Questions tagged [spaceflight-firsts]

First or earliest instances of a notable event, implementation, or technological achievement related to spaceflight. Use the record tag instead for questions of the class fastest, smallest etc. as these records can be set and broken while firsts never change (in principle)

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Did 18 SPCS issue two TLEs for JWST when it was not bound to Earth nor orbiting it? Is this a spaceflight first?

spacetrack.org lists two TLEs for 2021-130A with epochs of 21359.67 and 21362.00 I think that for at least the second one, JWST was well on it's way to it's Sun-Earth L2 halo orbit traveling at least ...
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Has there ever been a dish antenna on a lander? If so, which was the first? How about rovers?

At about 04:49 in Scott Manley's January 30, 2022 video Deep Space Radiation, Black Holes And Other Questions - Episode 14 a painting by the science fiction and ...
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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 ...
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Has an aircraft's flight ever been delayed on another planet? If so, who, what, when, where and why exactly?

For the benefit of future readers and our spaceflight-firsts tag: Question: Has an aircraft's flight ever been delayed on another planet? If so, who issued the delay order, what spacecraft's flight ...
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When and why did three-axis stabilization become prominent in geostationary satellites?

Since the very first Sycom 1, geostationary satellites from 1960s to 1980s are cylindrical with solar cells covering the body of the satellite. Such examples include: GOES 1 to 7 AsiaSat 1 and its ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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First multi-pin electrical connection made in vacuum in space? Was it a part of a docking maneuver? Were precautions against cold welding taken?

Wikipedia's Docking and berthing of spacecraft says that The first spacecraft docking was performed between Gemini 8 and an uncrewed Agena Target Vehicle on March 16, 1966. Were multi-pin electrical ...
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Was Tianwen-1 the first "triple-depl"? (orbiter-deploys-lander-deploys-rover-deploys-selfie cam) What are the highly hierarchical deep space missions?

What are the highly hierarchical deep space mission, those where one thing deploys the next which deploys the next... after leaving cis-lunar space. An example would be Tianwen-1 where a Mars orbiter ...
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How much did we know about space in 1940? [closed]

I'm reading a thoroughly ridiculous book, Calling Captain Future. It was written as a pulp serial in the 1940's, and is set in a very futuristic 1990. In addition to its many rather entertaining ...
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Radio coherent transponders are the foundation of deep space navigation, have optical analogues been used? If so, the furthest distance measured?

Coherent radio transponders receive a signal from Earth containing specially encoded modulation, amplify it and retransmit it back to Earth. Correlating the received signal with the transmitted signal ...
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Has ion propulsion ever been used in a deep space trajectory correction maneuver proper?

Answer(s) to What types of propulsion are used to adjust an orbit? lead me to wonder if electric propulsion has ever been used for a proper TCM or "trajectory correction maneuver" in deep ...
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Have artificial quasicrystals ever been intentionally formed in space, or even attempted? If so, which was the first?

After asking Proposing a 2D quasicrystal; what are the necessary and sufficient conditions? (If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, or...?) I ran across Efficient design, accurate ...
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First hemispherical resonator used in spaceflight? First used on a deep space mission?

This answer to How exactly did Cassini provide rock-solid attitude control to enable high resolution low light imaging? (1.2 arcsec/pixel for narrow angle camera) says: Cassini was the first ...
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How unusual is it to test vacuum engines at sea level?

How are vacuum optimized engines tested without disintegrating them? is an excellent question as it's attracted quite a number of informative and diverse answers. @Uwe's answer informs us that there ...
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Are there examples of spaceflight equipment being redesigned to remove right hand bias? (To make it less difficult to use left-handed)

Writing First left-handed primate on the Moon? First in space? got me thinking. The first left-handed astronaut may "break a barrier" but not all barrier-breakings result in an improvement ...
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First left-handed primate on the Moon? First in space?

The various world space agencies' crewed missions have had a long series of firsts, Yuri Gagarin's first being the grandparent of them all. Crewed space missions are recognized worldwide as barrier-...
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Just how much of a spaceflight first will the fourth 2nd stage burn of the Landsat 9 launch be?

USGS.gov's Landsat 9: Payloads stacked atop Atlas V for launch includes the following: A fourth and final burn by the Centaur's RL10C-1 cryogenic main engine executes a deorbit maneuver nearly three ...
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What was the first "all-civilian" animal spaceflight?

As long as SpaceX is (inaccurately) claiming the "first all-civilian spaceflight", what was the first spaceflight with animals that were all "civilians"? That is, they had never ...
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First cylindrical Earth satellite? Last?

Sputnik 1 was a shiny metal sphere, as were it's immediate followers. These days Earth satellites are generally rectangular prisms, either one or a few stuck together. Basically big metal chassis ...
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When was an operational satellite accidentally damaged by another man-made object in space?

In connection with the question on Starlink constellation potential contribution to a run-away phenomenon, also known as “Kessler syndrome”, it would be of interest to know how well actual collision ...
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First space phlebotomy? When was the first human veinous blood sample taken in space?

phlebotomists are (nearly always) highly skilled people who safely and relatively painlessly poke our veins with big needles, take blood samples, then ask us to "press here". The process is ...
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What will (likely) be the first separately-orbiting coronagraph to be deployed in space?

Traditionally a coronagraph is something that blocks the bright disk of our Sun to make it easier to image the much dimmer corona. The first coronagraph is of course the Moon; during a solar eclipse ...
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When was advertising on Earth from space first proposed? By who?

How big will a space billboard have to be to be visible? can be seen to raise an interesting question. Question: When was advertising on Earth from space first proposed? Who proposed it? This can ...
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What was the first "bent pipe" or otherwise coherent transponder in deep space?

In this answer to On what basis is the information about the distance and velocity of the Voyager probes determined? in Astronomy SE I mentioned the term "bent pipe" transponder and also ...
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What was the first Soviet/Russian spacesuit to use closed-loop ventilation?

The spacesuit used for the first spacewalk used open-loop ventilation, venting exhaust gases into space: On reaching orbit in Voskhod 2, Leonov and Belyayev attached the EVA backpack to Leonov's ...
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First multiprocessor in space?

Similarly to The first transistors in space: Germanium or Silicon? What about in orbit? First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans? w/list of space electronic "firsts" questions First TTL ...
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First TTL chip in space and in orbit? Was it a 7400 series or something that predates?

Similarly to The first transistors in space: Germanium or Silicon? What about in orbit? First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans? w/list of space electronic "firsts" questions what was ...
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What electronic game was first to be played in space?

Analogously to What card or board game was first played in space? I'd like to ask what electronic game was first to be played in space. It could be a handheld dedicated game or something running on a ...
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Was the teletype machine on MIR the first printer in space? Is there a photo, and what frequencies were used?

Seeing the video KK5IM 2021 Shack Tour spotted in The Ham Shack lead me to What paper size do they use on the International Space Station? which begins: We know they have at least one printer on the ...
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Are there diagrams, animations, or even actual photographs of the very first "underground cable" on Mars?

In order to hear earthquakes and other seismic signals better: ...(the Insight) mission team has begun trying to partially insulate the (seismometer's) cable from the weather. They've started by ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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First satellite dispenser?

A rocket upper stage, sometimes called kick stage, is the last stage of a rocket and it is used to deploy satellites in orbit. A space tug is a spacecraft released from the upper stage and it is used ...
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First time in orbit by USA state launched from? [closed]

Only five states and territories had launches that got into orbit: Florida, California, Virginia, Alaska and Marshall Islands But when is the first time a rocket launched from each of those that ...
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Is the Ceres-1 the first Chinese rocket that was given an official Romanized name?

The news feed in the The Pod Bay links to NASA Spacelfight's 2020-11-08 news item Introducing China’s new commercial rocket, Ceres-1. China’s latest commercial rocket, the Ceres-1 (Gushenxing-1) ...
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First use of an incandescent light in an un-crewed spacecraft?

In early, pre-LED spacecraft indicator lights were incandescent I assume. For larger volumes of crewed areas of spacecraft fluorescent lights were often used. But what is the first use of an ...
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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 ...
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Has Same Beam Interference (SBI) been used or at least tested at Mars? Are there plans to use it in the next few years?

Section 5.4 of Descanso I, Radiometric Tracking Techniques for Deep-Space Navigation by Catherine L. Thornton and James S. Border titled Future directions in Radiometric Tracking; Same Beam ...
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When was liquid hydrogen used for the first time in rocket engines?

When it was the first time the liquid hydrogen was used in a rocket engine? I mean for space launches, but it would be interesting to also know about first uses in experimental engines, in military, ...
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How did the first manned flight re-entry happened?

How was Yuri Gagarin brought back to the Earth? Did he do entry himself, by ground control, or by software?
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When and what was the first successful photograph of an orbital spacecraft from Earth taken?

Early artificial satellites were tracked by radio and visually by amateurs, scientists and military personnel for various reasons including fun and improving the understanding of orbital dynamics ...
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What were the first Soviet spacecraft to use an internal docking tunnel?

The first crew transfer between space vehicles was from Soyuz 5 to Soyuz 4. It was done outside the spacecraft by Aleksei Yeliseyev and Yevgeny Khrunov. The first U.S. crew transfer was during Apollo ...
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First radio contact between an Australian and a spacecraft? First voice communications?

Launched east from Cape Canaveral at about 30 degrees north latitude, the first few orbits have an opportunity to pass over Australia because it's big and roughly antipodal, especially as the Earth ...
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Was there a spacecraft that was clearly the first to be put in a polar orbit?

Was there a first spacecraft put in a polar orbit? It might not be clear if it's too hard to say what high inclination orbit is or is not polar, for example if 91 satellites were launched in 0, 1, 2.....
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What was the first use of analog to digital conversion in a satellite?

This answer to Do the Voyager probes transmit analogue or digital data? states that the Voyagers sent only digital data. This is no doubt mostly because analog data was digitized and store digitally ...
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What was the first unplanned "over-the-air" software update of a spacecraft?

From time-to-time spacecraft have had to be rebooted, in one case Voyager 2 mutinied and had to be reprogrammed and in another Opportunity had it's memory "hacked". As far as I know, deep space ...
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When were "2nd stage pushers" first used?

The question Falcon 9 2nd stage pusher; how far does it continue to extend as it accelerates separation? includes (and further explains) the GIF below. Question: What was the first use of a "2nd ...
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