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Questions tagged [history]

Questions pertaining to the history of space exploration.

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Highest velocity impact between a spacecraft and a solar system body? What about for a dedicated impactor (spacecraft component)?

In this answer I mention the proposed impact of DART: Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission Double Asteroid Redirection Test The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Element of the ...
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Is there a list of space exploration mission ordered by “size”?

While playing KSP I came to realize how how counter-intuitive distances in space exploration are. Just because a planet is closer doesn't mean it's easier to get to. For example, I used to think ...
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196 views

What did JPL's 1939 lunar lander look like and what practical aspects of landing on the Moon did this engineering design address?

According to Wikipedia's Jet Propulsion Laboratory: During JPL's Army years, the laboratory developed two deployed weapon systems, the MGM-5 Corporal and MGM-29 Sergeant intermediate range ...
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2answers
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Which Chinese citizen co-founded JPL? Who are JPL's “founders” in general?

The Wired UK article The epic tale of China's out of this world plan for space domination says: A Chinese citizen co-founded the JPL, but these days no Chinese officials are allowed on a Nasa site ...
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JSC has reorganized its website. Where is the old /news/columbia information now?

At some point after the STS-107 failure, Johnson Space Center posted a lot of valuable material online that hadn't been publicly available before. Especially the STS Generic Flight Rules, which used ...
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What main engine used in a series of environmental satellites has failed more than once (according to the GAO)?

A GAO report on NASA's ongoing projects can be found here. On page 70 while discussing the Lucy mission, it says the ... main engine was the same model used on a series of environmental ...
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Why is the Hubble Space Telescope mass increasing? [duplicate]

According to this Youtube video I came to know that the mass of the Hubble space telescope has increased from the time of launch. What is making this mass increment? Are these the debris?
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189 views

Who were the major manufacturers of the Apollo 11 rocket?

Organizing an exhibition around photographs from the 1969 launch and wanted to invite manufacturers.
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332 views

Did anyone piloting a Space Shuttle ever make a significant pilot error?

Did anyone piloting a Space Shuttle ever make a significant pilot error? (I've never heard of any, and I'm curious if that is due to their extensive training, or if it's just that that sort of ...
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30 views

When were elements on asteroids first identified?

Is there an approximation on when scientists first found out about certain elements on asteroids, more specifically gold?
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109 views

Did the astronauts of Gemini 4 have any realistic rendezvous simulator training of orbital mechanic effects?

Gemini 4 was launched on June 3, 1965. It mission included the first attempt of a rendezvous manoeuvrer in space. The rendezvous test failed. Two years earlier, in June 1963, the Rendezvous Docking ...
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1answer
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Who were the youngest and oldest persons in space?

In recent years there has been much talk about the possibility of establishing a permanent space colony somewhere in the solar system. If that happens it's plausible that within the next century ...
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Have there ever been people trapped in a shut down spacecraft?

I was reading some one-line sad stories and came across this one: Goodbye mission control, thanks for trying. So I was wondering if there have ever been people trapped in a spacecraft without a ...
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2answers
5k views

Was the “Earthrise” witnessed by Apollo 8 the first available “full” photo of the Earth?

Was the video/photos taken during the earth-rise on the Apollo 8 flight the first "blue marble"-esque photo? I've heard the image equated to the "earth's first selfie" and question the technical ...
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1answer
820 views

Why did Neil Armstrong alone, not NASA, end up coming up with the first words uttered on the moon?

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" (Neil Armstrong) These words are now firmly established in the history of space travel, and at least according to his bio, was concocted ...
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72 views

Source for Shuttle SRB segment history diagrams

I'm looking for a source for these ATK booster segment history images. Sadly absent user TildalWave posted a comment with a link to an article containing this one 3 1/2 years ago. I've finally ...
9
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1answer
665 views

What ever happened to the Asteroid Redirect Mission?

In Robert Zubrin's Moon Direct; A purpose-driven plan to open the lunar frontier (found in the Pod Bay) there is a paragraph that says: Essentially, the gateway is a vestigial form of the Obama ...
11
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1answer
256 views

What advice did NASA give Kennedy prior to his “Go to the moon” speech?

In September 1962 a nice young man ordered the United States to commit to landing on the moon in eight years. What input did NASA have in the decision? Did James Webb support or discard the idea that ...
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Are there calculations regarding the Kármán line in the Theodore von Kármán collection?

According to this article, page 673: The "von Kármán line" appears to be what mathematicians refer to as a "folk theorem" , arising out of a conference discussion but never formally published by ...
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At what conference the “von Kármán line” arose and was discussed for the first time?

From this article on page 673: The "von Kármán line" appears to be what mathematicians refer to as a "folk theorum", arising out of a conference discussion but never formally published by him. It ...
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1answer
230 views

What did Karman's original “Karman line” calculations look like?

Looking for the atmospheric parameters (density for example) and vehicle parameters (CL for example) as well as formulae that were used in the original calculation. Primary sources strongly preferred,...
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217 views

Did the Soviet Union put an unmanned satellite in “very low orbit”above the Kármán line which used aerodynamic attitude control?

This interesting, archived page https://www.webcitation.org/618QHms8h?url=http://www.fai.org/astronautics/100km.asp which I found in this answer, says: Later in the same decade (or very early in ...
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132 views

When was the ISS's “SPEED LIMIT 17500 MPH” sign originally posted?

When was the ISS's "SPEED LIMIT 17500 MPH" sign originally posted? above: "STS110-353-012 (8-19 April 2002) --- Astronaut Ellen Ochoa, STS-110 mission specialist, poses by the speed limit signs in ...
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1answer
671 views

Acceleration due to uncontrolled rotation of Gemini 8

Having just watched the movie "First Man," I'm interested in analyzing the Gemini 8 malfunction in physics terms and possibly turning it into a homework problem or an example for my physics classes. I ...
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1answer
159 views

How would the Apollo telescope have worked in the Apollo command module? Where would it be located and how would it be operated?

In the Vintage Space video episode Missions we Lost When Apollo was Cancelled, there is discussion of the Apollo Telescope and the Block 3 command module after about ...
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Was Jules Verne the inventor of the retro-rocket?

In his novels 'From the Earth to the Moon', and 'Around the Moon', Jules Verne writes about a set of rockets fitted to the spacecraft he imagined, that were intended to be fired in order to slow down ...
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2answers
150 views

Arcustangent function of the Apollo Computer, atan() or atan2()?

What type of the arcustangent function was used, the one with single argument only or the famous atan2(y, x) or arctan2(y, x) with two arguments x and y? What kind of aproximation was used?
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Did Michael Collins ask for a fourth gimbal for Christmas? Is there a recording or transcript?

Did Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins ask for a fourth gimbal for Christmas, while looking for the lunar ascent module? If so, is a recording of this available for posterity? Or a ...
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2answers
17k views

How did the Apollo computers evaluate transcendental functions like sine, arctangent, log?

Navigation with a sextant or maneuvers using gimbal angles might be two examples of cases where an Apollo computer might need to do trigonometry. Trigonometric functions like sine, arctangent, etc. ...
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Was the nutation problem of the Ulysses spacecraft successfully mitigated? If so, how was it implemented?

I ran across this https://web.archive.org/web/20070812135755/http://ulysses-ops.jpl.esa.int:80/ulsfct/rgpCafe/NutGame/index.html which lead me to 1, 2 and 3, links connected to the Ulysses Nutation ...
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1answer
168 views

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, ...
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1answer
112 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
197 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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1answer
100 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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3answers
265 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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1answer
251 views

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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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
56 views

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 ...
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153 views

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:...
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1answer
125 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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1answer
152 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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2answers
3k views

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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How did “the kid” (John Meisenheimer) calculate that there was a wave in the jet stream and Explorer 1 would be okay to launch?

This tough question links to the NASA YouTube video NASA 60th: How It All Began which shows a lot of really nice, historical file footage and stills. After about ...
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1answer
230 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 ...
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1answer
100 views

Materials used for turbopump construction for LOX

What are the materials used in the Rocketdyne F-1 engine's turbopump design and what was the pressure rise?
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1answer
103 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 ...
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1answer
237 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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669 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
149 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 ...
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1answer
112 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 ...