Why NASA's First Spaceflight Isn't What Most People Think

Vitenskap og teknologi

The US was launching satellites in the space race for months before NASA existed, when NASA was formally created it inherited an ambitious launch from the Air Force, aimed at taking a spacecraft around the moon. This was ambitious, and ultimately the mission fell short of this lofty goal, but, it still set an altitude record for a satellite before falling back to the Earth.
The spacecraft eventually got the name 'Pioneer 1', and was the first spaceflight in a series of spacecraft which would eventually become the first to leave the solar system.


  • Rhodexa Art
    Rhodexa Art17 dager siden

    0:44 and that made _me_ wonder what was the first solar powered satellite. And turns out it is the Vanguard! (That may not be a surprise to you, but those early, tiny solar blocks got me intrigued. xD)

  • Cynical Miscreant
    Cynical Miscreant22 dager siden

    I was born in the wrong generation

  • M Kruz
    M Kruz28 dager siden

    New video series covering every NASA launch in chronological order. 👍

  • Félix Mervamée
    Félix MervaméeMåned siden

    The way they handled that failed lunar bypass which became an altitude record sounds so Kerbal!

  • Vikki McDonough
    Vikki McDonoughMåned siden

    5:24 - In fairness, it's a bit tricky to make a solid-fuelled rocket motor that _isn't_ single-use.

  • Ernest Galvan
    Ernest GalvanMåned siden

    As an old Space Nerd, I love the Space Models you have. And yes, even the Star Wars model. They fly in space, right?

  • Rusty Shakleford
    Rusty ShaklefordMåned siden

    Scott- "and that my friends is another very long story" Me- ... go on

  • Christopher Weaver
    Christopher WeaverMåned siden

    Thats a cool shirt

  • jimbobbyrnes
    jimbobbyrnesMåned siden

    Americans call failed exploration missions "pioneers" because the American pioneers thought America was India.

  • Leif Goodwin
    Leif GoodwinMåned siden

    Please don’t make a Dear Moon video. You’re already making a big enough impact on this world. I can imagine the post flight analysis: “And here is the SM1 nose, and over there we see the SM1 legs”.

  • Fuad Torres
    Fuad TorresMåned siden

    I'm flying safe

  • AlanTheBeast100
    AlanTheBeast100Måned siden

    I find it hilarious that the White House used a rubber stamp to approve the act ...

  • Ultrametric
    UltrametricMåned siden

    Nice report! Converting NACA to an explicitly civilian agency, NASA, was Eisenhower's most consequential act. He doesn't get enough credit for that.

  • Kaffe petersson
    Kaffe peterssonMåned siden

    He’s this guy done any documentaries? Like for National Geographic or something like that? Cause he should. Or he definitely has the voice and the expression for it:)

  • Nick Fornalski
    Nick FornalskiMåned siden

    Very informative video! The image @7:52 is an original painting my father did!

  • Przemek Sosna
    Przemek SosnaMåned siden

    I hope you'll make the video on the evolution of the Thor into the Delta. As always an amazing video about an interesting topic.

  • Michael Fornalski
    Michael FornalskiMåned siden

    Another interesting trip in space history. Especially since you used an illustration I created for NASA-Ames way back in the 80’s, of the Pioneer spacecraft family. As I recall, it was for Program Director Richard Fimmel, who wanted a family picture image to use when he went out in public to give presentations on the Pioneer program at Ames. He had all the individual spacecraft art from other illustrators, he just wanted a group shot, so I repainted them as a composite. Fun project, as he gave me a tour around the building at Ames and there is just so much cool stuff there.

  • Glenn Quagmire
    Glenn QuagmireMåned siden

    I would have given "Pioneer 0" some propaganda and leaked to the soviets that we were going to use a new laser to shoot down a satellite instead of admitting "pioneer 0's" perigee was inside the earth's atmosphere.

    TANSO YTMåned siden

    scott manley qestion you ate brother of scott kelley?

  • John Wallace
    John WallaceMåned siden

    Thank you for using the picture of Harvey Allen next to the 8x7 or 9x7 wind tunnel at Ames Research center

  • teccec
    teccecMåned siden

    Have you recommended space related movies? I’m in the mood for one but can’t think of any I haven’t seen dozens of times. Even Hunt for Red October qualifies (though sea instead of space). Maybe I’ll look for the old David Carradine sub rescue movie, that is a good one.

  • Brian Rigsby
    Brian RigsbyMåned siden

    Just subbed. Can u do a vid explaining the arms on the towers?

  • Brian Rigsby

    Brian Rigsby

    Måned siden

    And y does the Saturn have the needle nose?

  • Nunya Bidniz
    Nunya BidnizMåned siden

    Can you imagine if they'd just been a little bit less ambitious and gone for a geosynchronous orbit? Still plenty of flex to it if they'd attained that goal, and of course, in the spirit of the cold war, putting it in place over Moscow's meridian would have driven the Soviets absolutely *b@tsh!t* with their already absurd levels of paranoia! Bwahahaha!

  • Frank Gulla
    Frank GullaMåned siden

    Love the shirt. Fascinating history of early launches.

  • Some Husker Guy
    Some Husker GuyMåned siden

    There was a book about Pioneer 1, "First Into Outer Space," written by Theodore Gordon, a tech on the Thor, and NASA public affairs officer Julian Scheer. Found it at a used book sale many years ago. Interesting read. The gung-ho writing style makes it sound like an amazing success despite the fact that it didn't achieve the mission objectives.

  • Ugly German Truths
    Ugly German TruthsMåned siden

    Whow... i did not know Daft Punk worked in Rocket Engineering before their music career!

  • James Madden
    James MaddenMåned siden

    Have you ever posted a list of books and websites you use for research?

  • Stefan Fritzsche
    Stefan FritzscheMåned siden

    the tempo at which things were developed and tested in those early days of spaceflight is just astounding - first satellite in 1958.. that's just 11 years before humans on the moon! and today some people say SpaceX is going way too fast with its Starship development to be successful in the long term.. I would say: they are going exactly at the right speed.

  • Penfold011082
    Penfold011082Måned siden

    “How would you describe this hammer?” “Thorable.”

  • Bullettube
    BullettubeMåned siden

    Until Eisenhower signed the bill creating NASA the Navy, Airforce and Army were competing to develop their own rockets. Each had their own programs, public relations, and personnel and thus America got three different versions of what was going on. NASA ended this competition and put the research and personnel under one roof with just the one funded program. But in truth, NASA was divided into two parts, the public part dedicated to scientific research, and the secret military part dedicated to developing spy satellites and improve rocket reliability. Each part helped the other, but of course NASA did not publicize what the military part was doing. But it did save money and both parts succeeded without the BS between the service branches.

  • replica
    replicaMåned siden

    if ball bearings don't work - sliding bearings

  • replica


    Måned siden

    (from the otside-in)

  • Dori Ownbey
    Dori OwnbeyMåned siden

    Pronunciation is also regional.

  • RWBHere
    RWBHereMåned siden

    Pioneer 1 is definitely not forgotten. Thanks Scott, for keeping the information alive. Many people don't know that the first country to launch a rocket into space was neither Russia nor the USA. Several German V2 rockets achieved that milestone, and at least one carried cameras. Many others don't know that the first living things to be sent around the Moon and recovered successfully were two Russian Steppe tortoises, along with mealworms, insects, bacteria and some seeds. They were carried in Зонд 4 (Zond 4, or Probe 4), which was launched on 4th September, 1968, more than 3 months before Apollo 8. The probe also carried a full size dummy human, which was equipped with sensors to detect radiation, temperature, acceleration, etc.

  • Harvey Parad
    Harvey ParadMåned siden

    Are you really sure Explorer 1was the first US satellite?

  • Teet Kõnnussaar
    Teet KõnnussaarMåned siden

    Just glad that the zoom onto Julian Allen's face was stopped at a reasonable stage

  • Joe Himes
    Joe HimesMåned siden

    You are like a scottish version of story musgrave.

  • Dd M
    Dd MMåned siden

    Can't wait for the very long delta story!

  • epincion
    epincionMåned siden

    Amidst all the praise for Von Braun its worth noting that he headed Mittelbau-Dora where slaves produced V2's in a bomb-proof factory built inside a mountain and shielded from the eyes of the world. Overseen by the SS, over 20000 slaves were worked to death in these tunnels. The Allies learned of the existence of Mittelbau-Dora from information smuggled out by prisoners forced to work there or from a spy in the management. But it wasn't until April 11, 1945, less than a month before the war in Europe ended, that American troops reached the installation and freed the prisoners. Von Braun, the head of the rocket project, fell into American hands and later helped develop the Apollo space program in the U.S. "He always pretended he didn't know what was happening here," said Torsten Hess, a historian with the Mittelbau-Dora Memorial, "But we have documents that prove Von Braun selected prisoners to work here." Make no mistake Von Braun was a war criminal killer.

  • Scott Manley

    Scott Manley

    Måned siden

    Yes and when he lives in the US he put himself on the right side of decisions on human rights. A complicated individual for sure www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/chasing-moon-von-braun-record-on-civil-rights/

  • Angel Arch
    Angel ArchMåned siden

    But... did... the mice survive Thor-Able testing?

  • Protheus
    ProtheusMåned siden

    I like how Scott pronounces "Explorer" as "Exploder".

  • Yancarlo Ramsey
    Yancarlo RamseyMåned siden

    Really neat bit of history there regarding Pioneer 1!

  • Frank Agustinus
    Frank AgustinusMåned siden

    4:48 What did I just see ..

  • Sonny Burnett
    Sonny BurnettMåned siden

    People should begin asking older Earthers of their memories of space exploration from all nations. We’d get some great stories.

  • DesignWorksDW
    DesignWorksDWMåned siden

    Are there any video clips from perseverance mars where we also have the audio? it would be really cool to see something synced up

  • Torinn Balasar
    Torinn BalasarMåned siden

    I remember Scott did a video recently on a saltwater nuclear thermal engine, has he done one on other models, such as the NERVA engine tested by the US in the early sixties? Apparently that one was tested enough to be considered viable and safe for use, but not much beyond that.

  • Drew Smith
    Drew SmithMåned siden

    Looking forward to that "very long story" Scott! 😃👍

  • Brexit Britain
    Brexit BritainMåned siden

    Side note: The far side of the moon is unimaginably dull.

  • epincion


    Måned siden

    Hows that 'brilliant oven ready' trade deal going? Crock of shite ain't it?

  • John Holleran
    John HolleranMåned siden

    Ok, but what was the first space probe that NASA started development on and launched, rather than just being carried over from other branches?

  • The XO of the RO
    The XO of the ROMåned siden

    Sputnik was the first satellite in space. It was publicize all over television to all the civilizations on Earth. *it was the first satellite in space... so who took the picture? The outer space cartoon religion is the biggest deception in history. I'm sorry there's no such thing as outer space travel. Now you have a chance to grow up. Good luck

  • TheDjOfChoice
    TheDjOfChoiceMåned siden

    Well that was a right kick in the NACAs

  • Ekiskalibur Nirvana
    Ekiskalibur NirvanaMåned siden

    Earth is flat and stationary with a solid dome over it therefore nothing can leave the earth.

  • Wasteland Wanderer
    Wasteland WandererMåned siden

    Sounds like how my Kerbals are doing these days 😂

  • Richard Waskiewicz
    Richard WaskiewiczMåned siden

    This video couldn't be more timely. Just made the leap to KSP / RP-1 and was researching Thor-Able and early Atlas designs :)

  • Royal Kenny
    Royal KennyMåned siden

    Hi Scott, can you (of any of your followers) explain a thing for me. Now we send up rockets to Mars when Mars and Earth are passing close to each other, but what if we had fuel in a station that orbit around the earth so the Mars rocket could get far more fuel than it use today to go to Mars, how fast would we be able to go to Mars if there was an emergency that had to be resolved when Mars is on the other side of the sun, or is the current method still the optimal one?

  • MegaKootz
    MegaKootzMåned siden

    I am ready to mine asteroids for corporations. just need a ship and a salary.

  • Amelius Lantea
    Amelius LanteaMåned siden

    There is a new paper from Erik Lentz (2020/2021) about hyperbolic shift vectors, a complex Soliton-Configuration for a positive Warp-Drive. It would NOT require negative mass/energy at all-ONLY conventional, positive energy. There's a catch though: Currently, it would require the mass/energy equivalent of Jupiter but that's nothing compared to what the Alcubierre-Drive once needed. Dr. Lentz himself was confident that the required energy could be reduced by many orders of magnitude to a feasible level, just like the negative energy solutions. His paper was released in the prestigious journal "Classical and Quantum Gravity", that's pretty big! Alcubierre's work was also published there back in 1994 📚 iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6382/abe692 Please take a good look at it, i think that this could be a major breakthrough and pretty exciting to think about: *Breaking the Warp-Barrier: Hyper-Fast Solitons in Einstein-Maxwell Plasma Theory* arxiv.org/abs/2006.07125

  • Alex Triana
    Alex TrianaMåned siden

    I also read: "Why NASASpaceflight is'n what most people think"

  • TheAbc45678
    TheAbc45678Måned siden

    SCOTT -- when rockets head for the Moon (or Mars) can they reuse frequencies over there that are restricted on Earth due to ownership/restrictions of the EM spectrum by certain technologies?

  • David Karl
    David KarlMåned siden

    I can't believe Scott was omitted from the recent "Sexiest bald man alive" poll. Travesty.

  • SlickStretch
    SlickStretchMåned siden

    Wait. The first digital image sensors weren't invented until 1969, right? How were they planning on getting a film canister back from lunar orbit??

  • kendalcbrown18
    kendalcbrown18Måned siden

    ainme rocket girls season 2 tailer 1

  • Akhil Aryappatt
    Akhil AryappattMåned siden

    Aerojet-Rocketdyne, nice

  • Omdev Shastri
    Omdev ShastriMåned siden

    Mahn so cool

    RAUSEMåned siden

    YUHHH RETROSPACE HD!! Freggin love that channel!!!!!!!

  • halepauhana153
    halepauhana153Måned siden

    When Scott Manley says a spacecraft is "Doomed", it is well and truly Doomed!

  • Jed Anderson
    Jed AndersonMåned siden

    I love the aesthetic of those old control systems.

  • halepauhana153
    halepauhana153Måned siden

    love the shirt!

  • Dana Peck
    Dana PeckMåned siden

    Dr. Van Allen, who built satellites in the basement of the Physics Building and had built Explorer's Geiger counter, always said unmanned exploration was best for data collection.

  • Alex Rossouw
    Alex RossouwMåned siden

    1950's rocket engineers: Fred "Right, we must design a machine that sprays tones of nitric acid using a gas turbine pump and a nozzle... " Bob: "How about we spray out some hydrazine with that too, make it even more dangerous" Fred "Right, yes, and let's even make it fly!"

    NULL_FOCUSMåned siden

    Sometimes Scott, your signature sign of. Kind of sounds like a threat. "Fly safe... or else..."

  • James Gilbert
    James GilbertMåned siden

    I enjoyed the video, but, unless I missed it, it didn't tell me which space flight most people think was NASA's first.

  • Adam Wishneusky
    Adam WishneuskyMåned siden

    “space race” lol

  • T4L0N57
    T4L0N57Måned siden

    Who else has been watching since Scott had started making KSP videos? I've nearly lost count of how many years I've watched this channel.

  • spannerman
    spannermanMåned siden

    Scott, apart from all the interesting stuff I'm really jealous. You are sitting there in your rather swanky shirt while I'm here in 14°C of blissful heat :(

  • spannerman


    Måned siden

    @Scott Manley I did use the correct demarcation of °C, maybe your browser does not recognise this.

  • Scott Manley

    Scott Manley

    Måned siden

    Fahrenheit or Celsius?

  • Otpyrc Ralph Pierre
    Otpyrc Ralph PierreMåned siden

    Scott, the depth of your information is only matched by the height of the rockets you discuss. Kudo's.

  • diz dizzy
    diz dizzyMåned siden

    I have always heard it pronounce letters only N A C A ... "en ehhh see ehhh" rather than "nack-ahh"

  • 61Ldf
    61LdfMåned siden

    Precise, informative and entertaining. Good shot.

  • Kadaveros
    KadaverosMåned siden

    Yes Scott, fascinating video! However...I think I spent more time comparing the titles on our bookshelves 😀

  • Leonardo Salvatore
    Leonardo SalvatoreMåned siden

    Love this historical videos. Thank you!

  • Heath Cliff
    Heath CliffMåned siden

    The Cold War or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb.

  • Ben Lowers
    Ben LowersMåned siden

    I look forward to continuing the “long stories” on the lineage of the early boosters.

  • Harry Schouten
    Harry SchoutenMåned siden

    NASA = "Never Admit to Seeing Anything".

  • T C
    T CMåned siden

    Fun Fact ... Wernher von Braun married his first cousin, the great tradition in the mid west. known for its corn fields, which can be used to make ethanol, which the V2 ran off of lol

  • 1959Berre
    1959BerreMåned siden

    Earth has a new satellite, lets call it "The Muun".

  • rhirsch81
    rhirsch81Måned siden

    2:57 But mouse crew ejected safely?

  • Scott Manley

    Scott Manley

    Måned siden

    The mice were given the names Mia - Mouse in Able. MIA was an appropriate name.

  • Илья Найдов
    Илья НайдовMåned siden

    All I hear is "NASA is synonymous with SpaceX ploration"… 😄

  • Jared S
    Jared SMåned siden

    your patreon pic looks like murr from impractical jokers

  • Mark Harris
    Mark HarrisMåned siden

    Just finished Von Braun’s biogaphy by Michael J Neufeld. Very interesting read of a long and successful career. Of course the answer to this was in it, but can’t remember the answer as was such a long book! Worth reading though,

  • Sigurd Mjelve
    Sigurd MjelveMåned siden


  • Derrek Van Ee
    Derrek Van EeMåned siden

    The manliest man of all Manleys. Beem us down Scott. Da hunt for red pyrogies. CCCP little known fact is captain cscott cape propulsion. This trivia brought to you by Manley propulsion the manliest engine of them all.

  • Peter Morris
    Peter MorrisMåned siden

    Excellent stuff, Scott. It is really fascinating to hear a more detailed description of what goes on in a mission than the one dimensional reports usually found in the media. Your blood is worth bottling mate, keep it up!

  • J Z
    J ZMåned siden

    *Jan of 1958 Let's not use GMT/UTC lol it launched in Jan bc it was Jan 31 in FL at the time of launch... if something happens in 2021 but doesn't reach pt. x in the universe until the year 22021 when does it happen? exactly 2021...

  • Scott Manley

    Scott Manley

    Måned siden

    Because I use UTC

  • J Z

    J Z

    Måned siden

    (Scott said FEB, not Jan)

  • 7cle
    7cleMåned siden

    Nice story telling, nice writing. The geek and the littérature. Excuse my french. Thank you Scott.

  • Eo Tunun
    Eo TununMåned siden

    Sunday morning, a cup of tea nd the tle of how NACA turned into Nasa and how all the world threw multimeters with attached radios around. A good time! ^^)

  • Jack Hagerty
    Jack HagertyMåned siden

    Shame on you, Scott! You of all people should know that "NACA" is not a pronounced acronym. If you don't want to use the whole name, it's pronounced "En-Aay-See-Aay".

  • takumi168
    takumi168Måned siden

    Iono if you do any sound mixing in your video but can you make the S in the audio softer? It's really harsh on the ears.

  • Lowell Smith
    Lowell SmithMåned siden

    Love how its a dude in a hard hat presumably loaded the satellite into the rocket just before lift off. lol @0:45

  • billybonesfourtyfour
    billybonesfourtyfourMåned siden

    Time to be a pedantic asshole! You don't pronounce "NACA" Like you would "NASA" Its "the N A C A". They turned flight from an art to a science, least you can do is pronounce it right.

  • Alexander Sannikov
    Alexander SannikovMåned siden

    can we please get a video on Wernher von Braun? he seems to have enormous contribution to rocketry and is also a very contrading person from every other point of view.

  • MrTallwilly
    MrTallwillyMåned siden

    Your next video you should wear a Hawaiian flower shirt and start a guess scotts next shirt.