• The Soviet Union launches Yuri Gagarin into space, stunning the world.
  • At a meeting of Soviet politicians and rocket engineers, a plan is drawn up to put a man on the moon.
  • Kennedy makes his famous speech about how the US will commit itself to landing a man on the Moon and return him to Earth.


  • Development of both the Soviet (N1 Baiko) and the American (Saturn V) rockets are near completion. Nothing is yet known about the N1 in the west.
  • Chief Soviet rocket designer, Korolev, undergoes minor surgery and returns to work days later.
  • First test of the Saturn V rocket is successful. N1 follows with a similar test days later.


  • On 8th December, the N1 Baiko rocket, code named Rodina, is launched at the moon with Alexi Leonov as captain of the three man crew. Tight secrecy is kept.
  • 9th December, The Soviet Union announces its launch. The claim is slandered by the world press.
  • 11th December, the Soviet lander, the Engles touches down on the lunar surface. Alexi Leonov emerges and broadcasts his arrival to the world. His first words are "the Moon is Red". The landing is broadcast live in the USSR and also to the rest of the world as Leonov plants the Soviet flag on the Moon.
  • The US is absolutely stunned at this development. US claims of fraud by the Soviets are quelled by independent observatories and listening stations around the world.


  • Rodina 2 is launched. The Soviet economy receives a huge boost as well as a rise in public morale. On the other side of the world, the US undergoes the opposite effect.
  • In July, the US launches Apollo 11. Although receiving huge public interest, the mission is not seen as a success, as they can only come a dismal second.
  • Rodina 3 is successful. At the post-mission press conference, the Soviets announce plans to send up a station in space ("space station").


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