? Bill Pogue
1. What was the first living creature to orbit the Earth in a man-made spacecraft?
A Russian dog named Laika, aboard Sputnik 2, Nov 3, 1957. See Q 407.
Laika is Russian for “Barker” or “Husky” and it is also the name of a breed of small dogs. Her name had been Kudryavka (Little Curly) until just before flight. It has never been clear why her name was changed. When the Russians were too slow to release the name of the dog (Laika) the media gave her the temporary name, Mutnik.
2. What booster rocket was used to launch John Glenn into orbit in 1962?
A modified Atlas, a U. S. Air Force Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). 3. How many U.S. crews landed on the Moon during the Apollo program?
Six two-man crews landed on the Moon. Apollo missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17. 4. What is the largest living organism visible from Earth orbit?
The Great Barrier Reef. (It lies off the NE coast of Australia and is living coral.)5. Which astronaut served as U.S. ambassador to Norway after leaving NASA?
William A. (Bill) Anders (Apollo 8). He was ambassador to Norway from 1976-77. 6. What is used as a reflective coating on the space suit helmet visor?
7. Who discovered the Earth’s radiation belts?
Dr. James van Allen, University of Iowa physicist, using data from Explorer 1 (1958). See Q 635.
8. Who is the only astronaut who made space flights on all five of the Shuttles?
9. Which two planetariums were used to train astronauts for the Apollo program?
The Morehead Planetarium (University of North Carolina) and the Griffith Observatory planetarium, Los Angeles, California.
10. What organization adopted the first rules to govern the award of official records for space flights?
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), at Barcelona, Spain on October 7, 1960.11. Who was the only astronaut to fly in Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft?
Walter M. (Wally) Schirra, Jr. He flew on Mercury 8, Gemini 6, and Apollo 7.12. Which Shuttle never made it into orbit?
The Enterprise. It was used for the Approach and Landing Test program in 1977. See Q 227, 333.The Enterprise is now at the Dulles facility of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.13. Who launched the first liquid propellant rocket?
Dr. Robert H. Goddard (March 16, 1926) at Auburn, Massachusetts.
14. Who were the first mice to encounter weightlessness?
Amy, Sally and Moe (October 13, 1960, aboard an Atlas rocket for 20 minutes of zero-g). 15. How many orbits did John Glenn make on his first space flight?
16. Who was the first paying passenger on a space flight?
Toyohiro Akiyama, a Japanese journalist sponsored by his television network (for $10 million). He spent a week aboard the Russian Mir space station in December 1990.
17. In what building at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, were the Mercury astronuats’ crew quarters located?
18. What was the first American space mission to make an emergency return from space?
Gemini 8. An attitude control rocket stuck “ON”, causing the spacecraft to tumble wildly. Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott disabled the primary attitude rockets by pulling circuit breakers and activated the reentry attitude rockets to stop the tumble. The situation forced them to make a premature return to Earth.
19. Who was the first non-NASA astronaut to fly in space on the Shuttle?
Actually, there were two. Byron Lichtenberg (U.S.) and Wulf Merbold (Netherlands) flew as Payload Specialists on the first launch of the European-built Spacelab (Columbia, STS-9, November
1983). See sidebar, Titles for Spacefarers.
Titles for Spacefarers
The terms, astronaut and cosmonaut are synonymous and are used for people who have been
selected to train to fly in space or who have flown in space. It just so happened that the U. S. chose the term, astronaut (although the term, cosmonaut, was considered) and the Russians chose the term, cosmonaut to describe the profession of space travelers. NASA breaks down the astronaut crew title into
three other categories: Pilot (& Commander), Mission Specialist and Payload Specialist.
Pilot/Commander (Plt/Cdr): A career astronaut selected by NASA to serve as Pilot and (later) Commander of the Shuttle.
Mission Specialist (MS): A career astronaut selected by NASA to perform technical/scientific work and operational tasks such as space walks and operation of the robot arm (RMS or SRMS).
See Q 213.
Payload Specialist (PS): An astronaut selected by a non-NASA sponsor to fly a space mission because of outstanding knowledge or skill related to a specific discipline, instrument or facility provided by the sponsor. A PS may also be selected because of political status or to enhance U. S. diplomatic ties. (See Q 22, 191). The PS does not compete in a NASA astronaut selection but is trained to have a safe level of knowledge of Shuttle systems and operations. Normally a PS makes only one flight into space. However, one PS made three Shuttle flights. See Q. 327.
Guest Cosmonaut (GC): The Russian’s GC designation is similar to our PS.
20. How many space flights are each of the Shuttles designed to make?
21. Which U.S. program was the first to provide private radio calls for astronauts and their families?
Skylab. Every third day a 4-6 minute call was arranged.
22. Who was the first in-office politician to fly in space?
U.S. Senator, Jake Garn (Utah) flew aboard Shuttle mission 51D in April 1985.23. Who was the first woman to be awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor?
Shuttle Mission Specialist Shannon W. Lucid. She was cited for “extraordinary service to the nation” which encompassed five Shuttle missions and a 188-day stay aboard the Mir space station.24. Who was the first person to do a space walk from a U.S. spacecraft?
Edward H. (Ed) White II, Gemini 4, June 1965.
25. When was the first 3-man crew launched into space?
October 12, 1964. Cosmonauts Kamarov, Feoktistov and Yegorov aboard Voskhod 1. 26. Shuttle missions are now designated as STS-88, for example. What does STS stand for?
Space Transportation System.
27. What color is the sky in space (looking away from the Earth)?
28 Who was the first American to go into space (above 50 miles)?
Alan B. (Al) Shepard, Jr., on Mercury 3 (May 5, 1961). Robert M. (Bob) White was the first X-15 pilot to fly into space (July 17, 1962).
29. What are the names of the five Shuttles that have flown in space?
Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.
30. What is the name of the Japanese winged space vehicle designed for space flight research?
31. What was the name of the disintegrated comet that collided with the planet Jupiter in 1995?
Shoemaker-Levy 9, (If you said Shoemaker or Levy count it correct.) See Q 134.32. Which Shuttle astronaut was born in China?
Shannon W. Lucid, born January 14, 1943 in Shanghai.
33. How much weight does a typical astronaut lose during the first three days in space?
About three pounds (Earth equivalent), due principally to fluid (water) loss. On Skylab a Body Mass Measurement Device (BMMD) was first used to determine body mass (or weight).
34. Why will a space suit, custom tailored on Earth, fit too tight in weightlessness?
People become taller in space. See sidebar, Space Stretch.
In zero-g or weightlessness a person’s spine will lengthen 1.5 to 2 inches making them 3% taller. This causes a tight fit around the shoulders if allowances aren’t provided. This increase in body length was first documented on Skylab 4 (1973), when we made the first complete set of body measurements. The spinal lengthening occurs because the discs between the vertebrae expand in the absence of compression load or weight. Height or body length returns to normal after the space flight. On Earth a similar but not as pronounced effect occurs during a full night’s sleep (the overnight stretch is approximately ? inch).
35. What is the name of the British scientist who formulated the theory of gravitation?
Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727).
36. Which Earth-launched satellite was the first to leave our solar system?
Pioneer 10. It was launched in March 1972 and, on 13 June 1983 it crossed the orbit of Pluto, the outermost planet known to exist in the solar system. See Q 637, 767.
“It remains only to perform certain necessary preliminary experiments before an apparatus can be constructed that will carry recording instruments to any desired altitude.” Dr. Robert H. Goddard, 1920.
37. What is the White Room?
The White Room is a room on the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) and provides entry to the Shuttle spacecraft. It has special entrances and stringent rules to prevent contamination of the spacecraft. See Q 83 Sidebar, and Q 202, 468, 700.
38. Where is the control center for all NASA planetary and deep space probes?
At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
39. Apollo astronauts trained for Moon landings using the LLTV. What does LLTV stand for?
Lunar Landing Training Vehicle. The LLTV, built by Bell Aerospace, was dubbed the “flying bedstead” or “pipe rack” and was powered by jet and rocket engines.
(Photo: LLTV [flying bedstead] – NASA File #: S68 54486 & S70-30534 [Courtesy NASA])40. What piece of aircraft flight gear was used as a model for the astronauts’ Snoopy Cap?
The British Royal Air Force (RAF) cloth helmet (circa 1968).
In November 1968, Jim Lovell of the Apollo 8 crew reported an irritating problem with the lightweight headsets developed for Apollo. They were so light that when moving around the cabin of the Command Module the cable from the Intercom box tended to snag on structure and rip the headset off. He asked if anyone had an idea. I told him about the RAF cloth helmet and Jim asked if I could get him one.
I called Mavis Lear a friend I had flown with while on exchange with the RAF. She sent me a helmet immediately by express delivery and Jim gave it to the NASA people to use as a model for what became known as the “Snoopy Cap.” Jim was so grateful that he sent Mavis a picture of the first “Earthrise” photographed from the Moon, signed by Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Jim.
(Photo: Snoopy Cap – S-69-34485, NASA File # S91-36104 [Courtesy NASA])
41. To what ambient (space vacuum) temperature extremes are astronauts exposed while on space walks in Earth orbit?
The temperature ranges from -250? F (-150? C) in the dark to +250? F (120? C) in direct
42. Which Apollo astronaut landed on the Moon twice?
None did! (Sorry ‘bout that.).
43. On what planet will astronaut explorers have to cope with dust storms?
Mars. The winds on Mars can whip up to over 100 miles per hour.
44. Who was the first married couple to fly on the same space crew?
Astronauts Mark C. Lee and Jan N. Davis. They were married during their training for Shuttle mission STS-47 and worked different shifts during their 8-day Spacelab mission (12-20 September 1992).45. Who wrote the first poem sent into space?
Thomas Burger. The poem, “Space Prober” was placed aboard the Traac satellite. (November 15, 1961).
46. Who was the first person to release a satellite from a spacecraft?
Astronaut Gordon Cooper (Mercury 9-Faith 7, May 1963). Gordo released a 6” sphere that had a strobe light beacon for a visual tracking test.
47. For whom is the Johnson Space Center (JSC) named?
Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th president of the U.S.
48. What officer in charge of rocket sled tests (in the 1950s) served as the test subject?
USAF Colonel John P. Stapp. He rode a sled at 635 m.p.h. (1,017 km per hour) in 1955.49. Which spacecraft had the first “sit-on” toilet?
Skylab. It had a seat belt to hold you down and a “rear view” mirror to check for spills.50. What were the first living creatures recovered from Earth orbit?
Two dogs named Strelka (Little Arrow) and Belka (Squirrel) aboard the Sputnik 5 recovery module (April 20, 1960). Rats, mice, flies, plants, fungi and seeds, accompanied them.51. What does the term TAL site refer to?
Transatlantic Abort Landing site: These are airports especially outfitted to accommodate a
Shuttle landing, if a problem occurs during launch? See Q 521.
52. Which crew suggested the nickname “Humpty Dumpty” for their launch booster rocket?
Skylab 4 (third crew). See sidebar, The Last Laugh.
The Last Laugh
Numerous cracks were discovered in the fins of our Skylab 4 booster, delaying launch. Then other cracks were discovered in the truss-work connecting the stages. After the fins were replaced (and the other cracks declared non-hazardous), we suggested (as a gag) the name, “Humpty Dumpty” for the Saturn I B booster. The launch pad crew didn’t think it was very funny. They got even the next day and had the last laugh. Just before launch they sent a message that read, “To the crew of Skylab 4, good luck and Godspeed, signed, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.”
53. What organization has first claim to all U.S. space-flown artifacts, excluding personal property of astronauts?
The Smithsonian Institution.
54. What was the first mission directed by the Mission Control Center (MCC) at Houston?
Gemini 4, June, 1965. Previously, control was directed from a concrete blockhouse at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
55. What does NASDA stand for?
The National Space Development Agency of Japan (Japan’s counterpart to NASA). 56. What is the name of the Russian launch center for manned space flights?
57. In the 20th century which astronaut had to wait the longest to get a space flight?
Don L. Lind. Don was selected in April 1966 and flew on Shuttle mission 51B in April 1985, a patient wait of 19 years.
58. How does a person qualify to join the Association of Space Explorers?
Under current rules, any person who has made one complete orbit of the Earth can join. 59. Which satellite relayed the opening of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics?
Syncom 3. August 19, 1964.
60. Who was the first astronaut to broadcast a live message to radio and TV listeners below?
Wally Schirra, Mercury 8, Sigma 7, October 1962.
61. What is the “X Prize”?
A prize of $10 million. It goes to the first private organization to fly to 100 kilometers (62 miles) altitude with a pilot and two passengers (or equivalent), return to Earth safely and repeat the feat within two weeks. The spacecraft must be privately financed and designed. The prize is offered by the X Prize organization in St. Louis, Missouri.
62. Are Russian spacecraft capable of landing on water?
Yes. However, they greatly prefer a land recovery because a water (sea or ocean) recovery requires such a large area for their recovery forces to accommodate. See Q 287.63. What is the name of the first element that was launched to begin assembly of the International Space Station (ISS)?
Zarya, meaning Dawn (or Sunrise). It is also referred to as the FGB (Functional Cargo Block) and Control Module. It was built in Russia (paid for by the U. S.) and launched in November 1999 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
64. Astronaut Gordon Cooper flew the final Mercury mission. What was his nickname?
Gordo. He had to backup the automatic control system due to an electrical short circuit and he controlled the spacecraft attitude manually for retrofire and reentry. Incidentally, Gordo was the last astronaut to fly an entire mission solo.
In responding to critics who questioned the need for human crewmembers, a NASA manager responded, “… the success of the mission may well depend upon the actions of the pilot: either in his performance of primary functions or backup functions.” Dr. George Low, 1959.
65. The large water tank at the Johnson Space Center, Houston (used to train crews for space walks) is named for whom?
Sonny Carter (Manley L. Carter, Jr.), Shuttle astronaut on STS-33. Astronaut Carter died in the crash of a commercial airliner on April 5, 1991.
66. Before Shuttle, which manned program launched the most spacecraft in the shortest time?
Gemini. Ten manned missions in 20 months.
67. Which crew built a Christmas tree from onboard hardware scraps?
The Skylab 4 crew. In December 1973, Jerry Carr, Ed Gibson and I assembled used food cans for the trunk/stem of the tree and attached various metal parts for the limbs and ornaments, including an aluminum foil comet that Ed made for a tree topper (to symbolize our investigation of the Comet Kohoutek). See Q 306 Sidebar.
68. Who was the first person to fly into space in both Russian and American spacecraft?
Russian Cosmonaut/Astronaut Sergei Krikalev. He flew on Soyuz TM-7 [November 1988]; Soyuz TM-12 [May 1991], STS-60 [January 1994] and STS-88 [December 1998]. In November 2000 he was a member of the first crew to operate the International Space Station.
69. Which space traveler carried the