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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What is the lowest inclination orbit ever achieved by a US crewed spacecraft?

The inclination range from KSC is advertised to be 28 to 62 degrees; what is the lowest inclination ever reached by a US crewed spacecraft?
Organic Marble's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
56 views

What is the lowest inclination orbit ever achieved by a crewed Soyuz mission?

Inspired by a recent question regarding Soyuz capsules I wondered what is the lowest inclination Soyuz mission? Highest inclination human spaceflights have been asked about here before. Soyuz 22 may ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
152 views

How often in NASA history was "Houston, we have a problem" or deviations actually said?

The phrase "Houston, we've had a problem" was said by Jim Lovell after the oxygen tank blew up during Apollo 13, and in the movie Tom Hanks playing Jim Lovell said "Houston, we have a ...
Old Man John's user avatar
-3 votes
0 answers
57 views

"Space navigation through wormholes." [closed]

I'm doing a scientific magazine about the possibility of traveling in time through wormholes. For my second variable, I need evidence of a discussion forum. Pls help me share your opinion and beliefs ...
Gabriel Capistrán's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
147 views

Instead of ending the Apollo program, why didn't NASA just decrease the frequency of lunar flights?

Russia is launching the completely non-reusable Soyuz rocket about four times a year on manned missions to the ISS, and even more often if you include the Progress cargo launches, not to mention Soyuz ...
Old Man John's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
187 views

When would the Soviets have landed on the moon, if NASA had not beaten them to it? [closed]

I know that after the untimely death of Korolev, the crewed moon mission was having struggles, but could they have overcome them? What would their timeline have been? Side question/pure conjecture: ...
ijustlovemath's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
138 views

Was there ever a crewed space mission that could possibly escape the solar system? [duplicate]

The German song "Major Tom" adds a twist onto David Bowie's "Space Oddity", by giving clues to the spacecraft commander Mayor Tom to deliberately abort the mission in favor of ...
dronus's user avatar
  • 111
19 votes
7 answers
9k views

What kept the Soviets from going to the Moon (before the US)?

I know that Saturn V's payload was 140 tons, about 20 times that of Soyuz. The Soviets did not have a functioning rocket with similar characteristics. But why? They had a head start in the space race ...
MWB's user avatar
  • 364
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the name of NASA's program to prevent back-contamination by crews returning to Earth?

I remember reading a Wikipedia article that in the initial years of space exploration NASA had a standing crew of bulldozers to bury any landing site or research facility exploring material from ...
Vorac's user avatar
  • 499
9 votes
1 answer
436 views

Has a rocket engine with LOX as the oxidizer ever fired beyond the GEO belt?

Intuitive Machines' Nova-C lunar lander is scheduled to launch in mid-February of this year. Notably, the lander uses liquid methane as fuel and liquid oxygen as the oxidizer, and it will rely on this ...
quinnkenri's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
405 views

Did the Apollo program deliberately hire younger and less-experienced engineers and staff?

I remember having read some time ago that for the Apollo program (and probably the related Mercury/Gemini ones), NASA deliberately hired younger and less-experienced engineers and staff. The supposed ...
Wouter's user avatar
  • 159
18 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why is the UKSA not called the Ministry of Space?

As far as I know, most agencies in His Majesty's Government have a name in the format Ministry of Xyz. However, the space agency is called the UK Space Agency (UKSA). Why? Is it a case of copying ...
Infinite_Maelstrom's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
171 views

What was the size of the SpaceX team in 2006?

I know a previous question has been asked for the team in 2008 (first successful launch of the Falcon 1). However, reading Ashlee Vance' s book on Elon Musk, I came accross this paragraph: With that ...
gbf29's user avatar
  • 33
8 votes
1 answer
246 views

Why is a cartoon character visible in the artist's rendition of the McDonnell Douglas X-33 proposal?

I think I have figured out the what, it’s just the who, when, where and why that I don’t have the answer to. In 1995 during Phase I of the X-33 program NASA received proposals from Rockwell, McDonnell ...
Steve Pemberton's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
359 views

Unknown spacecraft reference. "Wang's vehicle"

I've got a mystery for you today: In Dan Sharp's book, "British Secret Projects - 5 - Britain's Space Shuttle" ISBN:,9781910809020 MUSTARD (Multi Unit Space Transport And Reuse Device) is ...
AnarchoEngineer's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
241 views

Which (vintage?) CAD software is this in the Scott Manley video regarding The Titan Rocket

I was recently surprised by seeing a CAD software in the Scott Manley video that seems to be running on old computers in a command line like interface. Which software is this? and is it still used by ...
zephyr0110's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
227 views

ARCA Aerospace has announced the EcoRocket Heavy, a wider-than-tall rocket. Has there ever been any other seriously proposed rockets wider than tall?

Is this the first seriously proposed/planned launch vehicle that is wider than it is tall? https://www.arcaspace.com/ecorocket
qazwsx's user avatar
  • 932
2 votes
1 answer
202 views

Papers/studies about shedding aerodynamic lifting surfaces with booster

(This post has been updated to fulfil community guidelines on specificity) Here's my relevant scenario: A lifting-body Orbital Vehicle, and a turboramjet booster that (the most important part) ...
AnarchoEngineer's user avatar
38 votes
5 answers
5k views

How did theorists determine that the atmosphere attenuates enough to support unpowered orbits?

Before getting rockets into space were scientists certain that the density of the earth's atmosphere would decrease with height enough to permit low earth orbits? If so how was that determined? (If ...
Lysander's user avatar
  • 507
3 votes
0 answers
75 views

Were there any external markings or features that allow the Gemini VI and VII capsules to be identified in photographs taken on-orbit?

(Inspired by What are these on the Gemini Spacecraft?) Gemini VI-A and VII rendezvoused and pictures of the spacecraft were taken. Given only the pictures and no other information, are there markings ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
107 views

Request for high quality Titan II turbopump audio

I'm making a historical spaceflight mod and I'm close to starting work on Titan II. Does anybody have high-quality audio clips of the Titan bwoop? All I have right now are the news broadcasts for ...
Brioche's user avatar
  • 206
2 votes
0 answers
124 views

Vacuum chamber incident during apollo preparation

I've heard of an incident in the mid 60s: someone was testing a space suit in an vacuum chamber, the suit depressurized and the man fainted after feeling the water in his mouth begin to boil. It's a ...
Parchment2382's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
185 views

Has there ever been a fully-reusable big-dumb-booster design proposed?

I know of fully expendable Big Dumb Boosters, as well as "smart" reuse in systems like NEXUS (all versions) and their contemporaries, what I'm trying to figure out (after hours of sorting ...
AnarchoEngineer's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
252 views

What is the simplest rocket design that can reach orbit

I am curious on what the simplest possible rocket design that have been proposed which could reach orbit. My first thoughts would be earlier rockets like the Atlas LV-3B, but then I consider the ...
Nhan Nguyen's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Has NASA used a consistent definition of "entry interface"?

The question "Orion re-entry velocity: Why is it higher than Apollo?" has an unstated but critical assumption: that re-entry is measured at the same point for both missions. The point ...
Mark's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
311 views

What was the first space telescope to produce a 2D image with recognisable features?

I recently learned about the Orbiting Astronomical Observatories (OAO) program, a series of four space telescopes, the first launched already in 1966. Only two made it to orbit and entered operational ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.3k
3 votes
1 answer
207 views

When was Apollo 11 scheduled for July 1969?

I recently read on Wikipedia about Apollo 8's interesting schedule history. Basically, a lunar orbital mission was supposed to be an F mission for 1969, with the LEM tested in lunar orbit. But they ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 4,556
25 votes
1 answer
768 views

Does the post Apollo 13 roast mixtape still exist?

The debriefing party at the Hofbraugarten was merciless, beginning with a parody of the mission. The tape prepared by the Apollo 13 backup crew and the CapComs was not for the thin-skinned. The parody ...
Yaakov Saxon's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
269 views

How did the cost of delivery of cargo into orbit change with technology maturation?

I had an argument with my friend recently about the effect of technology maturation on spaceflight cost. In the process, I managed to find this infographic: Image source The trend for cost reduction ...
Danila Smirnov's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
229 views

Could dust kicked up from the Apollo landings reach Earth intact?

According to various sources (1,2, and 3) lunar landings kick up a lot of dust at very high speeds. Is it possible that some dust was able to get fast enough to escape the moon, fall towards Earth, ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
339 views

Why was the V-2 engine so successful?

The engine which powered the A-4/V-2 was brought back to the US as part of (I believe) Operation Paperclip, along with a couple of affiliated Nazis. The USSR effected a similar result with Operation ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
289 views

Was Apollo 8 lunar orbit entry speed intentional at 7,777 ft/s?

When Apollo 8 first went behind the back side of the Moon, it was traveling at 7,777 feet per second (https://history.nasa.gov/afj/ap08fj/12day3_lunar_encounter.html). Was the speed being all 7s (the ...
jdude97's user avatar
  • 41
8 votes
0 answers
442 views

What are the negatives associated with Thrust-augmented Nozzles aka Afterburning Rocket Engines?

An interesting comment here introduced me to the concept of Thrust-augmented Nozzles aka Afterburning Rocket Engines. The pubs I've read on it so far introduce the concept as a way to provide good ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
348 views

Who first conceptualized the space rendezvous?

For the Apollo mission, there was a debate on which mode is better - the Earth orbit rendezvous (EOR) or the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR). Who was the first person to introduce the concept of space ...
Niranjan's user avatar
  • 3,758
20 votes
6 answers
6k views

What are some of the obsolete technologies that space agencies used in day-to-day work during the 1960s?

This may be a vague question, please let me know if more info is needed. As we know, NASA put a man on the moon using technologies that we no longer use, like slide rules and entire teams of people ...
HFOrangefish's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
412 views

Reference request: Rocketdyne Document R-3896-4 "F-1 Rocket Engine Illustrated Parts Breakdown"

Various sections of the Rocketdyne F-1 document R-3896 can be found scattered about the web, but I can't find R-3896-4. It's described as R-3896-4 F-1 Rocket Engine Illustrated Parts Breakdown This ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
348 views

What does it mean to tune the Saturn F-1 engine to a frequency, and how is the tuning done?

Chapter 10 of Chariots For Apollo remarks the following in discussing the pogo problem of Apollo 4 and 6 and the role of the first stage F-1 engines in that: The mission analysts later discovered ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.3k
14 votes
4 answers
2k views

What did Charlie Duke mean by "down on the ground"?

When Neil Armstrong gave his iconic report "The Eagle has landed," CAPCOM Charlie Duke responded with, "We copy you down on the ground." What exactly did he mean by this? Was it, ...
GordonD's user avatar
  • 1,153
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Mariner 9 computing equipment

I am guessing the word CPU can't be used in reference to computers in 1971. So I am wondering what type of electronic equipment were put in place of a regular CPU ...
malat's user avatar
  • 203
3 votes
1 answer
398 views

Why was SERT-1 put in a suborbital trajectory (4000 km apogee) while SERT-2 (1970-009A) was put in a 1000 km circular polar orbit?

Wikipedia's SERT-1 says SERT-1 (Space Electric Rocket Test) was a NASA probe used to test electrostatic ion thruster design and was built by NASA's Lewis Research Center (now NASA Glenn). SERT-1 was ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
-1 votes
1 answer
192 views

How relevant was Wernher von Braun really? [closed]

Wernehr von Braun is named "Father of the moon landing" and deemed very important to the success of the space race back in the day. But was he really? What were his personal contributions? ...
TrySCE2AUX's user avatar
  • 3,245
0 votes
0 answers
103 views

What would happen if a rocket was shot? [duplicate]

After the pre-launch explosion in 2016 of their Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX seriously considered sabotage, going as far as to see how easy it would be to shoot the Falcon 9 rocket from the ULA building. ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
160 views

First use of spacecraft thermal control louvers, doors, pinwheels, or other things that physically actuate either passively or actively?

Below are some examples of Question: What was the first use of spacecraft thermal control louvers, doors, pinwheels, or other things that physically actuate either passively or actively? From this ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
1 vote
1 answer
147 views

Which (if any) Vanguard satellite spun at 150 RPM? How fast did the rest spin, or at leased would have spun had they succeeded?

From Wikipedia's Project Vanguard; Launch_history I found some candidates for satellites that had pages which I could search for the term "RPM". This is not an exhaustive search, it's just ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
1 answer
95 views

What was the first successful two-stage-to-orbit launch by the US? What was the first attempt if different?

Wikipedia's Juno I (the launch vehicle for the first US satellite in orbit Explorer 1) begins: The Juno I was a four-stage American space launch vehicle, used to launch lightweight payloads into low ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
1 answer
158 views

How does NASA count the order that people have entered space?

NASA has designated Matthias Maurer (crewmember of SpaceX CrewDragon 3) as the 600th person to fly in space. Leaving aside the question of whether those who flew with Branson and Bezos should be ...
GordonD's user avatar
  • 1,153
16 votes
2 answers
4k views

Has any piston machine been used on a space mission?

Inspired by question about engine lubrication in space. Piston engines are not used for propelling spacecraft, but there are some possible uses for especially Stirling engines and compressors: ...
jpa's user avatar
  • 1,922
5 votes
1 answer
224 views

What 1960s era launch pad and vehicle is shown in this still from stock footage?

The interesting question Identify this 1960's launch site and mission? contains some screenshots of launch pad stock footage. Most are of LC39, but as @Puffin points out in a comment, one does ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
126 views

What was the first spacecraft intentionally moved from GEO to the graveyard orbit to die? (just a bit above geosynchronous)

Why “super” for supersynchronous orbits? Why not “trans”? and discussions and answers there got me wondering: Question: What was the first spacecraft intentionally moved from GEO or geosynchronous to ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
1 answer
61 views

What was the first spacecraft intentionally placed in a supersynchrous Earth orbit? (period longer than a sidereal day)

Why “super” for supersynchronous orbits? Why not “trans”? and discussions and answers there got me wondering: Question: What was the first spacecraft intentionally placed in a supersynchronous Earth ...
uhoh's user avatar
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