Author Topic: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?  (Read 166728 times)

Offline mikejohnson

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why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« on: January 21, 2013, 08:51:51 PM »
im a firm believer that usa landed on the moon. but i wonder why no one has been there ?so there was a race to the moon with russia , but they never continued their program. and no one since

Offline RAF

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 08:57:06 PM »
Lack of public support, and lack of money.

Offline gillianren

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 09:21:16 PM »
Try looking into the Soviet space program.  They had some serious problems with their lift vehicle.  Lunar programs are a bit on the expensive side, so basically no other entity has had the money for one.
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Offline Laurel

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 09:22:37 PM »
Russia might have continued their program if their launch vehicle hadn't exploded every time they tested it. They decided to have the first space station instead.

No offense, Mikejohnson, but proper punctuation and capitalization would make your posts easier to read.
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Offline cjameshuff

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 09:30:15 PM »
Also, others have been there with robotic probes.

Offline RAF

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 09:32:51 PM »
Don't know how I missed the "others" aspect of this....DOH!

I was of course speaking of the US only...

Offline raven

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2013, 01:15:46 AM »
As Laurel mentioned, their planned moon rocket, the N1, blew up in all four launch attempts.
No moon rocket, no moon mission. They had other difficulties as well. Sergei Korolev, basically their Von Braun in the sense of 'selling' a moon mission and space exploration in general, died in surgery.
Also, one particular failed N1 launch, exploded on the pad, creating a severe delay.
For a good overview, try reading this.
It's a real shame too, as, first or not, I really would have loved two nations to land on the moon.
As for other nations, only one other nation has even put people in Earth orbit, though I have heard that China may very well be planning some kind of moon mission of their own.
The thing is though, this really proves nothing either way. It took longer than since Apollo, this year in fact, before anyone returned a manned vessel to the deepest portion of the ocean.
How long since anyone built a true rigid dirigible?
Concord is a contemporary of Apollo and that bird no longer flies either, with no replacement in sight.  No other nation has ever flown, manned, a reusable orbital space plane, does that mean the Shuttle was fake?

Offline Valis

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2013, 03:33:57 AM »
Also, others have been there with robotic probes.
And will be soon again. China plans to put a rover on the moon in 2015.

Offline Peter B

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 06:48:39 AM »
im a firm believer that usa landed on the moon. but i wonder why no one has been there ?so there was a race to the moon with russia , but they never continued their program. and no one since
Another factor to consider about why the Soviets never landed on the Moon is that this was the era of the Cold War. For those who didn't live through it, it can be hard to comprehend how so many activities of the two superpowers were undertaken with the intent of showing themselves in the best light and The Other Guys in the worst light. Hence the tension which accompanied even the Olympic Games, and why, for example, the members of the American basketball team of the 1972 Olympics have never accepted their silver medals following defeat by the Soviets.

In fact, those unclaimed medals are a perfect example for illustrating why the Soviets never seriously tried to land cosmonauts on the Moon once the Americans had succeeded.

The Space Race, like so many other aspects of the Cold War, was a two horse race: no other nations could afford to take part. In a two horse race, the only possible finishing positions are first and second, and second is equivalent to last.

So once the Americans had landed on the Moon, they'd won the Space Race. That meant the only position the Soviets could take in that race was second, and remember, second = last.

If the Soviets landed on the Moon after Apollo 11, it would only draw attention to the fact that they'd come second (= last) in the Space Race.

So just like the American basketballers refusing to accept medals which reminded everyone that they'd come second, the Soviets made loud noises about never having been in a Space Race. By pretending they hadn't been in a race, they could divert attention from the fact that they'd lost a race they had in fact very much been taking part in.

What puts the lie to this claim is that the Soviets were happy to accepts the plaudits of the world when they were first to achieve things in space - first satellite, first man in space, first woman in space, first three man crew, first space walk. They just went sort of quiet when things didn't go their way.

The other thing to consider about these achievements is the risks they knowingly took for the last two. Read about what the Soviets did to launch three men into space and it sends a chill down your spine; the propaganda value was high, but so were the risks.

In terms of the Moon they did two things. Firstly, they developed unmanned sample retriever missions and unmanned rovers, and secondly, they developed space stations.

The sample retriever missions and the rovers allowed them to sample and explore the Moon without sending anyone. It was safer and cheaper than Apollo, and the Soviets made sure everyone knew that. But these missions also achieved a lot less than Apollo - the total amount of material their three successful sample return missions brought back was about 1/1000 of what the Apollo missions brought back.

The space stations allowed them to set records in a field of manned space flight well ahead of what the Americans had achieved, or were likely to achieve any time in the near future. They were also a lot safer than missions to the Moon, on the grounds that they were inside the Van Allen Belts, and theoretically only an hour or so from the Earth if disaster struck.

To summarise, the Soviets didn't make a serious attempt to land people on the Moon once Apollo 11 had succeeded, because it would have drawn attention to the fact that they'd been beaten in the Space Race. In their view, wearing a silver medal would've reminded everyone all the more that The Other Guys were wearing the gold medal.

Offline Echnaton

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2013, 07:22:43 AM »
Apollo was created out of late 50's optimism and paranoia and killed by early 70's rebellion and cynicism.  In between it was glorious. 
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett

Offline Echnaton

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2013, 07:27:15 AM »
and no one since

A number of nations have sent probes to the moon.  Why do you view these as fundamentally different. 
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Offline Mr Gorsky

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2013, 12:11:15 PM »
Also, one particular failed N1 launch, exploded on the pad, creating a severe delay.

I believe that is the one of which there is footage on the Tube of You ... which very convincingly makes the point that the Soviet launch vehicle was made from Explodium.
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Offline raven

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2013, 12:35:10 PM »

I believe that is the one of which there is footage on the Tube of You ... which very convincingly makes the point that the Soviet launch vehicle was made from Explodium.
N1-5L, I believe, the second test launch.
Of course, any liquid fuelled rocket can be said to be made of Explodium, the Saturn V has been said to contain the equivalent power of a small nuclear bomb, and the N1 was approximately equivalent.
In any case, yes, it goes off with a hell of a bang.

Offline Grashtel

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2013, 01:00:31 PM »

I believe that is the one of which there is footage on the Tube of You ... which very convincingly makes the point that the Soviet launch vehicle was made from Explodium.
N1-5L, I believe, the second test launch.
Of course, any liquid fuelled rocket can be said to be made of Explodium, the Saturn V has been said to contain the equivalent power of a small nuclear bomb, and the N1 was approximately equivalent.
In any case, yes, it goes off with a hell of a bang.
Especially as it had IIRC 32 engines on the first stage and didn't get the funding for full scale static testing to try and work out the inevitable problems before an actual launch.
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Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: why was the usa the only one to go to the moon?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2013, 03:48:23 PM »
Especially as it had IIRC 32 engines on the first stage and didn't get the funding for full scale static testing to try and work out the inevitable problems before an actual launch.

Thirty engines in the first stage (I just counted them on my model :)). The full scale testing would have been very useful for highlighting issues such as the one that led to the destruction of N-1 5L.

The engines on the N-1 were fixed, not gimballed. If one engine went out there was an asymmetry introduced to the thrust, which meant a deviation in the thrust vector. Only a small one, but enough to cause problems. Since there was no way to move the other engines to compensate for this, the automatic safety system's response was to shut down the engine opposite the failed one. The overall thrust is reduced but the thrust is restored to symmetry. Simple.

Except that someone crossed a wire on N-1 5L. Seconds after ignition one engine failed. The automated system shut down the opposite engine. Or at least the one it thought was opposite. instead the shutdown signal went to a different engine. The thrust remained asymmetric. The shutdown of this engine triggered the shutdown of the one opposite that engine. Unfortunately the error in the wiring led to another incorrect engine shutdown, and the effect spiralled until it shut down enough engines that the thrust no longer exceeded the weight of the vehicle. Of course once that happened there was only one possible outcome...
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 03:54:21 PM by Jason Thompson »
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