AHC: Chinese to the Moon in the 70s/80s

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Emperor Norton I, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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    Inspired by this thread, as well as the proposals in NASA to use Gemini to barnstorm the Moon. During the early 70s, the Chinese had a planned space vehicle, called the Shuguang 1, which would be launched with a Long March 2C rocket into space. The whole thing was basically a Chinese ripoff of Gemini. The whole thing got caught up in China's political chaos and ended before it got anywhere. Had it launched, China would have been the third nation to independently put a man into space almost 30 years before it actually did. Given how backwards China still was during the era of the 1970s, that would make it all the more astounding.

    Going off of the idea that Chinese efforts to get into space seriously during the 70s really did take off, the challenge here is to use that as the basis to put a Chinese man on the Moon sometime in the 70s or sometime in the 1980s. And what would result from the Chinese making that effort and possibly succeeding in it?

    http://www.astronautix.com/craft/shuuang1.htm
    http://falsesteps.wordpress.com/201...d-shuguang-1-the-first-chinese-space-program/
    http://www.dragoninspace.com/humanspaceflight/project714.aspx
    http://news.discovery.com/space/his...moon-with-the-gemini-space-capsule-130201.htm
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/05/gemini-on-the-moon-1962/
    http://www.astronautix.com/articles/bygemoon.htm
    http://www.citizensinspace.org/2012/04/historical-note-how-gemini-landed-neil-armstrong-on-the-moon/
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  2. Orville_third Banned

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    Doctor Tsien would become even more of a household name, which could become controversial after people remember how the US kicked him out, which could also mean Nixon not going to China.
     
  3. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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    I'd also like to mention the fact that this would mean the Chinese would get to the Moon while the Soviets never did. It'd largely be a race against no one by this era, though. This is the era of Space Stations and LEO. It'd all be Maoist glory seeking.

    It also has a major chance of failing if attempted. The view I take of it is 'to the Moon by duct tape'. It'd be very prone to potential failure, with no assurance of success and where anything could go wrong at any moment. In space travel, that'd can't be allowed happen, because it means death. Either they blow up on the way up, or they die in space, or they get sent off into oblivion or smashed into some planetary body. So there is very much a potential to have an Apollo 13 situation, or to smash into the Moon, or to be stranded on the Moon. If there is potential to cover up or obfuscate failure, I think it would be taken, subsequently followed by another attempt.

    The Chinese would also require boosters and docking technology. Neither of which I have any clue about where it concerns the Chinese in the 1970s and 1980s, nor their prospect to innovate them.
     
  4. Archibald space jockey ! Banned

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  5. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

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    I (surprisingly) missed that one.
     
  6. Athelstane Anglo-Saxon Troublemaker

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    It also has a major chance of failing if attempted.

    To put it mildly.
     
  7. King Helü of Wu Banned

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    Cover it up if it failed,
    broadcast it if succeeded.:eek:
    Mao Ze Dong Thoughts are still triumphant.
     
  8. King Helü of Wu Banned

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    1612893_784843.jpg
    This is said to be China's first space Dogs, Xiaobao and Shanshan, they went to the space in 1966.

    If dogs and monkeys can go to space, so could humans, albeit with a huge risk.

    This type of glory-seeking may seem pointless, but it is thousand times preferable than the what happened in the cultural revolution.

    Regards

    Chuan

    1612893_784843.jpg
     
  9. jackalope To Serve Man -- Twilight Zone

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    True, Tsien was unfairly hounded and kicked out by no less than Edgar J. Hoover himself. Tsien was hardly the only one with a passing interest in socialism or being driven out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Malina

    Such things were common and most of the public wanted to sweep it under the rug. Lost opportunities has very limited appeal to a public with a short attention span, and politicians recognize that.

    Nixon had privately discussed and fielded possible mending fences methods regarding the Chinese in his visit to Singapore with the British Governor in 1954 and had steadily incorporated it into one of his main goals after that. So it would seem unlikely to drop it over something so far away. Soviet rocketry was still behind in real abilities, but Chinese rocketry is mainly a boon for the US since it balances out the three big powers (ICBMs less likely for accuracy and payload than across the border to USSR missiles). Hoover (Eddie) was on his way out within months of Nixon's presidency since Richard thought Eddie was soft on surveillance if the Weathermen/SDS in recent years.

    So, maybe you could add something that would subtract from that part of the 1970's scene? I am all ears. It is more possible with a politician on capitol hill making a campaign of it, but really hard to make stick with a usually PR wise president.
     
  10. jackalope To Serve Man -- Twilight Zone

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    Actually, more than a passing interest and some Communist leanings as well, but nothing very severe. Hoover et al overshot.
     
  11. LeX Well-Known Member

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    Maybe have Mao get ousted after the Great Leap Forward (as he should've been, even the CCP was sick of him) and thus avoid the Cultural Revolution. That makes this project possible, but it will take a good chunk of China's money and resources and might not work.
     
  12. Binky the Clown Elizabeth Warren's Number One Fan

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    Perhaps we could have ASB's speed up the degeneration of Mao's brain (he either had Dementia or Alzheimers - which is why he became so bat**** crazy after 1958) and have him reduced to a gibbering vegetable before he can start the Cultural Revolution. :p
     
  13. LeX Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, if the Chinese succeed, it will put a lot of political clout in the hands of whoever supported/came up with the idea, as well as serve as a source of national pride. I can't see the Chinese on the Moon before 1990 but a man in space in the 70s may provide the political will to attempt other interesting but less ambitious projects.
     
  14. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Theres a huge, huge difference between a gemini style program and a moonshot.

    There was discussion of whether an altSoviet mission using Soyuz rockets was possible (to avoid the N1 fiasco, and immature Protons). Apparently it would have taken a bunch of Soyuz launches. And the Soyuz rocket was well tested at this point. Trying to do an equivalent with semireliable LongMarches of the era would be tough, really tough.
     
  15. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    Oh there were plans to send Gemini to Moon
    and even land astronauts on it with Gemini Hardware

    So why not with the Shuguang ?

    the Chinese could cluster there LongMarches (CZ-2C), like Saturn I with Redstone Jupiter IRBM parts.
     
  16. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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    Hence the thread. Essentially all Project 714 was was a bootleg Gemini program. It looked and functioned exactly like Gemini. That means it had the possibilities of Gemini, if for want of docking technology, boosters for heavier payloads, and proper training. It was possible to get to the Moon with Gemini. It would have just not been very comfortable in any way comfort applies (not exploding being among them when it comes to the Chinese ripoff feature), but Marxist and Maoist sensibilities make up for that.

    The problem with that would be costs and needs for production. If you look at how many of the Long March rockets have been launched in those years, it's really not many at all. I think it averages 2. I don't know if the Chinese had the facilities to produce more than the going rate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  17. jackalope To Serve Man -- Twilight Zone

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    Not at all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics for example, a small
    or not so small situation can have drastic results several generations down the line. There have been cases of identical twins joined and sharing the same blood, but one got cancer and the other did not. Both died about the same time, because of sharing a liver or something like that, but the point is we really do not know how such things are driven by nurture/circumstance.

    So it is not ASB at all that Mao could have become gibbering during the Great Leap Backwards. We don't know enough, but it does lean to a plethora of methods and disease conditions that would fit the bill.
     
  18. e of pi Layers on Top of Layers

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    Well, the issue is that while 714 was Geminesque, it had Titan II throw capacity provided by the Long March 2C (roughly 3.5 tons for each). All the Gemini moon mission proposals used LVs much more capable than Titan II, and in many cases still had to use rendezvous. The lunar-flyby ones tended to use dual-launched EOR Titan IIIC (13.1 tons), while the lander versions generally required a full-up Saturn V. So they'd need something even more than the OTL Long March 2E, which clock in at about 9.5 tons to LEO, or an even more extensive set of rendezvous and assembly in LEO. Going from no space launch capability at all to either of those in a decade with any sort of reliability would be....quite an achievement.
     
  19. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    if they go for Gemini LOR with minimum one man lander, it reduce needed launch rocket to Saturn C-3

    but still the Chinese need R&D on Lox/Lh2 engine technology

    other mission for the Shuguang

    Low orbit spy mission with one men at control, the second seat replaced by camera system.

    rendezvous with platform for experiment or with Weapon platform for Satellite Interceptor

    MOL like space station
     
  20. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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