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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21
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3answers
3k views

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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1answer
250 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
64 views

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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1answer
93 views

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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4answers
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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 ...
17
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1answer
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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 ...
3
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1answer
116 views

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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9answers
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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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1answer
723 views

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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0answers
106 views

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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1answer
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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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4answers
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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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1answer
36 views

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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0answers
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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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1answer
63 views

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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2answers
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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 ...
14
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
3
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1answer
106 views

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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1answer
92 views

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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1answer
134 views

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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2answers
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
133 views

Movie “Gagarin” what is the meaning of “DTH” which gets activated during re-entry?

In movie "Gagarin"; towards end there is something called "DTH" which initially doesn't gets activated and it was feared spacecraft will draft away 100 km. what exactly is this ...
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1answer
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Why were there two cosmonauts shown in the movie “Gagarin”?

Today I saw movie "Gagarin" and in the bus scene towards the first flight; there were two cosmonauts. If Gagarin was chosen to fly first then why was the second guy present? What was his ...
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1answer
224 views

Is Earth's “pear shape” mostly J₃?

@OrganicMarble's answer to 1959 Peanuts cartoon about the Fischer ellipsoid (Earth is “pear-shaped”)? finally let me see the cartoon that Mathematician, Engineer and Geoscientist Irene Fischer wrote ...
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1answer
2k views

When did photographic film stop being used in satellites?

Some early observation satellites took pictures on photographic film and the film was dropped towards Earth and picked up by airplanes (e.g. Corona). What was the last satellite to use photographic ...
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0answers
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What did NASA Vehicle Assembly Building's “weather” look like? Did it really have clouds? Did it rain?

Comments below this answer to Would there be snow, rain, fog or clouds in a deep, sealed, subsurface cavern on the Moon if water were present? point out that the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building ...
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1answer
81 views

How did the first astronauts/kosmonauts in the 1940s/1950s *know* that the sky isn't actually a dome with “little dots” (stars)?

This may sound ridiculous, like a joke question, but I'm for real. I've been thinking a lot about things like this, but I always return to this question: Those early "space explorers" who ...
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1answer
55 views

How did the TIROS video tape recorders record and playback images rather than audio; how were the signals modulated?

(At least) one answer to How were video tape recorders adapted to work in orbit in 1962? argues that the recorder should not be called a "video" tape recorder because the record/playback ...
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1answer
108 views

Did Corporal or other rockets launched from White Sands land in Mexico? If so, how often?

At 10:39 in the video Explorer One is the following: Pickering had once half-joked that JPL could do anything, but building the corporal proved a humbling ...
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0answers
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How long was Sputnik 1's second stage rocket body in orbit? Are there TLEs for it?

Early artificial satellites were tracked by radio and visually by amateurs, scientists and military personnel for various reasons including fun and improving the understanding of orbital dynamics ...
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0answers
76 views

When was the first successful photograph of an orbital spacecraft from Earth taken?

Early artificial satellites were tracked by radio and visually by amateurs, scientists and military personnel for various reasons including fun and improving the understanding of orbital dynamics ...
9
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1answer
194 views

Why were the Titans so expensive?

The Titan II/III/IV family (derived from the ICBM family of the same name)1 were the premier U.S. expendable launchers for much of the late 20th century, being the most capable expendables in the U.S. ...
2
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1answer
91 views

What routinely happened in the TIROS control center? Was anything controlled there?

Question: What actually happened in the TIROS control center at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland? Did they receive and print out satellite images in this room? If so, how? Did they ...
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1answer
62 views

Is it possible that dark matter is civilization? [closed]

If the zoo theory is correct. Is it possible that dark matter then is civilization?
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4answers
138 views

History of investigation of lunar and Martian surface gravity

I wonder when it was discovered that the Moon has about a sixth of the Earth's surface gravity and that Mars has 0.38 g. I think that until Newton, everyone assumed there was the same gravity on every ...
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0answers
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When did the FAI adopt the 100km line as border to space (for their purposes)?

Let me preface this with a disclaimer: This is not a discussion about which height makes sense. This is purely about international recognition by the FAI. Wikipedia says "An international committee ...
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1answer
298 views

How could RCA Satcom III have been completely lost? (Or was it?)

This answer to What “missing satellite” was part of the story of CNN's debut? quotes the 1981 UPI Article The RCA Satcom III-R commercial communications satellite, designed to... as follows: The ...
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1answer
394 views

What “missing satellite” was part of the story of CNN's debut?

NPR's Tune In To 'Up All Night' For The Story Of Daniel Schorr And The Birth Of CNN includes the following about the beginnings of Cable News Network On CNN's rocky debut: There were so many ...
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0answers
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What were the earliest rocket payloads (US and Russian) that supported coasting at anywhere in the ascent?

I know that sequential staging of rocket boosters was problematic, leading to Atlas stage-and-a-half and Russian hot staging. At what point did rocket boosters have attitude control allowing them to ...
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2answers
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Did Ed White, on his Gemini 4 spacewalk, have to release pressure from his suit to reenter the capsule?

I'm reading the book Das kleines Handbuch für angehende Raumfahrer ("The Little Handbook for Budding Space Travelers") by the Doctors Bergita and Urs Ganse. I generally like it. They got a few little ...
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1answer
56 views

Has a fire alarm/emergency at mission control interrupted operations?

As seems likely to be common practice, in the first attempt at SpaceX's Crew-Demo2 launch, key operators were instructed to remain at their posts in the event of a fire alarm, while others evaluated ...
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3answers
135 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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1answer
745 views

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 Vanguard ...
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0answers
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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 ...
3
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0answers
101 views

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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