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Space Race Diary

  1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | post-1968

Neil Armstrong in Lunar Module after historic moonwalk December 31, 1969
After the U.S. sent two Apollo missions, 11 and 12, to land on the moon in 1969, Kaminin conceded defeat. His cosmonauts would never complete a lunar landing.

"On New Year's Eve I feel like looking back on the outgoing year... the name of Neil Armstrong, who became the first man to set foot on the moon on July 21, 1969, will by rights come second after that of Yuri Gagarin, who, as the American astronaut put it, 'beckoned us all into space.'

"Already four astronauts have been to the moon -- and all glory to them! As a Russian who has been at the head of Soviet cosmonauts, I feel sorry for our guys, although neither they nor I are to blame for the fact that they were not the first to get to the moon... I have more than once tried to explain to top officials -- [Defense Minister Rodion] Malinovsky, [Deputy Defense Minister Andrei] Grechko, [Soviet missile and space program manager Dmitri] Ustinov, [Soviet premier Nikita] Khrushchev, [Soviet premier Leonid] Brezhnev, and others -- that they had taken the wrong path, but I failed to bring about any significant change in our space policy."

January 19, 1970
After the moon race, the two superpowers continued their missions to outer space. Kaminin sadly noted diminished interest in the work to which he'd devoted so many years.

"After our debacle in the 'race to the Moon,' interest in outer space on the part of top party and government officials has diminished drastically."

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