The Moon: Disaster at Tyuratum

BEFORE the downfall of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviets boasted that the first American to land on the moon would find a Russian there to welcome him. As the third and fourth American astronauts walked on the lunar surface, no Russian had yet ventured more than a few hundred miles into space. The prospects for an imminent Soviet manned lunar mission dimmed even further last week when it was revealed that the Russian space program had recently been struck by a major disaster.

U.S. space scientists had long expected the launch of a new Russian super rocket, a vehicle with a thrust of...

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