Origins of the Soviet lunar programme
The Soviet moon programme began in an unlikely place - in a children’s magazine, on 2nd October 1951. Mikhail Tikhonravov was a veteran rocket engineer from the 1920s and was now convinced that a flight to the moon might soon become a practical possibility. In the paranoia of Stalin’s Russia, talking about unapproved projects like moon flights was a potentially dangerous enterprise, so he chose a relatively safe outlet, one unlikely to raise the blood pressure of the censors: the pages of Pionerskaya Pravda, the newspaper devoted to communist youth. There, on 2nd October 1951, he outlined how two men could fly out to the moon and back in a 1,000 tonne rocketship. The article concluded: We do not have long to wait. We can assume that the bold dream of Tsiolkovsky will be realized within the next 10 to 15 years. All of you will become witness to this and some of you may even be participants in unprecedented journeys.
KeywordsRocket Engine Space Programme Design Bureau Space Travel Chief Designer
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Gorin, Peter A: Rising from the cradle-Soviet public perceptions of space flight before Sputnik. From: Roger Launius, John Logsdon and Robert Smith: Reconsidering Sputnik-40 years since the Soviet satellite. Harwood Academic, Amsterdam, 2000.Google Scholar
- Siddiqi, Asif: Early satellite studies in the Soviet Union, 1947-57. Part 2. Spaceflight, vol. 39, #11, November 1997.Google Scholar
- Siddiqi, Asif: The decision to go to the moon. Spaceflight,-vol. 40, #5, May 1998 (part 1);-vol. 40, #6, June 1998 (part 2).Google Scholar
- Varfolomeyev, Timothy: Soviet rocketry that conquered space. Spaceflight, in 13 parts: 1 Vol. 37, #8, August 1995; 2 Vol. 38, #2, February 1996; 3 Vol. 38, #6, June 1996; 4 Vol. 40, #1, January 1998; 5 Vol. 40, #3, March 1998; 6 Vol. 40, #5, May 1998; 7 Vol. 40, #9, September 1998; 8 Vol. 40, #12, December 1998; 9 Vol. 41, #5, May 1999; 10 Vol. 42, #4, April 2000; 11 Vol. 42, #10, October 2000; 12 Vol. 43, #1, January 2001; 13 Vol. 43, #4, April 2001 (referred to as Varfolomeyev, 1995–2001).Google Scholar
- Harford, Jim: Korolev-how one man masterminded the Soviet drive to beat America to the moon. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1997.Google Scholar
- Khrushchev, Sergei: The first Earth satellite-a retrospective view from the future. From: Roger Launius, John Logsdon and Robert Smith: Reconsidering Sputnik-40 years since the Soviet satellite. Harwood Academic, Amsterdam, 2000.Google Scholar
- Matson, Wayne R: Cosmonautics-a colourful history. Cosmos Books, Washington DC, 1994.Google Scholar
- Siddiqi, Asif: The challenge to Apollo. NASA, Washington DC, 2000.Google Scholar