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80 votes
Accepted

How did the Russians get moon rocks?

The USSR flew three successful automated lunar sample return missions: Luna 16, Luna 20 and Luna 24. The probes landed on the Moon, collected samples, and started a small rocket with the samples back ...
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48 votes

"Pillars of Baikonur" What is the purpose of the hundreds of short, white posts near the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad?

I found this article on the site of the Russian news agency Vesti. Подземный бункер пуска - самое близкое к старту место. Над ним специальные бетонные столбики, так называемые волнорезы, чтобы ...
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46 votes

Did Sputnik 1 tell us more than "beep"? What science was improved by information gained from its orbiting the Earth?

Shot answer: Was Sputnik-1 "only for beep" - no, it wasn't :) It was technical test of R-7 as space launcher and test of spacecraft in orbit (athough very simple spacecraft). Also scientists ...
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36 votes
Accepted

When/where did the cosmonauts fight wolves?

The first manned Soviet flight was Vostok 1 in 1961, and the first Soviet flight with a multiperson crew was Voskhod 1 in 1964. The Wikipedia article that you linked intends to say that Soyuz 1 was ...
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32 votes
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Could the Soviets have rounded the Moon before Apollo? Why didn't they?

The Soviets had designed the Soyuz 7K-L1 as a part of the Zond program, with the aim of a manned flyby of the Moon. Artists rendition of the Soyuz 7K-L1 en-route to the Moon (Courtesy Wikimedia) ...
32 votes

Did Sputnik 1 tell us more than "beep"? What science was improved by information gained from its orbiting the Earth?

I don't know what the USSR was trying to do with it, but I know what the US Navy did with it. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab used the Doppler shift on the 20 MHz ...
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28 votes
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Did USSR discontinue radio transmissions, relocate ships, to aid the US in response to Apollo 13?

According to NASA's Space Educator's Handbook: As the men in Apollo 13 experienced what no men had undergone before, millions followed the developing drama by radio and television in public squares, ...
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28 votes

Did Sputnik 1 tell us more than "beep"? What science was improved by information gained from its orbiting the Earth?

Sputnik 1 was pressurized with nitrogen at 1.3atm. The period of the beeping was tied to a pressure sensor. The logic was being that if anything (such as a micrometeoroid) penetrated the satellite, ...
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28 votes
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Why is the tip of this Russian ICBM folding/closing during launch?

I believe that these are actually screenshots of another rocket RT-23 Molodets (NATO reporting name: SS-24 Scalpel).. The same folding nose cone exists at 1:13 of YouTube video dedicated to SS-24. SS-...
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25 votes
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"Pillars of Baikonur" What is the purpose of the hundreds of short, white posts near the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad?

Those pillars intended to decrease a damage if a launcher falls just on start. The only mention of this I found is in russian language blog post about a travel to Baikonur: Внизу, чуть в стороне, ...
20 votes
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Why are checklists the way they are?

I can answer most of this for the Shuttle. Is there a legend for all of the symbols? Is there a formal grammar? Yes. The document that controls the preparation of the Flight Data File (the formal ...
19 votes
Accepted

Why is the Russian approach to the aerodynamics of their rockets different?

The Soyuz uses conical boosters because there's an aerodynamic advantage. According to The Red Rockets' Glare: Engineers gravitated to a conical shape primarily because of the aerodynamic ...
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18 votes
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How similar are Soyuz and Progress?

They are essentially the same. The Progress resupply spacecraft is a direct derivative of the Soyuz, where the reentry module was replaced by a fuel tank. Hence the similar shape. Both are launched ...
18 votes
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Has USSR/Russia launched humans on any rocket not derived from R-7?

No, it never happened. However besides the failed N1 program and cancelled Buran missions the Soviet Union also made several successful (or partially successful) test launches of spacecrafts that ...
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17 votes

Why did Sputnik 1 have four antennas?

I think @PearsonArtPhoto 's answer misses several major points. From http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/link-suggestion/wpcd_2008-09_augmented/wp/s/Sputnik_1.htm The satellite carried two antennas ...
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17 votes
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Russian "kerosene" versus American "RP-1"

Both the Russian and American space programs use a refined kerosene; the Russian version is called RG-1 and is slightly denser than RP-1. RG-1 and RP-1 formulations are generally interchangeable; ...
16 votes
Accepted

Are the Russians planning to replace the Baikonur Cosmodrome?

Although it is quite difficult to give a definite and documented answer about Russian Space Program and Russian politics in general, I'm trying to express some considerations that could someway answer ...
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16 votes
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From which Apollo mission is this audio sample?

NASA's Lunar Surface Journal collection has annotated transcripts of all the Apollo landing missions, so I just picked out a couple of key phrases from the recording and googled for: ...
16 votes

What happens differently when ISS is inside this red boundary (Russia & Europe & ...)?

The legend at the bottom describes red cloud as "Зоны НИП", which is "NIP" (pronounced "neep") zones/areas. Quick googling reveals that here НИП is decoded as either "научно-измерительный пункт" (...
16 votes
Accepted

Which of the former Soviet republics have sent a cosmonaut into space?

Wikipedia's List Of Cosmonauts page has a handy breakdown for "Soviet and Russian cosmonauts born outside Russia". According to that page: All Soviet and RKA cosmonauts have been born ...
15 votes
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Why did Sputnik 1 have four antennas?

Sputnik was the first satellite. It was set up before we had an understanding of how difficult it would be to maintain a satellite's position, and in fact was a very simple system overall. The 4 ...
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15 votes

"Pillars of Baikonur" What is the purpose of the hundreds of short, white posts near the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad?

I believe we haven't found the whole story yet so I'll post as a partial answer for the moment. Looks like we may have found the answer! I'll leave this for anyone interested in some extra ...
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14 votes
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Did Soviets/Russians perform any crewed (intentionally) suborbital flights?

There were only four manned Russian programs: Vostok No suborbital flights were made. See Voskhod No suborbital flights were made. See Soyuz There was a two suborbital mission: a failed Soyuz ...
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14 votes

"Pillars of Baikonur" What is the purpose of the hundreds of short, white posts near the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad?

Now that @Heopps found the actual function, I can add a few words about how they work. In case of a rocket failure, huge parts of the structure of the rocket may fall down, such as the LOX tank. Upon ...
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14 votes

Are any of these Soyuz controls involved in separating the orbital module?

Descent/discharge mark (flag, warning, attribute) Preparation to separation Open KSD (pressure relief valve) of BO (orbital module) [explosive] separation of mechanical contacts Choice of DPO-B (...
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14 votes
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How did Lunokhod 1 become "lost" in 1971; in what ways did astronomers "look for it" after that?

A team called APOLLO (Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation), led by Tom Murphy, professor at UC San Diego uses the lunar retroreflectors. Murphy said his team had occasionally ...
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13 votes
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Why do Astro/Cosmonauts refer to things as Russian or American?

It is because the two programs are separately managed and tracked to an extent that would astound the outsider. USOS crewmembers theoretically would have to ask for permission to use a Russian ...
13 votes
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How do items from the Russian and Soviet space programs end up in private collections?

There are several paths by which both US and Russian artifacts from the space program make their way into private ownership. These include deassession from the Government via authorized surplus sales, ...
13 votes
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Did Buran also copy the Canadarm?

The Soviets did develop an arm with a design similar to the Shuttle's Canadarm. The arm was called the On-board Manipulator System (SBM). It was developed by the Central Scientific Research Institute ...
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13 votes

What happens differently when ISS is inside this red boundary (Russia & Europe & ...)?

I would translate "НИП" ("наземный измерительный пункт") as "ground telemetry station". Answering what happens when the ISS is inside it When the ISS is within the area covered by НИП, direct ...
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