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Old 03-15-2016, 12:01 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,412
The rescue of American astronauts by a Russian Cosmonaut in the 1969 film Marooned (based on the book by Martin Caidin, another of whose books inspired the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man) s said to have greased the skids for the Apollo-Soyuz linkup six years later. I know I've heard and read this many times before, and this website, for instance, takes it for granted ( ), as does the Internet Movie Database ( )

The Wikipedia page on the film is oddly silent about this, except for this snippet in the "Talk" section:

In a TV Guide article in the early summer of 1975, the interviewer quoted a Soviet as saying, "he thought all Americans had horns, until he read about Marooned". Indeed, it is conceivable that this movie gave a bit of a nudge to a project that probably had its roots with Kennedy and Krushchev talking about Kennedy's idea that they go to the moon together. It would be worth seeing what the state of talks between the countries were before and after this movie.

"Deke" Slayton claimed in his memoir that this film helped convince the Russians to undertake Apollo-Soyuz. ( )

Edidently it influenced some Americans in the Space Program:

Before he had an opportunity to talk with the Soviets, Handler saw a movie that influenced his thinking concerning manned space flight.

In the early spring of 1970, . . . I saw a special showing of the film Marooned in which . . . an American astronaut is marooned in orbit, unable to return to earth, and has a relatively limited oxygen supply remaining. While preparations are made on earth for rescue by NASA, a Soviet spacecraft is caused to change its course so as to closely approach the helpless American craft. A Soviet cosmonaut then undertakes a space walk and delivers some tanks of [10] oxygen to the marooned American permitting him to survive until the American rescue is possible.#

About a week before Handler's departure for the Soviet Union, he saw Tom Paine; Marooned was still in the back of his mind. During their conversation, Paine and Handler reviewed various possibilities for cooperation with the Soviets. Paine told him of his correspondence with Keldysh and urged Handler to press the discussion of this subject with the Soviets. Handler later reflected, "it was my clear intention to catalyze the process knowing full well that if I could secure agreement with the Soviet Academy to begin cooperative ventures seriously, from then on the negotiations would have to be directly with NASA."32

The two days that Handler spent in Moscow, 11-12 May 1970, were filled with talks on a broad range of topics relating to the whole realm of cooperation between the two scientific communities. At one point, Handler found an opportunity to discuss the question of space cooperation with President Keldysh, Dzhermen Mikhaylovich Gvishiani (Premier Kosygin's son-in-law and Deputy Minister for Science and Technology), and a group of younger Soviet scientists. Handler's approach was less tactful than that which had been pursued by NASA officials; "I confronted them with copies of a recent article in the New York Times and in Science magazine recounting the rather disgraceful history of their failure to react to the many initiatives offered by NASA." Handler urged closer cooperation by describing the basic scenario of the film Marooned. The fact that "an American film should portray a Soviet cosmonaut as the hero who saves an American's life came to them as a visible and distinct shock."

Last edited by CalMeacham; 03-15-2016 at 12:03 PM.