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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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First interplanetary launch from California, why the initial polar orbit? [duplicate]

The Phys.org article Bound for Mars—countdown to first interplanetary launch from California says: In the early morning hours of May 5, millions of Californians will have an opportunity to witness a ...
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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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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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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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Is the first Russian satellite still beeping?

The Russians were the first to launch a satellite into space - and it did one thing: beep. It would send out radio waves of nothing but beeps. Still, it was a huge technological achievement. My ...
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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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How high is the first Deep Space Atomic Clock orbiting? Does it receive radiation equivalent to that in deep space?

The Livescience article NASA's Tiny New Atomic Clock Could Let Spacecraft Drive Themselves in Deep Space says: But the radiation still changes the way the electronics operate. And those changes ...
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Why did Neil Armstrong alone, not NASA, end up coming up with the first words uttered on the moon?

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" (Neil Armstrong) These words are now firmly established in the history of space travel, and at least according to his bio, was concocted ...
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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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Which mission delivered the first ever complete photograph of the Earth?

So far, I found a picture made from a captured V missile launched in US to image part of the Earth. Which mission did deliver a full view of the Earth from the space? Note. Of course it's ...
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Will the Falcon Heavy make the first full fairing reuse ever?

The two side boosters will need some kind of aerodynamic protection, which could very much be recovered with the rocket in one piece. Will they be recovered and reused?
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Why did the USA fail to be the first rocket power? [closed]

This question is more on the history side. What I want to know is what the differences between the USA and Germany before 1945 were that led to the States falling behind in space technology. The ...
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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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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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What was the first attempt in history for space exploration?

Before the space race or modern technology of 20th century, what was the earliest point in history that space exploration was attempted? If available, I'd love to read the documentation.
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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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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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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 interplanetary launch from California! How far from Earth will InSight be when it separates from the Centaur 2nd stage?

The Phys.org article Bound for Mars—countdown to first interplanetary launch from California says: In the early morning hours of May 5, millions of Californians will have an opportunity to witness a ...
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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 spacecraft will be the first for which the Sun would become the second brightest object in the sky?

Which spacecraft will be the first for which the Sun would become the second brightest object in the sky? When that will happen and how far? What would be the most efficient direction to fly in ...
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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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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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When can we (public) expect to see the first optical images of Jupiter from the Juno spacecraft?

As many of us know, Juno spacecraft achieved orbit of Jupiter yesterday (July 4, 2016). Does anyone have an educated guess on approximately when we might see the first optical images from Juno in ...