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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Why exactly did SOLRAD 1 have a magnet? Why weren't its interactions with Earth's magnetic field anticipated?

Wikipedia's SOLRAD_1; Scientific results says: The satellite communicated results in real-time, which meant that data could only be received when there was a tracking station within range – either ...
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What happened to the launch debris that the US dropped on Cuba? Was it noticed or reported?

This answer to How does one dogleg from Florida to a sun-synchronous orbit? this answer to History of multiple-payload launches? both describe a launch of GRAB1 that secretly contained a second ...
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Closest distance that two unrelated spacecraft have come while both in heliocentric orbits?

In 2015 STEREO A and B passed each other passing roughly behind the Sun at the same time from opposite directions as seen from Earth. But these two are part of a single mission, put into these orbits ...
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What potential Shuttle partner did this blue-and-white flag indicate?

This publicity slide from NASA in 1972 (?), explaining how wonderfully useful and flexible the Space Shuttle would be, has an intriguing image in the lower right. (NASA MH72-5017, via David Portree) ...
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Gagarin not ejecting from capsule

I'm currently reading a dutch book about the earlier days of manned spaceflight (Ruimtevaart B. van der Klaauw). Published in 1962 In a chapter about Vostok 1 the book reads as following Translated ...
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Did von Braun ever have issues with the imperial unit system?

In Nazi Germany, von Braun and his colleagues which would then go on to work in the US, surely worked with metric units. Coming to the US, I can imagine they would have had to adjust to the imperial ...
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How many bubble levels have been used in space? Were any of them used some place besides the Moon?

The lunar retroreflectors left by Apollo astronauts had bubble levels and Sun compasses to that they could be oriented correctly with respect to Earth's average direction. This was necessary to ...
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Are the initial conditions for the Apollo PFS objects' orbits known (or knowable) as well as they were for the ascent module?

This answer to Would we have spotted the ascent stage of Apollo 11's Eagle if it was still in orbit around the Moon? and discussion under it suggests that as a check of the orbital propagation ...
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Why is the Fermi paradox' assumptions so strong? Do they even need to be?

The Fermi paradox first states that it is highly likely that intelligent lives have existed on planets long ago. As in, not just on one planet, but on billions of planets. Then the paradox goes on and ...
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What pictures did Mrs. Hart show to Congress?

In the record of the July 17 and 18, 1962 "Qualifications for Astronauts" hearings before the special subcommittee on the selection of astronauts that was organized to know if women could ...
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Are there any pictures of the Qualifications for Astronauts hearing for the House of Representatives?

On July 17th and 18th, 1962, a hearing was organized in front of Congress for the special subcommittee on the selection of astronauts. This hearing was organized to ascertain whether women could be ...
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Did the Voyager spacecraft use a Golay, a Reed-Solomon and/or a Hamming code for data transmission encoding for error correction? (Need clarification)

The now-famous answer to How is stacking oranges in 24 dimensions related to receiving and decoding signals from the Voyagers? is worth stopping now here and going back and reading first. Okay welcome ...
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What Voyager spacecraft hardware performed transmitted data coding in such a complicated way? Did ground decoding use “a big monster filling a rack”?

The now-famous answer to How is stacking oranges in 24 dimensions related to receiving and decoding signals from the Voyagers? is worth stopping now here and going back and reading first. Okay welcome ...
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How is stacking oranges in 24 dimensions related to receiving and decoding signals from the Voyagers?

I was listening to Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions; A Ukrainian mathematician has solved the centuries-old sphere-packing problem in dimensions eight and 24. and reading the transcript ...
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Are launch vehicles or payloads transported through the Suez canal very often? Ever?

There are some comments under How do SpaceX intend to transport their starship/super heavy? referencing rockets in tight places including whatever you do, don't send it thru the Suez Canal :-) ...
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Did the Human Mission to Inner Space (HUMIS) experiment ever take place?

The final report of the 2003 Caves of Mars Project, formally ''Human Utilization Of Subsurface Extraterrestrial Environments'' (PDF), talks a lot about the "Human Mission to Inner Space" (...
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How to get the Voyager Golden Record music?

This link https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/golden-record/whats-on-the-record/music From NASA lists the tracks in the Golden Record sent to outer space. Has anyone come across an easy way to actually ...
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Were Mariner 3 and 4 the only spacecraft to use "solar paddles" to stabilize attitude?

This one sentence nearly link-only answer to What is the principle behind Mariner 4's “Solar Pressure Vanes”? In what case(s) would they be effective? and the discussion below explain that Mariner 4 (...
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What is the origin of the Lunar Module in the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL?

I recently had a chance to visit the US Space and Rocket Center. While I was there, I saw a lunar module. It is very clear that the ascent portion is a mock-up, but the decent portion looks real, ...
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Names of geographic features on moons or planets other than Earth found later to be controversial or provocative? Have any then been changed?

The names of places and geographic features (and even buildings) on Earth is an interesting topic; sometimes they are later changed after concerns are raised. And of course there is the deliberate ...
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Venera 13/14 Design specifications

Does anyone know where I could find design specifications, plan sets, or other documentation for the Venera 13 or Venera 14 spacecraft? These are Soviet spacecrafts from the 1980s. I suppose if ...
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What are the main challenges to boosting or driving smaller solar sails with a constellation of separate reflectors?

This is to continue expanding the idea of using smaller solar sails, but increasing the energy they receive from the Sun by having a constellation1 of satellites with mirrors + lenses. For context, I ...
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Is there an example of a classic space engineering moment where months of work had to be discarded due to the wrong approach?

Is there any classic aviation/space engineering moment where the engineers had been working on a concept for months and then realised that their approach to the problem wasn't quite right and so had ...
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Can "engine" and "motor" be used interchangeably in spaceflight? Are there any cases where they can't be?

Typing "rocket motor" into google returns a page full of links mostly about rocket engines. It seems that The Google has AI-synonymized them. Question: Can "engine" and "motor&...
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How well would Max Faget's April 1, 1969 design for the Space Shuttle have actually worked? What would have been the major problems?

This answer to Who are the actual lead designers of manned spacecraft? says (in its entirety): Max Faget was involved in the design of every US manned spacecraft flown to date. Mercury, Gemini, ...
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Need of the DoD for a heavy lift vehicle for "other" satellites

As mentioned in Saturn I history, the DoD wanted a launch vehicle to put A): 20,000 to 40,000 pounds (~9,100 to ~18,200 kg) into orbit, or B): accelerating 13,200 to 26,200 pounds (6,000 to 11,900 kg) ...
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Why do Canopus Star Trackers track Canopus? Why not so Sirius?

Jupiter is magnitude −2.94 to −1.66 and Sirius is −1.46 and Venus stays between -3.8 and -4.8, while Canopus is only −0.74. (more negative is brighter) Question: Other than their namesake, why do ...
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In their first 100 sols which NASA Mars rover drove the furthest and which one the least?

It seems we've passed the 100 day/sol mark for Perseverance. Perseverance and Curiosity are comparable in designs but have had significantly different short term goals; Curiosity was the first of it's ...
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Space missions that employed separate flight software development teams?

A recent question "Back up plan to use LOX-RP1 for Apollo mission" has an answer stating Another example is that some spacecraft have a backup flight software system written by a group of ...
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Why did each F-1 engine have dual fuel feedlines?

Each F-1 engine had two fuel feedlines connecting it to the fuel tank as shown in these contemporary photographs and drawings. The corresponding LOX system only had one feedline. The engine had a ...
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Most noodle-like (highest aspect ratio) orbital launch vehicle ever?

Just how much can tall skinny rockets bend? (roughly, safely) Why is Falcon 9's shape so tall and skinny? If not constrained by underpasses, etc., would Falcon 9 have been less of a flying noodle? ...
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How is Prospero doing now? Was it really heard in 2004 and have there been recent attempts to contact it?

Screenshot from the excellent historical review in Curious Droid video Black Arrow : The Lipstick Rocket - A Very British Space Program with a photo of Prospero or at least a representation thereof. ...
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Tracking stations that could have been used in 1967 & 1971 for the launches of the WRESAT & Prospero, X3 satellites from Australia

In relation to the question, How many satellites were orbited from Australia in total? In November 1967 and October 1971 the WRESAT and Prospero, X3 satellites were launched from Woomera, South ...
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How many satellites were orbited from Australia in total?

WRESAT; The first Australian Satellite Launched Wednesday November 29, 1967 on Colin Mackellar's Honeysuckle Creek website links to several other pages with various details and photos of the mission. ...
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Were photographs or optical measurements of orbital craft from the ground ever used during early crewed spaceflight missions?

The lengthy and interesting blogpost Baker-Nunn Camera, Island Lagoon on Colin Mackellar's Honeysuckle Creek website includes a photo of "Gemini 10 (with John Young and Mike Collins onboard) and ...
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Was liquid ozone + fluorine ever tested as an oxidizer? Ever with jet fuel?

Searching for ozone layer circa 1957 I got Theoretical Rocket Performance of JP-4 Fuel with Mixtures of Liquid Ozone and Fluorine, NACA RM E56K14, Issue 58, Volume 63, Vearl N. Huff, Sanford Gordon. ...
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Why did the Space Race end on the Moon?

Why did both the USA and the USSR decide to put a person on the Moon and then 'end' the space race, having 'won'? Why didn't the space race go on infinitely: who would fly the first astronauts to ...
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"Re-entry" vs "Reaction" in RCS

Reading through the Wikipedia (not known for being the bastion of all truth but usually a decent starting point) article for Gemini 8, I came across this passage (emphasis mine): The astronauts ...

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