Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Space Race, 1960s

So, have you been wondering where Grandpa Uno was during the 1960s?? We historians of the life and times of Grandpa Uno have been wondering the same thing. It was recently brought to our attention that during the 1960s, Uno was working overseas (you may recall our recollection of Uno's time in Eurasia, 1972, which inevitably led to this discovery).

There has been much debate as to what Grandpa was doing during this time, but it is now with great certainty that we point you to a photo obtained at great risk to our dear friend Ferguson in 2004. Nearly dying in the endeavor, Ferguson breached deep into the recesses of the former Soviet Union in order to gain access to archival records in the basement of the Kremlin. In these archives, Ferguson came upon the photo depicted below. Grandpa Uno has been highlighted in the image for your benefit.

What is revealed is the 1960 class of Cosmonauts from the USSR. These were the elite pilots and scientists (some shown with family) of the time in the Soviet Union. In 1961, John F. Kennedy announced to the United States that by the end of the decade, America would land the first man on the moon. This, obviously, frustrated the slow-moving Soviet squad of cosmonauts, who began feverishly working toward achieving the goal first.

Few know this, and we did not until very recently, but in 1969, only days before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, and some other guy launched the Apollo 11 en route to the moon, Grandpa Uno, Dmitri Zaikin (2nd from left, front row), and Anatolly Kartashov (the hispanic-looking fellow to the far right in the back row) set flight with the same objective.

Uno's vessel, under the name of the Snegirov, inched closer and closer to the moon, with Apollo 11 shortly behind. At times, pilot Kartashov took breaks, as the Soviet spaceship was not designed with autopilot (as opposed to the Apollo vessels, the Soviets utilized a unique rowing-style method of propulsion, kind of like that famous scene in "Ben Hur"). This caused the Apollo crew to gain ground on the Soviets, and Uno would need to captain the crew into spurts of remarkable speed.

Sure enough, though the mission was entirely top-secret, and still undisclosed publicly, Snegirov reached the moon first. Aldrin, Armstrong and the other guy turned tail back to earth and filmed (in association with MTV Productions) the faked version with an American flag, rather than the soviet hammer and sickle.

We thank Ferguson for having found this photograph, and recognize his great sacrifice. He spent three months being tortured by Russian authorities before he gave his source.

RIP Ferguson.


  1. Michael Collins was the Krist Novoselic of the moon landing.