Why didn't the USSR cosmonauts fly to the moon?

USSR superiority over the USA in the space fieldbefore the historical landing of a man on the moon was undeniable. The USSR was the first to launch an artificial satellite into near-earth orbit, sent a man into space, sent a spacecraft to fly around the moon, for the first time taking pictures of the back of the satellite. The Soviet apparatus, the Luna-9, also made a soft landing on the Earth’s satellite first. In the end, it was the Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov who was the first in the world to go into outer space from a spacecraft. It would seem that the Soviet people were supposed to be the first to land on the moon. But that did not happen. Why did the USSR lose the moon race?

Speaking as briefly as possible, the reasonwas that the USSR did not have time to build a super-heavy rocket capable of delivering a spaceship to the Earth’s orbit for a flight into the Moon’s orbit, or a landing module capable of taking off from the Moon later.

How was the preparation for the Soviet lunar program?

Back in 1962, the leader of the country, Nikita Khrushchevsigned a decree on the creation of a spacecraft for flying around the moon and using a Proton launch vehicle with an upper stage for this launch. In 1964, Khrushchev signed a program that the USSR should fly around in 1967, and in 1968, land on the Moon and return to Earth. One year earlier than the Americans did.
To form the Soviet lunar crews began in1966 It was assumed that the crew to be used for disembarking on a satellite should consist of two people. One was to descend to the surface of the moon, the second to remain in orbit in the lunar module.

The lunar Soviet program was divided into two phases. In the course of the first, it was supposed to fly around the Earth satellite using the Proton rocket L-1 module launched into space.

Scheme of the ship L-1

During the second stage, landing andreturn back. For this, they were going to use a giant (height of 105 meters) and the most powerful five-stage carrier rocket H-1 in the USSR, equipped with thirty engines with a total burden of 4.6 thousand tons and the weight of the rocket itself more than 2700 tons. As the lunar module was planned to use the apparatus L3.

What are the reasons for the failure of the Soviet lunar program?

The main reasons for the failure of the Soviet projectThe lunar program, which cost 4 billion rubles at the price of 1974, is called: high competition between various Soviet design bureaus, personal dislike between some of its leaders, spraying funds between the Korolev and Chelomey Design Bureau at the initial stages of building lunar ships and refusing to use rocket engine for the launch vehicle H-1, developed by the most experienced manufacturer in this field KB Glushko.

About this in the last interview told the cosmonaut and twice hero of the USSR Alexei Leonov:

"Korolev and Glushko - could not and did not want to worktogether. Their relations had their own personal problems: Sergey Korolev, for example, knew that Valentine Glushko once wrote a denunciation of him, as a result of which he was sentenced to ten years. When Korolev was released, he found out about this, but Glushko did not know that he knew about it, ”shared Leonov.

Soviet rocket H-1

H-1 Booster Circuit

Concerning the conflict between Korolyov and Chelomey, Leonov said:

“Very complex relationships and competition betweenKorolev and Chelomey did not benefit the common cause. They were pushed all the time, opposed to each other. Disagreement ended with the defeat of the moon program itself. ”

It was Korolev who eventually won the designthe fight and it was his design bureau OKB-1 that was commissioned to develop an N-1 lunar carrier rocket, with the help of which it was planned to deliver the Soviet man to the surface of the satellite.

However, the project of this rocket turned out to be fulla failure. During the training, all four unmanned H-1 rocket launches (from 1969 to 1972) ended in failure. Each rocket exploded after takeoff and climb. Two unsuccessful launches were made before the Americans landed on the moon, two after that.

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One of the accidents of the Soviet carrier rocket H-1

The problem was in the first step. The USSR, in contrast to the USA, did not have test benches for checking the entire stage entirely, so it turned out to be impossible to establish what exactly the level failures were caused.

America prepared better and had more money

Americans from 1960 to 1973 spent 28billion dollars for the Apollo program. This money went to the creation of the Saturn-5 rocket, spacecraft, as well as the construction of the necessary infrastructure for testing. Taking into account inflation today, this amount would have already reached $ 288.1 billion. Good preparation has allowed the United States to successfully complete all 13 Apollo launches - six of them ended with the landing of astronauts on the moon.

Comparison of the size of the American Saturn-5 rocket and the Soviet H-1 carrier rocket. Between the rockets is a human figure.

Party leadership of the USSR has allocated to the lunarthe program is significantly less money. And as development progressed, it constantly reduced funding, demanding cost savings from designers and production workers.

See also: The most popular myths about the first landing of a man on the moon

A very strong blow to the project of the Soviet lunarthe program has caused fatal confluence of circumstances. On January 14, 1966, Sergei Korolev dies during an ordinary medical operation. In 1967, Vladimir Komarov, the most likely candidate for difficult lunar flights, dies when the Soyuz-1 spacecraft fails to land. In 1968, Yuri Gagarin died in a plane crash - the second candidate for a lunar expedition.

Appointed General Designer in 1974of the Soviet space program instead of V. P. Mishin, V. P. Glushko makes a decision (with the consent of the higher management) to terminate work on the carrier H-1 and manned lunar programs. He was a principal opponent of flights to the moon and spoke in favor of creating orbital near-earth stations for defense purposes.

See also: The computer that put Americans on the moon was 25 million times weaker than the iPhone

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