Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by nixonshead, May 11, 2014.
Great timeline nixonhead. I just got caught-up and loved the work
Something interesting I spotted over at RussianSpaceWeb. When writing the first part of Kolyma's Shadow, I used the designation R-6 for the first ICBM because that name had not been used in OTL, so there was no danger of readers confusing the rocket with something real. Now it seems that there really was an R-6 IOTL! Apparently, it was an early model of the ICBM, back before the payload requirement was increased to 5.5t, and would have used five clustered stages, each having a single chamber engine (unlike TTL's R-6, which mounts four 2-chambered engines on a single 1st stage). The increased payload pushed them to a 4-chambered engine design (scaling up the single chamber engine introduced too many instabilities in the combustion), and this along with the other design changes was apparently enough to get the rocket a new designation: R-7.
Here's a comparison of TTL's R-6 and OTL's (probable) R-6:
In other news, Part-IV is currently standing at around 19000 words, with 2.5 Posts still to draft (and a lot of rendering to be done!). I'm afraid I'm still not quite ready to give a launch date, but it's now in the foreseeable future rather than a #NotReallyJourneyToMars "horizon goal" that recedes as quickly as you approach it.
That's an interesting and rather pretty OTL design; it really does look like the "missing link" between early single-engine, single stage designs and the "Semyorka" R-7. I like the way each booster stage (if they are that--the core stage perhaps has no more propellant than the outer 4 and therefore all five would burn together and burn out together) has several conic forms sort of blended into a shifted V-2 type shape, then are leaned over to snuggle with the core stage; it's like we can see a cluster of 5 generic 1950s cartoon rocketships being morphed into an R-7!
I'm tentatively planning a launch for Part-IV in September, but in the meantime I never got round to posting an image for the final Post of Part-III, so it's about time I corrected that. January, 1976, and Columbia-6 stands on the launchpad atop its Minerva-B24c rocket in preparation for man's first voyage around the moon...
Well you've got a 30-day window for the planned September Launch, so no worries there that i can see.
And IMHO, the Minerva looks better than the Saturn V.
I wouldn't say it looks better but I sure do appreciate the flexibility of the system!
Anyway if not better, the central stack looks very much like a V, presumably smaller of course.
The good thing about it being flexible, aside from the mere fact that one can launch many levels of payload, is that it is thus more likely to remain in service, with incremental upgrades, and its components optimized for economy.
Indeed, the Vehicles page of the Wiki reminds me the B series has enjoyed exactly that evolution. The Minerva-B24c shown can place less than a third of what a Saturn V could into a parking orbit for TLI--but a single launch is quite adequate for a circumlunar or even lunar orbital mission, and economics makes it fairly likely that the three or four launches needed for a landing mission would past budget muster. Individual launches are likely to cost less than 1/4 what a Saturn V launch did OTL, due to economies of scale in the form of large production runs of the components, while the frequent use of smaller Minerva configurations not only cheapens the parts (and helps sustain fixed costs such as the launch facility staffing) but normalizes Minerva launches as a routine thing.
Also there is the question of whether multiple launches can be handled simultaneously rather than being restricted to a sequence. A Saturn V is a huge monster and so multiple pads would have to be spaced very widely apart in case one blew up; a smaller rocket is a smaller bomb (though still pretty dauntingly dangerous!) and so alternate pads can be less costly and spaced more closely, to each other and to support facilities.
Are Minervas integrated vertically or horizontally? The latter requires a more robust rocket and some extra checkout, but the building to do it in is cheaper to build, and transport to the pad ought to be faster--anyway the danger that an unexpected strong wind might topple it is eliminated. The four attached boosters look like a rickety sort of combination to haul around horizontally and then tip upward to me though.
In fact I think the Minerva-B24c is probably adequate to do an Apollo LOR type mission in four launches. Stealing the trick from SpaceGeek and Bahamut-255's TL Red Star, the LM can be sent ahead to wait in low Lunar orbit with two launches. One places an unmanned LM atop a truncated Centaur stage as one 25 ton payload (assuming some tonnage is lost to fairings and orbital maneuvering burns); a second 25+ ton big Centaur is then launched for the first stack to dock with. Since the LM will need a docking hatch for crew transfer I'd suggest they dock nose-to-nose, with the big Centaur having a docking probe identical to the one on a Command Module fixed on its nose.
Now perhaps even US avionics of the 1970s ITTL are not up to remote-controlling two 50+ton rocket stacks to such a delicate degree; in that case a fifth launch, plus more prior infrastructure, is needed to preposition a piloting crew of astronauts, in a spacecraft launched for the purpose or on a space station (where this task might be only one incident of their total mission) from which they take some sort of space taxi to board the LM, and fly it onto the nose of the passive tanker rocket. Note that they'd be doing something harder than man-handling a 30 ton and relatively squat Apollo CSM; they are flying the Moon lander attached to the stage that will brake it into LLO, which is 20 tons more massive still, and elongated, and lacking the array of control thrusters the CSM would be fitted with. Perhaps several space taxis with heavy thrusters should be based at the station, and dock to attachments on the rocket in say 4 places. More space tractors then.
Anyway having moored the Lunar lander stack to a TLI booster, the astronauts and their gear back off and return to station; at an appropriate launch window the unmanned stack rockets off on the larger Centaur.
I haven't done the research and math but OTL the Centaur's RL-10 engines were already getting ISp of 450 before the 60's were out; I see no reason they shouldn't be as good if not somewhat better (today they can go up to 465) by the mid-70s in this TL--note that Centaur stages are part of the Minerva ensemble after all! The ISP is better than OTL's J-2 engine used for Apollo. The thrust is far lower but we start with 50 tons and wind up around 25, while an average acceleration of 2 m/sec is probably all it needs. I suspect that the second, all-fuel, big Centaur with two RL-10s giving 134 kN of thrust would be adequate to achieve TLI.
Perhaps not quite though. I note on the Vehicles page that while the J-2 (a single one for the Minerva second stage) has been improved over the A version of Minerva, the RL-10s are listed as just ISP of 444, which doesn't change between the versions. (I really think it should, given that OTL it was better than that before the 1970s started). And the thrust from just two RL-10s is admittedly still a bit low.
But that doesn't matter; we have a second Centaur stage in play, the truncated one launched with the LM! If the latter masses 15 tons and we lose a couple tons by the wayside, we still have 10 left over for that stage. I suspect we can manage to complete the TLI boost with a single-engine half-sized Centaur stage, shut it down and restart it half a week later to brake the LM into Lunar orbit. I even think there might be margin left over to make the LM a bit heavier than OTL Apollo mission versions.
Sending a manned capsule comparable to an Apollo CM the same way is quite simple then. Again, we use two Minerva-B23c launches, one to first send up the capsule of say 6 tons plus 9 more tons of light Service module, atop another 10 ton mini-Centaur. This time the astronauts are all on board already to dock with a second, extra-large 25 ton booster Centaur. As the non-Centaur parts mass the same as the LM package and the Centaurs are the same as well, the manned module and its SM could be just as well launched to the Moon and then placed in LLO as the unmanned 15 ton LM could be.
Now the mission involves locating and docking with the LM, which by now is cut loose from its former half-Centaur stage, just as the CSM is. The latter masses half what it did when extracting the LM on OTL missions. After a Lunar mission just like OTL, with the ascent module of the LM returning to orbit, return to Earth is again like OTL a matter of burning some hypergolic fuel (in an engine much lighter than OTL's CMME to be sure). 5 tons ought to be plenty, leaving a margin of 4 for the SM with a 6 ton CM being returned.
I assume of course that hydrogen boil-off won't be a big problem on a half-Centaur stage over half a week. Maybe we need to replace the half-Centaur with a hypergolic or ker-lox stage (LOX should be fine over half a week, or indeed a full week). I suggest minimizing hydrogen boil off for TLI by launching the two rockets in close sequence--both able to launch at the same moment on separate pads, but with one delayed one orbit to give mission control a chance to concentrate on one launch at a time. A couple hours delay is no big deal. (It would probably take longer to get the two stages to dock).
I don't think the mission profile is so complex as to be unreasonable; if the Minerva launches don't cost more than 1/4 what a Saturn V would the cost is comparable to OTL Apollo missions; it might be cheaper. And there would be alternatives (involving a bigger investment in orbital infrastructure to be sure) to streamline it further.
Firstly, an apology for being so slow to respond to your comments. I was offline for a few days and missed that there had been an update. So to catch up...
Much smaller, it’s less than half the size, measuring about 50m for a Columbia launch, compared with 111m for Saturn V. Minerva’s core is 4.27m in diameter rather than the 10m of a S-1C. Here’s a comparison of the two (sorry for the lack of textures on the Saturn, it was done for a different render engine and I didn’t have time to do a composite).
Not a question I’ve explored in detail, but my expectation is that both Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg support multiple pads (though with some smaller pads only able to handle the LRB-based Minerva-1 variant) to allow more than one rocket to be processed at a time (see below).
Vertically. Early rockets were assembled on the pad, but by the mid-’60s the volume of traffic means they’ve switched to assembly hall which build the stack vertically on a transporter that’s then rolled out to the pads.
Yep, our RL-10s only gained 2s in the Minerva-B upgrades. The information we were working with puts the first OTL RL-10 to achieve close to a 450s ISp as the RL-10A-4 (449s), which was first flown in 1993, with increases in both chamber pressure and area ratio to achieve it. If anyone has a reference to earlier improvements, do please share and we’ll look again.
Well, according to Wiki a Saturn V launch cost $494 million in 1969-74 dollars, which I get as about $2.5 billion today. That seems on the high side, even for Apollo, so I wonder how they got to that figure… Delta-IV Heavy today is in the region of $400 million per launch, with Altas-V 541 around $220 million. I’ve been deliberately vague about the price of rockets ITTL (though it will be a topic of discussion in Part-IV…), but as a rough guide I’d say a Minerva-22 comes in somewhere close to OTL’s Atlas price, with Minerva-24 being perhaps 20% more expensive.
As for your proposed Lunar architecture, rest assured it’s a topic of active discussion at NACAA
Thankyou! That launch gantry in particular took a long time to put together (especially when I was supposed to be working on other projects!), but I’m quite pleased with the result.
You’d be surprised! But as I finally have a complete draft written down, I feel comfortable in announcing that Kolyma’s Shadow Part-IV will launch on Sunday 20th September 2015.
Nice pics as always Nixonhead I WAS going to go for joking that you got the colors wrong and waste a half-page on which version of "NASA white" was the correct version but recalled the LAST time I did that I had the modeler scrambling to try and find the "proper" version and make corrections before he noted that I was joking Live and learn I forget to often how serious folks can be about this stuff
Multiple launches of something like the Minerva: IIRC the Cape's original proposed layout for Apollo had space for two to three Saturn-1 to be on pads and in launch preparation at any one time. Once the Saturn-V was accepted as the Lunar vehicle they went with the current layout for the Saturn-V launch pads but there was never any planning for multiple launches even though in theory the VAB could have up to four vehicles in preparation at any one time.
As I recall the pads were all build before the first Saturn-V was launched and while they wouldn't be severely damaged in an launch accident at any one pad it later determined that the crawler-ways themselves MIGHT be and that they had significantly underestimated the sound loads for launch. It wasn't until the Skylab missions when they had a Saturn-1B on another pad they got accurate data on the subject.
Hey, great to see part 4 coming soon, in just two weeks (though I am sure the wait for more of this cosmic goodness will be agonising)!
I know I haven't been commenting here, but I've read this twice now, once with all the other lovely comments included, and I've really gotten into it!
Would it be possible to add renders of the launch vehicles and space stations to the wiki, as with ETS? I know some of them have been added already, but others are still missing. I'm just asking in case you have actually made them, no need to suddenly render things you weren't planning to show
Also, just wanted to state once more how much I'm digging this. I feel like it really does what it says on the tin magnificently in showing an ALTERNATE space race, with no wanking or screwing involved!
A final question now. Are you planning to take his to the 'present' day? If not, that's perfectly fine. Anyway, praise be to Nixonshead (but not necessarily to Nixon's head)!
Well, there are one or two other similar TLs to tide you over in the meantime. That timing isn't totally accidental...
However, I'll definitely join in the praise of somebody I've felt really privileged to work with as an artist on Eyes, and from what I've seen of Part 4, I know he's got more goodness in store for us all.
And as one TL reaches its end, another is ready to resume.
As for actually putting a Man on the Moon? Well, what I suspect as of right now is, they would be looking into it, either by a Minerva -derived LV that needs fewer launches, or by using Minerva itself, which means either EOR, LOR, or EOR-LOR. As to whether or not it actually happens......
In any case, can't wait for this one to get up and running again!
Well, ITTL it would have to be “Air Force White”
My technical advisor, e of pi, gave me some pretty detailed feedback on options for assembly direct on the pad or in a separate VAB then roll-out. My initial feeling was that they would build them directly on the pad (as had been done since Vanguard), with the assembly buildings rolling back, as was done for Vandenberg’s Shuttle pad IOTL. However, e of pi pointed out that separate VABs were considered back in the early ‘60s IOTL and it makes a fair bit of sense if you’re expecting to launch with a reasonable tempo. Having the VAB concentrates all the specialist assembly and check-out equipment rather than spreading it along the coast, and allows stacking for the next mission to take place whilst the current one is on the pad. So in the end I figured the Air Force would have switched to use of a VAB as part of their overall Minerva upgrades - though maybe the first few get built on the pad.
Glad you’re enjoying the story! As hinted above, the re-starting of this TL fits nicely following on from the finale of Eyes Turned Skyward, with which I’m sure you’re familiar (if not, it is highly recommended as probably the pinnacle of space TLs on this site). It was that fine timeline that was my first introduction to AH.com, so e of pi and his collaborators definitely deserve credit for this TL coming about.
I’m planning to add these as they become available. One of the issues I’ve found illustrating this TL is that because of my choice to try to make the images as photorealistic as I can, they’re taking much longer to put together with a sufficient level of detail. It also means I focus on adding only the detail I need for each image, so a model that works well of one illustration might lack the detailing needed for a shot closer up or from a different angle. (One example of this currently is Columbia, for which the Minerva launch adapters and escape tower are doing a fine job hiding the detailing still missing from the nose and tail). So more images will come to the Wiki, but the timing will depend on other commitments.
That’s a complex question. The answer is “probably”, though not necessarily in the current format, as I’m expecting a bit of a lifestyle change at the end of the year that’s likely to impact the amount of time I can devote to writing (not that I was writing particularly quickly anyway!).
In addition to bringing the TL up to the present, there are a number of side stories that have cropped up whilst writing Kolyma that I’d like to explore a bit further. The picture of the Soviet nuclear carrier Gorky was one example of this, but I’m mulling over several other topics as well, so I think you can expect a number of vignettes in the future developing these (not necessarily space related) avenues.
Saturn MLV of eyes turn skyward and Minerva and Wernher Von Braun's fairy tale
Look's like you've created a version of mini Saturn MLV instead of Saturn V for your moon shot project. Does that mean that the commerical satellite launcher is going to be your Minerva for your TL's answer to Eyes Turn Skyward.
As for the TL's version of the Dynasoar production model, I know that Von Braun had collaborate with the illustrator, Fred Freeman for a science book on a proposed moon spacecraft that uses a winged CM and an attached rear-ended LM pod. Don't tell me that you're using that version of your TL's Apollo?
I've forgotten what has and hasn't been posted yet, so I'll leave this to Nixonshead.
No, he's not. Columbia, NACAA's lunar orbital spacecraft, is a much more traditional capsule, which you can see at the top of Minerva here. I think Ninxonshead may have some more detailed images up his sleeve in the new materials.
Commercial launches as of 1976 are generally using Minerva-1, which can loft up to 1.3 tonnes to GTO, or Atlas-Centaur, at around 2.3t to GTO. Minerva-20C can put 7 tonnes into GTO, and is an option for ride-share. The sizing (and Air Force grabbing most of the Minervas for itself) means most commercial birds are using Atlas, but availability is limited, and the payload limits are becoming constraining. However, at the moment they’re the only game in town for Western payloads, at least until the Europeans get their Theseus rocket up and running.
As e of pi says, Columbia is the moon ship of choice in this TL, as Dynasoar can’t handle the high speed reentry needed. More images will indeed be coming
Hello everyone! Thanks for your patience, but at last the long wait is over. I present to you Part-IV of...
Part IV Post#1: Teaser IV
Bright sunshine filled the Central Lenin Stadium as Dimitri Kramarov, Chairman of the Glavkosmos space agency, took his seat in the VIP enclosure of the Grand Arena. The air was a pleasantly cool 17 degrees Celsius on this July afternoon as the athletes, performers and dignitaries participating in the opening ceremony waited with varying degrees of patience for the clock to reach 4pm. There was excitement audible within the murmur of the crowd, and Kramarov detected a clear undercurrent of civic pride in the air as Moscow prepared to take its place at the centre of world attention.
Kramarov’s own attention was pulled away from the arena as Dr. Roy Judge, his guest from America’s National Environmental and Space Science Agency, sat down in the next seat and made himself comfortable.
“You’re just in time, Roy Petrovich,” Kramarov said in his careful English. “See, they are almost ready to begin.”
“Sorry, Dimitri,” Judge apologised. “One of the State Department guys wanted to let me know Washington has cleared the Academy of Sciences to get a copy of our Saturn data direct from Houston. Assuming we can sort out the logistics of copying and shipping, you should be getting print-outs of the full data set in the next couple of months.”
“This is good news!” Kramarov enthused. “Our scientists have been very impressed when they saw the first pictures from your Mayflower. They will be most happy to see the raw data.”
“It’s our pleasure, Dimitri! Of course the results would all have been published eventually in any case, but now we can save you the wait.”
“This agreement, it is good for the November encounter also?” Kramarov pressed.
“Absolutely,” Judge confirmed. “We should be able to have some of your people join us in Houston for that one, too, once your Foreign Ministry gives approval, so you’ll be able to see the data as it comes in. Aside from anything else, it’ll be good practice for ‘86 and-”
A sudden fanfare cut Judge off mid-sentence, as the clock struck four and the ceremony officially began. For the next few minutes conversation was impossible as the amplified playing of the orchestra competed with the roar of the crowd. As the opening music came to a climax, the crowd’s cheering for the orchestra tailed off into a polite (though perhaps not altogether enthusiastic) rumble of applause as Andrei Kirilenko, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and First Secretary of the Communist Party, stepped up to his podium and gave a dignified wave to the cameras. Kramarov peered closely at his country’s leader as he stood for the playing of the State Anthem, but he was unable to make out any signs of the ill health that the Party grape-vine alleged to be plaguing the First Secretary. Perhaps the rumours were wrong after all, as they so often were. After all, no-one had suspected that Shelepin had been unwell until he actually dropped dead, so the gossip mills were certainly fallible. Come to that, the American President’s recent heart attack had been a surprise to most people - although it had become progressively less surprising as the story emerged about the young woman who’d been with him at the time…
As the 1977-vintage Anthem with its revised, de-Stalinised lyrics came to a close and Kramarov and Judge returned to their seats, the American took the opportunity to return to their earlier topic.
“So Dimitri, where do we stand on providing a payload for your next Mars shot?”
Kramarov shrugged non-committedly. “This I must confirm with my colleagues at OKB-1, but in principle we do not have a problem with this. As long as you are able to meet our mass, power and volume limits, of course.”
“Chelomei is causing you problems?” Judge asked directly, homing in on the key issue as he had an unerring (and slightly irritating) habit of doing.
“We are all comrades, we all work for the same goals,” Kramarov replied. Judge gave him a skeptical look. For two decades the West had assumed that the Soviet space effort was a centrally-directed, monolithic enterprise. Improved relations in the past few years, and the closer working relationships that led to, had gradually disabused them of that notion, although they thankfully remained unaware of the full extent of the in-fighting between the Design Bureaux. “Vladimir Nikolayevich will come around. A Russian probe, built by Chelomei and carrying an instrument from some poor American scientists who need our help?” Another shrug. “It will look splendid on the front page of Pravda.”
Judge chuckled. “Well, just remind him that we’re planning our own Mars landing for mid-decade. Getting an early ride with his probe is a great opportunity for us, but it’s not the only game in town.”
Kramarov nodded in agreement, as on the arena floor the various national teams, led by Greece and then proceeding alphabetically, began marching out into the stadium to cheers from the crowds. The Afghan team, Kramarov noted, was smaller than most, but given the civil war raging in the country he was amazed they’d been able to assemble an official team at all. From the way the Army had been pestering him and the other Chief Designers for better reconnaissance imagery and satellite communications coverage along - and indeed across - the USSR’s southern border, Kramarov knew better than most that the Kremlin was nowhere near as neutral in the conflict as it publicly claimed. With an American army camped next door in an attempt to hold down Iran, the US could hardly be surprised at such Soviet interest, but the White House hadn’t called them out on it so far. It looked to Kramarov like a tacit quid-pro-quo had formed: You don’t bother us in Iran, we won’t bother you in Afghanistan. Still, it wasn’t a topic the Chief Designer intended to raise with his guest.
The celebrations continued for the next hour in a monotonous display of extravagance. After the athletes’ parade came the speech of the IOC president, then Kirilenko’s official announcement of the start of the XXII Olympiad. The exchange of flags was made, followed by the Olympic anthem and the lighting of the torch. And so on and so forth… Kramarov and Judge used the time to go over a few more of the topics they planned to discuss in the formal meeting the next day, like an extension of the Space-Based Disaster Beacon network (to which the Soviets would agree) and a proposed sharing of near real time meteorological data (which would emphatically not be agreed - the Red Army considered weather satellite data as a critical strategic asset that was not to be shared with an adversary, even when such sharing would serve to improve their own forecasts). Kramarov was about to broach the subject of coordinating observations from their respective Halley probes when the loudspeakers made an announcement in Russian, French and English. “Now we go to a live broadcast from the Chasovoy-3 space station!”
On the giant video screen at the end of the stadium (“A triumph of Soviet electronical engineering!”) a grainy, monochrome image of cosmonauts Yuri Malinov and Timur Barinov appeared, as the speakers relayed a crackling radio link. Kramarov mentally crossed his fingers as the connection was made. His people had been working 24/7 for the past three weeks to make this broadcast possible, checking and re-checking the connections linking the Central Lenin Stadium to the Podlipki ground station on the outskirts of Moscow. They’d even had the station make a dedicated manoeuvre the previous week to ensure it would be over the horizon for the longest possible time during the broadcast. What worried Kramarov most though was that something might go wrong on the station’s side. Chasovoy-3 had been launched just three years ago, but heavy usage meant that it was aging quickly. Last month they had suffered a partial loss of telemetry due to a faulty transmitter on the station, and the month before that the metallurgical furnace had to be shut down when a seal had failed and fumes entered the workspace. If something were to go wrong now, during a live broadcast that would be seen around the world..!
“Greetings from the crew of Chasovoy-3!” came Malinov’s crackling, but clearly distinguishable voice. “On behalf of the people of the Soviet Union, we wish all athletes competing in the Moscow Olympics a happy start and good fortune!”
Kramarov’s tension eased as the broadcast continued without any hiccups. He turned to Judge, intending to make a small joke of his relief that all had gone to plan, but stopped short. The American was watching the screen with an unreadable expression on his face. As Barinov added his own greetings over the radio, Kramarov thought he saw a twitch in Judge’s features, and understood. Immersed as he was in the day-to-day problems of running the Soviet space programme, with its schedule delays, equipment faults, and endless bureaucracy, it was sometimes easy for Kramarov to lose sight of just how incredible an undertaking they were involved in. To many people - most, perhaps - space flight was something in the background of their lives. Something they might briefly follow, like a new TV drama, before switching it off and carrying on with their daily routine. Even within the space industry, there were plenty for whom it was just a place of work like any other. But not for Kramarov, and, it seemed not, for Judge either. Space flight, especially manned space flight, was something amazing and rare and special.
Karmarov, Judge and their respective superiors had proved that they could set aside old rivalries to work together in the unmanned exploration of space. Could the Olympian ideal of friendship and cooperation be extended to manned spaceflight as well?
And here it is! What a wonderful update. Time for some comments:
- I haven't heard if either Kramarov or Judge. Are they the result of those chaotic butterflies?
- Well with the US at a Soviet Olympiad, it's clear there is a bit of a thaw going on. Excellent! With this cosmic cooperation, you seem to be hinting at an earlier ISS (or moon landing or dare I say Mars landing), so I'm very interested in seeing what happens there
- Chavosoy 3 eh? I went back to see when the second one was launched, and if this one's three years old by 1980 (unless the update was later than that due to a cancelled olympiad), that would mean four years between them. Just doing some basic math here
- Chelomei doesn't want American probes on his ship it seems, if that was his ship they'll be launching on. Has he been acting up again? I'm on team Mishin myself
Now, what I make of this post: cold war thaw, cosmic cooperation, soviet space stations, and a mysterious mentioning of Iran. This looks to be a smashing episode of the Kolyma-saga!
Very cool timeline Nixonshead! Any TL where the X-20 DynaSoar actually makes it to space has my undivided attention.
Finished catching up just in time for Part IV to make its grand debut; I look forward to each new update!
Seems the Soviet Leadership is still experiencing issues with regards to the health of whoever heads it, even if at this time, whatever may or may not be afflicting the current head could be in remission based on the comments of Kramarov.
Not sure when these Moscow Olympics are, but I'll guess it's the same as OTL's 1980 Moscow Olympics - besides US officials being present indicating a lack of Boycott - for the time being.
And a Live Broadcast from a Soviet Space Station to mark the occasion certainly would have a strong symbolic note to those involved in the efforts, especially as it appears to have worked well here, the preparatory work beforehand I suspect having a strong hand in that.
But still the old infighting woes that are slowing them down, if a little cooler than the really big ones OTL's Soviet Space Effort suffered, especially during the 1960's prior to their forced unification.
I wonder what happened in the years between this and the end of Part III?
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