Earlier I asked about espionage during the Space Race. Were there any significant instances of cooperation during the Space Race? More specifically, I'm asking about cooperation:

  • $\begingroup$ There's a very insightful writeup on this topic on NASA pages, written by Roald Sagdeev, University of Maryland, and Susan Eisenhower, The Eisenhower Institute: United States-Soviet Space Cooperation during the Cold War. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Dec 17 '14 at 23:02
  • $\begingroup$ While espionage is one thing, soviets were quite actively reading publicly available military standards and patent applications... $\endgroup$ – SF. Sep 25 '17 at 2:11
  • $\begingroup$ It is worth nothing that other western nations (or not USA) had significant cooperation with USSR. $\endgroup$ – Antzi Sep 27 '17 at 5:12

Well, both the US and the USSR participated in the July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958 International Geophysical Year (IGY), an international effort to coordinate the collection of geophysical data from around the world. The IGY organizing committee resolved that "all observational data shall be available to scientists and scientific institutions in all countries." Even that limited level of scientific interchange between East and West became possible only after the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953.

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    $\begingroup$ Could you add some detail to your answer as to what spaceflight-derived data each side made available? I would not call merely the signing of an agreement, if there were no follow up, to be significant cooperation. $\endgroup$ – Jerard Puckett Nov 7 '14 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ NAS IGY Program Report : books.google.com/… $\endgroup$ – Denis Makarenko Nov 7 '14 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ Overview of IGY results (in russian) : slovari.sosh.ru/slovo.asp?id=51340 $\endgroup$ – Denis Makarenko Nov 7 '14 at 19:30

There were several instances of cooperation during the space-race; Russia was not entirely isolated. Russia (USSR, to be precise) was an active participant in the IAF, and UN programmes such as COSPAR.

To quote Brian Harvey from "Rebirth of the Russian Space Program"

The Soviet Union ran cooperative programs with the United States from 1965, especially in space biology and together the two countries hosted annual conferences on lunar and planetary exploration

You'll find more about the complex relationship in the space arena between the mentioned protagonists in that book, and the link provided by Noordung.

(+: Google is your friend


The Wikipedia article on the Soviet Luna 15 mission, which ran simultaneous to the Apollo 11 moon landing, claims this to be "one of the first instances of Soviet-American space cooperation", though it doesn't provide reference for this. I believe I've read about it elsewhere (possibly In the Shadow of the Moon or one of the other French/Burgess books).

The two teams shared their flight paths and landing coordinates in order to avoid conflict/catastrophe, though the Soviets didn't overtly divulge the purpose/details of their mission. Interestingly, Aldrin was recorded in the CSM asking Houston for updates on the Soviet mission in the Apollo 11 radio transcripts.


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