Originally Posted by Ihatethedukes
I love the comical overstatement of abilities in this thread....
There are not over-statements or comedies about having different approaches @ what you do. You can be successful in different ways.
Yes, the Space Shuttle was above and beyond the Russian capabilities.
Yes, the Apollo program was the first to put a man around or to eventually land on the moon.
Yet the un-manned Luna Programme USSR was pushing managed to have the 1st man-made object to "crash-land" on the moon as early as 1959, first pictures of the "Dark side" by 1960 (the far side, its not dark, sorry Pink Floyd, I still love you) or have the 1st succesful soft landing and then single stage return to Earth vehicle by 1966.
And sorry, but doing something "once" with virtually "unlimited" funding, is not more important than doing it repeatedly, and thanks to the Russian cosmodromes and mundane rockets, the rest of the world can have satellites too.
If the Russians weren't pushing the space race, US Gov would not be nearly as involved as it was, and things we get for granted now, would never find their way into our hands - more over be considered accessible for everyday usage.
Btw, it is one thing to see it from afar or pictured, and another thing to get close or almost inside some of the "space vehicles" like the primitive Mercury & Gemini capsules...those things are so small and primitive that is insane. Just imagine the briefing for the missions those guys were prepairing for:
"We will put you in this alloy capsule of 1.5m3 volume (the interior being like .5m3), over this rocket that contains a few thousand tons of volatile gases".
"We will ignite the gases leading to a massive, non reversible combustion reaction that will shoot you into 250km into space where no-one have ever been before"
"You will orbit for 2-3 days, and then re-enter the atmosphere where the shielding of your capsule will start melting, and fly away taking part of the thermal energy away with it. It will be 2000 degrees outside, but you should not worry"
"You will crash land in the sea after a short violent re-entry, where we will find and collect you"