched a documentary about the Mercury program and was wondering what those "side rockets" (don't know how to call them properly) are for? Further stability or generating some extra thrust? ...
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198 views

What were some of the first two stage rockets flown?

The first US two stage rocket was bumper, a combination of a german V2 liquid fuel rocket with an US second stage. The Soviet Union had the R-1 and R-2 based on the V-2. In this list, the R-7 is the ...
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What is the largest number of engines ever used on an orbital class rocket? [duplicate]

Specifically the number of engines simultaneously ignited. So not summing up over different stages. I am interested in the max for both number of engines and number of combustion chambers. What I ...
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1answer
2k views

How many rockets have been launched into space? (roughly, of course)

First I was going to ask how many rocket bodies lay at the bottom of the ocean, but I simplified further. Remember, this includes sounding rockets; anything passing the Kármán line. I'm looking for ...
2
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1answer
183 views

Did the British Skylark ever launch from the UK?

The BBC News item Skylark: The unsung hero of British space remembers the 441st and final launch of the British rocket Skylark in May 2005, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its first launch. ...
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1answer
537 views

Was 39A built with a rocket much larger than the Saturn V in mind?

The interesting question What are the most difficult challenges SpaceX will face getting astronauts to Mars by about 2025? links to Elon Musk's position paper Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species ...
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What is the smallest launcher that has put a satellite in geostationary orbit?

Minotaur V might become a candidate for the smallest current launcher to put a payload in GEO, but it has only launched LADEE yet. The first satellite in GEO seems to have been Syncom 1 which launched ...