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68

Yes, technically humans have launched to orbit with a single stage -- the Apollo lunar excursion modules launched from the Moon's surface to lunar orbit using a single stage. As for Earth orbit, there have not been any true single-stage-to-orbit launches since the vehicle should not jettison any components to be considered true SSTO. However, both the Atlas-...


30

It'll take a hot minute. According to the FlightClub.io simulation, the Falcon Heavy flight will be doing 138.7 m/s (496 km/h) at the 30 second mark, beating the Koenigsegg Agera RS. It should hit 341.5 m/s (1228 km/h) at 59 seconds into the flight, exceeding the speed of the ThrustSSC. It's been noted that the lunar rovers flown on the later Apollo ...


27

Don't forget the lowly astronomer working at one of the observatories in the Atacama Desert, or one of the many indigenous peoples who preceded those astronomers. The combination of high altitude and latitude near the Tropic of Capricorn makes these people well-sited for being the Earth-bound people who are both closest to and furthest from the Sun at ...


27

Depending on your definitions, the contenders seem to be the US Space Shuttle, Buran, Apollo 17, or Skylab. Apollo 17 + S-IVB translunar 143 t? STS, maximum payload 115 t Discovery STS-82 106 t STS, no payload 90 t Buran + payload 87 t? Polyus 80 t? Skylab ...


25

The closest from Earth was the Atlas B, which I would call a 1.25 stage-to-orbit. It got to orbit with a single set of extremely light propellant tanks. It launched with three engines fed by those tanks, and dropped two of the engines on the way up. Several Mercury missions were on the Atlas (Atlas D). I would call the Space Shuttle a 1.5 stage to orbit, ...


25

Currently, the crew of Apollo 13 holds the record for highest altitude above earth with 400,171 kilometers (248,655 mi) on 7:21 pm EST, April 14, 1970 (source: Wikipedia). That would be 406,542 km when measured from the center of the earth. The crew members were: Jim Lovell (still alive) Jack Swigert (died 1983) Fred Haise (still alive) It should, however,...


24

John Glenn takes the oldest astronaut record by a fair margin; he flew on STS-95 at the age of 77 -- officially as a "payload specialist", but in practice as a passenger. A number of other astronauts have been to space in their late 50s and early 60s. Of these, Story Musgrave, the second-oldest, has flown over 1200 hours in space on 6 different shuttle ...


21

(This answer is up to date as of the end of 2013, the answer changes periodically, however, so...) Depends on your definition a bit. I'm going to say that satellites must be able to communicate with the ground independently. Given that definition, The highest attempted (That I know about) was the DNEPR launch of 2006, with 18 satellites on board. The ...


18

There are only very few projects, which are smaller than cubesats (1U @ 10x10x10cm). One of the key guys behind the original cubesat standard, Bob Twiggs, is now promoting "pocket cubes". The new standard specifies satellites at a size of about 5x5x5cm, 1/8 of a cubesat in volume. A future launch including 'myPocketQub 442' is currently scheduled in October ...


17

I found the following "far out" spacecraft: TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) recently launched, not in final orbit yet Spektr-R IBEX or Interstellar Boundary Explorer Geotail Here are there IDs: TESS 43435 2018-038A Spektr-R 37755 2011-037A IBEX 33401 2008-051A Geotail 22049 1992-044A I downloaded both TLEs and ...


17

The manned Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle from Apollo 17 holds the record of 17km/h achieved by Eugene Cernan. Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle was also present on Apollo 15 and 16. For traditionally understood rovers - unmanned mobile landers, the fastest historically would be Lunokhod 1 and 2, capable of 2km/h. At current time only two rovers are still active ...


16

JAXA's Hayabusa came to within 44 meters of 25143 Itokawa, which, in an unfortunate sequence of events, lead to its lander MINERVA to miss the target: MINERVA was deployed on 12 November 2005. The lander release command was sent from Earth, but before the command could arrive, Hayabusa's altimeter measured its distance from Itokawa to be 44 m (144 ft) ...


16

The last person to fly solo in space was Brian Binnie of the Space Ship One flight on October 4, 2004. That was a sub-orbital flight, just barely touching space. The Space Shuttle required 2 people to launch minimum, thus, it was never launched Solo. Neither were Apollo and Gemini, so it has been since the Mercury program since an American could launch solo ...


16

The record appears to be 13. This has happened at least three times, once in 1995 and twice in 2009. March, 1995: There are many other interesting records related to human spaceflight. On March 14, 1995, a record number of thirteen people were in space at one time. Seven of them were Americans that were on the STS 67 Endeavour, three cosmonauts were on ...


15

No. It occurred previously on STS-37 in 1991. During an EVA, a glove was punctured; the astronaut's hand almost immediately sealed the hole. They didn't notice (remarkable as that sounds) until after flight; there's a brief mention of it on the page PearsonArtPhoto linked to in comments: "...the palm restraint in one of the astronaut's gloves came loose ...


14

Update: First KickSat is now officially in orbit since today, April 18, 2014 and the 104 Sprites will be deployed in 16 days after the launch giving KickSat CubeSat enough time to complete its system checks. The 3U CubeSat unit was deployed onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 during its Dragon SpX-3 mission: The 3U CubeSat consists of a 1U avionics bus that ...


13

Following the theme of "depending on your definitions" one could also consider the Polyus spacecraft launched in 1987. The mass of the spacecraft was 80 tonnes. Thoughts about definitions: slightly heavier then Skylab, less than the SIVB/LM/CSM stack it didn't get to a stable orbit, perhaps to 155km. The Energia vehicle functioned correctly and the ...


13

The heaviest space shuttle mission at landing (and an STS Orbiter is by far the heaviest craft to return from space intact) was STS-83 at 235,421 lbs (106,785 kg). This was a Spacelab mission which ended early due to fuel cell problems so it still had a lot of consumables onboard as well as the Spacelab. Data from Appendix A of the ever-useful Space ...


13

Highest altitude of all manned missions excluding Apollo: Gemini 11, 1372 km (leaving this here for reference: ) Highest altitude dated after Apollo: Space Shuttle STS-31R (the Hubble launch), 620 km.


12

Let's start with area first. That would probably be Rosetta, with an area of $64\text{ m}^2$. Okay, so how about the most massive? Let's try taking that apart some. There are two currently existing heavy launch vehicles, the Delta IV Heavy, and the Ariane 5 Heavy. Heavier previous vehicles include the Saturn V, N1, the Space Shuttle, and Energia (Wikipedia)....


12

There are two potential candidates that I'm aware of. The first is J002E3, which is believed to be the Apollo 14 Saturn 5 upper stage. At the time of detection, it was orbiting Earth between 1-2 lunar distances away. Another candidate is 2007 VN84, also known as Rosetta, which was discovered via an optical survey while Rosetta was on a close approach path ...


11

No, humanity has never before launched to Earth orbit using single stage. It's practically impossible to reach the dV required if you carry all the oxygen with you. Skylon is hydrogen-oxygen propelled. In this propellant system the oxygen weighs 8 times as much as the hydrogen (with a chemically balanced mix), if you carry it all with you. (Rocket engines ...


11

NASA made the record from stable, inert materials, and placed it in the vacuum of space where erosion is not an issue. The record sits underneath an aluminium cover. The only sources of decay are cosmic radiation and the interplanetary/interstellar medium. Cosmic radiation takes a long, long time to create visible distortion (basically it affects an area one ...


11

The highest that I can find record of ever was the AIMP-D, which "perigee varied between 6 and 44 earth radii". Currently it's perigee is about 265,000 km. The furthest operation is probably Spektr-R, with a perigee of 10,000 km and an apogee of 390,000 km initially, and I now understand it to have a perigee of 64,000 km, due to gravitational interaction ...


11

That would be the New Horizons spacecraft, launched to a V-infinity of 16.26 km/s, with a monumental propulsion effort. The article describes the launch vehicle. Not only did it use a big Atlas V 551 with an expensive, high-performance Centaur upper stage, it had a third stage: an ATK Star 48B, a huge addition considering the New Horizons spacecraft weighed ...


10

In 2014, the record for the maximum number of satellites to be launched in a single mission was set by the DNEPR rocket from Russia, releasing 37 satellites, 34 of them directly. Source: NASA News


10

Chinese Chang'e 2 flew 3.2 km from the asteroid 4179 Toutatis (size: 4.7×2.4×1.9 km) in 2012 after having ended its primary Lunar mission. Maybe a record for intentional flyby's? Here's a list of the 21 asteroids and comets and minor planets visited by spacecrafts, with closest approach altitude. One way to define it is in number of object radii, and then ...


10

As of Feb 15, 2017, it is 104 satellites by India's ISRO. PSLV-C37 launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 09:28 local time (03:58 UTC). ISRO-104 ISRO-ndtv


10

There was Rb-based Ultra Stable Oscillator in outer space, delivered to Titan (VI moon of Saturn) inside the Huygens, brought there by Cassini. (DWE RUSO in http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/image/spacecraft/huygens_cutaway.jpg). Schemes and paper - RUBIDIUM ULTRA-STABLE OSCILLATORS AT TITAN: THE HUYGENS DOPPLER WIND EXPERIMENT, 1997. THE HUYGENS DOPPLER WIND ...


9

The current record was set during STS 49 on May 13th 1992: three people at a time. A NASA website states that a three man EVA was done only once. Virtually all EVA's today are performed in pairs.


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