Friday, September 8, 2017

The Cosmosphere, part 10

I'd like to return once again to the Cosmosphere.  If you need to catch up, or this is your first time visiting my blog, feel free to follow the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, and part 9.  Please remember, all links open in a new window.

When we left off, we were headed behind the Iron Curtain.
Does anyone remember Sergei Korolev from the time we compared him to his now American counterpart Werner von Braun?  Known only as the "Chief Designer" of the space program until his death, his identity was hidden from everyone for fear of being killed by U.S. spies.

Before he was Chief Designer, he was imprisoned by Stalin, who considered him an enemy of the state.  He barely escaped Stalin's "great purge" in the late 1930s.

When Korolev died in 1966, Khrushchev praised his passion and called him a great organizer.  Unfortunately for the Soviet rocket program, he was not an engineer or a scientist.

There are simply too many reflections to adequately see this spacecraft which I believe is a

genuine Voskhod 2, which was flown in space.   Khrushchev put pressure on Korolev to create a spacecraft that would hold three cosmonauts and return to earth safely.  Because the landing had to be soft, which meant the cosmonauts could not bail out using a parachute as Gagarin had, there had to be a special parachute that could land them back on earth.   The first three Soviet cosmonauts that went into space in October, 1964 didn't even have space suits or a launch abort/ejection seat system.

Also, upon learning about the new Gemini program in the U.S., Khrushchev insisted Korolev had to have a person walk in space before the U.S. could.  The first space walk was nearly a disaster, and almost led to Alexei Leonov's death in March, 1965.  Faulty suit design and a rushed walk in space nearly cost Leonov his life.  He was very lucky to have made it back inside the capsule and back to earth alive.

However, the landing site was not in the ocean, as expected, but in a frigid area of Siberia.  They waited two days for someone to rescue them.  This may actually have been a blessing for Korolev, because, after the fall of Khrushchev to Leonid Brezhnev in October, 1964, he was able to return to his Soyez project and his plans to put a man on the moon.

As I noted above, the first spacewalk was performed by the Soviets in March, 1965.

It was fascinating to read how Korolev bribed the space engineers when he learned he must fit three cosmonauts into a two person spacecraft.  Even though they had no space suits or ejection seats, the first three cosmonauts to fly in Voskhod 2 made it home safely.

Khrushchev was not liked by all in his party.  His domestic policy of feeding everyone failed, and he had to buy food from others, including the U.S. He constructed the Berlin Wall when he learned many in East Berlin were fleeing to the west.  He became friendly with Fidel Castro, promised Castro missiles, then backed out of the deal, and he placed space race demands that were essentially unrealistic.

Vladimir Chelomey became Korolev's main competitor in the race to the moon. Chelomey managed to gain support for his project by employing members of Khrushchev's family.  Once Khrushchev was overthrown, Chelomey's and Korolev's projects were combined.  The Soviet Lunar program was also continued.

The space race took its toll on both Americans and Soviets.  Some of the "tragic heroes"

of this era are honored here.

I had planned to show more today, but since we looked behind the iron curtain and are now ready to move on, I thought I would wait to share more photos at another time.  I didn't want to overwhelm you or myself preparing this post.  Thanks so much for joining me once again at the Cosmosphere, a museum dedicated to space and spacecraft.

9 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Thanks for sharing all the wonderful photos. Off to the doc's here so not much time today.



My name is Erika. said...

Hmm. I knew hardly anything about the Soviet space program until I read this. What an interesting museum. I like how it gives the big story not just the American view because I bet so many are like me. Hope all is well. Hugs-Erika

CJ Kennedy said...

So much of history that we were never taught. Your post was fascinating.

RO said...

I had no knowledge at all of the Soviet Space Program, and you've shared a lot of great info to catch us up. We never know what can be going on behind the scenes of various programs, and I love learning new facts. Happy Friday! Hugs...RO

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Such an interesting museum - so many interesting stuff we never were taught at school. I learn so many things from documentaries now on TV about history - things we should have learned at school- o.k. maybe I didn't remember that we learned this things .... or they didn't call it HISTORY at the time I visited school ---lol!

Thank you for sharing!
Happy weekend!
oxo Susi

Meggymay said...

Another great visit and loads of information. I think today's children should have these good exhibitions to visit, schools only seem to touch the fringes of the subject these days, unless history is a chosen subject of the pupil.
Yvonne xx

Rita said...

Wow! So much history--quite a bit of it I didn't know. Thanks for this whole series. :)

Jeanie said...

I don't know why this place fascinates me so because I've never been that much of a science or space enthusiast and yet you make me want to visit -- tomorrow! Wonderful posts and I'm glad you added this post (and maybe more?)

roth phallyka said...

So much of history that we were never taught. Your post was fascinating.