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Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space is an edutainment computer game which was written just before and shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union.  It's a simulation of the US-Soviet Space Race.  This is a game for one or two players; you choose one of the two superpowers, head that country's space program, and try to beat your opponent to the Moon.

The game includes a whole range of different ways to do the job.  You can follow in NASA's footsteps and fly Apollo, or try the Soviet strategy of sending a Soyuz capsule on the N1 Moon rocket.  You could even fly a Gemini to the Moon—a proposal NASA eventually rejected in favor of Apollo.  Alternatively, you might decide we were wrong to get away from the idea of reusable spacecraft, and put NASA back on track toward an early type of Space Shuttle.  Or you might even take the science-fiction-inspired Direct Ascent approach with one big capsule that does it all!  Not enough variety?  How about a Soviet scheme to land an entire Soyuz capsule on the Moon?

Growing up, I loved to read about the history of the Space Race, about the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions (back then we didn't have much information about the Soviet space program), about how we went to the Moon, and I'd wonder why we didn't adopt reusable spacecraft back with the Dyna-Soar.  When I saw this game on the shelves back in '93, I was blown away.  Now I could fly to the Moon myself!  That's a little bit of all right.

The game is reasonably, though not slavishly, historically based.  Most of the programs that reached production are represented here, and then some.  Quite a few changes were made for game-balance purposes, but without taking away the historical feel of the game.

Unfortunately BARIS is a fairly difficult game—some would say too difficult (I get into that in my Tips and Background, or you can read the reviews below).  But it still holds endless fascination and playability for those of us who are space-obsessed.  The game was originally published in 1992 on floppy disk.  A year later, it was re-released in an Extended CD-ROM version, which included much better movies, and several small improvements that made it a bit easier—especially for the American player.

 See a comparison of spacecraft in BARIS to their real-life counterparts

Mercury Capsule Gemini Capsule Apollo Capsule XMS-2 Minishuttle, successor to Dyna-Soar, aka X-20 or XMS-1 (actually a picture of the M2-F3 experimental lifting body) Jupiter Capsule (direct ascent)
Vostok (''East'') Capsule Voskhod (''Sunrise'') Capsule Soyuz (''Union'') Capsule Lapot (''Wooden Shoe'') Minishuttle, the MiG 105 ''Spiral'' Kvartet (''Quartet'') Capsule (direct ascent)

Historical Inaccuracies

Any historical sim is going to have a certain amount of simplification and historical inaccuracy, and though BARIS worked hard to be true to history, to make the game work well (and be fun), certain compromises were made.

The way the game works is based mostly on the US space program; much of how the Soviets did things is shoehorned into that model for the sake of simplicity and gameplay.  For instance, the Soviets didn't have a central space agency; they had two or three bureaus that designed and produced hardware that was then approved or rejected by military and political circles.  That would be very complex to simulate (and probably less fun), so instead they took the most important of the bureaus, which had the most influential leader (Korolyov's), and presented it as a NASA equivalent.

Infighting between the Soviet bureaus, and the duplication of effort it entailed, was one reason they were hampered in getting to the Moon.  Another was that the USSR didn't spend nearly as much on the project as the Americans (an estimated $5-10 billion, versus $23 billion).  They also got off to a late start: it took them two years to figure out that Kennedy's Moon speech was the start of an earnest project and not just a propaganda device—and they couldn't have started much sooner anyway, since a lunar program wasn't in the current Five-Year Plan.  These differences would make the game awfully lopsided, so they were basically ignored.

It should be mentioned that even the Americans had somewhat more going on than just NASA; branches of the military started some efforts toward a space program early on—in fact, Explorer was an Army program, though it dried up shortly after.  The Air Force's space program had some real substance to it and lasted into the 1960s.  The X-20 Dyna-Soar, for instance, was USAF, not NASA.  Likewise, the Air Force had a parallel capsule program called Blue Gemini which would have flown astronauts on military space missions.  Blue Gemini actually flew some unmanned missions; it even refurbished a used Gemini capsule from NASA and relaunched it, accomplishing the first reuse of a spacecraft in history.  The Manned Orbiting Lab was also USAF, and would have used a Blue Gemini capsule and a modified rocket stage; in BARIS the MOL is a mission where you dock two spacecraft together, but that can be any capsule/shuttle combination with docking capability.

Voskhod was modified to make it a true equivalent to Gemini, the minishuttles are substantially modified from their historical antecedents, and the direct-ascent capsules are also changed quite a bit.  Also the Cricket and Duet lunar modules are inventions of the BARIS development team, since they needed one- and two-person equivalents of the Eagle and LK lunar modules, respectively.  The open-topped one-man lander from the Lunar Gemini proposals didn't work well in gameplay testing, so it wasn't included.

Another area where Soviet practices were made to conform to American ones is in crewing the capsules.  The American approach was simple: 1 man on Mercury, 2 on Gemini, 3 on Apollo.  Not so with the Soviets.  One of the two Voskhod flights had three cosmonauts stuffed inside so they could grab the three-person prestige first, and many of the Soyuz missions held only one or two crew members.  In fact, the reason they developed the LK lunar module (called L-3 in the game) was because they had to strip down a Soyuz to carry only two cosmonauts.  But again, it made things easier and simpler to use the American plan for BARIS—although added flexibility in crew assignments could have been one of the Soviets' advantages.

Then there's the naming of missions: BARIS uses the occasional American practice of using the program name plus a number which increments for each mission, manned or unmanned, regardless of mission type (e.g., Gemini I, II, III).  The Soviets tended to use different names for different types of missions.  For instance, the unmanned (and canine-crewed) Voskhod missions were dubbed Cosmos, and unmanned Soyuz flights were named Zond ("Probe")—while both names were also used for interplanetary probes.

Intelligence is one of the few things that goes the other way: the Soviet method is forced on both sides for the sake of game balance.  The Soviet space program was all secret, of course, and the Americans had to guess at what their counterparts were planning, with help from the CIA.  Fritz estimated that US intel was roughly half accurate during the Space Race, and that's how it is in BARIS—up or down 10% depending on your difficulty level.  But the Soviets always knew what the Americans were up to, since NASA's doings were open to the public.  KGB agents could, and did, attend launches.  This could have been one of the Soviet advantages in the game (and, in fact, it is just that in Blast Off!, a spinoff to the game), but that's not how it was done in BARIS.

One way in which American hardware was made like the Soviet in this game is that during this time in history, the Atlas rocket could not be boosted—but in BARIS, strap-on boosters can be used with it.  It was done for game-balance purposes: not allowing boosted Atlases would make for a big handicap for the Americans early in the game.


The original floppy version offered only Hotseat.  However, the CD version added Modem and Play-by-Email.  This was, of course, written before the days of TCP/IP or even IPX multiplayer.  Unfortunately, even these meager options aren't fully usable: while the Modem option works in DOS 6.22, BARIS fails to recognize the modem in Windows—even DOSBox can't seem to get around that limitation.  PBEM does work, though of course it's clumsy.  However, it's not available for Race Into Space.

Operating System

The game was written for MS-DOS.  The Floppy version usually runs ok in Windows 95/98, and sometimes in Windows 2000 or XP.  However, it can be finicky, especially the CD-ROM version.  Fortunately there is a freely-available DOS emulator called DOSBox, and I've had good success with it—I've even used it to get the CD version to run really well in Windows 2000, which is pickier about DOS programs than XP.  DOSBox is available at .  DOSBox is a command-line program, which means you have to use a bunch of commands and switches to use it.  Luckily someone has written a Windows interface for it, called D-Fend Reloaded, whichdownloadable from  I've written a guide to setting up BARIS to run in DOSBox & D-Fend 2, the predecessor to D-Fend Reloaded.

DOSBox does require some processing power, so it works best on faster systems (i.e., newer systems, which tend to have more problems running the game natively—it's nice how that works out!).  To give you some idea, it ran just fine on my old P4-1.8GHz, but ugly slow on my even older PIII-450MHz system.  (I wrote that years ago; it's embarrassingly outdated now. On modern computers DOSBox shouldn't cause you any trouble.)

If you've acquired the CD version but INSTALL.EXE doesn't run properly on your system, I have a solution for you.  Download and unzip it to the drive or folder where you want the game.  It will automatically install the game to a subfolder under the drive or folder you unzip to.  Then point DOSBox to that location, per the instructions in my guide above.

However, you can now bypass all the setup difficulties, slowdowns, and compatibility problems involved with running the game in an emulator, because BARIS has been ported to Windows, Linux, and Mac.  The Race Into Space project was started by Michael McCarty, the main programmer of BARIS.  It runs natively in modern operating systems and has an autosave feature, which BARIS lacked.  We've also added numerous improvements and a number of bug fixes; It's much better now than BARIS was (even the CD version), and it's what I always play now.  From 2013 to 2016 a successor to BARIS was developed, Buzz Aldin's Space Program Manager, which is much more involved and includes support for other languages.  Since development has stopped on BASPM, RIS has picked up active development on moved to GitHub, where a very few of us are still working on the game.

Versions & Updates

  Following is the game's version history.
Ver.Release DateComments
(1)1989Board game published
2TBDBoard game updated and improved
Ver.Release DateComments
1.00March 25, 1993Original release of the floppy version
1.00a?Added UNDO button to Hardware Purchase screen, fixed some bugs
1.00bJune 1, 1993Fixed some more bugs, made the game a little smaller on the hard drive
1.01October 13, 1993Fixed more bugs, and also made the game less difficult
1.1May 26(?), 1994CD version
  Race Into Space
Ver.Release DateOperating SystemComments
.1 January 2, 2007  Linux(rpm)First release
.2 January 17, 2007  Windows Mac Linux(rpm, tar)Bug fixes, cleanup, improved animations; added Autosave; first release for Windows and Mac
.3 January 24, 2007  Linux(rpm, tar)First playable version. Bug fixes, smoothing things out.
.4 March 10, 2007  Windows Linux(rpm, tar)Bug fixes, and lots of 'em. Started using Ogg/Theora codec for movies.
.4.5August 8, 2007  Windows Mac Linux(tar)Bug fixes, polishing of game. Included the Grammar Mod.
.4.6August 22, 2007  Windows Mac Linux(tar)Bug fixes, including reducing hardware by 50% rather than reducing it to 6%
.4.7September 25, 2008  Windows Linux(tar)Bug fixes, including the 900MB Bug. At this point, porting the game was basically finished, and future versions could focus on making improvements.
.4.8  Linux September 1, 2010
  Windows October 14, 2010
  Windows Linux(deb, tar)Bug fixes, disabling of the Duration B Bug; also, visual cues added to make the game easier to play, text centered in butons, and advanced preferences added.
1.0  Official: August 23, 2011
  Linux July 27, 2011 (deb, tar)
  Mac July 29, 2011
  Windows July 31, 2011
  Linux August 10, 2011 (rpm)
  Windows Mac Linux(deb,rpm,tar)First stable release; fixed Zombie Crew Bug; removed Duration A as a step on Duration missions; lunar missions no longer have craft go into Earth orbit on return; offers more advanced options
1.1  July 4, 2013  Windows Mac Linux(deb, tar)Improvements to Technology Transfer and Advanced Training, further visual aids to help administer the game (R&D shows when research stronger/weaker, and displays failure avoidance cards). Last version released on SourceForge.
2.0  TBD   TBDUpcoming release on GitHub: Duration penalty system is fixed; includes better mission downgrade options, bug fixes, warnings if you have no mission scheduled for next turn, ability to delay a mission instead of scrub and reschedule. Might be a while.
  Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager (a partial successor to BARIS, by Slitherine)
  Beta versions, .7.3 through .8.5, ran from November 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014
VersionRelease DateOperating SystemComments
1.0.0October 30, 2014      First stable release
1.1November 14, 2014      Added French and German, support for different resolutions, tooltips
1.1.1(shortly after?)      Minor fixes to French and German
1.1.29February 6, 2015      In-game tutorial, tiger teams, stats and ranking after Moon landing, possibility to keep playing after landing, personnel silhouettes are now real pictures for all three agencies
1.1.55February 20, 2015      A few bug fixes
1.2.0February 27, 2015      Added mission failure messages, 9 new Steam achievements
1.4.0March 10, 2015 (desktop)
December 3, 2015 (iOS)
        Bug fixes, first iOS release
1.4.16March 18, 2018        A few bug fixes, enhancements
1.4.20April 8, 2015        Bug fixes
1.5.0May 6, 2015      Bug fixes, some minor enhancements
1.6.0November 16, 2015 (desktop)
November 17, 2015 (App Store)
        Added Italian and Spanish; bug fixes
1.6.5December 16, 2015        Some minor fixes; added US English
1.6.25March 14, 2016        Various fixes
1.7.1August 21, 2016        Various bug fixes, a few small enhancements
  (more details here)

Downloading the Game

Alexei Leonov's spacewalk from Voskhod 2, 1965 (featured on the cover of 'The Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space Companion') The floppy version is freely downloadable here, along with copy-protection answers and the 1.00b and 1.01 patches.  Also the manual and Ken Fishkin's Hints and Tips for BARIS.  The CD-ROM version now has a couple downloads available.  The game's copyright has reverted to its designers, who have given fans permission to make it available so long as they don't sell it (see copyright info).  Unfortunately the CD version is so large (250-412MB compressed, versus 9MB for the floppy version) that it's been hard to find a place to host it in my price range (i.e., for free).  I have, however, managed to find a couple hosting sites, so you can download it from Sourceforge.  If all else fails, email me and maybe we can arrange a transfer.  Then again, I think the Race Into Space port is better anyway, so I'd suggest downloading that instead.  It's also much smaller than the CD version of BARIS.

If you download the floppy version, be sure to update it.  The CD-ROM version has no patch that I know of.

Goodies & Downloads!

Once you have a copy of the game, you may be wondering how on Earth (so to speak) to play this beast!  Or, you may be looking for some extras to enhance your BARIS experience.  Either way, I offer the following.

Enhancement Requests - A semiofficial list of enhancement requests for the game (updated 12/5/13)

Downloading the Game   (Copyright info)
Race Into Space (the latest release of the game, on SourceForge: for Windows, Linux, and Mac)
Race Into Space (Development continues on GitHub)
CD Version (312mb)
   (Download from MyAbandonware)
   (Download from Sourceforge)
   Installed copy of BARIS (CD version only) (3mb)
Floppy Version  (9mb)
   Updates for the Floppy version
   Copy-protection answers (Floppy version only) (2kb)
Liftoff! (The precursor to BARIS) (28mb)

BARIS Demo (A video presentation, not a partial game) (1mb)
BARIS Demo on YouTube—if you'd rather just watch it
School Edition (Information about it, not a download link) (cover)
BARIS in Japanese

Blast Off! (a spinoff of BARIS by Madmax)
How to Play the Game
RIS Manual (includes infomration about changes made since BARIS) (1.3mb)
BARIS Manual, high quality (tables at end are updated, also I've corrected mistakes in the original) (7mb)
BARIS Manual, low quality (tables at end are updated, includes Player's Aid Card) (2mb)
Player's Aid Card, high quality (1.7mb)
The Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space Companion, 1993
Technology Transfer Chart (5kb)
Race Into Space Tutorial (30kb)

Ken Fishkin's Tips & Tricks, 1993 (17kb)
My Tips and Background Info (155kb) (updated 6/14/2018)
       Earlier versions:  ver.1  ver.2  ver.3  ver.4
Quick Reference Guide (32kb) (updated 6/22/21)
Typical Recruitment list, easy list of best people to hire (6kb)
'Naut Roster, all 'nauts with all their skills (9kb) (updated 9/26/2019)

Getting the Game Working
Linux Installation Instructions for Race Into Space (prior to 1.0)
DOSBox .65 (DOS emulator for Windows—last version to work with a production version of D-Fend)
D-Fend 2.0.62 (Windows interface for DOSBox—latest production version)
Running BARIS in DOSBox (Step-by-step instructions) (3kb)
DOSBox/D-Fend Settings How it's set up on my computer, in case you have trouble getting it to run (285kb)
BARIS "Trainer"* (To help the game run in DOS—read more) (4kb)
Mods, Editors, & Cheats
Grammar Mod - Corrects the spelling & grammar (CD version only, not needed for Race Into Space) (170kb) (updated 11/21/2016)
Historical Recruitment Mod - Makes 'naut roster more historically accurate (17kb) (updated 9/26/2019)
Translation - Translate BARIS into other languages
Hardware Editor* (Written by a third party) (50kb)
BrettE1's BARIS Mod* (Enhanced hardware & 'naut skills) (7kb)
Hex Money Cheat*  
999MB Money Cheat thanks to Satanic Mechanic (though I couldn't get it to work in either the floppy or CD version)

* I haven't tested these, so no guarantees!

Cover Art
Box Cover (110kb)
BARIS CD:           small (60kb)   huge (1.6mb)
Jewel Case Front:   small (135kb)  huge (19mb)
Jewel Case Back:   small (95kb)   huge (11mb)
Icons  (Download all 4)Music from the CD ♫
 Gemini icon Gemini
 Voskhod icon Voskhod
 Shuttle icon Space Shuttle
 Sputnik icon Sputnik
 ♪ Intro Music (1.5mb)
 ♪ Ending Music (1mb)

Inspirational Music from the Space Race   ♫
Obnimaya Nyeba (Embracing the Sky) – Featured on the documentary The Red Stuff
Ya Veryu, Druz'ya (I Believe, my Friends) – Featured, with subtitles, in Anton's Soyuz Lunar Landing (below)
Trava u doma (Grass of Home) – This song is traditionally played when cosmonauts leave the cosmonaut hotel and head for the cosmodrome and launchpad

BARIS entry on Interplay's Web site (archived)
BARIS discussion on The Space Race forum
Compute! Magazine review, 1993 (re. the Floppy version)
Compute! Magazine review, 1994 (re. the CD-ROM version)
Abandonia review (includes some screenshots)
"The Buzz is Gone" (article in The Escapist Magazine)

"Race Into Space", a project to port BARIS to Windows, Linux, and Mac.  Currently in beta; fully playable.  This is the official successor to BARIS.
"It Looks Like A Dirty Beach", fan fiction of a Soviet victory, set in the BARIS universe
 The Moon Hoaxcan you believe there are damn-fools out there who think we didn't go to the Moon?  Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy site explains.
 The Old Negro Space ProgramIn an era of segregation, will the black space program be first to the Moon? [Wikipedia]
 YGRIS—Yuri Gagarin's Race Into SpaceA planned Russian remake of BARIS, with added features (in Russian) (long inactive!)

BARIS adventures hosted on YouTube
 Failed Apollo - Setting Apollo up to fail, with some fun fireworks displays
 The October Surprise - TehRedRisky takes a C-Kicker to the Moon
 Wizardmon's Soyuz Lunar Landing
 Anton showing me how it's done, in a PBEM game we played—includes mood music, with subtitles

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