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  Alternate ASTP: Cosmonaut as lunar module pilot

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Author Topic:   Alternate ASTP: Cosmonaut as lunar module pilot
carmelo
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Posts: 792
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 01-04-2013 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What if, instead of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, NASA and the Nixon administration had suggested another flight after Apollo 17 with a Russian guest as the Lunar Module Pilot?

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-04-2013 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
President Kennedy proposed just such a joint mission, which the Soviets rejected. Kennedy's assassination resulted in the opportunity being lost.
But Sergei Khrushchev told SpaceCast, that in the weeks after the rejection, his father had second thoughts. While the Premiere had agreed with Russian military leaders that said any joint Moon flight would provide an opportunity for the U.S. military to learn more about Russian rocket and missile programs, he now thought that it might be possible to learn more from the technology of the Americans.

"He thought that if the Americans wanted to get our technology and create defenses against it, they would do that anyway. Maybe we could get (technology) in the bargain that would be better for us, my father thought."

...if these newest revelations are correct, the prospects of a visit to the Soviet Union by President Kennedy during the 1964 Presidential campaign, suggested by several former Kennedy administration staffers or a visit to Russia early in a Kennedy second term might well have cemented the joint lunar plan.

(The Johnson administration made a similar offer for joint manned spaceflights early in 1964, but the Russians were too suspicious of the new administration, some analysts have suggested.)

schnappsicle
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Posts: 116
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 01-04-2013 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JFK had plans to put a Soviet on the first lunar landing crew, or at least one of the later missions.

Personally, I like the way things turned out. If the Soviets had been more open about their missions (both successes and failures), then maybe we would have been more willing to include them in the ultimate prize. The reason the Soviets failed was because of bureaucracy and their own lack of leadership following the death of Korolev.

Yes, I think the ASTP mission was a huge waste of money and national resources. Instead of a Soviet on Apollo 18, I would much rather have seen both Gordon's (Richard and Cooper) given a chance to walk on the moon. At the very least, ASTP should have flown in an orbit that would have allowed it to dock with Skylab. Letting Skylab fall into the ocean was another opportunity wasted. Again, the Soviets nixed the idea of a simultaneous docking with Skylab.

Rusty B
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Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 01-04-2013 12:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the NASA Technical Reports Server is this study from 1971 of an Apollo CSM/Docking Module docking mission to a Salyut/Soyuz Space Station.

"International Rendezvous and Docking Mission"
PDF Size 13.2 MB - Number of pages = 341, Publication Year 1971

Glint
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Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 01-04-2013 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by schnappsicle:
JFK had plans to put a Soviet on the first lunar landing crew, or at least one of the later missions.
Perhaps Kennedy, or his advisors, knew the offer would be refused, and would thus be a safe one to make with little down side.

In my opinion, Moscow missed a priceless opportunity to accept, and say to the world, "look, they cannot succeed without help from Russian pilot!"

WAWalsh
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Posts: 791
From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Registered: May 2000

posted 01-04-2013 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I actually have an outline of an alternative history style novel that works on this idea. The offer for the joint mission is made during an altered aspect of the Apollo 11 tour, while the crew is in West Berlin. Unfortunately, Joe Engle gets bumped again and Alexei Leonov takes his place with Gordon and Brand. Mission takes place four years later in October 1973, with the Yom Kippur War as a backdrop to a mission that experiences difficulties in lunar orbit and on the return home.

I like the idea, obviously.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-04-2013 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
Perhaps Kennedy, or his advisors, knew the offer would be refused, and would thus be a safe one to make with little down side.
Kennedy apparently saw the Soviet partnership as a way to gracefully back out of the moon landing goal (and its associated timeline and, more importantly, budget) that he had set for the nation.

To that end, he proposed the joint mission more than once, even after the Soviets initially rejected the idea. The first time, I believe, was done by letter, without public fanfare or awareness.

Headshot
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Posts: 182
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 01-04-2013 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting speculation, but I believe it might have triggered WWIII when the Soviets found out that their LMP would go out AFTER the American CMDR.

Another alternative would have been to have two hatches and descent ladders on the LM so they could exit and put their footprints on Luna simultaneously, but then the LM would have been so damn heavy it would never have made it.

sts205cdr
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Posts: 534
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 01-04-2013 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WWIII would have happened if Al Shepard and Deke Slayton knew of a scheme to fly with one of those "tractor drivers" to the Moon!

The idea that JFK's death contributed to the success of Apollo reminds me of the same thing being said about the Apollo 1 crew. Maybe so, but it wasn't a fair trade.

Headshot
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Posts: 182
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 01-04-2013 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Off topic, but I am not certain how much JFK's death actually contributed to the success of Apollo.

Republican opposition to Apollo did not cease after Kennedy's death. In fact it intensified in 1964-1965 when they brought out "experts," mostly retreads from the Eisenhower Administration, to explain how this money was going down the drain and America would get absolutely no benefit(s) from landing a man on the moon. Even Ike himself spoke out against Apollo.

It was not until we started pulling even, and then ahead of the Soviets, that the GOP (and some Dems) grew silent. The dwindling criticism may have also had something to do with James Webb (with LBJ's blessing) taking the critics on as only he could.

Paul78zephyr
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Posts: 344
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-04-2013 08:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't see how the Soviets would ever have accepted a 'ride' to the moon on an AMERICAN spacecraft. It would have demonstrated that they could not do it themselves. Big face lose.

Rusty B
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Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 01-04-2013 10:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When did the Soviets become serious about a joint space mission? Wasn't it after the funeral for the Soyuz 11 cosmonauts, in July 1971, which American astronaut Stafford attended?

carmelo
Member

Posts: 792
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 01-05-2013 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My idea was only an Apollo 18, last Apollo mission on the moon, with Gordon-Brand-Leonov, instead that ASTP.

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