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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2
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1answer
64 views

Was there a spacecraft that was clearly the first to be put in a polar orbit?

Was there a first spacecraft put in a polar orbit? It might not be clear if it's too hard to say what high inclination orbit is or is not polar, for example if 91 satellites were launched in 0, 1, 2.....
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What were the two circa 1965 semi-polar missions launched from Cape Canaveral?

Teslarati's SpaceX sets date for first Florida launch of its kind in more than half a century says That November 1960 launch thus shut down East Coast polar launches to avoid overflying Cuba and ...
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Will SpaceX use a special launch maneuver for the SAOCOM 1B mission?

Teslarati's SpaceX sets date for first Florida launch of its kind in more than half a century explains that something different will happen. For those that want to read the article first, I've used ...
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86 views

Did the Saturn IB have eight equally spaced fins around its circumference?

This answer to Saturn V Small Rectangles On S-II Stage includes images and links related to the Saturn IB rocket. It shows what I think is an unwrapped representation of part of a circumference which ...
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Name any misssions which were conducted due to urgency or due to some emergency in a very limited time?

I would like to know if there were any space missions which were conducted due to an immediate emergency and I wish to know how they were managed.
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Why were later Russian engines inferior to the NK-33?

In terms of thrust-to-weight ratio the NK-33 engine developed for the Soviet N-1 rocket was by far the best in the world at the time, with a thrust-to-weight ratio of 137. But subsequent Russian ...
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77 views

How did NASA fund searches for extraterrestrial life before 1993? How were the searches done?

The BBC's Astronomers want public funds for intelligent life search says: Nasa once funded the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence to the tune of $10m a year. But the funding was scrapped in ...
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94 views

Are all of these tweeted examples of spaceflight failures US failures?

This verified tweet from MJ Azari Jahromi, ICT Minister of Iran, found in Livescience's Iran satellite launch fails to reach orbit says: Today "Zafar" satellite launch failed. Like many scientific ...
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How were video tape recorders adapted to work in orbit in 1962?

Livescience's Satellite spies gigantic 'fuzzball' clouds spreading near Australia coast says: Actinoform clouds were first captured by NASA’s Television Infrared Observation Satellite V in 1962, ...
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Could New Horizons take a “Pale Blue Dot”-like image this year?

Answers to At what exact time was the Pale Blue Dot image taken? say that the famous image was taken by Voyager 1 on 14-Feb-1990 and it took until May of that year for all the data to be sent back to ...
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What is this font used in Apollo / early Shuttle NASA documents? (possibly OT)

Seeking the name of a font used in Apollo NASA documentation and some early shuttle documents as well. Examples: from SSME Pocket Data Book From Apollo 12 / SA 507 Flight Manual Recognizing this ...
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What was the first use of analog to digital conversion in a satellite?

This answer to Do the Voyager probes transmit analogue or digital data? states that the Voyagers sent only digital data. This is no doubt mostly because analog data was digitized and store digitally ...
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150 views

HTP as oxidizer for main propulsion

Please anyone elaborate why hydrogen peroxide is not used as an oxidizer for main propulsion. I see that everyone agrees on this but from my point of view its a big flaw. I think that industry has ...
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What is the story behind specific impulse being expressed in seconds?

I've heard a couple of explanations but none of them quite make sense. One was that the German rocket engineers used metric and the American rocket engineers used the English system and seconds were ...
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Estimated 13.77 billion years is this age of observable universe or the entire universe? [closed]

Can we calculate the age of entire universe not just the observable part ? If any type of EMW will never reach earth how can we ever know ?
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Can you help me fill in the gaps in my liquid-fuel rocket propellant tank technology knowledge? [closed]

I am currently aware of the following types of propellant tank technology: Steel fuselage, used in the V-2/A-4 & other rockets of its era (essentially a plane body) Integral steel tanks, first ...
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How did the U.S.S.R manage to rotate the N-1 from horizontal to vertical?

The title says it all - but I heard that NASA considered horizontal integration for the Saturn V couldn't be considered, as lifting the rocket to a vertical position would require an immense ...
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What were the differences between the STS Orbiters?

There were six STS orbiter vehicles, of which five were operational for space flight: OV-099: Space Shuttle Challenger OV-101: Space Shuttle Enterprise OV-102: Space Shuttle Columbia OV-103: Space ...
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178 views

Given unlimited funding and global cooperation, could there have been a manned space craft made in the year 1850-1860? [closed]

All my life, I've been speculating in my head about all kinds of "alternative timelines". One of the most intriguing to me are all the ones that concern space and "steampunk" technology. Recently, I ...
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Who are these people inside Apollo Command Module (presumably posing for advertisement photoshoot)?

In an attempt to find photos from any of Apollo missions that portray Sony TC-50 voice recorder/player that was used in these missions I came across the following picture: There is better quality of ...
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Did Apollo astronauts play on the Moon their pre-recorded music?

Apollo astronauts were equipped with Sony TC-50 cassette voice recorder/player (described in this answer) primarily for recording voice with mission related notes, but they could (and did) listen to ...
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109 views

What Earth satellite remained in orbit the longest before reentering?

@BillGray's excellent answer in September 2018 mentions that the Soviet magnetospheric research satellite 1977-093A (NORAD 10370) was expected to reenter the atmosphere in 2019 due to effects ...
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What was the first unplanned “over-the-air” software update of a spacecraft?

From time-to-time spacecraft have had to be rebooted, in one case Voyager 2 mutinied and had to be reprogrammed and in another Opportunity had it's memory "hacked". As far as I know, deep space ...
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1answer
162 views

What was the first rocket with de Laval (convergent-divergent) nozzle to fly?

Rocket engine Wikipedia article states that Goddard was the first to use a De Laval nozzle on a solid-propellant (gunpowder) rocket engine, doubling the thrust and increasing the efficiency by a ...
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When was Newton “not good enough” for spaceflight; first use and first absolute requirement for relativistic corrections?

Concepts in Special Relativity (1905) and of General relativity (first developed between 1907 and 1915) substantially predated spaceflight; they were well known and had been tested well before objects ...
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Were there any cases of woodpeckers damaging Shuttle External Tank insulation other than that of STS-70?

While researching information about Shuttle External Tank insulation, I came across this quite unusual problem: woodpeckers! The Wikipedia entry on STS-70 states that: ... on 31 May 1995 shuttle ...
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How was motion blur mitigated in the early Earth-observation satellites?

The Corona Photographic Surveillance Satellite had one (later two) panning cameras for observations: (Cameras on Corona - source) The cameras panned over a 70 degree arc perpendicular to the flight ...
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How did the star tracker on the Corona (Key Hole) satellite work?

The first Corona Photographic Surveillance Satellite was launched in 1959. Starting from the third mission, launched in 1961, the satellites were equipped with a star tracker. From Wikipedia: ...
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509 views

How did the Corona (Key Hole) satellites film canisters deorbit?

The Corona Photographic Surveillance satellites transferred photos back to Earth by releasing a canister with the film, which would deorbit, re-enter, release a parachute and then a plane would ...
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231 views

Who was the first to successfully implement on practice ablative heat shield?

Up until Shuttle/Buran era, all manned orbital reentry vehicles used ablative heat shield for reentry (Vostok, Mercury, Voskhod, Gemini, Soyuz, Apollo). This made me curious about who was the first in ...
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Were flown lunar rover miniature license plates approved for the Apollo-15 flight?

A page in Space Flown Artifacts describes miniature lunar rover license plates that Dave Scott carried to the moon and back: These miniature license plates were manufactured by Boeing (makers of ...
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142 views

Are more details about the fatal rocket motor accident at Cape Canaveral in April 1964 available?

The 1966 book The Life and Death of a Satellite by Alfred Bester contains an account of a accidental ignition of a third-stage solid rocket motor in a Delta rocket spin test facility at the Cape which ...
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How did the USSR track Gagarin's Vostok-1 orbital flight? Was tracking capability an issue in the choice of orbit?

For the USA's Mercury flights, a number of tracking stations were installed around the globe. John Glenn's first orbital flight was tracked with them, plus a number of ships. (Tracking stations used ...
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2answers
453 views

Why multiple GPS satellites are never launched on the same rocket?

From what I've read, GPS satellites have been always put in orbit one at a time. In contrast, Galileo (aboard Ariane or Soyuz) and GLONASS (aboard Proton) sometimes are launched at the same time. Is ...
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What was the operational lifetime of a shuttle tile?

The statement "While some of the individual tiles on the shuttle might last 10 missions" from this excellent answer has led a questioner to make the statement "someone here at Space Stack-Exchange ...
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1answer
129 views

Why would the Shuttle-Transtage have been unusable for science missions?

In the 1970s and early 1980s, NASA and the DoD evaluated four different existing or proposed upper stages for use with the space shuttle: The Centaur hydrolox stage (specifically, the Centaur G/G' ...
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Good example of early and simple orbital mechanics?

I am doing a talk on Katherine Johnson at my school extremely soon and I was wondering if you could give a relatively quick example of a simplified calculation in any kind of orbital mechanics ...
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144 views

Where did the Wake Shield Facility end up?

The Wake Shield... ... was deployed in the wake of the Space Shuttle at an orbital altitude of over 300 kilometers (186 mi), within the thermosphere, where the atmosphere is exceedingly tenuous....
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51 views

History of the planetary flyby for gravitational assist; first conception, mathematical demonstration, plan, and execution?

Planetary flybys for gravitational assists are a stable of deep space missions. When did the following things happen? First documented realization that gravitational assists in spaceflight were ...
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Did anything specific happen on the 16 or 22 March 1992 passes of a Lacrosse I surveillance satellite over Tehran?

After reading the question Predicting non-Iridium flares and Why NOSS satellites flare? I found the following page linked in Wikipedia's Naval Ocean Surveillance System. The h2g2 (The Hitchhiker's ...
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Is there any work in English that gives a systematic treatment of Soviet/Russian rocket engines?

There seems to be some piecemeal information online such as RussianSpaceWeb.com, and of course, Sutton's History of LPRE gives an anthropological treatment of Soviet/Russian rocket engine lineup ...
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1answer
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Does the depiction of water blobs in the Salut-7 movie reflect an actual event?

In the beginning of the very cool Veritassium video The Bizarre Behavior of Rotating Bodies, Explained, the host Derek Muller says: In 1985, cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov was tasked with saving ...
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How often has NASA brought in people from outside to be responsible for making important decisions?

Spaceflight Now's NASA still looking for new human spaceflight chief says: In August, Bridenstine said NASA is “looking wide and far” for a new human spaceflight chief at NASA Headquarters. “...
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Were there any non-state organizations to organize space flight and colonizations in the second half of the 20th century?

Today, we observe a real boom of private spaceflight. Was there anything similar in the second half of the 20th century, at least were any people founding ventures for space business beyond satellite ...
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Were Soviet missions to Skylab ever considered?

The question How was Skylab's orbit inclination chosen? gave some rationale as to why Skylab was in such a high inclination (close to today's ISS at 51.6). Was there ever consideration (during and ...
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1answer
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Why were Europe's first few satellites so stylish? Why the pronounced alternating white and black stripes?

In The Century of Space Science, edited by J.A. Bleeker, Johannes Geiss, M. Huber, viewed in Google books I ran across the following text and images. Both satellites are quite stylish looking and ...
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1answer
108 views

Why would low pump inlet pressure result in such a spectacular explosion? (Vanguard TV3)

In the short US Naval Research Laboratory video Vanguard 60th Anniversary: A Look Back at about 03:46, Mr. Alton E. Jones says: Most people are curious about as ...
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1answer
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Function of the separated, individual solar cells on Telstar 1 and 2? Why were they “special”?

The image below shows a part of a backup satellite for Telstar 1 and 2. In addition to the many small and highly segmented solar panels, there are what look like individual elements of the same kind ...
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How were the 100+ antennas around Telstar 1 and 2 configured?

Telstar 1 and 2 demonstrated routing of telephone, television and other communications types between continents. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum pages below contain images of the satellites. ...
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When did they stop routing long-distance phone calls through satellites? What was the maximum volume at its peak?

I have read that in the early 1960's Telstar 1 and 2 were the first satellites to route long distance telephone calls. I seem to remember that long, long ago, long distance (overseas?) phone calls ...

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