lec09 - Lecture 9 The Soviet Moon Program By Slava...

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Lecture 9 The Soviet Moon Program By Slava Gerovitch (MIT) Historian of Soviet space program and technology To be discussed: Organization, key personalities, competing lunar projects, technical failures, political economical cultural roots. Lt.-Gen. Nikolai Kamanin was in charge of the Russian air force and space affairs. He kept a diary about his life and work; quote, “We could have been first on the moon” (Dec. 1968). At this point, he knew the Soviets were too far behind to catch up with the US. In his diary, he’s very frank, and expresses his frustration with lack of national vision and leadership; there were bitter rivalries between government and program divisions, and Soviet political leadership was very indecisive, which lead to too little funding and resources for the program to progress adequately. Overall role of the space program for Soviets: - political propaganda; display of Soviet superiority - but propaganda was a small part; other parts became much more important. Soviet space industry was very convoluted; air force was not able to influence the design of the spacecraft. Bulk of R&D was done in design bureaus, under 2 ministries (Ministry of Defense and another one). Companies under contract to one ministry didn’t usually take orders from any other ministries, and the contracting process was long and convoluted. Chief designer Sergei Korolev played an important role in getting the system to work, though he was low in the bureau hierarchy. - Part of the organization of “chief designers” who were put in charge of particular systems or components, which had a direct line to Khrushchev. - Designed first Soviet ICBM (was part of attempt to duplicate Germany’s V2 rocket). He then convinced the government to use it for a civilian purpose – launching a satellite (Sputnik). - He established close relationship with Igor Kurchatov (worked on atom and hydrogen bombs) and Keldysh, a mathematician (together, they were referred to as “the three K’s”). -
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course AERO 16.872 taught by Professor Danielhastings during the Fall '03 term at MIT.

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lec09 - Lecture 9 The Soviet Moon Program By Slava...

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