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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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6 votes
2 answers
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Are there any pictures of the Qualifications for Astronauts hearing for the House of Representatives?

On July 17th and 18th, 1962, a hearing was organized in front of Congress for the special subcommittee on the selection of astronauts. This hearing was organized to ascertain whether women could be ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 5,098
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Did the Voyager spacecraft use a Golay, a Reed-Solomon and/or a Hamming code for data transmission encoding for error correction? (Need clarification)

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
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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
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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
  • 149k
7 votes
0 answers
97 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 :-) ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
0 answers
87 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" (...
lambshaanxy's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
121 views

How to get the Voyager Golden Record music?

This link https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/golden-record/whats-on-the-record/music From NASA lists the tracks in the Golden Record sent to outer space. Has anyone come across an easy way to actually ...
Sergiy Lenzion's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
93 views

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 (...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
1 answer
126 views

What is the origin of the Lunar Module in the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL?

I recently had a chance to visit the US Space and Rocket Center. While I was there, I saw a lunar module. It is very clear that the ascent portion is a mock-up, but the decent portion looks real, ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
154 views

Names of geographic features on moons or planets other than Earth found later to be controversial or provocative? Have any then been changed?

The names of places and geographic features (and even buildings) on Earth is an interesting topic; sometimes they are later changed after concerns are raised. And of course there is the deliberate ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
96 views

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 ...
Erich Purpur's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
63 views

What are the main challenges to boosting or driving smaller solar sails with a constellation of separate reflectors?

This is to continue expanding the idea of using smaller solar sails, but increasing the energy they receive from the Sun by having a constellation1 of satellites with mirrors + lenses. For context, I ...
germanio's user avatar
  • 145
7 votes
2 answers
271 views

Is there an example of a classic space engineering moment where months of work had to be discarded due to the wrong approach?

Is there any classic aviation/space engineering moment where the engineers had been working on a concept for months and then realised that their approach to the problem wasn't quite right and so had ...
RNG's user avatar
  • 385
19 votes
4 answers
3k views

Can "engine" and "motor" be used interchangeably in spaceflight? Are there any cases where they can't be?

Typing "rocket motor" into google returns a page full of links mostly about rocket engines. It seems that The Google has AI-synonymized them. Question: Can "engine" and "motor&...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
19 votes
4 answers
5k views

How well would Max Faget's April 1, 1969 design for the Space Shuttle have actually worked? What would have been the major problems?

This answer to Who are the actual lead designers of manned spacecraft? says (in its entirety): Max Faget was involved in the design of every US manned spacecraft flown to date. Mercury, Gemini, ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
1 answer
145 views

Need of the DoD for a heavy lift vehicle for "other" satellites

As mentioned in Saturn I history, the DoD wanted a launch vehicle to put A): 20,000 to 40,000 pounds (~9,100 to ~18,200 kg) into orbit, or B): accelerating 13,200 to 26,200 pounds (6,000 to 11,900 kg) ...
Niranjan's user avatar
  • 3,796
29 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why do Canopus Star Trackers track Canopus? Why not so Sirius?

Jupiter is magnitude −2.94 to −1.66 and Sirius is −1.46 and Venus stays between -3.8 and -4.8, while Canopus is only −0.74. (more negative is brighter) Question: Other than their namesake, why do ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
1 answer
202 views

In their first 100 sols which NASA Mars rover drove the furthest and which one the least?

It seems we've passed the 100 day/sol mark for Perseverance. Perseverance and Curiosity are comparable in designs but have had significantly different short term goals; Curiosity was the first of it's ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
2 answers
125 views

Space missions that employed separate flight software development teams?

A recent question "Back up plan to use LOX-RP1 for Apollo mission" has an answer stating Another example is that some spacecraft have a backup flight software system written by a group of ...
BrendanLuke15's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why did each F-1 engine have dual fuel feedlines?

Each F-1 engine had two fuel feedlines connecting it to the fuel tank as shown in these contemporary photographs and drawings. The corresponding LOX system only had one feedline. The engine had a ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
433 views

Most noodle-like (highest aspect ratio) orbital launch vehicle ever?

Just how much can tall skinny rockets bend? (roughly, safely) Why is Falcon 9's shape so tall and skinny? If not constrained by underpasses, etc., would Falcon 9 have been less of a flying noodle? ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
0 answers
124 views

How is Prospero doing now? Was it really heard in 2004 and have there been recent attempts to contact it?

Screenshot from the excellent historical review in Curious Droid video Black Arrow : The Lipstick Rocket - A Very British Space Program with a photo of Prospero or at least a representation thereof. ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
3 votes
1 answer
60 views

Tracking stations that could have been used in 1967 & 1971 for the launches of the WRESAT & Prospero, X3 satellites from Australia

In relation to the question, How many satellites were orbited from Australia in total? In November 1967 and October 1971 the WRESAT and Prospero, X3 satellites were launched from Woomera, South ...
Fred's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
1k views

How many satellites were orbited from Australia in total?

WRESAT; The first Australian Satellite Launched Wednesday November 29, 1967 on Colin Mackellar's Honeysuckle Creek website links to several other pages with various details and photos of the mission. ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
2 answers
186 views

Were photographs or optical measurements of orbital craft from the ground ever used during early crewed spaceflight missions?

The lengthy and interesting blogpost Baker-Nunn Camera, Island Lagoon on Colin Mackellar's Honeysuckle Creek website includes a photo of "Gemini 10 (with John Young and Mike Collins onboard) and ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
1 answer
364 views

Was liquid ozone + fluorine ever tested as an oxidizer? Ever with jet fuel?

Searching for ozone layer circa 1957 I got Theoretical Rocket Performance of JP-4 Fuel with Mixtures of Liquid Ozone and Fluorine, NACA RM E56K14, Issue 58, Volume 63, Vearl N. Huff, Sanford Gordon. ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
5 answers
2k views

Why did the Space Race end on the Moon?

Why did both the USA and the USSR decide to put a person on the Moon and then 'end' the space race, having 'won'? Why didn't the space race go on infinitely: who would fly the first astronauts to ...
Giovanni's user avatar
  • 389
7 votes
2 answers
765 views

"Re-entry" vs "Reaction" in RCS

Reading through the Wikipedia (not known for being the bastion of all truth but usually a decent starting point) article for Gemini 8, I came across this passage (emphasis mine): The astronauts ...
Freddie R's user avatar
  • 2,544
10 votes
1 answer
433 views

Was Fidel Castro ever in a Soviet spacecraft?

I was looking at a Roscosmos news item Russian monitoring tools track the stage of the rocket that launched the module of the Chinese station about the reentering Long March 5B This situation will ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
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
  • 2,544
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Does a photo with two Saturn V's on launch pad 39A and 39B exist?

There is a beautiful photo of two Space Shuttles on launch pads 39A and 39B. Apollo 10 was the only Saturn V launch from pad 39B. Were either Apollo 9 or Apollo 11 close enough in time to have two ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.4k
7 votes
2 answers
666 views

Were all three Mobile Launch Platforms ever in use simultaneously?

With an optimistic view on the future, NASA built a Vertical Assembly Building with four bays and three Mobile Launch Platforms. They were later repurposed for the Space Shuttle and other launch ...
Ludo's user avatar
  • 14.4k
1 vote
3 answers
485 views

Why do we never see astronauts doing breaststroke or the "Man from Atlantis" swimming movements, say, and thus swimming in air in free fall?

Why do we never see astronauts and others swimming in air in free fall? The swimming strokes that work well under water on earth are the breast stroke and especially that "Man from Atlantis" ...
Matthew Christopher Bartsh's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
229 views

What JPL laboratory is this exactly, and what are the functions of these amazing-looking control panels?

The (somewhat strangely named) video clip How William Shatner Changed the World - Dr. Marc D. Rayman, Chief Propulsion Engineer, NASA, JPL contains several shots of what looks like an ion propulsion ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
2 answers
178 views

Has anyone suggested using an electrically powered sling or centrifuge mass thrower as a form of electrically powered spacecraft propulsion?

Has anyone suggested using an electrically powered sling as a form of electric propulsion for a space craft? It might be a centrifuge type arrangement with a way to release part of or all of the ...
Matthew Christopher Bartsh's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
212 views

Why did the Mir space station need someone to look after it at all times?

Why did the Mir space station need someone to look after it at all times? "But Krikalev and the other cosmonaut on board quickly decided that, for them, the option was off the table. The two had ...
Matthew Christopher Bartsh's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
32 views

What is the safety record of launch vehicles per person-distance traveled, over all time?

Sometimes, the safety of various forms of transportation are compared based on the rate of fatalities (or injuries or other unplanned destructive accidents) per person-mile or person-kilometer ...
WBT's user avatar
  • 1,144
5 votes
0 answers
139 views

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 ...
Bartosz Brożek's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
194 views

Clustering of liquid fueled rocket engines

Which rocket first used clustering of liquid fueled rocket engines on their first stage?
Niranjan's user avatar
  • 3,796
10 votes
1 answer
356 views

time trends in astronaut fatality rates?

A recent answer quoted the statistic that over 10% of astronauts have died on the job That got me wondering what the trend over time has been in mortality rate of astronauts, i.e. is space travel ...
Ben Bolker's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
169 views

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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
1 vote
0 answers
76 views

How is the anniversary of Vostok 1 celebrated in the U.S. space community?

Sixty years ago, the first human spaceflight was celebrated in the Soviet Union as a great technical and historic victory. Americans at the time were concerned that the United States was losing the ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48.1k
1 vote
0 answers
71 views

What's the lowest periapsis of a successful orbit around the Moon? [duplicate]

What's the lowest periapsis of a successful orbit around the Moon ever made by a moon-orbiting spacecraft? Theoretically, Moon-orbiters can go as low as a foot above the surface due to the lack of an ...
Giovanni's user avatar
  • 633
5 votes
0 answers
158 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 ...
Morgoth's user avatar
  • 211
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why was Redstone Arsenal specifically chosen for post-war rocket development?

We have had questions on the origin of JSC, KSC, White Sands, and Wallops Island. Today is MSFC's turn. After World War II, many of the officials of the German rocket program -- including leader ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48.1k
10 votes
1 answer
454 views

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 &...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
6 votes
1 answer
405 views

Are rocket self-destruct systems ever flight-tested/flight-proven?

Under the question SN11 was launched in fog. Why not wait for better conditions? I wrote the comment: armchair totally unsupported theory: the fog presented an opportunity to test the emergency self-...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
1 answer
186 views

Origin, artist, and original purpose of this unusual NASA image from 1996 or earlier? (possibly related to Clementine)

Two astronomy questions below relate to Clementine and poking around I found Ice on the Bone Dry Moon which was Written by Paul D. Spudis, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX, Deputy Leader of ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
0 answers
268 views

First instance of a frangible nut in space? Which space-nut was first successfully "franged"?

Wikipedia's Frangible nut begins: Not to be confused with Explosive bolt. The frangible nut is a component used in many industries, but most commonly by NASA[citation needed], to sever mechanical ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
1 vote
1 answer
197 views

Did Skylab have several giant spirit levels? That's what these look like to me, except there's no bubble

The BBC's Skylab: The myth of the mutiny in space shows the image below of one big circular end bulkhead of the main Skylab main space, with an astronaut in the center hatch and giant air manifolds ...
uhoh's user avatar
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