PDA

View Full Version : BBC TV, Cosmonauts: how Russia won the space race.


joy ride
25th Feb 2015, 08:38
On TV last night. Fascinating programme. Most TV space coverage here focusses on US space programmes, but this programme covered the less well known Soviet triumphs and tragedies. Pretty good programme, possibly on iPlayer, worth a look, IMO.

wiggy
25th Feb 2015, 09:52
I think this has been doing the rounds on BBC late night for a few months now, it had a mention in the Miitary forum a while back and BA are even "carrying" what I think is a longer 90 minute version of it for viewing on some of their flights.

Nevertheless you're right it's a fascinating watch..and for anyone interested in the Soviet program I'll pass on the recommendation I got from someone (sorry, the name escapes me but thanks):

NASA - NASA Completes Publication of Boris Chertok's Rockets and People Memoir Series (http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/feb/HQ_12-054_Chertok_Rockets_and_People.html)

Four volumes, free download, but make sure you have lots of time available to read it all..I'm still working through volume 2 - well written, absolutely eye opening stuff about both the Soviet Space program and in the early parts there's a lot of detail of the Soviet 1930's aviation industry, including the joys of working under Uncle Joe...apparently if some one, even very junior, suddenly stopped coming into work and was never seen again you learnt not to ask why...:sad:

joy ride
25th Feb 2015, 10:54
Cheers Wiggy, might have a browse.

joy ride
25th Feb 2015, 11:51
I wondered about that hair-raising bit too, perhaps they had a bleed-off valve, but just slightly risky opening it in orbit!

OFSO
25th Feb 2015, 12:21
Most TV space coverage here focusses on US space programmes,

True, and UK never mentions the European Space Agency, been going since the 1960's, has orbited hundreds of spacecraft, done pioneering missions the Americans wouldn't touch, trained many astronauts - and is completely ignored by the British, despite providing them with an industry employing thousands of people.

wiggy
25th Feb 2015, 12:31
perhaps they had a bleed-off valve

He (Leonov) did, not sure how he manipulated though.

OFSO

.... UK never mentions the European Space Agency, been going since the 1960's, has orbited hundreds of spacecraft, done pioneering missions the Americans wouldn't touch, trained many astronauts - and is completely ignored by the British, despite providing them with an industry employing thousands of people.

:ok:

My late father worked for a machine tool company involved very very indirectly with the Black Arrow project..remind us again how that ended up....:ugh:

joy ride
25th Feb 2015, 12:56
The official excuse that UKGov.con gave was that there was no commercial application for space, even though satellites, communication and military uses were already blindly obvious to everyone.

The only good thing to come of the demise of British Rocketry is that instead of being destroyed or packed up and sent Westwards, it was packed up and sent Eastwards to France and initiated what has become Arianne, the most successful and profitable launch system in the world.

The old test base on the Isle of Wight isa recommended visit, best way up there being the great ride on the open top deck of the bus, it's as good as a roller-coaster!


Gulp:

http://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss260/Captain_Bubble/isle%20of%20wight/SDC10707.jpg

OFSO
25th Feb 2015, 13:51
remind us again how that ended up

And your point is ?

Had the British put the same effort into developing a launcher (which is, by the way, thrust into space by a commercial organisation, separate now, and always was, from the European Space Agency) they to would now have a welcome source of income on their hands, just as France does.

teeteringhead
25th Feb 2015, 14:23
One always thought that the Russkies' early advantage in the space-race was down to them not being able to make "buckets of sunshine" small enough.

The logic as explained to me went thusly:

Rocket development in 40s/50s/60s was primarily for the delivery of nukes. Problem was, the rockets weren't big/strong enough to carry the bombs.

USA solution: Make smaller bombs.

USSR solution: Make bigger rockets.

So, come the space-race - Sputnik 1 1957 IIRC - the Russians had more "big rocket technology".

Alternatively (or perhaps additionally), as was said at the time:

"The Russians' Germans were better than the Americans' Germans!"

wiggy
25th Feb 2015, 14:48
OFSO

And your point is ?


Ouch...:uhoh: Remind me not to disagree with you...

OFSO, my "point" was that seeing as amongst other things my Father's employers lost a lot business when the UK binned Black Arrow I agreed very much with your comments regarding the UK and space...........apologies if didn't come across that way. Living not a million miles from Toulouse I'm also well aware of how well the French have done out of "space"....something they're not shy about covering on TV.

TH

One always thought that the Russkies' early advantage in the space-race was down to them not being able to make "buckets of sunshine" small enough.


I think that's Chertok's opinion as well, though there's another POV that the US also had the advantage of having allies willing to have intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles based close in to the USSR.....

OFSO
25th Feb 2015, 15:17
something they're not shy about covering on TV.

Actually the whole of Europe's Member States in ESA (and Canada which participates in ESA programs) have done well out of space: my point was that only the Brits act as if NASA (and perhaps the Russkies) had any involvement. Europe ? Forget it.

On a more general note the impression which the UK media gives is that (and don't laugh because I've heard it said) the Ariane launcher programns are a failure as they "always crash". As far as ESA goes - spacecraft - hardly ever gets a mention. In Germany (my home country, more or less) and France (where I still work) and even in Spain, ESA gets a lot of news.

However that leads us into discussion of how awful generally the UK media is - entertaining but awful. Whereas in Germany, France, and Spain, the media isn't awful. Just boring.

AtomKraft
25th Feb 2015, 15:35
Watched that BBC prog on the Russkis, and enjoyed it.

But...
Why no mention of Buran, lunakhod, or the rocket engine developed by the USSR that's now used by NASA?

I guess they were short of time.

SOPS
25th Feb 2015, 15:36
Talking about Russians in space, many moons ago ( sorry bad pun ) didn't someone post on here an audio recording of a women cosmonaut dying in space. Reportably in the 1950s or 60s.

If I remember correctly, it was quite eerie.

tdracer
25th Feb 2015, 16:45
One always thought that the Russkies' early advantage in the space-race was down to them not being able to make "buckets of sunshine" small enough.


Another aspect was that, initially, the Eisenhower administration had directed that any space exploration be purely civilian - he didn't want us using converted military rockets to boost satellites. That didn't work out so well Project Vanguard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Vanguard) :eek:. It was only after the rather dramatic and embarrassing failure of Vanguard that Explorer (launched on a converted Redstone military missile) got the go ahead.


The Saturn series were the first successful US built non-military rockets capable of putting significant payloads into orbit.

Lonewolf_50
25th Feb 2015, 18:12
TV-4 achieved a stable orbit with an apogee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsis) of 3,969 kilometers (2466 mi) and a perigee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsis) of 650 kilometers (404 mi). It was estimated that it would remain in orbit for at least 240 years, and it was renamed Vanguard 1, which remains the oldest human-made satellite still in orbit. You might say that the Navy took a bit longer to get it up, but they've kept it up a lot longer than the others. :}

hoofie
27th Feb 2015, 06:30
The book Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin has a great section on Blue Streak amongst other great achievements.

You could cry over the technological lead that we lost :{ to go with so many other world-beating ideas that we gave up on or handed over to someone else.

A highly recommended read.

If you consider that NASA [for the moment] has given up on manned space flight it's sobering to think that the Russians are STILL doing it with old but stunningly reliable designs.

wiggy
27th Feb 2015, 06:41
SOPS

didn't someone post on here an audio recording of a women cosmonaut dying in space. Reportably in the 1950s or 60s.

If I remember correctly, it was quite eerie.

...and completely fabricated...

OFSO

However that leads us into discussion of how awful generally the UK media is - entertaining but awful. Whereas in Germany, France, and Spain, the media isn't awful. Just boring.

:) worse still there's what we used to call "Baroness Ashton news..." also known as "Euronews".....

but sorry, I digress.........:bored:

chuks
27th Feb 2015, 08:10
That's an interesting thing, trying to define the "space race." If we name that as "first to put a satellite up," and "first to put a man into space," then the Russians clearly won.

I still remember riding my bicycle down Elizabeth Street and seeing the screaming headlines about Sputnik, that first artificial satellite, put into orbit by the USSR when our own Vanguard rockets were still blowing up. (There was even a short story in "Boy's Life," the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America, about a sniper team there at Cape Canaveral operating on behalf of the Commies, causing our rockets to fail by shooting them!)

After Sputnik we had a big re-vamp of our education system meant to raise a generation of young scientists that should let us catch and pass them Russkies ... "hysteria" about summed that up. Teaching Johnny and Susie to do algebra was not quite what was called for, so that we ended up with the Woodstock Generation by the time we did land on the Moon.

Kennedy made the race to the Moon our new priority since we were already down 2:0 at that point, just when he had set us on a course of confrontation with Global Communism starting with his inaugural address.

That next step, being the "first to put a man on the Moon," was clearly won by the USA, at which point we declared victory, had a parade, and pretty much quit!

I just saw a news item that said Russia was going to pull out of the ISS, to do their own space station. Here we go again!

Personally, I hope that we stick with unmanned exploration, since we do seem to be having quite a bit of success with that. All that stuff by Robert Heinlein that I loved reading as a child, Have Spacesuit Will Travel and such ... just fantasy, sadly enough.

joy ride
27th Feb 2015, 08:26
Agree with hoofie, Francis Spufford's book The Backroom Boys is superb and highly recommended. The only problem with it for me is that I am lees optimistic about the opportunities for a new generation of British boffins.

It seems to me that British business is rapidly being bought by foreign multi-nationals and worse still, industrial property is disappearing fast. UK is now controlled by Big Money and Bureaucrats, a deadly combination which demolishes every building and site, and turn it into offices, flats or retail parks. A nation of office workers that has no room for boffins, craftspeople, independent engineering companies etc..

Octane
3rd Mar 2015, 13:18
The UK had a "state of the art" launch facility in Woomera, South Australia. Built in the late '40s at God knows what cost to the taxpayer. So the UK was in "the business" in the early days but it came to an end in the '60s I think. Perhaps they didn't have enough UK/ Germans?!
Woomera is now operational again and I believe quite busy. Can't help but think the opportunities were there back then but the foresight or maybe budget wasn't there...

OFSO
3rd Mar 2015, 14:41
And now ESA's got one in Perth:

Perth station / Operations / Our Activities / ESA (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Perth_station)

From quite a long list of ESA telemetry, telecomand and tracking stations:

Kiruna station (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Kiruna_station)
Kourou station (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Kourou_station)
Maspalomas station (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Maspalomas_station)
Perth station
Redu station (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Redu_station)
Santa Maria station (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Santa_Maria_station)
Villafranca station (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Villafranca_station)
New Norcia - DSA 1 (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/New_Norcia_-_DSA_1)
Cebreros - DSA 2 (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Cebreros_-_DSA_2)
MalargŁe - DSA 3 (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Malarguee_-_DSA_3)
Svalbard station (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Svalbard_station)
Dongara station (http://www.prioranet.com/?id=9843)
TrollSat station (http://www.ksat.no/Products/Trollsat.htm)
Santiago station (http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Santiago_station)
South Point station (http://www.prioranet.com/?id=9855)

Many are automated, controlled from Darmstadt (D)

joy ride
3rd Mar 2015, 17:53
UK to get back to space?

BBC News - UK ministers issue spaceport shortlist (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31711083)

Perhaps now that we have repaid all our war debts we might not be under the same pressure to close it all down again?

G-CPTN
3rd Mar 2015, 20:18
RAF Spadeadam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Spadeadam)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Streak_(missile)

Windy Militant
5th Mar 2015, 23:11
I can't remember where it was, might have been the excellent Vertical Empire or the BIS Blue Streak book there was a spec for the fuel for the missile which ran for several pages and right at the end there was a comment something to the effect Available commercially as Esso Blue!
Puts the whole programme in perspective.;)