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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Where to obtain Appendix B of STS Historic American Engineering Record TX-116?

At the close of the Shuttle program the National Park Service and the Smithsonian (maybe others as well) embarked on a project to document the Space Transportation System as part of their Historic ...
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What is a good book on pre-Mercury space programs?

It seems that most books on the history of space flight begin with Sputnik and, except for something about von Braun and Goddard, and maybe Ziolkowski, pretty much proceed as if nothing much happened ...
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What did the Apollo 12 multispectral Four-Camera system look like?

From Apollo 12 Mission The camera equipment carried by Apollo 12 consisted of one 70-millimeter Hasselblad EL camera, two Hasselblad data cameras, two 16-millimeter Maurer data acquisition cameras, ...
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Where are remains of laika?

I have already tried searching about laika But one thing i am not able to find What about remains of famous space dog laika? where are her remains? In space or fell back to earth?
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Did Wernher von Braun really have the “Saturn V painted as the V2”?

A comment below the question Did von Braun have “a thing” for fins? Why did Saturn I block 2 get fins because it's a “von Braun” rocket? suggests that Wernher von Braun had the "Saturn V painted as ...
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Saturn I's four outer engines' gas generator exhaust, why not vent to the side like the four inner engines?

At about 04:58 in Scott Manley's new video NASA Might Be Giving Away A Saturn I Rocket - Here's Why I Love This Vintage Booster he says: So the four engines in ...
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Did von Braun have “a thing” for fins? Why did Saturn I block 2 get fins because it's a “von Braun” rocket?

At about 05:55 in Scott Manley's new video NASA Might Be Giving Away A Saturn I Rocket - Here's Why I Love This Vintage Booster he says: So the Saturn; the first ...
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Puzzler: which Apollo 8 astronaut would have been positioned furthest sunwards 20 minutes after lunar insertion?

This Classic @DavidHammen answer to the question Who has been the closest to/furthest from the Sun? says: This bodes well for an Apollo astronaut being the person closest to the Sun, but bodes ill ...
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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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How did skeptics of rocketry think rockets work?

About 50 years ago, the New York Times retracted an unsigned editorial from 1920, in which it was argued that rockets cannot work in vacuum. See this blog, or wikipedia. (alas, I was not able to ...
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How is foot-pounds of energy defined?

Tom Lodgson's classic textbook Orbital Mechanics: Theory and Applications frequently measures energy in foot-pounds, which I'd always thought to measure torque. The book doesn't define it. Is it the ...
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How was the cosmonaut of the Soviet moon mission supposed to get back in the return vehicle?

In the Soviet Moon mission, for which the ill fated N-1 launcher was built, we know that the cosmonaut responsible for landing on the moon was to transfer from the equivalent of the command module to ...
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What was the procedure for Lunar Orbit Rendezvous? [duplicate]

I've read the following questions: Why was orbital rendezvous considered so controversial? Could an Apollo LM land uncrewed? How "hard" did Apollo 12 turn left just before it landed? And ...
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What is the current location of Link-built Apollo Mission Simulators?

There seems to be confusion about the final disposition of, and even the number of, Apollo Mission Simulators built by Link Flight Simulation Division. This question is not about any simulator built ...
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Was Arthur J. Schwaniger one of very few US born NASA scientists using metric units?

Free-return trajectories were studied by Arthur Schwaniger of NASA in 1963 with reference to the Earth–Moon system. Those trajectories were used for the first Apollo missions. Mr. Schwaniger, who ...
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How “hard” did Apollo 12 turn left just before it landed?

This answer to How much were the LMs maneuvered to their landing points? includes Figure 34 from Floyd Bennett's 1972 Apollo Experience Report - Mission Planning for Lunar Descent and Ascent; NASA TN ...
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Why did a phase mismatch between the Apollo 11 LM's RR and AGC generate a large numbers of interrupts?

A critical aspect of the cause of the famous 1202 and 1201 alarms reported by the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) during the decent of the Apollo 11 LM is that the rendezvous radar (RR) was using a "...
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How long will traces of the moon landings survive?

Inspired by this question: How long will traces of the moon landings (e.g. footsteps, the hardware) or other human activity on the moon approximately survive to be recognized as unambiguous evidence ...
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What are/were the Customs requirements for astronauts?

When the Apollo 11 astronauts returned to US territory they famously went through US Customs where they listed "moon" as part of their flight routing: Was that a one-off? What are procedures today? ...
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What were the first words of the 12 astronauts who stepped on the moon?

@PearsonArtPhoto has thoughtfully assembled a video of the words of each of the 12 Apollo astronauts when they stepped on the moon. In written text, what were they?
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Why were Robert Goddard's later launches in New Mexico?

Robert Goddard was born, educated, taught, and performed the first liquid-fuel rocket flight in Massachusetts. Why then were his later launches done in New Mexico?
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Where in orbit was Michael Collins when the LM landed?

In the NPR podcast On Apollo 11 Anniversary, A Former Crew Member Reflects On The Lunar Trip Scott Simon interviews Michael Collins. Near the beginning is this exchange: SIMON: We asked the man who ...
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Did the 1202 error and associated reboot prevent disaster on Apollo 11 landing?

Most accounts of the famous 1202 error reported by the AGS during landing of the Apollo 11 LM characterize the event as result of the successful operation of the AGS, flushing an resetting an ...
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When did an astronaut in space first see someone on a TV screen?

The Apollo missions had video cameras and transmitted live images to Earth. But what about the other direction -- astronauts seeing live images of people on Earth? Question: When did an astronaut in ...
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Why did Columbia’s planned flight manifest have a five-year gap with absolutely nothing in it between 2004 and 2009?

Looking at the pre-loss-of-OV-102 plans for then-future shuttle flights (at least according to the document found and scanned by @OrganicMarble and posted as part of this answer, which was drawn up [...
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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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Which map is right? Where exactly were the two Australian dish antennas used in the Apollo missions?

There are two answers to How did NASA achieve their live TV broadcast in 1969? and each has a map that denotes the location of the following two sites Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station Parkes Radio ...
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In this iconic lunar orbit rendezvous photo of John Houbolt, why do arrows #5 and #6 point the “wrong” way?

The NPR.org news item Meet John Houbolt: He Figured Out How To Go To The Moon, But Few Were Listening shows the iconic photo of John Houbolt next to a black board showing a free return scenario. I ...
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What was this capsule dropped from a truck?

I've been watching the PBS American Experience documentary, and they showed a brief clip of some accidents at NASA. One involved a capsule being carried on the back of a truck, on some kind of crane. ...
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What's the record for the fastest trip to the Moon?

The line "Therefore the USSR sent detailed instructions to Jodrell Bank how to find their second lunar probe, Luna 2, that was launched on 12 September 1959 and hit the moon the next day." from ...
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Did NASA muzzle Wernher von Braun during the moon landings?

Wernher von Braun was brought from Germany to the United States at the end of World War II, to develop missiles for the U.S. Army. In addition to working for the military, he helped to popularize the ...
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Why alcohol had been selected as fuel for the first American space rockets?

I was surprised to read that Redstone used 75% ethyl alcohol as a fuel. Looks like this idea was abandoned later, and modern rockets use rectified petroleum or liquid hydrogen instead for burning with ...
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What “fuel more powerful than anything the West (had) in stock” put Laika in orbit aboard Sputnik 2?

The BBC World Service Radio Witness History podcast Laika, the first dog in space contains a short audio clips from some vintage 1950's British news. At 02:30 in a ...
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Usage of “weight-to-thrust” instead of “thrust-to-weight”

Section 4.1.5 of the Apollo Program Summary Report states The major design criteria for the Saturn I were: a. Minimum vehicle lift-off weight to thrust ratio I've usually seen the reverse ...
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What's the “big monstrosity” mentioned by the Apollo 11 crew?

Mission day three, sitting in lunar orbit, the LM docked to the CM, and this conversation happens: What are they talking about? "Little fluorescent circles"? "All the engineering that went into ...