Alternate History

Timeline (Ascent 1967)

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 A World of Difference 1944-1970  


1944: Production of the V2 is put on hold as the Red Army comes closer to Berlin.

1945: Operation Paperclip is launched by the Americans. Many Nazi scientists leave Europe with their families for the US and work with the government. MI6 launches a similar operation to retrieve intelligence and hears about Operation Paperclip. 

1946: With the Second World War over the remaining Nazi scientists in the UK are granted citizenship through MI6's knowledge of OP. A young scientist going by the name of Werner von Braun moves to the US with blueprints of the Vergeltungswaffen (Vengeance weapon)

1947: Soviet scientists gain access to some V2 craft in the now Soviet occupied East Germany. Now British citizens, the German scientists warn the government that the Soviets may have other scientists working on nuclear weapons. The US on the other hand, start looking at upgrading the V2 for military purposes. Von Braun; inspired by the science fiction novels, thinks about using the missiles for scientific progress. 

1949: Von Braun outfits a V2 with a small payload of atmospheric sensors and a camera, the altitude peaked to 64 km. The payload comes back with some data that Von Braun shares with the scientific community.


1950: Soviet nuclear tests are revealed to the newly formed NATO as the US test their new rocket designs. The British Parliament authorizes German scientists to work on the V2 weapons and weaponize them. Von Braun and a small group of scientists start to work on a manned space craft with the USAF, the Army and Navy attempt to do the same but all three groups are marked with constant failures. 

1951: The US armed forces separate attempts at building manned and unmanned spacecraft have flopped. With funding being withdrawn Von Braun opts for a separate entity to be made for the purpose of space exploration. He isn't taken seriously but some members of Congress approve of his idea.

1953: The United Nations attempt to intervene with the nuclear tests. All US and Soviet tests end by 1958. The USAF space program succeeds in leaps and bounds as intelligence suggests that Soviet scientists may be doing the same. 

1954: Von Braun designs an unmanned craft to study space, the prototype is named Explorer. Soviet scientists reverse engineer V2 technology and work on a satellite named Sputnik.  

1955: Sergi Korolev, the chief designer of the Soviet space program attempts to launch a prototype of Sputnik, but explodes on the launch pad, incinerating three technicians. 

1956: After years of working with the USAF, Von Braun submits his idea of a government funded space program to Congress, they approve of his idea. NASA is created with Von Braun as head of staff.

1957: The USSR launch the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1. This is a shock to the US as they struggle to launch the Explorer prototype, but eventually succeed. Britain looks at a crown-funded space program. The USSR celebrates their success on state radio and television.

1958: President Kennedy challenges the Soviets to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. The Russians reply with sending Luna 1, but impacts into the lunar surface, a blow to the Soviet space program. Meanwhile, the Brits launched a small satellite but it crashes into the English Channel.

1959: The British Government gains assistance from the newly formed NASA, helping the British Space Agency. Project Mercury is started at Huntsville, Alabama to achieve manned spaceflight. Soviet probe Luna 2 makes a hard landing on the moon, the first probe to do so.


1960: The US unmanned lunar program flops with most probes crashing into the lunar surface, the USSR's manned program is going swimmingly with some candidates already being chosen as the US does the same with the Mercury project. The US follows the Russians success with Luna 2 by landing the Ranger probes, the first two fail at launch but Ranger 3 sends back images of the moon to an excited public. 

1961: The USSR shocks the world by sending the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin spent two hours in space before landing in Kazakhstan. The US catches up three months later with John Glenn in a suborbital trajectory, the Mercury project is a success for NASA and boosts US morale. To help practice with rendezvous with other spacecraft and practicing EVA's, NASA puts the green light on Project Gemini, with applicants being selected.

1962: Vostok's 3 and 4 orbit simultaneously as the USSR work on their lunar program. The US looks at the possibility of an armed spacecraft. The US lunar program starts with a prototype Lunar lander being designed. The program is named Apollo with the first test flights starting in 1964.

1963: The first manned version of Gemini, Gemini 3, is launched at Cape Canaveral, with Gus Grissom and John Young at the controls. The flight is a success and they land safely in the Pacific Ocean. Gemini 4 becomes the first mission to perform an EVA, Micheal Collins performs the world's first spacewalk above Australia. The US public believe that they can beat the USSR in the Space Race. The USSR follows with Yuri Gagarin, performing the first space walk by the USSR. (Gagarin died in a plane crash in OTL).

1964: President Kennedy announces that the Soviet space program is catching up to the US on live television and suggests nuclear disarmament for a peaceful world. (Kennedy survives his assassination attempt by surgery and Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested.) Technicians at NASA recommend upgrading the computers at Houston, the R&D team at Huntsville upgrades the computers in the Apollo lunar and command modules. The US and USSR cut defense spending, this shocks the world as it shows how serious they are with the Space Race.

1965: The US sends Apollo 8 around the moon, the three astronauts are the first to see the dark side fo the moon. With practice from the Gemini program the rendezvous is a success and Gordon Cooper, James Lovell and Edward H. White splash down off the coast of Hawaii. The USSR sends an unmanned Zond craft around the moon. The first unmanned probe to Mars is sent by the USSR, Mars 1 does a fly-by and takes photos of Mars' satellite Phobos and the surface, showing large mountain ranges and canyons. 

1966: The US prepare for a manned landing in two years time, the USSR send a manned Zond craft around the moon with two cosmonauts, Gherman Titov and Alexi Leonov perform the first EVA in lunar orbit after the solar panels on the Zond II fail to open, leaving the craft underpowered for a few hours, although the EVA was improvised, the craft landed safely in a field in the Ukraine SSR. The British Space program, plagued by debt gets put on hold indefinitely. Meanwhile, the Soviets and the US share their computing technology.

1967: The USSR lands a manned spacecraft on the moon, the Space Race is not over though, with the US wanting peace with the Soviets, announcing that they will land the following year and build a moon base. The US accepts the challenge of continuing the Space Race. The Outer Space Treaty is signed by the USSR, the UK and the USA, prohibiting weapons of mass destruction on the moon and earth orbit. Puerto Rico is given statehood and becomes the 51st US state. 

Russian moon landing

First man on the moon, Soviet Cosmonaut Konstantin Feoktistov

1968: Project Horizon, a USAF project of a military base on the moon is restarted after being deemed to controversial. A small fleet of Saturn V rockets are built as the US moon landing reaches its final stages. Apollo 10 lands on the moon with Michael Collins and James Lovell in the Lunar lander, Lovell quotes the famous line: "We came in peace for all mankind." The crew put the US flag onto the surface along with a memorial to the deceased USSR and US astronauts. After three hours of experiments the crew leave the Lunar surface and land in the Pacific near Australia about 456 km off course. 

1969: Leonid Breznev and the newly elected Richard Nixon convene in East Berlin to propose a joint moon base. The plans succeed and a joint US-USSR unmanned program to the inner and outer planets is also approved. With the upgraded hardware from the R&D team at Huntsville, the Soviets develop the Soyuz craft as an upgrade to the aging Vostok fleet. The Americans look at building a scientific base in Earth Orbit, the project is called Skylab, the space station will be built from Apollo hardware. 

World Peace? 1970-1995


1970: The USSR builds a prototype space station called Salyut. The Americans, meanwhile, launch Skylab's first module, being a two-part space station. The new Soyuz spacecraft flies successfully and rendezvous with Skylab to meet the US crew performing maintenance. Alexei Leonov and Micheal Collins meet during an EVA to repair Skylab's damaged solar array. Soyuz 1 safely lands in Siberia and Leonov is rescued a day later after nearly getting attacked by a wolf. Salyut 1 is constructed at a factory near Baikonur Cosmodrome and launched later in the year.

1971: The European Space Agency is formed from the remnants of the British Space Agency with most European nations joining except for the USSR. The ESA gets hardware from the USSR and USA and send up a space probe at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. The LEO Apollo spacecraft docks with the Salyut space station after a docking adapter is built. Apollo 12 and its cargo module land at the proposed site of Project Horizons, Montes Appenninus.

1972: A group of American and Soviet engineers land at Montes Appenninus and set up a small base for Project Horizons. Apollo 13 lands at Tranquility Base, a joint US-USSR scientific base. As US-Soviet relations start to cool down, President Ford and Leonid Breznev sign the Berlin Treaty, unifying Germany and dissolving the Warsaw Pact. Germany joins the European Space Agency along with the other former Soviet satellite states. 

Former Soviet territories and Warsaw Pact nations that were given independence in 1972.

1973: NASA launches the Viking probes, they're expected to arrive in 1975. The Soviet Venera probes are sent to Venus after technical issues. The US moon base is up and running with a crew of four, new modules will arrive with solar power plants and hydroponics for growing food and oxygen. US engineers build modular rovers for construction and towing resources and send them to the construction site of Project Horizons. A manned mission to the moon is drafted by ESA. A reusable spacecraft is drafted up by NASA to replace the Saturn Vb's LEO cargo tug. 

1974: The hydroponics module of the US base is up and running, making oxygen and growing vegetables for the scientists and astronauts. The USSR builds a moon base with the Zvezda program, US armed forces land at Fortification Ridge, the military base of Project Horizons. The base is fully oxygenated and is a short sleeve environment. The Zvezda program upgrades the Zond landers to be two person. 

1975: ESA lands an unmanned probe on the moon that transmits photos of the Soviet base to the public. The twin Viking probes land on the Martian surface, taking photos and soil and rock samples for evidence of life. A rumor starts going around that NASA had found life on Mars. Fortification Ridge is stocked with Apollo rovers for reconnaissance missions. President Nixon pulls troops out of Vietnam, after a successful campaign to bring peace to the region. Microsoft is founded in Redmond, Washington. The company experiments with computer technology.


Space Shuttle concept art from 1975

1976: The rumours of life on Mars are proven false as NASA finds no evidence of life but finds what looks like evidence of water. Further exploration is required and a manned flyby mission is drafted up. A prototype of the reusable spacecraft is tested at Vandenberg AFB with huge success.

1977: A manned flyby of Venus is planned by the Soviets. The European Space Agency send its first man into space, with a Soyuz purchased from the Soviet Union, ESA plans to design its own version and use its own technology. The US Moon base is complete as they direct most of their funds to the joint Soviet-US base.

1978: The EEC (European Economic Community) gains the former Warsaw states and Germany, expanding its territory. The Australian government considers a space program with its Pacific neighbours. A US Venus fly-by is under construction, the program is code named Hades. The Soviet moon base is completed with the US/USSR moon base starting to be manned by scientists and astronauts. 

1979: The first unmanned version of the Hades is launched on a recon trip to Venus, its manned variant is a modified version of Skylab to save costs. The manned version is expected to be launched in 1982. The Soviet-US moon base is named Artemis. 

1980: The Soviet Union de-orbits Salyut 6 and works on a modular space station codenamed Mir. The first space shuttle, Discovery is launched and rendezvous with Skylab, boosting its orbit up to a safer orbit. The space station is refurbished and refitted with docking adaptors for the shuttle. 

1981: The first components of Mir are launched from Baikonour Cosmodrome. ESA launches weather satellites. The US researches growing plants on the lunar surface and in space. The EEC increases its influences in Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia joins the EEC.

1982: The first manned trip to Venus is launched, Hades is launched into a low Earth orbit on September 23rd and resupplies from Skylab before leaving the Earth to Venus, it is expected to arrive five months later in early 1983. The USSR launches the solar array and living quarters for Mir. 

1983: The Chinese start sending troops to the Soviet border, creating more tensions in the East and West. NATO and The USSR are wary of the Chinese as tensions are high during the Sino-Soviet split. This is later said to be one of the closest points to nuclear war during the Cold War. Ethnic tensions in Yugoslavia are at their height after an attempted terrorism plot is foiled in Sarajevo. Numerous political and ethnic groups blame each other. Hades reaches Venus a few weeks earlier than expected. The crew perform numerous experiments and EVA's,

1984: The Eastern Bloc is becoming unstable with every passing day. Rogue Chinese jets were spotted flying over Mongolia and Kazakhstan. The jets were ordered to leave Soviet airspace. After arriving in Chinese territory, the pilots were arrested and jailed for treason. The USSR and NATO had almost declared war on China until the US embassy was told that they were not sent by the Air Force. The government apologized afterward. 

1985: The tensions in Yugoslavia have cooled down, albeit for only a while. President Reagan wins his second term as President of the United States. Mikhail Gorbachev is also elected the Chairman of the Soviet Communist Party, therefore becoming the current leader of Russia.

1986: The Pacific Space Program is formed by Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, allowing the Pacific Nations to join in the Space Race. The possible restoration of the Prussian Monarchy is debated in the Reichstag, with numerous German royalist groups supporting the idea. Mikhail Gorbachev and President Regan meet in Moscow to end the Cold War, both leave the 1986 Moscow Summit with no resolution to the ending of the conflict. 

1987: New Zealand declares itself a nuclear weapons free zone. Mongolia becomes a theocratic nation under the 9th Jetsundhamba Khutughtu.

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