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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10
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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1answer
337 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. ...
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1answer
2k views

Was 39A 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 ...
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0answers
196 views

What is the smallest launch vehicle that has put a satellite in a geostationary orbit?

Minotaur V might become a candidate for the smallest current launcher to put a payload in GEO, but it has only launched LADEE yet. The first satellite in GEO seems to have been Syncom 1 which launched ...
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2answers
2k views

Who was the first person to touch the moon rocks?

This might be a stupid question, but I can't find and don't know the answer: Everyone knows that Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin were the first men to land on/ walk on the moon. But were they ...
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3answers
1k views

How do we come up with the gravity assist (or slingshot) formula?

When you search up in google gravity assist formula, it comes up with the simplest version: Which means that: Final velocity = Initial velocity + 2 (velocity of the planet) Then if we do some more ...
13
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1answer
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 ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Ordering of the Lagrange points

Is there any basis for the ordering of the L-points? Specifically, is there any particular reason for choosing L1 as the first L-point?
8
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1answer
215 views

Are there any events planned to celebrate Sputnik's 60th anniversary today?

April 12 has Yuri's Night to commemorate Yuri Gagarin's first orbital flight by a human. The launch of Sputnik 1, the first satellite humanity put into orbit, on 4 October 1957 at 10:58pm Moscow time ...
5
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2answers
329 views

Did any astronaut take a Bible into space?

I am wondering if any astronauts took a copy of the Holy Bible into space. I know the crew of Apollo 8 read part of Genesis 1 in space, but I am wondering if anyone took a full Holy Bible into space.
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
141 views

When was the idea behind the DESCANSO Book Series first conceived, by whom, and what is it's “mission”?

When was the idea behind the DESCANSO Book Series first conceived, by whom, and what is it's "mission"? When I'm looking for information on deep space issues including communications and orbital ...
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0answers
163 views

What are the contributions of ancient Indian astronomers in mapping of the solar system and galaxies?

In the history of astronomy we usually come up with the name of European astronomers like Kepler and Galileo. Earlier Indian astronomers, for example Aryabhata and Bhaskaracharya, are not usually ...
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4answers
14k views

How did people know how to build the first space ship?

How did the early designers of spacecrafts have any idea what space was actually like? How was a vessel ever constructed that actually flew through Earth's atmosphere without burning up, and then ...
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1answer
491 views

Were there problems with the Russian Buran space shuttle's reusability?

The Soviet space shuttle Buran launched and landed (unmanned, because it could) once very successfully. I would think it would be a very valuable industrial asset for the bankrupt Russian Republic ...
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0answers
267 views

Charges against NASA Administrator James Beggs? [closed]

James M Beggs was NASA administrator from 1981 to 1985. He was accused of and later completely exonerated of contract fraud. What were the details of the charges and why were they later completely ...
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2answers
524 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 ...
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1answer
703 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 ...
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2answers
3k views

What was the first programming language in space?

Sputnik 1 was the first satellite in space. Did it have a programming language on board or was it purely analog? in 1949 Von Neumann released the language Short Code. Fortran was invented in 1957. ...
5
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1answer
938 views

White papers on alleged 1960s Chinese wooden ablative reentry heat shield

Popular sources, like Vintage Space and New Scientist, allege that the Chinese experimented with (oak?) wood ablative heat shields for manned reentry vehicles in the 1960s, but I have not been able to ...
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1answer
80 views

How/from where did the the two TiPS components get the names Ralph and Norton?

From Gunter's Space Page: The TiPS (Tethers in Space Physics Satellite) satellite is a tether physics experiment consisting of two end masses connected by a 4 km non-conducting tether. The ...
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0answers
257 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 ...
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2answers
625 views

How do items from the Russian and Soviet space programs end up in private collections?

A member today posted this photo showing a complete instrument panel from a Soyuz TM capsule, and a globus instrument from a Voskhod capsule: Both items are in their private collection. Only 5 ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

Is Transit 5B-5 a.k.a. Oscar 2 really “still kind of 'active'”?

Is there any factual basis for this highly up voted/accepted answer that "Transit 5B-5 a.k.a. Oscar 2 is "still kind of 'active'"? Transit 5B-5 a.k.a. Oscar 2 (not to confuse with OSCAR ham radio ...
4
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1answer
473 views

Where are the “World's First Space Engines” now?

From the Wikipedia article Pioneer P-30: At an altitude of about 370 km (230 mi), the first stage separated from the second stage. When the second stage was ignited, telemetry showed abnormal ...
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0answers
138 views

Why haven't we gone back to the moon? [duplicate]

In 40 years why has no country sent a manned mission to the Moon? I am aware the US retired the types of rockets that could get a man to the moon but why would they do that and why wouldn't they or ...
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1answer
3k views

Why did NASA set up a computing facility in Bermuda in the Mercury epoch?

I'm reading Hidden Figures, and I'm puzzled by an assertion Shetterly makes in a section describing the first few electronic computers installed at NASA, in the run-up to the Mercury project at around ...
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2answers
11k 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

What are some specific examples of the calculations human “computers” did for the Mercury space program?

The movie Hidden Figures tells the story of three black women who were "computers" for the Mercury space program. They performed calculations related to orbits, launches, aerodynamics, etc. What are ...
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2answers
429 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
403 views

What's considered the boundary for “earth orbit?” [closed]

According to this CNET article, The last time a human broke free from Earth's orbit was the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. I thought that the moon orbited the Earth, and that visits to it were still ...
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1answer
2k views

What solid fuel was used in the Katyushas rocket artillery of WW2?

The Katyushas were invented by the Soviets and used in WW2. They were trucks with rails firing a bunch of small rockets with a range of 3 to 12 km. These were solid-fuel rockets, but I would like to ...
6
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1answer
197 views

Was it ever suggested to merge ESA with Roscosmos?

ESA, the European Space Agency, is (formally) independent of other international cooperations like the European Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union, were there ever any proposals for ESA to join ...
5
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2answers
523 views

When was the second production run of the Saturn V cancelled?

The Saturn V had an initial production run of 15 vehicles (plus 3 test articles). Twelve were used for Apollo 4, 6, and 8-17, one was used for Skylab, the components of the other two are on display in ...
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0answers
203 views

Is this video made from one coherent set of images or a mixture of several missions or even agencies?

NOTE: Looking at this 2+ years later, I realize now that a careful observer can likely answer this one fairly quickly. I'll do it myself eventually, but someone else is welcome to first. In this ...
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2answers
1k views

Why did the Apollo program become a MULTIPLE human landing program?

How did JFK's promise of landing one man on the Moon grow into a whole series of landings of 12 men on 7 missions, with even more planned? Given the motivation of the program, shouldn't Apollo have ...
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2answers
3k views

Did Sputnik 1 have attitude control?

The (currently only) answer to Why did Sputnik 1 have four antennas? discusses how Sputnik 1 had four antennas in order to ensure that the Earth would never be in the null of any of its antennas. ...
5
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1answer
463 views

What is the procedure for naming spacecraft?

This is something I've wondered about quite frequently. Is there really any common naming procedure used to name spacecraft? It seems that some spacecraft are named after greek and roman gods, such as:...
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1answer
143 views

What are the rough dimensions of the ISS?

In about 2014, i was told the ISS was about the size of one American football field. In American football (not soccer), the field is 100-120 yards long by 53 yards wide. In 2016, some cub scouts ...
11
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1answer
808 views

Did early Russian capsules really have “Human Inside” labels?

This comic claims that it was to prevent people panicking and attacking the crew. However, Vostok pilots were supposed to land separately from the capsule. Are there any photos supporting this claim? ...
2
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1answer
152 views

Did TASS officially name the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 1950's instead of 1961?

Just read this wiki article on Tyura-tam, the actual location of the Cosmodrome. It says: In the mid 1950s, the Soviet Union announced that space activities were being conducted from the Baykonur ...
6
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2answers
373 views

Which part(s) of the Goddard Rocket is(are) the rocket, and why (actually) no fins?

I was reading this comment about the Pendulum rocket fallacy under this answer and looked at the picture (below) as I've seen it (or similar) in science books all my life, and I realized that I don't ...
5
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1answer
471 views

What is the maximum number of OMS burns executed during a single Shuttle mission?

The recent questions about restarting rocket engines in space made me wonder about this. Every mission used the OMS a couple of times at least but rendezvous missions increased the usage. The record ...
36
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7answers
9k 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 ...
6
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1answer
136 views

Is NSTS 08209 “Shuttle Systems Design Criteria” available online?

This would be a handy reference, to say the least. There is a paper copy in at least one library in Houston, so it's not inconceivable that it's online somewhere, but my searches to date have failed.
5
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0answers
181 views

Roughly when were these Pegasus photos taken?

This NASA Spaceflight Tweet shows historical photos of (presumably) Antonio Elias wishing Pegasus well. Question: Does anyone know roughly when were these Pegasus photos taken? Could they be circa ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Largest inhabitable volume in space

When you look at space ships, capsules and stations, one thing that is lacking in space is… space. As in: pressurized volume a human can freely move in. Most are tiny tin cans. So I was wondering, ...
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1answer
325 views

What was the first space tourism company?

What was the first company that came up with the business plan of taking tourists to space? In which year was the company launched or the outline of the business plan known to public? What was the ...

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