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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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63 votes
8 answers
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How do we know the Apollo Moon landings are real?

Since about 1976, conspiracy theories denying the Moon landing and claiming it was all faked have cropped up. As a website devoted to answering questions about space exploration, we receive questions ...
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

The first transistors in space: Germanium or Silicon? What about in orbit?

Certain people (me) will have hours of fun in the Transistor Museum website. Who can resist stuff like this: Historic Germanium Transistors; General Transistor/General Instrument (5MB pdf)? I found ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
949 views

When was the last normal electron tube (valve) for electrical circuitry launched into space?

The answer to my question The first transistors in space: Germanium or Silicon? What about LEO? actually addressed both the first Germanium and Silicon transistor. So now I've gotta ask about ...
uhoh's user avatar
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45 votes
2 answers
40k views

What is the difference between Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center?

Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center are both at pretty much the same location in Florida. I do not understand why they are referenced separately in media. How much are they separate entities? Is ...
JohnEye's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
360 views

When was the idea behind the DESCANSO Book Series first conceived, by whom, and what is its "mission"?

When was the idea behind the DESCANSO Book Series first conceived, by whom, and what is its "mission"? When I'm looking for information on deep space issues including communications and ...
uhoh's user avatar
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38 votes
5 answers
7k views

Did Sputnik 1 tell us more than "beep"? What science was improved by information gained from its orbiting the Earth?

Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite launched by humans to orbit the Earth. This answer begins: Sputnik had just one single job: Prove its existence by sending a simple "beep" ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
602 views

Are the Voyager spacecrafts' X-band TWTAs currently set to high or low transmit power? How often were they changed?

In this answer I discuss that the Voyager spacecraft can be commanded to use either high or low power to transmit to Earth on X-band. Question: Are the Voyager spacecrafts' X-band Traveling Wave Tube ...
uhoh's user avatar
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46 votes
4 answers
10k 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 ...
user2705196's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
17k views

How many rockets have been launched into space? (roughly, of course)

First I was going to ask how many rocket bodies lay at the bottom of the ocean, but I simplified further. Remember, this includes sounding rockets; anything passing the Kármán line. I'm looking for ...
uhoh's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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7 votes
0 answers
488 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, ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
816 views

Help me understand what Farside, a ten "stage" rockoon looked like? How was it configured?

@OrganicMarble's answer links to NASA Sounding Rockets, 1958-1968, A Historical Summary and in Appendix A starting on page 79 it lists: Farside: A type of rockoon developed by Aeronutronics ...
uhoh's user avatar
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-2 votes
2 answers
4k views

What precisely is downrange distance - how is it defined mathematically?

Wikipedia: Downrange is the horizontal distance traveled by a spacecraft, or the spacecraft's horizontal distance from the launch site. Spacecraft don't travel horizontally. I don't even know how ...
uhoh's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is this really the Saturn V computer only, or are there other systems here as well?

The BBC News article Apollo in 50 Numbers; The Technology shows an image of the Saturn V's computer along with the caption: The Saturn V's computer was probably the largest computer ever blasted ...
uhoh's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is BECO? (Gemini) Same as MECO?

This answer links to this answer which shows the acceleration g-force envelopes experienced by early astronauts, reaching as high as almost 7.5g! Both show BECO, which is what I might call MECO or ...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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64 votes
1 answer
9k views

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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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19 votes
2 answers
3k views

Was LC39A built with a rocket much larger than the Saturn V in mind?

The interesting question What are the most difficult challenges SpaceX will face getting astronauts to Mars by about 2025? links to Elon Musk's position paper Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species ...
uhoh's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
2k views

What was the most busy week in space launches?

In the history of space launches, which week has had the most space launches? It would be also nice to know the second and third place. I think its also interesting to ask about most busy month and ...
Joe Jobs's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
571 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
824 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. ...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
2k views

How were Frenet frames and Gram–Schmidt orthonormalization used in spacecraft orbit calculations?

I haven't seen the film Hidden Figures yet, but I have read and listened to some dialogue clips in this NPR Review. In it they mention a Frenet frame and the Gram–Schmidt process for ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
594 views

Puzzler: Is this a Sputnik?

I was enjoying the Trailer to the YouTube site Kinematic, and I noticed that the satellite or model shown in the beginning looks different than how I remember the original Sputnik - specifically the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
5 votes
2 answers
645 views

Identify this rocket and launch site from Gilligan's Island episode?

Since @geoffc has broken the "Gilligan's Island Barrier" with this answer I'd like to ask about the Space-themed episode 22 of Season 3 "Splashdown" which aired on February 20, 1967. What launch ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
5 votes
1 answer
289 views

Got Milk? Why is the term "colloid" used in "Colloid or Electrospray thruster"?

From this answer to the question "Difference between colloid thrusters and electro spray thrusters" I've extracted the following: According to the Wikipedia article Colloid thruster they are the same ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
2 votes
1 answer
477 views

Did the British Skylark ever launch from the UK?

The BBC News item Skylark: The unsung hero of British space remembers the 441st and final launch of the British rocket Skylark in May 2005, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its first launch. ...
uhoh's user avatar
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163 votes
3 answers
26k 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. ...
uhoh's user avatar
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34 votes
4 answers
6k views

When did the concept of "stages" enter rocketry?

The staged rocket design is common now, but at some point in the history of rocket design it must have been revolutionary. When was the staged design introduced? Was it quickly accepted or did it ...
Dan Sorensen's user avatar
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25 votes
2 answers
4k 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?
Future Historian's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
19k views

Were the Saturn V construction plans destroyed?

Over the years, I often heard that we would not be able to build a Saturn V again since its construction plans actually have been destroyed. Then again, I heard that there are copies on microfiche or ...
DarkDust's user avatar
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21 votes
7 answers
3k views

Has sound ever been used to diagnose a problem not shown by other measurements?

In a video released by NASA here, showing Perseverance recording one of Ingenuity's flights, they have the quotes: Sound adds a new dimension to space exploration. and As a mechanic listens to a ...
Freddie R's user avatar
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20 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
2k views

This BBC photo does not show a replica of Vanguard-1, what might it be?

The BBC news article The World's Oldest Scientific Satellite is Still in Orbit talks about the Vanguard program and that Vanguard-1 is still in orbit around the Earth, and near the end shows a photo ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Apollo Mission Operations Control Room 2 display, what do these numbers indicate?

There are some really beautiful photos in Ars Technica's NASA’s restored Apollo Mission Control is a slice of ’60s life, frozen in amber See also NYTimes' NASA Reopens Apollo Mission Control Room ...
uhoh's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
923 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
8 votes
1 answer
334 views

Are black and white stripes any better than uniform gray for thermal control?

Q: What color is a spaceship? Several answers and comments on Why were Europe's first few satellites so stylish? Why the pronounced alternating white and black stripes? contain phrases like "...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
8 votes
2 answers
641 views

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, but ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

What spacecraft has had the greatest total propulsive delta-v?

How fast is fuel escaping a rocket for it to reach the escape velocity 11 km/s? was an active and well-received discussion! It's always exciting when we first realize that a rocket can go much faster ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
4 votes
1 answer
172 views

Most busy times in US space launches?

In the history of USA space era, when did it have the most launches in the same day, week, month and year? Related questions: What was the most busy week in space launches? What is the longest period ...
Joe Jobs's user avatar
  • 2,650
3 votes
2 answers
508 views

How and/or why did Elon Musk mistweet Roadster's C3 so badly?

In this answer to How close would the Tesla Roadster with Starman have to get to Earth in order to become attracted and fall on Earth? I just wrote: When Roadster was launched from Earth Elon Musk ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
3 votes
1 answer
239 views

Did Corporal or other rockets launched from White Sands land in Mexico? If so, how often?

At 10:39 in the video Explorer One is the following: Pickering had once half-joked that JPL could do anything, but building the corporal proved a humbling ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
1 vote
1 answer
359 views

Has an object ever been put in orbit where the first stage was always at maximum thrust?

Variable thrust through changing the number of engines burning, or through propellant throttling, or other means is often/usually done to reduce maximum aerodynamic stresses on the rocket as well as ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
0 votes
1 answer
136 views

Where is Farside's 4th stage?

This answer has a lot of images that I shouldn't need to repost here, and is supplemental to this answer to the question Help me understand what Farside, a ten “stage” rockoon looked like? How was it ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
70 votes
7 answers
88k views

Who coined the phrase 'Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly'?

Usually simply abbreviated as a RUD, and also sometimes expanded as Rapid Unplanned Disassembly, and being a way of understating that a rocket exploded. I saw it attributed recently to Elon Musk, ...
kim holder's user avatar
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39 votes
7 answers
11k 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 ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
35 votes
3 answers
23k views

How did the Lunar Module dock with the rest of Apollo 11 and what is the "CSM"?

I'd like to ask if anyone can, in layman's terms, describe the procedure by which the Apollo 11 astronauts were able to get back to their ship? I ask because the most accessible literature on this ...
Rob Truxal's user avatar
33 votes
9 answers
7k views

Is it common and good engineering for a pair of cables to be easily plugged into each other's connectors in modern spacecraft

Space News's Human error blamed for Vega launch failure Analysis of the telemetry from the mission, along with data from the production of the vehicle, led them to conclude that cables to two thrust ...
uhoh's user avatar
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31 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
SF.'s user avatar
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29 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did they access the LM to mount the flag package while the Apollo stack was already on the launch pad?

NASA decided rather late to take a flag to the Moon on the Apollo 11 mission. In fact, they were so late that the package containing the flag was only attached to the leg of the LM on July 9th, two ...
Ludo's user avatar
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