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Mine Is Bigger Than Yours

by John M. White |

For those of us old enough we remember when the U.S. and Soviet Union tested the ability for the two countries to dock their respective spacecraft together in orbit. In 1975 the U.S. Apollo spacecraft would join up with the Soviet Union's Soyuz 19 spacecraft in orbit.

But those responsible individuals in the Soviet Union's propaganda ministry were worried because the Soyuz spacecraft was 7.22 feet in diameter while the Apollo spacecraft was 12.8 feet in diameter.  We must remember that in those days the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union was very important, and the Soviet's always wanted to one-up the United States to it's people.  Well, they could not let this happen and have the Soviet Union's citizens find out that their spacecraft was smaller than the Americans.

So, what could the Propaganda Ministry do to fix this problem?  The solution, it seems, is the one they always seemed to use: lie.  The only TV would take place inside the two capsules when they both opened the hatches, met each other, shook hands, and were then off and on their way home.  So no one would see the difference on the external sizes on TV.

But there were commemorative badges (badges were very popular in the Soviet Union) and they could not show the differences there.  So, below are a couple of samples of the badges they did make:


Apollo-Soyuz-3 Apollo-Soyuz-4

As you can see above, problem solved!  Ah, for the good old days!

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


In the space age, man will be able to go around the world in two hours — one hour for flying and one hour to get to the airport.

— Neil McElroy, 'Look,' 1958

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