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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1answer
89 views

Did the Apollo Command module really “skip” within, or off of the atmosphere as a part of it's reentry program?

This answer to a question about the Shuttle reentry begins: Skipping reentries aren't unheard of. The Apollo command module performed a single skip when returning from lunar missions. but Wikipedia'...
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Mercury reentry heat shields; material composition, manufacturing process and explanation of all those concentric ridges?

A collection of photos in posts by Miles Lumbard there is a page titled Mercury Retro Pack Walk Around Page 1 (spotted here in reference to the thermal zebra stripes) can be found nine images with the ...
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What ever happened to 6Q0B44E - potentially the “artificial satellite (with) the farthest orbit around the Earth”?

I just started flipping through Handbook of Space Engineering Archaeology, and Heritage Space Hardware Ann Darrin & Beth L. O'Leary, Eds. 2009, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 1035 pages It looks as though ...
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Was the nature of Explorer 3's orbit intentional?

A number of early spacecraft launched into orbits other than the intended one. For example, Explorer 1's apogee of 2550 km was much higher than intended, and Vostok 1's was too high to decay in the ...
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How many Soviet space missions have had at least one tortoise?

Science Alert's These Are 7 of The Strangest Experiments Humans Have Ever Done in Space talks about two tortoises that flew aboard Zond-5 spacecraft on 2 September 1968, then later goes on to say: We'...
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Number of nonhuman primates dead in space exploration

This statue, "Sam", in Riga, Latvia, is dedicated to the animal cosmonauts who perished during space flight experiments. As far as I know, there were a lot of dead dogs on space flights, ...
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What is your name? What is your quest? What is the story behind Satellite 1963-38C?

Source see also the page On Possible Electric Phenomena in Solar Systems and Nebulae By Kristian Birkeland extracted from The Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition 1902-1903 (Book) Wikipedia's ...
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First Ham Radio contact from space; what frequency, what kind of antenna, and how did they route the coax out the window?

From Phys.org's Earthlings and astronauts chat away, via ham radio: NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock was just a few weeks into his six-month mission at the space station when feelings of isolation began ...
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Saturn V launch footage from in/on first S-IC stages

There first launches of each Saturn-class rocket were instrumented with, among other sensors, video cameras to learn about the vehicles’ behavior. The cameras were jettisoned at some point and then ...
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What was the furthest distance from Earth that Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins reached in Apollo 11?

An estimate is fine. But if possible, I am looking for a reference that I can cite.
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What radar-trackable steel ball was thrown from the ISS before October 2015? [duplicate]

The question What kinds of things have been tossed out of the ISS? contains a now-rotted link to a YouTube video of a steel ball being thrown from the ISS for radar tracking tests. I'd sourced it from ...
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Did NASA have black doctors around 1960?

In the 2020 TV series "The Right Stuff" a lot of changes are made for dramatic effect. The show has a black doctor working at NASA during the Mercury programme, and he seems to be pretty ...
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Is it common and good engineering for a pair of cables to be easily plugged into each other's connectors in modern spacecraft, or

Space News's Human error blamed for Vega launch failure Analysis of the telemetry from the mission, along with data from the production of the vehicle, led them to conclude that cables to two thrust ...
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How many independent demonstrations of optical communications between ground and space have been successful?

As everybody knows, the pioneering work of The Professor and his serendipitous collaborator Gilligan demonstrated the reality of ground to space optical communications back in 1964. In that case ...
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Is there anything left of the J-2 test stands at Santa Susana Field Laboratory and the F-1 test stands at Edwards AFB?

The Mississippi Test Facility (now Stennis Space Center) is used for a lot of rocket testing, including testing the F-1. However, many of the test stands are now gone. Rocketdyne, however, also had ...
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Lot 345 of Christie's “Voyage To Another World” auction supposedly has the only photo of Armstrong on the Moon, but isn't this one also?

Christie's press release Christie's Voyage to Another World: The Victor Martrin-Malburet Photograph Collection includes the following: Lot 345, The only photograph of Neil Armstrong on the Moon, July ...
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Who proposed detonating gunpowder on the moon to prove a rocket reached it?

I remember reading a about some rocket pioneer who had proposed that if a rocket were launched to the moon, one way to prove that it had reached the moon would be to detonate a large quantity of ...
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76 views

Where can I find list of deep space probes launched but yet to land on celestial bodies etc?

How can I find list of all deep space probes that have launched, but not yet landed on any celestial bodies?
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What was the first successful demonstration of a fuel cell in space?

Hydrogen fuel cells (together with batteries) were used for electrical power in the Apollo program, where it was recombined with oxygen on board to produce electricity. Doing chemistry in practical ...
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How was the Skylab 'parasol' deployed?

The parasol shield set up by the first Skylab crew was deployed through a scientific airlock. How did they control this when the inner hatch of the airlock must have been closed?
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How hard is it to fly through the tail of a comet? Has it been done?

The line between comets and asteroids is somewhat blurred (see below) but when we see a big bright tail we at least like to call it a comet. This question is about exploration of the tails of big-tail-...
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Have traditional spinning hard drives ever been used in space outside of pressurized crewed areas? Ever beyond LEO?

The Atacama Large Millimeter Array or ALMA is a radio telescope complex where signals from dozens of distributed dishes are routed to a single computer which performs interferometry and image ...
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When, if ever, did deep space probes start using encryption?

What, if any, mechanisms prevent unauthorized commands? Asks what measures are taken for spacecraft, although the answer doesn't go much farther than pointing to the What would one need to do in order ...
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What was the normal function of the (coax?) crosshairs used during the Apollo 13 famous manual burn?

What crosshairs were used to maintain an attitude during the famous manual trajectory correction burn during Apollo 13's return to Earth? What was their normal function? This is all I can hear in the ...
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How often have dust devils saved a Martian lander or rover?

This answer to How are the Mars Rovers maintained? reminds us that ...much to the surprise of the early Mars scientists and rover teams, Mars takes care of the dust problem for us! Mars' typical ...
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Arrhenius' calculation of the temperature of Venus

In this answer, we learn that in the early 1900s, Nobel Prize winner Svante Arrhenius believed that Venus was covered in lush swamps. His book on this matter, "the destinies of the stars", ...
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Would it have been possible to launch rockets in secret in the 1960s?

I had a discussion the other day with a friend who claimed that many more cosmonauts were lost during the the Space Race than the Soviet government publicly admitted. He argued that it was easy for ...
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What spacecraft has had the greatest total propulsive delta-v?

How fast is fuel escaping a rocket for it to reach the escape velocity 11 km/s? was an active and well-received discussion! It's always exciting when we first realize that a rocket can go much faster ...
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space piracy, has it ever happened?

Recently i was watching the movie "The martian" where and that got me wondering, has something like that ever happened in real life, where someone (a person or organization) has became a ...
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NASA SIM (Space Interferometry Mission) - how mature technically it was at the moment of cancellation?

NASA's SIM mission was canceled in 2010. It was planned as first optical interferometer in space. I couldn't find answer - how technically mature the mission was when it was canceled? How far it was ...
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Why aren't there any trajectories for the Viking missions in JPL Horizons' database?

Horizons has calculated trajectories for deep space spacecraft, including six objects related to Apollo 8 through 12. See an (old) list in the currently unanswered question What was Chang'e-2'...
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First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans?

Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are ubiquitous now, but I still remember riding my bike to Radio Shack and buying my first LED, checking the diagram on the back of the package, and getting a battery and ...
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Was Venus once seriously believed to be lush under its cloud cover?

Mars was once believed to have canals, and some astronomers seriously argued that they were artificial. The atmosphere of Venus was first observed in 1761. Wikipedia kind of skips over the period ...
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Technical historical books covering the Apollo-Saturn program

In the preface of "Stages to Saturn", the author Robert E. Bilstein writes: This book is a technological history. [...] Two other histories, already published, deal with subjects keyed to ...
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Why would such a powerful computer (or a computer at all) be needed to go to the Moon?

I keep hearing people say things like: Duuuude! It's so insane that we're carrying around phones in our pockets that are a thousand times faster than the computers that took us to the moon! Why do ...
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Can you help me identify this vehicle outside the VAB?

I found this photo of a house being transported off of Kennedy Space Center property sometime in the 1960s/early 1970s. We managed to track down where the house was moved from/to, but one thing that ...
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Who invented the sun-synchronous orbit?

I was explaining sun-synchronous orbits to a co-worker and he asked me who invented it and when. I could not find an answer on wikipedia or a quick google search, so I thought about asking here.
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Connection between Vanguard spacecraft, Vanguard rocket, and Project Vanguard?

I think I created the vanguard tag for Why would low pump inlet pressure result in such a spectacular explosion? (Vanguard TV3) and now I'm not sure of the connection between the Vanguard spacecraft, ...
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Did Sputnik 1 tell us more than “beep”? What science was improved by information gained from its orbiting the Earth?

Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite launched by humans to orbit the Earth. This answer begins: Sputnik had just one single job: Prove its existence by sending a simple "beep" ...
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Was “Apollo” an acronym for “America’s Program for Orbiting Lunar and Landing Operations”?

I came across this paper which, on page 9, says the following: The guidance or “shooting” algorithm is based on the Linear Peturbation Theory (Battin) developed for the America’s Program for Orbiting ...
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Resources for number of orbiting and active satellites by year?

What are the standard resources for numbers of all orbiting as well as specifically active satellites by year? I'm interested in finding information on how many satellites were in orbit and how many ...
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Most busy times in space launches by decade?

If anyone has the curiosity and time and possibility to run the scripts, I think it's interesting to see the most busy day, week, month and year, by decade. Most busy week of 1960s then most busy week ...
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When was liquid hydrogen used for the first time in rocket engines?

When it was the first time the liquid hydrogen was used in a rocket engine? I mean for space launches, but it would be interesting to also know about first uses in experimental engines, in military, ...
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When was liquid methane used for the first time in rocket engines?

When it was the first time the liquid methane was used in a rocket engine? I mean for space launches, but it would be interesting to also know about first uses in experimental [rocket] engines, in ...
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1answer
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Have other space capsule splashdowns attracted a crowd of civilians on boats?

We saw on the SpaceX Demo 2 splashdown livestream that various clearly-non-mission-associated civilian boats appeared to approach the Crew Dragon within 100-300 ft. Has this happened on any previous ...
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What is the longest period of consecutive daily space launches?

What is the largest number of days with at least one space launch every day? Also what is the largest number of days with at least a launch per day on average? For example two launches yesterday and ...
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Largest gap between two consecutive space launches?

What was the largest period without space launches after say 1970? I had to chose a random year because I guess in the first years of the Space Age the gaps were the largest anyway. Related questions: ...
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Most busy times in US space launches?

In the history of USA space era, when did it have the most launches in the same day, week, month and year? Related questions: What was the most busy week in space launches? What is the longest period ...
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What was the most busy week in space launches?

In the history of space launches, which week has had the most space launches? It would be also nice to know the second and third place. I think its also interesting to ask about most busy month and ...
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What was the nature of the communication problems during Apollo 11's Eagle's descent? How were other antennas selected?

In the video of Los Angeles station KTLA's Frank Buckley interviewing astronaut & Apollo 11 CAPCOM Charlie Duke a communication problem and antenna selection is described: BUCKLEY: Many of us who ...

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