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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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Did Skylab astronauts really "go outside" to look at comet Kohoutek? If so, why?

Today in The BBC's Skylab: The myth of the mutiny in space it says: The Skylab space station was a research platform in orbit where astronauts helped scientists to study the human body's response to ...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
425 views

Has Hubble ever focused on something close enough that it had to move away from being focused at infinity?

Hubble wouldn't have to change focus for Pranksat to work because Pranksat is cleverly designed to present a virtual image with a focus at infinity. But if the diffraction-limited Hubble wanted to ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 answer
45 views

What secondary science payloads deployed from primary science payloads were strictly battery powered?

When is the last time that a battery-powered spacecraft was launched without an RTG or solar-electric power? had to be refined a few times because the use of battery-only power is much more widespread ...
uhoh's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
476 views

What was the first Soviet spacecraft that could recharge its battery it each orbit? Where were the photovoltaic cells made?

Sputnik 1 (/ˈspʌtnɪk, ˈspʊtnɪk/; "Satellite-1", or "PS-1", Простейший Спутник-1 or Prosteyshiy Sputnik-1, "Elementary Satellite 1") was the first artificial Earth ...
uhoh's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
296 views

When is the last time that a battery-powered spacecraft was launched without an RTG or solar-electric power?

Except for special sun-synchronous, Earth orbit eventually leads to eclipses, so spacecraft in Earth orbit generally have solar panels with electrical energy "buffered" by batteries. And ...
uhoh's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Could the Soviets have gotten to the Moon using multiple Soyuz rockets?

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 couldn't they launch 20 Soyuz rockets, assemble the ...
MWB's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
207 views

Is a cheap English translation available of Tsiolkovsky's "Outside the Earth"?

Anyone know where to pick up a copy of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's science fiction book titled "Outside the Earth" (alternately titled: "Beyond the Planet Earth" and "Beyond ...
SpaceDisgrace's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
374 views

How did the UK "intentionally self-nuke its space exploration capabilities in the 1970s"?

I have it on good authority that The UK intentionally self-nuked its space exploration capabilities in the 1970s, and has only recently starting to recover from this self-inflicted damage. Question: ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
262 views

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 '...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
480 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
266 views

Was the famous SPICE package of programs, utilities and data kernels named after "Melange" found on the planet Arrakis?

This question is NOT about a fictional planet: This question is about NASA JPL history and the naming of SPICE. It is not primarily about the fictional planet Arrakis nor the fictional drug Melange ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
124 views

What is the first time that two satellites were launched together as the same payload?

Below I've assembled some research into the question of which launch is actually the first to carry two satellites into orbit, but so far I think the results are inconclusive. So despite there being ...
Joe Jobs's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
538 views

How was an emergency landing site at Diego Garcia used during the Apollo program?

On the current Starlink mission as the 2nd stage passed over the Indian Ocean I heard mention of contact with a ground station at Diego Garcia. Checking that article I found the subsection Space ...
uhoh's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
525 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-...
uhoh's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
3k views

Did the Apollo Command module really "skip" within, or off of the atmosphere as a part of its reentry program?

This answer to a question about the Shuttle reentry begins: Skipping reentries aren't unheard of. The Apollo command module performed a single skip when returning from lunar missions. but Wikipedia'...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
859 views

Mercury reentry heat shields; material composition, manufacturing process and explanation of all those concentric ridges?

A collection of photos in posts by Miles Lumbard there is a page titled Mercury Retro Pack Walk Around Page 1 (spotted here in reference to the thermal zebra stripes) can be found nine images with the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
515 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
133 views

Was the nature of Explorer 3's orbit intentional?

A number of early spacecraft launched into orbits other than the intended one. For example, Explorer 1's apogee of 2550 km was much higher than intended, and Vostok 1's was too high to decay in the ...
Mark's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
154 views

How many Soviet space missions have had at least one tortoise?

Science Alert's These Are 7 of The Strangest Experiments Humans Have Ever Done in Space talks about two tortoises that flew aboard Zond-5 spacecraft on 2 September 1968, then later goes on to say: We'...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
86 views

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, ...
Ginasius's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is your name? What is your quest? What is the story behind Satellite 1963-38C?

Source see also the page On Possible Electric Phenomena in Solar Systems and Nebulae By Kristian Birkeland extracted from The Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition 1902-1903 (Book) Wikipedia's ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
388 views

First Ham Radio contact from space; what frequency, what kind of antenna, and how did they route the coax out the window?

From Phys.org's Earthlings and astronauts chat away, via ham radio: NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock was just a few weeks into his six-month mission at the space station when feelings of isolation began ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
159 views

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 ...
Ludo's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
171 views

What was the furthest distance from Earth that Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins reached in Apollo 11?

An estimate is fine. But if possible, I am looking for a reference that I can cite.
Andrew's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
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What radar-trackable steel ball was thrown from the ISS before October 2015? [duplicate]

The question What kinds of things have been tossed out of the ISS? contains a now-rotted link to a YouTube video of a steel ball being thrown from the ISS for radar tracking tests. I'd sourced it from ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
231 views

Did NASA have black doctors around 1960?

In the 2020 TV series "The Right Stuff" a lot of changes are made for dramatic effect. The show has a black doctor working at NASA during the Mercury programme, and he seems to be pretty ...
user's user avatar
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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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6 votes
3 answers
264 views

How many independent demonstrations of optical communications between ground and space have been successful?

As everybody knows, the pioneering work of The Professor and his serendipitous collaborator Gilligan demonstrated the reality of ground to space optical communications back in 1964. In that case ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
160 views

Is there anything left of the J-2 test stands at Santa Susana Field Laboratory and the F-1 test stands at Edwards AFB?

The Mississippi Test Facility (now Stennis Space Center) is used for a lot of rocket testing, including testing the F-1. However, many of the test stands are now gone. Rocketdyne, however, also had ...
Ludo's user avatar
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-8 votes
3 answers
428 views

Lot 345 of Christie's "Voyage To Another World" auction supposedly has the only photo of Armstrong on the Moon, but isn't this one also? [closed]

Christie's press release Christie's Voyage to Another World: The Victor Martrin-Malburet Photograph Collection includes the following: Lot 345, The only photograph of Neil Armstrong on the Moon, July ...
uhoh's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Who proposed detonating gunpowder on the moon to prove a rocket reached it?

I remember reading a about some rocket pioneer who had proposed that if a rocket were launched to the moon, one way to prove that it had reached the moon would be to detonate a large quantity of ...
Anssssss's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
109 views

Where can I find list of deep space probes launched but yet to land on celestial bodies etc?

How can I find list of all deep space probes that have launched, but not yet landed on any celestial bodies?
Stan Melling's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
348 views

What was the first successful demonstration of a fuel cell in space?

Hydrogen fuel cells (together with batteries) were used for electrical power in the Apollo program, where it was recombined with oxygen on board to produce electricity. Doing chemistry in practical ...
uhoh's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
760 views

How was the Skylab 'parasol' deployed?

The parasol shield set up by the first Skylab crew was deployed through a scientific airlock. How did they control this when the inner hatch of the airlock must have been closed?
GordonD's user avatar
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17 votes
5 answers
3k views

How hard is it to fly through the tail of a comet? Has it been done?

The line between comets and asteroids is somewhat blurred (see below) but when we see a big bright tail we at least like to call it a comet. This question is about exploration of the tails of big-tail-...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
360 views

Have traditional spinning hard drives ever been used in space outside of pressurized crewed areas? Ever beyond LEO?

The Atacama Large Millimeter Array or ALMA is a radio telescope complex where signals from dozens of distributed dishes are routed to a single computer which performs interferometry and image ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
165 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 ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
443 views

What was the normal function of the (coax?) crosshairs used during the Apollo 13 famous manual burn?

What crosshairs were used to maintain an attitude during the famous manual trajectory correction burn during Apollo 13's return to Earth? What was their normal function? This is all I can hear in the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
60 views

How often have dust devils saved a Martian lander or rover?

This answer to How are the Mars Rovers maintained? reminds us that ...much to the surprise of the early Mars scientists and rover teams, Mars takes care of the dust problem for us! Mars' typical ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
217 views

Arrhenius' calculation of the temperature of Venus

In this answer, we learn that in the early 1900s, Nobel Prize winner Svante Arrhenius believed that Venus was covered in lush swamps. His book on this matter, "the destinies of the stars", ...
Wouter's user avatar
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28 votes
3 answers
5k views

Would it have been possible to launch rockets in secret in the 1960s?

I had a discussion the other day with a friend who claimed that many more cosmonauts were lost during the the Space Race than the Soviet government publicly admitted. He argued that it was easy for ...
Schmuddi's user avatar
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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
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5 votes
1 answer
306 views

space piracy, has it ever happened?

Recently i was watching the movie "The martian" where and that got me wondering, has something like that ever happened in real life, where someone (a person or organization) has became a ...
Topcode's user avatar
  • 903
8 votes
1 answer
228 views

NASA SIM (Space Interferometry Mission) - how mature technically it was at the moment of cancellation?

NASA's SIM mission was canceled in 2010. It was planned as first optical interferometer in space. I couldn't find answer - how technically mature the mission was when it was canceled? How far it was ...
Heopps's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
138 views

Why aren't there any trajectories for the Viking missions in JPL Horizons' database?

Horizons has calculated trajectories for deep space spacecraft, including six objects related to Apollo 8 through 12. See an (old) list in the currently unanswered question What was Chang'e-2'...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
6 votes
4 answers
762 views

First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans?

Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are ubiquitous now, but I still remember riding my bike to Radio Shack and buying my first LED, checking the diagram on the back of the package, and getting a battery and ...
uhoh's user avatar
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19 votes
1 answer
3k views

Was Venus once seriously believed to be lush under its cloud cover?

Mars was once believed to have canals, and some astronomers seriously argued that they were artificial. The atmosphere of Venus was first observed in 1761. Wikipedia kind of skips over the period ...
Wouter's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
250 views

Technical historical books covering the Apollo-Saturn program

In the preface of "Stages to Saturn", the author Robert E. Bilstein writes: This book is a technological history. [...] Two other histories, already published, deal with subjects keyed to ...
Ludo's user avatar
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26 votes
9 answers
10k views

Why would such a powerful computer (or a computer at all) be needed to go to the Moon?

I keep hearing people say things like: Duuuude! It's so insane that we're carrying around phones in our pockets that are a thousand times faster than the computers that took us to the moon! Why do ...
Branko Kieran's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
810 views

Can you help me identify this vehicle outside the VAB?

I found this photo of a house being transported off of Kennedy Space Center property sometime in the 1960s/early 1970s. We managed to track down where the house was moved from/to, but one thing that ...
Harry Stranger's user avatar

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