Soviet Union planned to build command posts on the Moon

The project was shut down due to its costs

During the Cold War years, the Soviet government seriously considered an issue of building settlements on the Moon. Those strategic settlements would probably give a very important advantage in the standoff between the two super powers. Soviet military officials believed that the Moon would be a perfect command post, which would not be possible to attack with an A-bombs, the Novaya Gazeta wrote about the little-known 30-year-old project of the USSR.

Alexander Yegorov, deputy general director of one of construction bureaus said that he personally worked on the projects of human settlements on the Moon.  “Since the Moon has no atmosphere, a nuclear blast would not be efficient there. A blast is a wave of compression, which can be transmitted in the air or in another environment. An explosion on the moon would simply be a bright flash of light and possibly, radiation,” the scientist said. Soviet defense officials surmised that the Moon would be a perfect command post, which would be impossible to attack from Earth. As it turned out later, the US government had the same plans as far as settlements on the Moon were concerned. The two countries kept their projects in absolute secrecy.

According to the Soviet project, two spacecrafts were supposed to be launched to the Moon to build human settlements there. First settlers would live on the Moon in special rovers. Cosmonauts would then build the central building, which would provide most comfortable living conditions to humans, the Novaya Gazeta wrote. The first crew would be of four cosmonauts. Four other people were supposed to join them later, and the group would finally count 12 people. Each group of four men would work on the Moon for 12 months. Several life-support systems would be self-contained: water purification, food production, for instance. Scientists even worked on a special lunar greenhouse. 

It would take hundreds of billions of dollars to build a lunar army base. The US Apollo program was a $34 billion project, whereas the project of lunar settlements would cost a lot more. To crown it all, the lunar town would require continuing investments too.

Dmitry Ustinov, then Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, decided to shut down the project gradually. Ustinov believed that the USA, as a wealthier state, would win the moon race, and the Soviet Union would not be able to afford such an expensive endeavor.

However, the works continued. Specialists found a place with the moon-looking landscape on the outskirts of Tashkent, where they organized a range ground to test lunar base modules.

A group of students from the Institute of Architecture defended diplomas on the architecture of lunar constructions. Soviet designers suggested each cosmonaut should have his own booth, including a booth at the orbital station during a long-distance flight. Every room of the moon station would be multifunctional.

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Author`s name Olga Savka