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Spacecraft during the cold war, which was not

Космические аппараты времен холодной войны, которых не было

From the spacecraft, equipped with a cannon to Mars icebreaker, some missions during the cold war were on the verge of implementation. And many of them burned out. Once every jaded space enthusiast dreamed of a normally developed space. By now the Land should have been to surround the sparkling space hotels, flights to the moon had become commonplace, and the first settlers colonized would dusty plains of Mars.

However, despite the best efforts of Richard Branson, our future is a bright space remains elusive. Although British space station astronaut recently flew in a gorilla suit. That was a start.

In the last 40 years of human progress beyond Earth’s orbit proceeded painfully slow, and space history was littered with hundreds of abandoned projects and concepts. The space could be completely different if a few missions during the cold war managed to finish.

Nuclear missile

On a gray concrete small open area in the Center of space flight control. Marshall’s NASA in Alabama is one of the most unusual engines ever designed by the Agency. Mounted to the frame with long slim solid state accelerator space Shuttle (on the back is written “empty”), funnel the Nerva engine was specially developed to deliver astronauts to Mars.

Developed in 60-ies of Nerva is an acronym for “nuclear engine for rocket use in transport” — consists of a cylindrical reactor uranium nuclear fission that heats liquid hydrogen. Then, the gas erupts from the rocket nozzle, producing a powerful thrust.

Following the plan of Werner von Braun, NASA’s first mission to Mars was scheduled for 1979: the astronauts had to fly on a traditional rocket, while orbiting activate “the Nerve” and tear off to the red planet. Were successfully tested about 20 nuclear engines. The results demonstrated that this technology is great for interplanetary travel. Engine, exhibited at the Marshall center, was to be the most powerful, but the project was closed in 1973, before someone tried to break in.

Many operators still consider that the nuclear plant has a promising future. However, the idea of running a reactor full of radioactive uranium, on the rocket, also full of explosive gases, oddly enough, has its opponents.

Space battleship

One of the worst spacecraft, which was developed, came from the Russian armament programme of the spacecraft “Soyuz”. The goal was to develop a manned spacecraft to observe the enemy on its territory and destruction of enemy satellites.

Космические аппараты времен холодной войны, которых не было

The plan was to create a manned battleship in space, able to attack other space vehicles and to release the shells, breaking them to pieces. The main goal were to become American spy satellites and other military spacecraft of the United States.

The astronaut had to aim the weapons on the spacecraft and come up with a purpose for the sight. That “Union” was not able to rebound or spin uncontrollably after a shot, a gun mounted on an independent platform with a low coefficient of friction.

Although technology has taken place and the training of astronauts, too, the military program was closed in favor of a program of civilian space station. With the advent of more ingenious spy satellites it was also agreed that it makes no sense to send a man into space for shots.

Big G

The program “Gemini” mid 60’s is one of the most daring missions history of space exploration. Two astronauts were supposed to live in a cabin the size of two seats is a small family car, and yet for Gemini a few important merits: first American in space, the first long-term space flight, the first rendezvous and first docking, first time the spacecraft was equipped with a fuel cell and programmable computers.

Космические аппараты времен холодной войны, которых не было

The device was so good that its Creator McDonnell Douglas had cherished great plans for the little — wanted to increase its capacity up to nine astronauts. The program dubbed the Big G, and for eyes named “space truck”. McDonnell Douglas outlined the first plans for the project and built a full-sized layout to show the heads of NASA, how it should work.

Designed to transport astronauts to the location of the planned military space station and back, Big G included two departments: the usual Gemini capsule for two in the front and larger rear cabin.

But the space station held, and from the Big G also refused in favor of the space Shuttle. However, the idea of large capsules to transport astronauts to orbit and back is to return. Currently NASA is developing the design from Boeing and SpaceX.

Space station “freedom”

Space station that President Reagan approved in 1984, differed from the International space station, which emerged from the political wreckage. “Freedom” was conceived as more than just the orbital laboratory.

It not only had to equip laboratories, and fully equipped infirmary and sanatorium. The project also included a hangar, where it was possible to place satellites and spacecraft for repair or refueling.

In short, “freedom” was more like a space station from a science fiction than a bunch of cylinders that we have now. Unfortunately, “freedom” turned out to be expensive, impractical and — on the background of the cold war — useless.

However, the ISS incorporates some elements of “freedom”. Moreover, the station would not be able to build without Russian expertise.

The Soviet cosmoplan

During the 1960s, the two superpowers had developed a very different spacecraft to solve the same problems. The Americans liked the cone-shaped capsule like Apollo, but the Russians preferred rounded. In the next decade, however, the world has seen, shall we say, the borrowing of technology.

Cosmoplan Russian “Buran”, for example, was a direct plagiarism of a space Shuttle. But the Americans didn’t avoid to copy the Soviet space technology. One of the most interesting structures damaged as a result of this copy, was the MiG-105.

Космические аппараты времен холодной войны, которых не было

Developed in the mid 60-ies, the MiG-105 was the first Russian attempt to build cosmoplan. The idea was to launch a small Shuttle into orbit by riding on a conventional rocket. Then it would come back on the runway on the ground. Several successful flights in the atmosphere showed that the idea works, and very soon the United States “acquired” this technology and has developed its own version of such.

This concept could remain in a landfill unnecessary concepts of the cold war. But instead, the original design has adapted to a spacecraft Dream Chaser, developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Through funding from NASA, the first such spacecraft would need to fly — unmanned — by the end of the decade, to restock the ISS. Prepared and manned version.

Dream Chaser proves that unusual and challenging ideas developed in the height of the cold war, sometimes are revised. And once we have set its sights on Mars, you can come back and nuclear engines. As for the space gun… as the exploration of space we may need all the crazy ideas that only can be born.

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