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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16
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Has DSS-43 ever been used in high power mode (>>20 kW) for an emergency situation?

This answer notes that while most Deep Space Network transmitters are 20 kW of power or less, one dish (DSS-43 in Canberra) is equipped with a transmitter capable of 400 kW. As described in 101, 70-m ...
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When was the idea behind the DESCANSO Book Series first conceived, by whom, and what is its "mission"?

When was the idea behind the DESCANSO Book Series first conceived, by whom, and what is its "mission"? When I'm looking for information on deep space issues including communications and ...
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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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How did Apollo-12 manage to land next to Surveyor-3? First "Space-Tourists"?

To me this looks like the first instance of space-tourism (humor, pls don't add the tag, see exemplary documentation at end of question). The astronauts landed next to Surveyor-3 on purpose, got out ...
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What was the first man made object to leave our solar system?

We have a lot of man made objects flying around the universe. Which one was the first one out of our solar system? How far away from the sun was it when it became "out of the solar system?
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Why was InSight planned to launch from Vandenberg?

Why does the InSight Mars lander mission intend to launch from Vandenberg, which does not allow for prograde launches? Will it launch into polar or retrograde orbit? Why? It will do an interplanetary ...
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History of multiple-payload launches?

Another question asks why Spirit and Opportunity weren't launched together. My gut response was that multiple-payload launches were less common then than they are today, but I don't actually know if ...
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Was Alexander Gerst the first man to have bare skin exposed to the vacuum of space and live?

On August 30, 2018, a hole was found in the Soyuz Orbital Module on the ISS. Astronaut Alexander Gerst initially plugged it with his thumb, meaning a part of his bare skin touched space. I can't find ...
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Which launch was the first to use a dogleg maneuver?

Jake Blocker's excellent answer to How does one dogleg from Florida to a sun-synchronous orbit? explains what a dogleg maneuver is, what it's for, what it looks like, and even what a real dog's leg ...
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What was the first practical use of a satellite constellation?

If I loosely define "constellation" here as a group of earth satellites where different ones are visible at different times, and you need all or most of them to get round-the-clock coverage, some ...
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Is NICER/SEXTANT the first civilian "spacecraft" to determine it's own position in space without GPS or uplinked data?

Computers on board spacecraft can determine their positions using a combination of uplinked data from the ground and for those closer to Earth, GPS/GNSS. (See this answer and this question for ...
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Where can I find the TLE of ExseedSat 1, India's first ever private LEO satellite?

On 3rd December 2018, a private Indian company Exseed Space launched it's first ever satellite into space called ExseedSat 1. But I couldn't find the TLE for this satellite. I looked it up on n2yo ...
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What was the first piece of wood to reach the far side of the Moon? Or the first spacecraft?

Chang'e-4 is the first lander/rover mission to reach the far side, but probably doesn't have any wood on it. What was the first piece of wood that landed on the far side of the Moon, and what was the ...
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Has SpaceX re-used a first stage twice yet?

SpaceX has re-used a first stage once, several times now. Has it re-used the same first stage twice yet? If not, has a particular mission been named that will be the first second re-use?
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How soon after "The Eagle" landed did they first attempt to bounce a laser off the Moon? When did it first succeed?

The question When did Houston figure out where the Eagle had landed? says (in part): During Apollo 11's stay on the surface, Michael Collins was given seven different locations to look for the ...
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When did an astronaut in space first see someone on a TV screen?

The Apollo missions had video cameras and transmitted live images to Earth. But what about the other direction -- astronauts seeing live images of people on Earth? Question: When did an astronaut in ...
7
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What was the first man-made object to enter space?

According to this article, the german V-2 rocket from WW2 had a max altitude of 206 km when launched straight up. That's clearly above the 100 km requirement to be considered 'in space.' The V-2 was ...
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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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When was the first strap-on booster used in spaceflight?

The first use of the term "strap-on" in Google Ngram viewer is in 1930 and presumably that wasn't about a booster being attached to a rocket for additional thrust at lift-off. When was a ...
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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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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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When was stereoscopic photography first used intentionally on solar system body?

I have stumbled across the fascinating page Photogrammetric Analysis Of Apollo 11 Imagery: New camera-station map with improved locations at the following website: https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/...
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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. ...
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Is the supercooled LOX used in Falcon 9 Full Thrust a first?

One of the changes made to the Falcon 9 v1.1 Full Thrust was using supercooled liquid oxygen at 66 K (-340 F) as well as chilled RP-1. I've seen various claims that this is a first in the industry. ...
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When was it publicly revealed that a KH-11 spy satellite took pictures of the first Shuttle flight?

Even before the first Shuttle flight, NASA was already concerned about possible damage during liftoff. They had arranged for a KH-11 spy satellite to photograph the shuttle in orbit. The operation ...
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What was the first proper Two Line Element to be generated?

In this question I describe looking for a TLE for Mercury-Atlas 6, the spacecraft piloted by John Glenn on February 20, 1962. I'll post here the relevant information: While the TLE catalog available ...
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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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Who was the first person in space to "be on TV"?

The Apollo missions had video cameras and transmitted live images to Earth, but I am not sure if there were any video transmission prior to the Apollo 11. Question: Who was the first person in space ...
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Have there been any Foucault pendulum demonstrations beyond Earth?

A Foucault pendulum is a pendulum allowed to oscillate in 2 directions, unlike the pendulum in a clock which is restricted to 1 dimensional oscillation. On Earth, (except at the equator) the plane of ...
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When 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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Do you recognize these space artists who made this (possibly) first "paint-by-numbers" image of Mars?

Update! I've just run across the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory video Five Ways Mariner 4 Changed Mars Exploration and it mentions this "paint by numbers" representation of "the first digital image of ...
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When did ion propulsion first see some serious development efforts?

In the video below at about 01:35 Dr. Marc D. Rayman, Chief Propulsion Engineer, NASA JPL mentions that the first time he had heard about ion propulsion was on the ...
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What was the first animal sent into space?

I know that cats, dogs, apes, guinea pigs, and a few other animals and insects have been sent into outer space. But what was the first animal which has been sent into space (or better: into “orbit”)? ...
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What was the first time a "re-used booster" was used to put a payload into orbit?

In the excitement about SpaceX's Falcon recovery and relaunch development program, it's often forgotten in articles like this one that reusable spacecraft were in regular use far back in the 20th ...
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What's the first recorded use of a countdown associated with a rocket launch?

Counting down the seconds leading up to a rocket launch is iconic - certainly it seems that every child knows that after "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" comes "Blast off!" However, the countdown can't always have ...
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What was the first large rocket to use APCP solid fuel?

I'm surprised wikipedia doesn't have a history section for its APCP article. If I'm not mistaken, early solid rockets used something other than APCP, and really really early solid rockets used black ...
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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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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 burning,...
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Why were Europe's first few satellites so stylish? Why the pronounced alternating white and black stripes?

In The Century of Space Science, edited by J.A. Bleeker, Johannes Geiss, M. Huber, viewed in Google books I ran across the following text and images. Both satellites are quite stylish looking and have ...
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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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What card or board game was first played in space?

Was it chess, blackjack or some other game that was first played in space?
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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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1answer
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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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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 ...