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179 votes
Accepted

Who was the first human to sleep - perchance to dream - on the Moon?

(A) who (if anyone) was the first human to actually be asleep (that is to say, presumably inside the lander) - not just a scheduled sleep time - on the Moon? It depends on your definition of sleep. ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
47 votes

What was the first programming language in space?

(I'm interpreting the question as "what programming language was the first spacecraft software written in?", per discussion in comments above.) This will depend on your definitions of "...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
46 votes
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First call to the moon 1969

Mission Control in Houston had a radio communication with the Apollo capsule as well as the Moon lander. A phone connection between the White House and Ground Control was established and connected to ...
Uwe's user avatar
  • 49.2k
41 votes

When was Newton "not good enough" for spaceflight; first use and first absolute requirement for relativistic corrections?

As far as I know, there has not been a space mission that would have been impossible without a theory of relativistic physics. It is true that the relativistic effects are clearly visible in GPS ...
jpa's user avatar
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32 votes
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Why was InSight planned to launch from Vandenberg?

According to the article "Seven Ways Mars InSight is Different", the driver was launch site availability: InSight will ride on top of a powerful Atlas V 401 rocket, which allows for a planetary ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
26 votes

First use of an incandescent light in an un-crewed spacecraft?

This may be stretching the definition of "incandescent light" quite a bit, but the V-2, which was the first artificial object to cross the Kármán line in June 1944 (and thus technically an ...
kgutwin's user avatar
  • 1,566
26 votes
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What electronic game was first to be played in space?

I thought it might have been earlier, you know, like Donkey Kong, but its the first that has a Guiness World Record. guinnessworldrecords Who ALEKSANDR SEREBROV Where RUSSIAN FEDERATION When 01 ...
blobbymcblobby's user avatar
24 votes
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When was it publicly revealed that a KH-11 spy satellite took pictures of the first Shuttle flight?

This was revealed in 2015, in the book Into the Black, about STS-1. The hardcover edition of Into the Black had the overall basics of the imaging effort, although not specific details. ... His new ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
23 votes
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Which was the first liquid non hypergolic engine to be reignited in space?

It would seem to be the RL-10A used on Atlas-Centaur. According to a NASA document "Successful Restart of a Cryogenic Upper-Stage Vehicle After Coasting in Earth Orbit." Atlas-Centaur AC-9, ...
Steve Pemberton's user avatar
22 votes
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How did Apollo-12 manage to land next to Surveyor-3? First "Space-Tourists"?

"How was Surveyor-3's location known to such accuracy?" The Surveyors were located using Lunar Orbiter photography (not necessarily of the probe themselves, just the surrounding area). ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
20 votes
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Why did Neil Armstrong alone, not NASA, end up coming up with the first words uttered on the moon?

I don't have a definitive answer to this question because I have never come across any discussion of NASA even considering the idea of giving the astronauts a script to read for part of the mission. ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
  • 11.3k
19 votes

When was Newton "not good enough" for spaceflight; first use and first absolute requirement for relativistic corrections?

JPL's DESCANSO website links to online books describing spacecraft navigation. Page 4-19 of Volume 2 states "The point-mass Newtonian acceleration plus the point-mass relativistic perturbative ...
Bob Werner's user avatar
  • 1,124
18 votes

Have there ever been cubesats in GEO?

tl;dr As of June 2019, there are zero CubeSats in GEO The Union of Concerned Scientists has a great database of satellites orbiting the Earth, the smallest satellite that they have in GEO orbit is the ...
Mark Omo's user avatar
  • 5,291
18 votes
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First use of an incandescent light in an un-crewed spacecraft?

The Gemini Agena Target Vehicle was an uncrewed docking target utilized during the Gemini program. Although uncrewed itself, it had an externally mounted lighted display panel that could be viewed by ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
17 votes

How did Apollo-12 manage to land next to Surveyor-3? First "Space-Tourists"?

(This answer doesn't directly address the question, but it dovetails well with Organic Marble's on-topic answer.) On the landing approach, Conrad saw and identified "Surveyor crater" very ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
17 votes

First call to the moon 1969

Easy 101 answer for new readers who didn't know (I have kids asking): It's called the Deep Space Network. They used really massive dish antennas [Google Photos]. Like the satellite TV antenna, but ...
Mark Rejhon's user avatar
16 votes
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Was Alexander Gerst the first man to have bare skin exposed to the vacuum of space and live?

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 ...
Andrew is gone's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Why alcohol had been selected as fuel for the first American space rockets?

The Redstone's engine was based heavily on the engine of the German V-2, which also used 75% ethyl alcohol fuel with liquid oxygen. Robert Goddard's first liquid fueled rocket experiments used ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
15 votes

First left-handed primate on the Moon? First in space?

You might want to look at How many astronauts are left handed? Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the Moon, is left handed. I think the first lefty in space was Walter Schirra (#9 to space) In the Apollo ...
CuteKItty_pleaseStopBArking's user avatar
14 votes

What was the first programming language in space?

The first vessel that crossed the Kármán line and reached space - the German V-2 rocket - utilized a program for its analog computer, implemented as a rotating irregular disk of specific shape, with ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
14 votes
Accepted

Who was the first to successfully implement on practice ablative heat shield?

As there's no answer for a long time, I've done some research with help of the links provided by others in the comments to the questions. And the "first" goes to ... Soviet Union. In short: US got a ...
Sergiy Lenzion's user avatar
14 votes
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First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans?

July 20, 1976, Mars, Viking 1 lander. In the article "Viking gas chromatograph–mass spectrometer" by Rushneck et al, Review of Scientific Instruments 49:817-834 (1978), section G (pp. 828-9) ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What were the first Soviet spacecraft to use an internal docking tunnel?

I believe that would be Soyuz 11 and Salyut 1. After the EVA transfer of Soyuz 4/5, Soyuz 6, 7, and 8 flew together, with the plan apparently being for 7 and 8 to dock and transfer crew while 6 filmed,...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Which spacecraft will be the first for which the Sun would become the second brightest object in the sky?

As a reference, part of this question I answered at Astronomy.SE. The closest point at which the Sun would not be the brightest object in the sky is if we headed directly towards Sirius A, at a ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
12 votes

Has SpaceX re-used a first stage twice yet?

No. The cores used are tracked at Reddit, among other places. There are no plans to reuse a booster for a third time. There are 3 booster now that have been reused B1021- Will be displayed at cape, ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
12 votes
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Who was the first person to shave in space?

The first people to shave in space were the Apollo 10 astronauts. Which one however is unknown. You'd have to ask Thomas P. Stafford as he is the only Apollo 10 crew member still alive. Razors were ...
Star Man's user avatar
  • 5,928
12 votes
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When and why did three-axis stabilization become prominent in geostationary satellites?

Partial answer: The Symphonie satellites A and B were the first communications satellites built by France and Germany (and the first to use three-axis stabilization in geostationary orbit with a ...
blobbymcblobby's user avatar
12 votes
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Did any astronauts smoke within a spacecraft while in space?

Furthermore, do we have any evidence of other astronauts or cosmonauts smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or other tobacco products while in space? Yes. According to a footnote on page 89 in Bryan ...
Organic Marble's user avatar

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