In 1967, the Americans would launch their lunar vehicle—Apollo—and the Soviets would launch theirs—Soyuz.
It did not go well.
The new spaceship was not ready to go, in the view of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. But the Kremlin insisted on a launch. This would be the first manned Soviet spaceflight in nearly two years. Komarov knew of the problems but accepted the mission anyway. On this flight, Komarov would become the first cosmonaut to fly in space twice.
Soyuz 1 launched on April 24th with only Komarov aboard. During decent, a parachute failed and the vehicle hit the ground at high speed. Komorov was killed.
Both the Soviet and American space programs were, for quite some time, grounded. And yet the deadline for a moon landing—the end of the decade—was fast approaching.