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Questions tagged [history]

Questions pertaining to the history of space exploration.

7
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1answer
156 views

Was it ever suggested to merge ESA with Roscosmos?

ESA, the European Space Agency, is (formally) independent of other international cooperations like the European Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union, were there ever any proposals for ESA to join ...
6
votes
2answers
388 views

When was the second production run of the Saturn V cancelled?

The Saturn V had an initial production run of 15 vehicles (plus 3 test articles). Twelve were used for Apollo 4, 6, and 8-17, one was used for Skylab, the components of the other two are on display in ...
1
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0answers
184 views

Is this one coherent set of images or a mixture of several missions?

In this video recognize what looks like a Project Echo reflective balloon, and what looks like the famous Holmdel N.J. Microwave Horn antenna, but then there are one or more rockets shown, and several ...
3
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2answers
638 views

Why did the Apollo program become a MULTIPLE human landing program?

How did JFK's promise of landing one man on the Moon grow into a whole series of landings of 12 men on 7 missions, with even more planned? Given the motivation of the program, shouldn't Apollo have ...
22
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2answers
3k views

Did Sputnik 1 have attitude control?

The (currently only) answer to Why did Sputnik 1 have four antennas? discusses how Sputnik 1 had four antennas in order to ensure that the Earth would never be in the null of any of its antennas. ...
6
votes
1answer
346 views

What is the procedure for naming spacecraft?

This is something I've wondered about quite frequently. Is there really any common naming procedure used to name spacecraft? It seems that some spacecraft are named after greek and roman gods, such as:...
1
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1answer
131 views

What are the rough dimensions of the ISS?

In about 2014, i was told the ISS was about the size of one American football field. In American football (not soccer), the field is 100-120 yards long by 53 yards wide. In 2016, some cub scouts ...
10
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2answers
677 views

Did early Russian capsules really have “Human Inside” labels?

This comic claims that it was to prevent people panicking and attacking the crew. However, Vostok pilots were supposed to land separately from the capsule. Are there any photos supporting this claim? ...
2
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1answer
118 views

Did TASS officially name the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 1950's instead of 1961?

Just read this wiki article on Tyura-tam, the actual location of the Cosmodrome. It says: In the mid 1950s, the Soviet Union announced that space activities were being conducted from the Baykonur ...
2
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2answers
257 views

Which part(s) of the Goddard Rocket is(are) the rocket, and why (actually) no fins?

I was reading this comment about the Pendulum rocket fallacy under this answer and looked at the picture (below) as I've seen it (or similar) in science books all my life, and I realized that I don't ...
5
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1answer
329 views

What is the maximum number of OMS burns executed during a single Shuttle mission?

The recent questions about restarting rocket engines in space made me wonder about this. Every mission used the OMS a couple of times at least but rendezvous missions increased the usage. The record ...
34
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7answers
8k views

What are the most serious injuries that astronauts have suffered while in orbit?

Among astronauts in orbit, what is the worst real injury recorded? Has anyone hit himself on the thumb with a hammer or something? Squeezed a finger in a closing door? Gotten poisoned by some leaking ...
6
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1answer
125 views

Is NSTS 08209 “Shuttle Systems Design Criteria” available online?

This would be a handy reference, to say the least. There is a paper copy in at least one library in Houston, so it's not inconceivable that it's online somewhere, but my searches to date have failed.
4
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0answers
83 views

When were these Pegasus photos taken?

This NASA Spaceflight Tweet shows historical photos of (presumably) Antonio Elias wishing Pegasus well. Does anyone know for sure if these are circa the first flight in 1990? Before or after? ...
10
votes
1answer
668 views

Largest inhabitable volume in space

When you look at space ships, capsules and stations, one thing that is lacking in space is… space. As in: pressurized volume a human can freely move in. Most are tiny tin cans. So I was wondering, ...
1
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1answer
281 views

What was the first space tourism company?

What was the first company that came up with the business plan of taking tourists to space? In which year was the company launched or the outline of the business plan known to public? What was the ...
4
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2answers
234 views

Why did these cosmonauts retire early in their careers?

Is it known why Roman Romanenko and Dmitry Kondratyev retired early in their careers as cosmonauts?
3
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1answer
156 views

How did NASA refer to dates and times of a mission in the 1970s?

Back in the 1970s, how did NASA describe when an event happened during a mission? For example, when Mariner 10 did its fly-by of Venus, how did the Mariner team refer to that moment in time? Did ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Why was Titan the first celestial body beyond Mars to be landed on?

If my memories are accurate, then there's only one celestial body beyond Mars, on which any man-made device was landed. Pictures made there are, in fact, quite popular among space fans. But why Titan?...
11
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2answers
381 views

Pre-flight concepts of space travel

In periods before human flight, did scientists, philosophers, or other thinkers seriously consider space travel and exploration a possibility? I have come across nineteenth-century discussions of ...
4
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1answer
540 views

How much resolution did gravitational maps of Earth have before GRACE?

Today, our highest-resolution gravitational maps of the Earth are from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) project, launched in 2002. Before GRACE, how fine was the resolution of ...
5
votes
1answer
71 views

Earliest gravitational map of a planet/moon?

When was the first gravitational map of a planet or moon made by measurements from space? I'm guessing it was a map of Earth, since that's the closest planet to us,[citation needed] but for all I've ...
12
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1answer
164 views

What was the earliest piece of debris to survive reentry?

Most orbital debris eventually re-enters the atmosphere. The vast majority of this burns up on re-entry, and only a small proportion of what's left lands on the surface. Of that small proportion, the ...
5
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1answer
95 views

What is a “Big Box” (referenced in GT-3 mission transcripts)?

I randomly stumbled across this old Gemini 3 mission transcript online. On the last page, after splash-down, the crew begins corresponding with "Big Box 15" and "Big Box 14" — I'm assuming these are ...
3
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1answer
116 views

Venera mission image data format

I often work with the programmatic manipulation of images and 3d environments in my work at an engineering firm. Out of pure curiosity I was wondering about the Venera mission data format. I read that ...
4
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0answers
196 views

From where is this sequence in the Apollo 13 (movie) extra material showing Gene Kranz?

In the Apollo 13 movie extra material, there are several documentary shots interspersed with commentary about the makings of the movie. I am interested in the sequence beginning at about 29 minutes (...
4
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1answer
254 views

What scientific and technological advances were prompted directly by Sputnik 1?

It's easy to say in retrospect that the USSR's Sputnik 1 was just a dumb radio transmitter that didn't actually do anything useful. However, it also stands to reason that putting that same "dumb ...
4
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1answer
245 views

What budgetary and technical impact did the N1 program's failure have on the Soviet Union's space program?

After the failure of the N1 program, what impact did this have on the budget for the space program of the Soviet Union? What technical impacts did it have? For example, did other missions suffer ...
19
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2answers
3k views

What caused the N1 to become a failure?

What were key factors that made the N1 the recipe for disaster it became for the USSR? Especially when the USSR was the Space King at the time?
39
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3answers
9k views

Why was Venus rather than Mars targeted for the first interplanetary landings?

This is a question about early planetary missions. It looks like there was only one early (unsuccessful) landing mission to Mars and that subsequently Venus became the target for interplanetary ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Why did the Vanguard rocket use a solid engine for its third stage?

The Vanguard rocket had three stages. The first two were liquid-fueled and the third was solid-fueled. That struck me as odd, as solid fuel engines are almost exclusively used in atmosphere, and you'd ...
5
votes
1answer
154 views

First sounding rocket to reach the mesosphere?

The mesosphere (the part of the atmosphere above the stratosphere where temperatures increase with altitude) is generally above the altitude reachable by balloon. It begins somewhere around 50 km. ...
1
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1answer
79 views

Book recommendation for history of spaceflight [closed]

I am interested in the history of space-flight and was wondering if anyone had any good book suggestions. I have no scientific background, but am more interested in the science behind the space ...
12
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2answers
2k views

What did they expect to happen with Laika?

Before sending first dog to space, the only animals sent to space were fruit flies. Flies made it back alive, but in case of dog we are talking about a much more complex organism. Image Source: Time ...
12
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4answers
699 views

What was the reason for an odd number of astronauts in almost every group of the early US space program?

We are familiar with the first groups of NASA astronauts, like the Mercury Seven and the New Nine. Something about that struck me as (literary) odd; All the first twelve astronaut groups had an odd ...
8
votes
1answer
246 views

Did Skylab have a fixed orientation?

I can not find any reference for this, but it seems to me that Skylab, unlike the International Space Station, had a fixed attitude instead of rotating to have the same side always facing the Earth. ...
8
votes
3answers
608 views

What's the first recorded use of a countdown associated with a rocket launch?

Counting down the seconds leading up to a rocket launch is iconic - certainly it seems that every child knows that after "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" comes "Blast off!" However, the countdown can't always have ...
2
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0answers
213 views

Why does NASA use the position title “Pilot”' for crew members who are not in charge of piloting the spacecraft?

Why does NASA use the position title "Pilot"' for crew members who are not in charge of piloting the spacecraft? For example famously Buzz Aldrin's position was Lunar Module Pilot but his spacecraft ...
2
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0answers
211 views

What is the total mass of everything launched that are still in space?

Inspired by this question, total mass ever launched to orbit (this is a different question, as many of the things launched have decayed by now.) How much of it is still up there? Out of that again, ...
14
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2answers
527 views

Before the Columbia accident, were there shuttle manifests/plans for after ISS assembly complete?

Before the loss of Columbia during the STS-107 mission on February 1 2003, the International Space Station was scheduled to reach "Core Complete" status in February 2004. (Although this was ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

What exactly did the Outer Planets Panel say in their recommendation for outer planets missions?

In the 1960s, James Van Allen's Outer Planets Panel made a proposal that NASA begin planning missions to the outer planets, that eventually led to Pioneer 10 and 11. I've found many sources that ...
0
votes
1answer
444 views

Is there a comprehensive list of all space probes ever launched?

I'm working on a project and I was wondering if there is a comprehensive archive or a database available out there of all of the spacecrafts and human made probes that were ever launched into space (...
2
votes
1answer
280 views

Spatial solar panels area density through history [closed]

When working on a project, it is often useful to predict what will happen in the future, 5 or 10 years from now. Past data is needed in order to extrapolate them and make accurate predictions. How can ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

When/where did the cosmonauts fight wolves?

When/where did the cosmonauts fight wolves? or was it bears? With a gun? Could someone provide a more complete story? One of comments on the article TidalWave linked in the Soyuz joysticks question ...
6
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3answers
230 views

Disc mounted on lunar rover?

My father told me of a story that while he was young working at an electronics company, they all signed a disc that was shrunk down and mounted to one of the lunar rovers. Does anyone know anything ...
10
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2answers
1k views

What is the science behind the canals of Mars?

A recent BBC news article give a short history on the canals of Mars In the late 19th Century, the American astronomer Percival Lowell thought he saw canals on the surface of Mars. He ...
35
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3answers
5k views

If there's nothing special about Pluto, why was it discovered so early?

Pluto was recently re-classified, losing its official status as the ninth planet, because a bunch of other dwarf planets were found in its orbital region that were too numerous and insignificant to ...
15
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2answers
457 views

Early high-inclination crewed flights

I noticed to my surprise today that the very early Soviet flights were to a very high inclination - all the Vostok flights were between 64.9° and 65°, and the Voskhod flights were at 64.7° and 64.8°. ...
3
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1answer
206 views

What is the word for the period between two Mars conjunctions?

Earth and Mars have conjunctions every 15/7 of a year, or every 26 month or every 2 years. And it varies substantially from conjunction to conjunction because of orbital precessions and eccentricities....
28
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5answers
6k views

Is there any evidence that NASA was worried about deep lunar dust?

It was once theorized that the moon might have deep oceans of dust, potentially a problem for any craft landing on its surface. I've heard that NASA was concerned about this possibility in the early ...