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Space Race Diary

  1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | post-1968

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev with Gen. Pavel Agadzhanov at Simferpol Control Center January 4, 1967
As the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution neared, political leaders looked to the space program for triumphs. Kaminin's predictions had been on target; earlier problems were making progress difficult.

"The leaders of the Party and government are charging us with the task of achieving spectacular success in space exploration -- a flight around the moon first by an unmanned spacecraft and then with a crew. It is not an easy task considering that our cosmonauts have not been in space since March 1965 (during this period U.S. astronauts were on ten manned flights)...

"So far, planned piloted flights were disrupted through the fault of the industry, especially IDB-1. Now the cosmonaut training program may become a brake on our programs..."

February 18, 1967
Kaminin confided to the diary his frustration with dismissive remarks from acting defense minister Andrei Grechko.

"S. I. Rudenko today briefed me on his conversation with Marshal A. A. Grechko on organizing a search and rescue service for cosmonauts and spacecraft, including spacecraft returning to Earth at escape velocity... Grechko said, 'I won't give you personnel, I won't give you any money. Do what you like but I won't raise this with the government... And in general I am against moon missions.'

"...Considering such an attitude toward space exploration we have to fight every inch of the way to secure the adoption of decisions that are essential if the most exciting ideas of our time are to be realized. It probably never occurred to Grechko that conquering outer space means a rapid development of science and technology which has a progressive influence on every sphere of activities, including defense."

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