2001: A Space-Time Odyssey

Michel Van

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Introduction:

This was a Alternate Cold War story publish in Alternate History.com in 2015
Sadly over years thing went not so well and my co-authors lost interest or had not time anymore.
I have decided to reworking, re-writing, re-editing this Alternate History for this Forum as a Solo project.
I hope you enjoy it ( special Archibald and Dilandu )

Prologue

Once upon a time, there was a young engineer in Soviet Union who had just finished his studies at the Ukrainian Academy of Science in 1958.
He sent his application to several OKBs (Russian abbreviation for Experimental Design Bureau). Some looked at his resume and qualifications and threw away his request,
other put it in deposit in case they could not find a more experienced engineer, but then, finally, one OKB realised who this young man really was and hire him on spot!
The name of this young Soviet engineer was Sergei Khrushchev, son of Nikita Khrushchev, the Premier of Soviet Union and General Secretary of the Communist Party.
With Sergei's new job is at OKB-1, his boss Sergei Korolev now had an excellent connection to the very top of the Soviet political hierarchy...
 

Richard N

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I met Sergei and got a signed copy of his book in Dallas, Texas, in the 2000s. I believe his book was on the Soviet Space Program. It was many memories ago.
 

Michel Van

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R-9 vs R-16

Mitrofan Nedelin played a key role in ushering in the space age by concluding that rockets were the ideal means to deliver a nuclear warhead to enemy instead of bombers and ordered Sergei Korolev to develop the massive R-7 ICBM.
But this rocket and its derivatives, was powerful enough to launch Sputnik and Vostok manned space vehicles into orbit enabling the USSR to beat the US to space. but it was never an effective ICBM!
For Military purposes however, a new launch vehicle was neccesary.
One that could be launched quickly after the go ahead, one that would be useful in retaliation against an American first strike.
So the Soviet Strategic Rocket Force wanted a better, usable ICBM launcher they could use from protective Silos.

With the success of first tactical missile using storable fuels, it became obvious the new generation ICBM have use them
So Milhail Yangel OKB-589 ordered the development of the R-16 using Toxic nitric acid and UDMH fuel.
But Korolev abhorred those fuels would be "playing with devil" and prefer cleaner Liquid oxygen and Kerosine.
He got permission to build a backup system in case the R-16 project failed: The R-9.
Actually Gluchko's OKB-456 was to build rocket engines for R-16 and R-9,
But Korolev hated him[1] and refused his offer, using his growing influence to instead have team up with Kuznetsov OKB-276 for engines.

Despite pressure to perform all safety tests before October 7th (the day of the Bolshevik revolution)
The vehicle thuroughly tested even after the date, the last thing Nedeplin needed was a failed launch[2]
Luckily all went well as the rocket soared into the sky. While the launch was not without it's faults (comming somewhat short of the intended range)
The success was more than any of the hundreds of engineers had hoped for.

While the R-16 R&D went well, the R-9 experienced problems with it’s NK-9 engines.
OKB-276 just start to build rocket engine and had not experience like it rival OKB-456, what let to violent explosion on test stand.
On April 9, 1961, the first R-9 made test launch. 54 second into flight a fire broke out in engine Nr. 4 leading to the destruction of the R-9
The second test launch in May ended in a disaster as engine Nr. 6 exploded 20 second after launch.
OKB-1 started to check the delivery NK-9 engines and found faulty welds, metal shavings in turbo pump, fuel lines and Injector-plates.
Kuznetsov made his best to increase the production standards and to push for better quality control on rocket engines.
And with success, on October 25, 1961. The third R-9 launch went good following which the R-9 started a series of launches for it qualification.

By this time it was too late for the R-9 project, In same time the R-16 start make impressive results,
On August 1961 R-16s were being deployed as operational ICBMs all along the Soviet Union
The R-16 would be used in mass for several years untill it's eventual retirement.[3]

The R-9 stay as reserve force in case, all R-16 had to be fired in case of War, were they came too close in October 1961
Final end of R-9 came on October 24 1963, with LC-70 silo disaster. A oxygen tank leak in the Silo fueling system, let to a blaze killing seven men of the launch crew.
The R-9 was pullt out of Service, Sergei Korolev accepted the failure of R-9, he was busy for moment with a important projects for Soviet Union.
The real winner of the entire R-9 ordeal was Kuznetsov's OKB-276, which with each error learned more and more how to build rockets engines and that would be quit handy for a future Korolev/Soviet Space project.[4]


NOTES:
[1] in 1938 Korolev was deliberately accused and send to gulag camp later he works as prisoner under Gluchko at OKB-16
Here became the former friends mortal rivals and enemies.

[2] The Nedelin Tragedy is famous in rocket history for being one of the worst launch failures ever. 120 people died, the program was delayed by a year, and was covered up untill 1989. here in Story the launch is successful because took more time for testing.

[3]Without the Nedelin Tragedy, the R-16 becomes a commonly deployed ICBM. With the Soviet Union more reliant on ICBMs they never need to deploy IRBMs in Cuba and the Cuban Missile crisis never happens. The results of this will become clearer later in the story

[4]Korolev was forced to work with Glushko who built the rocket engines for the R-9 rather than Kuznetsov, which lead to problems when the Kuznetsov completely inexperienced with rocket engines, was tasked with designing, building, testing and launching the NK-15 engines years later for the N-1 project.

In story with greater influence in the Soviet leadership, Korolev is able to get his way and isn't forced to cooperate with Glushko, whom Korolev hated.
 

Michel Van

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1961: The Year the World almost faced Nuclear War twice !

February 9, 1961. An IL-18 plane carrying Leonid Brezhnev on board.
At the time he was acting as the nominal head of state of the Soviet Union and on a state visit to the Guinea Republic.
Do navigation error the plane enter French-Algerian airspace.
Because the Civil-War there, the French military suspected that IL-18 was a weapon transporter for FLN rebels,
and send Vautour fighter jets to intercept the airplane.
The IL-18 Pilots believing there outside French airspace, first ignored the french Vautour.
until one of french Pilot open fire, to force Aircraft to follow them, unfortunate damaging the Il-18.
The pilots try to reach Morocco airfield but crash in desert killing all onboard !

The dead of Leonid Brezhnev was shock for Soviet politburo, who consider this as act of barbarism,
The French Government apologise, but insisted that Brezhnev's plane strayed into French-Algerian airspace.
But Prime-minister Michel Debrè manage this so badly, that Khrushchev put a ultimatum to De Gaulle:

Extradite those Responsible of this political assassination to Soviet or else the Soviet union will retaliate.
and suddenly this became a World Crisis !

The situation was hopeless, France had Nuclear bomb prototypes, but no delivery system for them.
Kennedy declared DEFCON 2 and mobilised the NATO forces in case the Soviets really was preparing to attack,
While the U.N try to defuse the situation.
But before the situation escalated to a full war, De Gaulle extradite Michel Debrè to Soviet embassy in Paris.
He was transported in Diplomatic Box to Moscow and trail in 1962 and sentenced to life in Prison.
(and allot french were happy he was gone, Debrè was after all one of most unpopular politician in France )
France ended up after this crisis deeper in NATO as De Gaulle wanted.
While the British made demands: let UK join the European Economic Community in exchange for full support for France in NATO.

April 12, 1961 one biggest moments in History, Yuri Gagarin, became the first man in orbit and space.

The Next crisis came just days later on 17 April. The Bay of Pigs invasion happened in Cuba, the moment Fidel Castro announce that the invasion had failed, Nikita Khrushchev declared that Cuba is now under the nuclear protection of USSR,
threatening the use of ICBMs to defend the country for any aggressor.

On May 4th, 1961 Alan Shepard became the first American in space on his suborbital Mercury
Follow on May 25th, with Kennedy "we choose go to the moon" speech starting the Moon race.

Then the East Germans started the construction of the Berlin Wall on August 13. The other major crisis of that year.
It's zenith came on October 27, when US and Soviet tanks and infantry held a standoff at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin.
During the tensest hours, the World watched as they stood on the edge of Nuclear War again, which, luckily, did not happen.
Thankfully nothing even approaching the crisis period of this year would happen in the rest of the Cold War.

But it was a wakeup call in Washington D.C. and Moscow,
When allot of politician were asking „Do we need to play the Nuclear Card in this Game ?“
The next 3 years the Kennedy Administration and Politburo started negotiation for treaties
Even after murder of J.F. Kennedy, President Johnson completed it, resulting in:

-Installation of “Red Phone“ line between Washington D.C. and Moscow (Telephone, Telex, later Videophone and computer links)
-Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (only underground testing. No testing on surface, in air, ocean or space or other planets )
-Voluntary Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (V-SALT) limiting the total number of ICBM Bombers SLBM.

Aftermath
V-SALT brought allot financial savings: the USA retired the Atlas and Titan ICBM earlier in favour of Minutemen,
While the USSR focused on the R-16 and UR-200 ICBM
France started Nuclear armament in H-bomb, Missile, Bomber and Submarines.
For Next 20 years France and USSR relationship was ultra cold, until socialist François Mitterrand became French President.
The Swiss vote in plebiscite for nuclear Weapon program for self-defence in 1962.
 

Archibald

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I loved that POD, very well found. You are right about Michel Debré. While I wouldn't wish anybody a life sentence in a Soviet jail - as a matter of fact he was a bureaucratic dumbarse - some kind of French McNamara whizz kid, with the usual caveats.

He managed to make himself elected Deputy of Réunion Island, a backward place back then at Madagascar level of poverty and birth levels.

His solution ? he deported 1600 children out of their island to "a better life in Metropolitan France".
Yeah, sure dude. The poor kids ended thoroughly traumatized (La Creuse is nothing like Réunion) and too often, as agricultural servants to their adoptive families.

So you spared Réunion Island a major bullet to the foot...
 
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Michel Van

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it was you, Archibald that note me on Debré status in France.
I try to keep Politic post here so low as possible, but there events that shape this World quite different as ours
and Politic decision play important role special in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race...
 

Archibald

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For the record: in Algeria the air war was 99.9% air-to-ground and CAS.
Since the FLN had foreign help trying to smuggle weapons (Nasser's Egypt and some others - another link to Suez 1956) the Maroccan and Tunisian borders had been reinforced on the ground - from minefields to electric fence, sensors...

But the smugglers could try their chance from the air. So just in case some air defense squadrons were deployed & rotated.

That's where the French De Havilland Vampires and their Mistral variant ended their lives: the first operational French combat jets even before the Ouragans.

This was enough for daylight intercepts (and the weather in North Africa was very clear often) but for night and bad weather some Vautours were deployed.

And ITTL they send Brezhnev kicking the bucket... OTL it was a close call ! 1961 was a rather tense year with multiple coups and mutinies by the OAS and Army altogether. No surprise one of these Vautour pilots lost control and pulled the trigger...
 

Michel Van

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The Ministry of General Machine-Building Industry of USSR

The launch of Sputnik in 1957 started the Space Race between USA and USSR.
Four years later the Soviet launch first human into Space and back Alive and Yuri Gagarin became a new kind of Hero !
The American try to follow with Suborbital Mercury flights, but With Gherman Titov one day in space
Making the US flights ridiculously trivial, in 1962 the first Mercury went into Orbit with John Glenn.
After Brezhnev Disaster and Fail Cuba Invasion and success of Soviet in space, J.F.Kennedy be under pressure to take action,
So on May 25, he held the famous "We choose go to the Moon" speech starting the Moon Race.

At first Nikita Khrushchev believed this was some kind of joke.
But his son and Sergei Korolev make very clear that Americans a serious and able to put a man on Moon!
So Khrushchev demanded a counter program to put a Soviet on Moon, but here the Problems startet.
While USA had the military USAF and civilian NASA for such program
Was the soviet space flight activity, let us say chaotic:
Next Rivalry between the Soviet design bureaus, who get lucrative contracts at any cost.
Was also rivalry between Air Force and Strategic Rocket Force over Manned space flights vs only ICBM.
Nikita Khrushchev was well informed by his son about this Mess.

So began the Politburo to centralise the soviet space flight activity under a new Ministry.
That coordinate the civilian and military spaceflight program, while Strategic Rocket Force keep control over their missiles.
The Ministry would become responsible for developing the new launch vehicles, ballistic missiles and payloads for the military and other applications.
Also Cooperate the new Ministry with the Fourth Scientific Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense, Agat, and NII Khimash, TsNIIMASH and NIITI.
Georgiy A. Tyulin was chosen as the head of the new Ministry called:
"Ministry of General Machine-Building Industry of USSR" Министерство общего машиностроения СССР (MoM for short)
This name was chosen to fool foreign secret services.

MoM started evaluation of current running programs planned and proposed concepts.
The Moon program L-1 and L-3 were put on priority,
Development of Space Probe for Moon, Mars, Venus and beyond
Study for manned orbital station as next steps
Study for moon base and manned interplanetary travel as such was considered a long-term with low priority for moment.

But not all were happy with new situation, like Gluchko who keep his OKB-456 independent under protection of Strategic Rocket Force.
The other was Chelomei OKB-52 who saw allot of his program getting cancelled by MoM
Like UR-500 heavy ICBM, UR-200 ICBM, L-1 lunar flyby, Kosmoplan and others
It was own fault Chelomei aggressively promoted his proposals with defamation about his Rivals, also his Arrogant way was not helpful in this.
Also was Tyulin in Clinch with marshal Nedelin, how insisted that only Yangel OKB-586 build ICBM for Strategic Rocket Force,
with engines build by Gluchko.
 

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Mercury-Gemini vs Vostok-Voskhod

The Soviet beat the USA with sending Yuri Gagarin into Space in 1961.
24 days later, American Alan Shepard made Suborbital flight on Mercury-Redstone
Original all Seven NASAAstronauts had to do a Suborbital flight, bevor Orbit flights.
But the one day in space of Gherman Titov, made those plans obsoleted.
NASA needed 10 months to launch Mercury-Atlas, with John Glenn on board.
While NASA try to catch up the Success of Titov flight by prolonging each Mercury flight.
The Soviet broke another Records with launch of Vostok 3 and 4 the first simultaneous mission in Space !
But the Mercury hardware was not reliable, the last flight with Gordon Cooper show that clearly.
After 34 hours in space most of systems show problems and issue, that Cooper used manual override for return
While Vostok 5 stay four days in space, follow by Vostok 6 with first Woman in space: Valentina Tereshkova.

NASA abandon Mercury and went for Gemini program with 2 men Capsule for testing various technology for Apollo program.
in USSR Nikita Khrushchev demanded form MoM to beat the USA by sending 3 cosmonauts in Vostok capsule !
Original were 13 Vostok Mission planned, now canceled by Khrushchev with order of new program
Minister Tyulin was not happy, either Korolev and Sergei Khrushchev because to manage the demand.
The Vostok spacecraft had the crew rescue system removed, in case launch failure the crew had not a chance !
The new Craft was called Voskhod to fool USA thinking the Soviet had their version of Gemini.
On 12 october 1964 Voskhod-1 was launch with V. Komarov, K. Feoktistov and B. Yegorov for one day mission.
Final the NASA could launch Gemini 3 into orbit but before Gemini 4 in June could do a Spacewalk
The Soviets made this with Voskhod-2 on 18 march 1965 were Alexei Leonov made the first Spacewalk
But the USA catch up with Gemini 5 seven days mission,
or first rendezvous in Space between Gemini 6 and 7 that stay 14 days in space.

Khrushchev demanded to counter that with other Voskhod missions
Voskhod-3 was 10 day mission with two Women Valentina Ponomaryova and Irina Solovyova
Voskhod-4 had to be a 20 day solo mission for Ivan Anikeyev in 1966.
It launch went wrong as on booster separation, one of them hit the core stage and destroy the rocket
Lucky for Anikeyev the Capsule was 50 km high and landed save 400 km from launch site.
Tyulin order the immediate end of the Voskhod and focus full on Soyuz program,
in dispute with Nikita Khrushchev he answer angry:

Do you want as first record also Dead Cosmonauts ?

In mean time NASA notice that Voskhod show same inflexibly like Vostok, no change of orbit, no rendezvous.
while the Gemini were first completely spacecraft able to do those things.
we're the USA now ahead in Space Race ?
 
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publiusr

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In terms of visuals....I could see a saner Howard Hughes build not spruce goose but something like Starship as a follow on to the gleaming Atlas...only his Starship would have a Dyna-Soar for a cockpit on one side of Starship and a counter-balanced payload of some kind on the other. His Starship would be all tanker...no fancy nose or internal payload...and use ground equipment to try to land...but the small, more agile cockpit-craft he stole from Bono would work...and inspire General Atomics away from pusher-plate pulse Orion...to Orion spaceplanes...with dense ammonia cracked into hydrogen going out the door...allowing both nuclear stages to be slimmer...the rejected nitrogen out the nose and wing leading edge as plasma..no tiles...no RCC. That's the best handwave I have. The idea is that the early computers couldn't land Howards rocket...and that poisoned minds against VTOVL systems...as opposed to our reality where winged spaceflight is in doubt. In the timeline I suggest..there is no Saturn V...but something like Sea Dragon for the largest bits...and Floyd's spaceplane new.
 
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Michel Van

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Khrushchev's Thaw, Kosygin's Rise (1953-1971)

05.11.1966._Kossiguine_à_Toulouse._%281966%29_-_53Fi3436_%28cropped%29%28b%29.jpg


Despite Alexander Kosygin losing his seat to the Politburo in mid 1952, because of stalinist reactionaries.
Being a staunch ally of Khrushchev, his political career soon turned around for the better.
Although he was never one of Khrushchev's protégés, Kosygin quickly moved up the CPSU party ladder.
By the time of the Sputnik 1 and 2 satellite launches in late 1957 he had already become an official of the State Planning Commitee and was made a candidate member of the Politburo.

By 1960 Kosygin was promoted to the State Planning Commitee chairmanship and became Khrushchev's First Deputy Premier.
This changed his life significantly because as First Deputy Premier Kosygin traveled around the world, mostly on trade missions,
to countries such as North Korea, India, Argentina and Italy.
As Gagarin and Titov where orbiting the world, Kosygin was able to regain his old seat in the Politburo during the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Just a year later he was already the Soviet spokesman for improved relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.

In 1964 Kosygin acheived a major political success.
Back on February 23rd 1961 the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, Lenoid Brezhnev
died after his diplomatic plane was shot down over Algeria in what is commonly refered to as the Brezhnev incident.
After that Khrushchev appointed Anastas Mikoyan to the position. However by 1964 the Mikoyan to retired from his seat in the Politburo due to old age.
As Alexei Kosygin in turn, took his place on July 15th 1964. His influence was responsible for a series of successful economic reform that led to the improvement of living standard for the Soviet people.
He was able to influence Khrushchev to rethink some of his crazy ideas and proposals.
Unlike some Stalinist Deviants claim he was not acting as a revisionist but simply applying Marxism-Leninism in a unique and creative way as the historical conditions of Russia have demanded for Socialism with Russian Characteristics.
His democratic succession on Khrushchev as Premier and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1971 and policies enacted strengthend socialism through Market forces rather than reviving Capitalism as counter-revolutionary stalinist and bourgeois elements have claimed.
The thriving Socialist Market Economy of our motherland that exists to this day is a testament to Khrushchev and Kosygin's early work in this period.

from Chapter 2: Red Rise
- Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin: A Short Biography, by The Institute of Marxism-Leninism, CPSU Central Committee © 2006
 

Michel Van

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New Rockets In USSR

17460709330_4ffc5faabb_z.jpg


The US side of the Story...
In May 1962, the CIA noticed on reconnaissance satellite pictures, an increase of activity at OKB-1 factory, also with the begining of construction work on Baikonur and Pelsectsk
At Baikonur they erected a huge building in size 720 ft by 343 ft (220 by 125 meters)
It was connected by Railway to series of Launch Pads built North East of that new complex. Two pads were huge,
Then in 1964 a US reconnaissance satellite picture, how out this gigantic hall roledl out a puny Rockets to launch pad
The CIA reconnaissance group got laughing fits about this, the rocket analyst of CIA din’t laugh. That was a completely New Soviet Rocket !
Conical in form, about 106 ft (33 meter) it was launch successful in August 1964 according NORAD.
July 1965 the CIA reconnaissance group stop laughing, as a new bigger rocket was rolled out of that hall, double in length as „Puny Rocket“, That was more serious.
In 1966 to surprise of World Press, the Soviet presented a complete Vostock Rocket on Biggin Hill International Air Fair[1]
Labeling it a discontinued model, now it was a sure thing the Soviet were replacing their Launch rockets with something new.
1966 October after series of Test launches the two new rocket got official named by Soviet TASS[2]
The smaller was official label as „Soyuz Rocket“ as it launch the New Soyuz spacecraft.
The bigger was called „Proton“ after the astronomy satellites with same name, it had launch four times.
Finally in 1967 the CIA reconnaissance group stared to gape on a Picture, this time the soviets pulled out a Huge Rocket… one in size of a Saturn V !


The Soviet side of the Story…
In 1961 Sergei Korolev had proposed a Modular rocket family simply called „Nositjel“ (Launch vehicle) were the upper stage function as launch rocket.
the Soviet Space Agency (MoM) studied the proposal together with Chelomei Universal Rocket and R-56 Booster by Yangel
But the two were refused to huge amount of Toxic fuel used on those rockets, leading to higher cost compare to Korolev „Launcher“, who could use the existing propellant facility at the launch sites.
So in 1962 became „Nositjel 1/2/3“ official the new launcher Family of USSR.
In 1963 Sergei Khrushchev finalized the engine specification for N1/2/3 rocket to be build by the OKB-276.
Using for N3, the NK-9 from R-9 with 392kN and for N2 and N1 the NK-15 with 2120 kN thrust,
This would reduce the risk of Pogo[3] on Launcher by minimised the first stage engine 6 to 16
By launching the smaller version of „Nositjel“ the N3 and N2, it would reduce the Test program allot instead of 12 test launches with the complete N1 proposed by Vasily Mishin.
Actually each model would do 4 test flights, eliminating possible delays true N1 construction.
with success in 1965 the N3 called „Soyuz“ and 1966 N2 called „Proton“ went into service.
but on 14 January 1966 the program undergo trouble as Sergai Paviovich Korolev died.
In March the Politburo designated Sergei Khrushchev as new Head of OKB-1 [4]

[1] The soviet union boycott the Paris Air Show from 1961 to 1982 because of the Brezhnev Incident.
[2] Telegraph Agency of soviet Union, Is for distribution of internal and international news for all Soviet media.
[3] POGO is term for a dangerous self-excited combustion oscillation in liquid fuel rockets, causing in extrem situation the destruction of the vehicle during flight.
[4] Vasily Mishin's cynical comment on this decision: „well we don’t need to replace the Initials...“
 

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Soyuz vs Apollo part 1

It's interesting to see that adversary opponent of Moon Race, came to same solution - Lunar orbital Rendezvous -
but this imply rendezvous and docking technology, what NASA master in the Gemini program.
and Soviet had still to test this with Soyuz space craft

The failure of Voskhod-4 was a wakeup call for OKB-1,
Sergei Khrushchev made clear that manned Soyuz will only fly it all system were "Fool proof and Incapable of errors“
Much to anger of his father who was eager for new space records.

Kosmos 133 was first flight of Soyuz 7K-OK, it had to dock automatically later with Kosmos 134
However Kosmos 133's attitude control system malfunctioned, resulting in rapid consumption of orientation fuel, leaving it spinning at 2 rpm.
After heroic efforts by ground control and five attempts at retrofire over two days, the craft was finally brought down for a landing on its 33rd revolution.
Due to the inaccuracy of the reentry burn, the capsule would land in China.
The self destruct system was thought to have destroyed the ship on November 30, 1966.
But stories persisted over the years of the Chinese having a Soyuz capsule in their possession.

Kosmos 134 had different fate, it became soviet 'the day we launched the escape tower' of Mercury program.
The Soyuz rocket not ignited, a launcher shutdown was commanded. following inspections of Rocket.
27 minutes after the original launch attempt, the Soyuz launch escape system ignite, pulling the Soyuz away from the booster, igniting The third stage fuel tanks, leading to an explosion that severely damaged the pad and killed at least one person and injured many others!

Kosmos 140 experienced attitude control problems due to a faulty star sensor resulting in excessive fuel consumption.
The spacecraft couldn't keep the required orientation towards the sun to keep the solar panels illuminated.
Despite all of these problems the spacecraft remained controllable.
An attempted maneuver on the 22nd revolution still showed problems with the control system.
It malfunctioned yet again during retrofire, leading to a steeper than planned uncontrolled ballistic re-entry.
The re-entry capsule itself had depressurised on separation from the service module due to a fault in the base of the capsule.
A 300 mm hole burned through in the heat shield during re-entry.
Sergei Khrushchev order that crew had to wear pressure suits on board what reduce crew from 3 to 2 cosmonauts.

Kosmos 156 was again a disaster, one solar panel failed to unfold, do bad weather the launch of Kosmos 157 was canceled.
but it became worst op on landing the main parachute did not unfold, the unmanned capsule crash into the ground.

MoM state commission found 203 issue with Soyuz spacecraft in investigation of Kosmos flights.
A manned L1 circumlunar flyby by the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution was now completely out of the question
and at best they might be able to have the earth orbit Soyuz 7K-OK ready for a dual manned rendezvous/docking.
Nikita Khrushchev was furious on this bad news.

In Mean time the first unmanned Soyuz 7K-L1 flights under Zond 4 & 5, they performed better.
Finally Kosmos 186 and 187 was successful, two Soyuz 7K-OK flew and dock automatic and return save, despite issues
Sergei Khrushchev order the first manned flight would include a Rendezvous, even that failed there would two Soyuz to test in space.

Soyuz 1 launched on November 27, 1967 crewed by Sergei Komarov, Vladimir Shatalov
While Soyuz 2 launched on November 30, 1967 crewed by Yevgeny Khrunov, Aleksei Yeliseyev.
The Rendezvous was performed entirely automatically by the IGLA-system on board Soyuz 1.
After the first attempt failed (a fly-by at a distance of 900 m), the second attempt succeeded
However, this docking was not entirely successful either - the modules were mechanically docked, but not electrically.
Also, the maneuver had cost more fuel than anticipated.
Khrunov and Komarov in spacesuits made spacewalk so they could transfer vehicles and land with Komarov,
the world's first crew-exchange in spaceflight history.
After 3.5 hours of joint flight, the spacecraft parted on a command sent from the earth and continued to orbit separately.
Both made a soft landing in the Soviet Union.
 
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Soyuz vs Apollo part 2

The Apollo spacecraft had not a good start
NASA announcement on 27 November, 1961 that The Martin Company would be prime contractor,
Only a Day later to correct themselves and declare North American Aviation, Inc. (NAA) as winner!

Original planned as Block I (low orbit testing) and Block II (lunar operation)
NASA hoped that result and findings of Block I would help improvement on Block II
Planned were 6 Block I flights (two manned) and 20 Block II flights.
Prime Crew for Apollo 3 was Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee,
For Apollo 4 Walter Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunnigham.

But Apollo spacecraft ran into problems and delays, Grissom pointed on issue with Spacecraft on several occasions.
NASA officials ignored them, pushing NAA to keep the launch schedule.
The original planned launch of autumn 1966 was pushed to February 21, 1967 for Apollo 3.

Then on January 27 disaster strike
During manned launch simulation on launch pad the plug-out test was performed.
It had to show if Apollo spacecraft would operate normal on internal power
one minute later the crew reported issue with AC Bus 2 voltage follow 9 seconds later by outcry "FIRE"
During that time the Capsule had a pure oxygen atmosphere.
This allow the fire to destroy the capsule in seconds killing the 3 astronaut !

The USA was in Shock
The Investigation revealed: dangerous neglect, lack of safety procedure, design errors by NASA and North American Aviation, Inc.
While NASA faced political fallout from Capitol Hill during committees hearing to Apollo 3 disaster
Special senator Walter Mondale profiled him self here and will become a menace for NASA in coming years !
Also face NASA the first budget cuts and Johnson order year later the Stop of Saturn IB and V production.
Apollo program face serious delay because redesign the Capsule and fixing 1407 issue
Ironic NAA hired engineers from The Martin Company to fix the problem.
Apollo 4 became a unmanned flight on first Saturn V, while first Block II flew on Apollo 6 the second Saturn V flight.
First manned Block II flight Apollo 7 was scheduled for October 11, 1968

But will the Soviet Union use the delay to their advantage ?
 

Justo Miranda

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The first Russian atomic bombs were the size of a van and needed a B-29/Tu-4 to transport them... or a monstrous rocket. That was the origin of the space race and the apparent Soviet advance in the time of Sputnik. The Americans had not foreseen the need for such large rockets and were forced to develop the miniaturization of electronic components from the German transistor.

By 1964 the Soviets already possessed small nuclear warheads capable of extending the kill ratio of the SA-2 to 19,680 ft. and the ceiling to 80,000 ft.

Then the trend was reversed because NASA was already developing the Saturn V.
 

Archibald

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By 1964 the Soviets already possessed small nuclear warheads capable of extending the kill ratio of the SA-2 to 19,680 ft. and the ceiling to 80,000 ft

This. The A-12 and SR-71 could barely escape chinese vietnamese and nork SA-2s.
The reason why they were never sent deep inside Soviet airspace was that nuclear SA-2s and SA-5s locked it way above 100 000 feet and way above Mach 4.
See the ISINGLASS RHEINBERRY thread: Convair started at mach 4.5 and ended at Mach 9; 90 000 ft to 130 000 feet.
When they pitched ISINGLASS to the NRO the spooks told them: NOT ENOUGH against nuclear SA-5s.
Out of the blue come MDD with an Alpha Draco pretty extreme vehicle... Mach 22. RHEINBERRY was quasi-orbital (orbital velocity would be Mach 26).
The NRO went for spysats instead: CORONA GAMBIT.
 

Michel Van

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Red China's New Strong Man

The Relationship between USSR and China deteriorated in 1960 during Soviet state visit to China.
Thanks to Nikita Khrushchev's unlucky metaphor about how "you need to change worn old shoes“,
Referring to China's authoritarian form of communism similar to Stalinism.
This was translated into the Chinese metaphor of "you need to get rid of the old whore“,
Mao Zedong considered this a major insult on his person.
Until 1966 the USSR and Chinese relations deteriorated to the worst they could be.

Nikita Khrushchev economic reforms which moved the USSR to less emphasis heavy Industry toward consumer goods by individual enterprises, with profits as incentives was interpreted by conservative Maoist as treason toward communism and was denounced as "reactionary" and "revisionist" in addition to the increasing amount of free political criticism and changing attitudes associated with the Khrushchev Thaw.

But Mao had other problems, the Chinese politburo wanted to remove him from power, because of a series of disastrous programs ordered by Mao and the current situation between USSR and China with the USSR and US's relations improving despite the situation in Vietnam.

In 1966 Mao Zedong found a Solution to that: The Cultural Revolution
Official a Movement by groups of young people (Red Guards) operate under Mao orders, against authorities at all levels in China.
But the situation escalated into a civil war in China and went out control as, In industrial City of Wuhan, Red Guards started to fights under each other!
Beginning in 1967 it went so bad that that Mao Zedong had to fly personal to Wuhan to deal with situation.
It was a certain Irony that Mao Zendong was killed by Red Guards believing the airplane was carrying enemy reinforcements,
shooting the plane down during landing!

The News of Mao dead let to the "30 Day Crisis“ a battle over control of People’s Republic of China.
Like Mao Widow, Jiang Qing and three other High rang official operating as "Gang of Four“ trying to take over the Chinese politburo but failed.
The winner of Crisis became the Chinese People’s Liberation Army under commando of Marshall Lin Biao, who restored law and order in China.
Lin Biao ruled with hard hand over China and cleaned up Mao Zedong's followers and Red Guards,
Made necessary reforms, leading China out it’s political isolation.
His top priority in 1968 was the Vietnam war and reconciling with the USSR with Success, Kosygin was very receptive to reconciliation with China.

Biao started an arms race to build an ICBM that could hit the USA,
After the death of vietnamese Ho Chi Minh in the beginning of 1968, the resulting Power struggle under there leaderships,
That was won by Pro China forces in the North Vietnamese Politburo!
The beginning of the Sino-North Vietnamese alliance
Now the USA faced a similar scenario, they had during the Korean War,
Danger of being over run by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. But this time they got Nuclear weapons !
For US Capitol Hill "The Chinese Nightmare“ started.

17046894230_978e0c23c9_o.jpg


Notes:
Khrushchev's remaining in office and his continuation of reforms, rapprochement to the West and the rise of a new class of market reformers in the USSR like Alexei Kosygin.
Lead to a greater backlash in China and the Cultural Revolution being even more violent than in our time
Mao Zedong is killed and Lin Biao comes to power as a result.
He attempted a coup against Mao in OTL which failed in 1971. The Gang of Four also attempted a coup which also failed in our time.

There is no Maoism movement, Left Radicals orientating now on Ho Chi Minh movement and there way of political combat!
 

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Have whoever help invented microchips have car accidents so electronics stay heavy…keeping rockets bigger. No Thor. No Deltas.
 

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The N-1 / N-11 / N-111 were kind of Matrioshka-dolls rockets... or Lucky Luke's Dalton brothers (the N-1 would be Averell, for sure).

N-1: Blocks A-B-V-G

N-11: Blocks B-V-G

N-111: Blocks V-G (plus Block D eventually).
 

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The Moon Race Heats Up

USA and USSR were building the Biggest Rocket ever know it was time to Test them

The N1-L3 Rocket made its first launch on July 6, 1967.
After lift off problems started as engine n°12 suffered problems, in response the autopilot KORD wrongly shutdown a working engine on the opposed side!
54.5 seconds after launch the KORD reported engines 11, 12 and 13 were shutting down and a rise of temperature show there was a fire in first Stage.
Then 68.87 second after launch the fire burned the wire harness of engine bay, KORD shot down all engines of first stage, crashing the rocket down range while the launch escape tower rescued the boilerplate crew capsule.
The failure analysis was difficult, one problem was KORD's faulty plotting, after Engine 12 went in trouble,
another mystery was what happened to engine 11, 12 and 13 and where had the fire started ?
Flight data show that engine 12's turbo pump suddenly started violently vibrating at 51 second,
followed by the turbo pumps of engine 11 snd 13.

The Soviet Academy of sciences independent investigation board had this theory:
That liquid oxygen line were too brittle because, they had use much with cooler propellant than originally designed.
It ruptured under the harsh conditions of launch and the pogo oscillations produce by the engines.
The liquid oxygen poured out onto the running engine starting the fire.
Meanwhile the engine turbo pumps started running dry leading to violent vibrations, beginning the fatal chain reaction which lead to the destruction of N1-L3


It was a bad surprise for OKB-1, before the launch of the next N1 they had to replace the Stage's liquid oxygen lines, overwork KORD and install better Pogo dampers. the N1-L4 was pulled out production and was scraped.

On November 9th 1967 the Saturn V successfully performed it's first flight,
But the rest of Program was not running good, the Apollo modification delay manned Test flight Apollo 7 to autumn 1968,
The Lunar Module was also facing considerable delays, threatening the 1970 deadline !
The First LM prototype was Tested in space with Apollo 5, but was not Manned ready do issues with flight computers.
April 4th, 1968. the Second test of Saturn V ended in problems: massive Pogo, failure of J-2 engines and failed restart of the 3 stage !

While NASA start debug the Saturn V The Soviets made another Launch attempt on July 1968 with the N1-L5.
The flight went good until the 104 second were engine 4 having trouble and a overzealous safety range officer activated, the N1 self-destruct mechanism. The failure analyst Repot showed clearly that despite the failure of engine 4,
the N1-L5 could have bring the payload in lower orbit had safety range officer not acted.
On November 1968 the N1-L6 was launched despite problems with KROD and premature stage separation, the payload reached Low Earth Orbit
25 hours after it’s launch, the unmanned L3-Complex test model made the Trans Lunar Injection toward the Moon.
101 hours later the L3-Complex reach the moon where... nothing happened.
The Block-D failed to re-ignite as the L3-Complex passed by the moon and returned back to Earth on it's circumlunar trajectory.

In mean time the Americans notice a large number of Proton rocket launches to moon
There were heavy payload in two category: lunar fly by with return to Earth, the other lunar landings
In June 1968 one of Heavy probes manage to land safely on the lunar surface.
That Probe transmitted signals on 130 and 190 kHz, much to surprise of CIA analysts, it was of TV Cameras.
Their new probe was a remotely controlled rover ! It was intriguing for CIA analysts and NASA engineers to secretly watch on their equipment, the attempts by controllers in USSR to drive the Rover in search of... something.
After it reach a flat area it stop and turned its cameras off, switching to a 1000 kHz signal that repeated itself until it was interrupted by The lunar night.
The Soviet labeled this probe as Lunokhod 1, another Triumph of USSR.
 
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Michel Van

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First Men around the Moon

NASA was in dilemma, the Saturn V underwent modification, Apollo 7 finally ready for manned flight for October 1968,
But Lunar Module was not ready for manned test flight, electrical problems and issues with the flight computers.
Grumman believed the LM could be ready for manned Testing in begin 1969 !
What to do ?
There were several option: wait until 1969 for Apollo 8 and test LM, launch Apollo 8 with Spy Sat Camera to moon
But that would take too much time and money, needed for Lunar landing.
Finally Frank Bormann proposed to NASA to launch Apollo 8 without LM to moon testing the Third Saturn V and Apollo CSM.
Marshall Space Flight Center schedule that Saturn V will ready for December 1968 launch of Apollo 8.

Meanwhile the CIA was keeping a close eye on the activities of the Soviets. there had series of failures
The first N1 test flight endet in Disaster, their new Soyuz spacecraft had seems serious issue, also their Zond probes.
Also two explosion on launch pad show the Soviets has serious problems !
The CIA assessment was that USSR would unlikely send a Human to Moon in 1968, with high probability during 1969.

But Soviets catch up with success of Soyuz 1 to 4 with two docking,
Now they planned another docking with Soyuz 5&6 and Soyuz 7 the first cislunar flight !
Official the unmanned Zond 9, the preparation wenn secretly, the KGB found creative ways to fool the CIA with false information.
On October 11 launched Soyuz 5 and 6 they made almost failed the rendezvous and docking by using too much propellants.

17062867203_495c884551_c.jpg

Them on November 10, 1968 Zond 9 is launch with Aleksei Leonov and Oleg Makarov on a Proton rocket
Once the Trans Lunar Injection was successful the TASS announcement that Soyuz 7 is on way to Moon
While world press went hysterical, the flight to Moon was quite uneventful for Crew
Their problem was to ware there spacesuit true there 7 days mission
On 14 November 1968, Soyuz 7 passt the Moon at a minimum distance of 2420 km
As capsule return behind the moon, Leonov quote to the world the now famous phrase by the Russian father of the Space Age
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

Man will not always stay on Earth; the pursuit of light and space will lead him to penetrate the bounds of the atmosphere, timidly at first,
but in the end to conquer the whole of solar space.

The return trip show more and more problem with Soyuz craft, like the falling temperatures of the hydrogen peroxide tanks.
The Crew turn craft so that tanks got heated by sun, what damage the seals around the door of the re-entry cabin.
The landing on 17 November went not well, the capsule depressurised crew survive that in there Space Suits,
Follow malfunction of the automatic skip reentry, the crew endure over 15G but landed in Soviet union
Leonov and Makarov were hospitalised.

Despite all the sacrifice the entire mission accomplished almost nothing scientifically,
much to the dismay of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
Soyuz 7 was an engineering demonstration mission aimed at proven all the critical mission systems for that more ambitious goal of having the Soviet flag standing proudly on the lunar surface.
Designation Zond 9 was given to failed L-3 Complex of N1-L6 launch
 

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Hey Michel, I just had an idea to solve goddam Block A propensy to explode like an atomic bomb, per lack of a ground-test-bench large enough.

Once pad 110/37 has been thoroughly ruined on July 3, 1969...

Why not take the N-1 tractor-erector railcar, mount a Block A on it (not a complete N-1) - send it via the rail track to the ruined pad and flame trench; erect it vertically - and fire the whole thing ?
(the railroad car correctly ballasted and anchored to the ground, obviously !)
...
I mean, what do they have to lose ? If the goddam thing explode for a third time (and it did, in June 1971), all they lose is the big railroad car; the pad is already half collapsed.

See attached: remove the... N-11 upper stages, just keep the Block A on the rail car, erect that vertically over the ruined pad, FIRE !!
 

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lordroel

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First Men around the Moon

NASA was in dilemma, the Saturn V underwent modification, Apollo 7 finally ready for manned flight for October 1968,
But Lunar Module was not ready for manned test flight, electrical problems and issues with the flight computers.
Grumman believed the LM could be ready for manned Testing in begin 1969 !
What to do ?
There were several option: wait until 1969 for Apollo 8 and test LM, launch Apollo 8 with Spy Sat Camera to moon
But that would take too much time and money, needed for Lunar landing.
Finally Frank Bormann proposed to NASA to launch Apollo 8 without LM to moon testing the Third Saturn V and Apollo CSM.
Marshall Space Flight Center schedule that Saturn V will ready for December 1968 launch of Apollo 8.

Meanwhile the CIA was keeping a close eye on the activities of the Soviets. there had series of failures
The first N1 test flight endet in Disaster, their new Soyuz spacecraft had seems serious issue, also their Zond probes.
Also two explosion on launch pad show the Soviets has serious problems !
The CIA assessment was that USSR would unlikely send a Human to Moon in 1968, with high probability during 1969.

But Soviets catch up with success of Soyuz 1 to 4 with two docking,
Now they planned another docking with Soyuz 5&6 and Soyuz 7 the first cislunar flight !
Official the unmanned Zond 9, the preparation wenn secretly, the KGB found creative ways to fool the CIA with false information.
On October 11 launched Soyuz 5 and 6 they made almost failed the rendezvous and docking by using too much propellants.

17062867203_495c884551_c.jpg

Them on November 10, 1968 Zond 9 is launch with Aleksei Leonov and Oleg Makarov on a Proton rocket
Once the Trans Lunar Injection was successful the TASS announcement that Soyuz 7 is on way to Moon
While world press went hysterical, the flight to Moon was quite uneventful for Crew
Their problem was to ware there spacesuit true there 7 days mission
On 14 November 1968, Soyuz 7 passt the Moon at a minimum distance of 2420 km
As capsule return behind the moon, Leonov quote to the world the now famous phrase by the Russian father of the Space Age
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

Man will not always stay on Earth; the pursuit of light and space will lead him to penetrate the bounds of the atmosphere, timidly at first,
but in the end to conquer the whole of solar space.

The return trip show more and more problem with Soyuz craft, like the falling temperatures of the hydrogen peroxide tanks.
The Crew turn craft so that tanks got heated by sun, what damage the seals around the door of the re-entry cabin.
The landing on 17 November went not well, the capsule depressurised crew survive that in there Space Suits,
Follow malfunction of the automatic skip reentry, the crew endure over 15G but landed in Soviet union
Leonov and Makarov were hospitalised.

Despite all the sacrifice the entire mission accomplished almost nothing scientifically,
much to the dismay of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
Soyuz 7 was an engineering demonstration mission aimed at proven all the critical mission systems for that more ambitious goal of having the Soviet flag standing proudly on the lunar surface.
Designation Zond 9 was given to failed L-3 Complex of N1-L6 launch

And now the Americans need to do something that upstage the Soviets, if the can.
 

Michel Van

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And now the Americans need to do something that upstage the Soviets, if the can.

Both sides are in strange race, who fix there problems first get the moon
Next to that are both entangled in own timing for Countdown on N1 and Saturn V.
 

Michel Van

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The Neck to Neck Race

In USA people were disappointed that Soviets beat them to manned lunar fly by
James Webb resign from Office and January 1969, Thomas o. Paine became new Administrator of NASA.
And continue the Countdown for Apollo 8 and prepared Apollo 9 to 11.
At last Apollo 7 flight went well for Hardware, but not for Astronauts who were in conflict with overeager Mission Control.
Werner Von Braun got the bugs out Saturn V, While Rocketdyne worked hard to find the Issue with J-2 engines,
Grumman completed LM-3 for Apollo 9 flight, but testing show new problems with electrical system.

On December 21, 1968 Apollo 8 was launch, the Saturn V worked as planned.
it's enter as first manned spacecraft Lunar orbit, something the Soyuz 7 was unable to do !
On 24 December the crew made a broadcast, were commander Bormann read out "Book of Genesis" from the Bible.
This was later maliciously commented in the Pravda: "The Americans begging their God to win the Moon Race"
On 27 December the crew of Apollo 8 made safe landing in pacific.
The Crew was welcome with ticker-tape parade in USA,
While the New York Times comment cynical "Were is the ticker-tape parade for moon Cosmonauts ?!"
In fact Leonov and Makarov were still hospitalised, confirmed by a teeth cursing Khrushchev.
MoM had because of issue with Soyuz 7 canceled all Soyuz cislunar flights and focus launching Lunokhod to moon.

Thomas Paine had to face political problems by Capitol Hill and new US President Richard Nixon.
Those politician demanded a acceleration of Moon landing with Apollo 10.
But LM-3 and LM-4 were test article and not able for moon landing, while LM-5 was under completion.
Paine explains that Apollo 9 and 10 are needed test flight to qualified the LM-5 for Apollo 11.
On March 3, 1969 Apollo 9 was launched and Lunar Modul Spider was tested successful.

Also successful was the fourth Test launch if N1 February.
N1-L7 manage to bring unmanned Soyuz LOK and it's LK-lander in moon orbit and tested them remote.
This qualified the N1 Rocket for Manned Flight and got new designation: Luna
Then the CIA discovers that Soviet rollout TWO N1 rockets and installed them on launch pads !

USA counter with launch of Apollo 10 to Moon orbit and test LM Snoopy, on May 18, 1969.
That test became almost a Disaster, the descent went well until the LM reached 14 km over lunar surface.
As the descent stage is separated, the LM accent stage start to react violently and to rotate,
Stafford and Cernam fought hard to stabilize the LM.
The two uttered several expletives until gaining control over Snoopy, close to the moment before the rotation became unrecoverable,
After docking with Charlie Brown, they return to Earth and splash down in Pacific on May 26.

Since January 1969 run the Countdown for Apollo 11, in May the Saturn V was fully assembled, tested, and rollout to Launch pad.
The Rocket was check and undergoes flight readiness test and on June 26 the Countdown Demonstration Test
Now Only wait until Moon is right position for launch and that is July 16, 1969;

Only question was how far are the soviets ready to launch ?
 

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A Man on the Moon

This post is dedicated to a man, who off all, had the right to be first on the Moon...

During 1967 and 1969 the Soviet tested there L3-complex in low orbit.
First unmanned as Kosmos satellites, then manned Rendezvous with Soyuz, follow by Rendezvous with Lunniy korabl
all went good (with some problems) except Soyuz 7 cislunar

Soyuz 11 was another thing is was analog to Apollo 10, to bring the Lunniy korabl to moon and land it automatic on moon.
On June, 1969 the First Manned N1-L8 was launched, on board was Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Gorbatko.
nearly perfect flight except that Block-D use almost too much fuel for Lunar orbit injection.
But they were able to ready the LK and send it to way to the surface, guides by a 1000 kHz signal emit by Lunokhod 2.

While the CIA and NASA believed that Soyuz 11 was Soviet version Apollo 10, follow end of year by manned landing
and Apollo 11 Launch was scheduled launch on 16 July, 1969.
But Soviet ministry of Space was cautious, they wasn't confident in the LK lander's reliability
and weren't about to risk the life of their heroic lunar cosmonaut without redundancy.
So Soyuz 11 mission was to bring the Backup Lunniy korabl to it destination for flight of Soyuz 12
At 27 June as the Americans did the Countdown Demonstration Test with Apollo 11
The Soyuz-12 blasted off with Pavel Popovich and Vladimir Komarov.

20374074655_633f25bb9b_o.jpg


After it entered into a 200 km low earth orbit it remained there for 25 hours, checking the systems and uploaded new information for TLI
28 June Soyuz 12 made it Trans Lunar Injection burn. It will need over 5 days to reach the Moon
until Soyuz 12 entered an elliptical lunar orbit (150x50 km) at afternoon of the 2 July.
On 3 July the Crew located the Lunokhod 3 and LK-backup landing site.
LOK pilot Pavel Popovich and Flight Engineer Vladimir Komarov prepared the landing procedure,
the L-3 complex lowered its orbit to 100 km by 20 km
Vladimir Komarov enter his Kerchet Spacesuit and began to EVA to the LK craft,
He entered it and started up its systems then detached the LK with its Block-D from the Load-baring structure cover and LOK
Komarov used the Block-D last propellants reserves to brake out of Lunar orbit descending toward the surface,
Guided by 1000 kHz signal radio beacon from Lunokhod 2.
4000 meter over lunar surface Komarov jettison the Empty block-D and ignite the LK engines.
On July 4 1969 Vladimir Milhaylovich Komarov landed as First human in history on the Moon.
Only 177 meter near Lunokod 2 and 360 meter near LK-backup
While Komarov prepared his EVA, Lunokhod 2 was reactivated and rolled toward the LK
Film by it’s TV cameras, Komarov exit the LK, erecting the Flag of USSR and saluting it,
Televised world wide by TASS with background music, the Soviet national anthem.
For a moment Komarov looked up at the Earth and said:

"Планета есть колыбель разума, но нельзя вечно жить в колыбели"
Translation: "Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot stay in the cradle forever"

19751401964_2cc6917a1e_o.jpg


After that Komarov pulled the DALS out the LK and deployed this Scientific equipment package near by.
Then he collected samples of Lunar soil and rocks
He made several photos of his LK, the Lunokhod 2 which followed him via remote control and the LK-Backup at lunar horizon.
After 3 hours of exhausting EVA, he made a report over TV camera outside LK and return into in for the first meal on the Moon and resting.
While he was eating something happened as he heard a loud BANG follow by hissing sound, lucky Komarov was inside his Spacesuit with faceplate up, which he close very fast.
It was not the Pressurized cosmonaut compartment, but the pressurized avionic container which depressurized !
and that was even worse, the avionic was cooled by nitrogen gas which ventilated through containers, now that it was depressurized, The electronics started to overheat fast and was now failing.
Komarov report what happen before the LK radios went dead.

Mission Control in Kaliningrad, react in turmoil and consternation at the news, now everything lies on the flight control crew of the Lunakhod 2 in getting Komarov to backup LK. But the question was whether his LK-backup had a similar problem?
Komarov inspected his LK, took photos of the depressurized avionic container and took the Sample container to Lunokhod 2.
and climbed on top of Rover, which was driven as fast as they could toward the LK-Backup.
Komarov radioed home with the backup LK and without hesitation initiated the ascent order and took off a mere 4 hours after initially arriving on the Moon.
Now it was the turn of LOK Pilot Pavel Popovich, because the LK had a passive rolle in Rendezvous and docking,
it was the task of Popovich to manage to catch up the LK and dockt with it,
Komarov made his final EVA with his samples and Photos back to the LOK.
On 5 July at 10:59 the LOK jettison it’s Utility module with it dockt LK and return to Earth.
at 8 July around 10:00 the Descent Module entered the Earth's atmosphere for a skip maneuver and re-entered for landing on USSR.

Aftermath:
Vladimir Milhaylovich Komarov was awarded a second time with "The Hero of The Soviet Union“ and "order of Lenin“.

The flight control crew of Lunokhod 2 was awarded with "The Hero of The Soviet Union“ and "order of Lenin“ for rescue of Komarov.

The LK malfunction was do to a faulty seal on the pressurized avionic container, which caused the depressuring, reason was a faulty acceptance test at the point of manufacture.

Acting General Sectary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Alexei Kosygin announced the official Soviet program of manned Exploration of Solar system called: Galaktika (Russian for Galaxy)
Comprised of further Moon expeditions and a Soviet Space Station program beginning in the 1970s.

In USA the disappointment was great, on their National holiday,
the commies landed on Moon first and made spectacularly heroic events wordy of a Hollywood Movie.
Nixon's first reaction was to fire NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine and and lucking for New Administrator
Now the responsibility lay on Nixon to react to the Soviet victory and challenge.
On 16 July Apollo 11 lifted off to the Moon.

NOTE:
This was original written in July 2015
For All Mankind was broadcast November 1, 2019
 
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Michel Van

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The Political Fallout

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmTddEBVRrM

Nixon Reaction on what happened...
He not only fired NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine, Nixon throw him to the wolves in Capitol Hill.
And look for way to counter Soviet success in the Space Race, but for that he needed the right man to run NASA,
A man he could trust and is a Republican:

Congressman George H. W. Bush endorsed Nixon in the 1968 Republican Party presidential primaries,
Nixon considered selecting Bush as his running mate in the 1968 presidential election, but he chose Spiro Agnew instead.
Now he offers Bush the post of NASA Administrator !
NASA react baffled on the News, but they got a experience politician who was determent to his job.

In mean time Apollo 11 made it moon landing, Neil Armstrong became first American on Moon follow by Edwin Aldrin,
They return save to Earth and got a ticker-tape parade in Washington D.C. but like Aldrin say much later in Interview:

To be the second, is not like to be number one...

In September 1969, Vice president Spiro Agnew presented the Space Task Group result on Study what NASA had to do next.
There called it, The Intergraded Program Plan short IPP proposed in three different program options.
They all involved the same hardware set but with a different timetable and annual development/operating cost overtime.
The Option A as being too expensive, in total over $500 Billion spent over 30 years.
it would have include six Space Station, a Moon base and Mars base in 1990s, with hundreds of Astronauts working in space.

While the Option C like c for "cheap" with $25 billion, could not fulfilling the national needs to beat the Soviets in Space.
It would after Apollo program is ended, focus on a Reusable Space Shuttle and a low orbit Space station, that launch by the Shuttle.

The Option B as being the obvious choice that balances both cost and capability: $50 Billion
Reusable Space Shuttle with Space Tug, Two Space station, with option for Nuclear Shuttle if Approved.
a Lunar Orbit station with outpost on moon and as option 2 Mars Expedition end of 1980s if Approved.
In total would work 36 to 48 men in space in 1990s

The only person who believed that Option A would be taken was Spiro Agnew.
Nixon took Option B because gave the USA the option to counter the Soviets in Space,
NASA Administrator Bush proposed that Apollo program should continue so long Soviets made Lunar landings.
and demanded to restart the Saturn V and Apollo hardware production so fast as possibly for 1973 use.
Nixon authorised that together with Apollo Orbital Workshops.

NASA was looking for Name for IPP option B and the naming rules were straightforward.
Candidate names were to be simple and easily pronounced, not refer to living persons, neither duplicate nor closely resemble other NASA or non-NASA space program names, be translatable into the languages of the International Partners,
and have neither ambiguous nor offensive meanings in the International Partner languages.
In addition, acronyms were to be avoided. So the name "Odyssey" was chosen.
 

Michel Van

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Odyssey through the US House of Representatives

The news of NASA's Odyssey program hit the US media like a bomb.
Some journalist remembering Stanley Kubrick science fiction movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" compared the program to the similarly, named film while other point out the gigantic cost of $100 billion something similar to the ending Vietnam War !
And labeled Odyssey as Megalomaniac madness, even speaking of a NASA Empire.
In the latest Gallup Poll 53% of US citizens were against the Apollo program !
While Spiro Agnew was booed when he spoke of the Odyssey program in public.
With the media hype the House of Representatives started to react.
They cut down NASA 1970 budget 17.31% lower compare to year 1969.

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Joseph Karth (Dem) member of House committee on Science, Space and Technology
Started to criticizes NASA in public "for miss-using Odyssey for getting to Mars only".
In the spring of 1971 Krath tried several times to issue a bill to block the financing of the combination program,
the votings ended in a stalemate.

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Walter Mondale (Dem) tried in July, to past a more radical bill.
He proposed to shut down NASA manned Space Flight activity and close Marshall Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center,
With the argument that USA had lose the Moon Race, and that it better to spend the money on social welfare programs.
His proposal was rejected with 32 to 28 Votes.

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Caspar Weinberger (Rep), newly responsible for the US federal budget, tried unsuccessful to cancel the Apollo and Odyssey program.
At NASA rang the alarm bells, Odyssey was in danger of getting canceled by US politicians !
Administrator Bush deal with new hostile situation.
Luckily the planned NASA budget cuts by Representatives were stop by Nixon's vetos.

NASA started to Lobby for the program, focusing on Space shuttle, Space Station and Manned lunar missions,
endeavouring not mention future manned Mars missions.
In same time the USAF look into a joint venture in the Shuttle program which would reduce NASA's portion of the costs of Odyssey.
Bush made harsh cut in NASA programs like Apollo Application Program, scaling it down to just tow Skylab
while canceling the Apollo-Soyuz program all together
At the same time the US Aerospace Industry acquired the best Lobbyists in Washington D.C.
because even the scaled down version of proposed Odyssey program would bring them even more revenue than the Apollo program!

Then came the news the Soviet would increase their manned space efforts under the Galactica program.
Finally Congress react, instead of immediately accepting Odyssey in the beginning, they pushed for more Apollo missions.
NASA could restart the Saturn V and IB production.
In the Senate the battle restart, Walter Mondale claimed that Odyssey was a waste of money.
Congress voted for Odyssey in march 1972, but with budget only for more Apollo Missions, the Space Station & Space Shuttle
with an eventual lunar base in the early 1980s (utilising the Shuttle's chemical "Space Tug" and a reusable orbit to orbit Nuclear Shuttle) In total $50 billion for next 10 years (with a peak annual budget of $5.5 billion).
For Von Braun and his colleagues this decision was a secret victory. With the nuclear shuttle, space tug, space shuttle, space station and Saturn booster, the option would be available to any future president who wished to send humans to Mars.
The only item not funded would be the Mars Excursion Module (MEM). If funding for the MEM were approved in FY 1976, the first landing would be in 1983. If the MEM were approved in 1978, the first landing would be in 1985 and so on.
This wasn't publically discussed as spending even more money on an MEM wasn't politically viable at the time.

Some Representatives even Democrats began considering Walter Mondale as "treacherous",
A simple majority shared opinion the USA had to counter the Soviet Space activity,
after nearly losing every space milestone to the Soviets from Sputnik to the Moon.
Despite warning of his colleagues and allies, Mondale issued until 1973 several bills to stop the financing of Odyssey,
They were each rejected with a narrow majority.
Because US House of Representatives had other problems:
FBI director John Edgar Hoover died, Mark Felt become his successor, Spiro Agnew resigned,
President Nixon took Gerald Ford as Vice President,
For 1971 to 1976 the financing of Odyssey was save for moment, again thanks to Nixon's Vetos.

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In 1975 the first Golden Fleece Award is awarded by William Proxmire (Dem) to NASA Odyssey program,
because "it launched billions of public dollars into Space".
 

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