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Why did the US beat the USSR to the moon?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 May 2006, 07:44
Ideology: Left Communism
Resident Soviet
Post 05 Mar 2007, 13:33
Oh, the USSR had a powerful space programs.

It also ran the most extensive study of Venus with probes in the world, the "Venera" program.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Nov 2006, 17:20
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Post 05 Mar 2007, 21:24
I hold the opinion that the only reason the States made it to the moon in the first place was because there was competition with our brothers to the East. It's actually quite amazing, two incredibly inefficient organizations became efficient for a short amount of time in a very small field because of why? All together now, competition!
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"The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Mar 2007, 00:36
Pioneer
Post 06 Mar 2007, 01:42
US had better metalurgy which made them able to construct a few big rockets instead of a bunch of tiny ones tied together.
I offer no quarter and exspect none in return.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Dec 2005, 23:28
Komsomol
Post 20 Apr 2007, 11:30
Quote:
For bratty, arrogant competitors like the US, if it doesn't win, it changes the rules of the game so that it does. Under objective rules of winning the space race, the USSR obviously won for all the points mentioned, although the USSR stopped seeing it as a game after its first successful launches. However, seeing the lag, the US changed the rules of the "space race" to be the race of the first man on the moon, so the US won.

Many Americans today are convinced that the space race was like the story "Tortoise and the Hare, the moon landing was the only objective of both space programs, and that the US won by being slow and steady.

Heh, I see. But then the such new "rules" can only be accepted in USA, and anyone who wishes to support them... While anyone objective will see who won the "race"... True, landing people on the moon is an achievement, but about the ONLY achievemnt of americans. While USSR has so much more - what I have listed, and let's not forget MIR, as Arif Moin has mentioned.

Quote:
US had better metalurgy which made them able to construct a few big rockets instead of a bunch of tiny ones tied together.

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jul 2006, 10:21
Party Member
Post 08 May 2007, 00:00
And as far as space programmes of today is concerned, the ISS borrowed heavily from the MIR. The MIR was the first & only space station till the ISS. Most space agencies of today- NASA included- have somehow come to conclusion that space stations are more priority than lunar landings. Or yould've seen few others by now.

A Space Station offers a lot more to a space prog, as far as research requirements of today- are concerned. It was pioneered by the MIR- which was a benchmarks of the ISS. And further- the Soyuz module is still the mainstay of the ISS. From blueprints to design to implementation to becnchmark settings- the ISS borrowed from MIR heavily.

And today, the ISS is the mainstay space programme of today. Most certainly the industrialized ones, USA included...

The Soviets just foresaw this direction earlier. The landing on the moon was a treamendous achievement no doubt- salutes to Neil Armstrong & Co., but as far as a space programme goes- it did nothing more than plant a tiny US flag on a lifeless rock and bring some samplebags full of "sand" and "rock" from a lifeless crater


Other than samples, no further manned research could be done in the moon. Which is why the US & the EU are concentrating on the ISS today. The International Community owes it big to the USSR's space programme here...

And to date, there hasn't been a comprehensive & detailed plenatary study as the Soviet probe of Venus to date. The USSR knew that having lunar missions with propulsion technology was costly & didn't bother with them to puritanical proportions just to prove a point in the world media...they had designs & blue-prints, though.

And speaking of lunar missions, if u want to collect samples so bad, send a bloody probe
Makes more sense from a scientific & economic standpoint, if you ask me. If the probes bring back something "strange" - send people, that would at least make sense. A probe can tell you whatever that US landing told you for 1/10th the cost too
.

The current direction is clearly ISS, which is considered a core space programme today. I see the ISS take up more prominence in all space progs (USA included) more so than a manned lunar base (the logical next step to a manned lunar mission). Much of its inception is owed to the Mir. That's Soviet reasearch for you...it was public sector funded, so creating spectacles on the media wasn't a concern for proving points. But it was bloody efficient- both in terms of direction & output.

As far as the EU & the US goes, the main saying about the space programme is that for long, space travel, self sustenance of the system under 0g must be a possibility for a long period of time. Which is what is being derived from the ISS today- amongst countless other things. Good thinking except the Soviet space programme thought about that a good couple of decades back.


To realistically plan someting to make sense of a manned mission- like say a lunar base- or detailed study of something a probe bought back for extended periods of time- with propulsion tech- it ain't happening. The Soviets didn't have anything more advanced than propulsion, agreed. Neither did or neither does the US or anyone else today, for that matter. So no use w/ "moon base" for now. There's also no technology for self sustaining units in outer space / extra terrestrial environments like the moon or mars- which is what space stations like MIR / ISS were/ are there for.

There is no use talking about running something long run several millions of miles away, when you haven't tried it out on an oribiting space station that is more easily accessible from Earth, first. This is fact. Also, if a it's well known that the manned mission will bring you exctly the same conclusions a probe will- except at a redundantly mammoth cost- just to make a media stunt- it's a waste of public taxpayer resources.

The Soviets sent lunar probes but based on the data & samples, didn't deem it necessary to send a manned mission there at once. The Mir was a more logical step in that direction. A lunar landing that didn't do shit for the scientific community...that's what happens when politics & publicity stunts interferes w/ a space programme's functioning. None of this garbage w/ the USSR's space prog till that damned perestroika.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Aug 2004, 15:25
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 16 Jul 2007, 23:58
Quote:
The MIR was the first & only space station till the ISS.


Not true. Mir was preceeded first by the Soviet Salyut stations and the American Skylab. Mir is in most respects a greatly improved version of Salyut. Skylab was a different approach, more advanced in some ways and with much greater internal volume. But it had some malfunctions due to over-engineering and like Mir, burned up in the atmosphere.

As for the ISS, it's a waste of resources. Very little research is done there that couldn't be done for a fraction of the cost on a different platform, it doesn't help us go anywhere, it's just an overpriced white elephant circling the earth and bleeding money. As far as science, exploration and development of space goes the ISS is a giant leap backwards.

Quote:
And to date, there hasn't been a comprehensive & detailed plenatary study as the Soviet probe of Venus to date.


Magellan. A US mission that among things mapped the entire surface of the planet for the first time.

Quote:
As far as the EU & the US goes, the main saying about the space programme is that for long, space travel, self sustenance of the system under 0g must be a possibility for a long period of time. Which is what is being derived from the ISS today- amongst countless other things.


Again, not quite accurate. We're not learning anything regarding 0g living from the ISS that we didn't already know, primarily from Soviet stays in their own stations. The "we have to see how people respond in 0g before we go anywhere" line is a bugaboo that haunts all the spacefaring nations but doesn't hold up to objective examination.

Quote:
There is no use talking about running something long run several millions of miles away, when you haven't tried it out on an oribiting space station that is more easily accessible from Earth, first. This is fact.


For the Moon this is partially valid. With regards to Mars it breaks down completely. The environment is completely different, nothing meant for Mars surface use can be effectively tested on a space station. It's a dead end.

Quote:
The Soviets sent lunar probes but based on the data & samples, didn't deem it necessary to send a manned mission there at once.


The Soviets had a lunar program, this is a matter of historical record. It was plagued by technical and expense hurdles and was finally abandoned. Not because it wasn't "worthwhile" but because in this one example they knew they were beaten.


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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Jan 2005, 07:15
Unperson
Post 17 Jul 2007, 01:01
Quote:
But it had some malfunctions due to over-engineering and like Mir, burned up in the atmosphere.


The rest of MIR which was left up there was delibaretly shoved down to atmosphere level so it would burn down and hit the ocean. The "left-overs" were duely retrieved.

Skylab on the other hand, was way close to the atmosphere which forced it to continuouesly "fire up" the rockets so it wouldn't get sucked in. This couldn't continue forever and it inevitably got sucked in and burned.

The Salyut stations came first, then Skylab was launched and finally MIR came out and completely revolutionized the entire "concept" of space stations. No MIR = no ISS. Why? Simply because at the time the US were more focused on building a moon-base for military purposes. The USSR had similar plans but decided not to as it didn't make any sense to colonize the moon. Plans were drawn and when the financial parts were count, NASA realized that it would cost billions to finish off the project and decided to halt it as it received no further government funding.
banistansig2
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jul 2006, 10:21
Party Member
Post 17 Jul 2007, 05:23
Quote:
For the Moon this is partially valid. With regards to Mars it breaks down completely. The environment is completely different, nothing meant for Mars surface use can be effectively tested on a space station. It's a dead end.


Before getting to Mars, you want to make sure your crew & equipment make it there in one piece. I'd rather test my equipment and my crew in a space station (ex: O2 generators- their servicability, comm equipment, crew stress factors etc., etc), close to the Earth, where I can solve any difficulty that arises relatively easily. Before hauling expensive equipment & talented personnel into Mars only to hear a "Houston, we have a problem" report half way down the journey...

I'd suspect there'd be more wear and tear in the space craft & it's critical equipment during the journey to Mars, rather than during the descend itself.

You're right, the ISS & Mars & moon have completely contrasting atmospheres, but during the journey to either of those destinations- the "atmospheric conditions" are the same as ISS- 0g. You want to make sure critical components like life support, o2 generators, and whatevers can hold till you actually make it to Mars.

Quote:
The Soviets had a lunar program, this is a matter of historical record. It was plagued by technical and expense hurdles and was finally abandoned. Not because it wasn't "worthwhile" but because in this one example they knew they were beaten.


The Soviets had a lunar landing program but they weren't in a hurry to send a man to a lifeless rock. The Soviet lunar programme was a prequel to a permanent moon base. The Soviets studied the feasibility of this through their various lunar launches and it was concluded that the level of global technology at the time made such a proposition simply too inefficient financially, and thus it was scrapped.

Western sources arrived at the same conclusion today (which is why you don't see any SERIOUS attempt for a moon base today- except as some sort of a visionary statement from NASA), except that the Soviets concluded that a decade earlier. It was assessed that it simply wasn't worth the expense of initiating & maintaining such a grandiose experiment considering global technology levels of the time (80s)- and do I dare venture to say...today as well.

The Soviets were hardly "beaten"- it's just that American sources tend to illogically believe that sending a man to a lifeless rock (and concluded the same as a probe) was the hallmark of space technology. They just didn't idiotically spend their money for making publicity stunts ("Yeah, we landed a man on the moon so we're better than those Godless commies!").

And don't forget- speaking of "Space programmes"- the Sputnik was the pioneer of the whole concept of space research.

Quote:
Magellan. A US mission that among things mapped the entire surface of the planet for the first time.


There was no Soviet counterpart to compare the Megellan to by the time it was launched. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Megellan borrowed heavily from the Verena module(s), just as the ISS did from Mir.

If the US was 3000x more technologically advanced as some peoples believe, than the USSR- why the heck couldn't they match the Verena probe's detailed study then? Because they were too busy sending a dude to the moon only to have him report "Uh dude...there's nothing here."

And the fact that the US already had Venus missions and till the collapse of the USSR, the former was always thoroughly beaten by the latter, in terms of planetary probing- ESPECIALLY VENUS.

Going by the time-line of the Megellan launch, I wouldn't be surprised if it borrowed heavily from the Verena & just refined the imaging equipment.

Quote:
The "we have to see how people respond in 0g before we go anywhere" line is a bugaboo that haunts all the spacefaring nations but doesn't hold up to objective examination.


'Course it does, because going on a journey like Mars will put spacecraft crew in similar living conditions as the space station. Which is why people are made to stay in space stations for prolonged periods.

And on a more technical side of things, the critical components such as the life support modules in space stations & in long explorations such as Mars are bound to be similar. You'd just "port" the ISS concepts into a long range space craft (to Mars or something), but still- you need space stations to assess how well your equipment & crew are holding up to relatively lengthy periods. Especially if you want to reach Mars using propulsion technology.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Jan 2005, 07:15
Unperson
Post 17 Jul 2007, 12:36
I still don't understand how someone can claim the US beat the USSR in the space program.

The USSR sent the first living organism into the space, followed by a human who was sent in orbit. Safety-wise, the USSR had less explosions on takeoff whereas the Apollo program was horribly ineffective.

If I lived in the 60's, I'd rather be a cosmonaut than an astronaut since flying with NASA at the time more or less implied that I was playing a game of russian roulette. If I'm lucky, the rocket explodes before takeoff
banistansig2
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jul 2006, 10:21
Party Member
Post 17 Jul 2007, 18:08
Quote:
If I lived in the 60's, I'd rather be a cosmonaut than an astronaut


Yeah, as an astronaut, I'm sure you'd just LOVE to hear- especially after the "countdown started" message- that your space shuttle's production contract was awarded to the lowest bidder. Should make you feel REAL comfy, huh?

At least as a Cosmonaut, I have the comfort of knowing that my equipment was made by the public sector, which is free from the concepts of cost reduction & profit maximization.

Quote:
I still don't understand how someone can claim the US beat the USSR in the space program.


I still don't understand how someone can claim that the majority people in poorer, developing countries are "satisfied" with corporate capitalism and the dissolution of public services.

Some people geniunely believe just that
I guess it wasn't a lie when a VC I dealt w/ in the US said that marketing & is more powerful of a coercion tool than any holy book written to date and the total number of and gulags ever conceived...combined.

The Soviets did announce their space programme but they never packaged it like a Hyundai / Philip Morris media advertisement campaign.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Oct 2007, 15:55
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
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Post 14 Oct 2007, 13:40
Quote:
Why was the victor of the space race America? The USSR was going ahead strong with Spuitnik and the first man into space. Plus the first woman into space. Why didn't they keep up the race?

I read an interview where they were interviewing Khruschev's son and he said his father didn't feel it was that important to him since they beat the U.S. by coming into space first. Khruschev was concentrating on other things.
I'll try to find the link to the interview...
We have beaten you to the moon, but you have beaten us in sausage making.- Nikita Khrushchev
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 25 Sep 2009, 21:46
Pioneer
Post 29 Sep 2009, 03:03
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O Hai America, I fixed the moon landing.
"A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Sep 2009, 00:56
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 03 Dec 2009, 22:40
I wonder if people in the West would take Communism more seriously if the USSR got to the moon first? A frivolous point, for sure, but people in the West generally make a good habit of being frivolous.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Nov 2009, 07:13
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 19 Jan 2010, 21:01
i doubt it. They would probably disown the moon and work towards landing on Mars...or the sun.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 31 Jul 2010, 16:18
Sorry for being both off topic and necroposting at the same time, but...

Fin Fang Foom wrote:
I hold the opinion that the only reason the States made it to the moon in the first place was because there was competition with our brothers to the East. It's actually quite amazing, two incredibly inefficient organizations became efficient for a short amount of time in a very small field because of why? All together now, competition!


shit, I have no idea how to respond to this. The man seems to be obviously right.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 22 Feb 2010, 15:15
Komsomol
Post 31 Jul 2010, 16:36
There's little 'efficiency' in spending a truckload of money to build a not-so-safe mega-rocket to send people to the moon. Competition brought a lot of money to the space agencies, but the NASA or Roscosmos are hardly less 'efficient' nowadays.
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"the social democrats don't give a frag about changing this capitalist system [...] so they can lick my greasy peanut buttered balls like the dog they are." - Greenanarchism
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Sep 2009, 07:33
Ideology: Left Communism
Forum Commissar
Post 31 Jul 2010, 22:27
We could bring up the point that the Soviet space programme was conducted by multiple design groups with multiple leaders competing amongst each other to implement the best ideas; and the American was conducted by a single coordinating group with a single leader, letting them focus all resources in one place for its goals. One of the ironies of the Cold War: the American centralized space effort beat out the less-centralized Soviet one. This vaunted competition didn't help the Soviets beat the Americans to the moon.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Sep 2009, 00:56
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 15 Aug 2010, 14:58
Mabool wrote:
shit, I have no idea how to respond to this. The man seems to be obviously right.


It might be worth pointing out, if I recall correctly that the space race wasn't necessarily born out of competition, rather it was perpetuated by it, and in addition, neither was the space race a particularly productive avenue of spending, especially in the Soviet case.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 03 Mar 2014, 18:03
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 19 Mar 2014, 21:11
We just happened to be too slow, but, slow and steady is supposed to win the race, right?
Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 May 2014, 02:13
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 19 May 2014, 03:17
Image

The Soviet Union almost beat Apollo 8 to being the first Manned mission around the Moon. The Soyuz 7K-L1 was a vehicle developed to send a crew of two cosmonauts to perform one orbit/loop around the Moon and return without landing. This allowed the vehicle to be smaller, cheaper and safer. Unfortunately the launch vehicle (the "Proton") was unreliable which delayed the test flights. By the time the USSR was ready (1969) Apollo 8 had already beaten them to sending people around the Moon. The Soviets in turn, decided to focus on actually landing on the Moon (which had more practical, long term benifits even though it was harder). The Soviet Union theoretically could have launched a manned mission in 1967 or 1968 but they were too concerned with cosmonaut safety (having just come out of the fatal Soyuz 1 mission). It's amazing how close they were to beating the Americans in this respect, especially considering the program was only started in 1965! There is no doubt in my mind that if they had started just a year earlier they would have beaten the Americans to sending humans around the Moon. Alexei Leonov and Oleg Makarov were the planned first crew.
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/soyz7kl1.htm
Image

The Soviet Union very easily could have landed on the Moon but it would be pushing plausibility to say they could have landed on the Moon prior to 1969. The Soviet Manned Lunar Program was based entirely on the N1 launch vehicle (basically their competitor to the Saturn V) unfortunately the program didn't really begin in earnest untill 1964. This late start along with other delays resulted in a vehicle that didn't fly untill January 1969. The Americans by comparison began work on the Saturn V in 1961 and launched first launched it in 1967. The N1 also had reliability issues. While four unmanned test launches occured between 1969 and 1972 all of them failed/exploded during launch. The fourth launch in November 1972 came extremely close to succeeding and likely would have made it into orbit if flight controllers didn't decide to abort seconds away from first stage engine cutout. After this launch the N1 was completely redesigned to carry more payload and be more reliable. The upgraded N1 was planned to launch in 1974 but unfortunately the program was cancelled by a change in leadership in the Soviet Space Program. You can't really blame them, although in retrospect it's easy (and remarkable) to realize how close they were to landing humans on the Moon in the early-mid 1970s. Despite this the Soyuz and LK lander were brilliantly developed and perfectly capable of landing cosmonauts on the Moon if they were given the chance to by a successful N1 launch.
Image

A comparison of the two competing lunar ships, American CSM-LM (bottom) and the planned Soyuz-LK (top).
After the N1 program was cancelled in 1974 the Soviets talked about a possible Heavy lift launch vehicle called Vulkan. Unfortunately a Soviet version of the Space Shuttle ("Buran") was approved instead because there was speculation the US Space Shuttle had a military purpose. The Energia booster could have been used to launch a Moon program but by the time it was ready in 1987 the Soviet Union was already close to it's dissolution.

The Soviets did all this while they also
Launched Mars landers/orbiters (albiet, most of them failed)
Launched Venus landers/orbiters (most of which were successful)
Launched the world's first Space Station (after just two years of development and two years before the Americans) which eventually lead to a successful series of space stations (Salyut) finally culminating in the first Modular/Permanent Space Station
Perormed the first Manned spaceflight, first orbital mission, first spacewalk, first three person spaceflight,
Accomplishing long duration records.
First Women in space
First Satellite.
First Animal in orbit.
First Unmanned Lunar Landing/Orbiter/Flyby/Impact
And the USSR did all this on a much smaller budget in a significantly smaller economy that had been a backward agricultural state just 40-50 years prior and was almost destroyed in WW2 (just 12-25 years prior). The Soviet Space Program made some fantastically amazing accomplishments (especially given it's circumstances) and was very very very close to Manned Circumlunar flights in the late 60s and lunar landings in the early-mid 1970s.

Note: This is my first Post on this Forum!
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