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aurora
2006-Jan-14, 08:44 PM
I thought this was a real cool picture

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap060114.html

of the Soviet Luna 17 rover.

Amazing.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2006-Jan-14, 08:57 PM
Its amazing to see that the Soviets were so much more technologically advanced than their rivals. They were so advanced that they returned 300 grams of moon rocks from the moon.

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Jan-14, 09:23 PM
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

It looks like a bathtub. http://www.cosgan.de/images/midi/frech/a025.gif

Extravoice
2006-Jan-15, 12:58 AM
The futuristic looking eight wheeler...
(my emphasis)

Perhaps, in a 1950s Sci-Fi kind of way.

Still, it looks pretty cool.

Launch window
2006-Jan-15, 06:33 AM
They were so advanced that they returned 300 grams of moon rocks from the moon.

but you've got to remember the political propaganda climate and the Russian mentality, back in the late 50s and early 60s the Soviets were still ahead by sending up the first satellite, 1st spacewalker, first woman in space...

So they didn't really have much else to win in a history of 'firsts' except of course the big Moon prize. Russia may have felt the USA didn't have the ability nor the guts to have people walking on the Moon, they perhaps thought that if the Americans tried it would end in disaster like the tragic end of Apollo-1 , the Ruskies stuck to the unmanned robotics but lost out to the Apollo triumph and the United States superior Space missions.

The Lunakhod-1 rover was still great, an unfortunately ignored granddaddy of the Spirit and the Oppy. Lunokhod-II was fantastic, covering a distance of over 35 kilometres using their X-ray telescopes and Laser reflector to make important observations. In 1971 the Russians almost repeated their 'rover' sucess with Mars-3 but Russia has had a terrible time with the red-planet and Mars-III landing at Phaethonis during dust storm but ceased transmissions 20 seconds after landing

R.A.F.
2006-Jan-15, 12:17 PM
Its amazing to see that the Soviets were so much more technologically advanced than their rivals.

What's even more amazing is that you would post that opinion, as it is simply not true...ie. a rover vs. manned landings.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2006-Jan-15, 01:25 PM
What's even more amazing is that you would post that opinion, as it is simply not true...ie. a rover vs. manned landings.
There is no denying the fact that the Soviets were much more technologically advanced at the start of the Space race. Apollo was cool it definitely brought America to the forefront of technological supriority. But the soviets had way more "firsts" than their rivals. I dont know about you but thats what counts IMHO. :)

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Jan-15, 01:36 PM
Considering the speed with which the Americans caught up,
the advantage can't have been that large.
The Soviets started out earlier, with bigger rockets and where
more focused.
The US didn't really have an official space program until Sputnik.

R.A.F.
2006-Jan-15, 01:40 PM
But the soviets had way more "firsts" than their rivals.

I welcome you to list these "firsts", but be aware that I expect you to differentiate between "firsts" that actually advanced their space program, and "firsts" that turned out to be propaganda stunts.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2006-Jan-15, 01:43 PM
but be aware that I expect you to differentiate between "firsts" that actually advanced their space program, and "firsts" that turned out to be propaganda stunts.
I'm sorry. I dont understand what you mean.

R.A.F.
2006-Jan-15, 01:50 PM
"Firsts" as in first Woman in space (she was simply a "passenger"), and they didn't send another Woman into space until the 80's (I believe), or the 'first" rendezvous of 2 space craft (they didn't come within miles of each other). Compare that to Gemini 6 and 7 which came within feet of each other.

These are examples of "stunts".

The_Radiation_Specialist
2006-Jan-15, 01:56 PM
ok, thanx for making it clear for me.

Here it goes
1- first artificial satellite
2- first living thing in space
3- first human in space
4- The first space walk
5- If I remember correctly first soft landing on the moon and first soft landing on Venus.
[added] 6- first landing on mars (though signals cease after 20 seconds)
[added] 7 first photographs of the far side of the moon.
[added] 8- first spacecraft to orbit moon
[added] 9- first space crft to return to earth from moon.
[added] 10- first rover on the moon
[added] 11- first space station Salyut 1
these are the ones I can remember right now.

R.A.F.
2006-Jan-15, 02:15 PM
ok, thanx for making it clear for me.

Here goes
1- first artificial satellite
2- first living thing in space
3- first human in space

Yes, those "firsts" are documented...but consider, for instance...


4- The first space walk

Can you tell me when the Soviets performed their 2nd space walk?? In other words a lot of these "firsts" were never followed up on. They are simply examples of "we did it first". They are not examples of "progression" in their space program. (with the exception of their space station program.)

So the idea that the Soviets were technologically advanced is evidenced at the very beginning of the "space race"...it is not evidenced by their actual long term goals in space.

peteshimmon
2006-Jan-15, 03:44 PM
Lets point out that Luna 16 just before 17
was the first AUTOMATED return of material
from another body in space 35 years ago.
Thats Thiiiiirrrrtyyy-Fiiiivvvveee years ago:)

R.A.F.
2006-Jan-15, 04:40 PM
Thats Thiiiiirrrrtyyy-Fiiiivvvveee years ago:)

IMO, it boils down to a case of "what have you done for me lately", combined with a "acute" case of "if the US did it first, we won't bother"...as in...

Have the Soviets continued with their Mars/Venus missions?...and...

...a complete lack of Soviet outer Solar System missions. They haven't attempted to explore Jupiter/Saturn, while the United States has sent 3 different spacecraft to each.

mantiss
2006-Jan-15, 04:55 PM
Considering that the Soviet program was running on a shoestring budget, I still think they got pretty nice results. The Venera program was and remains one of the best source of Venus information we have had until Magellan.

It's also the shoestring budget that thwarted so many of their attempts, namely the Mars96 and Phobos missions in the end.

But comparing firsts and discussing the virtues/flaws of the two programs is like trying to tell which one of your two kids you prefer, and that makes me feel very uneasy about the whole thing... :naughty:

3rdvogon
2006-Jan-15, 09:05 PM
Remember the Soviets largely built their space programme on a rocket design originally intended for military use. It was a great success when first developed in the 50s though its usefulness militarily was a problem as it took a long time to fuel (liquid) and could not be launched in a hurry. It employed a good reliable and fairly efficient engine but the engine itself was quite small so they needed a lot of them 25 I think not including the additional steering engines.

But it did provide a means to get quite large payloads (by 1960s standards) into LEO. The Russians have continued using this same basic rocket right up to the present day - that would be a bit like the USA still using Atlas rockets to put people into orbit.

As has been said the Russians were operating on a shoestring therefore they kept working with the one proven launcher they had decade after decade. Possibly in the US only the only launcher with a similar service life has been the Titan.

Of course the Russians wanted to go for a manned lunar mission but they were stretching their technology a bit far. They needed a launcher to match the scale of the Saturn V but they did not have the time or the resources to develop the necessay engines as a result they went for their M1 which of course was an engineering nightmare, a disaster waiting to happen with a first stage housing more than 30 engines.

So whilst certainly the Soviet Leadership liked PR Stunts especially when they showed them to be ahead of the US they were not willing to invest what was needed to seriously stay in the race for the moon. The guys in the Soviet space programme wanted to do more serious stuff but had to learn to live with handouts.

I think the Russian engineers did a pretty good job given the financial logistic back-up they had to work with.

I therefore pose a simple question here - Today which orbiter system is probably the safest and most bug-free way of getting to orbit and back down again Soyeuz or the Shuttle?

aurora
2006-Jan-16, 12:12 AM
IMO, it boils down to a case of "what have you done for me lately", combined with a "acute" case of "if the US did it first, we won't bother"...as in...

Have the Soviets continued with their Mars/Venus missions?...and...

...a complete lack of Soviet outer Solar System missions. They haven't attempted to explore Jupiter/Saturn, while the United States has sent 3 different spacecraft to each.

Take a deep breath, and don't feel like anyone is threatening to take away the obvious advances of the US space program. They are all still there. And no one that I know if is bringing back the USSR anytime soon.

But, hey, the lunar rover was a cool machine, it worked well, it drove all over the moon. OK, it didn't cure cancer, but it was still a cool machine. And it was a long time ago.

ngc3314
2006-Jan-16, 12:31 AM
Take a deep breath, and don't feel like anyone is threatening to take away the obvious advances of the US space program. They are all still there. And no one that I know if is bringing back the USSR anytime soon.

But, hey, the lunar rover was a cool machine, it worked well, it drove all over the moon. OK, it didn't cure cancer, but it was still a cool machine. And it was a long time ago.

All the implied one-upmanship in this thread misses the compexity of both programs and their political and economic environments, making it extremely difficult to do one-on-one comparison. Some random examples:

Much of the Lunakhod technology was developed in tandem with the Soviet manned lunar program. The original (hugely ambitious) idea was that a cosmonaut would land within walking distance of a previously arrived backup lander in case of failure of the engine to restart for return. And just in case, there would be a thing much like a Lunakhod for him to ride to the spare.

Relative costs during the 60s and 70s are very difficult to figure; their whole socialist system hid costs in an effective way. Asif Siddiqi (IIRC) made the point that the N-1 development didn't cost much less than the Saturn V.

Comparing programs is also complicated by the fact that things were done in very different styles in the two hemispheres. The characteristic look of many Soviet probes traces to the decision to use existing electronics and keep them in pressurized vessels so they would work in their accustomed pressure and thermal regimes (versus the US program, developing expensive electronics that work in vacuum. This had the side benefit of eliminating the pressure vessels as a failure mode. Aonther example - the relative influence of pilots and management was quite different. It's hard to imagine NASA tossing out a crew 6 weeks before launch because they continually spoke their minds and refused to kowtow to the higher-ups (Soyuz 13 - two rookies originally forming the backup crew managed to do the mission, heavy on UV astronomy, with respectable success).

Overall, NASA to have taken it (if not quite been specifically chartered to) as a priority to do lots of techniology development, whereas the Soviet planners often didn't have that much luxury and used the Volkswagen approach (sly reference to 1969 ad featuring an LM and saying "It's ugly, but it gets you there"). The whole social climate was also quite different (but Russian cosmism would be a different thread).

Western impressions of Soviet space operations (like some of their political climate) were often outdated due to the difficulty of getting solid information from the inner sanctum. The reputation for breathtakingly risky flights may have applied a few trimes early on, but after Komarov's death, they held firmly to the rule of sending no cosmonauts on a mission of a new kind unless the same profile had already been flown under remote operation and with full success. They held to this even though it may well have cost an opportunity to upstage Apollo 8 with a single cosmonaut on a free-return circumlunar trajectory. That said, Voskhod 1 (three cosmonauts packed into what amounted to a single-seat Vostok version, by leaving out their pressure suits) would qualify as insanely risky and of pure propaganda value. One of those three guys was a designer who was "asked" to demonstrate his confidence in the plan.

peteshimmon
2006-Jan-16, 04:12 PM
Yes, in the sixties it was curious how Soviet
spaceprobes looked like Victorian
Perambulators (even before Luna 17) while
American ones looked...well...flash and
sharp. Actually Luna 17 seemed the end result
of an old ambition. I remember on television
at the time of the first Soviet Moon probes
they used to screen an animation. It showed
a V2 type rocket landing amongst the craters,
it keeled over and the nose peeled open and
a small tracked vehicle sallied forth with
a camera and dish aerial beeping sigmals
back home. It might have been created by
the Soviets or it could be from Disney!

gwiz
2006-Jan-16, 04:29 PM
There is no denying the fact that the Soviets were much more technologically advanced at the start of the Space race. Apollo was cool it definitely brought America to the forefront of technological supriority. But the soviets had way more "firsts" than their rivals. I dont know about you but thats what counts IMHO. :)
The Soviets certainly had the advantage with large rockets, but right from the start the US had better satellites. Look at some of the unmanned firsts that were achievable with smaller rockets:
discovery of Van Allen belts
1st weather satellite
1st navigation satellite
1st communications satellite
1st reconnaissance satellite
1st recovery of satellite
1st successful probes to every planet
1st planetary orbiter
Apart from planetary probes other than Mars/Venus fly-bys, all of these were achieved by the early 1960s.

R.A.F.
2006-Jan-16, 04:42 PM
Take a deep breath, and don't feel like anyone is threatening to take away the obvious advances of the US space program.


All the implied one-upmanship in this thread...

It's not a case of feeling "threatened" or implying "one-upmanship".

It's simply that The_Radiation_Specialist made the following statement in the second post of this thread...


Its amazing to see that the Soviets were so much more technologically advanced than their rivals.

I (among others) was pointing out the fact that that was incorrect (except at the very beginning)...nothing more.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2006-Jan-16, 05:00 PM
that was incorrect (except at the very beginning)
you are contradicting yourself.

Here is my statement:


Its amazing to see that the Soviets were so much more technologically advanced than their rivals.

note the word "were".

R.A.F.
2006-Jan-16, 05:08 PM
note the word "were".

Then why didn't you argue from that "standpoint" to begin with????

The_Radiation_Specialist
2006-Jan-16, 05:24 PM
Then why didn't you argue from that "standpoint" to begin with????

Back to you


What's even more amazing is that you would post that opinion, as it is simply not true...ie. a rover vs. manned landings.

because the message I got from your poat was that you think my view point (which is Soviets were more technologically advanced) is "not true". So I had to give you my reasons why I think the Soviets had better technology, in my list of firsts. It was much later that you agreed the Soviets were more technologically advanced at the beginning. In this post:


So the idea that the Soviets were technologically advanced is evidenced at the very beginning of the "space race"

R.A.F.
2006-Jan-16, 06:06 PM
...because the message I got from your poat was that you think my view point (which is Soviets were more technologically advanced) is "not true".

Well, what else was I suppose to think? Lets look at your first post in this thread again...


Its amazing to see that the Soviets were so much more technologically advanced than their rivals. They were so advanced that they returned 300 grams of moon rocks from the moon.

You stated that the Soviets were "so much more" advanced than their rivals, and because they were so advanced, they returned 300 grams of soil from the Moon. That mission happened after Apollo 11. So I'll return to my original "argument". Just how does that demonstrate that they were more advanced than their rivals when it happened after Apollo 11??

The_Radiation_Specialist
2006-Jan-16, 06:41 PM
heres what I said


Its amazing to see that the Soviets were so much more technologically advanced than their rivals.
I said its "amazing". It means its surprising to see that they were (at the beginning) more advanced.

You stated that the Soviets were "so much more" advanced than their rivals, and because they were so advanced, they returned 300 grams of soil from the Moon. That mission happened after Apollo 11.

I never used the word "because". If I wanted to say it the way you think I said, I could have wriiten:

"Its amazing to see that the Soviets were so much advanced than their, because they returned 300 grams of moon rocks."

BTW, Its all cool ;) no one is going to deny technological achievement of any nation. :)

ToSeek
2006-Jan-16, 06:54 PM
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

It looks like a bathtub. http://www.cosgan.de/images/midi/frech/a025.gif

Well, it's not as if this (http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/IMAGES/SMALL/GPN-2000-001144.jpg) is a whole lot better.

ngc3314
2006-Jan-16, 07:04 PM
Oh, yeah, missed this in a previous post - got some relevant pictures from the Cosmonautics Museum in Moscow, and traveling exhibits, here (http://www.astr.ua.edu/keel/space/russpace.html). Lunokhod, one of the sample-return Lunas in mockup, Vega, Astron (the Franco-Soviet counterpart of IUE). Just noticed a couple of weeks ago that the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville has a really excellent (and utterly unlabelled) scale model of the Granat X-ray/gamma-ray observatory, too. Gotta add that to the web collection. Notice thethermal and pressure control bathtub of Lunakhod, and the pressure vessels hidden among the Luna fuel tanks. I like the conveyor belt for getting samples up to the return capsule.

(The summary below the pictures is from the books that taught me most of what I know about the Soviet programs that wasn't given in Siddiqi's Challenge to Apollo).

R.A.F.
2006-Jan-16, 07:08 PM
BTW, Its all cool ;) no one is going to deny technological achievement of any nation. :)

If you're willing to "drop" the subject, then I'm willing to "drop" the subject.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2006-Jan-16, 07:29 PM
If you're willing to "drop" the subject, then I'm willing to "drop" the subject.
Sure. Subject dropped. ;)

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Jan-17, 08:08 AM
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

It looks like a bathtub.
Well, it's not as if this (http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/IMAGES/SMALL/GPN-2000-001144.jpg) is a whole lot better.
Reminds me a bit of one of those injector viruses. ;)

aurora
2006-Jan-17, 04:56 PM
Well, it's not as if this (http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/IMAGES/SMALL/GPN-2000-001144.jpg) is a whole lot better.

I had the chance to see the lunar lander in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum once.

I was immediately struck by how flimsy it looked.

Amazing.