Space Exploration in a Continued Cold War

Delta Force

Banned
Space exploration was one area in which the superpowers peacefully competed against each other for prestige. The end of the Cold War saw the end or redesign of some programs. The Soviet Buran and Energia programs were canceled, and in the 1990s Russia and the United States decided to partner on developing a next generation space station, combining elements of the Mir expansion/replacement and Space Station Freedom proposals. The European Space Agency canceled the Hermes space shuttle program meant for the Ariane 5, and NASA canceled the VentureStar space shuttle replacement program, with both agencies deciding to use a combination of the Space Shuttle and Soyuz for their manned spaceflight needs. There were even more ambitious programs proposed in the 1980s and 1990s, such as manned missions to the Moon and Mars.

If the Cold War had continued, what might have happened to some of these proposals? Would more innovation have been done with space exploration? Would NASA have moved to encourage the development of the private space industry, or would spaceflight in the United States have remained more closely linked to the government?
 
Space exploration was one area in which the superpowers peacefully...
Well...

If the Cold War had continued, what might have happened to some of these proposals? Would more innovation have been done with space exploration?
If you want real innovation, you have to get rid of the collaborative projects anyway.

The Cold War continuing doesn’t mean much for space travel in the first place, since the Russians killed their Moon program roughly as soon as the US got there before them, leaving a couple of decades of Cold War with no serious competition. You’d have to make the POD something like them not giving up, landing on the Moon, and then starting Mars work. Maybe doing a manned Venus flyby while the Mars team tries desperately to get a working vehicle.
 
I'm pretty sure the ISS wouldn't be built, because both nations would still be more willing to compete than cooperate. Sure, you may have some exchanges between the different space programs, like the Shuttle-Mir program, but all in all I don't think there would be an environment which would allow for the creation of such a large-scale multinational project.

So instead, we could probably end up seeing Freedom and Mir-2, as well as a longer-lasting Shuttle program and of course, Buran-Energia.
 

Realpolitik

Banned
Probably a lot more interesting. The Cold War ending led to massive budget cuts for science as a whole, and space was hit particularly hard. I know plasma physicists that had to switch or go into a different field because of that.
 
You wouldn't have the squabbling over Constellation and now SLS, for example. And if the Soviets committed to a mission to Mars, Congress would sign off on a U.S. mission in a heartbeat.
 
Well, it depends:

If we still had a delente with the USSR, something like ISS could still be built, or maybe joint missions, like Apollo-Soyuz.
If there were tensions, we might have the two powers trying to outdo each other in various space related activities. However given that, after Apollo 11, the space race ended, I'd think that maybe the status quo regarding space would continue, unless an event, like the Soviets landing on the Moon, would spur them.
 
I remember reading that the design for Freedom was not that great, according to an article I read back in the early 90's the astronauts would have had to spend most of their time on space walks for station maintenance to keep it operational. NASA were overly optimistic on some of the design assumptions they made which would have resulted in all sorts of engineering compromises to make it sort of operational. It would also have taken a MASSIVE chunk of the NASA budget every year to keep the lights on (and the air).

If you want a real POD how about the USA negotiating an exemption in the test ban treaty to allow them to launch a REAL space station using ORION, no need for a wimpy Saturn 5 or Space Shuttle. Put a couple of hundred tons in low Earth orbit with style and fallout.

Nothing says Cold War like fallout.
 
I remember reading that the design for Freedom was not that great, according to an article I read back in the early 90's the astronauts would have had to spend most of their time on space walks for station maintenance to keep it operational. NASA were overly optimistic on some of the design assumptions they made which would have resulted in all sorts of engineering compromises to make it sort of operational. It would also have taken a MASSIVE chunk of the NASA budget every year to keep the lights on (and the air).

If you want a real POD how about the USA negotiating an exemption in the test ban treaty to allow them to launch a REAL space station using ORION, no need for a wimpy Saturn 5 or Space Shuttle. Put a couple of hundred tons in low Earth orbit with style and fallout.

Nothing says Cold War like fallout.
The original Freedom design was to say gently "Total Insane"
allmost hundert of Shuttle Flights to launch that thing,
Record braking EVA times to assembly the trust frame by hand!
According the plans it would had taken to flight 37 to install the Lab module and make Freedom Temporally operational
around Flight 52 it install the first crew for 90 day stay and there only two Nodes, US Lab and US habitat module, the rest has to be launch...

on other side the USSR was edge of collapse in 1990, i wonder how the USSR would push further Cold War under this circumstance ?
 
There is also a problem that must be considered. Strictly speaking, beyond propaganda, space race offered no tangible results or military advantages to either side.

Placing weapons in orbit was a pipe dream rendered invalid by the advent of ICBMs which allowed any point on Earth being reached by a warhead within half an hour of giving order.

Moon base was militarily useless, economically wasteful and without real purpose anyway.

Recon and spy satellites did not have the same appeal and were not public anyway.

Manned exploration missions were not possible or better practical beyond the Moon.
 
There is also a problem that must be considered. Strictly speaking, beyond propaganda, space race offered no tangible results or military advantages to either side.

Placing weapons in orbit was a pipe dream rendered invalid by the advent of ICBMs which allowed any point on Earth being reached by a warhead within half an hour of giving order.

Moon base was militarily useless, economically wasteful and without real purpose anyway.

Recon and spy satellites did not have the same appeal and were not public anyway.

Manned exploration missions were not possible or better practical beyond the Moon.
not quite

The Moon was consider as save launch site for ICBM in case of nuclear attack
because the Enemy Warheads for Moon need three day to get there
There were a short consideration to base the MX-ICBM on Moon, but the huge cost terminate that idea very fast.
(also with other proposals like storage on sea floor, in Artificial lakes, tunnel system etc.)

Manned mission to Mars are possible technical, the question is price tag of 100 billion dollar !
Had the soviet manage to get the N1 rocket working the entire Cold War had look different.
The USA had push further with Moon exploration program, later goes for Mars
i guess that Reagan would goes for Manned Mars Flights in order to push the Soviet into bankruptcy

about Moon economically wasteful ?
This chapter is not yet written and Moon got allot of stuff earth industry and World power needed
not Helium 3 or Iron, Aluminum, Titan or Oxygen
it's Rare earth element, that stuff is needed in
rechargeable battery, Tablet computer, Smartphone, alloys for aerospace and Weapons system, catalytic converter, solar cells, electric cars etc.
like the name say is rare and China stop it's ressource export to the rest of world.
What rise it's price sky high.
Now biggest dark spot on Moon, called Oceanus Procellarum, is made from what ?
mostly of Rare earth element !
 

Delta Force

Banned
I've found what the Soviets might have used for spaceflight in the 1990s. The Zarya spacecraft would have been a replacement for both the Soyuz capsule and the Progress cargo tug. It would have been carried by the Zenit rocket, a variant of which was used as the liquid rocket boosters on the Energia.

The United States would probably use the DC-X for DoD missions and the VentureStar for manned missions, but neither is suitable for missions beyond low Earth orbit. Any ideas on what the United States might use for launching payloads beyond Earth orbit and for manned missions to the Moon and elsewhere?
 

Delta Force

Banned
Why were the Soviets pursuing two manned spaceflight programs in the 1980s? The last Soyuz mission to operate independently of a space station was Soyuz 22 in 1976, so I doubt Zarya would have carried out independent operations in Earth orbit. Were the Soviets planning something similar to what has been proposed recently in the United States, with cargo and crew flying separately to lower costs and reduce crew risks?

Also, what is the advantage of using rockets for landing instead of more conventional options such as parachutes or gliding? There seems to be a much higher risk of catastrophic failure.
 
I've found what the Soviets might have used for spaceflight in the 1990s. The Zarya spacecraft would have been a replacement for both the Soyuz capsule and the Progress cargo tug. It would have been carried by the Zenit rocket, a variant of which was used as the liquid rocket boosters on the Energia.

The United States would probably use the DC-X for DoD missions and the VentureStar for manned missions, but neither is suitable for missions beyond low Earth orbit. Any ideas on what the United States might use for launching payloads beyond Earth orbit and for manned missions to the Moon and elsewhere?
If they can get the Venture Star to work. Big if because I am not convinced that the Math of a TSTO using the technology available is actually possible. However it would be great if somebody could prove me wrong. Once you have a cheap re-usable spacecraft for orbital activity then in my opinion a very good case can be made to user propellant depots for all your manned BEO missions instead of pouring money into developing a expensive HLV.
 
If you want real innovation, you have to get rid of the collaborative projects anyway.
A joint American-Soviet collaborative space project of some kind is probably inevitable. The Russians' initial proposal for what became the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project consisted of three Soyuz visits to Skylab II followed by three Apollo flights to Saylut.
 
A joint American-Soviet collaborative space project of some kind is probably inevitable. The Russians' initial proposal for what became the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project consisted of three Soyuz visits to Skylab II followed by three Apollo flights to Saylut.
Hmm. Seems wasteful.

Could we get something like a joint Soviet-US moon mission, or Mars mission?
Now this, you know, I think I’d be okay with. But I don’t see it happening until both powers had gotten their on their own. Take OTL and the Moon. A joint Soviet-US mission to the Moon would be paraded as “daddy holding his son’s hand and showing him how it’s done” if the USSR hadn’t gotten there alone. And there’s no way the commies would have been okay with feeling that way.

I could only see Mars joint if neither had been there before and each had created important technology usable on the mission the other had not. Say the US creates life support systems capable of doing the long haul and the USSR invents a working large-scale fuel extraction system for the manufacture of return fuel.
 
Could we get something like a joint Soviet-US moon mission, or Mars mission?
If Nikita Khruschev's son, who was an engineer in the Russian space program, is to believed, the Soviets were teetering on the edge of saying yes to joint Moon missions when JFK was assassinated. As I understand it, NASA, the astronauts and the Pentagon were all on-board for a joint American-Soviet moon program. The only people who weren't were Congress, but Kennedy apparently was confident that Congress could be persuaded. If you can butterfly Lee Harvey Oswald, which shouldn't be that hard, than a joint moon program might be well within the realm of possibility.
 

Archibald

Banned
Space shuttles are boring and unseful, yet they long predate the end of Cold war (1972 for the shuttle, 1977 for Buran)
So with or without Cold War the space race was doomed once Nixon picked up the shuttle as the next goal (January 5, 1972)
The soviets scientists and military were never enthusiastic about the shuttles, and it was Glushko that jumped that bandwagon only to a) seize control of the soviet space industrial complex through the ccreation of NPO energia in May 1974 and b) Buran was just a pretext for Energia, the massive rocket Glushko needed for its lunar base (which he was never allowed to build obviously)
That's how things happened... Both Mishin and Glushko wanted lunar bases in the mid-70's, but since NASA was building a space shuttle (and a military launch complex in Vandenberg to launch it on military missions) Keldysh convinced Brezhnev they needed a shuttle, too.
 
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