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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14
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332 views

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

The tough but timely question NASA at sIxty years, will there be a new moonshot mandate? links to the NASA YouTube video NASA 60th: How It All Began which shows a lot of really nice, historical file ...
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Has the ISS ever "flown upside down"? Has the cupola ever "looked up"?

For a spacecraft in low Earth orbit let's call the zenith direction (vector away from Earth) "up". For most of its life I think the ISS has orbited with it's "up side" pointed &...
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157 views

What rocket uses the largest percentage of Fuel/Oxidizer before liftoff?

inspired by this question: How much propellant is used up until liftoff? which asks how much propellant (fuel/oxidizer) a typical rocket uses before liftoff. What has been or is the most non-typical ...
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What did NASA Vehicle Assembly Building's "weather" look like? Did it really have clouds? Did it rain?

Comments below this answer to Would there be snow, rain, fog or clouds in a deep, sealed, subsurface cavern on the Moon if water were present? point out that the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building ...
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250 views

Was this the first-ever photo of a full moon very close to lunar new year?

Limiting the concept of "lunar new year" to "Chinese New Year" (since there are many lunar and lunisolar calendars, the latter of which the traditional Chinese one is a widely used example), is this ...
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79 views

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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What are the contributions of ancient Indian astronomers in mapping of the solar system and galaxies?

In the history of astronomy we usually come up with the name of European astronomers like Kepler and Galileo. Earlier Indian astronomers, for example Aryabhata and Bhaskaracharya, are not usually ...
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316 views

Were solar concentrators on HS-702 just a stop-gap measure until triple-junction PV cells were available?

According to Gunter's Space Page discussion of early versions of the Hughes HS-702 Bus: The first version of the 702 used solar arrays with concentrators. These concentrators tended to early fogging, ...
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255 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 ...
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117 views

What ever happened to 6Q0B44E - potentially the "artificial satellite (with) the farthest orbit around the Earth"?

I just started flipping through Handbook of Space Engineering Archaeology, and Heritage Space Hardware Ann Darrin & Beth L. O'Leary, Eds. 2009, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 1035 pages It looks as though ...
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What specific contributions have ballooning experiments made to manned space flight?

I am vaguely aware that the US space program wasn't just kicked off after Sputnik. There is a history of balloons and sounding rockets that never seem to get mentioned in the books I've read, and ...
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204 views

What is the smallest launch vehicle that has put a satellite in a geostationary orbit?

Minotaur V might become a candidate for the smallest current launcher to put a payload in GEO, but it has only launched LADEE yet. The first satellite in GEO seems to have been Syncom 1 which launched ...
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Why exactly did Khrushchev present Pushinka to JFK's daughter Caroline?

Pushinka (Fluffy) was the name of one of the Strelka's (Arrow's) six pups that she had after being safely landed to Earth from orbit to which it was launched aboard Vostok-1K rocket No. 2 on 19 August ...
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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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Soyuz 11 - communication transcript

Are there any communication transcripts available of Soyuz 11 spaceflight? I am especially interested in the part where pressure equalisation valve was opened way too fast and the crew died due to ...
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141 views

Did astronaut Frank Borman really work at a petrol station after going to the moon?

I am listening to the book Rocket Men by Robert Kurson, and 22 minutes in to the epilogue, the author says the following: Weeks after the return of Apollo 8, Frank Borman went to work pumping gas at ...
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125 views

When, if ever, did deep space probes start using encryption?

What, if any, mechanisms prevent unauthorized commands? Asks what measures are taken for spacecraft, although the answer doesn't go much farther than pointing to the What would one need to do in order ...
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118 views

Who invented the sun-synchronous orbit?

I was explaining sun-synchronous orbits to a co-worker and he asked me who invented it and when. I could not find an answer on wikipedia or a quick google search, so I thought about asking here.
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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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297 views

When did they stop routing long-distance analog phone calls through satellites? What was the maximum volume at its peak?

Ouch! The 1960's 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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439 views

Were the Apollo lunar ALSEP transmitter signals ever analyzed or used after the experiments were shut down?

This answer to the question Why were the “perfectly functioning” seismometers placed by Apollo 12, 14, 15 and 16 astronauts all shut off in 1977? links to a NASA News Release No: 77-47 dated September ...
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Roughly when were these Pegasus photos taken?

This NASA Spaceflight Tweet shows historical photos of (presumably) Antonio Elias wishing Pegasus well. Question: Does anyone know roughly when were these Pegasus photos taken? Could they be circa ...
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1answer
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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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316 views

Has a rocket from a torpedo tube ever reached space?

Are submarine launches horizontal? is a general question and specifies by name two large ICBMs which are likely to need to be launched vertically. Since the large naval submarines usually come ready-...
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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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How much do the Voyagers' attitudes drift over time? How often are their thrusters used for attitude control?

@Hobbes' answer to Voyager 1's tape recorder and other angular momentum management issues says: There are no reaction wheels on Voyager [...] Voyager is not spin-stabilized. It used thrusters for ...
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Largest single burn spacecraft delta-v in deep space?

This 700 m/s maneuver that was avoided got me thinking and then CNN's NASA mission will zoom by asteroid before returning sample to Earth said: "Leaving Bennu's vicinity in May puts us in the '...
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What were the earliest rocket payloads (US and Russian) that supported coasting at anywhere in the ascent?

I know that sequential staging of rocket boosters was problematic, leading to Atlas stage-and-a-half and Russian hot staging. At what point did rocket boosters have attitude control allowing them to ...
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129 views

Heart attacks & suicides in NASA Mission Control of the 60s?

On page 280 of Mike Gray's book Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon (1992), Gene Kranz, legendary NASA flight director in Gemini & Apollo missions, is quoted as saying: It ...
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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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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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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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349 views

What radio frequencies were used by the Soviet space program circa 1961? ("Lost Cosmonaut" recording)

The recent Joe Scott video The Mysterious "Lost Cosmonaut" Recording | Random Thursday describes radio recording said to have been made by the Judica Cordiglia brothers from Italy in the early 1960's. ...
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Did anyone predict no return to the Moon for 50 years?

Back in the Apollo days, did anyone predict that there would be no return (of humans) to the Moon for 50 years? I remember some scepticism about the scientific, economic or military value of such ...
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Are any Apollo Launch Mission Rule Documents available for downloading?

Apollo Flight Mission Rule Documents (from JSC) are easy to find on the internet, but the Launch Mission Rule Documents (from KSC) - not so much. I found a couple paper copies for sale, but that's ...
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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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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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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 (...
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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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76 views

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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1answer
353 views

What was the first satellite built with mostly COTS electronics?

Computers and memory, radios, cameras, light sensors, temperature sensors, accelerometers & gyros1, power supplies, power conditioners and converters and battery interfaces can all be put together ...
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Number of nonhuman primates dead in space exploration

This statue, "Sam", in Riga, Latvia, is dedicated to the animal cosmonauts who perished during space flight experiments. As far as I know, there were a lot of dead dogs on space flights, ...
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Saturn V launch footage from in/on first S-IC stages

There first launches of each Saturn-class rocket were instrumented with, among other sensors, video cameras to learn about the vehicles’ behavior. The cameras were jettisoned at some point and then ...
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When was the first successful photograph of an orbital spacecraft from Earth taken?

Early artificial satellites were tracked by radio and visually by amateurs, scientists and military personnel for various reasons including fun and improving the understanding of orbital dynamics ...
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When did the FAI adopt the 100km line as border to space (for their purposes)?

Let me preface this with a disclaimer: This is not a discussion about which height makes sense. This is purely about international recognition by the FAI. Wikipedia says "An international committee ...
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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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170 views

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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Which two spacecraft have spent the longest times in libration point orbits? (Lagrange points, Halo, Lissajous, etc.)

Libration point orbit is a general term including halos, Lissajous', and a whole zoo of others associated with Lagrange points in three-body systems. Which two spacecraft has been in such an orbit ...
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342 views

What was the smallest intentional, acknowledged slingshot maneuver?

I'll keep it short but please read through! Gravitation's $1/r$ potential means everything in the solar system is pulling on everything all the time. Gravitational slingshot maneuvers are normally ...
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77 views

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 ...