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10:37 AM
In case anybody is interested, there is a (free to audit) 7-week online course on The Ancient Greeks from Wesleyan University and hosted on Coursera.
The course offers "a survey of ancient Greek history from the Bronze Age to the death of Socrates in 399 BCE. Along with studying the most important events and personalities, we will consider broader issues such as political and cultural values and methods of historical interpretation."
The course starts tomorrow (4 September 2017)
 
11:27 AM
Alright, so......
Was there any chance that the Soviets could have gotten to the Moon? With or without the N1?
At least from 21st Century hindsight in our timeline?
If so, what would Leonov had said compared to Armstrong the instant he stepped foot on the Moon?
 
11:54 AM
@FutureHistorian If you mean, could they have got there first, then the answer is no.
@FutureHistorian In the 1960's the N1 was the only Soviet rocket capable of lifting objects beyond low-Earth orbit. They started development of the N1 too late (1965) and the project was dealt a death-blow by the death of Sergei Korolev in 1966.
@FutureHistorian The only way that the Soviets could have realistically reached the Moon with what they had would have been to use Earth-Orbit Rendezvous instead of Lunar-Orbit rendezvous, but the techniques would have taken too long to develop - even if they had started in 1965.
 
12:29 PM
On 3 September 1944. Teenage diarist Anne Frank & her family were put on the train at Westerbork transit camp to be transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration/death camp.
Those trains on 3 September 1944 were the last to leave from Westerbork transit camp.
 
So, no scrapping the N1 for the cheaper two Proton rocket launch option?
For assembly of the L3 complex and a third Proton to launch into orbit?
Because I personally think that given time and effort, the USSR could have gotten to the Moon.
Whether they can get there first is debatable, but I do want to see if it was even probable they could get there before the Americans did.
Not using the N1 rocket.
Which was a failure from the beginning.
 
12:55 PM
@sempaiscuba? Just how hard was it for the Soviets to get to the Moon first, no N1 needed?
 
1:14 PM
@FutureHistorian Really hard. To date, nobody has managed Earth-Orbit rendezvous. Even with multiple Proton launches, it's hard to see how they could have done it before the 1970's
 
Well, it could be done (in theory).
In practice, it may be somewhat difficult.
The only reason the Soviets even remotely got close to the Moon in the Planetverse, is because of rushing and rolling sixes.
Warhammer joke not found
 
@FutureHistorian If they had done it after 1969, the USSR would have had to admit that they had been in a race to the Moon - and that they had lost!
 
Well, in my case, they landed in 1968.
And look who became the first man on the Moon.....
Cue the drumrolls.
drums play in the background
Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov (Russian: Алексе́й Архи́пович Лео́нов; IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksʲej ɐˈrxʲipəvʲɪtɕ lʲɪˈonəf]; born 30 May 1934 in Listvyanka, West Siberian Krai, Soviet Union) is a retired Soviet/Russian cosmonaut, Air Force Major general, writer and artist. On 18 March 1965, he became the first human to conduct extravehicular activity (EVA), exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for a 12-minute spacewalk. == Biography == Leonov was one of the 20 Soviet Air Force pilots selected to be part of the first cosmonaut group in 1960. Leonov was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union...
So, @sempaiscuba? Is that plausible, even though it was probably just random chance?
 
Probably not. I've just done some quick calculations on the back of an envelope (literally!). Proton launch capacity to LEO to about 50,000 lbs. Saturn V capacity to LEO was 310,000 lbs.
USSR mission to Moon using Protons would take between 7-10 launches, all with successful Earth-orbit rendezvous. That is really unlikely given 1960's technology.
I doubt that anyone would want to try that remotely even now. Manned assembly would take even more launches.
 
Well, any alternate suggestions to getting to the Moon first?
Before the States?
 
1:25 PM
Given the Proton's 1st launch wasn't until 1965, that is so unlikely as to verge on impossible.
 
Because I am not sure if the UR-700 is going go anywhere off the ground on this one.
sighs
So, basically, the N1 somehow has to work.
:(
 
@FutureHistorian No. The early USSR successes in space were due to the fact that their early nukes were heavier & required more powerful rockets.
Those rockets worked well for missions to LEO, but not beyond.
 
Well, I have an idea.
@sempaiscuba? How many launches to assemble the L3 complex again?
7 to 10?
 
At least. And that would assume automatic assembly of the parts in Earth orbit.
 
Well, I am going to assume 9 launches and say that the 9th launch includes Leonov and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yevgeny_Khrunov for the crew.
How long to assemble all that?
 
1:32 PM
I'm not sure it was even possible. The first remote docking operations didn't happen until Salyut 7 in the 1980s.
 
Still, how long to assemble?
 
Manned docking of 9 modules - even if everything went perfectly - would take days (at a minimum), and probably require additional launches.
All that would be in the public eye - something the USSR never did.
 
Fair enough.
So, assuming that a 13% chance that something goes horribly wrong, when could they be ready for a Moon mission?
Not necessarily a landing, per se, but at least an orbital flight.
The landing can be done with the L4 complex.
Basically, the L3 but with some slight improvements.
And fortunately for the Soviets, the Soyuz 1 mission was NOT a total failure. Or a failure at all, actually.
Besides, Chelomey took over the Soviet Space Program in this timeline anyway, in collaboration with Glushko, considering Korolyev died in 1964 due to a heart attack caused by cardiac arrythmia.
If anything, the Soyuz 1 was a success, while Soyuz 2 and 3 made the first Soviet manned orbital docking days after Gemini did.
Subsequent Soyuz missions from 4 through 6 were testing the LK lander, and making sure the L3's systems were functioning properly.
There were some minor issues when Soyuz 5 in this timeline checked the onboard guidance systems, and had they not fixed it, it could easily have been a disaster.
Soyuz 7 through 10 were also doing separate missions, but were mainly unmanned.
The Soyuz 10 was when humans returned to the Soyuz program and the 7K-LOK had humans onboard.
Two missions later and Leonov lands on the Moon.
 
13% is insanely optimistic. Almost a dozen vehicles, all in close proximity and most unmanned with 1960's technology?
And then trying to repeat it multiple times?
 
Well, how much higher a chance of something going wrong?
I am all ears, just in case.
Give me a moderate estimate for something likely going horribly wrong.
Not a pessimistic or optimistic chance, but something in-between.
@sempaiscuba?
What is a moderate chance for something going wrong?
 
1:46 PM
There isn't enough data to give a sensible estimate. There hasn't even been a successful operation involving 4 vehicles, and you want to dock 12! And with 1960's tech?
 
Well, it is either that or the Americans land on the Moon and I have no excuse to prolong the Space Race.
By "prolong the Space Race", I mean extending it all the way to Mars.
And militarising space.
:P
 
Even getting all the vehicles to the same point in LEO would have tested the technology of the day to the limit.
 
Again: it is either that or no Soviet Moon Landing before the Americans do.
And just hope the Soviets in this timeline keep rolling sixes.
 
Just look at how many launches miss their launch-window, even today.
 
True.
But I never specified when in the years they had their launch window, other than the Soviet arrival on the Moon.
I just specified the year they happened, not the month, day or time (other than the Moon Landing by the Soviets in 1968 in this timeline).
 
1:51 PM
Every launch would have to hit its launch window in order to meet up in LEO. That's the big problem with Earth-Orbit Rendezvous.
 
True.
So, perhaps the L3 complex assembly was just lucky?
Because the first three Soyuz missions were mainly to test the docking, the OK variant and the Soyuz 4 mission was just to test docking with the LK lander anyway.
 
For an example of the problems they would face, think of Gemini 9 and the angry alligator Agena docking module. And one of them was manned.
 
The L3 assembly may need to be a separate program.
Oh..............................................................................‌​..
Well, this will end well. /s
 
Take a look at the history section on the Wikipedia page on docking in space. It might give you some ideas.
 
Well, that is why in this timeline, there was a successful docking of the Soyuz 3, given that the Soyuz 1 did not horribly end in disaster.
At least on the section on the attempted Soyuz 2 and Soyuz 3 docking.
Funnily enough, it happened in 1965 just mere days after the Americans docked successfully.
Compared to our timeline, which was in 1968.
Then again, the timeline did originally have Stalin encourage advancements in computer technology after that one arsehole published an article against computer technology and had that arsehole shot before I scrapped that earlier point of divergence.
So, should I reintegrate that into the timeline?
In fact, take a look at this: rbth.com/science_and_tech/2014/09/24/….
Oh, found his name.
Boris Agapov.
I originally planned to have Stalin execute him and not let him hamper computer science in the USSR.
So.............
Should I reintegrate that?
 
2:07 PM
Honestly, counterfactual history really isn't my thing. You can get to almost anywhere you want to if you make the right assumptions
 
Well, I do want to be plausible about it.
>:(
Bloody hell, I hate that article just from the look of it.
You do realise that sometimes, it can work as a way to better understand our real timeline, correct?
Especially when the data in front of you is used.
Besides, the Butterfly Effect is not THAT severe if the PoD is in 1964, is it?
PoD = Point of Divergence.
 
You probably would,'t enjoy his book then.
I know that is the argument put forward, but I have yet to see an example that works in practice.
 
Well, Alternatehistory.com has some ideas.
Albeit most do have some bias.
But one of the more objective timelines there is from user: e of pi known as Eyes Turned Skyward.
Apparently, if the Shuttle was scrapped.
:P
It is a good one.
 
I got a reputation on the module of my MA that discussed counterfactuals for shooting them down.
 
Found it.
Here we go.
So, anything you can shoot down yet?
Or has e of pi done his research well enough for you to give it the seal of approval?
Hmmmmmmm. Speaking of which, since I already know him personally, I should probably ask him on the matter.
 
2:16 PM
The problem is that the argument is really "if the Shuttle was scrapped and everything else remained the same".
So what would the engineers who worked on the shuttle have been doing? What about the contractors?
Would people who were inspired to join the program still have been inspired?
Would Congress still have approved the funds?
In a post-Vietnam world, could the public really have been sold on an alternative?
There are a few questions to get you started.
 
Well, the timeline is 177 pages long.
 
And one last point. If NASA didn't have a "flagship" project like the Shuttle on the books, do you think they could still have convinced Congress that they were relevant? Perhaps even the Viking and Voyager missions would have been scrapped?
 
Including other user posts.
 
Yeah. I just read the first 4.
 
Oh.
Well, you might want to read the posts that say "Chapter X".
The non-OP posts are not exactly relevant to understanding the timeline JUST yet....
Besides, this is just gradually explaining things.
 
2:25 PM
Not sure I'll have time. I need to do some refresher reading on late Elizabethan espionage/counter-espionage before I head to the archives tomorrow.
 
The timeline's butterfly effect builds up over time.
Example: Apollo 18 is a thing in this timeline.
In fact, near the end of the timeline, if memory serves, there is an actual series of orbital propellant depots near EML-2.
 
 
2 hours later…
4:29 PM
So, let me guess: no-go on the Proton approach to the Soviet Moon Race Victory?
 
4:41 PM
@sempaiscuba? Assuming a 30% chance for things going horribly wrong, how many launches do I need to use Proton rockets to assemble the L3 complex?
Or do I need a higher chance of failure?
 
5:38 PM
Also, I thought of something insane.
As in: well, two year delay for the Proton rocket + since the N1 got gutted, the resources formerly dedicated to the N1 are now on the Proton's end.
 

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