Why cosmonauts flew to the moon?

The superiority of the USSR over the USA in the space field in front of the historic landing a man on the moon was undeniable. The Soviet Union first launched into orbit an artificial satellite, sent into space, sent spacecraft to fly around the moon, first get the pictures of the back side of the satellite. On Earth first landed, too, the Soviet apparatus “Luna-9”. In the end it was the Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first in the world made a spacewalk from a spacecraft. It would seem that the Soviet people were to become the first to land on the moon. But this did not happen. Why did the USSR lose the moon race?

Speaking as short as possible, the reason was that the Soviet Union did not have time to build any super-heavy rocket capable of delivering to orbit the spacecraft for flight to orbit the moon or a lander capable then from the moon to fly.

How did you prepare for the Soviet lunar program?

In 1962, the country’s leader Nikita Khrushchev signed a decree on creation of a spacecraft to fly around the moon and use for that launch of the carrier rocket “proton” with upper stage block. In 1964, Khrushchev signed the program that the USSR undertook in 1967 flyby, and in 1968 — the landing on the moon and return to Earth. A year earlier than it did in the end, the Americans.
To form the Soviet lunar crews began in 1966. It was assumed that the crew, which will be used for landing on the satellite should consist of two people. One had to descend to the surface of the moon, the second to stay in orbit in the lunar module.

The Soviet lunar program was divided into two stages. In the first it was planned to conduct an overflight of the satellite using the derived space launch vehicle “proton” lunar module L-1.

In the second phase, expected landing and back. To do this, were going to use a giant (height 105 meters) and the most powerful in the USSR five-speed booster N-1, equipped with thirty engines with a total thrust of 4.6 thousand tons in the weight of the rocket more than 2,700 tons. As the lunar module was planned to use the device L3.

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

The main reasons for the failure of the Soviet moon program, which cost at the prices of 1974, 4 billion, are called: the high level of competition between the various Soviet design bureaus, personal animosity between some of its leaders, the spraying means between Korolev and Chelomei in the initial stages of creating the lunar vehicles and the rejection of the use of the rocket engine for rocket H-1, developed by the most experienced manufacturer in this field KB Glushko.

About it in recent interview, cosmonaut and twice hero of the USSR Alexei Leonov:

“Korolev and Glushko couldn’t and didn’t want to work together. Their relationship had its problems purely of a personal nature: Sergey Korolev, for example, knew that Valentin Glushko at the time he wrote the letter denouncing him, in which he was sentenced to ten years. Having been released Korolyov found out about it, but Glushko didn’t know what he knows about it,” — said Leonov.

Soviet rocket H-1

On the conflict between Korolev and Chelomei Leonov said:

“Very complex relationship and competition between Korolev and Chelomei not benefited the cause. All the time they were pushed, opposed to each other. The disagreement ended with the defeat of most of the lunar program”.

Sergei Korolev eventually won the fight in the design and that his design Bureau, OKB-1 was tasked to develop a lunar rocket N-1, which was planned to deliver a Soviet person on the moon’s surface.

The project, however, the missile turned a complete failure. During training, all four of the unmanned launch rocket H-1 (1969 and 1972) have failed. Every time a rocket blew up after takeoff and climb. Two failed launch was conducted even before the Americans landed on the moon, two after.

One of the accidents of the Soviet launch vehicle H-1

The problem was in the first stage. The USSR, unlike the USA, was test stands to check the entire stage as a whole, therefore, to establish what caused the failure stage was impossible.

America is better prepared and had more money

Americans from 1960 to 1973, spent $ 28 billion on the Apollo program. The money spent on the creation of the rocket “Saturn-5”, spacecraft, and construction of the necessary infrastructure for testing. Adjusted for inflation today this amount would already 288,1 billion. Good preparation allowed US to conduct successfully all 13 launch of “Apollo” — six of them ended with the landing of astronauts on the moon.

A comparison of the size of the American rocket “Saturn-5” and the Soviet launch vehicle H-1. Between the missiles is the figure of a man

The party leadership of the USSR allocated for the lunar program substantially less money. And as you progress developments were constantly cut funding, requiring designers and producers of savings.

See also: the Most popular myths about the first landing of man on the moon

A very strong blow to the project of the Soviet lunar program has also caused a fatal combination of circumstances. 14 Jan 1966 in ordinary medical surgery dies Sergei Korolev. In 1967, dies in a failed landing of a new spacecraft “Soyuz-1” Vladimir Komarov is the most likely candidate for complex lunar missions. In 1968 in a plane crash killed Yuri Gagarin – the second candidate in the lunar expedition.

Appointed in 1974, the General designer of the Soviet space program instead of V. P. Mishin, V. P. Glushko decided (with the consent of senior management) to cease operation for carrier N-1 and manned lunar programs. He was a principled opponent of missions to the moon and spoke in favor of creating orbital earth stations for defence purposes.