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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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 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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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
358 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 ...
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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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294 views

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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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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60 views

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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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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114 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 ...
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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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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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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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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 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 ...