In the first part of the series of articles you can read about how and where U.S. experts have begun to monitor the Soviet space program, how hard was it to find spies in a Communist dictatorship, and that one of them has been able to expose until now. In the second part they talked about the secret construction of Baikonur and the tragedies that happened because of the rush caused by the desire to catch up with the United States. The Russian begin to work on the rocketplane, but in the race to the moon they finally lost.
On the moon a year before the Americans?
“I am very sorry that we failed to send men to the moon during the life of Sergei Korolev” — wrote in his memoirs, the former First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Nikita Khrushchev. These memories he dictated after his overthrow, and they were published in English in new York in 1977. That’s about it. Western experts could only guess about the background of the Soviet failure in this race.
First more information about this before closely-guarded state secret appeared in the Soviet press in 1989. December 18 at the first page of the New York Times published the headline “Russia finally admitted that he lost the race for the moon.”
“After years of silent opposition and misrepresentation, the Soviet Union admitted that in the 60 years actually competed with the United States over who will land the first men on the moon written by John noble Wilford. — On Sunday, American aerospace engineers, who had returned from Moscow, said that for the first time saw a space ship, which, according to Soviet colleagues, was ready to go to the moon in 1968, i.e. the year before the “Apollo 11″”.
But after the success of “Apollo 11” the representatives of the USSR began to argue that other goals, and many influential Americans believed it, and criticized NASA for money thrown away in vain. Dr. Robert Seamans, Deputy Director of NASA at the time of sending Apollo notes that the United States has long followed the Soviet efforts in this direction. However, Simons added that “so far we have not had any serious evidence of the existence of their plans to land”.
Perestroika and glasnost of Mikhail Gorbachev that will change politics and Economics, supported by the openness with which since the mid 80-ies of the new Soviet leader tried to improve socialism and liberalize society, has opened access to some state secrets.
The collapse of the Soviet lunar program in the 60-70 years signaled more than hinted Mishin and Golovanov. He signaled that the Soviet system had exhausted his inner strength and faced with the objective insurmountable difficulties even in the most prestigious areas. But while foreign observers couldn’t understand because none of them had the opportunity to take in the Soviet corridors.
“Before his death in January 1966, Korolev didn’t know what was going to fail, trust me Boris Chertok in the fall of 1989. — It was still too early to say that we will lose. We had a chance. But Sergei Korolev was very concerned that our electronics, control systems and several other blocks too heavy and do not meet the restrictions that we had established to obtain reliable parameters for the flight to the moon. But finally it all became clear after his death.”
Of the scholars and leaders of only a mathematician Mstislav Keldysh, which did the calculations for missile and nuclear engineers, in the beginning, foresaw the importance of electronics and computers for research, for industry, services and the army. But, for example, a designer of nuclear reactors academician Anatoly Petrovich Alexandrov, subsequently, the successor of the Keldysh President Academy of Sciences, has long been considered electronics and computers stuff. Of course, the last word uneducated functionaries from the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CPSU. The dropout seen in computers are only a tool of statistics, “and statistics, we must strictly control to her insights we have not stolen by Western spies!”
However, the most important argument apparatchiks were primitive ideological persuasion, by investing in computers, we threw the money on technical “intellectualising”, stupid and useless! Later on, when electronics and computers have been able to defend, it was too late. So ideological barrier erected one of the major technical obstacles to safe flight of Soviet citizens on the moon.
The end of the Soviet manned lunar program the CIA did not immediately noticed. In July 1983, in a report to the White house again there was mention of the moon landing, during the 90-ies, as well as sending a crew to Mars.
Flight to the moon: the reason is solely political
What caused the race for the first landing on the moon? Of course, considerations of national prestige and secret preparations for a possible nuclear war. Although all this is not inconsistent with the opinion which I once heard. Some thought space rivalry kind of piston, which released excess steam from the heat radiating locomotives, and thanks to this mutual hostility of the two systems has not resulted in a military conflict. However, this side effect no one thought.
In the 60-ies of the changed psychology of peace: consolidates ideas about peaceful coexistence, as opposed to the opinion of the past years of such a confrontation, described by Stalin. However, among the many Soviet marshals the idea of the rapid attack on Western Europe and the United States remained popular.
Flight to the moon was politically motivated. According to scientific logic, it would be better to first explore near-earth space and then to go to more distant targets. From this point of view of the Soviet orbital station, made out of the political gutter, consistent with scientific logic, which confirmed the further course of the development of space flight.
The success of the project “Apollo-11”, including workshop operation help “Apollo 13” has undoubtedly dealt a blow to the self-esteem of the Kremlin. Soviet leaders had to realize that by doing so was declared not only the loss of their public prestige, but also scientific and technical imperfection and vulnerability of their country. The understanding of this deep abyss, which is overcome only in some narrow areas of weapons systems (though very expensive), ruling elders Moscow was obviously difficult to sleep.
For citizens of countries of the Soviet bloc, as anti-Communists in the USSR, the successes of American astronauts flying to the moon, on the contrary, was a great moral shot.
But the Communist regime did not want to acknowledge this loss, and his leadership and propagandists tried to convince the world that the Soviet Union never planned to send men to the moon. Although everybody knew that those same people have recently made exactly the opposite statement.
For the United States the success of the “Apollo” was vital. He returned to ordinary American citizens the credibility of their scientific and technical basis and their democratic system is the trust that has been undermined the previous Soviet space triumph. It turned out that when this great democratic nation with a strong industrial and scientific base carefully and with zeal taken for a project, there isn’t a opponent, which could be compared to him.
The impenetrability of the Soviet system
On the other hand, it is unclear how the U.S. has failed to recognize the chaos which reigned in the leadership of the Soviet space program, and do not understand how everyone has to improvise. Why aerospace and electronic spying has brought Americans so little information about the Soviet space program? Why even the monitoring of Soviet and East European media didn’t tell you the enormous difficulties faced moon program? The reasons could be several.
First, affected by the tightness of the Soviet cosmic censorship and discipline of tens of thousands of dedicated. However, the reports of the CIA on the Soviet space program something reported, but they were incomplete and they were not the overall picture.
In addition, Western intelligence agencies are still not declassified all of its information. The CIA was undoubtedly the agents in the environment of high-ranking party and government functionaries, military officials and representatives of the state security system. Their reports were intended for a narrow circle devoted. Available to the General public, these messages can’t be even today in order not to jeopardize the sources. This is a common system of protection agents. The same applies to the informant at OKB-1, which we know from the Library of President Johnson.
It is also possible that the Americans deliberately did not publish some of the data obtained technical intelligence means. The US does not want to give out all that can see, hear and fix their equipment.
Of course, propaganda, and political points of view in the 60 years the US didn’t need to let the world know that the Soviet Union refused to race for the moon, or that he is hopelessly behind, and why the US is in no hurry. Project Apollo was gaining momentum, gave work to hundreds of thousands of people, and mobilized millions of people, creating an image of a huge rivalry with the ideological enemy — all this was necessary for the United States and the Western world. Soviet propagandists later understood the boomerang effect — only when they have no one believed.
Under Mikhail Gorbachev the economic expansion of the Communist powers has accelerated. The West followed closely the development of the situation. In August 1991, before the failed coup of the Stalinists in Moscow, the CIA reported that the disintegration of the Soviet Union will make impossible the development of missiles in the near future.
Attempt to destroy the “Apollo 11”?
The Kremlin was interested in the expedition of the Americans to the moon ended in failure. Interesting evidence of this leading Russian specialist Alexander Zheleznyakov. According to his traditionally reliable sources, in the spring of 1969 agent from Moscow was sent to the headquarters of the CIA is a serious warning: “the Soviet intelligence decided not to allow American astronauts landed on the moon, and are willing to do, including destroying an American spacecraft”.
“I do not know from what sources the data is obtained, — wrote Alexander Zheleznyakov in the summer of 2005 in the Moscow magazine “x-files”. — It is possible that it was the result of the fiction of an American agent, is trying to increase your rating in the leadership of the CIA. And maybe it was a conscious disinformation of the Soviet secret police, who decided at least in this way to “annoy” the Americans. And force them to engage in meaningless and useless work. But the fact remains that information about the impending attack on “Apollo-11″ has arrived. By the time the date of start of the first lunar expedition has already been determined and announced, so communication from Moscow seemed very plausible”.
But what exactly was up Soviet spies, no one knew. Intelligence agencies have created a crisis headquarters under the code name “Perekrestok” (Crossroad), which was to avert this threat. Probably the most dangerous could be the ships of the Soviet radar reconnaissance in the Atlantic waters near Cape Canaveral. Staff members of Crossroads agreed that the Navy and naval aviation and security services, should complicate the stay of these ships close to American coasts.
In the spring of 1969 the Americans knew about the two ships under the Soviet flag, the crews of which were pretending to fish. In may before the launch of “Apollo 10” came two more ships. Then the two ships left the region. In early July there were seven Soviet ships.
The command of the us Atlantic fleet sent to the shores of Florida 15 surface ships and seven submarines. Their captains were warned that if necessary they can receive order to use weapons. Counterintelligence planned to electronically “turn off” the Soviet ships: it was created several possible scenarios and according to them training exercises. The national security Agency of the United States, which had intercepted the whole of the Soviet Radiocommunication, gave special attention to the cables, on space flight and Maritime operations.
“The White house was even prepared Directive of the President of the United States armed forces in retaliation for the Soviet Union, says Zheleznyakov. — President Richard Nixon was ready to sign it in the moment when “the spacecraft will be destroyed””. What would happen if the flight failed due to a technical failure, which the Soviet Union would not have a relationship? Unknown.
Actually all was so: the U.S. counterintelligence has completed the last operation before the start of the “Apollo 11”, which was scheduled for 16 July 1969. Crews of military vessels near the spaceport was put on alert. First American sailors watched Soviet ships with radar and listening means remaining invisible. Then the American flotilla approached the Soviet ships.
Half an hour before the scheduled start, at nine o’clock on a summer North American Eastern time, the Americans noticed that on Soviet ships radar reconnaissance included a unit for tracking. 9:05 the captains of the American ships received orders from Washington: “go into full combat readiness! And move closer to their ships!” At 9:10 on Soviet ships appeared the type of aircraft “Orion”, equipped with complex electronic countermeasures.
At 9:20 shore stations, aircraft “Orion” and surface ships included the instrument in all bands and at full power, to interfere with equipment of Soviet ships. 9:32 the rocket was launched, and after nine minutes, the spacecraft went into orbit. At 9:45 was recorded off most of the systems on Soviet ships. At 9:50 the captains of the Navy were ordered to stand down. At the same time, flew the aircraft “Orion”. At ten o’clock, the Pentagon ordered the armed forces to return to daily activities.
“The Americans failed to capture any signal that could be interpreted as a danger for “Apollo 11,” wrote Zheleznyakov. On the official level the fact of carrying out of operation “Crossroads” never confirmed”. However, Zheleznyakov noted that next year the Senate intelligence Committee was puzzled by the amount of 230 million dollars (today it is around two billion), which the previous summer had been spent on tracking Soviet ships radar reconnaissance administered by the Main intelligence Directorate (GRU). The senators doubted the validity of the data received from the agent from Moscow, but decided that by the American special services operation could be useful.
The end of the last third part. The text uses excerpts from the book Karel Pacner “the Secret race for the moon,” which comes out in may of this year.