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Still Waters

Inside the Soviets Secret Failed Moon Program

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The Soviet lunar program was covered up, forgotten after failing to put a man on the moon. These rare photos from a lab inside the Moscow Aviation Institute show a junkyard of rarely-seen spacecraft, including a never-to-be-used Soviet lunar lander.

Soviet scientists were well ahead of their American counterparts in moon exploration before President John F. Kennedy pronounced the U.S. would put a man there first.The Soviets had already landed the probe Luna 2 on the surface of the moon in 1959 and had an orbiting satellite in 1966.

The Soviets developed a similar multi-step approach to NASA, involving a module used to orbit the moon and one for landing. Their version was decidedly less complex and lighter to account for inferior rockets. These photos show the LK “Lunar Craft” lander, which has a similar pod-over-landing gear structure but numerous key differences.

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Fascinating pictures :yes:

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An interesting article, but those opening sentences are a little misleading. Matt Hardigree might wish to improve his research in future.

I would argue the phrase

landed the probe Luna 2 on the surface of the moon

Impacted with the moon would be more accurate, the spacecraft was destroyed when it hit the moon. If that is Mr Hardigree's definition of a landing then I for one am glad he is not an airline pilot (although it is a job he would have for only one flight I suspect). The first landing was actually with Luna 9 in 1966.

I would also dispute the phrase

Soviet scientists were well ahead of their American counterparts in moon exploration before President John F. Kennedy pronounced the U.S. would put a man there first

Ahead yes, but well ahead??? By mentioning the fact that the Soviets achieved lunar orbit in 1966 the author seems to be implying that there was still a big lead over the Americans at this point. But is this really the case?

Whilst it is true that the USSR had the first lunar impact in 1959, 5 years before the Americans it is simply not accurate to call this a landing. Let's compare the dates of the first USSR and USA landings:

USSR - Luna 9, 31 January 1966. - This was not a true "soft landing". It was a hard landing with a vehicle designed to survive an impact with the Moon at more than 30 mph. None the less it was a landing and images were ereturned from the surface.

USA - Surveyor 1, 30 May 1966. - This WAS a true soft landing with a controlled descent to the lunar surface... and just 4 months after the soviet hard landing. To my mind not the big lead that the article implies. In fact the first true soviet soft landing on the moon did not come until Luna 16 on 12 September 1970... 4 years after this had been achieved by the USA and after both Apollo 11 & 12 had landed on the Moon.

Now for that orbital mission being achieved in 1966, how far ahead of the USA was the Soviet Union here?

USSR - Luna 16, 31 March 1966.

USA - Lunar Orbiter 1, 10 August 1966.

Again the USSR was only a few months ahead. It is also worth remembering that, although the Soviets may have got there first, the superior electronics available to the USA often meant that their craft were significantly more sophisticated.

With the myth of a huge Soviet superiority in the early days of space exploration being perpetuated to this day (often, as in this case, as the result of poor research), is it any wonder that this fallacy is so often repeated by those that believe that Apollo was a hoax?

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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An interesting article, but those opening sentences are a little misleading. Matt Hardigree might wish to improve his research in future.

I would argue the phrase

Impacted with the moon would be more accurate, the spacecraft was destroyed when it hit the moon. If that is Mr Hardigree's definition of a landing then I for one am glad he is not an airline pilot (although it is a job he would have for only one flight I suspect). The first landing was actually with Luna 9 in 1966.

I would also dispute the phrase

Ahead yes, but well ahead??? By mentioning the fact that the Soviets achieved lunar orbit in 1966 the author seems to be implying that there was still a big lead over the Americans at this point. But is this really the case?

Whilst it is true that the USSR had the first lunar impact in 1959, 5 years before the Americans it is simply not accurate to call this a landing. Let's compare the dates of the first USSR and USA landings:

USSR - Luna 9, 31 January 1966. - This was not a true "soft landing". It was a hard landing with a vehicle designed to survive an impact with the Moon at more than 30 mph. None the less it was a landing and images were ereturned from the surface.

USA - Surveyor 1, 30 May 1966. - This WAS a true soft landing with a controlled descent to the lunar surface... and just 4 months after the soviet hard landing. To my mind not the big lead that the article implies. In fact the first true soviet soft landing on the moon did not come until Luna 16 on 12 September 1970... 4 years after this had been achieved by the USA and after both Apollo 11 & 12 had landed on the Moon.

Now for that orbital mission being achieved in 1966, how far ahead of the USA was the Soviet Union here?

USSR - Luna 16, 31 March 1966.

USA - Lunar Orbiter 1, 10 August 1966.

Again the USSR was only a few months ahead. It is also worth remembering that, although the Soviets may have got there first, the superior electronics available to the USA often meant that their craft were significantly more sophisticated.

With the myth of a huge Soviet superiority in the early days of space exploration being perpetuated to this day (often, as in this case, as the result of poor research), is it any wonder that this fallacy is so often repeated by those that believe that Apollo was a hoax?

he may have been thinking it worked. like when we crashed that probe on to that astroid. you know the one that wasnt designed to land. it worked for a couple of days afterwards.

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With the myth of a huge Soviet superiority in the early days of space exploration being perpetuated to this day (often, as in this case, as the result of poor research), is it any wonder that this fallacy is so often repeated by those that believe that Apollo was a hoax?

To be fair to the author he did say the Soviets were ahead "before" JFK declared the moon race was on. So that would be pre-September 1962.

Up until then, the Soviets had some notable firsts:

1957: First satellite, Sputnik 1

1957: First animal to enter Earth orbit, the dog Laika on Sputnik 2

1959: First firing of a rocket in Earth orbit, first man-made object to escape Earth's orbit, Luna 1

1959: First data communications, or telemetry, to and from outer space, Luna 1.

1959: First man-made object to pass near the Moon, first man-made object in Solar orbit, Luna 1

1959: First probe to impact the Moon, Luna 2

1959: First images of the moon's far side, Luna 3

1960: First animals to safely return from Earth orbit, the dogs Belka and Strelka on Sputnik 5.

1960: First probe launched to Mars, Marsnik 1

1961: First probe launched to Venus, Venera 1

1961: First person in space (International definition) and in Earth orbit, Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1, Vostok programme

1961: First person to spend over 24 hours in space Gherman Titov, Vostok 2 (also first person to sleep in space).

1962: First dual manned spaceflight, Vostok 3 and Vostok 4

Edited by Eldorado

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In Soviet Russia, moon lands on you!

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