The moon does not shine: Why did the USSR lose to the American Apollo

Not so much is known about the Soviet lunar program as is the Energy-Buran or Spiral program. There are good reasons for that.

Did not hold the lead

Those who watch the Formula 1 championship have probably noticed that far from the strongest team can break out into the top leaders of the Design Cup after the first few races. However, after a quarter of the season, the luck factor comes to naught, and the best financing gives all the trump cards to the favorites of the championship. About the same thing happened with the Soviet space industry in the 60s. After the first launch of the artificial Earth satellite and the first launch of man, the Soviet Union was the leader of the space race. But this did not last long. It was the implementation of the Apollo program, in which six successful astronaut landings on the moon were carried out, proved technological United States superiority in space exploration. The USSR did not want to be content with the "second number".

The funny thing is that even in 2018, many continue to doubt the achievements of NASA. The famous Russian popularizer of science, Vitaly Egorov, once wrote a wonderful article entitled “Lunar conspiracy as a test for aptitude”. It begins as follows: “Do you want to know better than a person? Ask him about the moon landing. His response will immediately determine whether to continue to communicate with him, to hire or sign a long-term contract. ” If the words of the journalist did not convince you, you can find out the opinion of the Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, one of the most ardent opponents of the lunar conspiracy.

Failed rocket

But in general, the best proof of the veracity of the landing may be that it could be carried out ... by the USSR. But this, of course, is in theory. In practice, implementing the Soviet program was not just difficult, but also extremely dangerous for people who were supposed to go to conquer the cosmic depths.

A satellite landing was not possible without a heavy-duty launch vehicle. For the United States, Saturn 5, specially designed for the Moon flights, was developed by the famous Werner von Braun. It is still the most load-bearing, most powerful, heaviest and largest missile created by mankind. The Soviet Union developed N-1 for such purposes: first it was created by Korolev, and after his death - Vasily Mishin. It is interesting that initially they generally wanted to use the rocket for flights to Mars and Venus.

The giant launch vehicle, 105 meters long, was made according to the sequential arrangement and operation of the steps. There were five steps in all, and all of them used oxygen-kerosene engines. N-1 is a real work of art, but it is still far from Saturn 5. According to its capabilities, it corresponded or was somewhat inferior to the "American". Recall that “Saturn-5” completed thirteen starts in its short life: all were successful. In turn, absolutely all N-1 launches ended in failure. Disasters happened even at the stage of the first stages. After the fourth failure, N-1 was completely abandoned.

What is the reason for such a terrible result? The main one was that the USSR did not have the technological and financial capabilities that the States had. Due to lack of funds, ground stands for dynamic and fire tests of the carrier or the first stage assembly were simply not built. If the booster belongs to a lower class, this approach can still be forgiven. But when developing an extra-heavy launch vehicle, and even so innovative, the failure was quite predictable. Apparently frightened by the prospect of losing leadership in the space sector, the Soviet leadership did not understand this. Or didn’t want to understand. In any case, it paid an expensive price: billions of Soviet rubles were spent almost in vain.

Cramped, dangerous, no need

Suppose the USSR nevertheless received a "super-heavy" with the necessary characteristics in the early 70's. The main question can be formulated simply: why is it needed? The lunar program itself would by then not be so significant: the United States was ahead of the USSR. However, there was another problem, and for the Soviet cosmonauts themselves, it would be far more important than socialist prestige. We are talking about a lunar spacecraft, which was part of the H1-L3 complex.

Everyone probably remembers the Apollo landing module well. A large apparatus, seven meters long and weighing fifteen tons, where a lunar car could fit. In contrast, the Soviet lunar landing module seemed tiny. It had a mass of only five tons and was not very spacious, to say the least. The main thing was that there was no one to insure a single astronaut in the event of an emergency. The system looked like this: after the launch of the rocket and the transfer of the L3 ship to the lunar orbit, the complex was supposed to separate. An orbital ship with one crew member would remain in lunar orbit, and the lander with the "lonely" astronaut would have to go to the surface of the satellite.

The most interesting thing was that the design of the ship did not imply a manhole, and a man landing on the moon had to go from an orbiting ship to a landing model through open space. Given that all this would happen hundreds of thousands of kilometers from Earth, the mission looked not only difficult, but also dangerous. Unfortunately, the history of the Soviet space industry knows a very large number of failures, even without considering the accidents of the N-1 rocket. So the daredevil astronauts who could be sent to the moon could only hope for the best.

If judged strategically, the refusal of the Soviet leadership to land a man on the moon was perhaps the most correct decision in this whole story. It was possible to save billions of rubles not yet spent, and the Soviet cosmonauts did not have to risk their lives. We are no longer saying that accidents and emergency situations during a long expedition would have dealt a powerful blow to the international prestige of the USSR. Speaking even more frankly, the landing on the moon was far from the most urgent for the USSR, faced with prolonged stagnation. For the money that the Soviet Union spent on space, several deep structural economic reform, giving a good example to China, which in the 90s was also forced to go the capitalist path.

By the way, in the Soviet Union they found a way to declare themselves again, focusing on the development of multi-module stations. Built in the second half of the 80s, Mir was the first multi-module inhabited orbital station in history. At the same time, it also became the swan song of the Soviet space industry and the entire system in general, which has survived in recent years. And multi-module orbital stations (both Mir and the ISS) turned out to be too expensive and, according to many scientists, not the most significant from the point of view of real breakthrough scientific experiments.
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  2. Locksmith Offline Locksmith
    Locksmith (Sergei) 7 November 2018 13: 36
    "The lunar conspiracy as a test of aptitude." It begins as follows: “Do you want to know better than a person? Ask him about the moon landing. His response will immediately determine whether to continue to communicate with him, to hire or sign a long-term contract. ”

    A rare delirium. It is enough for any competent engineer to study the design of Apollo in order to understand the hopelessness and impracticability of this "mission" wassat
  3. Valentine Offline Valentine
    Valentine (Valentin) 7 November 2018 15: 12
    And who needs to promote the American fake about their landing on the moon? They filmed this "lunar landing" in the so-called. "Angare-18", about which the director of this "flight" Stephen Kubrick himself told three days before his death, and that there was no "lunar landing" ... After the USSR launched the first artificial earth satellite, and then the first cosmonauts, the American the top could not agree with the supremacy of the USSR in space, so NASA declared that if they didn’t come up with something, then they would be dispersed to hell, that's when the Yankees came up with the idea of ​​this scam with the "Lunar Epic", but the USSR learned about this, and even "rattled" one of the "landing" modules, which was dropped from an American plane, but a violent storm arose, and it was carried into the ocean, where our trawler lifted it aboard and delivered it to our country. countries signed an unspoken agreement, according to which our country had to be silent, but assent to the fact that the Americans landed on the moon. A compromise was found, instead of silence, the USSR got the opportunity to sell its oil and gas abroad without restrictions, received a lot of foreign investment in construction there was a car plant in Togliatti and other enterprises, and most importantly, then the so-called "relaxation of tension" between our countries began in 1969 ..... And there were many obstacles to "landing" on the moon, and the Van Allen radiation belt , and the backward technologies of those times, and who can believe them that they, without "fitting", "sat" on the moon, and "took off", and so on six times, and all successfully, without a hitch, as if at home in the yard, not 500 thousand kilometers of outer space .... And they buy engines for their rockets from us, and what then did they fly to the moon 50 years ago? Here it is.
    1. Valentine Offline Valentine
      Valentine (Valentin) 7 November 2018 15: 14
      I apologize, the mistake came out, not Stephen Kubrick, but Stanley Kubrick.
      1. Kristallovich Online Kristallovich
        Kristallovich (Ruslan) 7 November 2018 16: 11
        Search the internet for Leonov’s interview where he says the Soviets watched the Americans land on the moon
        1. Valentine Offline Valentine
          Valentine (Valentin) 7 November 2018 16: 43
          I both read it and listened to it about this "landing", but Leonov himself was associated with some NASA corporations on a commercial basis, and even at that time our leaders and interested persons knew how to remain silent, not like now, when everything is bought.
        2. Galar Offline Galar
          Galar (Timur) 7 November 2018 20: 27
          liar Leonov, all this is disgusting, here’s a movie about him made, what kind of a hero he is, the system does not forget to support myths - ignorance is a blessing to mankind.
    2. Arkharov Offline Arkharov
      Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 7 November 2018 19: 45
      Perhaps envious and not very distant people are so nicer? How many times have this question been closed, and the Chinese landed on the surface of the landing modules photographed, no to any eccentric conspiracy theorists ...
      1. Galar Offline Galar
        Galar (Timur) 8 November 2018 00: 15
        don't lie ...
      2. Locksmith Offline Locksmith
        Locksmith (Sergei) 8 November 2018 19: 33
        Quote: Arkharov
        Perhaps envious and not very distant people are so nicer?

        You are probably very smart, please explain to the dim-witted engineers - AS the Americans managed to dock in the orbit of the moon, having nothing they use now laughing
      3. Valery Zolotukhin (Valery Zolotukhin) 8 November 2018 21: 31
        Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) there are people who do not know something, but there are people like you who do not want to know. Well, rummage on the Internet, it is already there. And why can't you fly to the moon even today !!! And why Saturn 5 could not, by definition, put into space the cargo that it declared. And why does not the USA have those miraculous F-1 engines, except perhaps only in the form of dummies. And why, to the USSR's request for radiation-resistant spacesuits for work in the Chernobyl zone, America, after a long silence, answered succinctly, "The United States does not have such spacesuits" (and in what did they fly to the moon? :))
        And the most important question is why the USSR "recognized" the American landing on the moon. There is very interesting material on this topic. It was for us that the USSR fought against capitalism. And in real life, dear Leonid Ilyich trite sold his confession. Let me remind you that KAMAZ was built and equipped by 700 Western and European firms. Semiconductor technologies, in which the USSR lagged behind for decades, "suddenly" appear throughout the Union, including the defense industry. And let me remind you that at the same time in Vietnamese American planes are falling from our missiles. Let us compare with today, when their planes do not fall, and we, not like a KAMAZ-type plant, will soon be imposed full sanctions. The USSR Chemical Industry was fully built at the same time and equipped with western equipment. And 25% of the grain harvest sold by the USSR at prices BELOW market prices? ... And so on ... That's the whole secret of the "great American lunar achievements".
    3. Arkharov Offline Arkharov
      Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 9 November 2018 01: 05
      There is such a word "profit" - that's why they are still buying engines from us. Sorry, but that's about it.
  4. Galar Offline Galar
    Galar (Timur) 7 November 2018 20: 21
    H1 was a good rocket, this rocket had a prospect, Kuznetsov constantly upgraded the NK33, until now nothing could be created. The path of the American cosmonautics is hydrogen engines and solid propellant rocket engines.
    But the reason that H1 did not fly is a betrayal of the top of the Communist Party, who agreed with America not to create their own, to confirm American Munov’s successes and not to engage in H1, but with shuttles and snowstorms, but to deceive the people. This program is still valid, for example there isn’t even a simple photograph of the STARRY SKY from the ISS or from any other ship, because they lied to us and they lie further.
    And our missiles are falling more and more under Putin, then it will be even worse.
    1. Valery Zolotukhin (Valery Zolotukhin) 8 November 2018 21: 45
      The failures of the H1 were due only to a banal haste and a desire to overtake the United States. We would have given engineers and designers a normal job, they would not be driven in the neck, we would have landed on the moon, even if it is two years later than we would like. By the way, let me remind you that even the usual, non-lunar US program up to the Shuttles, raises a lot of questions. There is killer material on the internet. Who cares - type in any search engine "Fake cheerful astronauts of Hollywood" There you can not only read but also see.
      1. Valery Zolotukhin (Valery Zolotukhin) 8 November 2018 21: 56
        So the author is not right. The USSR did not lose the moon race, but sold it. And these are different things. Previously, I would be indignant, they say, how is it possible ... to sell leadership in space and so on and so forth. And today I am already thinking, and maybe “dear Leonid Ilyich” did it right? Sooner or later we will fly to the moon, sooner or later the scam with the US lunar program will be revealed, and we have KAMAZ working, the chemical industry working, bringing currency to the country's treasury. The money that could have been spent on the continuation of the development of H1, a lot of money, remained in the pocket, in a country that was not yet fully rebuilt after the war. Maybe this is for the best?
        1. Galar Offline Galar
          Galar (Timur) 8 November 2018 23: 03
          "dear Leonid Ilyich" arranged a conspiracy with the enemy and the Americans won the Cold War for this very reason, ours abandoned their computers, I mean a blizzard (dead-end road) of our missiles, but also agreed with the United States. Brezhnev thought he had sold space for a high price, but pin_dosnya deceived him here too. People say that once he sold his honor, he remained without honor for the rest of his life.
          1. The comment was deleted.
          2. Valery Zolotukhin (Valery Zolotukhin) 9 November 2018 21: 06
            Galar (Timur) I wouldn't be so categorical about "honor". In what way did you "deceive" him? KAMAZ is working properly and supplies products to thirty countries of the world, if not more. The chemical industry is also a world leader. So it's not worth talking about deception. But about honor, it is not clear who gave up the honor more, Leonid Ilyich, who received such a jackpot, or the same s, whose deception is left to live a couple of decades. For now, people will actually walk on the moon and completely expose this whole scam.
    2. Arkharov Offline Arkharov
      Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 9 November 2018 01: 03
      There is not even a simple photograph of the STARRY SKY from the ISS or from any other ship ...

      - Do you believe in reptilians and the planet Nibiru?
      1. Valery Zolotukhin (Valery Zolotukhin) 9 November 2018 23: 29
        Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) I don't believe in reptilians. But I also don’t believe that the greatest people on Earth, who set foot on another celestial body, could “go into the shadows” so quickly.
        Amstrong is the first man on the moon. After the flight ... left NASA, started teaching and selling computers :)))) And this is the most enterprising nation on Earth, able to pump money even from the air? Yes, he could have taken a million thousand bucks for each photo with him, and a million for a handshake! And that would be a real American dream!
        But can other fates be steeper? Aldrin - also left NASA, suffered from depression, had problems with alcohol .....!? Earned a living by selling cars and lectures. Isn’t it absurdity?
        The third, Collins, you guessed it, just left NASA, was the head of his own company.
        All three received the Congressional Gold Medal already on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the flight :))))
        Moreover, even the author and mastermind of the whole cosmos. NASA program - von Braun was a couple of years later seems to be fired from NASA. Probably for very cool achievements :)))
        Aren't you funny?
        1. Arkharov Offline Arkharov
          Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 10 November 2018 13: 51
          Arguments are sucked out of the finger. Cheap and not convincing ....
          1. Valery Zolotukhin (Valery Zolotukhin) 10 November 2018 23: 40
            Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) are not "arguments". These are facts that you simply do not know, but are trying to argue about something. Learn materiel :))))
  5. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 12 November 2018 12: 24
    Everything, all traitors?

    Russian astronauts, engineers, President Putin himself say - the landing was .....

    But after the exam all know everything better than the astronauts ...
    1. Valery Zolotukhin (Valery Zolotukhin) 12 November 2018 22: 52
      Sergey Latyshev (Sergey Latyshev) Yes, no, you confuse knowledge and lies. The astronauts just know better than others, but some are corny, some are afraid to go against, as they say, the mainstream.
      As for the authorities who "say" something, I will remind you of some statements:
      - 1. Stones cannot fall from the sky, they have nowhere to come from! (Paris Academy of Meteorite Sciences, 1772)
      - 2. I think that in the world market we will find demand for five computers. (Thomas Watson - Director of IBM, 1943
      -3. A device such as a telephone has too many drawbacks to consider it as a means of communication. Therefore, I believe that this invention has no value. (from discussions at Western Union in 1876)
      -4. Aircraft heavier than air are impossible! (Lord Kelvin - physicist, president of the Royal Scientific Society - in 1895)
      And so on and so forth. It is necessary to listen not to what they "say", but to study the arguments and draw conclusions with your own head.
      1. Arkharov Offline Arkharov
        Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 14 November 2018 10: 12
        All 4 listed stories, just perfectly characterize your "arguments", just the same level and approach.
      2. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
        Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 20 November 2018 00: 56
        Do you consider the cosmonauts of the USSR liars? None seemed to doubt ...