Author Topic: What if China and Russia initiated the Space Age in the early 1900s?  (Read 5206 times)

Offline dondar

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In the realm of pointless what-iffs, imagine had Vostok 1 flown two years earlier, in 1959, just days before the Mercury 7 astronauts were to be introduced. Eisenhower is president for almost two years, and how would have America reacted then? How would have that affected the 1960 presidential election?
they would react like they did in real life.
Literally nothing would change.

Apollo program is the result of von Brawn activism, Kennedy's death which had amplified his populist decision (no way he would get the necessary financing within required timeline) and .... a failure of existing American space program to book any results by 1961.
The US had space program (the national program from the beginning of the second Ike term), they were going usual relaxed pace though.
P.S. the short intensive timeline of the Apollo program was one of the necessary ingredients of it's success and is the essential feature of all successful endeavors.

Offline Eric Hedman

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What if I had a chia pet?
You can still buy one and find out.

P.S. welcome to the forum

Offline Steve G

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I disagree that nothing would have changed. Had the Soviets launched Vostok 1 in 1959, Eisenhower would not have gone for the moon. He already thought of the Soviet space program as a publicity stunt, and Nixon, meeting with Khrushchev, bragged that America had colour TVs. During the 1960 presidential debate, Kennedy famously remarked that he thought rocket thrust was more important that colour TVs. Nixon wasn't big on space, as we later found out. Also, Kennedy was much more hawkish against communists than was Nixon.

That said, with a year and a half left in the Eisenhower administration, I think he would have held the course with the original Apollo plans (Several threads on that) but maybe accelerated it. There were also plans for a block II Mercury (not Gemini) where they may, with some form of second stage for the Atlas, had longer duration Mercury flights, controlled re-entry, and some manoeuvring demonstration before Apollo came on line. There were even proposals for a Mercury mini space station for a two week flight. They might have approved the C3 rocket, (With 2 F1s for the first stage) for space stations and lunar flyby, but no C5. I don't think the Saturn 1 would have turned out the same with the underpowered SIV as flown as they would have needed better performance for Apollo.

Meanwhile, the Soviets would have launched a woman before America launched a man into orbit, driving Americans into a frenzy, Kennedy would have won the election by a wider margin than he did, I believe, and he still would have called for a landing on the moon. But with Apollo kickstarted, I doubt there would have been a Gemini program and maybe the C3 would have coexisted with the Saturn 1 and Saturn V had its development been advanced enough.

Same outcome but with a few differences in the middle.


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