Do you think a joint lunar program would have gone better than the Apollo project?


Both Kennedy and Krushchev had expressed interest, to hedge their bets with rival lunar programs.

I doubt either side would cooperate on technologies too close to weapons requirements. So no cooperation on engine design, and not necessarily any cooperation on guidance.

I doubt the Apollo CSM could be replaced without significant delays, and the early Soyuz 7K-OK had… worse quality control and safety problems than the Apollo Block I.

I think the most likely opportunities for cooperation would involve an early Salyut-style space station, effectively moving the Apollo Applications Program earlier in the process, and/or involve discussions of spacesuits, safety, and research. Since the Soviets were using air, they might have objected to pure oxygen and prevented the Apollo 1 disaster. Since the Americans were testing alternative parachutes with Gemini, they might have insisted on parachute standards and averted the Soyuz 1 disaster.



Apollo-Soyuz was a long time coming, and I think it required Apollo 8’s earthrise photo to make people on both sides realize that any race was pointless when we were so alone as a planet. Apollo 11’s plaque about coming for all mankind and 15’s plaque listing Cosmonauts were also big steps away from the race.

So I think both sides had to go through shitty losses and setbacks before deciding they could come together.


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