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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Was Apollo 8 lunar orbit entry speed intentional at 7,777 ft/s?

When Apollo 8 first went behind the back side of the Moon, it was traveling at 7,777 feet per second (https://history.nasa.gov/afj/ap08fj/12day3_lunar_encounter.html). Was the speed being all 7s (the ...
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What are the negatives associated with Thrust-augmented Nozzles aka Afterburning Rocket Engines?

An interesting comment here introduced me to the concept of Thrust-augmented Nozzles aka Afterburning Rocket Engines. The pubs I've read on it so far introduce the concept as a way to provide good ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Who first conceptualized the space rendezvous?

For the Apollo mission, there was a debate on which mode is better - the Earth orbit rendezvous (EOR) or the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR). Who was the first person to introduce the concept of space ...
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What are some of the obsolete technologies that space agencies used in day-to-day work during the 1960s?

This may be a vague question, please let me know if more info is needed. As we know, NASA put a man on the moon using technologies that we no longer use, like slide rules and entire teams of people ...
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4 votes
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Reference request: Rocketdyne Document R-3896-4 "F-1 Rocket Engine Illustrated Parts Breakdown"

Various sections of the Rocketdyne F-1 document R-3896 can be found scattered about the web, but I can't find R-3896-4. It's described as R-3896-4 F-1 Rocket Engine Illustrated Parts Breakdown This ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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What does it mean to tune the Saturn F-1 engine to a frequency, and how is the tuning done?

Chapter 10 of Chariots For Apollo remarks the following in discussing the pogo problem of Apollo 4 and 6 and the role of the first stage F-1 engines in that: The mission analysts later discovered ...
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What did Charlie Duke mean by "down on the ground"?

When Neil Armstrong gave his iconic report "The Eagle has landed," CAPCOM Charlie Duke responded with, "We copy you down on the ground." What exactly did he mean by this? Was it, ...
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Mariner 9 computing equipment

I am guessing the word CPU can't be used in reference to computers in 1971. So I am wondering what type of electronic equipment were put in place of a regular CPU ...
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Why was SERT-1 put in a suborbital trajectory (4000 km apogee) while SERT-2 (1970-009A) was put in a 1000 km circular polar orbit?

Wikipedia's SERT-1 says SERT-1 (Space Electric Rocket Test) was a NASA probe used to test electrostatic ion thruster design and was built by NASA's Lewis Research Center (now NASA Glenn). SERT-1 was ...
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How relevant was Wernher von Braun really? [closed]

Wernehr von Braun is named "Father of the moon landing" and deemed very important to the success of the space race back in the day. But was he really? What were his personal contributions? ...
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What would happen if a rocket was shot? [duplicate]

After the pre-launch explosion in 2016 of their Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX seriously considered sabotage, going as far as to see how easy it would be to shoot the Falcon 9 rocket from the ULA building. ...
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First use of spacecraft thermal control louvers, doors, pinwheels, or other things that physically actuate either passively or actively?

Below are some examples of Question: What was the first use of spacecraft thermal control louvers, doors, pinwheels, or other things that physically actuate either passively or actively? From this ...
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Which (if any) Vanguard satellite spun at 150 RPM? How fast did the rest spin, or at leased would have spun had they succeeded?

From Wikipedia's Project Vanguard; Launch_history I found some candidates for satellites that had pages which I could search for the term "RPM". This is not an exhaustive search, it's just ...
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2 votes
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What was the first successful two-stage-to-orbit launch by the US? What was the first attempt if different?

Wikipedia's Juno I (the launch vehicle for the first US satellite in orbit Explorer 1) begins: The Juno I was a four-stage American space launch vehicle, used to launch lightweight payloads into low ...
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How does NASA count the order that people have entered space?

NASA has designated Matthias Maurer (crewmember of SpaceX CrewDragon 3) as the 600th person to fly in space. Leaving aside the question of whether those who flew with Branson and Bezos should be ...
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Has any piston machine been used on a space mission?

Inspired by question about engine lubrication in space. Piston engines are not used for propelling spacecraft, but there are some possible uses for especially Stirling engines and compressors: ...
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What 1960s era launch pad and vehicle is shown in this still from stock footage?

The interesting question Identify this 1960's launch site and mission? contains some screenshots of launch pad stock footage. Most are of LC39, but as @Puffin points out in a comment, one does ...
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2 votes
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What was the first spacecraft intentionally moved from GEO to the graveyard orbit to die? (just a bit above geosynchronous)

Why “super” for supersynchronous orbits? Why not “trans”? and discussions and answers there got me wondering: Question: What was the first spacecraft intentionally moved from GEO or geosynchronous to ...
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What was the first spacecraft intentionally placed in a supersynchrous Earth orbit? (period longer than a sidereal day)

Why “super” for supersynchronous orbits? Why not “trans”? and discussions and answers there got me wondering: Question: What was the first spacecraft intentionally placed in a supersynchronous Earth ...
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Two additional Saturn V flights planned in 1967 - but for what?

Per this question, there was no "cancelled" second run of Saturn Vs: only the first fifteen were ordered, and no second batch was ordered and then later cancelled. This had always been my ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Deke Slayton's Molded Mercury Capsule Couch?

Recently got a hard question from an observant, sharp-eyed, and curious high school astronomy teacher: Reference this article about some of the training the Mercury Seven astronauts did. Note that the ...
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Will Artemis 2 and/or subsequent Artemis moon flights be able to break humanity's Earth distance record?

How high above the Moon are Artemis' Orion spacecraft going to orbit, in comparison to the Apollo spacecraft? Will their flights surpass or be able to surpass humanity's current record of the farthest ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Which space project was remained as most postponed in space history?

I am asking this question before few hours to launch of JWST space telescope. This many times JWST space telescope was postponed: Early 2019: planned launch date as of October 2017. May 2020 or ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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How was AS-212 (Saturn 1B) supposed to carry both a CSM and LM?

I recently came across this overview image of Saturn 1B missions: (source: NASA) AS-212 is asterisked with the note (bottom-left of the image) that it is "scheduled to carry both a CSM and LM.&...
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15 votes
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What does the ATOLL programming language look like?

During the Apollo program, checkout tests of launch vehicle and spacecraft systems were gradually being automated, moving away from the manual processes during the early years of the space program to (...
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13 votes
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Where did AS-206 go between 1967 and 1973?

The Apollo program was a bit stressful. In 1967 a lot of things went wrong, especially with the delivery of the lunar module: General Phillips's office originally planned to launch the first lunar ...
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5 votes
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Are any more details on the September 5, 2007 "Ares-1X Steel Rod Mishap During Static Strip Test at KSC Parachute Refurbishment Facility" available?

The presentation Recurring Themes from Human Spaceflight Mishaps During Flight Tests and Early Operations contains several rather "hinty" references to a mishap that occurred in September ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Radio antenna used to communicate with the Telstar 1 satellite in 1962

Related to Why was Telstar 1 put in a 952 x 5933, 2.6 hour 44.8° MEO orbit?. The satellite ground station at Andover, Maine, that was used to communicate with the Telstar 1 satellite was a horn ...
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Why was Telstar 1 put in a 952 x 5933, 2.6 hour 44.8° MEO orbit?

Wikipedia says that Telstar 1 was put into a 952 x 5933, 2.6 hour 44.8° MEO orbit but doesn't really say exactly why this particular orbit was selected. Did it perhaps behave roughly like a Molniya ...
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How were Intelsat 1 “Early Bird” and Telstar 1's "hundreds" of simultaneous telephone conversations multiplexed/demultiplexed?

When did they stop routing long-distance analog phone calls through satellites? What was the maximum volume at its peak? contains images, sources and descriptions of both The Intelsat 1 “Early Bird” ...
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1 answer
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How much did we know about space in 1940? [closed]

I'm reading a thoroughly ridiculous book, Calling Captain Future. It was written as a pulp serial in the 1940's, and is set in a very futuristic 1990. In addition to its many rather entertaining ...
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7 votes
4 answers
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Has ion propulsion ever been used in a deep space trajectory correction maneuver proper?

Answer(s) to What types of propulsion are used to adjust an orbit? lead me to wonder if electric propulsion has ever been used for a proper TCM or "trajectory correction maneuver" in deep ...
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12 votes
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What space capsule is this part from?

One of my relatives has this metal component sitting in their backyard. It was a souvenir that my grandfather got to keep from his days working in the aerospace industry (primarily for Boeing). My ...
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3 votes
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First hemispherical resonator used in spaceflight? First used on a deep space mission?

This answer to How exactly did Cassini provide rock-solid attitude control to enable high resolution low light imaging? (1.2 arcsec/pixel for narrow angle camera) says: Cassini was the first ...
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7 votes
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KARI's homegrown KSLV-II almost hit the target orbit on its very first launch. How many OLVs can boast success on the first flight attempt?

Outdated: KSLV-II is a homegrown South Korean orbital launch vehicle. While KARI's launched the Russian-derived KSLV-I before, KSLV-II (or Nuri) uses only new, domestic, hitherto un-flight-tested ...
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19 votes
1 answer
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What is this pin on John Glenn's suit jacket?

I'm watching the documentary "The Real Right Stuff". Around the 14 minute mark they show a clip of a news interview of the 7 mercury astronauts describing how their family feels about them ...
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First left-handed primate on the Moon? First in space?

The various world space agencies' crewed missions have had a long series of firsts, Yuri Gagarin's first being the grandparent of them all. Crewed space missions are recognized worldwide as barrier-...
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How "big" is a 2 megawatt preburner?

Reaction Engines recently announced a milestone completion in their SABRE development program: we have tested the engine’s advanced hydrogen pre-burner at energy delivery levels in excess of two ...
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Which space stations used Torque Equilibrium Attitude? [closed]

My recent question and the related ones made me wonder which space stations in history used Torque Equilibrium Attitude so that one side always faced the Earth and the other faced zenith, and which ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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What did Intelsat-1 do in 1990 for its 25th anniversary brief reactivation? Could it be reactivated again? Is there a secret code?

Ouch! The 1960s From This Is What Broadband Satellite Communication Looked Like in 1965 The Intelsat 1 “Early Bird” communications satellite, built by Hughes Aircraft Co., was able to relay 240 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why were American Apollo-era launch towers red, and why was the reused elements of the Shuttle-era FSS painted over in grey?

This image of STS-8 shows red peeking through the grey of the launch structure. That got me thinking... Mercury-Atlas launch towers were red (although Mercury-Redstone's towers were yellow, I think) ...
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23 votes
3 answers
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Can we write with chalk on blackboard in space?

There was an ongoing discussion on how fisher pen was invented independently for safer writing method. I was just wondering weather we can use chalk and blackboard in space? Also if there are ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Is half of Rocket Lab still owned by Mark Rocket?

Wikipedia's Rocket Lab links to Spaceflight Insider's Rocket Lab: The Electron, the Rutherford, and why Peter Beck Started it in the First Place which links to The Otago Daily Time's 2009 arrticle ...
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2 votes
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What other space vehicles were affected by cold welding?

The Wikipedia page on cold welding states that Mechanical problems in early satellites were sometimes attributed to cold welding. But only mentions Galileo as an example of spacecraft were cold ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What kind of training did chimpanzees go through at the Chimp College?

In the Congress hearings on qualifications for astronauts in July 1962, a "Chimp University" where chimpanzees are trained for spaceflight is mentioned. Miss COBB. I have passed physical, ...
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3 votes
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Does the beeping satellite shown at the end of NASA Goddard videos represent any spacecraft in particular?

Just as an example, the end of the NASA Goddard video NASA’s OSIRIS-REx: Mission to Bennu has a double-beeping satellite at the end, which performs a flyby of the camera. It's shiny and spherical and ...
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7 votes
3 answers
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Were Nixie tubes used by a space program?

I’ve been receiving this ad from a company selling Nixie tube clock kits online: The technology that was used in the first space shuttles and submarines can be in your home and moreover in a unique ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Did the "don't ask don't tell" policy affect American astronauts?

Until very recently, no astronauts were known to be LGBT. Only after her death did we discover that Sally Ride was a lesbian. And Anne McClain became an astronaut after the repeal of DADT. Don't ask ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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When was advertising on Earth from space first proposed? By who?

How big will a space billboard have to be to be visible? can be seen to raise an interesting question. Question: When was advertising on Earth from space first proposed? Who proposed it? This can ...
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Vela 1A and IMAGE "once were lost, but now are found"; are there any more "lost" satellites thought to still be in Earth orbit?

@BillGray's answer to Where is Vela 1A? Is there any information what its orbit would be like now? says in part: This object was "lost" for some decades. In October 2014, the Palomar ...
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