At any rate, apparently they've let slip what the Point of Departure is
for this alt-history series:
Keeping all this somewhat grounded (ha!) are former Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin and former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman, two of the series’ NASA technical advisors. Griffin, Reisman (who actually made a cameo appearance in the series finale of Battlestar Galactica), and Moore spoke to SYFY WIRE and others on a conference call, giving plenty of details about the series — like how it originated, how it fits in with its peers, and what space exploration fans can expect.
The show came about because of a conversation Moore had with Reisman over lunch, as Moore was searching for a way for the space race to continue beyond Apollo 17. Reisman told Moore, “You don’t realize how close the Russians came to getting to the moon.” Looking for the catalyst that kicked off the “butterfly effect” resulting in America beating the Soviet Union to the moon, the pair decided that the 1966 death of Sergei Korolev (Chief Designer of the Soviet space program) was the beginning of the end.
To that end, their “deeper premise” is that Korolev lived through the botched surgery that killed him in real life. This accelerated the Soviet program and gave them the boost necessary to overtake the U.S. — not just in the realm of space exploration, but in global cultural dominance. Moore explained that the show will collect some of the sociopolitical ramifications of the event outside the walls of NASA, like how the Nixon administration reacts. A scene involving a character returning from Europe encapsulates this script-flip with her tales of children wearing hammer-and-sickle t-shirts.
Putting this all in context with other high-profile alt-history fictionm— like The Man in the High Castle, which was one of Amazon Prime’s first original series — For All Mankind stands out because it “starts at the beginning.” Moore explained that usually this subgenre “throws you into this existing world,” while For All Mankind will show the moment of deviation from real history. It’s also “aspirational” rather than “dark and dystopian,” which much alt-history leans towards. For All Mankind goes optimistic, showing how the world could’ve been improved if the space race had gone differently. Calling the series a kind of “Mad Men set at NASA,” Moore explained the show was very much about the ambitious characters in and around the space program that actually got a chance to put their big plans in action.
Theres' been much debate over whether even Korolev could have salvaged the Soviet lunar program to beat the Americans, since they were effectively already behind by the time he died. But certainly his death wiped out what little chance they had. I suppose it's at least an arguably plausible POD for something like this.