Path to the Stars - An alternate spaceflight TL

Post 1
What would have happened if some major events from the Space Race had gone differently? That's what I want to explore with this series, from all the way from the start. In this TL, my first that ive ever attempted, i will aim to change the timeline as much as possible, and aim to have all of the major launches and missions to have different outcomes.

Path to the Stars
Part 1
10/4/57. As people all around the world went through their daily routine, the news no-one wants to hear arrives. A metal ball, 58cm in diameter and weighing 84kg, is whirling around the earth at 27500km/h.
This ball, named Sputnik 1, is a satellite launched on a Soviet R-7 ICBM. In the US this causes panic as it was believed that the US was in the lead when it came to ICBM technology and research. Pressure was now on the US to launch a satellite of their own. The US had multiple choices when it came to launch vehicles. They had the Thor, which up to this point had had 4/4 flights end in failure, yet only a week after Sputnik 1 it had a successful flight, minus a turbopump issue. There was also Redstone, a small SRBM that was capable of putting a light payload suborbital, and in theory the Jupiter C, a Redstone with solid upper stages could make it to orbit if it was aimed in the right direction. Jupiter and Atlas were also options although up to this point they were both still in development.
This left Vanguard, a project operated by the navy. Consisting of a liquid first and second stage and a solid third, the Vanguard seemed like a good choice. Sputnik 2 launched on 11/3/57, carrying a dog, Laika.
Sputnik 2 also launched on a R-7 ICBM but this time it weighed significantly more, at 508kg. This came as a blow to the Americans as Vanguard could only launch 1.5kg, 338% less than the Soviets. Nonetheless the launch of Vanguard TV-3 was attempted, first on the 12/6/57 but was scrubbed due to an issue that would have caused failure just meters off the pad. With the issue fixed 14 days later on 12/20/57, launch went ahead. Initially, the launch went fine until T+28s into flight when one of the side gimbals locked, putting the vehicle in an irreversible spin. 6s later the sloshing fuel in the tanks from the spin caused loss of thrust, and then flameout of the engine, with the vehicle impacting downrange.
After the failure of TV 3 the public was at awe; How did the Soviet union get 2 successes in a row whilst they had failed on there attempt? Either way it was time for America's next attempt, Juno 1. 2/1/58 - Explorer 1 ignites its redstone first stage, proceeding normally. Then 2nd and 3rd stage. At the end of the 3rd stage burn a sudden yaw motion occurred, and as the 4th stage separated from the 3rd it was knocked by the dead stage and sent off course. With the failure of Explorer 1 and, 4 days later, the Vanguard TV-3 backup, the American public was disappointed by their governments rocket programs.
But then, at the start of March 1958, Explorer 2 and Vanguard 1, 12 days apart, both had successful flights. The Soviet Union stayed quiet when it came to rockets until the middle of may 58', when Sputnik 3 launched. By this point there had been 2 more American launches, a failed Vanguard and the successful Explorer 3. 7/19/58, the first Atlas B launches. Atlas was a missle that the airforce had had in development for years before this launch and, although this launch ended in failure, it was a big step forward in the American spacecraft.
By august America was going for a new goal, the Moon. Pioneer 0, launched on 8/10/58, but due to a turbopump issue exploded 200m of the ground. After Pioneer 0 America launched another 2 Pioneer missions, Both of which ended in failure. On the other side of the world however, in the Soviet Union the odds were in their favour, with Luna 1 flying by the moon on the 1/4/59, after a string of failures.
 
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Post 2
On the 6/18/59 Luna 2 launched, the first Ye E1-A spacecraft, successfully impacted the moon. Having already built a backup, Luna E-1A no. 2 was launched later in September, but due to a manufacturing fault one of the strap on boosters was sheared off during max-q, blowing up shortly after. Whilst the USSR was focusing on the moon the USA had formed NASA, a government organisation aimed to further the USA’s presence in space.
Unlike the Soviet Union, NASA’s focus was not the moon. NASA had its sights set on another program, Hercules. Hercules was a crewed spacecraft that was supposed to put America’s first man; The world’s first man, in space. America continued their Lunar programme though, with Pioneer 3 and 4. Pioneer 3 was launched on 12/6/58, but the Juno II’s guidance system failed mid flight, sending the rocket off course and terminated. Pioneer 4 however was launched on the 3rd of March 59’, flying by the moon and becoming the second flyby of the moon.
The USSR, meanwhile, was working on another luna mission. 3 spacecraft were built, with the first 2 failing due to launch failures, the 3rd attempt, Luna 3, flew by the moon on 4/16/60. At the end of 1959 project Hercules had its first launch, Little Joe 1 on 8/21/59. Just as ignition occurred the LES fired, pulling the capsule away and smashing into the ground 23s later. Next was Hercules-Thor 0, a test of the capsule on Thor, as the Titan I that the spacecraft was due to launch on was not yet ready. There were also numerous other Little Joe launches that year and the next, concluding with Little Joe 6A on November 17 1960. This continued NASAs phasing out of Atlas in favour of Titan.
Meanwhile in the Soviet Union the Korabl-Sputnik 1 mission was launched. The spacecraft made it to orbit successfully, but whilst in orbit the attitude control system failed leaving the spacecraft uncontrolled. The Korabl-Sputnik 1 spacecraft was not the full Vostok spacecraft, with the LES and capsule heat shield removed. Korabl-Sputnik 2 launched two and a half months later, carrying 2 dogs to orbit, although they burnt up upon re-entry. Half a month later Korabl-Sputnik 3 survived all the way to parachute deployment, where the parachute failed and the capsule crashed. Finally in December 1960 Korabl-Sputnik 4 carried 2 dogs to orbit and back, landing safely in the plains of Kazakhstan.
Korabl-Sputnik 5 was launched to orbit in March 61’, landing successfully but due to an issue tracking the capsule throughout descent it was terminated before touchdown. Then on the 3/25/61 Korabl-Sputnik 6, a full test of the Vostok spacecraft, Successfully completed all tests and landed safely. The Americans had been rushing development of the Titan I missile, with 9 ordered for the Hercules program. There was also Thor, of which 12 were ordered for Hercules. The Hercules Thor flights 0-7 were to be unmanned tests, with 8-11 to be manned.
Hercules Thor 1 launched on 11/2/59, although 17 seconds into flight the rocket suddenly exploded, with the abort tower pulling the capsule clear, although the main parachute tore upon deployment, leaving the capsule to impact the sea, destroying the capsule. This error was corrected and one month later the Hercules Thor 2 mission succeeded in all goals and was successfully recovered. On the 2/14/60 Hercules Thor 3 lost control, with the abort tower saving the capsule.
Hercules Thor 4 had a parachute failure that led it to smash into the ocean, and Hercules Thor 5 was aborted after the engine shut down mere meters off the pad. This led to severe damage to the pad, which would take half a year to complete.
During this time the Hercules Thor was thoroughly tested, with any issues fixed ready for Hercules Thor 6. Hercules Thor 6 launched 2/18/61, having a fully successful mission and, 3 months later, Hercules Thor 7 was the final uncrewed test and fully succeeded, leading the way for Hercules Thor 8. Hercules Titan 1-4 were the intended uncrewed Titan I flights. The first 2 Hercules Titan flights went well, on the 4/1/60 and the 10/5/60 respectively. Hercules Titan 3, however, had one side of the LR-87 fail, leading to a failure 78s into flight. Hercules Titan 4 remedies this though, with a full success on 10/17/61.
 
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Post 3
Path to the Stars
Part 3
Whilst the Soviet lunar program had been postponed until Vostok had been completed, the American Ranger program had begun. Ranger 1 and 2 were LEO tests of the spacecraft bus. Ranger 1 launched late August 1961 and successfully made it to LEO, although the spacecraft failed only seconds after separation from its Agena stage. Ranger 2 launched in November that year, but the booster skirt clipped the center engine of the Atlas upon separation, resulting in loss of thrust and loss of the vehicle. Ranger 3 was next, with this one actually going to the moon. Launched in January 62’ on a Titan 2B (Titan 2 with an Agena upper stage), Ranger 3 had a successful launch, but failed to complete a course correction, leading to it missing the moon by 35844 km.
3 months later Ranger 4’s LR-91 second stage engine exploded upon ignition, losing both the spacecraft and rocket. Ranger 5, the last block II ranger spacecraft successfully launched to the moon on the 10/21/62, but a comms issue meant the spacecraft was lost. Also around 1962 were the first two interplanetary launches for NASA, Mariner 1 and 2. The Mariner program had started in 1960, with a plan for 24 interplanetary launches between 1962 and 1975, ending with a double rover mission to Mars.
The program was estimated to cost $3B over its lifespan of 13 years, which was within NASA’s budget but still extremely high.Mariner 1 and 2 were destined for Venus on a Titan 2B, hoping to beat the Soviets there. Whilst Mariner 1’s launch went off without a hitch, sending the probe straight at Venus, Mariner 2’s Agena failed to reignite in orbit, leaving the probe stranded in orbit.
The Soviets had launched Mars 1 and 2 by that point, in 1960 and 62 respectively. Mars 1 lost contact mid coast phase, but Mars 2 made a successful flyby, although the atmospheric probe lost connection immediately upon release. They had also launched Venera 1, 2 and 3, Venera 1 had a solar panel deployment issue after launch, leading to loss of electricity, Venera 2 was launched one year later in 1962 along with Venera 3, although both failed during the coast phase to Venus.
Vostok 1 was launched 4/12/61, putting Yuri Gagarin into low orbit of the earth on a Vostok K rocket.
Around 60 minutes later the retro rockets fired bringing Vostok 1 back through the atmosphere and down to earth. Only 2 weeks later Hercules Thor 8 launched, putting Alan Shepard into space, although only for ~20m. Then there was Hercules Thor 9 with Gus Grissom and Hercules Thor 10 with Gordon Cooper in late 1961, and Vostok 2 with Gherman Titov in August 61’.
The last Hercules Thor flight, Hercules Thor 11 with Wally Schirra in February 1962. Then in August 1962 the Soviets got another first - First multi crewed space flight. Vostok 3 and 4, with Andriyan Nikolayev and Pavel Popovich. Vostok 3 orbited for 4 days and Vostok 4 for 3. Hercules Titan 5 was launched in September with John Glenn, Hercules Titan 6 in December with Scott Carpenter and in March Hercules Titan 7, with Alan Shepard, the first time someone had completed 2 spaceflights. Then another multi spacecraft flight in June, with Vostok 5 and 6 orbiting at the same time, with Vostok 6 having the world’s first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova and Vostok 5 having Valery Bykovsky. Vostok 5 orbited for 5 days, setting a record for the time.
Then, Hercules Titan 8, the first with an upgraded service module, planned to fly Gordon Cooper, was readied for launch. On the 7/4/63 it launched, and only meters off the pad one of the 2 LR-87 engines failed, triggering the abort tower, pulling the capsule clear before deploying the parachutes and landing 700m away. Immediately after this the Hercules program was grounded, with the next mission, Hercules Titan 9 being postponed by 6 months, to 2/16/64. In that time Vostok 7 launched with Viktor Gorbatko for a 8 day mission, and Vostok 8 and 9, which used heavily modified Vostok spacecraft, letting the two spacecraft attempt a rendezvous in December 1963, but the rendezvous failed. Vostok 8 with Vladimir Komarov lasted 9 days and Vostok 9 had Alexei Leonov and lasted 12 days, a record that would last for many years. With the first lot of crewed spaceflight completed, It was time for the development of a second era of crewed spaceflight.
 
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10/4/57. As people all around the world went through their daily routine, the news no-one wants to hear arrives.
No one aside from the Soviet leadership and nearly all of the Soviet population, and millions of other Communists around, and politically indifferent space enthusiasts, and very likely many space-science workers in the US who expect major funding increases.

BTW, the big "walls of text" are very hard to read. Add a few paragraph breaks and the text becomes much more accessible.
 
Very interesting !
The POD seem a larger string of failures for the early US program and a hastened manned program, I'm I right ?

Anyway, I always welcome additional space althistory !
 
Very interesting !
The POD seem a larger string of failures for the early US program and a hastened manned program, I'm I right ?
Kinda? I was going for a rushed yet lengthend early manned program, and getting rid of the mid program (Gemini and Voskhod). Another main goal is the phasing out of Atlas and making Titan the main US launch vehicle.
 
Post 4
Thanks for the advice for my last post, in this post i've included more paragraph breaks like recommended.
Path to the Stars
Part 4
“We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon...We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”
—John F. Kennedy 9/12/1962

Starting in 1962 NASA had a new goal - Man on the moon. But before that could happen the USA needed a new spacecraft,which was dependent on the mission mode. There were three main proposals - Direct ascent, Lunar orbit Rendezvous and Earth orbit Rendezvous, Both the Direct ascent and LOR would require a new launch vehicle family, whilst EOR could be achieved with a heavily modified Titan.

Direct assent was going to be a massive task, requiring a gigantic rocket, something that would take more than the 8 years that had been allocated by JFK, so it was quickly silenced by NASA due to its massive cost.

LOR was also considered, but the rocket required would also be great and require the creation of multiple engines that would only be ready by 1968, much too late for a landing in 1969.

Eventually it was decided to go with EOR, with 3 launches per mission, one for the lander, one for the crew/transfer stage and one for a fuel reserve that would be used by the transfer stage for TLI. After a detailed study, a final design was chosen. The crew/transfer vehicle would consist of a 4m diameter 2.4m long capsule, dubbed Zeus, and its service module, which combined would weigh 7T dry and 13.4T wet, and had 2 km/s of Delta V. Along with the Zeus CSM there was the transfer stage, Centaur X. Centaur X is a 4m diameter Centaur stage, weighing 49.6T wet and 63T combined with the Zeus. Due to this high mass a large rocket would be needed.

This was how the Titan large body, an 8m diameter Titan that used 4 large hypergolic engines on the first stage, dubbed CSPS (Core Stage Propulsion System) that would be developed throughout 1964-1966 that would fly along with 12 RL-10’s on the second stage, creating the Centaur XL-1, and 2-8 UA 1207 SRM’s mounted to the first stage, which all combined can put 55-80T in LEO and a first launch slated for 1967, with 16 being ordered from Lockheed Martin, totaling $160M per launch.

The next segment of the EOR mission was the fuel reserve, which contained extra LH2 and LOX for the Centaur, as well as a pressurised cargo section, crew tunnel, solar panels and an airlock for EVA’s, totaling 9.5T dry and 46T wet, requiring a Titan large body with 2 SRM’s. The crew would stay in the fuel reserve during the trip due to its ~90m3 of space.

The third launch, the lunar lander, was a small lander that can put 2 men on the surface of the moon, weighing 14.3T. It was impractical to launch the lander on a Titan large body, so a smaller launch vehicle was needed. This would also be a titan derivative, Called the Titan 3 Core. The name was pretty self evident, it was a cluster of 3 Titan II cores as well as a high energy second stage, using 4 RL-10-A-3 engines. The 3rd stage was a Centaur X, and could just put 15T in orbit, enough for both the lander or a Zeus. Due to a lack of new components other than the second stage, meaning a first orbital launch by 1965.

The plan for the Zeus program was as follows:

August 1963 - March 1965 - 3 suborbital launches of the Titan 3 Core first stage with dummy second stage’s.

January 1964 - September 1966 - 5 Zeus capsule abort tests, 3 with boilerplate capsules and 2 with full capsules.

June 1565 - November 1966 - 4 orbital uncrewed Zeus spacecraft tests.

January 1967 - June 1968 - 7 Crewed orbital launches of the Zeus capsules to test the skills required for orbital rendezvous and docking, as well as long duration spaceflight and spacewalking.

October 1967 - February 1968 - 2 test launches of the Titan large body.

March 1968 - Test launch of lander.

August 1968 - Crewed lunar flyby

September 1968 - Crewed lunar orbit

December 1968 - Crewed test of the whole system, Lander to come within 8 km from the surface.

May 1969 - March 1971 - 5 Crewed landings.
 
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So, it looks like von Braun will be shut out as far as launch vehicles go. The Saturn 1 had been flying since October 1961 in OTL. What was happening with it in your time line?
 
So, it looks like von Braun will be shut out as far as launch vehicles go. The Saturn 1 had been flying since October 1961 in OTL. What was happening with it in your time line?
I didnt really think too much about that to be honest, probably was shushed by NASA due to his history and went back to working with the US Army.
 
Post 5
Path to the Stars
Part 5
The Soviets had always had a plan to land a crew on the moon, but by the mid 70’s or early 80’s, rushing to a landing by 1969 was going to require the rush of the soviets moon program. The Prodvigat program had been in the works since 1964, with a first crewed launch slated for 1967. But due to the rush of the American's program the Soviet Union rushed the Prodvigat program and got rid of things like the orbital module and the 3rd crew member, reducing the weight to ~6T and allowing it to be launched on a Soyuz Rocket.
Prodvigat.png

The Soviets had already long settled for the LOR approach, with the LA (Lunnyy Avantyurist) lander being able to carry one crew member to the surface and weighing 6T. From this they needed a launch vehicle - the N1 rocket - a large, fully new rocket created by Sergei Korolev, who had barely survived a botched surgery in 1966.
Unmanned exploration had been progressing since 1962, with the 1964 Venus window having 6 missions launched, 2 flybys by the US and 3 atmospheric probes by the USSR.
Of the US probes Mariner 3 successfully flew by Venus, coming within 400km of the planet. Mariner 4 failed to deploy its solar panels, with contact lost once the batteries ran out. The soviet atmospheric probes had all but one survive launch, being named Venera 4,5 and 6. Whilst Venera 4 and 5 were lost during transfer, Venera 6 successfully reached Venus, entering the atmosphere but burning up early, recording atmospheric pressures much larger than expected.
Later that year there was a transfer window to Mars. During this transfer window 4 missions were launched, Mariner 5/6 and Mars 3/4. Of those launches only 3 had successful launches, Mariner 6 had a successful flyby, as well as Mars 4, but Mars 3 lost contact during the coast phase.
In 1965 the decision was made to scale back the Mariner Program, from 24 missions to 16, to save cost. The new program plan was:
Mariner 7/8 - Venus Orbiters/Landers in 1967
Mariner 8/9 - Mars Orbiter/Landers in 1969
Mariner 10/11 - Mars Orbiter/Landers in 1971
Mariner 12 - Venus Orbiter/Lander/Balloon in 1972
Mariner 13 - Jupiter Flyby in 1972
Mariner 14 - Mercury/Venus Flyby in 1973
Mariner 15 - Jupiter/Saturn Flyby in 1973
Mariner 16 - Mars Rover in 1975
Due to this, as well as the increasing cost of Prodvigat, the Soviet Union culled significant parts of its interplanetary programs, going from 63 total planned missions down to only 48, with more cuts more than likely.
Also in 1965 Venera 7 launched, Flying by Venus in March 1966, Dropping a lander during the flyby which successfully survived atmospheric entry, only to die after running out of battery during descent.
5/18/66 - After 2 uncrewed test flights of the Prodvigat spacecraft, Prodvigat 1 launched, carrying a crew of 2, Alexi Leonov and Georgy Dobrovski. Upon reaching orbit they immediately had issues, with one of the solar panels getting jammed during launch. However the second one managed to deploy, providing power to the spacecraft. Due to this solar panel issue the spacecraft could only last 28h in orbit, so the planned rendezvous with Prodvigat 2 was cancelled, Although the secondary objective of the mission was still achievable. 10 and a half orbits into the mission the Prodvigat spacecraft was depressurised, the cabin door was opened and Alexi Leonov became the first man to walk in space. Leonov was only able to stay outside the spacecraft for 16 minutes before returning to the spacecraft, where they would remain for 4h until the retro burn.
During the first attempt at a retroburn the automated system pointed the spacecraft the wrong direction, and during the second attempt the spacecraft again aimed the wrong direction. 24.5h into the mission, on the 16th orbit, whilst being manually oriented by Georgy Dobrovsky, Prodvigat 1 fired its main engine, deorbiting the spacecraft for a landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan. 8 minutes later the service module was given the command to separate where it then failed to do so, leaving it connected during reentry into Earth's atmosphere. The service module burnt off during reentry, disintegrating the connections at 70km in altitude.
Minutes after the drogue parachute, then the main parachute, then touchdown. Due to the issue with the service module the spacecraft overshot the predicted landing site by a significant amount, being recovered 4h after initially landing.
In August Prodvigat 2 launched, having most of the issues of the first mission being resolved. This mission, crewed by Boris Volynov and Yuri Artyukhin, was launched with the goal of rendezvousing with Prodvigat 3. Prodvigat 2 successfully made it to orbit, with both panels and the antennas all deploying.
Next was Prodvigat 3, with Aleksei Gubarev and Vasily Lazarev, launching to orbit 3 hours after 2, also having a fully successful launch. Although one of the rendezvous lights mounted on the outside of the capsule to assist with location refused to turn on, the rendezvous was approved nonetheless. The spacecraft came only 14m apart, before separating and returning to earth. The Prodvigat 2 mission lasted 32h and the Prodvigat 3 mission lasted 25h.
 
Path to the Stars
Part 5
The Soviets had always had a plan to land a crew on the moon, but by the mid 70’s or early 80’s, rushing to a landing by 1969 was going to require the rush of the soviets moon program. The Prodvigat program had been in the works since 1964, with a first crewed launch slated for 1967. But due to the rush of the American's program the Soviet Union rushed the Prodvigat program and got rid of things like the orbital module and the 3rd crew member, reducing the weight to ~6T and allowing it to be launched on a Soyuz Rocket.
View attachment 684044
The Soviets had already long settled for the LOR approach, with the LA (Lunnyy Avantyurist) lander being able to carry one crew member to the surface and weighing 6T. From this they needed a launch vehicle - the N1 rocket - a large, fully new rocket created by Sergei Korolev, who had barely survived a botched surgery in 1966.
Unmanned exploration had been progressing since 1962, with the 1964 Venus window having 6 missions launched, 2 flybys by the US and 3 atmospheric probes by the USSR.
Of the US probes Mariner 3 successfully flew by Venus, coming within 400km of the planet. Mariner 4 failed to deploy its solar panels, with contact lost once the batteries ran out. The soviet atmospheric probes had all but one survive launch, being named Venera 4,5 and 6. Whilst Venera 4 and 5 were lost during transfer, Venera 6 successfully reached Venus, entering the atmosphere but burning up early, recording atmospheric pressures much larger than expected.
Later that year there was a transfer window to Mars. During this transfer window 4 missions were launched, Mariner 5/6 and Mars 3/4. Of those launches only 3 had successful launches, Mariner 6 had a successful flyby, as well as Mars 4, but Mars 3 lost contact during the coast phase.
In 1965 the decision was made to scale back the Mariner Program, from 24 missions to 16, to save cost. The new program plan was:
Mariner 7/8 - Venus Orbiters/Landers in 1967
Mariner 8/9 - Mars Orbiter/Landers in 1969
Mariner 10/11 - Mars Orbiter/Landers in 1971
Mariner 12 - Venus Orbiter/Lander/Balloon in 1972
Mariner 13 - Jupiter Flyby in 1972
Mariner 14 - Mercury/Venus Flyby in 1973
Mariner 15 - Jupiter/Saturn Flyby in 1973
Mariner 16 - Mars Rover in 1975
Due to this, as well as the increasing cost of Prodvigat, the Soviet Union culled significant parts of its interplanetary programs, going from 63 total planned missions down to only 48, with more cuts more than likely.
Also in 1965 Venera 7 launched, Flying by Venus in March 1966, Dropping a lander during the flyby which successfully survived atmospheric entry, only to die after running out of battery during descent.
5/18/66 - After 2 uncrewed test flights of the Prodvigat spacecraft, Prodvigat 1 launched, carrying a crew of 2, Alexi Leonov and Georgy Dobrovski. Upon reaching orbit they immediately had issues, with one of the solar panels getting jammed during launch. However the second one managed to deploy, providing power to the spacecraft. Due to this solar panel issue the spacecraft could only last 28h in orbit, so the planned rendezvous with Prodvigat 2 was cancelled, Although the secondary objective of the mission was still achievable. 10 and a half orbits into the mission the Prodvigat spacecraft was depressurised, the cabin door was opened and Alexi Leonov became the first man to walk in space. Leonov was only able to stay outside the spacecraft for 16 minutes before returning to the spacecraft, where they would remain for 4h until the retro burn.
During the first attempt at a retroburn the automated system pointed the spacecraft the wrong direction, and during the second attempt the spacecraft again aimed the wrong direction. 24.5h into the mission, on the 16th orbit, whilst being manually oriented by Georgy Dobrovsky, Prodvigat 1 fired its main engine, deorbiting the spacecraft for a landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan. 8 minutes later the service module was given the command to separate where it then failed to do so, leaving it connected during reentry into Earth's atmosphere. The service module burnt off during reentry, disintegrating the connections at 70km in altitude.
Minutes after the drogue parachute, then the main parachute, then touchdown. Due to the issue with the service module the spacecraft overshot the predicted landing site by a significant amount, being recovered 4h after initially landing.
In August Prodvigat 2 launched, having most of the issues of the first mission being resolved. This mission, crewed by Boris Volynov and Yuri Artyukhin, was launched with the goal of rendezvousing with Prodvigat 3. Prodvigat 2 successfully made it to orbit, with both panels and the antennas all deploying.
Next was Prodvigat 3, with Aleksei Gubarev and Vasily Lazarev, launching to orbit 3 hours after 2, also having a fully successful launch. Although one of the rendezvous lights mounted on the outside of the capsule to assist with location refused to turn on, the rendezvous was approved nonetheless. The spacecraft came only 14m apart, before separating and returning to earth. The Prodvigat 2 mission lasted 32h and the Prodvigat 3 mission lasted 25h.
Superb! A-1! Bravo!
 
Nice installment, do Korolev surviving mean that Petrovsky (the operating doctor) decided to not remove or didn't found the tumor ? If that is the case, Korolev is going to have serious health issues in the coming years.
 
Nice installment, do Korolev surviving mean that Petrovsky (the operating doctor) decided to not remove or didn't found the tumor ? If that is the case, Korolev is going to have serious health issues in the coming years.
The doctor didnt remove the tumor, Korolev will probably die in around ~1969, long enough for the N1 to be fully developed.
 
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