Encyclopedia Astronautica
Kamanin Diaries



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Kamanin
Summary of a principal source in Soviet space history

Nikolai Petrovich Kamanin headed the Soviet cosmonaut corps from 1960 to 1971. His diaries are a key documentary source for the history of the Soviet space program. They remained secret during the life of the Soviet Union. The first volume was only published in 1995, thirteen years after Kamanin's death. They portray a man engaged in a constant struggle with an indifferent hierarchy for an expansion of air force military operations into space. He blamed Soviet loss of the space race after 1966 to the unwillingness of Soviet engineers to let the cosmonauts actively control their spacecraft (as was the American practice). A good Communist and a bit of a martinet, he was scathing in his critiques of the unfocussed Soviet leadership of the space program and especially the failings of Korolev's successor, Mishin.

Despite some failings, Kamanin's diaries are the only accounts we have for many key events and the only contemporary account of the inside workings of the Soviet space programme. They convey marvelously the human vitality of the space race on the Soviet side. The periods spent out on the steppes in Kazakhstan for launches have all the atmosphere of a male-bonding camping trip. They work hard, all hours, but also party hard and spend Sundays on hunting or fishing expeditions. The stories are reminiscent of American accounts of the hard work and sheer pleasure of pioneering space from similar hardship posts -- from the swamps of Cape Canaveral to the deserts of New Mexico.

This brief summary of the diaries includes key points relevant to space history that I have picked up in reading the diaries. The diaries span the period from 1960 to 1971, with occasional entries through 1978. I have omitted most private material related to Kamanin's family affairs and military career before 1960 as not being of interest to the space historian. Unfortunately for English readers, Kamanin's work remains only available in Russian.


1960 December 22 - Korabl-Sputnik

Unable to reach orbital velocity, the Vostok prototype separated while the third stage was still firing. While the ejection seat failed to operate, the capsule did make a hard landing in severe winter conditons in Siberia. It was recovered after some time, and the dogs Kometa and Shutka were alive. As a result of this flight the ejection seat was developed with a heat shield designed to protect the pilot in the event of a launch vehicle failure up to shut down of the first stage.

The State Commission chaired by Keldysh set the launch of Vostok s/n 4 for 22 December with the dogs Zhemchuzhina (Pearl) and Zhulka (Rogue) aboard and authorised rollout of the booster. The commission insisted that Kamanin depart for Kuibyshev to organize the search for the spacecraft after its touchdown there.

Kamanin and the recovery forces at Kuybyshev hear nothing as the planned landing time of 12:15 comes and goes. Finally the word comes that the booster failed to reach orbit.

Kamanin arrives back in Moscow at 19:30. But then there is news that VVS direction-finding arrays at Tashkent, Moscow, and Krasnodar have picked up the recovery beacom of the Vostok s/n 4 capsule and localised it to the Lower Tungus River in Siberia. Lt General Kutasin orders focused efforts to recover the capsule. Although long-range VVS stations continue to pick up the Vostok s/n 4 recovery beacons, searches by two Il-14s, Li-2's, and An-2's fail to locate the capsule. On 24 December at 10:00 an Li-2 sights the capsule visually, 70 km south of Tura. A recovery party lands by helicopter near the capsule and reports that the dogs are still alive!

On 31 December Kamanin receives a report of the Vostok capsule recovery. The service module did not seperate from the spherical reentry capsule as designed, but remained connected by a wire bundle, that only burned away during re-entry. Wires in the bundle were soldered together, resulting in the ejection seat (with the dog capsule in it) firing at the same time as the hatch was ejected (rather than with a 2.5 second delay). The seat and capsule were seriously dented upon hitting the hatch and remained inside the capsule. Nevertheless the dogs were fine, and able to feed unaided in Moscow on 26 December. Despite Korolev's urging, there has been no public announcement of the Vostok flight. The Communist Party does not even wish to admit to failures that ended with a success story - recovery of the dogs aboard.


1961 January 6 - Cosmonaut crew selections

Six of the 20 cosmonauts have been selected by the VVS for final examinations and assignment to Vostok flight crews - Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Popovich, Gagarin, Nelyubov, Titov. The exams are set for 17-18 January.


1961 January 17 - Cosmonaut examinations

The Examination Commission consists of members from the VVS Air Force , AN Academy of Science, industry, and LII Flight Test Institute. The sessions are filmed. Each cosmonaut sits in a Vostok mock-up for 40 to 50 minutes and describes the equipment and the operations to be conducted in each phase of flight. Special emphasis is given in the examiners' questions on orientation of the spacecraft for manual retrofire and egress on land or water. For this phase, Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, and Popovich are rated 'outstanding' and Nelyubov and Bykovsky 'good'.


1961 January 18 - Cosmonaut examinations

The essay portion of the written examination consists of three questions, with the essay replies to be written out in 20 minutes. After handing in the essay, each cosmonaut is given three to five multiple choice questions. All six pass and are rated as ready to fly the Vostok 3KA. But which of the six is best suited to be the first man in space (at least publicly - one Vostok flight in 1960 would have resulted in the death of the cosmonaut). Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov are in the top echelon. Nikolayev is the quietest of the six. Bykovsky is less so, especially in internal meetings, but he says nothing important and doesn't contribute anything substantial. Popovich is a puzzle, his behaviour perhaps influenced by secret family problems.


1961 January 18 - Venera preparations

The VVS contingent arrives at Tyuratam at 23:45 aboard an Il-14 for the Venera launch. Chertok is in charge of launch preparations. Due to various radio system problems, there can be no launch until 26 January. The death of Nedelin and the others still hangs over the cosmodrome.


1961 January 20 - Venera preparations

Korolev plans three launches between 20 January and 14 February, but clearly his teams are not ready to accomplish this. There was insufficient testing of the Object V Venera spacecraft before it was shipped from OKB-1 to the cosmodrome. OKB-1 is trying to finish Object V on site, at the same time preparing the next Vostok 3KA and an R-9 ICBM for launch. Object V is not ready, the ability of its systems to function at long ranges and periods of time on the voyage to Venus are suspect. In Kamanin's opinion, it is diverting the crews from the higher priority manned and military projects.


1961 January 26 - Venera delays

The Object V launch is delayed to 1 February. Yangel has also had to postpone the next R-16 launch attempt to 26-30 January.


1961 January 31 - Back at Tyuratam

Kamanin flies to the cosmodrome with Korolev, Keldysh, Moskalenko, General Semenov, and others. Yangel's R-16 ICBM is not ready for launch yet due to continuing problems with the radio systems. The Venera is set for a 2 February launch attempt.


1961 February 1 - Venera rolled out to pad

The booster is 5 to 7 m taller than the Vostok. One gyroscope has to be replaced on the pad. Fuelling begins at 23:30. At 02:00 the launch is scrubbed due to continuing gyro problems. Next attempt is set for 4 February.


1961 February 3 - R-16 failure analysis

The events began with an access hatch on the second stage coming off at lift-off - it had been secured with two bolts rather than the eight required. Aerodynamic forces produced a harmonic vibration of the metal structure, measured in millimetres, but enough to disrupt the gyroscopes, which in turn provided false signals to the guidance and control system, which in turn resulted in no igntion signal going to the second stage. Korolev has his Venera booster back on the pad for the 4 February launch. They are much better prepared now than four or five days ago.


1961 February 4 - Sputnik 7

The escape stage entered parking orbit but the main engine cut off just 0.8 s after ignition due to cavitation in the oxidiser pump and pump failure.. The payload attached together with escape stage remained in Earth orbit.

The booster launched into a beautiful clear sky, and it could be followed by the naked eye for four minutes after launch. The third stage reached earth parking orbit, but the fourth stage didn't ignite. It was at first believed a radio antenna did not deploy from the interior of the stage, and it did not receive the ignition commands. Therefore the Soviet Union has successfully orbited a record eight-tonne 'Big Zero' into orbit. The State Commission meets two hours after the launch, and argues whether to make the launch public or not, and how to announce it. Glushko proposes the following language for a public announcement: 'with the objective of developing larger spacecraft, a payload was successfully orbited which provided on the first revolution the necessary telemetry'. Korolev and the others want to minimize any statement, to prevent speculation that it was a reconnaissance satellite or a failed manned launch. Kamanin's conclusion - the rocket didn't reach Venus, but it did demonstrated a new rocket that could deliver an 8 tonne thermonuclear warhead anywhere on the planet. The commission heads back to Moscow.


1961 February 5 - Venera failure announcement

Tass announces launch of a new 'Heavy Sputnik' - the cover finally agreed by the leadership for the failed Venera launch.


1961 February 12 - Space plans

Kamanin describes Korolev. He is unable to make a decision about the man's true nature. Everyone is excited about the new seven-year plan, approved on 23 January 1960 in decree 711-296, which authorises design work to start on the N1 superbooster. In the immediate future, Vostok 3KA flights are planned every 8 to 10 days beginning 22 February until the first manned flight is achieved. The first flights will use mannequins to test the cosmonaut ejection seat. A manned flight will be attempted after two consecutive successful mannequin flights.

In the West, the failed Venera 4 launch is being analysed as an attempted manned flight. Some Italians claim to have picked up voices on radio from the satellite. Kamanin describes all of this as unfounded speculation -- the Soviet Union will not risk a man's life until two fully successful mannequin flights demonstrate safe recovery.


1961 February 12 - Venera 1

Venera 1 was the first spacecraft to fly by Venus. The 6424 kg assembly was launched first into a 229 x 282 km parking orbit, then boosted toward Venus by the restartable Molniya upper stage. On 19 February, 7 days after launch, at a distance of about two million km from Earth, contact with the spacecraft was lost. On May 19 and 20, 1961, Venera 1 passed within 100,000 km of Venus and entered a heliocentric orbit. This failure resulted in only the following objectives being met: checking of methods of setting space objects on an interplanetary course; checking of extra-long-range communications with and control of the space station; more accurate calculation of the dimension of the solar system; a number of physical investigations in space.

It was determined that the Venera fourth stage on the 4 February attempt failed due to loss of tank pressurisation. There was a leak in a valve, and the pressurant slowly leaked out, leaving none for the engine start. The launch this day was however outstanding. There was unlimited visibility and the rocket could be followed with the naked eye for five minutes. The fourth stage ignited properly after one orbit of the earth. The first communications session between the Venera and the Saturn communications complex was all right, but the planned second session failed since the spacecraft was moving faster than predicted and was out of sight. After 12 hours the satellite was already 126,000 km from the earth. Kamanin admits he was mistaken in his negative analysis of the Venera spacecraft's flight readiness.

Kamanin describes Korolev. He is unable to make a decision about the man's true nature. Everyone is excited about the new seven-year plan, approved on 23 January 1960 in decree 711-296, which authorises design work to start on the N1 superbooster. In the immediate future, Vostok 3KA flights are planned every 8 to 10 days beginning 22 February until the first manned flight is achieved. The first flights will use mannequins to test the cosmonaut ejection seat. A manned flight will be attempted after two consecutive successful mannequin flights.

In the West, the failed Venera 4 launch is being analysed as an attempted manned flight. Some Italians claim to have picked up voices on radio from the satellite. Kamanin describes all of this as unfounded speculation -- the Soviet Union will not risk a man's life until two fully successful mannequin flights demonstrate safe recovery.


1961 February 14 - Vostok suit review

A review is held at Factory 98, where Alekseyev is developing the Vostok spacesuit.


1961 February 15 - Underway to Venus

Korolev says the Venera flight continues normally. He and Keldysh will fly to Yevpatoriya tomorrow to review long-range communications with the spacecraft. After the launch he and Keldysh talked to Khrushchev, who was very happy with the success. Meanwhile, the Vostok for the next flight attempt has arrived at Tyuratam. Launch is set for 24-25 February.


1961 February 20 - Korolev space plans

Korolev gives a briefing to Vershinin and other military leaders at OKB-1 laying out his proposed plans for space in the next two to three years. He pushes for VVS to purchase 10 to 15 Vostok-1 or Vostok-3A spacecraft for a sustained manned flight series. The next Vostok flight is now delayed to 27-28 February. He reviews the two Vostok-1 flights to date. The first successfully orbited and recovered the dogs Strelka and Belka, the second failed to reach orbit, but the capsule successfully landed 3500 km downrange near Yakut in the Tura region, after reaching an altitude of 214 km. The dogs survived a 20-G re-entry and hard landing in the capsule.


1961 February 22 - Zenit project review

Ustinov heads a review of the reconnaissance satellite program, at that time still referred to as the Vostok-2 and Vostok-4 spacecraft. Thirty staff are working on it full time at OKB-1, but Korolev says that due to delays in the photographic, television, and radar equipment for the spacecraft the first launch will be delayed two to three months. But he points out that since Vostok-1 has already proven the recovery systems, the first Vostok-2 should still be ready for launch in June-July 1961. Ustinov notes that the Ministry of Defence has had little input or understanding of the specification for the spacecraft. The launch of the first Vostok-3 is delayed to March due to the need to fully test all systems. The life support system (Vornonin) and the ejection seat (Alekseyev) are the pacing items. The next meeting is set for 27 February. Kustanin testifies as to the readiness of the spacecraft and the cosmonauts.


1961 February 24 - VVS Program Review

A A Kobzanev heads the review. The decision is made that the first launch of Vostok-3 will not have to be contingent on full ground test of each and every system. The gas analyser and antenna deployment unit of the NAZ still have not completed tests. However for the second mannequin flight, all systems must be operative. Other essential tests needed to clear the spacecraft for manned flight include: several ejection seat tower tests; one ejection seat test from the capsule, a test of the emergency abort system at the launch pad, sea trials of the spacesuit and NAZ. After a thirteen-day endurance trial the humidity within the spacecraft should not exceed 60%. In the tests so far, the humidity reached 80% and the temperature 35 deg C after only nine days. The first launch is now set for 2-3 March and the second for 20-25 March. Therefore the Soviet Union should be able to launch the first man into space by the end of March at best, with the first half of April being more likely.


1961 February 27 - Suit and ejection seat delays

Alekseyev's bureau continues to be the pacing organisation for the first manned flight. All trials of the suit and seat must be completed by 20 March. The second Vostok 3KA will not be allowed to fly until these tests are completed - which Alekseyev says won't be done until 21-25 April. Installation of unqualified systems in the capsule is seen as high-risk. In the evening the State Commission reviews the matter. The tests must be completed as follows: Alekseyev's tests of ejection of a mannequin from a capsule must be completed no later than 10 March; the LII test centre must complete two ejections into the wind stream from the Il-28 bomber testbed; sea trials of the NAZ ejection seat much be conducted by 10-20 March; and a ten-day test will be conducted from 2 to 12 March of the environmental control system.


1961 March 2 - Vostok launch preparations

Korolev, Yazdovskiy, Gallay, Feoktistov, Makarov, and Alekseyev spend over three hours editing the 'Instructions to Cosmonauts'. This is the first flight manual in the world for a piloted spacecraft, including instructions for all phases of flight and emergency situations. Korolev, Keldysh, Bushuyev, and Voskresenskiy want the instructions to be simply 'put on suit, check communications, observe functioning of the spacecraft'. Korolev is motivated by his belief that on this single-orbit flight everything should occur automatically. Kamanin, Yazdovskiy, Gallay, and Smirnov are categorically against such a passive role for the cosmonaut. They argue that the cosmonauts know the equipment and must be capable of manually flying the spacecraft after releasing the electronic logical lock. They need to observe the instruments, report on their status by radio, and make journal entries. The emotions of the cosmonaut during high-G's and zero-G must be understood in order to fully prepare the cosmonauts that will follow. After long debate, Korolev and Keldysh give in. The agreed first edition of the flight manual is signed by Korolev and Kamanin. The next Vostok 3KA launch is set for 9 March.


1961 March 4 - Vostok flight preparations

Korolev, Alekseyev, Yazdovskiy, and other engineers lay out the plan for the preparation of the cosmonaut on launch day. The cosmonaut will be put in Nedelin's cottage at Baikonur Area 2 the night before the launch, be awakened five hours before launch, and undergo a physical examination. Kamanin and Korolev will be in the bunker at the launch pad for at least the next two launches. After the launch, Kamanin is to fly to the recovery zone to be present for the landing of the spacecraft.


1961 March 7 - R-7 Failure Commission

Keldysh, Korolev, Sokolov, Glushko, Bogomolov hear testimony from Kosberg on the causes of the RO-7 engine failure on the 22 December 1960 launch, that resulted in the suborbital flight of the Vostok capsule with a landing in Tura. The causes are not completely understood, but the bottom line is that a fuel line must have leaked. Further testimony is offered on the booster trajectory, landing time at various points along the trajectory, tracking station readiness, communications lessons, and recovery efforts. The communications are clearly unreliable. The radius of the HF radio is 5000 km, and 1500 km for UHF. TsP Moscow and PU Tyuratam, plus Novosibirsk, Kolpachev, Khabarovsk, and Yelizov (Kamchatka) all have HF and UHF transceivers. But due to practical reception problems, only UHF communications were available at Tyuratam, Kolpachev, and Yelizov, and only HF at Novosibirsk and Khabarovsk. It is recommended that each IP tracking station should have a Chief Communications Officer, a cosmonaut to act as capsule communicator, a physician, and a representative from the Ministry of Communications to assure action on problems.


1961 March 9 - Korabl-Sputnik 4

Carried dog Chernushka, mannequin Ivan Ivanovich, and other biological specimens. Ivanovich was ejected from the capsule and recovered by parachute, and Chernsuhka was successfully recovered with the capsule on March 9, 1961 8:10 GMT.
Officially: Development of the design of the space ship satellite and of the systems on board, which ensure necessary conditions for man's flight.

Kamanin flies at 02:00 from Tyuratam to Kuibyshev to participate in the capsule recovery. Crews of Il-14, Mi-4, and An-2 search and recovery aircraft report preparations are proceeding normally. 15 minutes after launch , at 09:29, they are informed that the launch was nominal. At 11:00 they receive the first word on the predicted landing point. At 11:40 Mozzhorin at NII-4 calls from Moscow-1 with the precise landing coordinates, based on the Krug direction-finding system: 26 km southeast of Kuibyshev. Kamanin flies in an Li-2 to Zainsk, 15 to 20 km from the landing point. There it is reported that two parachutes and a container were sited 15 km southwest. The team drives out in three vehicles to Noivpy Toknak, 12 km north off of Zainsk - it is evident that the Krug system position was 20 km off. The drive is difficult due to the heavy snow. Finally they have to mount horses, and even then have to halt 1.5 to 2.0 km from the landing point - they can't go any farther. They finally hike to the capsule. The spacecraft has landed in a clearing in the forest, but the helicopters can't fly due to the poor visibility. Kamanin and the others wait with the mannequin until 16:00, when an Il-14 arrives and drops four parachutists. They find the red parachute laying around the mannequin. The NAZ recovery beacon antenna deployed vertically and normally. The suit and automatically closing helmet visor, all seem to have functioned well. The mannequin and the parachute are put on a sleigh for removal, then the team hike over to the capsule to inspect it. The parachutists had taken up positions 5 m from the capsule, assisted by a few young reservists. The weather was still bad and there was no one on site to disarm the capsule's destruct system - it was life-threatening to remain so close to the capsule. So the guards were ordered to move to positions 100 m from the capsule. Kamanin decides to check the capsule despite the danger. The hatch is open, the antenna was deployed. The cabin appeared normal, and the tumbler of the destruct system was set to 'selector'. Kamanin and Yazdovskiy helped Kalmykov into the capsule to take out the dog Chernushka and the container of small payloads. Chernushka was in great condition. On reaching the village of Stary Tokmak, the team finds a huge crowd of collective farmers, and lots of children, anxious to see the dog that flew in space for 90 minutes. Yazdovskiy continues on to the village of Zaimin in order to call Moscow with the recovery team's report.


1961 March 10 - Zainsk-Kuibyshev-Moscow

Kamanin spend the night in a new hotel with much-appreciated electrical heating. At 11 am they fly to Moscow with Chernushka, the small living specimens, and the mannequin. The flight was a complete victory - all is now ready for the first manned flight into space.


1961 March 11 - New manned spacecraft

The VVS TTZ requirements document for the next generation Soviet manned spacecraft is approved by Vershinin. It is to accommodate two cosmonauts, have a launch mass of 6.5 to 7.0 tonnes, be capable of manoeuvring and changing its orbit at altitudes of 270 to 300 km altitude. The TDU engine is to be restartable, and the spacecraft will have a system to reliably change and hold its orientation in flight. The crew will be returned in a pressurised spherical re-entry capsule, but still be provided with ejection seats for separate landing of the crew in emergencies. The craft will be capable of flights of 15 to 20 days duration and be equipped with redundant communications systems. Kamanin points out the necessity of coordinating the TTZ with OKB-1. Vershinin and Ponomarev fight over whether to consider Chelomei's Raketoplan as meeting the requirement. Kamanin's position is that Korolev's Vostok is now flying reliably, while the Raketoplan is a 'crane in the clouds' - it might come to them some day, but who knows when.


1961 March 13 - Cosmonaut training

Vershinin formalises two decrees - one to supply a Tu-104 to TsPK for cosmonaut zero-G training, the other for two Il-14's with HF transponders for long-range communications. Two further questions are discussed - should the cosmonauts be given the code for unlocking the manual orientation system of the spacecraft? It is decided they will be. And when will the flight be announced? Kamanin's position is that should happen as soon as the spacecraft safely reaches orbit, the others only want to make the first manned flight public after landing. It is decided to refer the matter for decision at the General Staff level.


1961 March 15 - IAKM Tour

Chief of Staff F A Agaltsov visits the Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine (IAKM) to review the six cosmonauts' training for flight. An 11-day trial is underway of the hot mock-up of the Vostok capsule's environmental control system. He also sees the dogs that have flown in space: Belka, Strelka, and Chernushka. Strelka has six 3-month-old puppies. Vershinin delivers a speech asking the cosmonauts to be morally prepared for spaceflight. The cosmonauts complain about the performance of Alekseyev's design bureau - of six spacesuits ordered, only three have been delivered (for Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov), and they haven't been able to train in parachute jumping in the suits yet.


1961 March 16 - Kuibyshev

The VVS contingent departs for Tyuratam in three Il-14's. The two with cosmonauts aboard stop at Kuibyshev to give the pilots a look at the recovery zone. Aboard the first aircraft are Kamanin, Gagarin, Nelyubov, and Popovich. Aboard the other are Titov, Bykovsky, and Nikolayev. At the VVS Sanatorium at Privolzhskiy on the Volga the cosmonauts relax, and play ping-pong, chess, and billiards. The cosmonauts, Kamanin, Yazdovskiy, and Karpov sleep together in a single large room. Kamanin finds it a lively group; only Gagarin is pale and quieter than the others. On 7 March his wife had their second daughter and only yesterday he brought them back from the hospital. It was tough on him to then have to leave them on his dangerous secret mission - to be the first man into space.


1961 March 17 - Tyuratam

The cosmonauts play chess and cards on the flight to Tyuratam. At the airfield, Korolev, Keldysh, and five film cameramen await the cosmonauts. Korolev and Keldysh warmly greet the cosmonauts, but categorically refuse to be filmed. Korolev asks each cosmonaut one or two technical questions. All are correctly answered. Korolev says he wants to ensure that each one of them is 'ready to fly today'. As of now, six Vostoks have been launched, of which four reached orbit, and two landed successfully (one of these albeit after an emergency separation from the third stage on a suborbital trajectory). Two have been unsuccessful, including one on-pad failure on 28 July 1960. Two hours after arrival the cosmonauts go to the MIK assembly hall to familiarise themselves with the launch vehicle and spacecraft. At 14:00 Kamanin meets with the cosmonauts to review the 'Cosmonaut's Manual'. They make several suggestions. They do not feel it is necessary to loosen the parachute harness during the one-orbit flight. They note that the gloves are tried on only 15 minutes before the launch, and not on the closing of the hatch as indicated by Alekseyev. They recommend that a shortened version of the manual should be on board the spacecraft for use in case of a manual re-entry. Communications will be mainly using the laryngeal microphone Incidents will be recorded in the ship's log. The cosmonauts should be able to manually activate the reserve parachute. Kamanin agrees with the latter, but there is no time to change it for the first flight.


1961 March 19 - Vostok launch delay

The launch has been delayed to 24-25 March due to problems with L I Gusev's radio system aboard the spacecraft. A meeting of the cosmonauts at 10:00 reviews landing contingency plans that will bring the capsule down on the territory of the USSR. The best chances for such a landing are on orbits 1, 2, and 16, but it is also possible on orbits 4, 5, 6, and 7. A map will be aboard the capsule to show where and when to ignite the TDU retrorocket for each landing opportunity. Feoktistov was a great help in developing this visual aid. For about an hour Kamanin, Korolev, Yazdovskiy, Karpov, and Azbiyevich discuss long-range plans. Korolev is interested in the VVS position that they should be responsible for all military space activities. The reconnaissance satellite version of Vostok is discussed. Korolev says he plans to send a cosmonaut to the moon by 1965.

Afterwards the cosmonauts develop the radio communications plan for the flight. During the 710-second ascent to orbit, and after landing, they are to use the UHF radio. The HF and UHF radios can be used from orbit, but only over the USSR. Plans for filming the cosmonaut in flight are also discussed.


1961 March 20 - Cosmonauts train in suits

The cosmonauts practice donning the suits and adjusting the regulators. Kamanin muses on the need to convince the VVS leadership to support the TTZ for a new manned spacecraft, on the way to better organize the IP tracking stations, and how to obtain a leading role for the VVS in development of reconnaissance satellites. Otherwise, he believes the Russians will lose the space race to the Americans, who are launching 3 to 4 times more satellites. He notes that 22 Discoverers have been launched to develop an American reconnaissance satellite, and he comments on the Echo-1 passive communications balloon. The Americans are pushing to match the Soviet Union in launch vehicles and already surpass them in electronics, communications, and telemetry. Kamanin notes that communications with Venera 1 were lost when it was only 2 million kilometres from earth, while the US has already demonstrated communications with satellites out to 37 million kilometres. He admires the way the Americans have concentrated all of their efforts in one civilian space organization, with full-time managers for the effort. By comparison, the Soviets only have part-time managers, such as Ustinov, Rudnev, and so on. After the suit exercise the cosmonauts play chess and cards, but again Gagarin does not take part, and is deep in silent thought.


1961 March 21 - Spring at Tyuratam

It is a beautiful day. The cosmonauts discuss contingencies in case of a water landing. In fact their chances are slim. There are only two Soviet ships equipped with HF and UHF direction-finding equipment that could locate them. The NAZ ejection seat is not designed to float, and the spherical re-entry capsule is no better. Therefore the only option is a landing on the territory of the Soviet Union. In the evening Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov practice at the MIK - donning their suits, landing in the spacecraft cabin if that is necessary, getting out of the suit, communications operations, and so on. They are able to get the suit on in 20 minutes, and get it off in 15 minutes. Many space centre workers come to watch the exercises.


1961 March 22 - Flight preparations

Between 10:00 and 12:00 Chief Designer of Launch Facilities Barmin meets with the cosmonauts. He reviews the launch mechanism. The rocket is suspended at the 'shoulders' of the strap-ons, on four swivelled supports. After the rocket has lifted 49 mm, it is free from these, and counterweights weighing dozens of tonnes will swing them back and away from the rising booster. At 12:00 Kamanin meets with Keldysh and Korolev. They agree with his position that the flight be announced as soon as the cosmonaut is safely in orbit.


1961 March 23 - Cosmonaut Bondarenko dies at age of 24.

At Tyuratam in the morning, LII engineers brief the cosmonauts on correcting the Globus instrument in flight, which indicates their position over the earth. Korolev checks in for a few minutes to make sure the cosmonauts have everything they need. In the evening the news of the death of cosmonaut Bondarenko reaches the cosmodrome. He died on the tenth day of a 15-day endurance experiment in a pressure chamber at IAKM when a fire broke out in the pure-oxygen cabin. Kamanin blames his death on IAKM's poor organisation and control of the experiment.


1961 March 24 - Vostok State Commission

The Commission, headed by Keldysh, meets at 11:00. Alekseyev gives the first presentation. The required four ejection seat tests from an Il-28 bomber test aircraft have not even begun yet, or the tower tests of the NAZ ejection seat. They are planned for the next 7 to 10 days. On the other hand ejection tests from the sphere on the launch pad have been completed with satisfactory results. Nikolayev of OKB-124 briefs on the environmental control system. There are still problems with the oxygen regenerator. The fixes made so far resulted in little improvement in performance of the system during the latest ten-day trial. The only solution seems to be to abandon the system entirely and replace it with a different one using active chemical regeneration, but this will take 14 to 15 days. The gas analyser still operates poorly. Despite all problems not having been solved as required, the decision is made to proceed with the unmanned launch anyway.


1961 March 25 - Korabl-Sputnik 5

Carried dog Zvezdochka and mannequin Ivan Ivanovich. Ivanovich was again ejected from the capsule and recovered by parachute, and Zvezdochka was successfully recovered with the capsule on March 25, 1961 7:40 GMT.
Officially: Development of the design of the space ship satellite and of the systems on board, designed to ensure man's life functions during flight in outer space and return to Earth.

At 06:30 Keldysh gives the go-ahead for launch. There is good weather at the pad and recovery zone. General Goreglyad, Azbiyevich, Karpov, and five of the cosmonauts visit the pad, then go to the IP tracking station. Kamanin, Yazdovskiy, and Popovich stay at the command bunker just 10 m from the rocket at the pad. At T-01:20, Kamanin and Popovich test the radio communications reliability. They transmit five times: 'Kedr' (cosmonaut call sign) -- 'Zarya' (capcom call sign) - 'Communications test - 1-2-3-4-5 - how do you read?' - 'Zarya - OK'. Popovich and Korolev practice a similar test twice. At T-01:00 a sensor on the third stage fails. Korolev consults with Kosberg, and decides to continue anyway. At T-00:10 from launch everyone moves into the bunker. Korolev, Kirillov, and Voskresenskiy will direct the launch from there. At T- two to three minutes the stopwatch is started. 18 minutes later word is received that the capsule is in orbit. Three Il-14's head back to Moscow with all of the VVS officers and cosmonauts (34 total). Before takeoff word is received that the capsule has landed successfully in the Izhevsk area. Good signals are being received from the P-37 and R-126 transponders, and a valid parachute deploy signal was received.


1961 March 25 - Vostok rollout

At 08:54 a meeting is held, where it is decided the bad performance of Voronin and Alekseyev in completing their capsule subsystems will be reported to Ustinov and Rudnev. At 13:00 the booster is rolled out to the pad. At 18:00 Gagarin and Titov donn their space suits and practice riding the elevator up to the spacecraft, and entering the hatch. This is to give them a practical feel for the time it will actually take them to get aboard and complete checkout of the spacecraft and suit.


1961 March 27 - Vostok cleared for manned flight

The capsule was recovered 45 km southeast of Votinsk. The mannequin was ejected successfully from the aircraft, the dog Zvezdochka was fine, and was displayed to journalists all day. Therefore all is ready for a manned flight. The cosmonauts agree: 'Everything is finished, we can fly'. All is ready for a one-orbit flight with recovery in the USSR, but Kamanin still worries about the lack of any realistic plan in emergency situations. The environmental control system has still not completed endurance tests, and won't be able to keep the cosmonaut alive for the ten to twelve days it would take the spacecraft to decay from orbit if the retrorocket fails. Trials with the hot mock-up of the ECS in the capsule have still not been successful. Furthermore, a recovery at sea is not practical.

The pace quickens leading to the first human spaceflight. Kamanin coordinates matters with Korolev and Voronin, and then discusses the ECS problems and cosmonaut landing issues with Dementiev. Plans are made for a meeting with Ustinov and Kozlov. In the evening a meeting of the General Staff is held. Decisions made: 1) Announce the name of the cosmonaut as soon as he is in orbit; 2) improve VVS support (aircraft, helicopters) needed to pick up the cosmonaut immediately after landing; 3) issue a formal letter to Moskalenko on rules for filming of the cosmonaut at the launch site; 4) organise an examination of the 11 cosmonauts not in the group of six now being prepared for flights.


1961 March 28 - Vostok problems review

The meeting is held at G T Voronin's OKB-124 at the 'Daks' factory. All of the program bigwigs are there (Korolev, Keldysh, etc). The big issue is the problem with the oxygen regenerator. On the 10 day trial 4 litres of lithium chloride were consumed, but the test was unsuccessful. A new solution of chlorine-lithium is proposed. But this is dangerous - the doctors are worried that if it gets into the cosmonauts body, it will poison him. A sharp discussion ensues, but the final decision is to try a five day trial with lithium chloride. At 12:00 the commission proceeds to Dementiev's GKAT. The tests of the Vostok recovery system are reviewed. There were to have been two to four ejection seat tests from Il-28 bombers, tests, plus tests at sea at Fedosiya of the NAZ ejection seat and the characteristics of the parachute underwater. The discussion turns again to the five-day ECS cabin test. It is decided to keep the faulty gas analyser, but not to connect it to the telemetry - the readings will be read with a television camera instead. There is a clear political aspect in the argument between the VVS design bureau and the institute over the performance of the ECS system. Lieutenant-General Kolkov orders yet another examination of the cosmonauts.


1961 March 29 - State Commission on Vostok 1

The commission meets from 16:00 to 18:00 to assess readiness for launch. Korolev says he is ready to launch a man, following the two consecutive successful mannequin flights. Who will be selected to be the first man in space? The commission discusses the issue at some length. Afterwards, Kamanin meets with Ustinov at 18:30 and shows him a picture album of photographs taken from Vostok on the March 9 and 25 test flights. One taken over Turkey clearly shows the city of Alexandretta and the concrete runways of the airfields, demonstrating the military potential of the system. All is ready for the flight. The Central Committee of the Communist Party has issued a decree that the first man be launched into space between 10 and 20 April 1961. Three variant press releases are prepared, for 1) attainment of a successful orbit; 2) after a successful landing; and 3) in the event of an emergency landing with a request for international assistance in recovery and return of the cosmonaut. The consensus is that the APO destruct system used in the unmanned test flights will be deleted for the manned flight. Only Ivashutin is against this. Two successful ejection tests from an Il-28 bomber were reported from LII, finally completing a key milestone required for the flight.


1961 March 30 - VVS Recovery Plans

An air fleet has been assigned for the first manned flight. Aircraft that will be deployed with UHF direction finders include 20 Il-14, 3 An-12, 2 Tu-95, 10 Mi-4, and 3 Mi-6. Two Il-14 with HF direction finders will be deployed to Kuibyshev and Sverdlovsk.


1961 March 31 - Vostok preparations

The VVS leadership has been diverted for the last three days in meetings of the General Staff of the Warsaw Pact. At 09:00 Kamanin takes a break to prepare two letters. One goes to the Ministry of Defence, certifying readiness for the launch of Vostok 1 on 10-20 April; the other goes to Zakharov on the General Staff, turning over all in-flight photographs to the VVS. Vershsinin pages through Kamanin's photo album of earth photographs taken during the unmanned Vostok test flights. They show the precise orbital orientation of the spacecraft. He says he will show these to Grechko and Malinovskiy, trying to convince them of the usefulness of manned spaceflight. Kamain calls Korolev and advises him that Voronin is ready. Korolev says that he plans to put wood wool into the cabin to absorb any excess lithium chloride.


1961 April 1 - Vostok trials

Trials of the NAZ ejection seat at sea with the underwater drag chute trials were unsuccessful. The NAZ is simply not seaworthy. The antenna remained submerged in all tests, making communications impossible. The five-day test of the ECS was also unsuccessful. The lithium chloride was used up at the end of four days. Kamanin believes that Voronin is a poor manager, and that a completely new solution to the Vostok life support system will be needed after the first flight.


1961 April 3 - Vostok first manned spaceflight authorised.

The eleven cosmonauts not short-listed for early spaceflights are given a new screening examination. However only Khrunov and Komarov are interviewed before an urgent phone call is received from the General Staff: report at 13:00 with Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov, then proceed to a Communist Party meeting at 15:00 for the first flight decision. All concerned again confirm readiness for flight, and again Kamanin passes around his photo album, showing the Vostok's potential for military photoreconnaissance. Kamanin briefs the cosmonauts afterwards on the results of the NAZ ejection seat tests. There have been three successful ejections from the Il-28 aircraft, plus ejections from the re-entry capsule on the ground and from an altitude of 5 km. All tests were successful. The cosmonauts are aware of the remaining problems with the capsule but are confident it is safe for a one-orbit flight. Gagarin says that Parachutist Colonel Nikolai Konstantinovich Nikitin, their instructor, should inspect the cosmonaut's parachute at the pad. The cosmonauts have confidence in him, but he has made problems over the tests at Fedosiya. At 16:00 Korolev calls. The Central Committee has approved the flight. He leaves for Tyuratam for final launch preparations. The cosmonauts' confirmation of readiness for flight was recorded and played back to the committee. The resulitng decree 'On approval for launch of Vostok' provided the final authority to proceed with the first manned spaceflight.


1961 April 4 - VVS General Staff certifies flight readiness of cosmonauts Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov.

They also, on the basis of the recent examinations and interviews, clear the rest of the cosmonaut trainees for flight except for Rafikov, Filatev, and Zaikin, who passed the examinations but had not yet completed all the tests and training. Moskalenko has given approval for a Soviet film team to go to Tyuratam and film preparations for the flight. At the Presidium meeting Khrushchev had questioned what would be done if the cosmonaut reacted poorly in the first minute of the flight. Korolev answered in his deep voice: 'Cosmonaut are extraordinarily trained, they know the spacecraft and flight conditions better than I and we are confident of their strength'. The flight is still seen as very risky - of seven Vostoks flown unmanned so far, five made it to orbit, three landed safely, but one did not. On the other hand, both recent Venera launch attempts reached low earth orbit.


1961 April 5 - Tyuratam

Kamanin departs for the airport in the morning after a good breakfast. There was a fresh snowfall overnight, and Moscow looks beautiful. Three Il-14's wait to shuttle the six cosmonauts and other VVS staff to the launch centre. Gagarin and Nelyubov will fly in Kamanin's aircraft, and Titov and the others in General Goreglyad's. The third aircraft will carry the physicians and film team. The aircraft depart at fifteen-minute intervals, and the entire flight is in beautiful weather. Kamanin's Il-14 lands at Tyuratam at 14:30. Korolev, Gallay, and officers of the staff of the cosmodrome are there to greet them. Korolev requests additional last-minute training for the cosmonauts in manual landing of the spacecraft, suit donning, and communications, but Kamanin refuses. He sees no reason for any training not already agreed in the official plan. Korolev says rollout of the booster is planned for 8 April, followed by launch on 10 or 11 April. Everyone wants to know first - Gagarin or Titov? But Kamanin has not made a final decision yet. Gagarin shows hesitancy in accepting the automatic parachute deployment on the first flight, and only reluctantly agrees to the compromise solution. Titov is a stronger character, better able to hold up during a long duration mission, such as the one-day flight planned for the second mission. But the first into space will be the object of all of the attention from the news media and public. There is not a day that goes by that Kamanin does not think through the issue, without reaching a final conclusion. In the evening the cosmonauts go to the theatre, but the projectionist refuses to run the planned movie on orders of the base commander.


1961 April 6 - Vostok 1 State Commission

Rudnev arrives at the cosmondrome, and the first state commission meeting is held with Korolev and the technicians at 11:30. The oxygen regenerator is still not ready, and it is decided to fly with the old dehumidifier on the first flight, since only a 90 minute mission is planned anyway. The suit and all recovery systems worked perfectly on the 9 and 25 March mannequin flights, so the NAZ system is deemed ready for flight. After the meeting Rudnev and Makarov of the KGB go to work on the written orders that will be binding on the cosmonauts in case of accidental landing on foreign territory. Kamanin, Keldysh, and Korolev draw up the final draft of the announcements to be issued in case of normal orbital insertion and after successful landing. In the evening Gagarin and Titov try on their individual suits and Alekseyev checks the parachute systems. The cosmonauts return to the hotel at 11 pm.


1961 April 7 - Vostok 1 preparations

At Area 2 the cosmonauts conduct three hours of training on manual landing, and activities after landing. All three accomplish the manual landing well. Then they have three hours of badminton for physical conditioning. Both Gagarin and Titov like the game, and they are filmed for posterity. In the evening Rudnev discusses adding a night shift in order to achieve launch on 11 to 12 April. Afterwards Vershinin is briefed, and told all is normal, heading for an 11/12 April launch. Vershinin replies that the Americans are planning to launch their first man into space on 28 April. Kamanin is confident, there will be no difficulty in beating them. He notes the Americans launched a Mercury capsule on 24 March, but there was an abort and the capsule sank in the Atlantic. In the evening the movies are 'Careful, Babushka' and 'Vostok-1'. Kamanin finds the film on the mission good. General Moskalenko calls - he wants a meeting with the cosmonauts on launch day. Kamanin is not opposed, but he needs to know a specific time - it will be a busy morning before the launch


1961 April 8 - Vostok 1 State Commission

Rudnev chairs the meeting, in which Kamanin recommends that Gagarin pilot the first manned spaceflight, with Titov as backup. A discussion follows on whether to have a representative from the FAI at the launch in order to obtain registration of the world record. Marshal Moskalenko and Keldysh are opposed - they don't want anyone from outside at the secret cosmodrome. It is decided to enclose the code to unlock the controls of the spacecraft in a special packet. Gagarin will have to break it open in order to get the code that will allow him to override the automatic system and orient the spacecraft manually for re-entry. An emergency ejection during ascent to orbit is discussed. It is decided that only Korolev or Kamanin will be allowed to manually command an ejection in the first 40 seconds of flight. After that, the process will be automatic. There is embarrassment when Moskalenko confronts Yazdovskiy: 'so why are you here, when you're a veterinarian and only handle dogs?' Kamanin has to explain that Yazdovskiy is actually a medical doctor. After the meeting, Kamanin reviews Titov's training in the spacecraft, which has gone well.


1961 April 9 - Vostok preparations

It is a pleasant spring day at Area 10. The cosmonauts play sports, games, and chess. Rudnev and Moskalaneko think the launch will not realistically happen until 14-15 April. Kamanin informs Gagarin and Titov of the selection of Gagarin to be the first man in space.


1961 April 10 - Vostok preparations

Kamanin plays badminton with Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov, winning 16 to 5. At 12:00 a meeting is held with the cosmonauts at the Syr Darya River. Rudnev, Moskalenko, and Korolev informally discuss plans with Gagarin, Titov, Nelyubov, Popovich, Nikolayev, and Bykovsky. Korolev addresses the group, saying that it is only four years since the Soviet Union put the first satellite into orbit, and here they are about to put a man into space. The six cosmonauts here are all ready and qualified for the first flight. Although Gagarin has been selected for this flight, the others will follow soon - in this year production of ten Vostok spacecraft will be completed, and in future years it will be replaced by the two or three-place Sever spacecraft. The place of these cosmonauts here does not indicate the completion of our work, says Korolev, but rather the beginning of a long line of Soviet spacecraft. Korolev predicts that the flight will be completed safely, and he wishes Yuri Alekseyevich success. Kamanin and Moskalenko follow with their speeches. In the evening the final State Commission meeting is held. Launch is set for 12 April and the selection of Gagarin for the flight is ratified. The proceedings are recorded for posterity on film and tape.


1961 April 11 - Vostok 1 countdown

The booster is rolled out to the pad at 05:00. At 10:00 the cosmonauts meet with Feoktistov for a last review of the flight plan. Launch is set of 09:07 the next day, followed by shutdown and jettison of the lateral boosters of the first stage at 09:09, and orbital insertion at 09:18. The spacecraft will orient itself toward the sun for retrofire at 09:50. At 10:15 the first command sequence will be uploaded to the spacecraft, followed by the second at 10:18 and the third at 10:25. Retrofire of the TDU engine will commence at 10:25:47. The service module will separate from the capsule at 10:36 as the capsule begins re-entry. The capsule's parachute will deploy at 10:43:43 and at 10:44:12 the cosmonaut's ejection seat will fire. While the cosmonauts go through this, the booster has been brought upright on the pad, the service towers raised, and all umbilical connections made. Korolev, Yazdovskiy, and the others make a final inspection at the pad prior to the commencement of the countdown. At 13:00 Gagarin meets a group of soldiers, NCO's, and officers. After this Kamanin and the cosmonauts go to the cottage formerly occupied by Marshal Nedelin, where they will spend the last night before launch. They eat 'space food' out of 160 g toothpaste-type tubes for lunch - two servings of meat puree and one of chocolate sauce. Gagarin's blood pressure is measured as 115/60, pulse 64, body temperature 36.8 deg C. He then subjects to placement of the biosensors he will wear during the flight, and baseline measurements are taken for an hour and twenty minutes. He is very calm through all this. At 21:30 Korolev comes to the cottage, says good night to the cosmonauts, then goes back out to check on launch preparations. Gagarin and Titov go to bed after this. Kamanin stays up a while in the next room, listening to them talk to one another in the dark.


1961 April 12 - Vostok 1

First manned spaceflight, one orbit of the earth. Three press releases were prepared, one for success, two for failures. It was only known ten minutes after burnout, 25 minutes after launch, if a stable orbit had been achieved.

The payload included life-support equipment and radio and television to relay information on the condition of the pilot. The flight was automated; Gagarin's controls were locked to prevent him from taking control of the ship. The combination to unlock the controls was available in a sealed envelope in case it became necessary to take control in an emergency. After retrofire, the service module remained attached to the Sharik reentry sphere by a wire bundle. The joined craft went through wild gyrations at the beginning of re-entry, before the wires burned through. The Sharik, as it was designed to do, then naturally reached aerodynamic equilibrium with the heat shield positioned correctly.

Gagarin ejected after re-entry and descended under his own parachute, as was planned. However for many years the Soviet Union denied this, because the flight would not have been recognized for various FAI world records unless the pilot had accompanied his craft to a landing. Recovered April 12, 1961 8:05 GMT. Landed Southwest of Engels Smelovka, Saratov.

Kamanin's account

At 04:50 Karpov and Nikitin get up, followed by Gagarin and Titov at 05:20. They go Area 10. A final meeting of the Launch Commission is held at 06:00. There are no discrepancies, all is ready, there are no questions, and they can proceed with the launch. Kamanin proceeds to the MIK to see how the cosmonauts' medical examinations are going. Everything is on schedule. At 08:00 he goes with the engineers to the capsule and enters the secret code (1-4-5) into the lock on the manual controls. The lock works normally and is reset. At 08:20 Moskalenko arrives at the pad, followed by the bus with the cosmonauts at 08:50. Kamanin shakes Gagarin's hand as he enters the lift and says 'Until we met again in Kuibyshev, in a few hours'.

There is a problem in installing the hatch after the cosmonaut straps into the capsule. Due to one defective bolt, it has to be removed and reinstalled. Communications with the capsule are clear. Finally Korolev gives the 'Start' (launch) command, the booster ignites and starts to rise, and Gagarin radios back 'Poyekhali!' ('Here we go!'). It's a good launch, and after thirteen minutes the capsule separates and the first man has reached orbit. The only bad moment came during the handover to Kolpashevo tracking station. There were no communications for several seconds, and Korolev's voice started to shake as he repeatedly called to Gagarin without reply. At 15:15 Gagarin radios 'Beautiful, I see the earth and clouds very well'. Twenty minutes after the launch Kamanin heads for the airport, and boards an An-12 for Stalingrad, 110 km north of the planned landing point.

While in the air he hears that Gagarin landed safely near Saratov, then he hears from a VVS command point that all is in order, Major Gagarin has already been flown to Kuibyshev. At hearing this all ten of the people aboard the aircraft break out cognac and toast to the success. At a factory airfield at Kuibyshev they hear that Gagarin landed 23 km from Saratov and telephoned Moscow only a few minutes after landing. He already had talked to Khrushchev from Engels, and a huge mob was already at the airport. Gagarin is waiting for Kamanin's flight, and greets them wearing his winter flight cap and a light blue Kombinat factory overalls. The group moves to a dacha on the banks of the Volga for Gagarin's examination and debriefing.

At 15:00 Rudnev, Korolev, Keldysh, the other five cosmonauts, and the other members of the State Commission arrive. Gagarin is interviewed about the flight until 21:00, and at 23:00 he goes to bed. Kamanin sits with the others late into the night as they drink toasts. They are all very tired, but too keyed up with the excitement of the day to sleep.


1961 April 13 - Vostok 1 State Commission

The commission meets from 09:30 to 12:00, making the official interview of Gagarin on his flight. There are unending questions. Afterwards Gagarin fields more questions by phone from the press. In the second half of the day he is readied for the return to Moscow. He has to make a half-hour speech to Khrushchev, but he hurries through the prepared text. Two or three trainers had noted this impatience of his, but Kamanin had already decided before the flight that Gagarin had the makings of a good orator. In the evening Brezhnev calls twice, and Vershinin several more times, coordinating things for Gagarin's return to Moscow. Bad weather is predicted for the next day and it is decided that Gagarin's airplane will arrive at Vnukovo. Gagarin is to exit the aircraft and walk alone to the reviewing stand. For this performance he is measured for a new uniform and great coat. He rehearses the speech twice, with Kamanin playing the part of Khrushchev in posing impromptu questions.


1961 April 14 - Gagarin returns to Moscow

Everyone is up at the dacha on the Volga at 06:00 and are ready to leave shortly thereafter. Now the weather in Moscow is expected to be fine. At 10:40 an Il-18 takes off for Moscow with Gagarin's party. This consists of Gagarin, Agaltsov, Rytov, Yazdovskiy, several correspondents, and some film operators. 50 km from Moscow seven fighters intercept the transport and form up as an escort, two off each wing, and three trailing. Gagarin calls them on the radio 'Brother fighter pilots - I send you greetings - Yuri Gagarin!' The aircraft formation flies down Lenin Prospekt, Red Square, and then up Gorkiy Street to Vnukovo. There are masses of people everywhere below. At exactly 15:00 the aircraft shuts down its engines 100 m from the reviewing stands. Yuri exits the aircraft and steps into history....


1961 April 15 - Gagarin in Moscow

Gagarin first meets with Korolev, then holds a press conference. At 15:30 he meets with the VVS Military Soviet.


1961 April 16 - Sunday in Moscow

Gagarin and Kamanin spend the day at Khrushchev's dacha.


1961 April 17 - Gagarin back at TsPK.

He returns to the cosmonaut training centre, and later gives a television interview.


1961 April 18 - Gagarin physical examination.

He checks into the Central Aviation Hospital for five to six days of intensive physical tests and observation. Denisovo and Borzenko from Pravda interview him during this period for the book that is to be issued. Kamanin has been named as the editor for the work.


1961 April 21 - Vostok 1 awards

Kamanin is having to take a lot of time preparing the paperwork for awards and promotions to be made as a result of Gagarin's flight. Of 500 VVS staff connected with the flight, 200 are to receive recognition of one kind or another. In the evening the VVS Military Soviet convenes to take testimony on the death of cosmonaut Bondarenko. It is found there were serious defects in the organization of the tests conducted at IAKM.


1961 May 1 - May Day

Gagarin stands on the reviewing stand above Lenin's Mausoleum with the Soviet leadership. Kamanin finds the parades and demonstrations colourful but lacking genuine enthusiasm.


1961 May 5 - Cosmonaut reception

Malinovskiy, head of the VVS Miliatry Soviet, and his wife and daughter throw a reception for the cosmonauts and their wives. The party goes from 18:00 to 24:00 and passes without incident, but Kamanin found the guests' attempts to convince Malinovskiy to support military space projects were unproductive. He just doesn't get it.


1961 May 9 - Cosmonauts at the Black Sea

The cosmonauts go on a retreat to Sochi.


1961 May 20 - Vostok 2 discussions

Kamanin, Yazdovskiy, Bushuyev, and Feoktistov fly to Sochi. Korolev arrives on the next flight, and discussions begin on plans for the second Soviet manned spaceflight. Korolev wants a one-day/16-orbit flight, but Kamanin thinks this is too daring and wants a 3 to 4 orbit flight. Korolev rejects this, saying recovery on orbits 2 to 7 is not possible since the solar orientation sensor would not function (retrofire would have to take place in the earth's shadow). But Kamanin believes one day is too big a leap since the effects of sustained zero-G are not known. He finally agrees to a one-day flight, but with the proviso that a manually-oriented retrofire can be an option on orbits 2 to 7 if the cosmonaut is feeling unwell. Korolev reports that the new Sever spacecraft should be ready for flight by the third quarter of 1962. OKB-1 is working hard on the finding solutions to the problems of manoeuvring, rendezvous, and docking in orbit. Kamanin tells Korolev that it would be difficult to recruit and train three-man crews in time to support such an aggressive schedule.


1961 May 25 - Gagarin in Bulgaria.

His first foreign publicity tour.


1961 May 27 - Gagarin letter on cosmonaut qualifications

Gagarin has sent a letter to Aviation Marshal A A Novikov, saying that only pilots should be allowed to make spaceflights. Gagarin sees aviation as the first phase of spaceflight, not a separate and different activity.


1961 August 7 - Gagarin World Tour Completed

Between 27 May and 7 August Gagarin and Kamanin travel to Czechoslovakia, Finland, England, Iceland, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Hungary. In July they are at Paris at the FAI, where the records supporting the record flights of Shepard and Gagarin are examined. Kamanin has no time to write up the materials from the tour. Both he and Gagarin are out of the country during preparations for and the actual flight of Titov aboard Vostok 2.


1961 August 15 - Korolev proposes a Vostok group flight

Korolev proposes to Kamanin the launch of three manned Vostok spacecraft at one-day intervals: the first on a three-day flight, and the second and third on two- or three-day flights. Three Soviet manned spacecraft would be in orbit at once. Kamanin has no problem in principle, but does not believe any such flight could take place until 1962, rather than the November 1961 schedule proposed by Korolev. Kamanin goes so far as to write a letter from the VVS saying they would not agree to such a schedule. Due to problems on Titov's one-day flight, Kamanin believed the next flight should not exceed two days, which implied a maximum of only two spacecraft could be in space at one time. Korolev is furious -- and his relationship with the VVS and Kamanin are poor thereafter.


1961 October 3 - Cosmonauts in the Crimea

During a trip to Crimea that began on 14 September, Kamanin finds that Gagarin and Titov have been showing bad behaviour, drinking too much, and insulting others.


1961 October 11 - The Gagarin Incident

Gagarin is found at 23:50 at night on the lawn outside his resort hotel in the Crimea, with a big gash in his face and bleeding profusely. 'He's dying' a bystander declares. A doctor is called from the Black Sea fleet, who arrives only four hours later and then does emergency on-the-spot surgery. A tawdry story comes out. Gagarin had slept briefly, then assisted his daughter to bathe at 22:00 and put her to bed. Then he went down to the first floor, where the cosmonauts' wives were playing cards, and his wife was playing chess. Yuri said he was sick of chess, didn't want to play cards, and put on a record. At 23:47 Yuri told his wife Valya, who was still playing cards, 'enough of games, let's go to bed'. Two or three minutes later Valya had finished her hand, and said 'Where's Yuri?' Someone said he had gone down the corridor to the right and went into one of the bedrooms. She found the door locked, and only after pounding on the door, a 27-year old nurse, Anya, opened up. 'Where's Yuri?' Valya demanded, and Anya told her 'Your husband jumped from balcony'. Gagarin had leapt the 2 m to an asphalt surface, but caught his foot in the grape vines against the wall, pitched forward, and hit his face on a cement curb. The nurse said Yuri had entered the room, locked the door, and said 'hey, would you like to get it on?' and started kissing her. - then the pounding on the door came and Gagarin jumped out of the building.


1961 October 14 - Gagarin recovers

Gagarin needs ten days of healing before he can make a public appearance - and he's scheduled to be at the Party Congress on 17 October. His participation is cancelled. He swears to Kamanin that he will mend his ways and follow the true path in the future.


1961 October 17 - Titov at Party Conference

Titov attends in place of Gagarin. Kamanin's cover story is that Gagarin is in the hospital, suffering from exhaustion, and that he will confined to bed until 25 October. Everyone, from Khrushchev on down, is unhappy with this. Kamanin's enemies are using the situation to criticize VVS participation in the space program in general, and Kamanin personally. Without Gagarin, Titov is not seated in the Presidium, and the VVS loses an important lever of influence at the meeting.


1961 October 18 - Vostok 3 training

Nikolayev conducts a three-day simulated spaceflight in his suit, in the spacecraft, including centrifuge runs at the beginning and end. Kamanin is furious about Titov's antics in Rumania, where he rode a motorcycle in a parade!


1961 October 20 - Gagarin rumours

The American radio is reporting that Gagarin was not at the Party Congress, and is sick. Kamanin confronts Gagarin with the story that is going about that in February he walked from his room to Titov's on the fifth-story ledge of the hotel.


1961 October 24 - Gagarin out of the hospital.

Korolev says he will need 28 pilot-cosmonauts and 22 specialist cosmonauts (engineers, scientists, etc) in the period 1962-1964. This is to include five women. Kamanin had already brought up the concept of a female spaceflight to Vershinin, Korolev, and Keldysh immediately after Gagarin's flight. He believed it was their patriotic duty to beat the Americans in putting a woman in space, and he wanted to find a female cosmonaut who would be a dedicated Communist agitator in the same class as Gagarin or Titov.


1961 October 28 - Zenit-2 priority delays manned space flights

Plans for a November group flight are delayed due to the priority of the spy satellite program. Korolev wants to fly manned Vostoks in December 1961/January 1962, but Kamanin and the VVS oppose this due to poor weather during that period.


1961 October 30 - Kamanin on Khrushchev

Kamanin observes that Khrushchev made many mistakes at the 22nd Party Congress. He awarded himself new awards, medals, and titles - not the style of a true Leninist!


1961 October 31 - Globus demonstration

Vershinin is given a demonstration of the Vostok navigation instrument. Kamanin proudly points out that Engineer-Coloenel Mashkar and GKNII VVS developed it in only two months.


1961 November 1 - 22nd Party Congress closes.

Kamanin bitterly notes that the 'hypocrites' decided to remove Stalin's body from the Lenin Mausoleum only eight years after his death. The Congress also decided to break with the Chinese Communist Party.


1961 November 14 - Cosmonaut self-criticism

Gagarin and Titov are criticised for their high living and consorting with loose women and prostitutes while in the Crimea and on the road. Gagarin is also brought to task for the ridiculous story he made up as to why his wife found him in the nurse's bedroom. Gagarin receives his FAI Medal at a public ceremony. The press asks where he got the scar on his face. He tells them that he was hit by a stone while playing with his daughter.


1961 November 29 - Gagarin Asian tour

Gagarin heads for India and tours the country through 7 December. Millions turn out to see him.


1961 December 7 - Gagarin in Sri Lanka

Even though Gagarin and his entourage are exhausted, the cosmonaut continues the tour.


1961 December 12 - Gagarin in Afghanistan

He arrives in Kabul, and the entire city is on the streets for the motorcade.


1961 December 15 - Gagarin Asian Tour ends

Gagarin is totally exhausted, having had to endure up to nine meetings per day for three weeks.


1961 December 25 - New cosmonauts to be recruited.

The leadership has approved Kamanin's plan for the selection in the next year of 60 new cosmonaut trainees, including five women. Kamanin expects to see some of the women in orbit by the second half of 1962. DOSAAF has submitted 40 to 50 potential female candidates, selected from their files. Meanwhile, Titov is set to tour Indonesia in January. The Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 group flight is planned for March 1962.


1961 December 26 - Meeting on the planned Vostok 3/4 flights.

Six cosmonauts are certified as ready for flight. Trials of a new parachute and spacesuit design are not going well. The Vostok ECS has also not yet been perfected. The temperature in the cabin of Vostok 2 went down to 10 deg C due to what turned out to be an installation error (both the primary and back-up circulation fans were operating). Before finding the true nature of the problem, other modifications were made to the system, which resulted in the cabin being at 35 to 40 deg C in tests. The Mikron system, which is supposed to control the physiological function of the cosmonaut for ejection and landing, has never worked correctly.


1962 January 13 - VVS Military-Scientific Conference at Monino

Recommendations made by Kamanin's space unit included:

  • A KLA aerospace vehicle should be developed. This could be flown in a sub-orbital version at altitudes of 60 to 150 km and as an orbital aero-spaceplane at altitudes of 1000 to 3000 km.
  • An aircraft-launcher should be developed to allow air-launch of the KLA as well as air-to-space and space-to-earth missiles
  • Navigation, reconnaissance, guidance, and environmental control systems should be developed for the KLA suitable for flights of up to 30 days duration
To achieve this it will be necessary to conduct research and development in air-launch and landing of the KLA, and train cosmonauts in engineering, medicine, and other specialties. The IAKM and TsPK would both need improvements.
1962 January 16 - Female cosmonauts

Yesterday DOSAAF sent the files of 58 female cosmonaut candidates, pilots and parachutists, of which 40 are to come to Moscow for interviews. Kamanin reviews plans to reorganise TsPK - there are to be 250 staff, 17 of which are cosmonauts.


1962 January 18 - Cosmonaut inteviews

On this day Kamanin and his staff interviewed 23 of the 58 female cosmonaut candidates. His first impression is that they were all unqualified. What is needed is women who are young, physically fit, and have also completed flight and parachute training of at least five to six months duration.


1962 January 18 - Korolev requests new Vostoks

Korolev has issued a letter requested eight new Vostok 3A spacecraft to be built in 1962-1963. He recommends that they should be finished as the 1100 to 1300 kg heavier 'Vostok-2', to be boosted by the 11A57 rocket, developed originally for the Zenit-4 spy satellite. These Vostok-2's will be used for docking experiments, to form EO Experimental Orbital stations, and to develop spacecraft systems for flight to the moon. The VVS fully supports these plans. One of the docking spacecraft will be piloted, the other unpiloted.


1962 January 27 - Titov returns from tour

He has visited Indonesia and Burma. Tomorrow Gagarin leaves on a tour of Africa. There has been an 'incident' between Titov and his chauffeur Pomerantesva. She was born in 1918, has a child and is a good party member. Titov wanted her to drink with him at 2 am in the morning. It is obvious that the role of cosmonauts is much greater than planned - more academic training is needed. Therefore Kamanin decides to split the cosmonauts into two groups. One group will train for space in 1962 while the other goes to university. The groups will switch in the fall of 1963.


1962 February 6 - Soviet program problems

The lack of a Soviet equivalent to NASA is hurting the USSR. There is a lack of focus in the space program. Kamanin predicts that in 1962-1963 the US will surpass the Russians. There were 120 launches to date in the US versus only 20 in the USSR.


1962 February 8 - Vostok ejection problems

Kamanin discovers that the head of the Vostok parachute trials concealed the fact that the cosmonaut's parachute was snagging on the RFPK-10 antenna - in order to meet the deadline of 13 February set by the VPK for completion of tests.


1962 February 10 - Sever spacecraft trials

Two officers start a 15 day test aboard a mock-up of the Sever spacecraft, but without the participation of the IAKM. The whole thing was planned by Voronin's OKB in GKNII.


1962 February 13 - Sever trial

Vershinin, Bushuev and others are at OKB-124 for Voronin's Sever experiment. It was a bit mistake not to include IAKM in the 15-day experiment. This is Yazdovskiy's doing. He wanted to get a second source due to problems with IAKM's equipment


1962 February 14 - Gagarin returns from an African tour.

He stays for two days in Cyprus on the return trip from Liberia and other countries.


1962 February 15 - Glenn flight scrubbed.

Kamanin notes with satisfaction that Soviet launches have all been made on the first attempt, whereas Glenn has had to try seven times.


1962 February 17 - Immediate Vostok launches demanded

Ustinov wants launch of two cosmonauts within a month to answer the American Glenn flight. Of seven candidates, Nikolayev and Popovich are most likely to be selected. Meanwhile Titov has more incidents. He has driven his Volga into a bus. This is his third accident within a year.


1962 February 20 - Vostok 3/4 training

Kamanin selects the cosmonauts for the dual flight ordered by Ustinov: Nikolayev and Popovich, with Nelyubov and Bykovsky as back-ups. Ustinov has ordered launch by 10-12 March. - such is the Soviet's lousy leadership, Kamanin notes. They don't do anything for months, then suddenly want a manned launch within 10 days. Korolev wants a three-day flight, but the VVS wants no more than two days, and only then if the cosmonauts are in excellent condition after the first day.


1962 February 21 - Soviet view of Glenn's flight

He experienced many problems on his flight, Kamanin observes. It was 40 deg C in his cabin, and his orientation system malfunctioned.


1962 February 22 - Vostok 3/4 to fly three days

Kamanin's plan for a limitation of two days has been blocked by Korolev. Korolev sees Kamanin as a brake on his adventures. Kamanin is also ordered to have the female cosmonauts selected by 1 March, and ready for flight by the end of August. Nine women have passed the hospital tests; from these four or five will be selected for cosmonaut training, and one of these will become the first woman in space.


1962 February 24 - Vostok 3/4 flight duration

Korolev is pressuring Vershinin to allow a three day flight. Korolev provides reassurances that this will only occur if the cosmonauts are all right after two days in space. Kamanin remains categorically opposed.


1962 February 27 - Vostok 3/4 plans

Korolev is still pushing for a three-day flight and new scientific experiments for the cosmonauts to conduct. Kamanin remains opposed to these 'adventures'.


1962 February 28 - Female cosmonaut candidates ranked.

Kamanin sees Solovyova, Tereshkova, and Kuznetsova as most likely to be first in space. In the second rank he puts Yefremova, Kvasova, and Solovova, and then Sokolova in the third rank.


1962 March 1 - Plans for astronaut/cosmonaut meeting

Glenn is in Washington, and meets the Secretary General of the United Nations, who mentions a plan of the Soviet ambassador to the UN. Gagarin and Titov might visit New York to address the United Nations on 19 March. This would provide an opportunity for the cosmonauts and US astronauts to meet.


1962 March 5 - Vostok 3/4 delayed

Due to technical problems and the launch failure of a Zenit spy satellite, the launch of the dual Vostoks is pushed back to April. Therefore a trip to New York by the cosmonauts in March will not be possible. In any case the Presidium has decided against allowing them to address the United Nations.


1962 March 7 - Vostok 3/4 to launch 5-10 April

Korolev has set this date and still wants a three-day flight. All of the cosmonauts and their trainers are opposed to any flight longer than two days.


1962 March 8 - FAI Submission

Korolev's pressure has won the engineers over to a three-day flight for the next mission. Kamanin prepares the documents to be submitted to the FAI in Paris on Titov's flight. They say that Titov did not land in his capsule, which means that Titov's one day flight will not hold the official record for spaceflight duration - that will go to Glenn's four-hour flight instead...


1962 March 16 - Cosmonaut salaries

Kamanin reviews cosmonaut salaries. Gagarin is getting 639 roubles a year; Titov 579; Komarov 528 (due to his rank as major and years in service); and the rest, being captains, receive 483. Gagarin is making more than Kamanin, his commander.


1962 March 24 - Cosmonauts dismissed

Vershinin approves the removal of Rafikov and Anikeyev from the cosmonaut group. In the night of 12-13 March they left the base without permission and went to the Moskva Restaurant Rafikov is not happy with his wife, and talks of divorce all the time. During holidays in Sochi last May he spent time with many women, and beat his wife when she complained about it. Titov, Rafikov, and Anikeyev have all come to the notice of the Chief of Staff.


1962 March 27 - Rafikov dismissed.

Rafikov is dismissed effective immediately. He says he is sorry, but believes that blame should be shared collectively. He says the escapades of Gagarin and Titov encouraged him and Anikeyev to do the same. He says that his wife and five-year-old son want to stay with him. His pleas are to no avail. Meanwhile the cosmonauts still support limiting the next flights in space to two days, but Korolev is training Nikolayev and Popovich for three days anyway.


1962 April 9 - Flight duration

Kamanin notes an American/West German experiment where five men spent five days confined to a fallout shelter. The result was bad, with the men showing deterioration physically and mentally. Titov says that this shows how dangerous it will be to extend space flight durations too quickly.


1962 April 12 - First Cosmonautics Day

The Central Committee has cleared Kamanin and Titov to travel to New York in May. But Kamanin believes they should instead be in Russia at that time for the Vostok 3/4 launches.


1962 April 18 - Vostok 3/4 Plans

Smirnov approves Korolev's flight plan. Vostok 3 is to fly three days; Vostok 4, launched a day later, for two days; they will land simultaneously. Kamanin feels the rush is crazy. For seven to eight months there was no authority from the leadership to fly. Then, suddenly, after Glenn's flight, come orders to launch into space within ten days.


1962 April 20 - Cosmonaut tours

Titov is now to go to America, while Gagarin is in Austria and Japan. Nikolayev and Bykosvky head for from in-suit parachute training at Fedosiya.


1962 April 21 - Titov tour

Titov is to go to New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and meet Vice President Lyndon Johnson. He is to head back on 1 May.


1962 April 23 - Titov again

Titov's arrogance knows no bounds, Kamanin fumes. He wants to be included in decision-making sessions, he wants to take his wife with him on the US tour, and he wants his own jet. Meanwhile, the Americans are starting a major H-bomb test campaign in the South Pacific.


1962 April 26 - Cosmos 4

Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite. Program partially completed. Failure of primary spacecraft orientation system. It was to spend four days in space, to be followed by another mission during 5-10 May. This meant that Vostok 3/4 could not be launched before 20-30 May. The cosmonaut prime crew returned from their in-suit parachute training at Fedosiya.


1962 April 29 - Titov in New York

Kamanin, Titov, and Titov's wife arrive in New York City. They tour the sights, hold a press conference at the United Nations, and see the film 'Flight of a Man to the Moon' at Radio City Music Hall. The people in the city seem to swarm like ants to Kamanin. He notes they received great applause at the UN.


1962 May 2 - Titov in Washington

Kamanin and Titov are greeted by Ambassador Dobrynin (who Kamanin notes graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute and worked as an engineer at Yakovlev's design bureau).


1962 May 3 - Titov meets Glenn

They view the Redstone and Atlas rockets and a Mercury space capsule. Kamanin finds the Mercury very cramped, but notes that it is equipped with all the necessities. Glenn tells him it was possible for the astronaut to wear a parachute, but Glenn chose not to - he didn't believe he could really use it in an emergency anyway. Afterwards they were introduced to President Kennedy and Vice-President Johnson.


1962 May 4 - Titov in Baltimore

Titov and Kamanin meet journalist Drew Pierson, who claims that five Soviet cosmonauts died before Gagarin flew. They are introduced to Wernher Von Braun. In the afternoon they go to a barbecue at Glenn's house in Virginia. Kamanin carefully notes the technical information he has gleaned: Glenn wore no parachute; the Mercury's solid fuel retrorockets fire in 28 seconds, much more quickly and with more force than the Vostok's low-thrust liquid propellant engine; it is planned to launch a modernised version of Mercury on a one-day flight by the end of 1962; the astronauts train in the centrifuge to 16 G's (versus 12 G's for the cosmonauts); the NASA manned space headquarters is moving to Texas; Mercury is only capable of water landings, no work has been done on land landings or equipping the capsule with an ejection seat; several Amerrican women are considered fit for spaceflight, and the first American woman could make a three-orbit flight in the second half of 1962.


1962 May 6 - Titov at Seattle World Fair

Kamanin and Titov visit the space exhibit at the US pavilion, including Glenn's Mercury capsule. Kamanin proudly notes that the fair had 75,000 visitors on the day the cosmonaut was there, compared to 25,000 to 27,000 on an average day.


1962 May 7 - Titov sick

Kamanin and Titov arrive in San Francisco, but Titov is taken ill.


1962 May 9 - Titov interview with Seventeen magazine

Titov, the teen idol, back in New York, gives an exclusive interview to the teenybopper rag.


1962 May 10 - Titov in New Jersey

Kamanin and Titov tour a Ford automobile factory in New Jersey. Kamanin notices two students standing outside with a placard: 'Titov - Yes! USSR - No!'


1962 May 12 - Titov heads home

Kamanin and Titov return to the Soviet Union on the route Halifax-Gander-Prestwick-Moscow. Kamanin notes with satisfaction that on their 12-day tour Titov held 20 press conferences and delivered eight speeches. Most importantly, he managed to give excellent and politically acceptable replies to all of the reporters' questions.


1962 June 11 - VVS Conference: Military Use of Space - the Short-Term Perspective

The projection is made that the US will surpass the USSR in space in 1963-1964. Kennedy's 1961 speech announcing the Apollo project to land on the moon was passed to Vershinin for comment, but no reply was ever received. Rudenko, Vershinin, and especially Malinovskiy see no role for piloted space flight, let alone flights to the moon. America, with its superior electronics capability, is still proceeding with development of manned spacecraft that require the active piloting of the astronaut. Why then, Kamanin fumes, is the USSR trying to develop completely automated manned spacecraft? Military space is being run in the USSR by men who know nothing of it, he notes. Rudenko is ill, and not even at the conference.


1962 June 22 - Zenit booster failure damages pad, delays Vostok 3/4

A briefing by engineer V A Smirnov predicts that the Americans will make a 17-18 revolution flight of the earth by the end of 1962. Kamanin disagrees, believing they will not achieve this until the second half of 1963. Another Zenit-2 spy satellite has failed to achieve orbit. The first had failed due to a third stage problem, and now the third attempt failed due to a first stage problem. It blew up 300 m from the pad, and did enough damage to put the launch complex out of operation for a month. Therefore the Vostok 3/4 launches cannot now take place until the end of July at the earliest.

Kamanin has continued arguments over the reorganisation of VVS space units and the role of IAKM. Korolev has never supported a leading role for the VVS or Kamanin in the Soviet space program. He is complaining about the 'offences' of the VVS, Kamanin, and the cosmonauts. Korolev cites Gagarin's trauma and Titov's motor accidents. He believes cosmonauts should be selected only from OKB-1 engineers. He also believes the cosmonauts are wasting too much time on publicity tours. Vershinin and Keldysh are hearing all of these complaints.


1962 June 23 - Summer vacation

The only cosmonauts staying at TsPK are Komarov, Shonin, Volynov, and the five female cosmonauts. Kamanin believes the Soviet Union had every possibility of making several multi-day spaceflights in 1962, up to 8-10 days, but that this is no longer possible due to delays caused by repeated booster failures and poor leadership.


1962 June 25 - Female cosmonaut space suit

Kamanin meets with Alekseyev on the design of a space suit for the female cosmonauts. He advises the designer of the absolute need to have them finished by the end of the year and provides the measurements of the five ladies. Alekseyev advises he cannot possibly complete the suits earlier than the first quarter of 1963. He won't be pressured in the absence of an official government decree -- at the same time that Korolev and Smirnov are pressing the Central Committee for permission to make a female flight in September 1962!!


1962 June 27 - US Plans in Space

Kamanin notes that the US launched 86 satellites up to June 1, 1962 compared to only 21 by the USSR. He believes the Soviet reply should be a vigorous program that would launch 10 to 12 Vostok manned spacecraft in 1963 alone; to finally resolve organisational issues that hindered the Soviet program; and to adopt a goal of landing a man on the moon.


1962 July 6 - Titov again

Kamanin reports that Titov is driving his Volga all over the country at high speed.


1962 July 13 - Three-day Vostok flight

Kamanin notes that Korolev now has Khrushchev's backing for a three-day duration Vostok flight. Of 15 State Commission members, Kamanin finds himself the only one opposed to the idea.


1962 July 14 - Titov again

Titov is involved in another automobile accident at 4 am in the morning. Kamanin tries to contact him, but he has gone to Kiev and won't return his calls.


1962 July 16 - Experiments for Vostok 3/4

Meeting at OKB-1 between the cosmonaut commander and spacecraft engineers. It is decided that experiments conducted during the flight will be observations of: the third stage of the Vostok booster after separation of the spacecraft; the launch of Vostok 4, as seen from Vostok 3; and preselected ground objects. These will require two to three hours of manual orientation of the spacecraft, with pointing accurate to within 7 degrees of the expected position of the objects to be observed.


1962 July 16 - State Commission on Vostok 3/4

American nuclear tests over the Pacific have increased radiation levels in space. But the scientists believe manned flights of three to five days duration will still be safe.


1962 July 17 - Medical specialists support three day flight

The doctors now support Korolev's proposal for a three-day flight duration. They all opposed it after the problems on Titov's one-day flight. So much for Soviet 'science', harrumphs Kamanin.


1962 July 27 - First Zero-G training on Tu-104

The Soviets conduct their first cosmonaut zero-G training on an aircraft flying parabolic trajectories. 6 to 25 seconds of weightlessness is experienced on each manoeuvre.


1962 July 30 - Vostok 3/4 State Commission

Nearly 70 people attend the meeting. Launch is set for 9 and 10 August. The support teams will fly to Tyuratam on 2 to 3 August.


1962 August 2 - At Tyuratam

The VVS contingent flies to the cosmodrome in three Il-14's. Due to the very hot conditions, they land on the 2 km dirt strip - the paved runway is only 1200 m long. Kamanin notices a lot of new construction since he was last at the cosmodrome, 16 months earlier, for Gagarin's launch.


1962 August 3 - Titov again

Kamanin learns that Ponomaryova and Kuznetsova spent all night in TItov's apartment at TsPK. 'Dumb girls' he intones. Kamanin travels in a Lvov bus from Area 10 to Area 2, a distance of 40 km. Driving a Volga automobile, the stretch can now be done in only thirty minutes on the newly paved road. Korolev and his engineers are hard at work. Spacecraft number 5 is already in final tests, with Spacecraft 6 one to two days behind it in the processing flow. The launches will be observed by all of the female cosmonauts and 4 to 8 of the new engineer-cosmonauts.


1962 August 4 - Launch preparations

Kamanin is at the Syr Darya River at 06:50, and arrives at Area 2 at 09:00. Suit communications tests are underway. From 11:00 to 13:00 there is a discussion on how the cosmonauts will observe the third stage of their booster, and how the spacecraft will be oriented. To stay pointed, they will need to put the spacecraft in a very slow maneuver of 0.06 deg/sec, or one revolution in 1.8 hours. Once they have achieved this, they have to put the spacecraft in a roll of 0.5 deg/sec, or one revolution in 12 minutes, in order to maintain the spacecraft's thermal balance due to solar heating. Kamanin does not understand why this is necessary - the Cosmos 4 spy satellite, of the same design, spent all four days of its mission in stabilised flight, using infrared horizon trackers, and maintained a stable internal temperature of 17 deg C. Korolev mentions that Cosmos 4 could distinguish types of aircraft on airfields, and the form and tonnage of ships at sea.


1962 August 5 - Sunday at the cosmodrome

Launch preparations continue. From 08:00 to 15:00 the NUZ ejection seat parachute system and radio communications are tested. Spacecraft 6 completed acceptance tests for the third time. All should be ready for launch by August 6.


1962 August 7 - Vostok 3/4 Launch Commission

Smirnov, Rudenko, Gagarin attend. Go-ahead is given for launch on 10/11 August. Nikolayev wants to spend one hour in his spacecraft before launch, but Korolev is against this, not wanting the spacecraft disturbed after it has passed all of its tests. Finally a compromise is reached, whereby Nikolayev will get his hour, but without wearing his spacesuit.


1962 August 8 - Additional Vostok missions; launch preparations.

Kamanin discusses with Rudenko the need for construction and flight of ten additional Vostok spacecraft. Korolev still plans to have the first Soyuz spacecraft completed and flying by May 1963, but Kamanin finds this completely unrealistic. The satellite is still only on paper; he doesn't believe it will fly until 1964. If the Vostoks are not built, Kamanin believes the Americans will surpass the Russians in manned spaceflight in 1963-1964. From 13:00 to 14:00 Nikolayev spends an hour in his spacesuit in the ejection seat. Kamanin finds many mistakes in the design of the ejection seat. There is no room for error in disconnect of the ECS, in release of the seat, and so on. At 17:00 the State Commission holds a rally to fete Gagarin and Titov in the square in front of headquarters. Kamanin finds the event very warm but poorly organised. At 19:00 Smirnov chairs the meeting of the State Commission in the conference hall of the MIK. Korolev declares the spacecraft and launch vehicle ready; Kamanin declares the cosmonauts ready. Nikolayev is formally named the commanding officer of Vostok 3, and Popovich of Vostok 4. Rudenko gets Popovich's name wrong - his second serious mistake. He had earlier called the meeting for the wrong time.


1962 August 8 - Launch preparations

Kamanin gets up at 05:00. A Yangel missile was to have been launched in the morning, but it has been postponed to the evening. Vostok 4 completed its third series of functional tests, but did not pass the visual inspection. The ejection seat, which was taken out of the capsule last night at 23:00, was not back into the capsule until 09:00 this morning, which meant that Popovich could not complete his training in the seat in his suit as planned. The cosmonauts start preparing the ship's flight plans/logs. The Tyuratam airfield is discussed. The 1200 m paved runway is insufficient, it needs to be extended to 3000 m for future requirements. From 15:00 to 20:30 the cosmonauts and the press go on a photo opportunity - fishing on the Syr Darya River.


1962 August 9 - Vostok 3 rollout

At the MIK Popovich finally trains in his suit in the seat 'as planned'. At 11:30 Smirnov, Korolev, and Keldysh inspect the new space food prepared for the flight, then meet with the cosmonauts. The Soyuz spacecraft is discussed - the cosmonauts want to have a mock-up commission. Afterwards the pilots conduct more training in their flight suits. At 21:00 Vostok 3 is rolled out from Area 10 to the pad. There was a two hour delay due to the need to reinspect the fasteners on the ejection seat - use of unauthorised substitutes was detected on other seats.


1962 August 10 - Vostok 3 countdown

At 12:00 the first press conference was held with reporters from Tass, Pravda, Izvestia, and Krasnaya Zvezda. At 13:15 the launch team holds a meeting at the pad, confirming all is ready. Afterwards Korolev, Smirnov, and the cosmonauts went up in the lift to the capsule. Nikolayev sat in the spacecraft while Korolev quizzed him for thirty minutes on changes made to standard configuration. Then they go to the 'Gagarin' cottage (actually that of Marshal Nedelin) for the night. From 17:00 to 19:00 Feoktistov briefs the cosmonauts on the final flight and contingency plans. Korolev comes in, and discusses the future Soyuz spacecraft, and his planned 16 tonne and 75 tonne manned spacecraft. Then Korolev goes out to the pad again to check on the booster. Kamanin notes that Korolev seems to be made of granite - aside from the Zenit-2 and Vostok launches, Korolev is preparing for three launches of probes to Venus in September, and more probes to Mars and the moon in October. Korolev yens to be allowed to travel abroad, at least to Czechoslovakia. But the State will not allow even this, let alone revealing his central role in their space program. At 22:00 it is agreed that the flight could be prolonged to a fourth day if the spacecraft and cosmonaut were holding up. There were some problems in the three-day test of the Tral telemetry system, but only actual use will show if the problem exists in operational conditions.


1962 August 11 - Vostok 3

Joint flight with Vostok 4. The first such flight, where Vostok capsules were launched one day apart, coming within a few kilometers of each other at the orbital insertion of the second spacecraft. The flight was supposed to occur in March, but following various delays, one of the two Vostok pads was damaged in the explosion of the booster of the third Zenit-2 reconnsat in May. Repairs were not completed until August. Vostok 3 studied man's ability to function under conditions of weightlessness; conducted scientific observations; furthered improvement of space ship systems, communications, guidance and landing. Immediately at orbital insertion of Vostok 4, the spacecraft were less than 5 km apart. Popovich made radio contact with Cosmonaut Nikolayev. Nikolayev reported shortly thereafter that he had sighted Vostok 4. Since the Vostok had no maneuvering capability, they could not rendezvous or dock, and quickly drifted apart. The launches did allow Korolev to offer something new and different, and gave the launch and ground control crews practice in launching and handling more than one manned spacecraft at a time. The cosmonaut took colour motion pictures of the earth and the cabin interior.

Korolev is still in action the next morning. There are thousands of tiny details he personally monitors. He has good technical deputies, but in Kamanin's opinion, not a single good organiser to take care of the necessary details. The State Commission meets at the pad at 07:30 and confirms the launch order. The weather is good (high pressure, clear, 6 to 7 m/s wind). At 08:50 Nikolayev and Bykovsky drive in a Volga to the MIK assembly building. Medical checkout is routine, and they suit up. At 11:30 they leave the bus and take the lift to the spacecraft. At the command bunker, only 10 m from the rocket, are Korolev, Gagarin, Smirnov, Barmin, Kirillov, and Kamanin. The launch proceeds perfectly on schedule, third stage shutdown coming exactly on time at T+687 seconds. Nikolayev sends peaceful greetings to the people of earth and announcing this great new victory of the Soviet people in the mastery of space. Two hours later, after confirmation of orbit, Khrushchev, Kozlov and Ustinov are informed of the successful launch.


1962 August 12 - Vostok 4

Joint flight with Vostok 3. Acquisition of experimental data on the possibility of establishing a direct link between two space ships; coordination of astronauts' operations; study of the effects of identical spaceflight conditions on the human organism. The launch of Popovich proceeds exactly on schedule, the spacecraft launching with 0.5 seconds of the planned time, entering orbit just a few kilometers away from Nikolayev in Vostok 3. Popovich had problems with his life support system, resulting in the cabin temperature dropping to 10 degrees Centigrade and the humidity to 35%. The cosmonaut still managed to conduct experiments, including taking colour motion pictures of the terminator between night and day and the cabin interior.

Despite the conditions, Popovich felt able to go for the full four days scheduled. But before the mission, Popovich had been briefed to tell ground control that he was 'observing thunderstorms' if he felt the motion sickness that had plagued Titov and needed to return on the next opportunity. Unfortunately he actually did report seeing thunderstorms over the Gulf of Mexico, and ground control took this as a request for an early return. He was ordered down a day early, landing within a few mintutes of Nikolayev. Only on the ground was it discovered that he was willing to go the full duration, and that ground control had thought he had given the code.


1962 August 13 - Vostok 3/4

The dual flights proeceed normally. At the 07:30 communications session Nikolayev is on his 31st orbit, and Popovich on his 16th. Nikolayev reports having awoken from his sleep period at 04:30 and Popovich at 04:53. At 22:30 there is a stormy meeting of the State Commission. Nikolayev's cabin temperature has dropped from 27 deg C at lift-off, to 13 deg C on the 29th orbit, and still 13 deg C on the 36th orbit. However the cosmonaut reports he has no trouble with this temperature in his suit. Problem existed with the Tral telemetry system, but these have now been solved. Nearly everyone wants to prolong Nikolayev's flight to a fourth day, except Kamanin, who is worried about the unknown physical condition of the cosmonaut after such a long flight. Furthermore the change will move the landing to a rocky area with higher winds expected. After heated discussion it is decided to review the matter again in the morning and decide then.


1962 August 14 - Vostok 3/4

A meeting of the state commission is held at 07:00 to decide whether to prolong Nikolayev's flight to a fourth day. It is finally agreed that they will bring both spacecraft down on 15 August, with Nikolayev re-entering on his 65th orbit and Popovich on his 49th. Kamanin advises Nikolayev via the Yelizovo tracking station: "Go for a fourth day / 65 orbits". But this will ruin plans for a three-day comprehensive post-landing medical examination, since Nikolayev and Popovich have to be in Moscow on Friday, the 18th, for the preplanned celebrations at the Kremlin.

The State Commission met again at 17:00, to decide whether to extend Popovich to a fourth day as well. Smirnov and Korolev have already discussed this with Khrushchev. It all right with them, and there are no technical reasons not to. But Popovich is much more active than Nikolayev, since he wasn't expecting a four day flight, and he has not conserved his resources as Nikolayev has. At 12:00 the spacecraft temperature was down to 11 deg C, with low humidity. Kamanin objects violently, and finally it is decided to ask the cosmonaut directly if he feels able to go for the extra day. Popovich, when contacted, immediately declares himself ready to go for an extra day and a 65 orbit mission. It is decided to study expected landing conditions for an extended mission and the physical condition of the cosmonaut before making a final decision.


1962 August 15 - Landing of Vostok 3

Recovered August 15, 1962 6:52 GMT. Landed 48:02N 75:45 E. Both the Vostok 3 and 4 spacecraft land successfully six minutes apart a short distance from each other.


1962 August 15 - Landing of Vostok 4

Recovered August 15, 1962 6:59 GMT. Landed 48:09 N 71:51 E. By 07:00 the temperature aboard Vostok 4 is down to 10 deg C, and the humidity at 35%. Popovich is ready to continue for a fourth day, but he admits the cold is getting to him. Keldysh and Rudenko now support returning Vostok 4 to earth on the 49th orbit, but Smirnov still wants to go for the extra day. Then Popovich radios 'I observe thunderstorms (groza). Groza is the pre-agreed code word to indicate that the cosmonaut is vomiting. It is believed he is declaring an emergency and requesting an immediate landing. The State Commission meets again and has to decide within 40 minutes whether to begin setting the spacecraft up for retrofire. But then when Korolev and Smirnov ask the cosmonaut to verify, he explains "I am excellent, I was observing meteorological thunderstorms and lightning". However Gagarin and Kamanin are suspicious of the explanation - they believe Popovich had an attack of nausea, panicked, made the emergency radio transmission, but then felt better and didn't want to admit to his weakness when confronted by the leadership. However it is now too late. He is set to return at nearly the same time as Nikolayev on Vostok 3. Both spacecraft land successfully six minutes apart a short distance from each other. However flight plans for the State Commission are wrecked due to bad weather at nearby airfields.


1962 August 16 - Vostok 3/4 post-flight debriefings

Nikolayev and Popovich finally arrive in Kuibyshev aboard an Il-18 aircraft that originated from from Sary Shagan. Now come the medical check-ups and interviews by the State Commission, The State Commission finds that both missions have outstanding results. The cosmonauts present believe that in the future men, not machines, should pilot the spacecraft. The way was clear for 5 to 10 Vostok flights in the next year.

Nikolayev's post-flight debriefing: The rocket vibration was not great initially, but very forceful at the end of operation of the second stage. There was quite a shock on separation of the spacecraft from the third stage. 15 minutes before the launch of Popovich's spacecraft I oriented the Vostok and at 11:03 the spacecraft was at the correct 73 degree pitch attitude. However I was unable to see either Popovich's spacecraft or his booster rocket. I had bad communications with Zarya on the first day. On the fourth revolution, during the communications session with Khrushchev, I could not hear, but then during the second, third, and fourth day of the flight communications were clear. The Globus instrument was valuable. Zero-G was not unpleasant, and on the fourth day I sharply turned by head to the left and right but could not force any bad reactions. I felt fully trained in use of the equipment. Over Turkey I could see airfields, cities, paved roads, and ships at sea. The TDU retrorocket operated for 42 seconds. The re-entry capsule revolved randomly on reaching the denser atmosphere and I pulled 8 to 9 G's on re-entry. There were many boulders in the landing area, but I was able to guide my parachute to land in a 2 x 2 m clear area.

Popovich debriefing: I could easily see the earth flowing below. Manual orientation using this by day or the stars by night was possible. There was lots of static on the UHF band on space-ground communications. Space-to-space communications with Sokol were very good, especially over the equator. Moving my head caused no motion sickness problems. After ejection, I secured my reserve parachute (as had Nikolayev). I saw a search aircraft twenty minutes after landing. The NAZ antenna did not deploy (as with Nikolyaev).

After the debriefing, a celebration is held with the cosmonauts, State Commission, and local officials. Everyone gets pretty drunk. Kamanin is finally instructed to take Nikolayev and Popovich to bed at midnight. The rest continue until 2 in the morning.


1962 August 17 - Vostok 3/4 post-flight

The cosmonauts continue their post-flight medical examinations, but everyone is suffering from hangovers from the celebration the night before. There was a stupid incident, with some of the leaders blaming Nikolayev of bad behaviour. Most of the commission leaves in the evening. In the afternoon the new heroes of the cosmos - Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, and Popovich - are taken boating, to the acclaim of crowds on the shore.


1962 August 18 - Vostok 3/4 cosmonauts arrive in Moscow

In the morning, the cosmonauts rehearse the speeches sent to them from Moscow for the celebrations. Then they depart Kuibyshev. A fighter escort intercepts the cosmonauts' aircraft at 13:00, and the aircraft lands at Moscow at 14:00 sharp. Enormous celebrations follow.


1962 August 20 - Vostok 3/4 cosmonauts meet with workers

The cosmonauts hold their traditional meeting with 6,000 workers at OKB-1, and hand over the ships' logs to Korolev.


1962 August 21 - Vostok 3/4 cosmonauts meetings

The cosmonauts meet with the General Staff of the Air Force, followed by a press conference at noon.


1962 August 22 - Future Vostok flight plans discussed

At Baikonur for the launch of a Venera probe, the Soviet space leadership discussed future plans. The female cosmonaut training group was there for their first rocket launch. The next Vostok would carry the first woman into space; Ponomaryova, Solovyova, and Tereshkova were the leading candidates. Flight plans were discussed at a meeting in the evening between Kamanin and Leonid Smirnov. It would be possible to make the flight by the end of 1962, but March-April 1963 was more likely, depending on the final report on the Vostok 3/4 flights. The work force would be fully occupied in August-October in launching probes to Venus and Mars, also probably delaying any Vostok flight until the following spring. The next flight would probably be part of a group flight of two or three spacecraft, piloted by both men and women. The female flights would be limited to three days, while the male flights would last for 7 to 8 days.

Although Smirnov spoke of up to five Vostok flights in 1963, there were actually only two complete Vostok spacecraft left. Korolev still claimed the first unpiloted Soyuz test flight could take place in May 1963. The Mars and Venus probes didn't bring any military and very little propaganda advantage to the Soviet Union, in the opinon of Kamanin. He wished that instead Korolev would use those resources for further manned flights, including orbital stations and moon landings. On the other hand the military leadership was even opposed to the modest existing manned space programme. Malinovskiy had blocked attempts to authorise a further ten Vostoks a year earlier. Korolev, Keldysh, and Smirnov were discussing sending a letter directly to Khrushchev, bypassing the General Staff, to plead for more support for manned space flight.


1962 August 24 - Baikonur conditions

Kamanin is at Tyuratam for the impending Venera launch, together with some of the cosmonauts. He notes that officers at Tyuratam have to live in hostels, without their families. Some have been there from three to five years, separated from their wives and children. Those who leave to see their families are court-martialled for desertion. At a morning briefing a new 'forced' method of manually orienting the Vostok is discussed. This will allow the spacecraft to turn 360 degrees in 12 minutes. The conservative method using residual angular velocities takes two hours. In the evening the State Commission for the Venera launch meets. This is the first one ever not attended by Korolev - after the meeting in the Kremlin, he became very ill, and is in the hospital. It will be two to three weeks before he can return to work.


1962 August 27 - Female Vostok flights delayed to 1963

The prospects did not look good for authorisation of production of ten further Vostok spacecraft. In a heated discussion between Rudenko, Ivanovskiy, and Grechko, it was argued that production of further Vostoks would delay flight of the first Soyuz spacecraft by a year. On the other hand this would mean no Soviet manned flights in 1963-1964. Furthermore Ivanovskiy reported that production of the female version of the Vostok space suit could not be completed until the end of 1962. Therefore this meant that the flight of two female cosmonauts in the final two available Vostok spacecraft would be delayed until March-April 1963 - the very end of the storage life of the spacecraft.


1962 August 30 - Korolev supports military Vostok flights

Korolev, still very ill in the hospital following a collapse six days earlier, supported Kamanin's plan for acceptance of the Vostok manned spacecraft for military service with the Soviet Air Force. It could enter series production and be used for continuous military research flights. However the General Staff continued to oppose any expansion of manned space flight. It it wasn't for Khrushchev, Korolev noted, there would not be any Soviet manned space programme at all.


1962 September 13 - General Staff tries to prevent further Soviet manned spaceflights

At a meeting of the General Staff on space plans, it was reported that the Ministry of Defence supported completion of two additional Vostok spacecraft to allow four Vostok flights in 1963. But Malinovskiy was adamant: the Vostok fullfilled no military objectives, would not be accepted for military use, and he would recommend to the Military Industrial Commission that the additional flights be rejected. Kamanin noted that history was repeating itself - fifty years earlier Tsarist generals had rejected the acquisition of aircraft by the Imperial Russian Army.


1962 November 9 - Plans for additional Vostoks quashed

Kamanin prepared recommendations for General Staff discussions on future Vostok military flights. His plan involved construction of ten additional spacecraft including new versions to test military equipment for reconnaisance, interception, and combat objectives. Flights would begin in 1963: manned flights of ten days duration; flights with biological payloads of 30 days duration; flights with biological payloads in high orbits to test the effects of Van Allen radiation belt exposure; flights that would conduct a range of technology experiments, including manual landing; landing with the cosmonaut within the capsule; depressurisation of the capsule to vacuum test equipment and suits for future spacewalks; etc). The plan was killed by his superiors.


1962 November 12 - Plans for Vostok female cosmonaut flight discussed.

A meeting was held to discuss alternatives for the next two Vostok flights. Alternatives were simultaneous flight of two capsules, each with a female cosmonaut; or one female flight and a male 5 to 7 day flight. The flight would occur no earlier than April 1963.


1962 November 16 - Meeting of the Soviet Ministers

They agree to a plan for a national centrifuge facility: specifications to be determined in 1963, and the facility completed by 1967. They are not if favour of building more Vostoks - they want to move on to the Soyuz spacecraft. But this will produce an 18 to 24 month gap in Soviet manned spaceflight, during which the Americans will certainly catch up (Cooper's one-day Mercury flight is already scheduled).


1962 November 19 - Female cosmonaut crew selection.

The members of the female cosmonaut group were given academic tests and interviewed to choose the first woman in space.

Ponomaryova had the best test results, but did not give 'proper' replies in the interviews. When asked 'What do you want from life?' she replied, 'I want to take everything it can offer'. Tereshkova, on the other hand, intoned 'I want to support irrevocably the Komsomol and Communist Party'. Ponomaryova also maintained that a woman could smoke and still be a decent person, and had made trips unescorted into Fedosiya while there for training. However despite what were considered very grave drawbacks, the final choice was still between Tereshkova and Ponomaryova.


1962 November 26 - General Staff rejects construction of additional Vostoks

The letter to Ustinov, head of the Military Industrial Commission, opposed acquisition of ten additional spacecraft. However Korolev had secretly begun final assembly of four additional Vostoks in his factory.


1962 November 29 - Final tests for female cosmonauts.

Academic examinations were completed of the female cosmonaut corps. Kuznetsova had missed to much training and was excluded from even taking the test. Of the four women remaining, only Tereshkova did not receive the highest marks. This was attributed to her being too nervous and excited during the examination. All were given the rank of Junior Lieutenant in the VVS Soviet Air Force.

Kamanin considered Tereshkova as the leading candidate for the first flight, with Solovyova as her back-up. In personality they were equivalent to Gagarin/Nikolayev - indeed, Tereshkova was considered 'Gagarin in a skirt'. Ponomaryova and Yerkina were equal candidates for the second female Vostok flight. The group would go to a resort in the Urals from 30 November to 10 January. The final decision as to which one would fly would only be made 3 or 4 days before the flight.


1962 December 6 - Soviet Space Plans for 1963-1964

Meeting of the Interdepartmental Soviet of the Academy of Sciences reviews space exploration plans. In the next two years, 5-6 Luna probes will be sent to the moon, including soft landers with a mass of 100 kg, and orbiters to map the surface. There will be flybys and landings of Mars and Venus. Two Zond spacecraft will study the space environment out to 20 million kilometres from the earth. In earth orbit, 10 Zenit spy satellites, 10 to 12 Vostok manned spacecraft, 4 to 6 Soyuz spacecraft, and 10 to 12 Kosmos satellites will be launched. The Kosmos will fly missions in meteorology, communications, television transmission, and heliographic, and geological studies. Kamanin finds this a good program, but it nearly all relies on a single launch pad and one-time transmission of data from a few satellites. The military plan is not reviewed; it must go through the VPK Military-Industrial Commission first. An Expert Commission is to be formed on the Soyuz spacecraft. Smirnov and Korolev have dictated a letter to Ustinov asking that eight more Vostoks be built. On the other hand, some on the general staff want 60 cosmonauts trained in the next two to three years, to support 8 to 10 flights of single-place spacecraft and 7 to 8 flights of multiplace spacecraft.


1962 December 13 - Military-Scientific Conference on Military Space Applications at the Zhukovskiy Academy

The three-day conference hears papers describing advanced military concepts, including quantum generators, orbital aircraft, air launch of manned spaceplanes, and so on. Studies show that orbital aircraft would be more effective than ballistic missiles in attacks against small-size targets on the earths surface (such as ships, ICBM silos, etc). Nine ICBM's would be needed to destroy such a target, as against only two orbital aircraft. Kamanin's opinion: a lot of talk, but no action.


1962 December 22 - Big fight on cosmonaut tour

The issue of Popovich and Nikolayev going to Indonesia has been escalated to the level of Gromyko, Rudenko, and Ivashutin of the KGB.


1962 December 27 - Absurd situations!

A decree ordering the training of sixty cosmonauts has been laying around, and suddenly the leadership wants to enforce it. 15 new trainee male cosmonauts, and 15 women are to be recruited - an overall total of 20 by the end of 1962 and 40 by the end of 1963 And crews are to be formed and trained, even though there are no spacecraft being built for the missions. And the decision that Popovich is to go on his Cuba tour is handed down only 2.5 hours before he is supposed to depart.


1962 December 30 - Cosmonaut training plan for 1963

Each cosmonaut is to get 50 flight hours piloting aircraft, of which 25 are to be in fighters. The amount of academic and spacecflight training will be double the load of a normal VVS officer.


1963 January 5 - Gagarin is in the hospital for an appendix operation.

His wife had the same in December.


1963 January 7 - Seven Vostok flights planned in 1963

Agreement was finally reached among space management for the production of five additional Vostok spacecraft during 1963. Two would be used in solo flights and five in group flights.


1963 January 8 - 15 new cosmonauts are selected.

The new trainees include one from the VMF Navy Aviation, two from the PVO Air Defence, four from the RVSN Strategic Rocket Forces, and eight from the VVS Air Force.


1963 January 9 - Agreement reached on future Vostok flights

After eight months of debate, a Vostok project plan was finally agreed. There would be a single female cosmonaut flight in March-Apriil 1963. This would be followed by 4 to 5 additional Vostok flights in 1963 and 2 to 3 flights in 1964. This plan was approved by Malinovskiy, Keldysh, Smirnov, and Dementiev and forwarded to the Communist Party Central Committee. However Rudenko and others were still opposed.


1963 January 11 - Korolev lays out detailed plan for future Vostok flights

Korolev and Kamanin meet to lay out Vostok flight plan. There were three variants possible for the March flights: 1) A single female flight of 2 to 3 days; 2) Two female flights launched one day apart, but landing at the same time; 3) An 'absurd' version: launch of a female cosmonaut for a three day flight, followed two days after her landing by a male cosmonaut on a 5 to 7 day flight. The planners selected the two female flight variant.


1963 January 12 - Cosmonaut travels.

Following interminable discussions with the leadership, in the end only Nikolayev is to go to Indonesia. Popovich has returned from Cuba, after a 14 hour non-stop flight from Havana to Moscow aboard a Tu-114.


1963 January 17 - Cosmonaut PR training

The cosmonauts need to be trained for press conferences. Nikolayev is to receive special training, as well as Popovich who is being criticised for mistakes made during his Cuba tour. He told reporters 'We will assist Cuba not just on the earth, but from space', and 'The world will soon learn the names of all of the first cosmonaut team', neither of which are state policy.


1963 January 18 - Soyuz expert commission

Smirnov insisted on the following after reviewing Korolev's design: 1) there must be a space suit for every crew member; 2) the spacecraft must be able to use lift during re-entry to change its landing point; 3) the spacecraft must have ejection seats. Korolev and his assistants categorically rejected these demands. Smirnov was only insisting on the availability of suits, not that they be worn at all times; and only on small lifting surfaces to give the capsule more manoeuvrability during re-entry. But Korolev rejected even this. Later the commission went to Chelomei's bureau to see his Raketoplan manned spaceplane design. But this was not even laid out on paper yet, with the draft project not scheduled to be completed until the end of February. Chelomei has already been working on this for two years. In January 1961 he gave a presentation to the General Staff and made big promises in regard to this spacecraft - but nothing has been completed. The only spacecraft that will be realistically available in the next three to five years is Korolev's - anything else would only be purely experimental.


1963 January 21 - VVS Review of Soyuz

The primary objective of the design is to achieve docking to two spacecraft in earth orbit. Secondary objectives are the operation of scientific and military equipment from the spacecraft. Three different spacecraft, all launched by an R-7 derived booster, are required to achieve this:

  • 7K spacecraft, capable of carrying three men into space and returning them to earth. The 5.5 tonne spacecraft has three modules, including the BO living module and the SA re-entry capsule
  • 9K booster stage, with a fuelled mass of 18 tonnes. After docking with the 7K this is capable of boosting the combined spacecraft to earth escape velocity. The 9K is equipped with a 450 kgf main engine and orientation engines of 1 to 10 kgf. It will have 14 tonnes propellant when full loaded. Four sequential docking with a tanker spacecraft will be required to fill the tanks before the final docking with the 7K.
  • 11K tanker, with a mass of 5 tonnes.

The system will conduct fuellings and dockings in a 250 km altitude parking orbit, and be boosted up to 400,000 km altitude on lunar flyby missions. The system will be ready in three years. Military variants proposed are the Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R. Each spacecraft will have 400 kg of automatic rendezvous and docking equipment. Manual docking will be possible once the spacecraft are within 300 m of each other.

Korolev still insists on an unguided landing and categorically rejects the use of wings. A parachute will deploy and slow the capsule to 10 m/s. Then a retrorocket will fire just before impact with the earth to provide a zero-velocity soft landing. Korolev still insists that spacesuits will not be carried for the crew. First test flight of the 7K, without docking, could not occur until the second half of 1964.


1963 January 23 - VVS Generals discuss Soyuz

They decide that the VVS must insist on spacesuits or at least light pressure garments for the crew, and windows that will allow the crew to view the parachute cupola and ground during landings. It is agreed that the insistence on ejection seats and wings can be dropped.


1963 January 30 - IAKM Review of Soviet centrifuges

In 1960-1961 the cosmonauts trained on the only centrifuge in the Soviet Union. This had a radius of 3.5 m, was located at Sokolniko, could provide 10 G's, but was built by the Germans twenty years ago. In 1961 an 8 m radius centrifuge was completed at Alekseyev's Factory 918, built in West Germany. In 1962 Shvetsiy at IAKM commissioned a 7.8 m radius centrifuge. GKAT has issued a decree for acquisition of a 16 m radius centrifuge by 1967. By the end of 1963 a 4.2 m radius centrifuge will b e completed that can subject small animals to 40 G's. Work is underway on a 4 m radius centrifuge that will be able to take the cosmonauts to 20 G's in training.


1963 January 31 - Smirnov opposed to dual female Vostok flight.

Smirnov only wants to fly two, not four Vostoks this year. One male, and one female cosmonaut would be launched in a group flight. Correct approvals cannot be obtained in time for manufacture of four Vostoks until August of this year. Later Kamanin has another scene with Titov. The cosmonaut was drunk on a factory visit, and defied the militia when confronted.


1963 February 1 - 35 Soviet Cosmonauts in six groups in training

These were:

  • Group 1 - Four cosmonauts (Solovyova, Ponomareva, Tereshkova, Yerkina) in final training for two simultaneous female flights in March 1963
  • Group 2: Three male cosmonauts (Komarov, Bykovsky, Volynov) in training for two or three individual flights of over five days duration in the second half of 1963
  • Group 3: Four flown cosmonauts (Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, Popovich) in academic training but also very occupied in public relations tasks
  • Group 4: Six cosmonauts from the first group - not trained for Vostok and available for Vostok or Soyuz flights in 1964 and later (Nelyubov, Shonin, Khrunov, Zikin, Gorbutko, Filyatev)
  • Group 5: Seven pilot-cosmonauts, just selected and starting training
  • Group 6: Eight engineer-cosmonauts, just started training.

1963 February 16 - Plethora of projeects

Vershinin says the Soviet Union can't work on the Vostok, Soyuz, and Raketoplan manned spacecrafft all at the same time. But he still wants fo fly four Vostoks by the end of the year.


1963 February 18 - Soviet Ministers' decree on use of Vostok

The Soviet Ministers finally issued decree 24. Four additional spacecraft are to be completed in the first half of 1963. Together with the two existing spacecraft, these will be used for two female flights, three male flights of up to ten days duration, and one 30-day biosat flight.


1963 March 2 - Plan for Cosmonaut Training

The big question regards Gagarin. Shall the 'Columbus of the Cosmos' be allowed to risk his life on another spaceflight? Most of the Soviet leadership are against it, but Gagarin himself wants to train and fly again. Later in the day the cosmonauts have an idiotic argument with IAKM on high-G centrifuge runs for female cosmonauts. This is the first cosmonaut revolt against the policies and practices of IAKM.


1963 March 8 - Ustinov challenges Vostok plans

Ustinov, Smirnov, and other industry leaders challenge the plan for dual female flights. They would send only one woman aloft in Vostok s/n 007. Vostok s/n 008 would be held as a reserve. If Vostok s/n 007 was successful, s/n 008 would be used for a simultaneous manned flight. Training was to be complete by 1 April. The Soviet Air Force was categorically against this sudden revision. There were four women that had completed advanced training and were ready for flight, while there were only three men in training for flights later in the year. It would be impossible to complete the training of the male cosmonauts in a few weeks. However the spacecraft would reach the end of their storage life by May-June 1963 and would have to be used by then.


1963 March 21 - Presidium of Inter-institution Soviet

The expert commission report on Soyuz is reviewed by the Chief Designers from 10:00 to 14:00. The primary objective of the Soyuz project is to develop the technology for docking in orbit. This will allow the spacecraft to make flights of many months duration and allow manned flyby of the moon. Using docking of 70 tonne components launched by the N1 booster will allow manned flight to the Moon, Venus, and Mars. Keldysh, Chelomei and Glushko all support the main objective of Soyuz, to obtain and perfect docking technology. But Chelomei and Glushko warn of the unknowns of the project. Korolev agrees with the assessment that not all the components of the system - the 7K, 9K, and 11K spacecraft - will fly by the end of 1964. But he does argue that the first 7K will fly in 1964, and the first manned 7K flight will come in 1965.


1963 March 21 - Vostok programme cut back - second female flight cancelled

Vostok flight plans were drastically curtailed at a meeting of the Presidium of the Communist Party. Korolev presented the plan for 1963 as approved by the Interorganizational Soviet at the beginning of the year. This plan, already in an advanced stage of execution, was rejected utterly by Kozlov and Vershinin. The Ministry of Defence announced its categorical opposition to further Vostok production. It was finally decided that there would be only two flights in 1963 using existing spacecraft. These were scheduled for June and would consist of simultaneous female and male flights. Kamanin was infuriated that although he was ordered by a leadership decree in December 1961 to train five women for spaceflight, the same leadership was now asking - Who ordered this? What was the purpose? Are we sure they're ready?


1963 March 21 - Raketoplan model launched atop R-12.

Raketoplan model reached 400 km altitude, re-entered at 4 km/sec. Flew a total distance of 1900 km before being recovered by parachute. First test flight of a lifting re-entry vehicle in the world.


1963 March 24 - VVS Chief of Staff Malinovskiy says that manned flights should be cut back due to safety considerations.

Kamanin considers this a strange attitude - many die every day in auto or aircraft accidents, but not one death will be tolerated in the conquest of space. The whole plan for the next Vostok missions are thrown back for reconsideration. Many meetings occur over the next week - the basic question, was the MO / RVSN / VVS interested in manned space flight or not? Finally the decision was made to continue - a 180 degree reversal from the original position.


1963 March 27 - Cosmonauts Nelyubov, Anikeyev and Filatyev were arrested drunk and disorderly by the militia at Chkalovskiy station.

This was not the first time. The VVS hierarchy wants them all dismissed from the cosmonaut corps. Gagarin says that only Filatyev should be fired. Kamanin would prefer to see all three go, but cannot afford to lose 25% of his flight-ready cosmonauts. He would hope to at least keep Nelyubov, who was a candidate for the third or fourth Vostok flights, but did not perform well on the centrifuge.


1963 April 6 - The General Staff considers the topic of spaceflight and is opposed to greater VVS participation.

They are not against the flight of four Vostoks in 1963, though.


1963 April 9 - Vostok proposed as the first 'space trainer'.

In a meeting between the VVS and OKB-1 engineers, Korolev and Keldysh push for acceptance by the military and use of Vostok as the first 'space trainer'. Cosmonauts would train for spaceflight on Vostok missions before being assigned to operational flights aboard Soyuz.. This was consistent with aircraft practice (e.g. where the first effective jet fighter, the MiG-15, was converted to the MiG-15UTI and became the standard jet trainer for the VVS). It also envisioned a future where operational Vostok and Soyuz spacecraft would be mass-produced by the military and flown as regularly as fighter aircraft.


1963 April 13 - At a meeting with the VVS, Korolev outlines his revised plans for the next fights.

He plans a male flight for 8 days, during which a woman would be sent aloft for 2 to 3 days.


1963 April 13 - Decree issued for four Vostok flights in 1963.

Decree issued by the Soviet ministers and Central Committee setting out four Vostok flights in 1963. Two are to be launched by 15 June.


1963 April 17 - Nelyubov, Anikeyev, and Filatyev dismissed from the cosmonaut corps.

The VVS General Staff issues a decree discharging Nelyubov, Anikeyev, and Filatyev from the cosmonaut corps.


1963 April 19 - Cosmonaut training for Vostok 5/6.

It is clear that the female cosmonauts are trained and ready for an August flight, and the men (Bykovskiy, Volynov, Leonov, Khrunov) can complete training by that date. The male cosmonauts object to spending 7 to 8 days in a spacesuit in the ground spacecraft mock-up as required by the flight doctors. They don't want to spend more than 3 to 4 days.


1963 April 28 - N1 Plans

An Inter-Institution Soviet considers Korolev's N1 plans. He believes the first booster will be launched in 1965. The N1 is to have a payload capability of 75 tonnes to a 250 km altitude orbit, 50 tonnes to a 3000 km altitude orbit, and 16 tonnes in geostationary orbit. It could launch spacecraft capable of landing men on the moon and returning them to earth, or manned flybys of Mars or Venus. Three to ten launches would be needed for such missions, with the components being docked together in low earth orbit. The N1 can also be used to launch a large space station for military research. After the N1 discussion a decision is made that cosmonauts will not have to spend more than three to four days in a spacecraft mock-up on the ground to prove their readiness for flight. A simulation of the entire flight duration is not necessary.


1963 April 29 - IAKM Meeting

In a bitter and exhausting meeting with IAKM, the decision that cosmonauts will not be required to spend more than 3-4 days in a trainer on earth qualifying for a mission is confirmed.


1963 May 4 - Kamanin informed that a dual spaceflight has been decreed within the next 6 weeks.

Only today is Kamanin informed that a dual flight has been decreed within the next 3 to 6 weeks. The women are ready, but Bykovskiy and Volynov need a few parachute jumps and training in the hot mock-up. Leonov and Khrunov need additional centrifuge training as well. Bykovskiy and Volynov should be ready by 30 May, and Leonov and Khrunov by 15 June. Therefore earliest possible launch date is 5 to 15 June. Alekseyev's bureau is as always the pacing factor. He can adapt one of the female ejection seats for Bykovskiy, but not for Volynov. The space suit for Leonov will only be completed by 30 May. Kamanin talks to Korolev about dumping Alekseyev's bureau in the future. Cosmonaut parachute trainer Nikitin agrees that Bykovskiy can complete his parachute qualification at Fedosiya on 9-10 May. Further bad behaviour by Titov is reported during a trip to Kiev. He insulted an officer ('I am Titov, who are you?') and then had general's wives intervene on his behalf to get him out of trouble.


1963 May 7 - Yerkina excluded from Vostok 6

Yerkina was excluded from Vostok 6 due to her performance during the three day test in the hot mock-up. She took off her boots after one day, and ate only three rations in three days. She was weak and fainted after coming out of the spacecraft.


1963 May 9 - Cosmonauts Tour Glushko Factory

Victory Day Holiday in the Soviet Union. The cosmonauts toured Glushko's engine factory. Glushko has 11,000 employees at four locations. The resentment between Glushko and Korolev, going back to their time in the Gulag, is apparent. Korolev calls during the tour but Glushko does not return his call. Later Alekseyev contacts Kamanin and proposes that Komarov be the back-up cosmonaut for Vostok 5 rather than Khrunov - because he hasn't finished the suit yet for Khrunov!


1963 May 11 - Vostok 5 / Vostok 6 Planning

Korolev reports still problems with components of the electrical system from the Kharkov factory -- the same problems that existed in 1962. The cosmonauts will go to Tyuratam on 27/28 May, with launch planned for 3/5 June. Bykovskiy is named prime for Vostok 5, with Volynov his backup. Tereshkova is named prime for Vostok 6, with Solovyova and Ponomaryeva both as her backups. This selection is however made despite strong support for Ponomaryeva as prime by Keldysh and Rudenko.


1963 May 13 - Korolev fights excessive VVS staff at Tyuratam.

The VVS wants to send 55 staff to Tyuratam for the launches, but Korolev wants no more than 25. This is just possible - 11 cosmonauts, 8 engineers, and vital support staff only. Bykovskiy was to start a two day run in the hot mock-up, but it was called off due to defects with his suits - the biosensors were wired to his helmet microphone! The suit seems not even to have been tested before delivery. Alekseyev was supposed to have it ready by 9 May, now it will only be ready for use by 14 May. Gordon Cooper is scheduled for a 34 hour Mercury flight tomorrow....


1963 May 14 - Tereshkova and Solovyova rated most ready to fly on Vostok 6.

Tereshkova and Solovyova are most ready to fly and will be sent to Fedosiya for sea training first. Ponomaryova and Yerkina will follow tomorrow. Bykovskiy started his run in the hot mock-up at 10:00 am.


1963 May 15 - Cooper's flight scrubbed; Bukovskiy to start in Vostok 5 hot mock-up.

Cooper's flight was scrubbed due to a problem with the Bermuda tracking site. Bykovskiy's suit microphone failed on the second day in the hot-mock-up and he as to communicate by telephone or telegraph. The doctor's insistence that each cosmonaut spend the full duration of his planned flight in the hot mock-up is idiotic. The US practice is to simulate the active portions of the flight only. In actuality every day spent in a suit on the earth is as gruelling as three days in space.


1963 May 16 - Bykovsky's ordeal in Vostok-5 hot mock-up to be ended on third day.

It is decided that extending Bykovskiy's ordeal in the hot mock-up to a third day makes no sense. The IAKM doctors are utterly incompetent. Cooper has landed after a successful flight. The US is now hot on our tail in the space race.


1963 May 17 - Problems with Titov again.

Problems with Titov again. While on a road trip with a journalist, he left a satchel with sensitive and classified papers unattended in his car - documents from Korolev, secret state decrees by the Supreme Soviet, etc. At 12:30 Volynov took Bykovskiy's place in the hot mock-up. Examination of Bykovskiy's suit showed that it had been incorrectly assembled.


1963 May 20 - Volynov completes three days in the Vostok 5 hot mock-up.


1963 May 21 - The cosmonauts are informed of the selections for the Vostok 5/6 flights.

Korolev asks Ponomaryova why she is so sad - 'I am not sad, but serious, as always'.


1963 May 22 - Vostok 5 ready for launch on 10 June.

It is reported that the spacecraft will be ready for launch on 5 June and the launch vehicle on 10 June.


1963 May 25 - VPK meets to approve plans for Vostok 5 and 6 flights.

It was proposed that Vostok 5 carry a small 1.5 kg optical telescope to allow better visual observations outside of the spacecraft.


1963 May 27 - Kamanin and the VVS contingent arrive at Tyuratam for the launch campaign.


1963 May 28 - Cosmonaut's parachute trainer Nikitin killed in an accident.

He tangled in the air with another member of a group jump, Aleksei Novikov. Both were killed. The Vostok 5 and 6 launch vehicles and spacecraft are both in the MIK assembly wall. Work began on them two weeks ago. Nevertheless Korolev is not happy with the results. He wants the tests run over from the start. Round-the-clock work begins from this day. The bad weather and the news of Nikitin's death produce an atmosphere of gloom. Nikitin's funeral is scheduled for 30 May. Therefore the cosmonauts have delayed their departure in order to attend the funeral and will not arrive at Tyuratam until 31 May. Kamanin was very worried about the effect of Nikitin's death on the female cosmonauts' nerves. The final decree set the launch dates as 2/3 June, with landing on 7/8 June. Kamanin gets into a heated argument with Rudenko, who wants to fly all of the cosmonauts to Tyuratam on a single aircraft. He doesn't see what the big deal is -- after all, state ministers fly together all the time.


1963 June 1 - Cosmonauts and brass arrive at the cosmodrome for the Vostok 5/6 launch.

A meeting is held to discuss emergency recovery of the Vostoks. There is no realistic chance of their survival if they land at sea in the South Atlantic, Pacific, or Antarctic Oceans, however plans must be made. Several ships and three to four Tu-114 aircraft would be required to have any realistic chance of recovery. However these are not available.


1963 June 1 - Vostok 5/6 Flight Preparations

Sunday before the launch. Rudenko goes to the Syr Darya for a swim. The cosmonauts play volleyball, then receive instruction from Rauschenbach on manual orientation of the spacecraft for re-entry. Then everyone goes to the beach for swimming and chess. Good river bass are cooked for dinner. In the evening, the film The Magnificent Seven is screened. Kamanin finds it violent but involving - the two hours go by in no time.


1963 June 3 - Vostok 5/6 Flight Preparations

At 9 am Tereshkova, Solovyova, and Ponomaryova practice donning and doffing their space suits. Bykovskiy and Volynov prepare their ship's logs. Korolev discusses plans for tests of the cosmonaut's ability to discern objects from space. Colonel Kirillov completes preparation of the spacecraft for flight.


1963 June 4 - The State Commission for Vostok 5/6 launches meets.

All is ready, but the wind is predicted to by 15 to 20 m/s on 7 June. The launch vehicle cannot be launched in winds over 15 m/s. Bykovskiy and Tereshkova are confirmed as the crew for 8 and 3 day flight durations. When they return to earth, a new and difficult life as celebrities will begin for them -- they will be known all over the world.


1963 June 5 - Vostok 5/6 Flight Preparations

On the last five days it has been 25 deg C during the days and 15 deg C at night. In the evening the classified film on Nikolayev and Popovich's flights is screened. Kamanin regrets that it cannot be made public. What the Soviet state considers secrets - the configuration of the rocket and spacecraft, the identity of the managers and launch teams - are public knowledge in the US program. A VVS Li-2 (DC-3) transport arrives at Tyuratam with three tonnes of fruit. A real treat for the launch teams. The cosmonauts spend their final night in the cottages. These are equipped with good-quality Italian air conditioners that keep the cosmonauts comfortable on their last night on earth.


1963 June 6 - Launches of Vostok 5 and 6 delayed

Launches of Vostok 5 and 6 are delayed due to failure of the command radio line. There were many such failures during preparation of the spacecraft. It will take three to four days to fix. Kamanin inspects the site for the planned cosmonaut quarters on the Syr Darya river. It is located next to Khrushchev's houses (which he has handed over to Chelomei for quartering his people) and the television centre. The building will face east, with a view of the river and a wooded island. Bykovskiy is run through a first 'practice press conference' to teach him the correct responses to questions. The military officers want to minimise press contacts with the cosmonauts in any case. But the kids in the town are mad about the cosmonauts -- the chanted from 6 to 11 pm in the evening outside their quarters, and Kamanin has seen teenage girls stand in the rain for hours for a chance to see Titov (and he never even came out as promised).


1963 June 8 - Vostok 5/6 Flight Preparations

A review of the spacecraft radio problems shows that the rejection rate for production equipment is 6% against 2% guaranteed by 5-GURVO. Tereshkova sits in the Vostok 6 spacecraft, and makes a good impression on the technicians.


1963 June 9 - Vostok 5 is rolled out

Vostok 5 is rolled out to the pad at 9 am. It is erected and then tested from 11:00 to 13:30. All is well and it is declared ready for launch. At 16:00 the cosmonauts take the traditional pre-launch walk along the Syr Darya. All is filmed for posterity, including the cosmonauts fishing for their dinner.


1963 June 10 - Vostok 5 scrubbed due to solar flares.

The launch of Vostok 5 is set for 11 June. Final training and consultations are under way. Korolev is not happy with the condition of the spacecraft. At 22:30 in the evening the launch is scrubbed when Keldysh calls from Moscow and advises excessive solar flare activity is expected. Keldysh will review the data tomorrow and advise if it really poses a danger to the cosmonauts.


1963 June 11 - Vostok 5 slipped to 14 June

The cosmonauts spend the day on the beach. Tereshkova sits a long time with Korolev on the balcony on the second floor of the house on the river. He interviews here thoroughly to make sure she is ready for the flight. The State Commission meets at 17:00. The expected solar flare did not occur, but the Crimean Observatory claims the risk will remain high. The decision is made to defer the launches to 14/15 June.


1963 June 12 - Vostok 5 preparations

The next two days are spent waiting - on the beach in the heat, in fishing, and in politics between the brass at the site.


1963 June 13 - Vostok 5 a go for 14 June.

The solar activity has subsided and the launch of Vostok 5 is set for the following day. Kamanin has foreboding about the flight - eight days in space will be tough on both man and machine.


1963 June 14 - Vostok 5 Launch

At 8 am the State Commission meets and approves a five-hour countdown to launch of Vostok 5 at 14:00. The cosmonaut and his backup have slept well and are at medical at 9:00 for the pre-flight physical examination and donning of their space suits. At T minus 2 hours and fifteen minutes they ride the bus to the pad. A few minutes after Bykovskiy is inserted into the capsule, problems with the UHF communications channels are encountered - three of the six channels seem to be inoperable. Gagarin and Odintsov are consulted on how it will be for the cosmonaut to fly with just three channels operable - is it a Go or No-Go? Go! Next a problem develops with the ejection seat. After the hatch is sealed, a technician cannot find one of the covers that should have been removed from the ejection seat mechanism. It is necessary to unbolt the hatch and check - the seat will not eject if the cover has been left in place. At T minus 15 minutes Gagarin, Korolev, Kirillov, and Kamanin go into the bunker adjacent to the rocket.

A new problem arises -- the 'Go' light for the Block-E third stage won't illuminate on the control room console. It can't be determined if it is a failure of the stage or an instrumentation failure. It will take two to five hours to bring up the service tower and check out the stage. But if the rocket is left fuelled that long, regulations say it must be removed from the pad and sent back to the factory for refurbishment. In that case there can be no launch until August. Krylov and the State Commission would rather defer the launch to August. The last possible launch time is 17:00 in order to have correct lighting conditions for retrofire and at emergency landing zones. But Korolev, Tyulin, Kirillov, and Pilyugin have faith in their rocket, decide that the problem must be instrumentation, and recycle the count for a 17:00 launch.

The launch goes ahead perfectly at 17:00 - even all six UHF communications channels function perfectly. On orbit 4 Bykovskiy talks to Khrushchev from orbit and good television images are received from the capsule. Bykovskiy reports he can see the stars but not the solar corona. His orbit is good for eleven days.


1963 June 14 - Tereshkova meets with the command staff at 17:00, followed by dinner.

Tereshkova meets with the command staff at 17:00, followed by dinner. She has a good appetite and is ready to go for her space flight.


1963 June 16 - Vostok 6

Joint flight with Vostok 5. First woman in space, and the only Russian woman to go into space until Svetlana Savitskaya 19 years later. On its first orbit, Vostok 6 came within about five km of Vostok 5, the closest distance achieved during the flight, and established radio contact. Flight objectives included: Comparative analysis of the effect of various space-flight factors on the male and female organisms; medico-biological research; further elaboration and improvement of spaceship systems under conditions of joint flight. It was Korolev's idea just after Gagarin's flight to put a woman into space as yet another novelty. Khrushchev made the final crew selection. Korolev was unhappy with Tereshkova's performance in orbit and she was not permitted to take manual control of the spacecraft as had been planned.


1963 June 16 - Vostok 5 day 3 / Vostok 6 launch

Bykovskiy slept well, his pulse was 54. The ground station could observe him via television - he made no motion while sleeping. On orbit 23 the cosmonaut was to communicate with earth, but no transmissions were received. Gagarin asks him why, and Bykovskiy simply replies that he had nothing to say and had already had a communications session with Zarya-1. But this was not true, they also reported no transmissions. At 07:00 he is asleep again, pulse 48-51. An hour later Korolev calls and discusses the impending launch of Vostok 6, 11 hours later.

At 12:15 Tereshkova is on the pad. Her pulse skyrockets to 140 aboard the elevator to the top of the rocket. 10 to 15 minutes later she is in the capsule and testing radio communications with ground control. There are no problems with the spacecraft or launch vehicle during the countdown - everything goes perfectly, just as it did on 12 April 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Tereshkova handles the launch and ascent to orbit much better than Popovich or Nikolayev according to her biomedical readings and callouts. Kamanin feels reassured that it was no mistake to select her for the flight.

The launch of the first woman into space creates a newspaper sensation throughout the world. Direct orbit-to-orbit communications between Tereshkova and Bykovskiy are excellent. She talks to Khrushchev and the Soviet leadership soon thereafter. This was truly a great victory for Communism!


1963 June 19 - Vostok 5 and Vostok 6 return to earth

In the morning Tereshkova manually oriented the spacecraft for re-entry easily and held the position for 15 minutes. She was very happy with the result. At 9:00 the state commission took their places in the command post. At 9:34:40 the retrofire command was sent to Vostok 6. After a few seconds, telemetry was received indicating that the engine burn was proceeding normally. The nerves of the commission members finally settled down, but Tereshkova did not call out each event as required. No report of successful solar orientation was received, no report of retrofire, and no report of jettison of the service module. Things remained very tense in the command post - no communications were received from the capsule at all. Knowledge that the spacecraft was returning normally were only received via telemetry, including the signal that the parachute opened correctly from above the landing site. Both spacecraft landed two degrees of latitude north of the aim point. It was calculated that this could have occurred by duplicate landing commands having been sent, but such a failure could not be duplicated in post-flight tests of ground equipment.

Many errors occurred in the entire landing sequences, including actions of the VVS recovery forces. The conditions of the cosmonauts were only reported several hours after their landings. Big crowds gathered at both landing sites. Bykovskiy spent the night in Kustan, then left on 20 June aboard an Il-14 for Kuibyshev. Tereshkova spent her first night in Karaganda, then flew in an Il-8 to Kuibyshev. Many congratulatory phone calls were received from the Soviet leadership. Korolev declared he had no longer had the time to personally direct Vostok flights and wanted to hand the spacecraft over to the military for operational use. He could then concentrate on development of the Soyuz and Lunik spacecraft.


1963 June 20 - Vostok 5/6 cosmonaut debriefing

Korolev, Tyulin, and Rudenko left Tyuratam aboard an An-12, followed by 60 others (cosmonauts, officers, engineers) aboard an An-10. General Goreglyad requests that 'extraneous' staff remain in Kuibyshev, while the rest will proceed on to Moscow with Bykovskiy and Tereshkova. The aircraft arrive at 11:30 in Kuibyshev, then go to the debriefing building on the Volga river. There the debriefing of the two cosmonauts began at 13:00. After the debriefings, in the evening, Korolev took the cosmonauts for a trip on the Volga. Kamanin was infuriated - partying would ruin the post-flight medical tracking.


1963 June 21 - Vostok 5/6 cosmonaut debriefing

Tomorrow morning the entire entourage would depart for Moscow. But on this day at the house on the Volga the cosmonauts were subjected to the attentions of seventy doctors, 100 correspondents, and a large additional number of KGB supervisors, military officers, and engineers. Tereshkova looked fresh and her first press conference with sixty correspondents went well - she made no big errors.


1963 June 22 - Vostok 5/6 cosmonaut welcome in Moscow

The big day for the cosmonauts. Departure for Moscow was scheduled for 10:30, with the meeting with Khrushchev at Vnukovo planned for 15:00. A sensitive issue - who would exit the aircraft first - Tereshkova, the main celebrity, or Bykovskiy, the senior cosmonaut and the first one launched? An enormous motorcade takes the entourage from the house on the Volga to the airport. Tereshkova and Kamanin are in the lead automobile, followed by Bykovskiy in the second, then the correspondents and so far in others, at five minute intervals. Huge crowds all along the route chant 'Valya! Valya! During the flight to Moscow Kamanin goes over Tereshkova's speech with her. When she and Bykovskiy get off the plane and march up to the tribune, a completely new life will begin for them. After the immense reception at the airport, they go with the leadership to a huge rally at Red Square.


1963 June 24 - Controversy over Tereshkova's performance

The cosmonauts are prepared by Keldysh, Tyulin, and Korolev for their first big press conference. Yazdovskiy has inserted a paragraph in the official press release about Tereshkova's poor emotional state while in space. He claims she experienced overwhelming emotions, tiredness, and a sharply reduced ability to work and complete all of her assigned tasks. Kamanin takes him aside and asks him not to exaggerate her difficulties during the flight. She only had tasks assigned for the first day. When the flight was extended for a second, and then a third day, there was essentially nothing for her to do. The ground command did nothing to support her during those additional days. She certainly was never tired, never objected, but rather did all she could to complete fully the flight program.


1963 June 25 - Vostok 5/6 returned cosmonauts traditional meeting with Korolev

The returned cosmonauts have the traditional meeting with Korolev at the design bureau and hand over their flight logs. The new cosmonaut group is presented as well. Korolev is in a good mood, and makes an especially long-winded speech. Tereshkova has to leave early, at 12:00, to attend yet another press conference and a woman's congress. These activities kept her going until 22:00 in the evening - a gruelling schedule indicative of what was to come.


1963 June 27 - Vostok 5/6 cosmonauts pose for their official colour photographs.


1963 June 29 - Vostok 5/6 cosmonauts preparared for first international press conference.

At a meeting of the Central Committee, Tereshkova and Bykovskiy are taken through possible questions and correct replies by Serbin and Keldysh in preparation for their first international press conference. The training extends form 10 in the morning to 17:00 in the afternoon.


1963 July 1 - Vostok 5/6 international press conference

Big international press conference with the cosmonauts, beginning at 13:00. The session goes 1 hour and 45 minutes and all answers given by the cosmonauts are acceptable. After this conference they disappear from public view for seven days of medical examinations and monitoring.


1963 July 2 - Yazdovskiy presses complaints about Tereshkova's performance

Doctor Yazdovskiy is insisting that Tereshkova is not being truthful about her flight experience. She handed out rations to on-lookers at the landing site in order to cover up the fact she did not eat enough during the flight. Kamanin considers the accusation a stupidity and indicative of the constant war going on between the flight surgeons and the cosmonauts. Tereshkova powerfully denies the accusation and defends herself well.


1963 July 3 - Cosmonaut controversies

A fight ensues over the release of the motion picture film of the flight. The Kremlin leadership still does not want to show the 'secret' launch cadres, rocket and spacecraft configurations, etc. There is also conflict with the planned dismissal of cosmonauts Nelyubov, Anikeyev, and Filatyev, with the flown cosmonauts using their connections with the political hierarchy to try and overturn the decisions of their military commanders. Finally, Tereshkova started a campaign to get a posthumous Hero of the Soviet Union medal for cosmonaut parachute trainer Nikitin. This particularly irritated the military command since as far as they were concerned Nikitin died due to his own error and killed another parachutist in the process. In no way was this deserving of a medal, but the award would convey significant financial benefits to his family and Tereshkova fought on. This was indicative of the quick turnaround celebrity brought to the cosmonauts - from obedient junior officers, anxious not to lose a chance for a spaceflight, to aggressive campaigners, willing to take on even members of the General Staff for what they thought was right.


1963 July 7 - Kamanin presses for specialised cosmonaut training

In a two hour meeting with Rudenko, Kamanin attempts to convince him of the need for specialised cosmonaut training (qualifying as spacecraft commander, pilot, navigator, engineer, etc.) for future multi-crew spacecraft. Kamanin points out that in five to seven years they will be routinely flying 2 or 3 place spacecraft and need to start differentiating training now in order to be ready in time. However Rudenko remains unconvinced. Meanwhile Bykovskiy and Tereshkova are at the cosmonaut training centre, completing their flight reports. Kamanin faces difficulties in booking a hotel for the entire cosmonaut group in the Crimea in August --- he can't find any place with fifty vacancies, and concludes he'll have to split the group up. Pressure is coming from the Foreign Ministry for Tereshkova to make an early trip to Brazil, but she is already booked for two or three tours of friendly socialist countries beginning on 30 August and any additional trips can only be made after those are completed.


1963 July 10 - Odintsev pressing criticism of Tereshkova

Odintsev is still trying to formally criticise Tereshkova for her flight performance. He charges that she was drunk when she reported to the launch pad and while in orbit was insubordinate, disregarding direct orders from the Centre. Kamanin knows this to be absolutely not true. Both cosmonauts and workers at the cosmonaut training centre report that is impossible to work with Odintsev any more - they want him out.


1963 July 12 - Korolev wants review of Tereshkova's flight performance

Kamanin discusses future cosmonaut book plans with writer Riabchikov. He is interrupted by a call from Korolev. Korolev wants Tereshkova and Bykovskiy in his office the following morning at 10 am sharp and he wants a full explanation for Tereshkova's poor self- samochuviniy on orbits 32 and 42, about her pvote, her poor appetite during the flight, and her failure to complete some assigned tasks. He blames Kamanin for providing her with inadequate training prior to the flight -- which Kamanin finds a joke since he had never received any support in the past from Korolev for his requests for more and better training of the cosmonauts in high-G and zero-G situations. Korolev had also never listened to any of Kamanin's complaints about the need to improve the living conditions for the cosmonaut on the Vostok spacecraft.


1963 July 13 - Bykovskiy and Tereshkova take their first road trip

Bykovskiy and Tereshkova take their first road trip, to Yaroslavl. It is clear that Tereshkova is the star and Bykovskiy is in her shadow. Bykovskiy calls Kamanin - he asks that his wife and Tereshkova's brother be allowed to accompany them on their first foreign trip. Kamanin rejects the request.


1963 July 16 - Cosmonauts brainstorm improvements

Gagarin is in the hospital to have his inflamed tonsils removed. A brainstorming session is held with the flown cosmonauts to identify problems encountered in flight and necessary improvements to training and flight operations to prevent them from reoccurring. The Military Soviet meets but the issue of Odintsev is not taken up -- his defenders in the hierarchy manage to suppress discussion of his removal.


1963 July 17 - Rudenko meets Odintsev

Rudenko meets Odintsev but does not give him the word of his removal directly. The decision will wreck Odintsev's career - his next assignment would have been command of an Air Army. Odintsev fretted over the number of stars on his uniform and fawned over academics -- he never looked after his own people, which would have prevented things coming to this.


1963 July 19 - Cosmonaut tour plans through December 1963.

Cosmonaut tour plans are firmed up for September-December 1963.. Tereshkova and Bykovskiy are to be given a gruelling schedule, having to visit Bulgaria, Mongolia, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Mexico, India, Ghana, and Indonesia.


1963 July 20 - Scientific objectives for spaceflights in 1964

Keldysh issues a letter listing the scientific objectives for spaceflights in 1964:

  • Photograph on marked film the earth and its atmosphere, the surfaces of the moon and planets,
  • Observe the zodiacal light via photometer
  • Conduct spectrographic analysis of the earth's atmosphere in the 3000 to 3600 Angstrom range
  • Conduct ultraviolet spectroscopy of the sky at 304 and 60 Angstroms
  • Map the infrared radiation of the earth from space, especially of the polar regions

1963 July 22 - Conference on space cabin ecology.

Keldysh, Korolev, Voronin, and Kamanin attend a conference on space cabin ecology. Presentations are made by IAKM, OKB-124, the Biology Institute, and the Physiology Institute. In two to three years the USSR expects to orbit spacecraft of 78 to 80 tonnes, which will be assembled in earth orbit to produce larger spacecraft. These will not only fly around the moon, but also be used to fly to Venus, Mars, and other planets. Although it will take years, many technical problems have to be solved before such a spacecraft can be built. How to shield the crew from radiation? How best to regenerate the air? How to recycle the water? Can the crew survive for long flights in zero-G, or must some form of artificial gravity be provided? If so, what is the best method? How can the psychological health of the crew best be maintained on long flights?

It is reported that a lot of test stand work has been completed and is underway on closed ecological systems for recycling the air and water. One kilogram of chlorella algae can produce 27 kg of oxygen per day. Since each man will require 25 kg of oxygen per day, 2 kg of chlorella per crew member will be adequate. Therefore the problem of recycling the cabin atmosphere is considered already solved.

Food requirements per crew member are 2.5 to 3.0 kg/day, or about one tonne per year. It is expected that in two to three years development will be complete of a system that will recycle 80% of the food. A 150 kg device will produce 400 to 600 g of food per day, or 100 to 200 kg per year.


1963 July 25 - Gagarin released from the hospital

Gagarin is released from the hospital after his tonsillectomy.


1963 July 27 - Korolev on future manned space flight plans.

Another meeting is held with Korolev on future manned space flight plans. The same plans are presented as have been discussed for over a year - one animal flight, three manned flights for 10 days / to 1000 km. This issue must be resolved. Soyuz will not fly before 1965 - therefore Vostok must be flown or there will no Soviet manned spaceflights in 1964. In reality Soyuz is likely to be delayed, and 6 to 8 Vostoks are needed, not just 4. Equipment to be tested on the flights included soft landing equipment, a back-up retrofire engine, long-range communications systems, and scientific experiments. The physicians are too conservative - zero-G is obviously not as big an issue as thought. There should be nothing to prevent flight of non-pilot passengers. Korolev points out that if the cosmonaut is consumed by fear, or if any serious problem arises, as long as you can survive for an hour an emergency return to earth can be made. Within an hour the passenger will be in Cuba or Vladivostok. Kamanin would like Gagarin to be appointed next head of the cosmonaut centre, but this is opposed by Rudnev and Vershinin. Tereshkova has talked to Khrushchev - he's now supporting award of a Hero of the Soviet Union medal to Nikitin.


1963 August 2 - No further Soviet manned flights in 1963

It is clear that there may be no Soviet manned flights in 1963, and certainly not in the spring. It is possible the unmanned biosat Vostok will be flown in the second half of 1963. Korolev's plate is full with other work -- Soyuz development, several Zenit reconnaissance satellite launches, lots of Luniks. Meanwhile Kamanin is completely occupied with cosmonaut tours and publicity. Over 200,000 cosmonaut fan letters have been received -- they can't handle them all, a special unit will have to be created just to handle the mail. The KGB has assigned Yevgeniya Pavlovna Kassirova to accompany Tereshkova on her travels. She is a good choice, has foreign travel experience and excellent English.


1963 August 11 - Kamanin picks up a new Volga automobile.

Kamanin picks up a new Volga automobile. It cost him 5513 roubles, but one door doesn't fit and the trunk is scarred with excess hardened resin. Sukarno has asked for Tereshkova and Bykovskiy to visit Indonesia for two weeks in August, but this is impossible.

In a three hour meeting Korolev goes over his future flight plans for Vostok. The first flight will be unmanned, with a biological payload, in February or March 1964. The flight is to last 10 or 11 days and take the specimens up to 600 to 1000 km altitude, into the lower reaches of the Van Allen radiation belts. This will be followed by three cosmonaut flights of ten days with significant military and scientific experiments. A new ground control system will be installed and tested to handle all in-flight emergencies. A new autonomous on-board navigation system will be flight tested. Korolev wants the military to take over conduct of future Vostok flights - they are taking up to much of his time and nerves. He has told this repeated to Khrushchev and Brezhnev without result. Meanwhile Kamanin lobbies within the military hierarchy for the removal of Odintsev. It is decided that the matter will be taken up at the next meeting of the Military Soviet.


1963 September 6 - Tereshkova accused of a scandal in Gorkiy.

The militia claims that Tereshkova was drunk and created a scandal with a militia officer in Gorkiy. She categorically denies being drunk, but does admit to having a confrontation with a militia captain.


1963 September 7 - Tereshkova and Bykovskiy begin an eight day tour of Bulgaria.


1963 September 17 - Cosmonaut training group formed for planned 1964 Vostok flights

Belyaev, Komarov, Shonin, Khrunov, Zaikin, Gorbatko, Volynov, and Leonov are assigned.


1963 September 23 - First child born to someone who has been in space.

A daughter is born to Titov. This is the first child born to someone who has been in space.


1963 September 26 - Gagarin and Kamanin travel to Paris

Gagarin and Kamanin travel to Paris. On arrival they are taken to see the Eiffel Tower and a quick tour of the city, which Kamanin finds beautiful.


1963 September 28 - Gagarin attends the IAF Congress

Gagarin receives a 20,000 franc prize from the International Astronautical Federation at the 14th IAF Congress.


1963 September 29 - Gagarin tours Le Bourget airfield.


1963 September 30 - Gagarin visits UNESCO.

Gagarin visits UNESCO in Paris, followed by an interview with Paris Match. In the evening he and Kamanin visit Maxim's. On the same day Tereshkova departs for Cuba from Moscow. This is followed by a visit to Mexico.


1963 October 7 - Nikolayev to wed Tereshkova.

Kamanin meets with Nikolayev to discuss the timing for his enforced wedding to Tereshkova. Nikolayev is evasive, doesn't want to set a date, won't give a direct answer. Kamanin points out the wedding will be the subject of a government decree and a precise date must be set. The possible days are limited due to Tereshkova's heavy travel schedule. Nevertheless Nikolayev refuses to commit to a date in October.


1963 October 9 - Kamanin and Gagarin fly to Cuba to join Tereshkova.

Kamanin and Gagarin fly to Cuba to join Tereshkova. Then over the next 13 days on to Mexico, USA, Canada, England, and East Germany.


1963 October 29 - The issue of the Nikolayev/Tereshkova wedding has come to a head.

The wedding has to be arranged with the VVS General Staff in accordance with the resolution of the Central Committee. Kamanin calls Tereshkova and Nikolayev and orders them to decide the issue - the MUST SET A DATE. He is getting ten phone calls a day about it and can resist no longer.


1963 October 30 - Only at 14:30 due Tereshkova and Nikolayev finally give in.

Only at 14:30 due Tereshkova and Nikolayev finally give in. The wedding is set for three days later. 300 will attend the wedding, from Khrushchev on down.


1963 October 31 - The highest leadership of the Soviet Union is busy making the Nikolayev/Tereshkova wedding arrangements.

The highest leadership of the Soviet Union is busy making the Nikolayev/Tereshkova wedding arrangements. Tereshkova disappears for four hours during the day and doesn't show up for important meetings.


1963 November 2 - Kamanin's phone is ringing off the hook.

Kamanin's phone is ringing off the hook. Thousands want to attend the wedding - and it turns out there will be only space for 200. Kamanin is taking all the blame for this.


1963 November 3 - Nikolayev/Tereshkova wedding

The wedding, attended by the top leadership of the Soviet Union, goes well. Afterwards the newlyweds continue the party with a friends-only group of 60 at Nikolayev's apartment.


1963 November 5 - Khrushchev gives Nikolayev and Tereshkova a new apartment

Khrushchev has given Nikolayev and Tereshkova a new apartment in Moscow. It is in a building normally reserved exclusively for the highest Communist Part members - Kutuzovskiy Prospect number 30132, Apartment 1013L. The apartment has 7 rooms and can be divided into two sections if they wish to live apart.


1963 November 14 - The resolution is issued on final selection of the second cosmonaut group.


1963 November 16 - Kuznetsov is named the new chief of the cosmonaut training centre in replacement of Odintsev.


1963 November 19 - Plans for the next Vostok flights

Plans for the next Vostok flights are discussed with the training group formed in September. Two group flights of 8 to 10 days each seem the most likely possibility.


1963 November 21 - Vostok 5/6 cosmonauts' Far East tour

The cosmonauts are to depart on a Far East tour on 27 November, but scheduling is difficult because Sukarno calls to change the dates for Indonesia nearly daily. Kamanin develops four variant scenarios. The cosmonauts are to visit Sri Lanka, Burma, and Indonesia.


1963 November 23 - VVS Opposes Further Vostok Flights

News reaches Moscow that Kennedy has been assassinated. Kamanin talks with Rudenko, who is not interested in Kamanin's plans for a wider VVS role in space. Rudenko believes Korolev's promises that Soyuz will start test flights in 1964 and that no further Vostok flights are necessary. Kamanin pleads that without such flights the American Gemini program will fly unopposed and give the Americans a decisive lead in the space race. The Soviet Union could launch a modified Vostok - a three place spacecraft - to upstage Gemini but the decision has to made now. Rudenko is unmoved.


1963 November 25 - Vostok / Soyuz Space Plans

Kamanin meets with Korolev at OKB-1. Korolev is opposed to the VVS getting out of manned space flight. The Air Force already has a good laboratory infrastructure to support such space flights. More to the point Korolev feels more at home working with pilots and is sick and tired of dealing with the artillery officers that run the rocket forces. He's been stuck with them for twenty years and its a constant stress. A resolution was issued for development of the Soyuz on 1 December. However Korolev needs 80 million roubles to build and fly four Soyuz spacecraft in 1964, but has only been allocated 30 million.


1963 November 28 - Bykovsky achieved lunar flight duration

According to a review of Bykovsky's flight log, Bykovsky could have successfully completed a circumlunar flight. Tereshkova would have tired on such a flight - she ate poorly and slept too much.


1963 November 30 - 1964 Flight Plans

Four Vostoks are planned for 1964, one of these with dogs and other biological specimens, which will fly for ten days at altitudes of up to 600 km. This is to be followed by an eight day manned flight, then two Vostoks on a ten-day group flight. The altitude for these latter flights will be decided after the results of the dog flight. Then, by the end of the year, the first Soyuz flights will be made. Two to three of the new spacecraft are being prepared. Therefore the crews must start training for circumlunar flights and cislunar navigation. Kamanin decides that he must select 3-4 navigators, 1-2 mathematicians, and 2-3 astronomers to make up a training group of cosmonaut-navigators for these flights.


1963 December 7 - Crews for 1964

Kamanin meets with Rudenko, to discuss selection of three crews for Vostok and three crews for Soyuz flights in 1964. Ioffe reports that the Soyuz docking simulator will be completed by 25 December. Tereshkova, Nikolayev, and Bykovsky are in Indonesia on a public relations tour, to be followed by Burma.


1963 December 9 - Plans for cosmonaut training

Rudenko proposes that three very experienced officers be recruited as cosmonauts, given one spaceflight each, then be appointed to manage cosmonaut training. This will provide qualified managers, which cannot be recruited from among the ranks of the cosmonauts themselves. To this end Beregovoi, Sidorenko, and Katys are interviewed. Rudenko wants Beregovoi to fly first. Kamanin agrees with the general concept, but not with giving Beregovoi the next flight. Volynov, Komarov, and Leonov have been waiting for a flight after completing two years of training, and should fly next.


1963 December 16 - Yerkina wedding

The cosmonaut weds at the TsPK cosmonaut centre, and 80 guests attend. Of the female cosmonauts, only Ponomaryova is not yet married. However the next female flight will be made no earlier than 1965-1966. Tereshkova looks tired after her tour to Southeast Asia - and she's supposed to go to Ghana on 10 January! Korolev claims that the Soyuz schedule, as laid out in the resolution of 4 December 1963, is still realistic. He will have the first Soyuz flight in August 1964 and the second and third in September 1964. Ivanovskiy doesn't believe it will be possible to make any flights until 1965. Korolev and Tsybin disccuss Shcherbakov's design for a rocket-propelled high-altitude glider. This concept was supported by the VVS, but Dementiev was against it and it was killed in the bureaucracy.


1964 January 3 - Military Soviet of the VVS Staff

No significant decisions are made. Discussion of the 3 December 1963 resolution to start development of the 7K Soyuz spacecraft. Although the resolution foresees completion of the first spacecraft during 1964, and first flights in 1965-1966, there is not one word on training of cosmonauts for such missions. Scientific versions, for manned flight to the moon and planets, as well as military variants, are foreseen.


1964 January 15 - Titov's promotion blocked.

Reorganisation of the TsPK cosmonaut training centre is discussed. Titov's position in the new hierarchy is contested. Kamanin is shown a KGB file on Titov, citing numerous transgressions. There is nothing new in the file.


1964 January 16 - Cosmonaut plans

Kamanin is to put together a cosmonaut training plan for additional Vostok and new Soyuz flights by 1 February. Due to a lack of completed spacecraft, the next Vostok flight will not be possible until June 1964 at the earliest. The travel plans for the cosmonauts during the first half of 1964 are also to be drawn up. Tereshkova, Nikolayev, and Bykovsky are to tour India, Indonesia, Burma, Nepal, and Sri Lanka later in the year. Tereshkova will go to Ghana and Lebanon on 20 January, then to England on 31 January.


1964 January 21 - Cosmonauts meet Castro

The cosmonauts meet Fidel Castro at the Kremlin. Kamanin disobeys an order for the first time in his life and does not attend, in order to look after his wife, who has just had an operation and is in hospital.


1964 January 23 - Military Soviet on cosmonaut assignments

The General Staff of the VVS considers future cosmonaut assignments. The acceptance of Beregovoi into the active cosmonaut corps is hotly contested. He has passed all the tests, but is 43 years old, and the official maximum age for a cosmonaut is 35. Finally it is decided that on 25 January six cosmonauts will begin training for Vostok flights (Volynov, Khrunov, Belyayev, Leonov, Komarov, and Beregovoi). On 1 February four crews will begin training for Soyuz flights: Crew 1: Nikolayev, Shonin, Demin, Kugno; Crew 2: Bykovsky, Zaikin, Artyukhin, Gulyayev; Crew 3: Popovich, Gorbatko, Ponomaryova, Kolodin; Crew 4: Titov, Shatalov, Solovyova, Zholobov.


1964 January 23 - Gagarin travel plans

Gagarin and Bykovsky will travel to Sweden and Norway in March. Tereshkova's tour of Ghana and Lebanon is an organisational mess, with impossible flight schedules.


1964 January 27 - Cosmonaut plans

Marshall Rudenko questions Kamanin's crew assignments. He wants Volynov moved from the lead Vostok group and switched with Kolodin in the Soyuz group.


1964 January 29 - Cosmonaut controversy

The cosmonauts are resisting the VVS leadership's changes to training plans, particularly the pushing of Beregovoi and the downgrading of Volynov's assignment. Kamanin vows to vigorously fight flying Beregovoi until he has completed the full course of cosmonaut training and has proven himself worthy of a flight assignment.


1964 January 30 - Parachute training

Kamanin prepares schedules for Tereshkova's visit to England on 4-10 February. Leonov's Vostok training group travels to Kirzhach to complete parachute training. Kamanin tries to pressure Korolev, Zverev, and Ivanovskiy to accelerate work on further Vostok flights.


1964 February 1 - Korolev's plans

Korolev is supporting establishment of a new institute, the IMBP, for study of biological reactions to spaceflight. He plans to complete 8 additional Vostok capsules, of which two or three will be used for unmanned life sciences missions. There is continued controversy over the next few days about the acceleration of Beregovoi's training to qualify him for an early spaceflight, and Volynov's movement from the Vostok to Soyuz training groups.


1964 February 5 - Soyuz mock-up

The cosmonauts visit Korolev at OKB-1 for the first viewing of the mock-up of the Soyuz spacecraft. Korolev announces that single-place Vostoks will fly no more, and that instead four of the spacecraft will be completed during 1964 to take three crew members. This decision has been taken since it was now certain that Soyuz will not be ready to fly in 1964, and the impending first flights of American Gemini and Apollo spacecraft will give the USA a lead in manned spaceflight before Soyuz missions can be flown.

Kamanin is disturbed by the decision. He recalls that in 1961 flight of the Vostok with two or three crew was discussed, with flights to occur in 1962-1963. But at that time Korolev cancelled the plans, saying the Soyuz would be used for such missions. Now Soyuz will not fly until 1965, and he has changed his tune. Furthermore, the modified Vostok is inherently risky, with no way to save the crew in case of a launch vehicle malfunction in the first 40 seconds of flight. Unlike Vostok, the three crew will not have individual ejection seats or parachutes to give them a chance of escape in the event of an abort. The crew will be subject to 10 to 25 G's during an abort. There is no assurance the environmental control system can be modified to handle three crew. It all seems very unsafe, and Kamanin believes the six consecutive successful Vostok flights have given Korolev's engineers a false sense of the safety of the Vostok system. Kamanin is perplexed. How does he plan to convert a single-place spacecraft to a three-place spacecraft in a few months? Korolev has no clear answers, but asks for the cosmonauts' support of the scheme.


1964 February 6 - American challenge

Popovich has left on a tour of Australia, and Tereshkova is in England. The propaganda front of the Soviet space program is going well. But Kamanin is disquieted by the American testing of the Saturn I rocket. Its 17 tonne payload is more than double that of any Soviet booster. Greater efforts are needed, instead he is wasting his time editing Tereshkova's new book...


1964 February 8 - VVS Meeting on Voskhod

Leading responsible VVS officers meet to develop an Air Force position on Korolev's plan to fly a three-place version of Vostok by the autumn. They see the plan as extremely risky, with insufficient time to design, implement, and test the modified design.


1964 February 12 - Kremlin meeting on lunar landing plans

VVS officers meet with O G Ivanovskiy for two hours. The Communist Party plans a lunar expedition in the 1968-1970 period. For this the N1 booster will be used, which has a low earth orbit payload of 72 tonnes. The minimum spacecraft to take a crew to the lunar surface and back will have a minimum payload of 200 tonnes; therefore three N1 launches will be required to launch components, which will have to be assembled in orbit. However all of these plans are only on paper, and Kamanin does not see any way the Soviet Union can beat the Americans to the moon, who are already flying Apollo hardware for that mission.


1964 February 15 - American space plans

Following an overview of the planned trip of Bykovsky and Gagarin to Sweden and Norway on 1-15 March, American military space plans are reviewed. There are many fantastic projects, over a wide and well-financed front. Currently reconnaissance satellites are flying, to be followed by inspection, and then anti-satellite satellites in 3 to 5 years. After that manned military space stations are planned, manoeuvrable manned spacecraft, and the establishment of scientific and military bases on the moon. Despite this big US program, the Soviet military leadership shows no interest in Russian exploitation of space for military purposes.


1964 February 18 - Lunar trainers

Concepts for trainers for lunar landings and fly-bys are discussed. The five flown cosmonauts sit for entrance examinations to the Zhukovskiy Institute. Kamanin is irritated that of the five, only Bykovsky seems really bright and alert. Tereshkova is still studying for the examination.


1964 February 26 - Soyuz plans

The cosmonauts meet with engineers at TsNII-30 in Noginsk to review plans for docking trainers for the new Soyuz spacecraft. The trainers were supposed to be completed by now, but they are being held up for television and optical equipment to be delivered from Leningrad and Sverdlovsk. The mock-up of the 7K manned spacecraft trainer is immobile; it can only be turned around its centre of mass. The 1/30 scale of the 9K and 11K propulsion spacecraft with which the 7K will dock are free to rotate in all 3 axes. The cosmonauts in the 7K mock-up will see the 9K or 11K via the television screen aboard the spacecraft or in the Soyuz spacecraft in what the engineers promise will be a life-like appearance. They will practice approach and docking from a simulated distance of 300 m at a typical approach rate of 2 m/s. At the scale of the installation, this will equate to 10 cm/s. After the trainer review General Ioffe briefed the cosmonauts on plans for an electronic digital computer, with a mass of 40 kg, which was being developed for use in spacecraft navigation. Kamanin sees that very close collaboration will be needed between TsNII-30, TsPK, and GKNII VVS to complete trainer development on an accelerated schedule.


1964 February 27 - Military space plans

A meeting of the VVS General Staff with Marshal Malinovskiy reviews military roles in space. The VVS are tasked with developing environmental control systems for manned spacecraft, abort and recovery systems, training cosmonauts, and recovery of returned space capsules. The RVSN are responsible for final check-out and launch of spacecraft; the PVO are responsible for tracking and control of manned spaceflights. Kamanin pushes for VVS to take a role in development of manned military spacecraft as an extension of its responsibility for combat aircraft. Some of the generals agree in principle, but have no understanding of the new technology and how it might be appropriately applied. Others are opposed. Meanwhile the cosmonauts are taking their examinations in avionics technology, and Kamanin continues to argue for reorganisation of the TsPK cosmonaut training centre to include new specialities and training facilities (e.g. to support specialist engineer, navigator, and scientist cosmonauts).


1964 March 13 - Voskhod spacecraft approved.

Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 59 'On approval of work to convert Vostok to Voskhod and use it for three-person space missions' is issued. The resolution instructs GKOT to complete four Vostok spacecraft to the multi-passenger Voskhod configuration. The first is to be completed by 15 June 1964; the second by 30 June; the third and fourth, in July. The crew for the first mission will consist of a pilot-cosmonaut, a scientist, and a physician. Launch is set for the first half of August 1965.


1964 March 14 - Voskhod plans

VVS officers meet to plan training for the Voskhod 1 crew. It is agreed that a passenger-cosmonaut can be trained within three months. That means, in order to be ready for an August mission, the candidates for the scientist- and physician-cosmonaut seats will have to be identified, screened, and selected by 30 April. It is estimated that 30 physician and 30 scientist candidates will have to be submitted to the medical commission in order for the necessary six finalists to get through the screening. Kamanin privately believes this is all an insanely dangerous adventure. Smirnov, Keldysh, and Korolev have gone off the rails in their desire to make sure that the Americans do not seize and space 'firsts' once the Gemini flights begin.


1964 March 17 - Gagarin bomb threat

The KGB phones Kamanin and informs him that one meeting of Gagarin's during his Swiss tour had to be cancelled due to a bomb threat. This was the first serious provocation by the dark forces against a Soviet space hero...


1964 March 21 - Voskhod commander assignment

Kamanin meets with Nikolayev, who briefs him on his goodwill tour of Soviet cities. Kamanin shows him a 200-rouble fine art book on the first space missions, of which he has received only six copies to distribute. Nikolayev would like one, but Kamanin says it is reserved for Tereshkova. Gagarin later briefs Kamanin on his tour of Western Europe. Gagarin is interested in commanding the Voskhod 1 mission, but Kamanin believes it is too risky. However the excuse he gives to Gagarin is that none of the flown cosmonauts are flight-ready due to constant publicity tours. Given only three months to prepare for the flight, the commander will have to be one of the unflown cosmonauts current in training. Later Kamanin formulates a position for the General Staff on the Voskhod flights. The VVS should promise full support for the Party's resolution, while pointing out the risks and the unreliability of the Voskhod design. Kamanin is told the support will be transmitted, but the qualifiers will not. Kamanin fumes that Khrushchev has given the go-ahead to proceed without being informed at all of the grave risks.


1964 March 27 - Voskhod candidates

Kamanin works out with the other ministries the criteria for the Voskhod crew. The commander will be a trained unflown cosmonaut. The others have to be civilians. The VVS will be responsible for training the passengers on a three-month schedule. Candidates will be considered from OKB-1, the Academy of Science, the IAKM (Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine) and the DOSAAF civilian flying organisation. After General staff review, it is decided the commander will be a flown cosmonaut (Titov, Bykovsky, or Popovich): that Korolev will submit six engineer-cosmonaut candidates from within OKB-1; that Korolev will co-ordinate submittal of a small group of physician-cosmonaut candidates; and that Keldysh will submit scientists from the Academy.


1964 April 3 - Physical requirements for Voskhod passengers established

The candidates will have to be under 40 years old, 160 to 175 centimetres in height, and under 80 kg in weight. They must basically be in perfect health, with tested tolerance to vestibular disruption, and screened for other known physical conditions that might interfere with spaceflight.


1964 April 4 - Voskhod training groups

Kamanin has decided to train two groups in parallel: flown cosmonauts (Titov, Bykovsky, and Popovich), and passenger-cosmonauts. Gagarin and Nikolayev oppose plans to fly non-military personnel in space. Kamanin observes with disgust that Khrushchev is handing out medals meant for true Soviet heroes to himself and foreign leaders such as Janos Kadar and Fidel Castro. He observes that Khrushchev will turn 70 on April 17, and no longer enjoys support from the military or other sectors of the state. Kamanin recites what he sees as Khrushchev's mistakes: his denunciation of Stalin, his ruining of relations with other Communist states such as Yugoslavia, Albania, and China; and he has ruined the Soviet domestic economy, with basic foodstuffs suffering in quality and quantity.


1964 April 8 - Press preparations

Kamanin meets with 'The Six' (flown cosmonauts) and prepares them for the onslaught of scheduled appearances and press conferences scheduled for the upcoming Cosmonautics Day (April 12).


1964 April 13 - Korolev and crew selection

Korolev is categorically against assigning a flown cosmonaut to the Voskhod mission. He also makes light of the training requirements for the passenger-cosmonauts. He is wreaking havoc with Kamanin's crew plans with his positions, and creating unrest among the cosmonaut corps.


1964 April 16 - Kugno expelled.

Engineer-cosmonaut Kugno will be expelled from the cosmonaut corps for political and moral unreliability. He refuses to join the Communist Party, calling its members rogues - unacceptable for any Soviet citizen, let alone a pilot-candidate.


1964 April 23 - Voskhod crews

Komarov has declared that nine cosmonauts are spaceflight-ready: Bykovsky, Popovich, Titov, Volynov, Leonov, Khrunov, Belyayev, Komarov, and Demin. One of these will command Voskhod, the other two seats will be occupied by a physician and an engineer or news correspondent. Kamanin is given only two to three months to prepare the passengers for spaceflight - something he reiterates is a dangerous adventure.


1964 April 24 - Voskhod plans

Kamanin receives the directive issued by Biryuzov to implement the Voskhod Party resolutions. Four spacecraft will be completed, two in a three-man configuration, to be flown in the second half of 1964, and two in a configuration that will provide an airlock and allow one cosmonaut to exit into open space. Less than a year is allowed to develop the new spacecraft version for the spacewalk, as well as develop the space suit. This will be a crash priority program, and allow Korolev no resources to complete and launch five Vostok spacecraft on manned and life sciences missions beginning in May.


1964 May 5 - Voskhod passengers.

50 candidates from VVS institutes, Minzdrav, and the Academy of Science have been screened, and 36 were immediately ruled out, leaving 14 for medical screening. As for OKB-1 candidates, Korolev had not yet submitted a single name, and time for training is running out quickly.


1964 May 7 - Voskhod showdown

Korolev meets with the cosmonauts, VVS, and RVSN staff to discuss concerns as to the safety of Voskhod. As for flying without spacesuits, Korolev points out than in 14 Zenit-2/Zenit-4 and 10 Vostok flights there has not been a single instance of loss of cabin pressure. He conveniently omits stating that the suit used on the Vostok missions allowed the cosmonaut 4 to 6 hours of oxygen supply to return to earth in case of cabin depressurisation; but on Voskhod the crew will perish. As for individual crew parachutes, he believes they are useless since the crew would not get a chance to use them in an emergency anyway. Korolev sold Khrushchev on the mission by characterising Voskhod as a modification of the reliable Vostok spacecraft. However, he did inform Khrushchev that the risk of loss of the crew on a Voskhod flight was greater than on a Vostok flight. However it was decided this risk was worth taking in exchange for the great political effect of having the first multi-man crew in space.


1964 May 12 - Korolev's plans

While Kamanin is away arranging screening of Voskhod candidates, Korolev meets with the VVS General Staff. He tells them he wants to have four Voskhods completed by the anniversary of the October Resolution for the first spacewalk. He dreams of a manned lunar flyby by either docking Soyuz A-B-V modules in orbit, or in a single N1 launch (no metal has even yet been cut for the N1 at Kuibyshev). In order to further develop EVA techniques he wants to convert a further five Vostoks into the Voskhod configuration. Meanwhile Kamanin agrees to a compression of the medical screening schedule from 20-25 days to 15-17 days. The physicians will reduce it no further than this.


1964 May 18 - OKB-1 Voskhod candidates

Of 14 engineering cosmonaut candidates finally submitted by Korolev, only 6 survived preliminary screening and were sent for medical screening (Volkov, Grechko, Zaitsev, Kubasov, Makarov, Siborov, Feoktistov, and Yazdovskiy).


1964 May 21 - Voskhod configurations

A meeting of Generals Kholodkov (VVS) and Yuryshev (General Staff) reviews military space plans - launch centres, anti-satellite forces, command and control systems. Kamanin looks forward to the VVS taking control of military cosmonautics. Later a meeting with Korolev and Bushuyev reviews Voskhod crew plans. It is agreed that the commanders will be selected from among the four flight-ready unflown cosmonauts (Volynov, Komarov, Leonov, Khrunov). Korolev describes in detail for the first time the inflatable airlock that is to be fitted to four Voskhods to allow one cosmonaut to exit into space. Korolev believes it will be possible to use the existing Vostok spacesuit for this operation, but Kamanin severely doubts this.


1964 May 27 - Voskhod passenger candidates

After screening the flight candidates have been boiled down to four: Lazarev, Yegorov, Polyakov, and Sorokin. Moskalev and Katys are the remaining scientist-passenger candidates. Kamanin believes Katys, with a doctorate in technical sciences, is the better candidate and definitely superior to any of the OKB-1 engineer candidates.


1964 May 29 - Voskhod passenger candidates

Following final review, the General Staff ordered Lazarev, Yegorov, Polyakov, Sorokin, and Katys to enter training for flight aboard the Voskhod spacecraft.


1964 June 4 - Voskhod technical review

Korolev presents the Voskhod technical design to organisations outside of OKB-1. Over 27 VVS representatives, including 10 cosmonauts, attend. The two Vostok variants have been dubbed 3KV (3-crew version) and 3KD (2 crew version with airlock). Korolev will complete integration of the first 3KV article by 12 June (8 days from the briefing). The first two articles will be shipped to Baikonur on 15 June for final test. An unmanned test flight with mannequins will be made in July, with the first three-crew manned flight in August. This will be followed by the first 3KD flight in September, with the first spacewalk. The difficulty in preparing equipment and training crews on this schedule are immense; and the chances of complete success are low. But it is the only way the Soviet Union can maintain its leadership in space in the face of the impending Gemini and Apollo flight tests, and the delays in Soyuz. After the meeting, Kamanin decides to train two cosmonauts as Voskhod spacecraft commanders, and the other three as spacewalkers.


1964 June 8 - Tereshkova's daughter

Intense preparations for Voskhod are given some relief when Tereshkova's daughter is born. Tereshkova begins labour at 15:00 on 7 June. On 8 June at 12:30 the doctors decide to use a caesarean section, and the girl, weighing 3.1 kg and 51 centimetres long, is brought into the world.


1964 June 11 - Feoktistov

Korolev has put forth Feoktistov as the sole candidate for the engineer-passenger position on Voskhod. Kamanin is upset, since he believes a backup is needed, and there were five candidates originally.


1964 June 18 - USSR five-year military space plan issued.

Ministry of Defence Decree 'On military space programs for 1964-69, including the R spaceplane' was issued. The decree was issued by Defence Ministry Marshal Rodiono Yakovlevich Malinovksiy. Included in this plan were new versions of the automatic Zenit, Morya-1 (US series) spacecraft, the Spiral spaceplane, the Soyuz-R manned combat spacecraft, and others. Chelomei's Raketoplan spaceplane was cancelled.


1964 June 19 - Kamanin on von Braun

Kamanin sees an interview with Wernher von Braun, wherein von Braun predicts an American manned moon landing by 1970. He is confident the United State will beat the Russians at this. Kamanin agrees - he sees no possibility of beating the Americans - the Soviet Union is 1 to 2 years behind.


1964 June 20 - Voskhod sitting height limitation

It is discovered that three of the candidates for Voskhod flights cannot fit in the seats that will be fitted to the capsule. Katys and Benderov have sitting heights of 95 cm, and Demin, 98 cm. All of the rest are under the 90 cm limit. They will have to be removed from training.


1964 June 23 - Soyuz crews.

Kamanin discusses candidates for the first five Soyuz flights. Rudenko wants Beregovoi and Shatalov named as flight commanders, but Kamanin wants the commanders to be cosmonauts with previous flight experience.


1964 June 26 - VVS Leadership uninterested in manned spaceflight

Plans supported by Kamanin and others for an expansion of the VVS into space are blocked.


1964 June 27 - Titov scandal

Titov is accused of being responsible for a very serious hit-and-run traffic accident. He is cleared of the more serious charges.


1964 July 2 - Voskhod and Soyuz crewing

Benderov has been washed out of training after haemorrhaging excessively during centrifuge training, and Polyakov after reacting poorly to the barometric chamber. This leaves only seven cosmonauts in training for the first mission: Volynov, Katys, Komarov, Yegorov, Sorokin, Lazarev, and Feoktistov. The first six are qualified for flight, but Feoktistiov cannot be admitted for parachute or flight training; his visual acuity is only 0.3. Later the cosmonaut party collective meets to take up the problem of Titov. He has made many errors: he drives and flies too fast, he has bad marital relations. But he is known not only to the entire country, but to the whole world. To disgrace him would not reflect only on him, but on all of the cosmonauts and the Soviet Union. Therefore it is finally decided not to take any public action, but to switch him and Beregovoi in the training order for the fourth Soyuz flight.

Later Finogenov, head of the VVS range at Vladimirovka, informs Kamanin that flight trials of the new combination parachute/soft landing system will be delayed at least two weeks after the failure of one of the parachute canopy rings in static test.


1964 July 3 - Zero gravity effects

Kamanin reads an interesting Tass report. An American doctor named Wagner has suggested that balance disorders that afflict Glenn, Shepard, and Titov may have been due to zero gravity. Kamanin says that the report his wrong, that Titov never had such problems after the flight. But he has wondered whether his changed personality - hyperactive, undisciplined, unable to sit still - might be due to some effect of zero gravity. Kamanin calls the VVS Chief Flight Surgeon, Khlebnikov, who advises him that no such effects were seen in any of the cosmonauts after flight, that there was no deviation from their physiological norms.


1964 July 6 - Voskhod crews selected.

Kamanin select Volynov, Katys, and Yegorov as the prime crew for the Voskhod flight. Komarov, Feoktistov, and Sorokin will be the backup crew. Lazarev will serve as reserve for both crew physician position. The VVS leadership approves the selection. For the first space walk (the flight designated Vykhod at the time), Belyayev, Leonov, Khrunov, and Gorbatko are in training. All want to be first, but Kamanin finds Leonov and Khrunov to have the best analytical minds, to be able to get themselves out of a jam if something goes wrong. He selects Belyayev and Gorbatko to be trained as spacecraft commanders for the missions.


1964 July 9 - Voskhod landing system trials

Three tests of the Voskhod landing system have been made. The soft landing rockets are not firing at the proper moment to cancel all vertical motion at touchdown.


1964 July 16 - Voskhod problems

Spacecraft development continues with difficulty, there are many technical discrepancies, most notably with the landing system. The launch of the unmanned test spacecraft is proceeding on schedule, but there is no idea when it will be possible to launch the manned version. Training of the command and physician cosmonauts is proceeding all right, but there is a real question about the third seat. Katys is not bad, but Feoktistov has problems with his vertebrae and large intestine.


1964 July 17 - Titov affair

Titov's case is heard before the military procurator. He is found not culpable in the death of Fomenkov, but Kamanin finds he is not truthful regarding his movements that day.


1964 July 20 - Voskhod training

Volynov, Katys, and Yegorov conduct tests in the spacecraft for the first time at the cosmonaut training centre. The cabin is extremely cramped, even without spacesuits, and Katys does not fit in the standard seat, his head sticks 3 to 4 cm beyond the moulded head rest. Gay Severin promises to prepare an individual seat liner for Katys. Kamanin briefs the crew on the status of tests of the Voskhod soft landing system and an incident in the recovery of a Zenit reconnaissance satellite capsule, which was the same type as Voskhod and Vostok. It descended in the Ural mountains, landed on a 30 degree slope, and rolled 300 m before coming to a halt. Due to the unreliability of Voskhod, it is proposed that each crew member be provided with a special mask to protect the face and throat. The Academy of Science has not yet provided the promised experiments to be conducted in-flight. On the other hand, the medical experiments and observations have already been agreed.,


1964 July 24 - Voskhod flight slips

Crew training is proceeding normally and the crews will be ready by the scheduled 1 August date. On the other hand the date for launch of the first manned mission has slipped from 15 August well into September.


1964 July 27 - Space simulator plans

A two-day conference is held at IAKM to review requirements for trainers and task simulators over the next 6 to 7 years. The plan includes basic instructional versions of planned spacecraft, trainers for flying around the moon, and a mock-up of the TMK Heavy Interplanetary Spacecraft. These will require a new facility of to 7,000 square metres. Trainers and strands at TsPK will be housed in building D, a hangar-type facility. The TBK-60 thermal/barometric chamber will be housed in a single hangar. To fully specify TsPK trainers and stands for the lunar mission, trainers for space navigation, and military combat spacecraft will not be completed until 1965.


1964 August 1 - Titov interviewed

Titov is reviewed by VVS officers. He is unrepentant and insists he did nothing wrong. Kamanin recites his sins - he has become remote from the cosmonaut collective, his is hanging out with riffraff such as writers and artists, he doesn't come home at night, he drinks too much, drives too fast, is undisciplined... the list goes on and on. He is going to be put under strict medical control and be closely supervised in the future. Afterwards Kamanin calls Korolev, who confirms that the first manned Voskhod will be impossible by the end of August, and there are so many technical issues that he has no idea when the first Vykhod flight will occur. Kamanin notes the Ranger 7 flight, and that the Americans are also catching up with the Soviet Union in the field of lunar and planetary probes....


1964 August 12 - Voskhod State Commission

The readiness of two crews is certified (the prime crew of Volynov, Katys, and Yegorov and backup crew of Komarov, Feoktistov, and Sorokin). Korolev presses for Feoktistov to be included in the prime crew, citing his unequalled technical knowledge of the spacecraft. Kamanin and the VVS doctors oppose this, citing his poor medical condition which makes him uncertifiable for flight. A very heated discussion ensues, with the final decision to continue training all seven cosmonauts, with the first candidates for flight being Volynov, Katys, and Yegorov, with Komarov, Lazarev, and Sorokin being reserve cosmonauts. The question of Feoktistov's flight certification will be taken up by a special panel of physicians.


1964 August 15 - Chief Designers review of Voskhod at OKB-1

All concerned designers, bureaux, and institutes certify the reliability of the systems of the spacecraft and launch vehicle. The second phase of trials of the soft landing system have been successful. Of 10 drops, 9 landed with vertical velocity under 7.5 m/s, and of those, 6 landed with a speed of only 0.0 to 1.5 m/s. There are still concerns about how the system will function in soft soils or adverse weather conditions. Nevertheless the decision is taken to ship the spacecraft to the cosmodrome for final preparations between 18 and 25 August. It is likely that the manned flight cannot occur until the end of September. Later in the day Kamanin is visited by Sergei Nikitovich Khrushchev and other experts from Chelomei's design bureau. They brief Kamanin on plans for a manned circumnavigation of the moon using their spacecraft launched by their UR-500 booster by the end of 1967.


1964 August 17 - Cosmonauts on tour

Since 14 August most of the cosmonauts have been out of town. Gagarin is in Leningrad, Titov and Bykovsky in Kiev, Popovich in Lipetsk (being trained on the MiG-21), the Voskhod crews in Arkhangelsk. Only Tereshkova and Nikolayev remain in Moscow. Then comes the news that Popovich has injured his leg in a fall on some stairs. The incident came after Popovich picked up two 15-year old girls in his Volga.


1964 August 18 - Aviation Day in Moscow

Kamanin is able only to offer Gagarin, Nikolayev, and Tereshkova for the presidium the day before. Later he hears that the special physician's panel is unanimous - Feoktistov will never be allowed to fly in space due to his condition.


1964 August 21 - VPK Meeting on Voskhod

The Military-Industrial Commission, following statements by the Chief Designers, sets the launch of the prototype Voskhod with mannequins for 5 September followed by the manned flight between 15 and 20 September.


1964 August 22 - Cosmos 41

Successful launch of first Soviet communications satellite. This is the second Molniya launch attempt. (the first was a launch failure). The failure of the antennae to deploy means the spacecraft can only be tested in a limited manner and cannot be used for the planned relay of television.


1964 August 26 - Voskhod crews

Composition of the crew for Voskhod continues to be debated intensively. There has been talk of the medical unsuitability of Katys and Yegorov. Later Kamanin discusses progress with the Vykhod mission based on their work at Factory 918 and LII. Many technical details have to be worked out -- movement in open space, the space suit, airlock, communications, etc. The work is in two steps: first to solve simply doing spacewalk, and then how to control and manoeuvre the spacecraft when a cosmonaut is outside. Korolev seems to think that enthusiasm will solve all problems, but Kamanin is concerned of the demonstrated unreliability of Korolev's Luna, Mars, and Molniya unmanned spacecraft.


1964 August 27 - Voskhod crew manoeuvring.

Rudenko raises objections to the crew selections. Kamanin suggests the most qualified and fit crew would be Volynov, Komarov, and Lazarev. Marshal Rudenko informs the crew must consist of a commander, a physician, and an engineer. Furthermore yet another commission has been convened to clear Feoktistov for flight. Kamanin is infuriated - after a selection process, beginning with 150 candidates from VVS alone, the leadership is hand-selecting the crew in defiance of the fair and rational selection process.


1964 August 29 - Voskhod launch preparations

Korolev is to leave for Baikonur tomorrow. The launch of the first Voskhod, with mannequins aboard, is set for 7-8 September, with the crewed flight no earlier than 20 September. Kamanin plans to fly to Baikonur on 2-3 September.


1964 August 31 - Katys deleted from Voskhod prime crew.

It is discovered that Katys has a brother and sister living in Paris, a fact he did not disclose during the selection process. They left for Paris in 1910, 16 years before Katys was even born. But together with the fact that his father was executed by the Soviet state, it makes him unsuitable to be a cosmonaut. Yegorov and Feoktistov are making serious efforts to be appointed to the crew. Yegorov did poorly in zero-G training and Feoktistov is physically unqualified. Meanwhile TASS, APN, and other Soviet newspapers are stubbornly pursuing information about the crew for the forthcoming flight. Film biographies and press kits are being made of all of the candidates, so that the information can be released once the final crew - whoever they are - are in orbit. But this violation of secrecy disturbs Kamanin.


1964 September 2 - Katys plea

Katys insists that he knew nothing of his brother and sister living in Paris. His father had these children before 1910, when they left with their mother for Paris. His father did not marry Katys' mother until 1924. His father was arrested in 1931, when Katys was only 5 years old. Meanwhile Tyulin recommends that Kamanin delay his departure for Baikonur by 2 to 3 days. The launch vehicle for the first test mission hasn't been delivered yet. There are still problems with the landing system. In a test at Fedosiya on 29 August, the capsule was dropped from an aircraft with the parachute hatch already opened. Normally this would be ejected by a barometric switch at 7 to 8 km altitude. So the tests have not really proven the end-to-end function of the landing system. 2 to 3 months would be needed to correctly wring out the system, which is still showing many bugs. Instead Korolev now says that the first Voskhod flight will take place no earlier than 10-15 September, and the first manned flight has realistically moved into October. The 3KD Vykhod flight Korolev still plans by the end of the year, but Kamanin believes it cannot take place until 1965. Leonov reports that there are still a lot of problems and defects with the spacesuit being designed for the space walk. Finally two VVS officers have discovered there is a real problem with Voskhod internal temperatures post-landing. Since the crew compartment hatch will not be ejected as in Vostok, they estimate that temperatures will reach 40 deg C at 11 minutes after landing, peaking at 60 deg C 5 to 8 minutes after that. They recommend that the crew has to be able to open the external air vents manually - currently they only open automatically 11 minutes after landing.


1964 September 8 - Crash at Fedosiya

A Voskhod capsule is finally dropped from 10 km altitude in order to test the parachute hatch ejection mechanism. The hatch fails to deploy, the parachute never opens, and the capsule crashes to earth. Korolev claims the test capsule's electrical scheme is not representative of the production capsule, and promises to ship a production representative capsule, which he guarantees will be reliable, to Fedosiya by 22 September.


1964 September 9 - Voskhod preparations

Kamanin arrives at the cosmodrome, only to find the launch of the manned Voskhod delayed to October. The launch of a Zenit-4 spy satellite, that uses the same launch vehicle as planned for Voskhod, has aborted on the pad after the Block A strap-on failed to ignite. This is the first block A failure in over 100 R-7 launches. That evening Kamanin views a launch of an R-36 heavy ICBM. Marshall Krylov reveals it will have a range of 14,000 km with a CEP of under 1 km with a 40 megaton warhead - one missile is sufficient to wipe out a city like New York. Rudenko believes that the victor in any nuclear war will be the one who pushes the button first. Krylov disagrees, saying that if the Americans would launch an attack on Soviet missile forces, the Soviet Union would launch its missiles on a counter-strike before the American missiles arrive - total and senseless destruction. Rudenko believes that Rudenko is more correct, since in the real-world responses will not conform to theoretical possibilities of instant reaction.

Later the state commission meets to consider the launch of the first Voskhod. The unpleasantness at the landing trials in the Crimea reveal only the inadequacy of the design of the test capsules, and do not reflect the flight system, says Korolev. He certifies the reliability of the Voskhod for flight. The commission decides to set the launch of the next Zenit-4 reconnaissance satellite for 14 September; that of the Voskhod with mannequins on 18-20 September; the definitive landing system trial at Fedosiya on 23 September; and if that is successful, launch of a manned Voskhod by the end of September.


1964 September 13 - Cosmos 45

High resolution photo reconnaissance satellite; returned film capsule; also carried weather experiments. The Zenit-4 launches a day ahead of schedule. The booster rocket performs perfectly as Korolev and Kamanin watch from the veranda of the IP-1 tracking station. This confirms readiness of the same launch vehicle for the Voskhod launch.


1964 September 14 - Voskhod abort system

Kamanin reviews the Voskhod abort system with Korolev. Up to T+27 seconds, there is no possibility of saving the crew in the event of a booster failure; from T+27 seconds to T+44 seconds, escape would be difficult, but is possible; and from T+44 seconds to T+501 seconds abort should be possible, with the capsule landing on Soviet territory. Afterwards, Korolev speaks with Kamanin secretly and privately. Korolev reveals that he has discussed a greater VVS role in space with Marshal Krylov, but that Krylov is adamantly opposed to the VVS assuming such a mission. Korolev is seeking a resolution from the Communist Party that will authorise him to develop a manned lunar flyby and landing system using his N1 booster. He believes that Chelomei's UR-500 booster will not have sufficient payload to mount a manned flyby - a docking in low earth orbit will be required. But Chelomei has rejected the use of docking, and is even designing his UR-700 to allow a lunar landing without the use of docking.

Finally Korolev gets to the purpose of the secret meeting. He wants Feoktistov to be aboard Voskhod 1, despite the opinion of Kamanin and the physicians. Kamanin reiterates that the most qualified crew would be Komarov, Volynov, and Lazarev; and if he gives in on Feoktistov, then Komarov, Feoktistov, Lazarev. But Korolev is opposed to Lazarev, and insists that the crew should be Komarov, Feoktistov, and Yegorov. From Kamanin's point of view this is flying a space mission with two invalids aboard. Lazarev is a qualified and fit flight surgeon, a qualified pilot as well as a physician with 15 years of research experience in aviation medicine. Korolev is adamant that the two passengers should be civilian, not military. No agreement is possible.


1964 September 15 - Baikonur facilities

Kamanin inspects the cosmonaut's hotel. The 18-room 2-story building has been completed, but work hasn't even started on any of the sports facilities that were supposed to adjoin it. This is all that is completed after four years of work. Later the final abort instruction manual and mission control authority are hammered out between Korolev and Kamanin. Korolev wants to make sure he retains authority over the mission.


1964 September 16 - Baikonur abuzz

The cosmodrome is a beehive of activity, not just for the unmanned Voskhod launch, now set for 18 September, but also for the impending visit of Premier Khrushchev on 24 September. Meanwhile Tsybin, Chertok, Kholodkov, and Vinokur are hurriedly implementing and testing changes made to the landing system as a result of the failures at Fedosiya. This will likely slip the mannequin launch to the end of September.


1964 September 17 - State Commission delayed.

The meeting is pushed back a day due to continued delays in proving the changes in the Voskhod landing system.


1964 September 18 - Voskhod State Commission

The State Commission meets at Baikonur. Chertok advises that the failure of the parachute hatch to jettison in the trials in Fedosiya was due to a serious defect in the schematics of the electrical layout and will not occur again. Korolev declares he is ready to certify Voskhod ready for the final drop test at Fedosiya but would prefer to delay the launch of the spacecraft with mannequins until after the Fedosiya test. The state commission finally agrees to reschedule the launch from 28-30 September, subject to a successful test at Fedosiya on 24-25 September.

Aftrwards Tyulin calls Korolev, Mrykin, Kerimov, Rudenko, and Kamanin aside. He tells them the Communist Party and Soviet Ministers have now taken a personal interest in the crew selection for Voskhod. Korolev and Kamanin bitterly debate their competing preferred crews.


1964 September 24 - Khrushchev visits Baikonur

This was his last visit, just weeks before his overthrow. The Soviet leadership were shown the UR-100 and observed launches of the competing UR-200 and R-36. Khrushchev agreed with the decision to put the R-36 into production instead of Chelomeiís UR-200. He felt he couldnít turn down Yangel a third time after approving Korolevís N1 instead of Yangelís R-56 and Chelomeiís UR-100 instead of Yangelís R-26. Khrushchev decided to cancel Korolevís badly behind schedule R-9A, even though Smirnov and Ustinov insisted they wanted it in their arsenal (in May 1965, after Khrushchevís overthrow, this decision was reversed and the R-9A went into production).

Khrushchev also visited a secret space fair, with Korolev, Chelomei, Yangel, and Glushko presenting their rockets and spacecraft. Chelomei presented his UR-700 heavy lift design as an alternative to Korolevís N1. This presentation was a surprise to Ustinov and Dementiev. Khrushchev ordered Chelomei to prepare a draft proposal for the design. Chelomei hoped that 12 to 18 months later, when the UR-700 draft project would be completed, the fallacy of Korolevís N1 design would be apparent to all. Korolevís N1 plans were also reviewed and approved at the meeting.

Over the two days, Khruschev witnessed five launches of rockets by Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei, all of them successful. Gagarin and Belyayev explained the Vykhod spacecraft to him, and Leonov donned a spacesuit and demonstrated how he would exit into open space form the inflatable airlock and return thereafter. All went very well.

This was the last time Khrushchev saw the chief designers of the Soviet rocket industry. Despite his support for them not one of them visited him in his retirement.


1964 September 24 - Voskhod crew ready

Kamanin arrives at Baikonur. All is ready for the Voskhod launch, except the spacecraft. Kamanin conducts a final readiness review with Volynov, Komarov, Katys, Feoktistov, Yegorov, Sorokin, and Lazarev. He tells them that every one of them must do his utmost to be physically and psychologically ready for the flight, since the final crew selection will not be made until 2 or 3 days before the launch. Gagarin, Belyayev, and Khrunov are at the cosmodrome, where they are showing the Vykhod spacecraft to Khrushchev. Later Kamanin discusses the crew selection with the military leadership. The top brass have no interest in space and seem to be ready to give in to Korolev. This invalidates everything Kamanin was worked for in terms of establishing a systematic method of cosmonaut selection, training, and crew selection.


1964 September 29 - Voskhod launch preparations

Kamanin meets Korolev at the MIK assembly building at 09:30. Korolev is preoccupied - his wife is in the Kremlin hospital, scheduled for surgery on 1 October. It is a dangerous diversion when all his powers and concentration need to be devoted to clearing the spacecraft for flight. There has been a problem in installing the second seat in the capsule; it won't clear the hatch by 3 mm. At 10:00 Kamanin reviews preparations of the Baikonur recovery forces for a launch abort. He secretly believes, in view of Voskhod's unreliability and unsafe nature, that all such preparations are mainly psychological and of little realistic effectiveness. At 17:00 the State Commission meets to assess launch readiness. Tyulin reveals that the Tral 1P telemetry system aboard Voskhod has failed. The diagnosis is clear, but it will take 6 to 7 days to get a replacement. The tracking ships in the Pacific and Indian Oceans have been there since August, based on Korolev's originally guaranteed launch date. They will run out of supplies by 5-10 October. Finally it is decided that the boosters and spacecraft for both Voskhod missions will be completed in parallel. The launch of the first spacecraft will be will be delayed to 6 October at 10:00 Moscow time. The manned Voskhod will launch no more than six days after the test with mannequins. The tracking ships will be ordered to stay at sea until 15 October. Korolev leaves for Moscow for two days to be with his wife. The second group of cosmonauts are at the cosmodrome to observe spacecraft and launch preparations; now their visit will have to be extended significantly.


1964 October 1 - Voskhod slips

Kamanin is disgusted. The countdown for Voskhod was planned out for 146 hours; now Bogomolov reveals that this is 40 hours too little for all tasks. Korolev suddenly announced on 29 September that he planned to launch the next two Voskhod spacecraft in November, although everyone knows this cannot be possible until March-April 1965 at the earliest. Kamanin cannot understand this constant unrealistic, unprofessional planning.


1964 October 2 - Voskhod slips again

The mannequin launch is now set for 6-8 October, and the manned launch to 12-14 October. Kamanin is looking forward to Korolev's return to Baikonur in order to confront him over the crew selection.


1964 October 3 - Voskhod integration problems

Work on completing the spacecraft is finally on schedule, but then it is found that there is a failure in the Signal device, which provides communications after the separation of the capsule from the equipment section after retrofire. Nevertheless it is decided to continue according to schedule and roll the booster and spacecraft out to the pad the next morning. Korolev has spent the day at Fedosiya, where the Voskhod landing system has finally completed a successful end-to-end test after being dropped from an aircraft at 10 km altitude.


1964 October 4 - Voskhod crews arrive

At 15:30 the Voskhod cosmonauts arrive aboard an An-10 at Baikonur and are greeted by Korolev and others. Although they have not been told officially, Kamanin is sure that Volynov and Katys have heard that the State Commission finally selected Komarov, Feoktistov, and Yegorov for the flight. In the evening Kamanin plays tennis with the flight crew and is surprised - Yegorov and Feoktistov play well, and Komarov played poorly.


1964 October 5 - Voskhod cleared for flight

The Tral 1P device has arrived and is installed. The state commission sets launch for the Voskhod with two mannequins for 10:00 on 6 October


1964 October 6 - Cosmos 47

Unmanned test of Voskhod spacecraft. At 07:00 the State Commission meets at Area 2. All Chief Designers, Commanders, and Section report that all is ready for flight. The commission gives the order to proceed with the launch. Weather at the pad is 7 balls, 8-10 m/s wind with gusts to 15 m/s, temperature 9 to 12 deg C. Weather in the recovery zones is reported as winds up to 15 m/s. Weather in the recovery zone is not clear, but that is not considered an impediment, and in fact Kamanin would like to see how the landing system functions in bad conditions. Kamanin visits the pad at T-30 seconds; at T-20 seconds, the veranda at IP-1 has over 50 viewers of the launch, including 15 cosmonaut candidates and the 7 Voskhod cosmonauts. Kamanin is relegated to the IP-1 veranda this time, with Rudenko, Kirillov, and Tyulin the bunker adjacent to the pad. Korolev stays with the booster until T-5 minutes, then enters the bunker. The booster ignites precisely at 10:00; the strap-ons burn out and are jettisoned at T+120 seconds; the core burns out and the final stage ignites at T+290 seconds; and at T+523 seconds spacecraft 3KV number 2 is placed in orbit as the final stage shuts down. The spacecraft separates and all systems look normal.

Recovered October 7, 1964 7:28 GMT. Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space.


1964 October 7 - Cosmos 47 returns to earth.

At 7 am the Cosmos 47 landing commission convenes. Kamanin has had only three hours sleep. The spacecraft is to conduct retrofire on its 17th orbit of the earth and land in Kustan, where winds are 15-17 m/s. The capsule made a good landing, with the parachute-rocket soft landing system working perfectly - the spacecraft had zero velocity on impact with the ground. The spacecraft penetrated 90 mm into the ground. The strong winds caught the parachute after landing and dragged it 160 m, but if a crew had been aboard they could have quickly commanded separation of the parachute. All systems of the booster and spacecraft worked perfectly, except that the third stage engines' thrust fell by 10% for three seconds, but the engine controller detected the shortfall and made up the velocity.


1964 October 8 - Cosmos 47 capsule returned to Baikonur.

The capsule arrived aboard an An-12 at 11:30. All systems performed well. It is reported that one of Kosberg's third stage engines developed an out-of-control high frequency oscillation in a stand test, and exploded. The State Commission decides to delay the manned Voskhod launch 3 or 4 days while the safety of the engines on the booster are verified. A special commission is sent to Voronezh to assess the situation. Kosberg's engines have flown 60 times, and been tested on the stand 400 times, without this problem having occurred before. In the evening seven reporters arrive from the Soviet press and begin their work leading up to the manned launch.


1964 October 9 - Cosmos 47 teardown

At 10:00 Korolev, Tyulin, Rudenko, Tkachev, and other leaders examine the capsule. The condition of the parachute, and capsule exterior and interior show how well the soft landing system functioned. Then they examine the Voskhod s/n 3 which will be sued for the manned flight. The crew of Komarov, Yegorov, and Feoktistov take their place in the cabin, and Korolev and Kamanin examine the cramped accommodations and ask Komarov questions to verify his understanding of the ship's controls. For an hour from 16:00 the crew is interviewed by news correspondents. After the interview, the crew plays tennis for the benefit of photographers. Afterwards post-flight examinations are discussed. A suggestion that the crew spends three nights in a hospital after the flight is rejected. Instead they will spend three nights in the cosmonaut's quarters at Baikonur, under medical observation. Finally, the State Commission meets to verify the crew selection. The session is filmed and recorded for later use by the press.


1964 October 10 - Voskhod-1 State Commission

Kosberg testifies that the problem that led to the engine explosion on the test stand was due to the stand itself and would not occur with a flight engine. Korolev agrees, and recommends launch based on the successful flight record of the engine, the successful Cosmos 47 test mission, and the completion of two successful end-to-end drop tests of the soft landing system. The commission sets launch for 12 October at 10:30 Moscow time.


1964 October 11 - Voskhod-1 preparations

The landing commission meets at 09:00. Emergency landing arrangements for each orbit are examined. Weather at both launch and landing sites is predicted to be excellent - clear, 5 m/s wind. Komarov is given Communist relics to be taken into space and returned to earth - a portrait of Marx which had belonged to Lenin, a photo of Lenin holding a copy of Pravda, and a banner from the Paris Commune. At 16:00 the crew meets with the garrison of Area 2 and thanks the launch team for all of their hard work. Afterwards Korolev takes the crew to the capsule and gives final instructions. Around 18:00 there is an emergency meeting in Korolev's office. A defect in the transmitter of the Tral system was detected at 14:30, , and it is not possible to easily get at the equipment any more. There is a dispute as to how long it would take to change out the equipment - estimates range from 10 minutes to two hours. In any case, Korolev had not been informed, but the Soviet hierarchy has already learned of the problem. Korolev flies into a rage, something Kamanin has not seen in four years of working with Korolev. Korolev settles the matter by calling Ustinov on the VCh scrambler phone and personally certifying that the booster and spacecraft are ready for flight.


1964 October 13 - Landing of Voskhod 1

The world's first recovery of an orbital spacecraft with its crew aboard on land was made possible by rocket package suspended above capsule in parachute lines, which ignited just prior to impact in order to cushion landing. The trio landed after 16 orbits of the earth, 24 hours and 17 min after they had left, on October 13, 1964 07:47 GMT.

The landing commission meets at 08:00. Although the orbital parameters and supplies aboard the spacecraft are good for three days of flight, it is decided to bring the cosmonauts down according to plan, at the beginning of the 17th orbit, after one day of flight. The primary flight objective - demonstrating flight of a three-man spacecraft - has been achieved, and nothing is to be gained by prolonging the flight beyond the planned duration. At 09:00 Moscow time the main players gather at the command point at Baikonur. Tyulin, Korolev, Rudenko, Kamanin, Gagarin, Nikolayev, Kuznetsov, Babiychuk, and several others man their posts The State Commission members gather in Kirillov's office and confirm the landing order. Komarov is advised of the order over the high frequency telegraph.

The tracking ship off the west coast of Africa receives signals from the spacecraft confirming completion of the orientation of the spacecraft for retrofire, and the igniting and shutdown of the TDU engine. There are some indications that things did not occur correctly, but there is only silence from the spacecraft and the tracking ship. No voice communications with the crew are obtained, but the capsule transmits the 'PO' signal, confirming separation of the re-entry capsule from the equipment section. 2 or 3 minutes later a tracking station sends the commands 'Spusk-1' and 'Spusk-2'. At 10:22:30 Moscow Centre reports receiving the 'SA' signal - meaning that the TDU had operated, and that the capsule must be entering the thicker layers of the atmosphere. 3 or 4 minutes later the Krug system at the Kavkaz tracking station picks up the capsule. It follows the capsule as it re-enters over the Caspian Sea... and flies over Aralsk... and then receives the signal that the parachute hatch has jettisoned as the capsule lands near Kustan. But then there is consternation when no homing signal is received. This should have begun with the whip antenna deployment after the parachute deployed.

Then a voice from Kustanin comes over the speakers "Number 50, this is 52. Airman Mikhailov in an Il-14 40 km east of Marevka reports an object in the air". Kamanin is relieved, but Korolev grabs the microphone and calls back: "Number 52, then is Number 20. Report, does Mikahilov see parachutes, and if so, how many - one or two?". Kustanin replies, "Mikhailov sees an object with two parachute cupolas". Now there is only to wait, to see if the soft landing system works. If it does not, the capsule will hit the earth with the velocity of the Vostok capsule - 7-8 m/s - sufficient to injure the occupants. But then Kustanin reports: "Airman Mikhailov sees an object on the ground, and near it three men, waiving at him". The command point erupts in joy.

Korolev says - who would have thought the Vostok capsule could have been modified to take three men to space, and return them to earth, without a scratch. It is decided the plan to fly the crew to Kuibyshev will be cancelled; instead they will be flown directly to Tyuratam. An Mi-6 helicopter takes them to Kokchetav, and from there an Il-14 to Kustanin, and finally an Il-18 to Tyuratam's aerodrome, where they arrive at 18:30 local time. Feoktistov and Yegorov are in great spirits and condition, but Komarov is pretty tired.

The crew has not yet talked to Khrushchev. They were supposed to speak to him from Kustanin, but Smirnov cancelled the call. Word was that Khrushchev had returned from Pitsunda to Moscow, but attempts to call him there from the cosmonaut dormitory at Area 17 were also unsuccessful. At 10:00 the crew briefs 200 military and industry staff on their flight. Feoktistov reports that at no time did he find zero gravity unpleasant. Yegorov felt unwell for the first six orbits, but all right after that. Planned briefings to the State Commission were disrupted when Marshal Rudenko was suddenly ordered to immediately fly to Moscow.


1964 October 15 - Word of Khrushchev's removal made public.

Five aircraft are necessary to fly all of the VVS staff and engineering workers back to Moscow. Word has come through that Khrushchev has been removed from his posts, with Brezhnev now the First Secretary of the Communist Party and Kosygin now Premier of the Soviet Ministers. Kamanin's opinion was that Khrushchev was not in the same league as Lenin or Stalin, and that he would have only a minor place in history, but he is surprised by his sudden downfall. Tyulin believes that Korolev's promise to Khrushchev to fly Vykhod in November is now nullified, and that a more reasonable date of March-April 1965 can be set.


1964 October 18 - Preparations for return to Moscow

The Voskhod 1 crew memorise and rehearse the speeches they will deliver to the leadership and masses on their return to Moscow. Later Kamanin plays tennis with the crew. Kamanin believes that Malinovskiy has finally become more supportive of Soviet manned spaceflight, which can be seen as a reflection of the country's military potential. Unwavering support will be needed to fulfil the recently approved space plan, which foresees manned docking operations in orbit, a manned flyby of the moon, a manned lunar landing, and missions of 20 to 30 days in earth orbit.


1964 October 19 - Voskhod 1 crew in Moscow

The crew arrives at Vnukovo Airfield at 12:30 aboard an Il-18. The crew walks up to the reviewing stand and Komarov makes the standard report to the Communist Party and Soviet Ministers. At 14:00 there is a meeting at Red Square, and at 17:00 an audience at the Kremlin. The next day will be the customary meeting with Korolev and the workers of OKB-1, and the day after, the press conference, and on 22 October the meeting with the staff at the Cosmonaut Training Centre. The celebrations provide the first opportunity for Brezhnev to present himself in public in the role previously held by Khrushchev. The celebrations are somewhat dampened by new that an Il-18 crashed near Belgrade, killing all 17 occupants of a military delegation, including Marshal Biryuzov. This was the same aircraft and same crew that had flown the cosmonauts from Kustanin to Tyuratam....


1964 October 20 - Cosmonaut meeting at OKB-1

The traditional meeting with the crew is followed by a smaller group in Korolev's office. Numerous toasts are drunk to the crew, to future victories in space, and... "on to the moon". From 18:00 to 20:00 the cosmonauts are prepared by Keldysh, Tyulin, Pashkov, Skuridin, Mozzhorin, Rumyanets, and others in allowable answers for the next day's press conference. Kamanin wants the crew to be free to answer questions about the physical characteristics of the booster and spacecraft (thrust, weight, dimensions, and so on) but Keldysh and Tyulin prohibit it strongly.


1964 October 28 - Voskhod plans

The Voskhod 1 crew have completed their post-flight debriefings and final report. Plans for 1965 are laid out. The Vykhod spacewalk flight will be made in the first quarter of 1965. Of the five Voskhod spacecraft, that are to be completed in the first quarter of 1965, the following program is laid out: two will be devoted to flights of a single cosmonaut, without a spacesuit, on endurance missions of 12 to 15 days. Two will be used for scientific research missions. One will be used to repeat the spacewalk of the Vykhod mission.


1964 November 3 - Cosmonauts dispersed

Kamanin receives a phone call from Serbin in the Central Committee, demanding that all nine flown cosmonauts be present at the unveiling of a space obelisk in Moscow the next day, and be on the podium at Red Square on 7 November. This is impossible - the cosmonauts are dispersed on vacation, cure, or public relations missions. Gagarin, Nikolayev, Popovich, and Tereshkova are in Sochi, and after discussion, it seems they will be able to get back by the next day. But Titov and Bykovsky are in Odessa, and it will take them three days to get back. The VVS leadership is contacted to arrange special flights, otherwise all nine could only be gathered by 9-10 November.

Kamanin receives the decree creating the new TsUKOS military organisation that will direct Soviet spaceflight. He is sure such a resolution would never have passed had Biryuzov not been killed in the plane crash. The VVS retains only its existing role of cosmonaut training.


1964 November 4 - Space obelisk unveiling

Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, Popovich, Tereshkova, and Bykovsky have all managed to make it to Moscow by plane, and they meet at TsPK at 13:00. Kamanin takes the unique opportunity of having them all together to discuss plans for their higher engineering education at the Zhukovskiy Academy, plans for construction of new quarters at the TsPK, and an overview of planned future missions based on recent resolutions. At 14:30 the group departs in four Volga automobiles for Moscow. The unveiling ceremony is at 16:00. Brezhnev, Kosygin, Mikoyan, and other bigwigs are there as well.


1964 November 6 - Well deserved rest

The cosmonauts will go to a rest area on 8 November. Kamanin is going on leave from 9 November to 20 December. On this last day of work, several cosmonauts receive the Vietnamese Hero of Socialist Labour medal from Vietnamese premier Pham Van Dong.


1964 December 24 - Cosmonauts back to work

Kamanin uses his entire leave for the first time in his life. Part of the time, he was with some of the cosmonauts at Sochi. Their time there was spent without serious incidents. However despite Nikolayev's protestations that all is well, Kamanin has found out that Valentina Tereshkova is seriously ill, and that her forced marriage with Nikolayev was a serious mistake. She has declared that she does not want to live with Nikolayev any more, that he is a bad father to their daughter, he drinks too much, and that he spends all his time with his friends, speaking mainly in his native Chuvash, which she cannot understand.


1964 December 29 - Vykhod training

Belyayev, Leonov, Khrunov, and Gorbatko are undergoing zero-G training in spacesuits aboard a specially-outfitted Tu-104.


1964 December 30 - Western reports

A corespondent from the APN agency calls Kamanin and wants to know if the official press should react to the claims of a Belgian professor that all of the Soviet cosmonauts have returned from space with serious psychological problems. Kamanin says there is nothing to it, but that the best course is to ignore the report and publish no official response. Kamanin looks forward to the missions planned in the new year: first the Vykhod, the first spacewalk, followed by a 10 to 12 day mission by a single cosmonaut, then later crews of first two, and then five to six in joined Soyuz spacecraft. In 1966 the first space docking is planned, followed by the first lunar flyby. Kamanin feels apprehensive, though. All manned flights have been completed to date without a serious problem, whereas Soviet unmanned spacecraft have been extremely unreliable and failed more often than not. He attributes this to the involvement of the VVS in the manned flights, whereas the RVSN rocket forces were responsible for the others. He worries that, with the ascendancy of Brezhnev and the death of Biryuzkov, that standards will drop in the future. Indeed, the RVSN has asked if Komarov could transfer officially from the VVS to the RVSN, a move that Kamanin vigorously opposes.

At least progress on improvements at TsPK are underway. One apartment building with 75 apartments for cosmonauts is already finished, and an 11 story building should be finished in 1965, as well as schools, nurseries, stores, and so on. Currently there are 17 active cosmonauts and 13 candidate cosmonauts in training. An additional 40 will have to be recruited in 1965 to support the ambitious space plans recently adopted.


1965 January 3 - Kosberg dies

On the same day that rocket engine designer Kosberg is killed in an automobile crash, Lebedinskiy, Director of the IMBP, dies. The unexpected death of Kosberg, who's engines have reliably taken nine Soviet cosmonauts into orbit, is a particular blow.


1965 January 7 - Vykhod simulations

Kamanin is at LII the entire day, reviewing problems the cosmonauts are having in use of the Volga airlock and Berkut spacesuit in short zero-G arcs flown by a Tu-104.


1965 January 8 - Vykhod equipment

Kamanin spends the day with key OKB-1 staff and leading cosmonauts in reviewing problems with the Volga airlock and Berkut spacesuit at Factory 918. There are more than 50-60 presentations made by all concerned organisations. Belyayev and Leonov say that the trainer aboard the Tu-104 is sufficient for them to prepare for the task. However everything must be done to allow the feat to be accomplished with minimum energy on the part of the cosmonaut and with total reliability of the equipment.


1965 January 9 - Cosmonaut recruitment

Kamanin would like to get going with the training of 40 additional cosmonauts from many disciplines in order to 'storm space'. Korolev is opposed. Kamanin is also trying to get new flights scheduled for his female cosmonauts. This is never mentioned in the planning of future flights. Korolev is opposed to sending any further women into space. Kamanin would like to see a two-woman Voskhod flight, or a woman making a spacewalk. Aside from Tereshkova, Ponomaryova and Solovyova are as qualified and talented as any of the male cosmonauts for such flights. Yerkina and Kuznetsova, although they have completed the course, are ruled out by weaknesses in technical areas or character, in Kamanin's opinion.


1965 January 11 - Tereshkova plans

Nikolayev is behaving like the perfect husband in public to Tereshkova and his daughter. There are plans to send the couple to France in May 1965, as well as requests for Tereshkova to tour Algeria and Mongolia.


1965 January 12 - Vykhod review

Over 60 leading engineers and cosmonauts review progress on development of Vykhod systems and spacewalking techniques. The group views films of Leonov training in zero-G in the Tu-104 aircraft, as well as an American film of the moon as taken from Ranger on its kamikaze impact mission. Development of systems seems to be going very well and very thoroughly. Both the men and the equipment should be ready by 15 February. There remains the need for a back-up oxygen supply for the spacewalker, and improved reliability of the primary KP-55 oxygen generator. Development of the technology to allow the cosmonaut to leave the spacecraft is essential for later manned explorations of the moon and planets.


1965 January 13 - OKB-1 program review

All systems development is complete, and the two boosters for Vykhod are ready. The launch of the pathfinder spacecraft with mannequins aboard will take place at the end of January, with the manned mission scheduled for March. Leonov's spacesuit is complete, but Zaikin's will not be finished until 5 February, and there will exist only the metal detail parts for Gorbatko's suit.


1965 January 15 - Cosmonaut examinations

The 15 candidate-astronauts take their first phase examinations. 13 are rated outstanding, with Shatalov, Gubarev, and Demin doing the best. Two are rated only 'good' - Dobrovolskiy and Pitskherlauri. Dobrovolskiy was the worst, getting some answers completely wrong. For example, he said that the maximum thickness of Vostok's heat shield was 440 mm, when the correct answer was 140 mm; and identified Krug as a homing beacon on the search aircraft, rather than aboard the spacecraft. However overall everything went well, and all were considered to have passed. On this day Belyayev and Leonov complete their centrifuge training. Belyayev is 40 years old, and had little trouble with the centrifuge. Kamanin resolves to name Khrunov as a spacecraft commander in Belyayev's place, with a final crew being Khrunov-Leonov in case Belyayev cannot fly for some reason. Khrunov is available since Zaikin since the decision has been made to train Zaikin as Leonov's backup instead of Gorbatko.


1965 January 18 - Beregovoi aboard Voskhod

Kamanin is being pressured by his superiors to fly Beregovoi as commander of the Vykhod instead of Belyayev. Kamanin considers Beregovoi not to be necessarily a bad candidate, but the crews already selected have been training for six months and it would be dangerous to introduce someone relatively untrained into the crews. Furthermore, it would take 45 to 60 days to fabricate the custom spacesuit needed for Beregovoi. Therefore Kamanin rejects the suggestion. He notes that the Americans have launched a Gemini capsule unmanned - this after two earlier unsuccessful Titan 2 launches. In 1965 the Americans are planning 3 or 4 manned flights with the Gemini spacecraft.


1965 January 19 - Vykhod crews

Faced with continuing pressure to fly Beregovoi on the Vykhod flight. Kamanin notes that the spacecraft requires short cosmonauts of minimum weight (Belyayev is 170 cm tall and weighs 72 kg; Leonov 172 cm and 78.2 kg; Gorbatko 168.5 cm and 69 kg; Khrunov 171 cm and 70.8 kg; and Zaikin 167 cm and 69.3 kg). By comparison Beregovoi is 180 cm tall and weights 84.5 kg.


1965 January 20 - Gemini 1

Kamanin observes that Gemini 1 was sent with mannequins on a suborbital trajectory, splashing down 3400 km from Cape Canaveral after 20 minutes of flight. He cannot believe this trajectory was intentional; the Soviets only fly mannequins aboard flights with the same duration as the planned manned mission. Kamanin believes this represents the third failure of the Titan 2 booster. Meanwhile, Soviet capability in centrifuges, is improving, albeit slowly. A centrifuge with a 16-m arm is to be completed by 1970, and one of 7 M in 1966.


1965 January 21 - Cosmonaut examinations completed

The 15 cosmonaut candidates have all 'graduated' from basic cosmonaut training. The highest scores were by Beregovoi, Shatalov, Gubarev, and Demin. Two days later they officially receive their cosmonaut rating, bringing the total contingent to 34, of which 9 have already been in space. With this contingent the Soviet Union will fly to the moon and man an orbital station. That is insufficient - Kamanin wants a 40-man second contingent. The new contingent will have to be absolutely healthy male specimens, no older than 32 years, under 175 cm in height and 75 kg in weight. Keldysh, Korolev, and Tyulin are against further female flights in space, despite Kamanin's insistence.


1965 January 28 - Unmanned Vykhod airlock tests

The first tests of the airlock in the TBK-60 pressure chamber are successful. The airlock is taken up to 35 km altitude equivalent.


1965 January 29 - Manned Vykhod airlock test fails.

The first manned test of the airlock fails before an audience of 60 government and industry leaders. A VVS pilot in a spacesuit was to demonstrate the entire sequence involved in exiting into space. (release of the forward ring, inflation of the airlock, opening of the hatch between the spacecraft and airlock, closing the hatch, evacuation of the air from the airlock, opening of the outer hatch of the airlock, then the sequence in reverse). Two attempts are made at 15 km equivalent altitude, but the hatch from the spacecraft to the airlock cannot be opened due to defects in its construction in the first try. This is fixed, but on the second try the Vega system that monitors the cosmonaut's condition fails.


1965 February 2 - Cosmonaut organisation

Kamanin will organise the cosmonauts into two groups: the first group will be commanded by Nikolayev, and the latest group by Beregovoi. They will be assigned to support and train seven missions: military space (reconnaissance, interceptor, and combat spacecraft); space navigation; life support and rescue systems; communications and telemetry systems; scientific orbital stations; lunar fly-by; and lunar landing expeditions. All of this may be for nought, since Marshall Malinovskiy has said that heavy launch vehicles and lunar flights have no military utility and should be funded and handled by the Academy of Science.


1965 February 3 - Vykhod airlock experiments

At Chkalovskiy Airfield, the Vykhod airlock experiments are repeated, this time to an altitude of 37 km. This time the tests, run at up to 37 km equivalent altitude, are successful. The cosmonaut's pulse reached 90-108 per minute during the effort to get into the lock and open it. In all the test took two hours, but Korolev was pleased with the results. But afterwards he differs with Kamanin in the need for a 16-m arm centrifuge to be used for cosmonaut training. It should mainly be used by industry, Korolev believes.


1965 February 5 - Vykhod redesignated Voskhod 2

The 3KD spacecraft will be known as Voskhod-2 rather than Vykhod. It was felt that 'Vykhod' ('exit') would reveal the purpose of the flight, which should not be revealed unless the experiment succeeds. The cosmonauts are training very hard in the zero-G trainer and will use the airlock at 37 km equivalent vacuum in the TBK-60 on 8 February. The motto is "Train hard to make it easy to do".


1965 February 6 - Voskhod-2 State Commission

The first meeting of the State Commission for the Voskhod-2 flight is held. Korolev, Tsybin, Severin, and other testify to the readiness of the spacecraft and booster systems. It is decided to fly the pathfinder mannequin fight on 14-16 February, and the crewed flight on 25-27 February. Kamanin objects that the radio beacon system on Voskhod is less reliable than that on Vostok, as proven on the Voskhod-1 mission.


1965 February 8 - Voskhod 2 crew vacuum chamber tests

Belyayev and Leonov practice deploying and exiting the airlock at 37 km equivalent altitude in the TBK-60 chamber. The Vega system for keeping track of the spacewalking cosmonaut's life signs fails again. Kamanin is infuriated. Later he discusses future spaceflight plans with Korolev, who was supposed to deliver five Voskhods in 1965. Korolev says that three spacecraft will only be completed by October, and should only be available for flights at the end of the year. He wants to use one as a biosat in an unmanned flight of organisms for 30 days; a second for the flight of a cosmonaut pilot and physician for 15 days; and the third for flight of a cosmonaut and engineer to perform an artificial gravity experiment. Two further spacecraft will be finished to the Vykhod configuration in October 1965 for flights in March 1966. Nothing is official yet, and Kamanin urges that the necessary resolutions be passed as soon as possible so that training can begin. He thought before that there was little chance that Yegorov's back-ups, Lazarev and Sorokin would fly, but now he puts them back in training so they will be ready for this flight schedule. But Korolev remains opposed to flying either candidate.


1965 February 9 - Voskhod 2 crew selection.

The State Commission meets to consider Voskhod 2 crew assignments. Belyayev and Leonov are named the prime crew, with Zaikin and Khrunov as their back-ups.


1965 February 11 - Cosmos 57 preparations

After a one-day diversion to Tashkent due to bad weather, Kamanin and the VVS delegation land at Baikonur. The weather is -10 deg C and heavy snow. It is reported from Moscow that Zaikin and Khrunov successfully operated the airlock at 37 km altitude in the TKB-60, and this time the Vega system finally worked. In the evening, as the others leave for a film, Kamanin looks out from his room in the cosmonaut dormitory at Area 17. He sees hundreds of new buildings in the snow, where none existed only five years ago. Baikonur is truly developing into a powerful space centre.


1965 February 12 - Cosmos 57 delayed

Once again the primary Tral system aboard the spacecraft has failed, and it will take 7 to 8 days to replace. Korolev, Kamanin, and the other leaders return to Moscow.


1965 February 16 - Cosmos 57 preparations resume.

Kamanin and Korolev return to the cosmodrome. Korolev is furious with Bogomolov over the continuing Tral problems and with Bogomolov's outspokenness. Meanwhile the problem of what to do if the airlock loses pressure is discussed. No good solution is found; in such a case the cosmonaut would be unable to enter the capsule. Finally the problem of which tracking station will issue the signal for opening and closing the airlock is discussed. IP-7 at Klyuchi and IP-6 at Yelizovo are both possibilities. Korolev would like both to be able to do so, in order to have a backup. It occurs to Kamanin that these kinds of problems could easily be handled if the first Voskhod-2 had a crew aboard. As spacecraft become increasingly complex, it will eventually be necessary to fly space missions with crews aboard that are not publicly announced. He foresees a need for many such 'black' flights in the future to prove out new systems, to complete military operations, and to train crews.

In the evening all problems are finally solved and the Voskhod spacecraft declared ready for flight.


1965 February 17 - Cosmos 57 preparations

Barring any further discrepancies, the spacecraft will be mated to the launch vehicle and rolled out to the pad on 20 February. Launch will be 21-22 February. Voskhod-2 with a crew aboard won't launch until the first half of March. However Korolev is preparing the Ye-6 robot lunar soft lander for launch on 13 March, making it an end of March launch date more likely for Voskhod-2. Kamanin still questions the radio systems aboard Voskhod, and Korolev placates him by saying a new system will be developed for Voskhod-3.


1965 February 21 - Cosmos 57 roll-out

The booster is rolled out to the pad at 08:00, slightly behind schedule after delays in mating the spacecraft the day before. It is -22 deg C at the launch centre; conditions at the landing site are poor, but his will not delay the launch.


1965 February 22 - Cosmos 57

Unsuccessful mission. Voskhod 2 test. Immediately after orbital insertion airlock and spacesuit inflated normally. Then two ground control stations sent commands to the spacecraft simultaneously. The combined signals accidentally set off the retrofire sequence, which some time later triggered the self destruct mechanism (designed to prevent the spacecraft from falling into enemy hands).
Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space.

The launch occurred at 12:30 local time, on schedule. Kamanin was in the bunker and the other VVS staff at the observation point. The launch went perfectly, without deviations. After reaching orbit, the airlock was ordered to deploy. All went normally: deployment and retraction of the lock, pressurisation. Simferopol and Moscow received television images from the spacecraft, but the orbit was out of range for reception at Baikonur. However Moscow reported that they could see 2/3 of the airlock and it seemed to be fully inflated. Everyone went off to eat, and returned two hours later. On greeting Korolev, "Good evening", Korolev grimly replied, "No, this evening, whatever it is, is not good. The spacecraft has exploded...." As the spacecraft was supposed to come over Russia at the beginning of the third orbit, neither IP-4, IP-6 or IP-7 could contact the spacecraft. There were no signals, no response from the Tral system, no telemetry. No further contact could be made on the third or fourth orbits either. Analysis showed that the spacecraft began the re-entry sequence, the TDU engine fired, but the spacecraft did not leave orbit. After 29 minutes, the on-board self-destruct system, programmed to note such a situation, blew the ship up. But where did the signal commanding the re-entry sequence come from? A ground signal or one from aboard the spacecraft? Until the failure can be fully analysed, no manned flight of Voskhod-2 will be possible.


1965 February 23 - Cosmos 57 failure analysis

Korolev is confined to his cottage with a high temperature. Meanwhile tapes and documentation are being flown in from Kamchatka, Moscow, and Kolpasheva, and experts are flying in from OKB-1. So far it has been discovered that IP-6 and IP-7 were simultaneously communicating with the spacecraft at the time the re-entry sequence began.


1965 February 24 - Cosmos 57 investigation stalled

An accident commission has been formed, but receipt of tapes from IP-7 and IP-6 are held up by bad weather in Omsk. This incident certainly seems to have ended any consideration of Kamanin's idea of flying secret 'black' missions with crews aboard to test new spacecraft. The launch of the E-6 Lunik is set for 12 March, so Tyulin has pushed the Voskhod-2 manned launch back to the end of March at a minimum.


1965 February 25 - Cosmos 57 failure analysis

The tapes finally arrive from all concerned tracking stations by 11 am. Korolev is ill, and his deputies work in his place. At 16:00 the accident commission meets. They find that at precisely the same time, IP-6 and IP-7 transmitted command 42 (decompress airlock) to the spacecraft. In such a case, the command could have been received and interpreted by the spacecraft as a single command 5 (retrofire). IP-6 was supposed to have transmitted the command at this point in the mission, with IP-7 to retransmit them as a backup only on command from Moscow. However IP-7 thought at the time that they were responsible for sending commands to the spacecraft. Accordingly, the spacecraft itself has been fully exonerated.

However it is found that of the 45 commands that can be sent to the spacecraft, four of them, including the command of the re-entry sequence, are unprotected from this kind of error. In Kamanin's opinion, in the last five years, Mnatsakanian's bureau has done nothing to ensure security of commands to spacecraft or the exploitation of this major weakness by the United States.

It is decided that the launch of Voskhod-2 can go ahead in the second half of mine. However Korolev calls Kamanin and others to be briefed at his bedside. His temperature is down to 37 deg C, normal, but yesterday it was 40 deg C - diagnosis: "unknown cause". Korolev does not want to launch Voskhod-2 until a Zenit spy satellite has flown with its re-entry capsule fitted with the same airlock ring as Voskhod-2. This will prove that the re-entry capsule is stable during descent with the airlock ring, something that could not be demonstrated by Cosmos 57. Kamanin agrees that this will be proposed to the State Commission.

However they do not part without sharp words being exchanged over the quality of VVS doctors and military versus civilian cosmonauts. Korolev notes that due to the military's complete lack of interest in space, the only military cosmonaut that will ever be needed is Gagarin.... Kamanin is wounded but realises the truth of Korolev's words, attributing the issue to Malinovskiy, who has blocked all proposals for a military role in manned spaceflight, let alone a VVS role.


1965 February 27 - State Commission on Cosmos 57

The final conclusion is as before, that simultaneous transmission of the air release command from IP-6 and IP-7 started the chain of events leading to the self-destruction of the spacecraft. It is decided that a Zenit planned for 4-8 March will fly with the Vykhod airlock ring, followed by the E-6 launch on 12 March, and the Voskhod-2 launch with a crew aboard for 15-20 March.


1965 March 3 - Voskhod-2 crew review.

Kamanin reviews emergency procedures with the Voskhod-2 prime and backup crews, and finds their training fully complete - they are ready for flight. Re-entry with the airlock ring is a special concern. If the airlock has jettisoned normally, the ring will have a height of 27-40 mm above the surface of the spherical capsule; if it only partially jettisons, the rings could be as much as 70-80 mm high. In such a case the asymmetry of the ring on the upper heat shield might impart a rotation to the capsule. The drogue parachute can be safely deployed at up to 1.5 to 2.0 revolutions per second; beyond that there is real danger to the crew's survival. If the experiment with the Zenit capsule fitted with the ring is successful, that will provide some confidence. But if the Zenit is not launched or fails to return to earth, then in Korolev's opinion the flight should be delayed until the safety of re-entry with the ring can be demonstrated. However the majority of the State Commission disagrees with Korolev, and believe it will be safe to proceed with the Voskhod-2 flight even without the Zenit test.


1965 March 4 - Zenit preparations

Tyulin advises from Baikonur that the Zenit spacecraft has been fitted with sensors to measure the rotation rate of the capsule fitted with the airlock ring during re-entry. It is to be mated to the booster on 5 May, with launch on schedule for 7 May. Korolev wants the cosmonauts to report to the cosmodrome on 7 May.


1965 March 5 - Voskhod plans

Only on this day does Kamanin receive a copy of Korolev's "Preliminary Plan for Voskhod spacecraft (3KV and 3KD) series in 1965", issued in February. His plan is:

  • 3KV Number 5 - to be completed in June, launched by August, an unmanned biological flight with life forms, to be kept in orbit for 15-30 days, with experimental equipment in the cabin to monitor the organisms and a self-destruct system
  • 3KV Number 6 - to be completed in August, and flown by October on a 15-day mission with a two-man crew: a flight commander and scientist
  • 3KV number 7 - to be completed in December, and flown by April 1966 on a 15-20 day mission with a pilot and physician aboard. The spacecraft would also conduct artificial gravity experiments for 3-4 days of the flight
  • 3KD numbers 8 and 9 - a prime spacecraft and a backup, fitted with the airlock system. A spacecraft commander and pilot would make a flight or flights of 3 to 5 days. 2 or 3 spacewalks would be conducted on each flight, with the EVA cosmonaut using a manoeuvring apparatus to back away as far as 50 to 100 m from the spacecraft. Manually controlled landing of the capsule would also be demonstrated
Kamanin is disappointed that there are few experiments of military significance in Korolev's plan. Kamanin calls Korolev to complain, and Korolev rightly replies that if the Ministry of Defence would authorise him to build more than nine spacecraft, then he could conduct other experiments... Meanwhile, Leonov is conducting his final practice sessions on exiting and re-entering the airlock aboard the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft. Khrunov will have his final sessions the next day.

Kamanin is preparing the final press packet, with the cosmonaut biographies, which will be delivered to TASS but only released by them after confirmation that the spacecraft is in orbit. Later Kamanin and forty other guests, including hero-cosmonauts and future hero-cosmonauts, throw a party for Tereshkova's 28th birthday. There is tension in the room as the cosmonauts eye each other as competitors for the flights after Voskhod-2. Volynov is the leading candidate to command the next flight, and has already been a back-up four times, but Marshal Rudenko keeps blocking his selection for flight (Volynov is a Jew). Rudenko is pushing Beregovoi for the next flight, and everyone in the room knows it...


1965 March 8 - Voskhod-2 departure

The cosmonauts and VVS contingent prepare to depart to Baikonur - altogether 50 people on a single An-10 flight. Kamanin has started training a group of cosmonauts for the 15-day Voskhod-3 mission: Volynov, Beregovoi, Shatalov, Demin, and Artyukhin. Katys briefs Kamanin on his work together with Equipment Institute of the Academy of Sciences in preparing scientific experiments to be conducted on the next flight. Later Kamanin talks with his superiors about three candidates for future physician-cosmonaut missions. Voskresensky is the leading candidate. He specialises in research on the effects of zero-gravity on organisms, has published over thirty papers, and knows English. Yaroshenko is completing work on methods for conducting surgical operations in zero gravity. Ivanov conducts psychological studies on the impact of the spaceflight environment.


1965 March 9 - Tyuratam

Kamanin and the cosmonauts land at the airfield at 11:45, but have to wait until 12:10 for the arrival of Tyulin and Korolev for the official greeting. Korolev is ill but pushing himself hard. A dispute breaks out about crew assignments. At the last minute some want Khrunov to substitute for Belyayev. Korolev is clearly disgusted by such reversals after the prime crew has been set for months.


1965 March 10 - Voskhod-2 preparations

Final flight suit fitting is conducted on Belyayev, Khrunov, Leonov, and Zaikin by Komarov and Gagarin. It is decided that on flight day only Belyayev, Leonov, and Khrunov will suit up. Khrunov has trained for both crew positions, and in case of last second substitution, he can fly in place of either Belyayev or Leonov. Kamanin tells of the opposition to Belyayev making the flight, which goes back to an incident in the altitude chamber when a Colonel Karpov underhandedly reported that Belyayev was performing poorly. Kamanin believed this was due to bad telemetry. Leonov recounts another incident where the oxygen supply was failing during the same test, but Belyayev did not denounce the Factory 918 staff.

That evening the contingent watches the Arabic film "Black Glasses". At the same time an incident is developing when Khrunov insists that the second crew would only train in the capsule in their spacesuits - otherwise they would report to the State Commission that they were not ready for flight. That evening's training session was cancelled as a result.


1965 March 11 - Voskhod preparations incident

Korolev is furious over Khrunov's actions, and says he does not need such cosmonauts in his program. The matter seems to be escalating, but is finally defused when Khrunov meets with Korolev.


1965 March 12 - Cosmos 60

At 13:00 the State Commission meets at the launch pad. All work is complete, and the approval to launch the E-6 robot probe to the moon is given. Keldysh takes the opportunity to confront Rudenko by asking him, who will manage the manned flights to the moon - the VVS or the Rocket Forces? Kerimov replies that this is a function of the VVS. Ishilinskiy, Kamanin, and Kerimov hope very much to be the first commander of a spaceport on the moon... The Lunik is launched successfully into earth parking orbit, but the fourth stage fails to ignite when the moment comes to launch it towards the moon. This is the sixth Lunik not to make it anywhere near its objective; together with the 100% failure rate of the planetary probes, there have been 10 failures. Kamanin believes this points to the absolute necessity of the crew being in control at all times during a manned lunar flight, as opposed to Korolev's insistent reliance on fully automatic systems. Korolev is greatly disturbed by this latest failure, and appoints Chertok to head the investigation.


1965 March 13 - Voskhod-2 crew briefing

Korolev, Rudenko, Kamanin, Kuznetsov, Gagarin, Komarov, and Tselikin give the crew their final briefing. Communications protocols are worked out. Korolev tells the crew he is satisfied that they are ready for flight, but tells them not to take unnecessary risks or heroics. The main thing is that they return safely to earth.


1965 March 14 - Sunday at the cosmodrome.

Volleyball, chess, excessive drinking by some. Keldysh returns to Moscow; journalists arrive from Moscow.


1965 March 15 - Cosmos 57 lands.

The Zenit-4 fitted with the airlock attachment ring successfully lands at 12:09, 170 km south of Kustanin (and 50 km north of the aim point). Later procedures for emergency landing on the first, second, and third orbits are discussed. The cosmonauts want to discuss the possibility of their taking action if the airlock fails to jettison (even though there are redundant systems to ensure this). Leonov discuses a method of inflating the airlock, his opening the hatch from the spacecraft, checking all connections, then returning to the capsule and attempting again. Data arrives in the evening from the recovered Zenit - the rotation rates are acceptable, Voskhod-2 is clear to launch on 18 March. In the evening the cosmonauts conduct interviews with journalists.


1965 March 16 - Voskhod-2 state commission

Korolev, Severin, Kuznetsov, and Kamanin certify the readiness of the booster and spacecraft, the airlock and spacesuit, the astronauts, and the recovery forces. Roll-out to the pad is set for the morning of 17 March, with launch on 18 or 19 March. In the evening the recovered Zenit-4 capsule arrives at Baikonur and is examined by the astronauts. The rate of rotation never exceeded 40 - 100 degrees/second, well within the tolerance of both the crew and the parachute deployment system.


1965 March 17 - Voskhod 2 preparations

With the rocket erected on the pad, a meeting is held several hundred meters away between the chief designers, Keldysh, Rudenko, and 600 to 700 workers. Afterwards Korolev and Tyulin call Moscow, and certify to Smirnov, Ustinov, Kosygin, and Brezhnev that all is ready for the flight.


1965 March 18 - Voskhod 2

At 07:30 the state commission meets at the pad and gives the go-ahead. At 8:30 Korolev, Tyulin, Rudenko, and Kamanin observed the cosmonauts donning their suits. At 09:20 they met the cosmonauts again at the pad. After handshakes, the crew went up the elevator, the calm Belyayev being loaded first in the capsule, followed by excited Leonov. Korolev, Gagarin, and the others left the pad for the bunker 10 minutes before the launch. The launch went well, although the suspense in the first 44 seconds of flight (when crew abort was not possible) was unbearable. The final stage shut down at T+526 seconds, and the crew was in orbit. Even though he doesn't smoke, Korolev has a cigarette at T+530 seconds, once he knows the crew is safe in orbit.

The party then moved to the KP command point, where over the next four hours they watched the first man - a Soviet man, Alexei Leonov - enter free space. All operations - airlock deployment, airlock pressurisation, opening the hatch from the spacecraft, entering the airlock, the inner hatch closing, depressurisation of he airlock, opening of the outer hatch, Leonov's exit into space - went well. Television images showed him somersaulting in space, moving 3 to 5 m from the capsule with the earth in the background. There was some worry when the capsule began revolving at 20 degrees per second during the spacewalk, and the high concentration of oxygen (45%) in the cabin. The rotation is stopped, but after consulting with the crew, and considering the large oxygen reserves available, it is decided not to worry about the high oxygen level in the cabin. Kamanin goes to bed at 12:00, overjoyed by the success of the day's events.


1965 March 19 - Landing of Voskhod 2

On re-entry the primary automatic retrorocket system failed. A manually controlled retrofire was accomplished one orbit later (evidently using the primary engine, not the backup solid rocket retropack on the nose of spacecraft). The service module failed to separate completely, leading to wild gyrations of the joined reentry sphere - service module before connecting wires burned through. Vostok 2 finally landed near Perm in the Ural mountains in heavy forest at 59:34 N 55:28 E on March 19, 1965 9:02 GMT. The crew spent two nights in deep woods, surrounded by wolves. Recovery crews had to chop down trees to clear landing zones for helicopter recovery of the crew, who had to ski to the clearing from the spacecraft. Only some days later could the capsule itself be removed.

Kamanin wakes up at 03:00 and goes to the command point. Korolev is there, and tells him that on the 13th orbit the pressure in Voskhod-2's air tanks has declined from 75 to 25 atmospheres. This indicates that the cabin of the spacecraft is leaking, and that an early landing may be necessary. However analysis then shows that even at this leakage rate there should be enough for 17 orbits, allowing landing as planned. Chief Designer Voronin warns that the pressure in the cabin cannot be allowed to go below 500 mm, and that there is only enough oxygen for three hours. In a communications session with the cosmonauts on the 14th orbit, Belyayev reports that the oxygen pressure in the tanks has stabilised at 25 atmospheres, and the cabin parameters are normal, and the crew is feeling fine.. It is decided to proceed with the planned automatic landing on orbit 17.

The first command for an automated re-entry has no result: the automatic orientation system does not engage and therefore the retrorocket is not ignited. It is decided that the spacecraft will conduct a manual re-entry on the 18th or 22nd orbits (this will be the Soviet's first manual re-entry). On the second attempt, the command point is informed by the steamer Ilichevsk that the re-entry command was sent, but after that there is no information for four hours. First indications from the capsule are received from the tracking station at Odessa, then from Saransk. It is believed that Voskhod 2 has landed at 12:06 not far from Shchuchin (25-30 km south-west of Bereznikov, north of Perm), but no indication is received from the spacecraft. The Krug beacon aboard the capsule can be received from a range of 50-70 km, but the recovery aircraft are out of position, 600 to 800 km from Perm.

While the wait goes on, there is some reassurance, when Alma Ata reports intermittently receiving on HF the telegraph code 'VN, VN, VN..", which means that all is OK with the crew. Finally a helicopter reports that it has sighted and red parachute and the two crew in thick forest between Sorokovaya and Shchuchino. The spacecraft has landed far from the estimated point, and the area is covered in deep snow. By 10:00 Moscow time in the evening, no one has yet reached the crew. Two hours later a helicopter manages to land in the forest 5 km from the crew. Two snowmobiles with soldiers from a PVO regiment also manage are approaching the landing area. But it is night and temperatures have dropped to -5 deg C.


1965 March 20 - Voskhod 2 crew contacted

The crew spent the night in the forest. Only at dawn can a helicopter fly over the landing point again. He reports he sees the two crew, one felling wood, the other building a bonfire. During the night, neither the two crew from the helicopter that landed 5 km away or the searchers from the PVO regiment were able to find the crew in the dense forest. Finally at 07:30 a Colonel Sibiryakov, physician Tumanov, and a technician are lowered from a Mi-4 helicopter to a point 1500 meters from the capsule. Several others are lowered to begin chopping down trees to create a clearing where the helicopter can land. Sibiyakov's party depart at 08:30, skiing toward the capsule, finally reaching the crew after three hours of arduous travel at 11:30. The crew is in fine condition - helicopters had dropped supplies and warm underwear the night before.

The recovery forces want to have a helicopter pick up the cosmonauts from the landing site, meaning hoisting them from a hover at an altitude of 5 to 6 m. Rudenko vetoes this idea due to the poor visibility, insisting they must be evacuated in snowmobiles. When he is told this is impossible, he becomes adamant that they must wait for conditions to improve. This is ridiculous. Kamanin believes there will be hell to pay if the cosmonauts have to spend a second night in the forest at a landing point only 70-80 km from the capital of the oblast.


1965 March 21 - Voskhod 2 crew recovered

By the next morning, two clearing suitable for helicopter operations have been cleared - a small zone 1.7 km from the capsule, and a larger zone 5 km from the capsule. At 6:50 the cosmonauts and their rescuers - seven in all - ski away from the capsule, reaching the small zone at 8:06. They are picked up there by an Mi-4 helicopter and flown to the large zone, arriving their 20 minutes later. From there a larger Mi-6 helicopter flies them at 9:50 to the airport at Perm. They were to depart aboard an An-10 from Perm at 11:00 for Tyuratam, but their departure is delayed by an hour as they talk on the telephone with Brezhnev. Afterwards toasts are raised at Area 10 at Baikonur by the Chief Designers and Keldysh. Korolev calls for them all to push together toward reaching the moon. The cosmonauts finally arrive at the cosmodrome at 17:30 and are driven through cheering crowds in Zvezdograd. In the hall of the hotel they give the first account of their mission.


1965 March 22 - Voskhod 2 debriefings

The Voskhod 2 crew briefs the State Commission from 10:00 to 13:00. At 13:00 Korolev and Keldysh call Brezhnev, and are told to have the cosmonauts in Moscow the next day for celebrations.


1965 March 23 - Voskhod 2 crew in Moscow

The crew is feted at Red Square, followed by a 17:00 reception in the Kremlin with Brezhnev, Kosygin, and other leaders.


1965 March 24 - Voskhod 2 press conference preparations

Belyayev and Leonov are trained for their press conference. Keldysh and Sedov and others take the crew through the acceptable answers to likely questions. Kamanin wants the crew to provide truthful answers to questions on the problems the crew faced, but Keldysh absolutely prohibits this.


1965 March 25 - Voskhod 2 truth?

Kamanin meets Korolev at 9:30; Korolev agrees with Kamanin that the truth of the difficulties encountered should be revealed at the press conference. The matter must be escalated to Brezhnev, since Keldysh and Smirnov are against this course. At 10:30 the leading engineers of OKB-1 meet with 11 of the cosmonauts. The results of the Voskhod-2 flight are reviewed.


1965 March 26 - Voskhod 2 press preparation

Belyayev and Leonov are given 60 likely questions from the press corps, and briefed on allowable answers. In the afternoon the press conferences are held, with Keldysh sitting at the podium with the cosmonauts. It goes well, and the video of the spacewalk is shown.


1965 March 27 - Voskhod spacewalk film

The Voskhod-2 cosmonauts and Kamanin see the film taken of Leonov's spacewalk. It was taken by internal and external cameras on the spacecraft, as well as by the cosmonauts. Kamanin finds the raw footage quite clear and believes a good film can be assembled from a combination of the video and film coverage. Later Kamanin hears that American Ed White will attempt to duplicate Leonov's spacewalk on the Gemini flight scheduled for 8 June 1965. In the following days the Voskhod 2 crew faces a round of press conferences, meetings with design bureaux staff.


1965 March 29 - Cosmonaut travel plans

Tereshkova and Nikolayev are to travel to Algeria on 1 April, and Hungary on 2 April. Yegorov is going to Berlin to deliver a medical lecture. There is an avalanche of fan mail for Belyayev and Leonov. Kamanin believes that Leonov is moving into the pantheon with Gagarin and Tereshkova of top space heroes.


1965 March 31 - Program priorities

Kamanin is trying to co-ordinate a visit to Kaluga by Belyayev and Leonov with Korolev, but Korolev is totally concentrating on getting a Luna E-6 to soft land on the moon. The Soviet Ministers are on his back as a result of the string of failures so far.


1965 April 2 - VVS role in space

Kamanin visits Korolev and tells him that in an upcoming meeting between the cosmonauts and Brezhnev and Kosygin, they are going to push for the VVS to be given a leading role in the exploration of space, including the necessity to improve the cosmonaut training centre with 8 to 10 simulators for Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft, and development within the VVS of competence in space technology. Korolev is not opposed to this, but says he doubts the VVS leadership will support acquiring the new mission. Kamanin then indicates to Korolev his proposed crews for the upcoming Voskhod missions: Volynov-Katys, Beregovoi-Demin, Shatalov-Artyukhin. Kamanin hopes that Korolev will support Volynov as the prime candidate against Marshall Rudenko's favouring of Beregovoi. Kamanin then raises the delicate issue of Korolev's unfavourable opinion of Tereshkova. After her flight, Korolev angrily said: "I never want to have anything to do with these women again". Kamanin does not believe his remarks were meant seriously, and broaches the subject of training Soloyova and Ponomaryova for a female version of Leonov's spacewalk flight. Korolev says he will seriously consider the suggestion.


1965 April 12 - Voskhod crews

Kamanin queries Vershinin on support for a female Voskhod flight. The Commander-in-Chief approves the idea, but then suddenly brings up the question of Beregovoi. There seems to be a quid pro quo here, but Kamanin says that Volynov is still the lead candidate for the next flight. Cosmonautics Day celebrations go well, with Kamanin feeling he is successful in lobbying both politicians and industry leaders on the idea of an all-female Voskhod flight with Ponomaryova and Solovyova.


1965 April 13 - Voskhod crews

Kamanin meets with Marshall Rudenko to present his cosmonaut crew plans. For the experimental gravity flight he proposes Volynov-Katys (prime crew), Beregovoi-Demin, and Shatalov-Artyukhin (back-up crew). Rudenko wants Beregovoi's as the first crew, but Kamanin, sensing the Marshall is unsure in his position, pushes for Volynov. He then presents his plan for the next Voskhod EVA mission: Solovyova and Ponomaryova as the female prime crew, Khrunov and Gorbatko, and Zaikin as the male back-up crew. Kamanin says he already has Korolev, Keldysh, and Vershinin behind this plan. But Rudenko says he will decide this later - he has to take his daughter to the hospital.


1965 April 15 - Voskhod plans

Reviewing crewing plans again, Kamanin is shocked when Korolev says he questions Ponomaryova's selection for the flight. Korolev also says he is thinking of taking the physician off the planned later flight and replacing him and the long duration environmental control system with a second manoeuvring engine, so that the Voskhod can demonstrate manoeuvring in space.


1965 April 16 - Voskhod female crew opposition

Gagarin and the rest of the male cosmonauts, as many as other VVS officers, are opposed to Kamanin's plan for a female Voskhod flight. The first cosmonaut group are also opposed to appointment of Beregovoi and Shatalov to flight crews. Tereshkova has lost 5 kg and looks ill, but all the doctors say she is healthy.


1965 April 17 - Voskhod plans

Despite opposition, Kamanin goes ahead with his plans. The 10-day duration artificial gravity flight is planned for October 1965, with Volynov and Katys as the crew. In the first half of 1966 Beregovoi and Demin will fly the long-duration mission, and Ponomaryova and Solovyova will fly an all-female spacewalk mission. However the Americans have announced they will fly a Gemini mission for a 7 to 8 day duration by the end of the year; the Soviets may have to adjust this plan to ensure that they retain the lead in manned spaceflight. Kamanin has told the female cosmonauts of their planned flight, but also warned them there is serious opposition in some quarters.


1965 April 20 - Cosmonaut tours

The demand for cosmonaut appearances is constant; over 90% of such requests have to be denied. Tereshkova and Nikolayev are especially in demand - France wants them for two or three days, and there are also requests from Mongolia, Finland, Norway, Greece, Iran, Rumania, USA, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and many others. As far as progress on cosmonaut trainers, General Ponomaryov, who has no interests in space, is hampering development efforts. So far his interference has delayed completion of the docking trainer by six months.


1965 April 22 - Voskhod-2 overshoot

Kamanin notes Gemini-3 landed 96 km from the aim point. He notes that all Soviet Vostok and Voskhod landings have been of high precision, using the automatic landing system. Voskhod-2 missed the aim point by 368 km, but this was due to a 46 second delay in activating the retrorocket. This delay was due to the layout of Voskhod, which left the Vostok cabin instruments and Vzor visual orientation device in their original place, but mounted the crew seats perpendicular to the original orientation of the Vostok ejection seat. This meant, to manually orient the spacecraft, Belyayev had to float across the seats in order to see the Vzor device. After orienting the spacecraft, he had to return to his seat before igniting the retrorocket. All of this, in the cramped cabin and the crew in spacesuits, took much longer than expected.


1965 April 28 - Cosmonauts tour Leningrad

Kamanin, Gagarin, Titov, Komarov, Belyayev, and Leonov began a major public relations tour of Leningrad. With Glushko they visit the Petropavlovsk Fortress, where he conducted the first rocket experiments in 1931.


1965 April 29 - Lunar plans

Kamanin observes that government resolutions have called for Soviet cosmonauts to fly by the moon by 1967 and land on its surface by 1968. These are important resolutions, but the execution has been poor, and the schedules are unrealistic. In Kamanin's view, a safe lunar expedition would consist of 3 to 5 spacecraft, three of them in lunar orbit with adequate fuel and life support reserves to rescue cosmonauts in difficulty. Before the expedition a through reconnaissance would have to be made with robot lunar satellites and landers. The landing site itself would have to be provided with reserves of fuel, oxygen, and essential equipment spares. This means successive spacecraft must land within 50 m of the expedition site on the lunar surface.


1965 May 8 - Voskhod-2 design review

A meeting between the cosmonauts and OKB-1 becomes heated on the question of the Voskhod design. Korolev and his specialists attempt to minimise the design approach that made manual re-entry for Voskhod-2 so difficult. In fact the state commission concluded that it was impossible to conduct a manual re-entry with the crew in their seats. Korolev agreed that later Voskhods will be equipped with instruments allowing manual re-entry with the astronauts seated, and apologised for the oversight.


1965 June 26 - Poor progress on space trainers

Titov and Kamanin visit LII to review the status of simulator construction. The engineers haven't had any time to even consider trainers for winged spacecraft. The Soyuz trainer will only be completed by July 1966, and the trainer for the new Voskhod configuration is still on paper only. Simulators for manned lunar or planetary flights have not even been discussed yet. It is clear that Kamanin is going to have to go up the chain of command to Dementiev and Smirnov to get resources allocated for the work to be accelerated.


1965 July 28 - Voskhod production

The All-Soviet national economic commission on Military-Industrial Matters issues resolution 145, "On completion of the Voskhod spacecraft". Voskhod s/n 5, 6, and 7 are to be completed in October, November, and December 1965; and s/n 8 and 9 in February and March 1966. The new-design spacecraft will be designed for flight of two cosmonauts up to 15 days, with provisions for multiple spacewalks outside of the capsule over periods of 3 to 6 days, provisions for artificial gravity tests, and equipment for medical, biological, physics, technical, and military experiments. All concerned ministries are instructed to complete development and deliver all needed subsystem and experimental equipment 45 days before the completion dates of the spacecraft. The trainer for the 3KV Voskhod is to be delivered by October 1965, and the 3KD trainer in the first quarter of 1966.


1965 August 1 - Development of military versions of Voskhod and Soyuz approved.

Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On creation of military Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft' was issued. Eight days later, Kamanin receives the resolution, signed by Marshal Zharkov, countersigned by Smirnov. Krylov, Vershinin, Sudts, and Gorshkov are ordered to immediately begin military space research aboard Voskhod and also develop a special version of the Soyuz spacecraft for visual and photographic military reconnaissance, satellite inspection, interception in orbit, as well as development of nuclear missile early warning systems. This is old hat to Kamanin. Krylov has no interest in military spacecraft, and will not implement the order.


1965 August 1 - Space simulators

After intervention at the highest level over the holiday period, it develops that the best that can be done is that a Voskhod 3KV trainer will be completed by October 1965, and a 3KD trainer by the first quarter of 1966 - essentially the planned flight dates, and therefore useless...


1965 August 4 - Cosmonaut selection

Interviews and selection of the next cosmonaut group has been going slowly throughout the year. On this day 15 candidates were screened by the Mandated Commission. About 20% of the pilot applicants are acceptable, but only 10% of the navigators and 5% of the engineers. To date 284 applicants have been reviewed, and only 37 candidates identified. At this rate, it will take until 15 September and review of 400 candidates to identify the 40 required for the next training group. Most cosmonauts will be on vacation during August. Meanwhile, the Americans plan to fly a Gemini capsule from 8 to 19 August, which will give them a new space endurance record and the lead in the space race for the first time.


1965 August 16 - Chelomei's lunar spacecraft attacked

Korolev discusses Chelomei's manned lunar flyby spacecraft with Kamanin. The Party ordered Chelomei to have 12 manned circumlunar spacecraft completed during 1966 and the first quarter of 1967. Chelomei has worked on the he project for many years, but his bureau has not yet decided on a single firm design for the spacecraft, let alone start construction.


1965 August 18 - Soyuz development program reoriented; Soyuz 7K-OK earth orbit version to be built in lieu of Soyuz A.

Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 180 'On the Order of Work on the Soyuz Complex--approval of the schedule of work for Soyuz spacecraft' was issued. It set the following schedule for the new Soyuz 7K-OK version: two spacecraft to be completed in fourth quarter 1965, two in first quarter 1966, and three in second quarter 1966. Air-drop and sea trails of the 7K-OK spacecraft are to be completed in the third and fourth quarters 1965, and first automated docking of two unmanned Soyuz spacecraft in space in the first quarter of 1966. Korolev insists the automated docking system will be completely reliable, but Kamanin wishes that the potential of the cosmonauts to accomplish a manual rendezvous and docking had been considered in the design. With this decree the mission of the first Soyuz missions has been changed from a docking with unmanned Soyuz B and V tanker spacecraft, to docking of two Soyuz A-type spacecraft. It is also evident that although nothing is official, Korolev is confident he has killed off Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft, and that a Soyuz variant will be launched in its place.


1965 August 18 - American surge in space

Kamanin spends several hours reviewing new films of the American Gemini 4 flight, Apollo program, and unmanned lunar probes. He realises the scope of the American program is "colossal", and that the USA is set to quickly surpass the Soviet Union in space.


1965 August 19 - Umanskiy manned spacecraft design

Designer Umanskiy at MAP Factory 918 has produced a plan to develop a space capsule for only one or two cosmonauts. The single-cosmonaut design would weigh 500 kg, and the two-place capsule 700 kg. The capsules would be used by the cosmonauts to exit from their spacecraft to inspect satellites, rescue crews, or to return from orbit urgent payloads (reconnaissance film or date). Kamanin finds it an excellent idea, but believes it will never be cleared by the interlocking and competing ministries controlling space development (MOM, MAP, and OKB-1).


1965 August 20 - Soyuz crews

Kamanin calls Korolev, finds he is suffering from very low blood pressure (100/60). Kamanin suggests that candidates for the commander position in the first two Soyuz missions would be Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky, or Komarov. Korolev agrees basically, but says that he sees Bykovsky and Nikolayev as candidates for the first manned lunar flyby shots. Kamanin suggests Artyukhin and Demin for the engineer-cosmonaut role on the first Soyuz flights, but Korolev disagrees, saying Feoktistov has to be aboard. However Korolev agrees with Kamanin's selection for the next Voskhod flight - Volynov/Katys as prime crew, Beregovoi/Demin as backups. Later Kamanin corresponds with Stroev over modification of an Mi-4 helicopter as a lunar lander simulator.


1965 August 24 - Russian view of Gemini 5

Kamanin notes that Gemini 5's main mission was to set a new space endurance record to surpass the Soviet Union; photographic coverage of Cuba, China, Vietnam, and other countries; and practice rendezvous with an Agena spacecraft. He notes the launch postponements, that the astronauts had to spend 8 hours in the capsule, awaiting launch, and the electrical power problems.


1965 August 26 - Gemini 5 sets new space endurance record

Kamanin, earlier believing the problems aboard the flight indicated the unreliability of American equipment, is discouraged. He blames Malinovskiy and Smirnov for lack of support for the space program and the ridiculous situation whereby VVS pilots are being shot into space aboard missiles and spacecraft designed by artillery specialists. They oppose manned space reconnaissance, and here the Gemini crew is photographing the territory of brother socialist states..


1965 August 30 - Soviet space plans

Kamanin continues to fume that the Americans have surpassed the Soviets with their Mariner, Gemini, and Ranger spacecraft. This was totally unnecessary, but lack of support by the leadership has crippled the Soviet program. He has been asked to put together his version of the work program for the upcoming Voskhod flights, and beyond that, for the next 4-5 years. For the Voskhods, his plan is:

  • Voskhod 3: to launch in November 1965 with two cosmonauts; artificial gravity and military experiments will be conducted
  • Voskhod 4: a single cosmonaut will fly for 25 days and complete artificial gravity research
  • Voskhod 5 and Voskhod 6: will each fly for 15 days in May-June 1966; multiple spacewalks will be completed, in addition to military experiments

1965 September 1 - Voskhod/Soyuz crewing plans

Kamanin meets with Korolev at 15:00 to discuss crew plans. As Soyuz pilot candidates, Kamanin proposes Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky, Komarov, Kolodin, Artyukhin, and Matinchenko. Korolev counters by proposing supplemental training of a supplemental group of engineer-cosmonauts from the ranks of OKB-1. He calls Anokhin, his lead test pilot, informs Korolev that there are 100 engineers working at the bureau that are potential cosmonauts candidates, of which perhaps 25 would complete the selection process. Kamanin agrees to assist OKB-1 in flight training of these engineer-cosmonauts. Kamanin again proposes Volynov and Katys as prime crew for the Voskhod 3 12-15 day flight. Korolev reveals that, even though Kamanin will have the crew ready by October, the spacecraft for the flight may not yet even be ready by November - Kamanin thinks January 1966 is more realistic. The discussion turns to the female EVA flight - Ponomaryova as pilot, Solovyova as spacewalker. It is decided that a group of 6 to 8 cosmonauts will begin dedicated training in September for lunar flyby and landing missions. Korolev advises Kamanin that metal fabrication of the N1 superbooster first article will be completed by the end of 1965. The booster will have a payload to low earth orbit of 90 tonnes, and later versions with uprated engines will reach 130 tonnes payload. Korolev foresees the payload for the first N1 tests being a handful of Soyuz spacecraft.


1965 September 8 - American vs Soviet programs

Kamanin reviews a speech by President Johnson to the US Congress. From 1954-1965 the USA spent 34 billion dollars on space, $ 26.4 billion of that in just the last four years. The Soviet Union has spent a fraction of that, but the main reason for being behind the US is poor management and organisation structure, in Kamanin's view. With the US now having the lead in space, and the Gemini 5 results showing they openly used the manned flight for military reconnaissance, the Soviet leadership has awakened to the threat. They are demanding answers - how many cosmonauts does the US have in training? What are Soviet plans for use of hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells in space? What are the flight schedules for Voskhod and Soyuz? In contradiction to these demands, Kamanin is finding it difficult to obtain funding to keep the Tu-104 weightlessness trainer flying....


1965 September 11 - Setbacks

Belyayev and Leonov are going to an IAF congress in Greece, where they will unofficially meet Wernher von Braun and several US astronauts. Komarov is touring West Germany. Factory 918 is refusing to fabricate space suits for the female crew for the planned Voskhod EVA flight. They are categorically against the concept. It is necessary to obtain a specific order instructing them to fabricate the suits.


1965 September 17 - Cosmonauts

Shonin is emerging as the most outstanding cosmonaut in flight training. Nikolayev is in the hospital to have his appendix removed.


1965 September 18 - Lunokhod

The cosmonauts visit Lyapin's institute to view progress in developing a lunar rover. During the day Kamanin has a series of unpleasant conversations with Korolev. The military want the second Voskhod flight changed from a 15-day mission with a crew of two and a physician aboard to a 20-25 day mission, with a single pilot cosmonaut and a variety of military experiments. Korolev responds that there is no unity of support within the VVS for the mission or manned spaceflight; and that he can get along quite well without the VVS, and its cosmonaut training centre, and the VVS pilot-cosmonauts.


1965 September 22 - Tereshkova manoeuvres

Tereshkova confides to Kamanin that Ponomaryova is not ready for her scheduled spaceflight. Kamanin does not believe it - he has heard it from no other cosmonauts, and he has spoken to Ponomaryova often over the years. Flight plans for 1965-1966 are reviewed. The pluses and minuses of each cosmonaut in advanced training for Voskhod flights is reviewed. The latest plan for the Voskhod-3 flight is for a 20-day flight with two cosmonauts (in an attempt to upstage the planned Gemini 7 14-day flight). This is followed by another tense phone call from Korolev, then Feoktistov complaining about inadequate VVS support for the Soyuz landing system trials at Fedosiya (no Mi-6 helicopter as promised; incorrect type of sounding rockets for atmospheric profiles; insufficient data processing capacity; inadequate motor transport). When Kamanin appeals to Finogenov on the matter, he is simply told that if "Korolev is unhappy with out facilities, let him conduct his trials elsewhere". Without the support of the VVS leadership, it is up to Kamanin to try to improve the situation using only his own cajoling and contacts.


1965 September 23 - Voskhod 3 plans

Korolev is charging ahead with the plan to fly Voskhod 3 for 20 days. Kamanin is doubtful - the life support system is rated for only 12-15 days, and testing to certify it for 25 days cannot be done in time. Korolev is also planning for a 15 November launch (to fly before Gemini 7). Kamanin believes instead a series of three flights should be flown - first to 12-15 days, then to 20 days, then to 25 days. It is essential the military experiments are flown on these flights. Yegorov and Anokhin have been sent to negotiate a protocol to be signed by Kamanin that he will prepare a crew consisting of a spacecraft commander and scientist-astronaut for a 20 day flight in time to support a 15 November launch. Kamanin refuses to sign the document - it is absurd and impossible.


1965 September 27 - Voskhod ECS

Kamanin discusses the environmental control system for the 20-day Voskhod fight. Chief Constructor Voronin tells him that to develop such a system to support two crew for 20 days is fully possible; but it will take months of development and testing to certify it for flight. There is no way it will be ready until the first quarter of 1966.


1965 October 2 - Cosmonauts to learn English

The VVS leadership is demanding that all cosmonauts become proficient in the English language. Kamanin promises to provide a plan within 3 days. Belyayev and Leonov are on the road, in Berlin.


1965 October 4 - Voskhod 3

A major programme review is held on plans for Voskhod s/n 5, 6, and 7. Tsybin insists that to conduct all of the experiments requested by the Ministry of Defence will take ten spacecraft and missions, but only five have been authorised. Spacecraft s/n 5 will fly with dogs, on a biosat mission. Spacecraft s/n 6 and 7 are being completed for 15-day flights with two crew, outfitted for artificial gravity experiments and medical and military research. The readiness of the military experiments is very poor, due to the fact that in the past Malinovskiy over and over again prohibited any work on military uses of space, at least until the ideal military platform was developed. It was only on Keldysh's initiative that any preliminary work had been done at all. Kamanin replies to Tsybin that it was not the business of OKB-1 to develop military experiments; this was the concern of the Military of Defence. Yet, Kamanin admits to himself, there is no single organisation within the Ministry that is supervising this work. Later Kamanin takes Gagarin to a meeting with Vershinin and Marshal Grechko. The Marshal is unimpressed with Gagarin's understanding of the issues involved in the issue of whether the VVS or RVSN should handle manned spaceflight. Kamanin resolves not to take cosmonauts to such high-level meetings in the future. Grechko does understand finally how poorly Malinovskiy and his deputies have handled military spaceflight. But Malinovskiy, and his supporters, Marshal Rudenko, and Colonel-General Ponomaryov, will not give up in their effort to prevent the VVS from becoming the responsible organisation for military spaceflight.


1965 October 9 - Manned spacecraft centre

This issue of future command, communications, and control of manned spaceflights is discussed. The command point used at Baikonur in the past is inadequate for long-duration flights. Existing command points of the VVS or RVSN are also not suitable. The only real solution is development of a command centre in the Moscow area. Improved communications with the spacecraft will also be needed. Currently, manned spacecraft are out of range of the tracking and communications stations on Soviet territory for nine hours a day. HF communications when out of range have proven so unreliable as to be unusable. UHF communications with the tracking ships has been demonstrated (notably on Bykovsky's mission) but the equipment aboard the ships is unreliable, and communications link between the ship and Moscow is not reliable either. The VVS believes the solution is a network of communications aircraft, that can be deployed world-wide during a mission.


1965 October 14 - Long range plans

The issue of ground support for manned lunar missions is discussed within the VVS. It will be necessary to have continuous and reliable tracking and communications of spacecraft in parking orbit prior to trans-lunar injection, in orbits with inclinations between 51 and 65 deg. Kamanin is tasked to develop a forecast and plan for necessary developments in the next 4 to 5 years. Later Kamanin considers cosmonaut travels. Nikolayev and Tereshkova are to go to Japan on 21 October. Leonov and Belyayev have returned from a tour of Bulgaria, Greece, East Germany, and Cuba, but they made several mis-statements during the tour which have been brought to Kamanin's attention. The issue of getting Gagarin back into cosmonaut training is again broached.


1965 October 18 - Cosmonaut candidates

The next two days are spent reviewing cosmonaut flight-engineer candidates from the PVO and VMF. One candidate says he has stopped smoking, then is seen with a cigarette in his hand during one of the breaks.... The Mandate Commission will meet nearly continuously over the next few weeks in selection of the next training group of cosmonauts, with many candidates being rejected after the political backgrounds of their parents or other family members have been reviewed.


1965 October 20 - Leonov and Belyayev accused

Representatives from the Central Committee believe that, when Leonov and Belyayev discussed their spacewalk with US representatives visiting Moscow, this was used by the Americans to accelerate preparations for their own spacewalk from Gemini 4.


1965 October 22 - Gagarin writes a letter to Brezhnev

Gagarin has sent a letter to Brezhnev, complaining of the poor organisation of the Soviet space program. The Kremlin has received it... reaction is awaited. The letter specifically cites the multitude of space projects and de-emphasis of manned efforts.

Text of Gagarin's Letter to Brezhnev

Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Comrade L.I. Brezhnev

Dear Leonid Il'ich!

We are writing to you to raise certain issues, which we consider very important for our state and for us.

Soviet achievements in space exploration are well-known, and there is no need to list all of our victories here. These victories have been achieved and will remain in history to be the pride of our nation forever. The people, the Party, and our leaders have always appropriately connected our achievements in space with our achievements in the construction of socialism. "Socialism is the best launching pad for space flights." This catch phrase circled the entire world. Soviet people said these words with pride, the peoples of the socialist countries believed it was true, and hundreds of millions of people abroad learned the ABC of communism through our achievements in space. Such it was. We, cosmonauts, traveled abroad many times; a thousand times we witnessed how warmly multi-million crowds in various countries greeted Soviet achievements in space.

In the past year, however, the situation has changed. The USA have not only caught up with us, but even surpassed us in certain areas. The flights of space vehicles Ranger-7, Ranger-8, Mariner-4, Gemini-5, and others are serious achievements of American scientists.

This lagging behind of our homeland in space exploration is especially objectionable to us, cosmonauts, but it also damages the prestige of the Soviet Union and has a negative effect on the defense efforts of the countries from the socialist camp.

Why is the Soviet Union losing its leading position in space research? A common answer to this question answer is as follows: the USA have developed a very wide front of research in space; they allocate enormous funds for space research. In the past 5 years they spent more than 20 billion dollars, and in 1965 alone 7 billion dollars. This answer is basically correct. It is well known that the USA spend on space exploration much more than does the USSR.

But the matter is not only funding. The Soviet Union also allocates significant funds for space exploration. Unfortunately, in our country there are many defects in planning, organization, and management of this work. How can one speak about serious planning of space research if we do not have any plan for cosmonauts' flights? The month of October is coming to an end, there is a little time left before the end of the year 1965, but no one in Soviet Union knows whether there will be a manned space flight this year, what will be the task for that flight, and what duration. The same situation was characteristic of all the previous flights of the ship-satellites Vostok and Voskhod. This creates totally abnormal conditions during cosmonauts' preparation for flight and precludes the possibility of preparing crews for flight without hassle ahead of time.

We know that in this country there are plans for developing space technology, we know decisions of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the government that include specific deadlines for the construction of spacecrafts. But we know also that many of these decisions are not being implemented at all, and most are being carried out with huge delays.

Manned space flights are becoming more and more complex and prolonged. The preparation of such flights takes a lot of time, requires special equipment, training spacecraft, and simulators, which are now being created with huge delay and with primitive methods. To put it briefly, we need a national plan of manned space flights which would include the flight task, the date, the composition of the crew, the duration of the flight, the deadline for the preparation of a spacecraft and a simulator, and many other important issues of flight preparation.

Up to now manned space flights have been carried out according to the plans of the USSR Academy of Sciences, while the direct management and technical support have been organized by representatives of the industry and the USSR Ministry of Defense. Items of military significance have been present in flight programs only to some degree, which can be explained by the fact that within the Ministry of Defense there is no organization that would unify the whole complex of questions of space exploration. Everybody is involved in space affairs - the Missile Forces, the Air Force, the Air Defense, the Navy, and other organizations. Such scattering of efforts and resources in space exploration interferes with work; a lot of time is spent on coordination of plans and decisions, and these decisions often reflect narrow departmental interests. The existing situation with the organization of space research contradicts the spirit of the decisions of the September Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU, and it must be changed.

In 1964 the chief of the Joint Staff, the Marshal of the Soviet Union Biriuzov created a special commission. This commission studied in detail the organization of work on space exploration and came to the conclusion that it was necessary to unify all space affairs under the command of the Air Force. The Marshal of Soviet Union S.S. Biriuzov, the General of the Army A.A. Epishev, and the Marshal of the Soviet Union A.?. Grechko supported this proposal. But after the tragic death of the Marshal of the Soviet Union Biriuzov this reasonable proposal was discarded and the Central Administration for Space Exploration (TsUKOS) was organized under the Missile Forces. The creation of this organization changed nothing, however. The narrow departmental approach, the scattering of resources, and the lack of coordination have persisted.

The Air Force leadership and we, cosmonauts, repeatedly addressed the Joint Staff, to the Minister of Defense, and to the Military-Industrial Commission with specific proposals on the construction of and the equipment for spacecrafts that would be capable of carrying out military tasks. As a rule, our proposals were not supported by the Missile Forces leadership. We received such replies as: "Vostok spacecraft do not have any military value, and it is inexpedient to order their construction" and "We will not order Voskhod spacecraft, for there are no funds."


- In 1961 we flew two Vostok spacecraft.
- In 1962 we flew two Vostok spacecraft.
- In 1963 we flew two Vostok spacecraft.
- In 1964 we flew one Voskhod spacecraft.
- In 1965 we flew one Voskhod spacecraft.

In 1965 the Americans launched three Gemini spacecraft, and they are planning to launch two more before the end of the year.

Why have not been enough ships built for our cosmonauts' flights? In any case, not because of the lack of funding. It happened because the leadership of the Missile Forces has more trust in automatic satellites, and it underestimates the role of human beings in space research. It is a shame that in our country, which was the first to sent man into outer space, for four years the question has been debated whether man is needed on board a military spacecraft. In America this question has been resolved firmly and conclusively in favor of man. In this country, many still argue for automata. Only these considerations can explain why we build only 1-2 piloted ships in the same period as 30-40 automatic satellites are being produced. Many automatic satellites cost much more than a piloted ship, and many of them never reach their destination. The Vostok and the Voskhod piloted spacecraft have carried out a full program of scientific research and at the same time have produced a huge political effect for this country.

We do not intend to belittle the value of automatic spacecraft. But an infatuation with them would be, at the very least, harmful. Using the Vostok and the Voskhod spacecraft, it would have been possible to carry out a large complex of very important military research and to extend the duration of flights to 10-12 days. But we have no ships, nothing on which we could fly, nothing on which we could carry out a program of space research.

Besides what is stated above, there are also other defects in the organization of our flights - defects which we cannot remedy by ourselves. In our country there is no unified center for space flight control. During the flight every spacecraft has no communication with the command station in between the sixth and the thirteenth turn circuits of the day. At the testing range, there are bad conditions for training and resting of cosmonauts.

We also have other questions awaiting a resolution. Many questions could be resolved without appealing to the Central Committee of the CPSU. We repeatedly wrote to the Minister of Defense about these questions. We are aware of the petitions from the Air Force leadership to the Ministry of Defense and the government, but these petitions largely did not fulfill their purpose. Many times we met with the Minister of Defense, but unfortunately those were not business meetings. And today we have no confidence that the issues we raise can be resolved at the Ministry of Defense.

Dear Leonid Il'ich! We know how busy you are and nevertheless we ask you to familiarize yourself with our space affairs and needs.

The 50th anniversary of the Great October Revolution is approaching. We would like very much to achieve new big victories in space by the time of this great holiday.

We are deeply convinced that resolving the issue of unifying all military space affairs under the command of the Air Force, the thoughtful planning of space research, and the construction of spacecraft that would solve the problem of military application of piloted spacecraft would appreciably strengthen the defensive power of our homeland.

Pilots-cosmonauts of the USSR

   Yu. Gagarin
   A. Leonov
   P. Belyaev
   G. Titov
   A. Nikolaev
   V. Bykovsky

October 22, 1965


Translation by Slava Gerovitch.
1965 October 23 - Cosmonaut selection

Although Kamanin desired 40 new cosmonaut-trainees, in the end only 17 were selected. They were:

  • Pilots: Voloshin, Sharafutdinov, Shcheglov, Kramarenko, Yakovlev, Petrushenko,Skvortsov, Fyodorov,Klimuk, Sarafanov, Zudov, Kizim
  • Engineers: Kolesnikov,Stepanov Eduard, Lisun, Rozhdestvensky, Khludeyev, Glazkov, Preobrazhensky
  • Navigator: Grishchenko
  • Physician: Degtyarov

1965 October 25 - Space communications plan

VVS specialists have come up with a plan for communications with future manned space missions. It involves establishment of a central mission control centre, and an auxiliary centre in Cuba; development of multi-channel communications systems; and development of relay satellites.


1965 October 26 - Thoughts on Gemini 6

Kamanin notes the aborted first launch attempt of Gemini 6, but expects the Americans to achieve the first space docking, using the crew as pilots to fly the spacecraft. He curses Korolev and Keldysh for wasting three years trying to develop a fully automated system for Soyuz, which has put the Soviet Union well behind the Americans. He does not see any equivalent Soviet achievement until the end of 1966...


1965 November 1 - Soviets losing space race

Brezhnev has not yet had even one hour to glance at Gagarin's letter. Kamanin and the cosmonauts are frustrated - the country has the means - the rockets, the spacecraft designs - to be beating the Americans, but nothing is done due to zero planning, poor organisation and management. Korolev still talks about flying a Voskhod in November, but neither the equipment for the artificial gravity experiment or the 3KD spacecraft for the EVA have been completed. Kamanin hears from Tsybin that Korolev is considering abandoning the Voskhod flights completely so that OKB-1 can concentrate on completing development of the Soyuz...


1965 November 15 - Gagarin letter impact

Brezhnev has finally read Gagarin's letter, and forwarded it to Smirnov for a full report. Smirnov in turn has asked the commanders of the military branches to convene a soviet to address the issues raised in the letter. Marshal Sudets meets with cosmonauts Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, Komarov, Leonov, as well as Kamanin and Kuznetsov. There is a consensus that a single military branch should handle space - either VSS, PVO, or RVSN - but many are opposed to that branch being the VVS. The consensus is that the mission should be given to the PVO.


1965 November 16 - Cosmonaut travels

Tereshkova is back from Japan; next she is to go to Italy on 21 November, then Denmark on 25 November. She is exhausted - Kamanin proposes sending Belyayev and Leonov to Denmark in her place.


1965 November 20 - Military-Technical Soviet of the Ministry of Defence

Marshal Grechko convenes the Soviet to consider the issues raised by Gagarin's letter. Representatives from the PVO, VVS, RVSN, and the NTK attend. Problems in the space program and the loss of the lead in the space race to the Americans are blamed on the Academy of Sciences and the design bureaux and factories - none dare risk blaming poor management and support by the Ministry of Defence. The issues seen are:

  • No program plan for manned flight
  • Manned flights have low priority. Keldysh and Korolev have launched 30 four-stage rockets on robot missions to the moon, Mars, and Venus, with virtually no publicity or scientific effect. The eight rockets used for manned launches have had enormous impact, but this successful program has only had one quarter the allocation of the spectacularly unsuccessful unmanned planetary program
  • Not one new manned spacecraft has been developed in the last five years. Key subsystems - film and photographic equipment, spacesuits, parachutes, communications systems, and oxygen regeneration systems - have only begun preliminary tests in the last year.

There is no high-level support for moving space activities away from what Kamanin calls 'the artillery people' - it is known that Ustinov has made his career in building up the RVSN, and he is not about to criticise them.


1965 November 22 - Tereshkova trip to Italy cancelled.

It is called off the evening before, after the Italian president has downgraded the status of the visit.


1965 November 23 - Spiral spaceplane

Gagarin, Belyayev, and Leonov are preparing for a meeting with Brezhnev. Nothing controversial is to be raised. The real issue now is to develop a winged, manned orbital spacecraft, and a winged booster stage for space launches. This will be essential to future manned military activities. Mikoyan's MiG bureau has been working on the orbital spaceplane, and Tupolev the winged booster stage. Titov, Filipchenko, and Matinchenko and a few other cosmonauts will coordinate with Mikoyan on development of the spaceplane design.


1965 November 24 - Kamanin and Korolev

Kamanin has his first face-to-face meeting with Korolev in 3 months - the longest delay in three years of working together. Their relationship is at low ebb. Despite having last talked about the next Voskhod flight by the end of November, Korolev now reveals that the spacecraft are still incomplete, and that he has abandoned plans to finish the last two (s/n 8 and 9), since these would overlap with planned Soyuz flights. By the first quarter of 1966 OKB-1 expects to be completing two Soyuz spacecraft per quarter, and by the end of 1966, one per month. Voskhod s/n 5, 6, and 7 will only be completed in January-February 1966. Korolev has decided to delete the artificial gravity experiment from s/n 6 and instead fly this spacecraft with two crew for a 20-day mission. The artificial gravity experiment will be moved to s/n 7. Completion of any of the Voskhods for spacewalks has been given up; future EVA experiments will be conducted from Soyuz spacecraft. Korolev says he has supported VVS leadership of manned spaceflight in conversations with Tyulin, Afanasyev, Pashkov, and Smirnov.


1965 November 25 - New cosmonauts

Kamanin meets the 22 new cosmonaut candidates. Some higher officers have questioned the need for so many cosmonauts in training - 32 are already available. But Kamanin sees plans for 40 to 50 manned spaceflights over the next 3 to 4 years. He expects to see some of these cosmonauts walking on the moon, and others on expeditions to other planets. Later Kamanin has to call Korolev after a dispute breaks out between Voronin and Babiychuk and Frolov. Voskhod 3 will not be cleared for flight because the trials of the long-duration environmental control system will not be undertaken at designer Voronin's institute. Furthermore it is still the position of the military that Voskhod 4 should conduct some military experiments.


1965 November 26 - Voskhod 3 arguments

The argument continues over IMBP running qualification tests instead of IAKM. This will cause a 5 to 7 day delay in qualifying the system for flight. Vershinin and Rudenko later clear Kamanin's recommendation for the Voskhod 3 crew for the new 20-day fight plan: Volynov as commander, Khrunov or Gorbatko as pilot, Beregovoi and Shatalov as back-ups.


1965 December 1 - Degtyarov

Kamanin is not pleased with candidate Degtyarov, a 32-year old physician.


1965 December 4 - Voskhod trainers

At LII Kamanin reviews progress on the Voskhod trainer. It should be completed by 15 December, and Volynov and Gorbatko can then begin training for their specific mission tasks. The Volga docking trainer is also coming around. Popovich is having marital problems due to his wife's career as a pilot. Popovich will see if she can be assigned to non-flight duties.


1965 December 6 - Space race

Kamanin notes the Luna 8 mission, which will attempt the first soft landing on the moon the next day, and the launch of Gemini 7, which is to set a new space endurance record and make the first rendezvous in space. The Americans are clearly pulling well ahead of the Soviet Union, but Kamanin vows not to capitulate. He recaps the opposition of Malinovskiy, Smirnov, and Ustinov to manned spaceflight over the last five years. Korolev and Kamanin already wanted to build a second series of ten Vostok spacecraft in 1961, which could have been used to keep the lead in the race with America. Instead this was blocked year after year. The cosmonauts have been trained and ready for the fights aboard Vostok or Voskhod that would have kept the Soviet Union ahead in the space race; what has been lacking is the spacecraft to make the flights.


1965 December 8 - Soyuz VI

Kamanin meets with an engineering delegation from Kuibyshev. They are seeking a close relationship with the cosmonaut cadre in development of the military reconnaissance version of Soyuz, which they are charged with developing. They have already been working with the IAKM for over a year in establishing he basic requirements. Kamanin finds this refreshing after the arms-length relationship with Korolev's bureau. Meanwhile Gemini 7 orbits above, and there is not the slightest word on the schedule for Volynov-Gorbatko's Voskhod 3 flight, which would surpass the new American record.


1965 December 9 - Voskhod 3 ECS trials

The 15-day trial of the oxygen regeneration system for the long-duration Voskhod flights began at IMBP on 3 December. On 8 December Korolev ordered the test run extended to 20 days. The system has to maintain cabin temperature at 21 deg C, within a maximum range of 10 to 35 deg C. It produced 18 litres of oxygen per crew member per hour. In tests Volynov was found to consume 16.5 litres per hour, and Gorbatko 15.5 litres. But during intense activity these values can increase 5 to 6 times. Kamanin is particularly worried that in abort / high-G situations the system may prove inadequate.


1965 December 16 - Space race

Gemini 7 has the space flight duration record, and Gemini 6 has achieved the first rendezvous in orbit. Yesterday Pashkov sent a letter to Smirnov, asking that new series of Voskhod spacecraft be ordered as insurance in case of further delays in development of the Soyuz spacecraft. Kamanin believes he sees panic setting in with the leadership. The next day Kamanin attempts to call Korolev, only to find he is out sick.


1965 December 18 - VPK Emergency Meeting

Smirnov calls the Military Industrial Commission and the Chief Designers together to consider Pashkov's letter and how to respond to the American Gemini successes. Korolev is ill and unable to attend. His deputies are unable to provide any firm schedule for completion and fight of Voskhod or Soyuz spacecraft. Soviet projections are that over the next year the Americans will fly manned missions of 20 to 30 days duration and conduct many military experiments from manned spacecraft. It is decided that a crash effort needs to be applied to Soyuz development. However no further Voskhods will be built beyond the five already being assembled, but those Voskhods will be dedicated to setting record duration flights of 15 to 30 days and conducting military experiments.


1965 December 20 - Falling behind

Gemini 7 has landed. The Americans achieved every manned spaceflight objective they had set for themselves in 1965, and made 50% more launches than the Soviet Union. On the other side, the Russians have only been able to fly Voskhod 2. Korolev promised that three Voskhod and two Soyuz spacecraft would be completed in 1965, and that two of each would fly before November 7. The year has ended, and not a single spacecraft has been delivered. Kamanin calls Korolev, who says that the unfinished Voskhods will not be completed, and that the four completed spacecraft will be used for long-duration flights. All of his bureau's energies will be concentrated on developing Soyuz spacecraft to perfect space docking and to perform lunar flyby missions.


1965 December 22 - Kamanin and Korolev clash

The two have a difficult discussion over crewing for Voskhod 3. Korolev has found that Katys has been taken out of training for the mission. He does not agree with Kamanin's all-military pilot crew of Volynov and Gorbatko. Kamanin is tired of Korolev's caprices and his endless fighting with Glushko, Pilyugin, Voronin, Kosberg, and other chief designers. Korolev has had it with the military excluding civilians and civilian objectives from manned space.


1965 December 23 - Tsybin birthday party

Over 70 space program leaders celebrate Tsybin's 60th birthday at OKB-1. Kamanin and Korolev have cooled down a bit after their argument the day before. Kamanin and Leonov are preparing for a trip to the Soviet Far East on the 28th of December.


1965 December 31 - Daunting year ahead

Kamanin looks ahead to the very difficult tasks scheduled for 1966. There are to be 5 to 6 Soyuz flights, the first tests of the N1 heavy booster, the first docking in space. Preparations will have to intensify for the first manned flyby of the moon in 1967, following by the planned first Soviet moon landing in 1967-1969. Kamanin does not see how it can all be done on schedule, especially without a reorganization of the management of the Soviet space program.


1966 January 3 - Space plans unclear

The new year begins, with no clear space plans. Although Smirnov has ordered the American 14-day space endurance record to be broken by a Soviet fight before the 23rd Party Congress, it is clear this will not happen. Trials of the long-duration oxygen regeneration system at IMBP qualified the system for a 16-day flight. But VVS specialists hesitate to certify it for 20-22 day missions. Kerimov is pushing to get the system qualified by February, but it simply won't be ready in time. Even such a simple thing as getting the two Admira movie cameras from Czechoslovakia required for the Voskhod 4 mission require writing to Marshal Zakharov. The cosmonauts don't even have one in order to learn how to operate them.


1966 January 4 - Korolev visits Cosmonaut Training Center

Korolev visits the centre, and spends more than six hours with the cosmonauts. However he says nothing about concrete flight plans. Afterwards Kamanin meets with Gagarin, Titov, Popovvich, Nikolayev, Tereshkova, Bykovsky, Komarov, and Belyayev (Leonov is at courses at the Academy). A profound pessimism prevails. Nothing has come of the letter to Brezhnev.


1966 January 5 - Voskhod 3 flight date

Tyulin advises Kamanin, that due to the time needed to qualify the environmental control system, Voskhod 3 will fly no earlier than the beginning of March. He still expresses interest in the female Voskhod flight - now a long-duration flight without the spacewalk. Kamanin says that Ponomaryova and Solovyova are fully qualified for such a flight, but that he has no female backup crew, since Yerkina and Kuznetsova have not been trained for that.


1966 January 6 - No sign of Soviets catching up in space

Kamanin reviews the American and Soviet space plans as known to him. In 1965 the Americans flew five manned Gemini missions, and the Soviets, a single Voskhod. In 1966, the Americans plan to accomplish the first space docking with Gemini 8, demonstrate a first-orbit rendezvous and docking with Gemini 10, demonstrate powered flight using a docked Agena booster stage with Gemini 11, and rendezvous with an enormous Pegasus satellite. Against this, the Soviets have no program, no flight schedule. Kamanin can only hope that during the year 2-3 Voskhod flights and 2-3 Soyuz flights may be conducted.


1966 January 8 - Space trainers

Tyulin and Mozzhorin review space simulators at TsPK. The 3KV and Volga trainers are examined. Tyulin believes the simulators need to be finished much earlier, to be used not just to train cosmonauts, but as tools for the spacecraft engineers to work together with the cosmonauts in establishing the cabin arrangement. This was already done on the 3KV trainer, to establish the new, more rational Voskhod cockpit layout. Tyulin reveals that the female Voskhod flight now has the support of the Central Committee and Soviet Ministers. He also reveals that MOM has promised to accelerate things so that four Voskhod and five Soyuz flights will be conducted in 1966. For 1967, 14 manned flights are planned, followed by 21 in 1968, 14 in 1969, and 20 in 1970. This adds up to 80 spaceflights, each with a crew of 2 to 3 aboard. Tyulin also supports the Kamanin position on other issues - the Voskhod ECS should be tested at the VVS' IAKM or Voronin's factory, not the IMBP. The artificial gravity experiment should be removed from Voskhod and replaced by military experiments. He promises to take up these matters with Korolev.


1966 January 10 - Korolev hospitalised

Korolev is in the hospital, requiring an operation on his colon. It is not expected to be difficult, although it carries some risk like all surgeries. He is expected to be in the hospital for two to three weeks.


1966 January 11 - Female flight go-ahead

Tyulin has ordered the crew for the female Voskhod flight to enter final flight training and the preparation of all necessary space suits, cabin uniforms, crew couch liners, documentation, and other final preparations.


1966 January 12 - IAKM flight preparations

Kamanin is told that medical support for the coming manned flights will indeed be moved from IMBP to IAKM. He is ordered to accelerate medical preparations for such a flight. This will include: prediction of the radiation dose a crew will receive on a 20-day flight in an orbit with an apogee of 1000 km; prediction and sampling plan to determine the crew's loss of calcium and other changes to the body over 20 days in zero gravity; prepare an exercise plan to keep the crew in condition on a 20-day flight; determine the medical data to be collected for a 15-20 day female flight.


1966 January 13 - VVS role limited

The VVS General Staff informs Tyulin that they will not accept the additional tasks agreed with Kamanin. IMBP will retain the leading role in biological support of manned missions. Kamanin is forced to call Tyulin and tell him he nevertheless will provide trained crews for three Voskhod and two Soyuz flights in 1966, one of them with a female crew.


1966 January 14 - Korolev's death

Korolev dies at age 59 during what was expected to be routine colon surgery in Moscow. The day began for Kamanin with firm plans finally in place for the next three Voskhod and first three Soyuz flights. Volynov and Shonin will be the crew for the first Voskhod flight, with Beregovoi and Shatalov as their back-ups. That will be followed by a female flight of 15-20 days, with the crew begin Ponomaryova and Solovyova, with their back-ups Sergeychik (nee Yerkina) and Pitskhelaura (nee Kuznetsova). Tereshkova will command the female training group. Training is to be completed by March 15. After this Kamanin goes to his dacha, only to be called by General Kuznetsov around 19:00, informing him that Korolev has died during surgery.

Kamanin does not minimise Korolev's key role in creating the Soviet space program, but believes the collectives can continue the program without him. In truth, Kamanin feels Korolev has made many errors of judgment in the last three years that have hurt the program. Mishin, Korolev's first deputy, will take over management of Korolev's projects. Kamanin feels that Mishin is a clever and cultured engineer, but he is no Korolev. Over the next three days the cosmonauts console Korolev's widow.

Korolev's surgery was done personally by Petrovskiy, the Minister of Health. Korolev was told the surgery would take only a few minutes, but after five hours on the operating table, his body could no longer endure the insult, and he passed away.


1966 January 18 - Korolev buried in Red Square

The urn with Korolev's ashes is placed in the Kremlin Wall by an honor guard of cosmonauts and the highest leaders of the state. Kamanin knows that the like of Korolev will not be seen again. There are dozens of Chief Designers, but none with the genius, talent, and drive of Korolev. Kamanin worries for the future in the space race with the Americans. Even in life, Korolev was never able to achieve more than one or two spaceflights per year. Now, in 1966, they are supposed to achieve four times that flight rate without him.


1966 January 20 - Voskhod 3 delays

The 20-day mission is supposed to launch at the beginning of March, yet there is as yet no resolution authorising the flight, no completed spacecraft, and several subystems and equipment items have not completed qualification test. The State Commission for the flight has not yet even begun work yet.


1966 January 24 - New space schedules

The VVS General Staff reviews a range of documents, authored by Korolev before his death, and supported by ministers Afanasyev and Petrovskiy. The schedules for the projects for flying around and landing on the moon are to be delayed from 1966-1967 to 1968-1969. A range of other space programs will similarly be delayed by 18 to 24 months. An institute for tests of space technology will be established at Chelomei's facility at Reutov. The IMBP will be made the lead organization for space medicine. Responsibility for space technology development will be moved from MOM to 10 other ministries. 100 million roubles have been allocated for the establishment of new research institutes. Kamanin is appalled, but Malinovskiy favours getting rid of the responsibility for these projects. The arguments over these changes - which reduce the VVS role in spaceflight - will be the subject of much of Kamanin's diary over the following weeks.


1966 January 28 - OKB-1 Program Review

Kamanin, Gagarin, Komarov, and other VVS staff attend the first program review held since Korolev's death. Mishin reviews spacecraft build status. Voskhod s/n 5 is to be shipped to Tyuratam on 1 February and launched in the first half of February. This is the spacecraft fitted for the 30-day unmanned biosat mission with dogs. Kamanin had argued with Korolev over the last year that this flight was unnecessary, but Korolev did not want to expose the cosmonauts to the risk of a long-duration spaceflight with a heavily modified spacecraft without an unmanned precursor flight. The manned flight of Voskhod s/n 6 on an 18-day mission can only begin after the landing of s/n 5, e.g. launch in the period 10-20 March.


1966 January 30 - Voskhod training

Kamanin observed cosmonaut training at TsPK on this Saturday. Beregovoi and Shatalov work in the Voskhod trainer. The exercises show that the Svinets military equipment is working poorly. Engineers are brought in Saturday evening and Sunday to fix the problems. Three crews are in training for Voskhod 3, prepared for flights of up to 30-40 days duration. Prime crew is now Volynov and Shonin; backup Beregovoi and Shatalov; reserve cosmonauts Katys and Gorbatko. Afterwards the daily routine for the long-duration missions is discussed - communications session protocols, scientific and military experiments (although these are still not completely developed). Of particular concern to Volynov is that each cosmonaut gulp down 2.088 litres of water per day. There is no good way of measuring the precise amount - some kind of dosage device needs to be developed. Beregovoi's worry is the unnecessary complex and irrational design of operation of the Svinets device. Shonin is concerned with problems with the NAZ survival equipment. There are so many open issues, yet the final flight program has to be established by 5 February.


1966 February 1 - Titov and Spiral

Titov has really turned himself around. Since being assigned to the Spiral spaceplane project, he has become newly motivated and involved with the project. He has obtained training on the MiG-21, with 120 flight hours per year required in support of the programme. All of this in parallel with academic studies at the Zhukovskiy Academy.


1966 February 2 - Voskhod parachute system

Smirnov again questions the chief designers about the reliability of the parachute systems developed by Tkachev. The VVS remains troubled as to the reliability of these systems. Recently the system has been tested at Fedosiya to increase its rating to 2900 to 3200 kg for use on Voskhod-3. Three parachutes in these tests suffered rips during deployment. The Voskhod-3 capsule will weigh 3000 kg. Tkachev says he will guarantee its safety, but VVS and LII specialists do not share this optimism. Leonov, Gagarin, and various cosmonauts ask Kamanin to stop further showings of the new film comedy "30-3", which they say denigrates Soviet cosmonauts. However a showing to the leadership is enjoyed by all, and they see no grounds for surpressing it.


1966 February 4 - Luna 9

Luna 9 has become the first spacecraft to return pictures from the lunar surface. Kamanin welcomes the worldwide press coverage of a new Soviet first in space. Even Vershinin expresses interest in learning details of the mission.


1966 February 10 - Voskhod 3 difficulties

The crew is to be declared ready for flight on 26 February, with the examinations before the official board on 27 February, but there are still many items of medical and military research equipment not completed. In particular the Svinets equipment, which is to be used by the cosmonauts to observe launch of four rockets from Soviet territory in the infrared band, cannot seem to be made to work. This was considered the most important military experiment aboard, of importance in development of new anti-ballistic missile systems. Spacecraft s/n 5, for the dog flight, is still not completed. If Voskhod 3 is to be launched only after the landing of s/n 5, it is now impossible for the 15 March launch date to be met. And the controversy still rages over responsibility for final qualification test of the 20-day environmental control system, and problems in its operation.


1966 February 10 - State Commission

The commission, chaired by Tyulin, with attendance by Mishin, Tsybin, Shabarov, Kerimov, and others considers manned flight plans for 1966. The 20-day dog flight of Voskhod s/n 5 is expected to launch on 22-23 February. Kamanin notes that although he is not against the flight, it has no interest to the military. Launch of Voskhod 3 is set for 20-23 March. Kamanin names his crews for the flight - Volynov/Shonin and Beregovoi/Shatalov as back-ups. Only Pravetskiy objects to these selections, pushing Katys for the prime crew. This settled, Mishin announces he still intends to pursue the artificial gravity experiment on the flights of Voskhod s/n 7 and/or 8. Kamanin informs Mishin that he has requested for more than a year that this experiment be moved to a Soyuz flight - there are 700 kg of new military scientific equipment that has to be flown aboard Voskhod, leaving little room for nothing else.

It is decided that the flights of Voskhod s/n 5 and 6 will be run from Moscow rather than from the cosmodrome. The state commission will return to Moscow immediately after launch for this purpose. Four groups of staff will follow the flight on four-hour shifts.

Tyulin, Keldysh, and Mishin want engineer and scientist cosmonauts to be trained for early Soyuz flights. Kamanin agrees, telling them he will submit suitable candidates. The meeting goes well, possibly since in the absence of Korolev the commission is stacked with military representatives - of 17 members, 9 are military.


1966 February 14 - Lunar expedition

Kamanin spent six hours the previous Saturday reviewing the development plan over the next 24-30 months of the Soviet manned lunar landing with Gagarin, Nikolayev, and Komarov. Today is the third day of the duration test of the Voskhod-3 ECS at IMBP. It is showing unstable temperature control; the cabin is vacillating between 25 and 15 deg C. After review by the engineers and Voronin, it is decided to continue with the run.


1966 February 15 - L1 trainers

Tyulin lays out the military experiments that are to be conducted aboard Voskhod during 1966. Plans for completion of an L1 trainer for preparations for a Soviet circumlunar flight are discussed.


1966 February 16 - Voskhod ECS Tests

The tests at IMBP are going very poorly. The temperature in the cabin has gone as low as 12 deg C. In factory trials Voronin was able to control this by closing the 'window blind' radiators.


1966 February 17 - Soviet Lunar Landing Plans

Kamanin presents his plan to train 5 to 6 crews for the lunar landing mission over a 30 month period. Only experienced cosmonauts, with prior spaceflight experience, will be assigned to these crews. Kamanin lays out for the VVS leadership the complex series of events the cosmonauts will have to complete in the L3 lunar-orbit rendezvous scheme, including transfer between spacecraft of a single lunar landing cosmonaut in free space in lunar orbit. Crews need to be formed immediately, with two cosmonauts per crew - the L3 mission commander, and the second cosmonaut who will land on the moon. In order to accomplish the mission on schedule, a new air regiment needs to be formed, with the necessary flying laboratories, simulators and trainers, space suits, test stands and surface simulators, and other equipment necessary to train the crew for the mission.


1966 February 18 - Cosmos 110 State Commission

The first launch commission with Korolev's chair empty. The chief designers certify the full readiness of the booster, spacecraft, and the dogs that will crew the spacecraft. It is declared that the launch can proceed on 22-23 February. The only problem discussed is continued disquiet with the parachute system. Rips in the parachute have developed in the last four tests at Fedosiya. The system was designed for the original Vostok capsule mass of 2.6 tonnes, but the next Voskhods will have capsule landing weighs of 3.0 to 3.3 tonnes. Comrade Tkachev now refuses to guarantee the reliability of the system at landing weights over 2.9 to 3.0 tonnes. The Voronezhsk factory guarantees the reliability of the four third stage engines, despite the explosion of an engine on the test stand in December 1965.

Launch of spacecraft s/n 6, Voskhod 3, is set for 22-23 March, with landing on 12 April. Afterwards the endless discussion of the role of IMBP in manned spaceflight, and especially military spaceflight is hashed over again in a bitter argument.


1966 February 19 - Soyuz trainer

A meeting is held with the Deputy Minister of MAP, OKB-1 leaders, and 20 developers of subsystems to nail down completion of the Soyuz trainer. It was supposed to be completed by 31 March, with cosmonaut training to start 15 April. In fact OKB-1 has not even begun work on it, and they only consider it long-term work. MOM in fact has insisted that the trainers be finished early, so that they can be used as development tools by the engineers in cooperation with the cosmonauts. OKB-1 engineers don't see it that way.


1966 February 22 - Cosmos 110

Successfully recovered March 15, 1966 13:00 GMT. Precursor mission for Voskhod 3 hardware. Two dogs carried into lower Van Allen radiation belts.
Officially: Biological research.

Voskhod s/n 5 launched at 23:10 Moscow time, with two dogs, Veterka and Ygolka, aboard. This will be a 25-day mission. Kamanin is disgusted, he had proposed this as a 25-day mission by a single cosmonaut, but Korolev had constantly held with the 'dog variant'. Preparations for Voskhod-3 are proceeding well. The prime and back-up crews have completed their training and will take their examinations on 28 February. Parallel trials of the oxygen regeneration system at IMBP and OKB-124 both went well (IMBP, 12 days so far, temperature 16-24 deg C, 70% humidity; OKB-124, 10 days so far, temperature 18-16 deg C, 65% humidity).


1966 February 28 - Voskhod 3 crews certified

All four members of the prime and back-up crews pass their final examination before the board with 'outstanding' scores. On the negative side, the trials of the Voskhod-3 at IMBP were stopped on 25 February after 14 days when the oxygen content of the cabin fell below minimums. Kamanin believes that this reflects not on the ECS system itself, but on the incompetence of IMBP staff in conducting the experiment. However even Kamanin is of the opinion that the system is not yet qualified for a 20-day manned flight. Parachute trials are also going badly. The spacecraft has to be shipped to the cosmodrome, but it is not ready. Voronin and Tkachev both say their systems are good enough for flight, but for Kamanin, in the unforgiving arena of spaceflight, good enough is not enough. He notes the death of American astronauts See and Bassett in a T-38 crash. Neither the Americans or the Soviets have lost a pilot in space yet, but only because no compromise is allowed in the preparations, no uncertainties allowed to remain before launch. Kamanin had apprehension before Gagarin's flight, and even greater apprehension before the flight of Voskhod-2. But his current level concern for Voskhod 3 exceeds both. Safety provisions are less, the spacecraft will orbit at an unprecedented high altitude, the load of experiments and scientific research is enormous.


1966 March 1 - Voskhod 3 postponed

Tyulin advises that the State Commission has decided to postpone the flight of Voskhod 3 to late April. The cosmonauts ready, but the spacecraft is not. OKB-1 staff at Baikonur also are tasked to launch the Luna 10 probe and another Molniya-1 communications satellite before Voskhod 3 can be launched. No fixed date for the manned launch has been set.


1966 March 3 - Voskhod 3 ECS

Today the trials at Voronin's OKB-124 had to be halted after a 16 day run, when the cabin oxygen level went out of limits. It seems the cosmonauts could control it in flight by closely monitoring the cabin atmosphere composition and changing cartridges as necessary (typically after 5.5 days), but this is not a reliable basis for a flight. For a 20 day flight, a 22-day endurance run on earth should be a minimum, but neither the IMBP or OKB-124 have been able to make the system run longer than 14-16 days before it breaks down. Later the State Commission meets. Cosmos 110 continues in normal flight, the dogs and other life forms are alive. The only minus is that data received is complete due to the failure of the antennae to deploy.


1966 March 12 - Voskhod/Soyuz crews

Tyulin and Mozzhorin review with Kamanin crewing plans. Even though the missions of Voskhod 4 and 5 are not yet clear, Tyulin wants to settle on Beregovoi and Katys for Voskhod 4, and Ponomaryova and Solovyova for Voskhod 5. Since October 1965 six crews have been in training for Soyuz flights: Gagarin -Voronov, Nikolayev-Gorbatko, Bykovsky-Matinchenko, Komarov-Kolodin, Zaikin-Khrunov, and Popovich-Artyukhin. But these are just nominal groupings, and firm crew assignments by mission have not yet been made.


1966 March 15 - Cosmos 110 landing commission

The State Commission meets on the 21st day of flight. The life forms are still alive, although the atmosphere in the cabin isgradually worsening (oxygen has gone from 143 to 136 mm Hg and the carbon dioxide level has gone up from 0.89% to 0.91%). The flight duration objective has been fulfilled, and although the designers say the ECS could run for a total of 36 days, it is decided to bring the capsule down within the next two days. A landing commission of 25 military and engineering representatives is formed to oversee the process. It is decided to bring the capsule down on the 330th orbit, on 16 March, with an emergency re-entry possible at 15:30 on 15 March if the cabin parameters worsen.


1966 March 16 - Landing of Cosmos 110

The 'Spusk' landing command is transmitted to the capsule at 14:00, all proceeds normally, and the capsule makes a soft landing at 17:15 210 km southeast of Saratov, 60 km from the aim point. All recovery systems and radio beacons work well, and within 30 to 40 minutes after landing it is reported from the site that the capsule is all right and the dogs alive. However due to bad weather in the landing zone - 100 m ceiling, 1-2 km visibility, fog - the capsule cannot be recovered until the next morning. Kamanin is attacked by the leadership for this delay - but compares the performance by the VVS recovery forces with the American failure to promptly recover Gemini 8 after its emergency re-entry.


1966 March 23 - Cosmos 110 review

An OKB-1 review is held, without Tyulin and Mishin, who are at Baikonur supervising launch of a Monlniya satellite and Luna 10. Tsybin leads the meeting. Although the Cosmos 110 flight was successful, there were several deviations: the Zarya antenna did not deploy, the Komar system did not 'digest' after landing, the ion flow sensors were unreliable, and the Signal radio system only functioned in the HF band within the zone of visibility of a tracking station. There was no detectable dangerous radiation at the 900 km apogee of the satellite. The dogs were alive, but uncoordinated in their movement after landing, and showed a loss of calcium in their bones. The flight also showed good functioning of the ECS - the problems seen on the ground could not be duplicated in flight. A new run at IMBP has reached its 16th day with no abnormalities, which clears the system for use on an 18-19 day manned flight. The Voskhod-3 spacecraft has been completed and shipped to Baikonur; the booster has also been delivered and is ready for flight. The crew has completed their flight plans and ship's logs. After completion of the ECS trials (planned for 10 April), Voskhod 3 will be cleared for launch.

Work on the Svinets experiment continues. It was discovered that the device needs a night horizon, and the absence of a moon in the sky, in order to detect a rocket launch in the infrared band. The designer has been working with the cosmonauts for three months to fix this and problems in reliably operating the equipment. Kamanin estimates it will take 10 to 15 days to rectify these problems. Svinets is a crucial experiment, but in his view the development of the device by the PVO has been poorly managed.


1966 March 26 - Voskhod 3 test failure

IMBP has completed its tests of the ECS, which only ran 18.5 days before shutting down instead of the 20-day objective. This means essentially that any flight will be limited to 17 to 18 days, and a 20-day manned flight will not be possible during 1966.


1966 March 29 - 23rd Party Congress

All flown cosmonauts have been named as delegates, including Titov, who has objected to being taken away from his MiG-21 training for this.


1966 March 30 - Voskhod military space projects

The military has over a tonne of military experiments they want flown, which would require at a minimum manned flights of Voskhod s/n 6, 7, 8, and 9. Development of a military version of Soyuz is proceeding slowly. It would be best to use these existing spacecraft to fly these experiments as soon as possible, but MOM and OKB-1 have decided only to complete spacecraft s/n 6 and 7.


1966 March 31 - Voskhod 3 in limbo

Tyulin has not yet left for Baikonur to organize the launch campaign, and OKB-1 is silent about any schedule or plan for launch of s/n 7, the subsequent spacecraft. In fact, despite all the resolutions passed, they have not produced any plan for manned flights during 1966 yet...


1966 April 1 - Voskhod 4 to 6 in jeopardy

In a meeting of Soviet Ministers, it is revealed that Voskhod s/n 7, 8, and 9 will likely not be completed. Kamanin objects - he wants these flights to be used for manned test of military equipment in space. He does not trust waiting even further for the availability of the untested and unflown 7K-OK spacecraft.


1966 April 4 - L1 and Voskhod

The Luna 10 robot orbiter has successfully entered moon orbit, conducted two radio communications sessions, including broadcast back to the earth of the "International", the Socialist hymn, to the 23rd Party Congress. Bushuev from OKB-1 is seeking cosmonaut representatives for the commission that will inspect the mock-up of the L1 circumlunar spacecraft. Kamanin nominates Gagarin, Komarov, Nikitin, Frolov, Smirnov, and others. Kamanin informs OKB-1 that he has obtained the support of the PVO and RVSN for the completion and flight of Voskhod s/n 7, 8, and 9. A letter to Smirnov asking for those fights to be conducted will be drafted.


1966 April 7 - Voskhod 3 delays

The cosmonauts are busy with various national delegations to the 23rd Party Congress. Tyulin has had to be present at the meetings of the Lenin Prize Committee. One thing is clear - Voskhod 3 will not launch in April. The Molniya launch went badly; the rocket crashed in northern Barabinsk after the third stage failed. Until the reason for the failure is understood, the booster for Voskhod 3 will not be cleared for flight.


1966 April 8 - Voskhod 3 further delayed

Tyulin reveals that Voskhod 3 should be completely integrated and ready to go by the end of April, but the flight will be pushed back even farther than that. Mishin is also raising questions about Voskhod 4 and Voskhod 5. The cosmonauts are ready, but have nothing to do but wait. Who will supervise future manned space missions is in question. Korolev was de facto leader in the past. The others - the President of the State Commission, the President of the Academy of Sciences - were in fact just there in support roles. Without Korolev, this may change in the future, and the question has become controversial.


1966 April 11 - Popovich incident

Gagarin, Gorbatko, Nikolayev, Popovich, and their wives went out with delegates to the 23 Party Congress from Kiev. Afterwards an argument broke out between Popovich and his wife when she caught him in an embrace with Gorbatko's wife. Popovich struck his wife in the presence of the others, and her brother punched Popovich in response, giving him a black eye.


1966 April 22 - Waiting on Voskhod

The search for the cause of the Molniya booster failure continues. A high oscillation vibration problem with the engine that has cropped up twice (but only on the test stand) has been cleared of responsibility. Tereshkova is going on a tour of Sweden. The cosmonauts' wives are preparing a letter denouncing Popovich for shutting down his wife's career and his abuse of her. Throughout the period April to May Kamanin is preoccupied with his wife, who is extremely ill in the hospital.


1966 April 26 - Soyuz simulators

The simulators and partial-task trainers continue very much behind schedule. There is talk of moving responsibility for them from Darevskiy's bureau to OKB-1. Popovich's fitness for future flight and command assignments is questionable. Nevertheless, he will join Titov, Leonov, Volynov, Shonin, Zaikin, Gagarin, and Solovyova at the Zhukovskiy Academy, from which they will be expected to graduate with advanced degrees in engineering in October 1967. Nikolayev, Bykovsky, and Gorbatko will finish one or two years later, since they will be preoccupied with flight assignments on the 7K-OK.


1966 April 27 - L1 Mock-up Inspection

The L1 inspection has not gone well. The cosmonauts find that the spacecraft has the same safety problems as Voskhod: no spacesuits, no reserve parachute for the spacecraft, no signal sent when the parachute deploys (the UHF beacon only begins emitting 10 seconds after landing). Supposedly this unsafe and poorly designed spacecraft is supposed to take cosmonauts around the moon by November 1967. Kamanin finds this incredible.


1966 April 29 - Cosmonaut travels

Kamanin plans to make Popovich and Titov deputy commanders of cosmonaut detachments preparing for flight of the Soyuz 7K-OK and Spiral spaceplane. Leonov is back from a tour of France; Titov is preparing to go to Afghanistan, and Tereshkova to Armenia. But that night Titov does not come home - he is hanging out again with artists and other unacceptable types.


1966 May 3 - Soviet recovery planning

Kamanin is upset over the lack of resources he is given to plan and carry out manned spacecraft recovery for circumlunar missions, which may splash down in the ocean or land almost anywhere on earth. His staff dedicated to this are to be increased from 3 to 6, and he has another 8 dedicated to survival equipment. But he figures the Americans must have over 500 staff assigned to just this problem alone.


1966 May 6 - Voskhod 3 go-ahead

Kamanin receives the order to prepare Volynov and Shatalov and their crews for a 20-27 May launch date. The commanders are understandably upset about the constant postponements. Later the continuing transgressions of Popovich and Titov are discussed with Gagarin and Nikolayev. Are they really fit to be detachment commanders?


1966 May 10 - Voskhod 3 spiked

A meeting of the VPK Military Industrial Commission begins with Tyulin, Mishin, Burnazyan, and Kamanin certifying the readiness for launch of Voskhod 3 on 25-28 May. Then Smirnov drops a bombshell: Voskhod 3 should be cancelled because: an 18-day flight will be nothing new; further work on Voskhod 3 will only interfere with completion of the Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft, which is to be the primary Soviet piloted spacecraft; and a new spaceflight without any manoeuvring of the spacecraft or a docking in orbit will only highlight the lead the Americans have. Kamanin argues that the long work of preparing for the flight is finally complete, and that it will set two new space records (in manned flight altitude and duration). Furthermore the flight will include important military experiments, which cannot be flown on early Soyuz flights. Smirnov and Pashkov appear not to be swayed by these arguments, but back down a bit. The State Commission for the flight may continue its work.


1966 May 12 - Voskhod 3 State Commission

Chief Designer A A Golubev from OKB-154 Voronezh discusses the failure of his engines on the third stage of the Molniya launch on 27 March. He points out that the third stage has operated successfully in 500 stand trials and over 100 flights. It is true there have been seven instances of high-frequency oscillations in test stand runs of the engines, going back to the time of Tereshkova's flight, but these are felt to be due to the test stand propellant feed set-up and would not occur in flight engines. Despite no definite cause having been found for the third stage failure on 27 March, he guarantees his engines ready for flight. Other commission members question his optimism, but finally his guarantee is accepted, dependent on a thorough quality assurance review and certification by military officials responsible for control of the production processes at the factory. Voronin certifies the ECS system for an 18 day flight. Tsybin certifies the readiness of the spacecraft, and Shabarov the readiness of the booster at the launch centre. The absence of Korolev's presence is sorely felt, especially in handling the opposition of Smirnov and Pashkov to the flight. Nevertheless, the order is given for final preparations to proceed, with launch set for 22-28 May. However the confidence of the commission members in standing up to Smirnov is tenuous, and it is clear that any delay into June or July will kill the flight.


1966 May 16 - Voskhod 3 delays

Tyulin has already warned that military crews at Baikonur are 'going slow' in Voskhod 3 preparations. Now it is reported from Voronezh that the military quality control official is refusing to certify the engines for the third stage of Voskhod 3 as ready for flight. It is clear that the flight will slip into June at this rate...


1966 May 18 - Communist Party Administrative Section reviews space program

Kamanin reports the sad state of affairs. There is no Soviet state organ tasked with systematic management of the space program (the VPK and Smirnov only handle this as one of many tasks): within the Ministry of Defence there is no single organ that promotes and guides military space interests (TsUKOS under Karas only works to order, and does not formulate plans or policy); there is no one at the Academy of Sciences, in industry , or the Ministry of Defence charged with managing manned spaceflight (only 4% - 8 of 200 launches by the Soviet Union - have been on manned missions); in the last six years no new manned spacecraft has been flown (Voskhod being merely a modification of Vostok); the new Soyuz spacecraft is 3 to 4 years behind schedule due to the insistence it be capable of fully automatic docking in space; no adequate trainers for manned spacecraft have ever been delivered.


1966 May 19 - L1 flight plan

VPK resolution number 101 dated 27 April 1966 finally hits Kamanin's desk. It issues the orders to industry for implementation of the Party resolution 655-268 of 3 August 1964. 14 7K-L1 spacecraft are to be completed: one in the third quarter of 1966, two in the fourth quarter, and the rest between January and September 1967. Final integration of the first spacecraft is to be completed in October 1966,and flight trials from December 1966 to March 1967. Detailed planning for completion of simulators and trainers for the L1, and for international recovery forces to recover spacecraft returning from the moon, are to be completed within two weeks to a month from the date of the resolution. Meanwhile Tyulin reports that the launch of Voskhod 3 in May is no longer possible, and likely will be delayed until July. It is clear to Kamanin that Smirnov has effectively killed off Voskhod 3 in order to concentrate on the Soyuz, L1, and L3 programs.


1966 May 20 - L1 recovery issues

Kamanin discusses with VVS management the huge task of organizing recovery forces that can find and pick up a manned spacecraft returning from the moon anywhere on the earth. Receivers for the spacecraft's homing beacons have to be installed on a fleet of ocean-going vessels and recovery aircraft. This requirement has been known for six years, but nothing has been done yet.


1966 May 21 - Voskhod 3 shifted to July

Based on the further delay, it is decided to send the crews and their families to the sanatorium Chemitokvadzhe. Kamanin takes a month's vacation to nurse him wife after her release from the hospital.


1966 June 21 - Mishin asserts himself

Gagarin and Leonov visit Kamanin, who is on vacation at his dacha. They tell him of manoeuvres by Tyulin, Burnazyan, and Mishin in his absence. A VPK resolution will name crews for Soyuz missions that will consist of "invalid" engineers from OKB-1 (Anokhin, Frolov, Makarov, Volkov) instead of trained, flown cosmonauts (Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky).


1966 July 2 - Soyuz crew manoeuvres

Kamanin is back from leave and orients himself. VVS General Rudenko has been visited by Mishin, Tsybin, and Tyulin. They want to replace Kamanin's crews for the first Soyuz mission in September-October with a crew made up of OKB-1 engineers: Dolgopolov, Yeliseyev, and Volkov as the prime crew, Anokhin, Makarov, and Grechko as back-ups. Kamanin believes this absurd proposal, made only three months before the planned flight date, shows a complete lack of understanding on the part of OKB-1 management of the training and fitness required for spaceflight. Kamanin has had eight cosmonauts (Komarov, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Bykovsky, Voronov, Kolodin, Gagarin, and Nikolayev) training for this flight since September 1965. Yet Mishin and Tyulin have been shopping this absurd proposal to Smirnov, Ustinov, and Malinovskiy, who do not know enough to reject it.


1966 July 4 - Soyuz simulators

The 7K-OK simulator consists of a mock-up of the BO living compartment and SA re-entry capsule only. The interiors are not yet fitted out with equipment, and development of the optical equipment to allow the cosmonauts to train with simulated dockings is proceeding very slowly. Mishin has promised a dozen times to speed up the work on the trainers, but produced nothing. Meanwhile Mishin is proceeding to train his cosmonaut team for Soyuz flights in September. It is said that he has other leaders, including Burnazyan and Keldysh, on his side.


1966 July 6 - State Commission on Manned Spaceflight

Tyulin heads a meeting that brings the Soyuz crewing dispute into the open. The opposing crews are represented as follows:

  • Soyuz s/n 3: VVS: commander: Komarov; backup Belyayev. MOM: commander: Dolgopolov; backup Grechko. Flight engineer: VVS: open; MOM: Makarov, Backup: Bugrov.
  • Soyuz s/n 4: VVS: commander: Bykovsky; backup Nikolayev. MOM: commander: Yeliseyev; backup Anokhin. Flight engineer: VVS: open; MOM: Kubasov, Backup: Volkov.

Kamanin is furious. Mishin and Tyulin think an engineer can be trained to be a spacecraft commander in three months, without passing a flight physical, without being a qualifed pilot, without screening and training on the centrifuge or zero-G aircraft, and without parachute training. They put no value in six years of VVS experience in cosmonaut training. They give no weight to the years of general training, spaceflight experience, and ten months of Soyuz-specific training his candidates have already had. He notes that the United States trains crews for a minimum of one to two years before a flight. Kamanin says this decision will not stand.


1966 July 9 - Struggle for space leadership

In the previous days Kamanin has been preparing Vershinin and Rudenko for the struggle to ensure the Ministry of Defence's interests in space are preserved and defended. Malinovskiy, Smirnov, and Ustinov must be convinced of the righteousness of the VVS position on space crew preparation and training. At the beginning of 1966, Kamanin thought 1966 would be the year Russia would leap ahead again in the space race. At that time four manned Voskhod and four manned Soyuz flights were expected. Now the year is half over, and it is clear that the only remaining Voskhod flight will not go ahead, and it will be luck if even two Soyuz missions are flown. Instead of a year of triumph, 1966 will see the USA pulling far ahead in the space race. This is the fault of the incredibly poor management of the Soviet space program by Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Malinovskiy -- but even more fundamentally due to the inept management of OKB-1 and TsUKOS. The Voskhod program was delayed, then destroyed by OKB-1's insistence on inclusion of their poorly thought-out and developed experiment in artificial gravity. VVS was always opposed to this experiment, yet OKB-1 dragged the program out for years trying to perfect it. Flights of the Soyuz spacecraft could already have occurred in 1962-1963, had Korolev not ignored VVS recommendations and insisted on perfecting a fully automatic rendezvous and docking system. Development of this system delayed the Soyuz project a minimum of three years.


1966 July 12 - Soyuz crews

Kamanin meets with Tsybin (Mishin being unavailable on 'command' activities). For over two hours they argue about Soyuz crew plans. Kamanin finds it absurd that OKB-1 thinks they can turn engineers into spacecraft commanders with two to three months training, when it takes the VVS two to four years. He also declares himself categorically opposed to sending crew out on spacewalks with serious health defects. He tries to impress on Tsybin that it will be fatal to send men into space without medical screening, centrifuge and zero-gravity screening and training. It would be insane to send men out into open space to conduct work without training on representative equipment, dressed in a spacesuit, in a zero-G aircraft. He declares himself ready to train candidates selected by the Academy of Science and MOM as cosmonauts, but only on a sensible and professional basis, not a crash program. Kamanin senses that Tsybin realises the fallacy of MOM's position, but he is only following the orders of Mishin, Tyulin, and Korolev before them. He promises to discuss the matter again with Mishin.


1966 July 13 - Struggle for space continues

Kamanin has prepared a draft letter from the Minister of Defence to the Central Committee decrying the lead of the United States in military space research and manned spaceflight. But the letter has not been forwarded. Rudenko has sought a meeting with Smirnov on the attempt by MOM and OKB-1 to take over all manned spaceflight functions, but Kamanin does not believe that he or Vershinin have Smirnov's ear.


1966 July 16 - Cosmonaut meeting with Brezhnev

Brezhnev has finally agreed to meet with Gagarin, Leonov, and Kamanin on 28 or 29 July. Gagarin will be in Czechoslovakia on 25 July, and Leonov in Hungary; they'll have to be back by the 27th to prepare for the meeting. Kamanin holds no great hope for the outcome - the cosmonauts' desire to reorganize and reprioritise Soviet spaceflight will meet powerful opposition from Ustinov, Smirnov, and Malinovskiy.


1966 July 20 - Heated exchange with Mishin

Kamanin and VVS officers spend more than two hours in a heated exchange with Mishin and his staff at OKB-1. Mishin is attacked for delays in completion of Soyuz; his demand that OKB-1 cosmonauts be trained in VVS zero-G aircraft without any agreement on this having been reached; the lack of work on spacesuits for the Soyuz flights by Severin; and above all his "illegal" training of his own cosmonauts. Mishin responds with wild attacks against the competence of Kamanin's cosmonauts, saying that his engineers could better guide a spacecraft to a docking than Kamanin's pilots. Finally things cool down, and Mishin agrees to submit to Kamanin a list of OKB-1 candidates for cosmonaut training within two to three days. Kamanin agrees to consider how they may be prepared for flight on a two-month schedule.

Later Kamanin's group visits Darevskiy at MAP and reviews the status of Soyuz trainer completion. He promises to have them completed by the end of August. Finally Kamanin confronts Komarov over statements he made in Japan. Komarov admits telling the world press that the Soviet Union will, at the scheduled time, fly an automated spacecraft around the moon and return it to earth, to be followed by a dog flight, then a manned circumlunar flight. Kamanin has already had the Central Committee and Soviet Ministers calling him about this unauthorised disclosure.


1966 July 21 - Soyuz crews

Malinovskiy agrees to support Kamanin's objections to the attempt by Mishin to take over manned spaceflight, and documents are to be prepared for the General Staff and Central Committee staking out the Ministry of Defence's position.


1966 July 22 - Voskhod 3 still on?

Following the meeting with Mishin, Kamanin promises that the Voskhod 3 mission will be quickly revived and that the crews should refresh their training with the objective of a flight by 15 September. Kamanin notes the successful completion of the very ambitious Gemini 10 mission, which clearly shows the American intention to master space.


1966 July 25 - VVS Victory on Soyuz crew issue

Tyulin advises Kamanin that Ustinov has instructed Mishin to accept that Soyuz spacecraft will be commanded by a VVS pilot cosmonaut, with OKB-1 providing cosmonauts for the engineering support role. Mishin is to immediately send four candidates from OKB-1 to Kamanin for cosmonaut training. Kamanin feels this is only a 50% victory, and vows to accelerate submission of the letter from Malinovskiy to the Central Committee, demanding that the support cosmonaut seats also be filled by trained VVS engineer cosmonauts (e.g. Khrunov, Gorbatko, Voronov, and Kolodin). Meanwhile spacesuit designer Severin informs Kamanin that OKB-1 has insisted that the outer hatch of Soyuz will remain at 660 mm diameter, even though he has told them for a long time that the minimum diameter for a cosmonaut in spacesuit with a life support system backpack is 700 mm. Kamanin agrees to support him, but notes the change can only be made in later spacecraft; it is too late to change the first production run.


1966 July 26 - Soyuz hatch problem

Training of the new cosmonaut cadre is reviewed. English language courses are proving to be a particular problem. There have been some potential washouts - Sharafutdinov has done poorly in astronomy, Shcheglov suffered an injury at the beach, Skvortsov damaged his landing gear on a MiG-21 flight.

At 15:00 a major review is conducted, with Komarov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Kamanin, and other VVS officer meeting with OKB-1 leaders Mishin, Tsybin, Severin, Alekseyev, Anokhin, and other engineers. Film is shown of the difficulties in the zero-G aircraft of cosmonauts attempting to exit from the 660 mm diameter hatch. In four sets of ten attempts, the cosmonaut was only to get out of the hatch half the time, and then only with acrobatic contortions - the inflated suit has a diameter of 650 mm, only 10 mm less than the hatch. Mishin finally concedes the point. But installation of the hatch in Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 is not possible - the spacecraft are essentially complete, and to add the hatch would delay their flight 6 to 8 months. Then Mishin makes the astounding assertion that Gorbatko and Khrunov are not adequately trained to be engineer-cosmonauts, and without this he will not allow them into space. He suggests OKB-1 engineers Anokhin and Yeliseyev instead. After outraged response, Severin finally sinks this suggestion by pointing out that no space suit has been prepared for Anokhin, and that it will take two to three months to make one. Kamanin is astounded that Mishin has pushed Anokhin all the way up to Smirnov and the VPK without even knowing he could not possibly fly due to this restriction. It again points out their poor management. Finally Mishin agrees that spacecraft s/n 5 and 6 and on will have 720 mm hatches. The ECS for the suits for those missions will have to be changed from a backpack configuration, with the equipment rearranged around the waist of the cosmonaut. The crews for the flight will be an experienced VVS pilot cosmonaut as commander, and (Kamanin realizes he may have to concede) a VVS engineer as flight engineer cosmonaut. They will have to complete training by 1 October 1966.


1966 July 27 - VPK Meeting - L1 delays

Marshal Vershinin attends the meeting, where it is revealed that all systems in development - Chelomei's, Mishin's, Voronin's, Severin's, and others - are seriously behind schedule. The first unmanned circumlunar test of the L1 was to be made by 15 April 1967, but it seems unlikely it will even be completed by the end of 1967.


1966 July 28 - Industrial problems

Kamanin is having a difficult time getting two additional Tu-104 aircraft for zero- and partial-gravity training and tests for the L1 and L3 lunar projects. The type is not in the VVS inventory, and he has to go through the Ministry of Civil Aviation to obtain and maintain the aircraft. There seems to be no acceptable bureaucratic method to do this. Vershinin has completed and forwarded to the Central Committee the VVS letter refuting the attempt by MOM to take over manned spaceflight.


1966 July 30 - Beregovoi pushed for Soyuz mission

Mishin, Rudenko, and others have met with Beregovoi and support his selection as commander for the first Soyuz mission. Kamanin does not believe he is fit for the assignment, due to his age, his height and weight (that are the limit of the acceptable for the Soyuz). Gagarin reports that during a visit to OKB-1 the day before, he discovered that they were still going all out to prepare their own crews and train their own cosmonauts for Soyuz flights. Kamanin reassures him that the full power of the VVS, the General Staff, and the Ministry of Defence is behind the position that only VVS pilots will command the missions. Mishin is gloating over the latest spacesuit tests. Khrunov tried exiting from the Soyuz hatch in the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft. Using his full dexterity and strength, he had more success than in earlier tests. But Kamanin notes that designing a spacecraft hatch only 10 mm wider than the cosmonaut is hardly the basis for practical spaceflight or training. Later Kamanin plays tennis with Volynov and Shonin. Their Voskhod 3 flight is still not officially cancelled. They have been fully trained for the flight for months now, but no go-ahead is given. On Saturday, Tsybin presents to the General Staff OKB-1's concept for training of engineer cosmonauts. Tyulin, Burnazyan, and Keldysh have approved the plan, except they have substituted VVS engineer cosmonauts for those from OKB-1 for the first Soyuz flights. So this is the result of months of controversy - a position that there is no fundamental opposition to cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1. Kamanin sees the absolute need for his draft letter to be sent from the four Marshals (Malinovskiy, Zakharov, Krylov, and Vershinin) to the Central Committee. Mishin continues to "assist" the situation - it has been two weeks since he promised to submit the names and documentation for his candidates to the VVS, and he has done nothing.


1966 August 2 - Letter to Central Committee on OKB-1 actions.

Malinovskiy decides to send the letter to the Central Committee complaining about MOM and OKB-1's after two days of indecision.


1966 August 3 - Sea tests of Soyuz

Mishin sends a letter to Kamanin, linking acceptance of his eight cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1 to continuation of sea recovery tests of the Soyuz capsule at Fedosiya. Kamanin's early hopes for Mishin have been dashed - not only is he no Korolev, but his erratic management style and constant attempts to work outside of accepted channels and methods, are ruining the space program. Later Gagarin briefs Kamanin on the impossibility of meeting Brezhnev, who has flown south for vacation without reacting to Gagarin's letter. Most likely, the letter will be referred to Ustinov, who will pass it to Smirnov, with instructions to suppress this "revolt of the military". Gagarin requests permission to resume flight and parachute training in preparation for a space mission assignment. Kamanin agrees to allow him to begin three months before the mission to space. This will be no earlier than 1967, as Gagarin will not be assigned to the first Soyuz flights.

Kamanin decides to smooth over matters with OKB-1. He calls Mishin, and then Tsybin, and agrees to begin processing of Anokhin, Yeliseyev, Volkov, and Kubasov as soon as he receives their personnel files and security clearances. Mishin promises to deliver the Soyuz mock-up of the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft soon - it slid from 20 July, then from 7 August.


1966 August 5 - Showdown on spacesuits

At a meeting at LII MAP Zazakov, Litvinov, Mishin, Tsybin, Bushuev, Severin, Alekseyev, and Komarov spar over the hatch and spacesuit problem. Severin only agrees to modifying the ECS under immense pressure, but the modified suit will not be ready until November. Severin could not get Mishin to agree to an increased hatch diameter from Soyuz s/n 8 - Mishin will only "study the problem". An arrangement of the ECS around the waist of the cosmonaut is finally agreed. Mishin and Litvinov categorically rejected any modification of the hatch in the first production run of Soyuz.

In turn, Factory 918 insisted on a final decision on Soyuz crews. They cannot build 16 of the custom-built spacesuits for all possible candidates for the flights (8 from VVS and 8 from OKB-1). It was therefore agreed that the commanders of the first two missions would be Komarov and Bykovsky, with Nikolayev and Gagarin as their backups. It was finally decided to assume that the other crew members would be either Khrunov and Gorbatko from the VVS, or Anokhin and Yeliseyev from OKB-1.


1966 August 8 - Gagarin's letter buried.

As expected, Gagarin's letter to Brezhnev was referred to Ustinov, then to Smirnov, who has now referred it to Afanasyev and Malinovskiy with the instructions that they are "to present a mutually agreed solution". Malinovskiy referred it in turn to his four marshals, and Rudenko immediately makes an error by conceding that TsPK will accept OKB-1 cosmonaut candidates for training aboard Soyuz.


1966 August 10 - Soyuz schedule has been delayed again

Soyuz s/n 1 and 2 will be flown unpiloted by October 1966 Manned flights aboard Soyuz s/n 3, 4, 5, 6 will not take place until the first quarter of 1967. Later Mishin tours the cosmonaut training centre - the first time in his life he has visited the place. Mishin admires the new construction from Demin's balcony on the 11th floor of cosmonaut dormitory, then goes to Tereshkova's apartment on the seventh floor, and then Gagarin's apartment. Mishin insists on drinking a toast of cognac on each visit. Tyulin reveals this is a peace mission - they want to normalize relations and get on with cosmonaut training. At Fedosiya the auxiliary parachute of a Soyuz capsule failed to open during a drop test. Kamanin believes that the Soyuz parachute system is even worse than that of Vostok. His overall impression of the Soyuz is poor: the entire spacecraft looks unimpressive. The small dimensions of hatch, antiquated communication equipment, and inadequate emergency recovery systems are only the most noticeable of many discrepancies. If the automatic docking system does not function, then the entire Soviet space program will collapse in failure.


1966 August 11 - Lunar cosmonaut training

Kamanin receives a document, signed by Mishin, Tyulin, Burnazyan and Keldysh, which declares that OKB-1 will be solely responsible for training of cosmonauts for L1 circumlunar missions. Only OKB-1 engineers and Academy of Science researchers will be considered for such missions, and no assistance is needed from VVS cosmonauts or its training centre.


1966 August 22 - OKB-1 cosmonaut disputes

Tyulin and Pravetskiy insist that Kamanin take the eight Soyuz cosmonaut candidates from OKB -1 based on their having passed physical examinations by the Ministry of Health. Kamanin rejects this; he will only accept candidates screened by VVS flight surgeons. He notes that Pravetskiy's ministry could not be conscientious in their examinations if they passed the 56-year-old, half-blind Anokhin for flight. Tyulin and Pravetskiy agree to withdraw Anokhin, and Kamanin agrees that a joint board of VVS and Ministry of Public Health physicians will screen the candidates together.


1966 August 23 - Soyuz recovery training at sea

Nikolayev, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Kolodin, and Voronov complete two parachute jumps each, with landing at sea. Training in sea-recovery by helicopter, with the cosmonauts in spacesuits, will be completed over the next two days. Smirnov is ready to sign a letter from Afanasyev, Burnazyan and Keldysh creating a new civilian cosmonaut training centre under the Ministry of Medium Machine Building, separate from the VVS centre. The letter is not coordinated with the Defence Ministry, and contradicts the letter sent by the four marshals to the Central Committee. Kamanin prepares a vigorous refutation of the letter's position. The physicians' board on OKB-1 candidates has only cleared Yeliseyev for flight - they could not agree on Volkov, Kubasov, and Grechko. OKB-1 only submitted four candidates for review, not the eight promised.


1966 August 29 - VVS - OKB-1 relations at low ebb

Mishin invites Kamanin and his cosmonauts to the 20th Anniversary Party of OKB-1. Kamanin is so alienated he refuses to go, and sends only Nikolayev and Bykovsky as cosmonaut representatives. OKB-1 has wasted three months arguing about Soyuz crewing, and essential work to prepare for the flights has either not been done or kept from the VVS. No list of scientific experiments and procedures for the flights, adequate trainers, or information that would allow preparation of flight plans and log books has been provided. A minimum of four months will be required to prepare for flight after all these materials are delivered. Gagarin reports on the farce in sea recovery training at Fedosiya. It took eight days instead of the three planned to train 16 cosmonauts. Only after the VVS cosmonauts had left did Mishin sent 8 OKB-1 cosmonaut candidates, who were prohibited from training together with the VVS cosmonauts.


1966 September 2 - Cosmonaut military program training groups

Kamanin organises the cosmonauts into the following training groups:

  • Voskhod: Volynov, Shonin, Beregovoi, Shatalov.
  • Spiral: Titov, Kuklin, Filipchenko, Beregovoi, Shatalov.
  • Soyuz VI: Popovich, Gubarev, Artyukhin, Gulyayev, Belousov, Kolesnikov
  • Almaz: Belyayev, Shonin, Matinchenko, Demin, Zaikin, Vorobyev, Lazarev

1966 September 2 - Cosmonaut civilian program training groups

Kamanin organises the cosmonauts into the following training groups:

  • Soyuz 7K-OK: Gagarin, Komarov, Nikolayev, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Voronov, Kolodin
  • L1: Volynov, Dobrovolskiy, Voronov, Kolodin, Zholobov, Komarov, Bykovskiy
  • L3: Leonov, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Gagarin, Nikolayev, Shatalov

Rudenko agrees with Kamanin's plan, except he urges him to assign more cosmonauts to the Soyuz 7K-OK group, and include OKB-1 cosmonauts in the 7K-OK, L1, and L3 groups, and Academy of Science cosmonauts in the L1 and L3 groups.

These cosmonaut assignments were in constant flux, and many cosmonauts were assigned to train for more than one program - resulting in multiple claims in later years that 'I was being trained for the first moon flight'.


1966 September 5 - OKB-1 cosmonauts accepted for training.

Kubasov, Volkov, and Grechko have been accepted by the VVS for cosmonaut training, with some relaxation in health requirements. Yeliseyev, Dolgopolov and Makarov need more medical tests to be cleared.


1966 September 7 - Cosmonaut group leaders

Volkov, Grechko and Kubasov believe they can complete cosmonaut training in two months. Of course they know space technology, but Kamanin informs them that, with intensive training, they might be ready in one or two years. Popovich is assigned as leader of the Soyuz VI military spacecraft training group, and Belyayev as head of the Almaz military orbital station training group. Kaminin tells Severin to complete spaceuits for Khrunov and Gorbatko, but to ignore Mishin's orders to prepare suits for Anokhin and Yeliseyev. Anokhin has already been rejected due to his age and health, and Yeliseyev is still being tested. Kamanin reviews draft test programs for the UR-500K/L1 and N1-L3. He lines out statements inserted by Pravetskiy on joint training of cosmonauts by the MOM, Ministry of Public Health and VVS.


1966 September 8 - Cosmonaut tour to Syria

Belyayev and Leonov depart, after being briefed on correct responses to expected embarrassing questions (Why has there been no Soviet manned spaceflight for eighteen months? When will there be a Soviet rendezvous in space? Who now leads in the space race?)


1966 September 10 - Soyuz crew selection dispute to be resolved

While Gemini 11 orbits above, the Soviet leadership argues about fundamental organisational details. Pashkov leads a meeting of the VPK, with Litvinov, Kerimov, Pravetskiy, Tregub, Tsarev, Bogdanov; Rudenko, and Moroz present. After prolonged debate, it is decided that Kiyasov, Kerimov and Kamanin will prepare a letter to the Central Committee. The TsPK Cosmonaut Training Centre will remain the only such centre in the country. However the VVS will agree to some modifications in existing selection and training arrangements. The Ministry of Public Health will be excluded from participation in selection and training of cosmonauts.


1966 September 21 - Soyuz simulators still incomplete

Darevskiy now reports that the 7K-OK will not be finished until the end of October at the earliest. Poor quality optic systems and unreliable equipment from OKB-1 are blamed. Tsybin promises to resolve all issues, with OKB-1-providing equipment within a week


1966 September 28 - Delays in Soyuz spacesuit completion

The Tu-104 and TBK-60 Soyuz mock-ups for zero-G and vacuum EVA training will be finished, at best, by 10 October. Another holding item is production of the new spaceuists with the rearranged ECS systems. Due to continued delays in the optical subsystems, the Soyuz rendezvous trainer will not be completed until 20 October.


1966 September 29 - Cosmonaut leave cancelled to support Soyuz missions in December

Mishin claims he will be ready to fly two piloted 7K-OK spacecraft in the second-half of December 1966. No one but Mishin believes this is possible. The tests of many subsystems are not finished, with the parachutes and ECS far from completion of qualification tests. However in order not to give Mishin any excuses, Kamanin orders Gagarin to cancel all cosmonaut leave for the rest of the year, and to accelerate training to be ready for Soyuz flights by 1 December.


1966 September 30 - Kerimov to be Chairman of the State Commission for Manned Flights

The government has decided to decrease rather than increase the authority of the Chairman of the State Commission for Manned Flights. Kerimov will be appointed to the post. He is now only Chief for the MOM Third Main Administration. His predecessors were Ministers or Deputy Ministers (Rudnev, Smirnov, Tyulin). Kerimov will not have the rank or authority to stand up to dozens of chief designers, deputy ministers, Marshals, Generals, or the President of the Academy of Sciences. Kamanin observes that Soviet space affairs continue to roll downhill under the "valiant" management of Ustinov and Smirnov.


1966 October 5 - Council for the Problem of the Conquest of the Moon

A government resolution has created a Council for the Problem of the Conquest of the Moon. The chairman will be Minister Afanasyev; the members, other ministers, deputy ministers, academicians, and the chief designers. The only member from the Defense Ministry will be lieutenant generals Karas and Sokolov. There are no VVS members, but Kamanin has already received a request that General Ioffe report to the council on VVS plans for search and recovery of unmanned lunar precursor spacecraft.


1966 October 10 - Grechko breaks his leg in parachute training.

Beregovoi has been named commander of the L1 training group in place of Bykovsky, who is busy with 7K-OK flight training.


1966 October 12 - Voskhod 3 resurfaces

Ustinov calls Gagarin, Komarov, and Leonov to his office to discuss their long-unanswered letter to Brezhnev. He asks about cosmonaut training for Soyuz flights, and surprisingly, Voskhod 3 (long buried by Mishin, though no resolution or decision ever cancelled the mission). He urges the cosmonauts to stop quarrelling and work more closely with OKB-1. Kamanin judges from the report of this strange conversation that Ustinov has a completely distorted view of affairs, as a result of falsehoods fed to him by Mishin and Smirnov. Shortly after this debriefing General Kuznetsov calls with the surprising news that Mishin has issued orders for work to resume in preparing Voskhod 3 for flight. But this is the last that is ever heard of the Voskhod 3 mission...


1966 October 13 - Almaz status review.

Tereshkova departs for a tour of Belgium. General Kuznetsov accompanies a group of cosmonauts to visit Chelomei's design bureau to review progress on the Almaz military space station. Each station will remain in orbit for two years, with the crews being changed out every two months. Kamanin believes the ability of a crew to operate in zero-G for two months is not proven; he will assume the crew will have to be changed every two weeks. This would mean that per year of operation, 25 crews and 25 boosters for their delivery to the station would be required. If each crew could fly 2-3 times, per year, then even in this worse case scenario, 10 crews would be enough to keep the station manned.


1966 October 27 - Soyuz launch plans

Ustinov chairs a VPK meeting on the readiness of the Soyuz spacecraft for flight. The first unmanned launch of the spacecraft will not be possible until 20 November. Mishin considers a manned flight impossible before 10 January 1967, but Ustinov orders preparations for a 20 December 1966 launch date. Mishin attempts to blame the delay on crew training. But it is OKB-1 and Mishin who failed to deliver the necessary training equipment for the TBK-60 chamber, Tu-104 aircraft, and the Volga docking simulator.


1966 October 31 - Soyuz crews have only 40 days for flight training.

First snow of the winter in Moscow. The training of Soyuz crews has to be completed within 40 days, but there is still no assurance the trainers will be ready by 15 November. Komarov will command the active spacecraft, and Bykovsky the passive. Gagarin and Nikolayev are their back-ups. The 20 December flight date can only be met if Khrunov and Gorbatko serve as flight engineers. Training of Kubasov, Volkov and Yeliseyev in 40 days is impossible. Yet there is still no agreement on the crew composition.


1966 November 3 - Soyuz parachute fails in drop test.

In a test of the reserve parachute at Fedosiya, the Soyuz capsule was dropped from the aircraft at 10,500 m. The drogue chute deployed normally, as did the main parachute. They were then jettisoned and the reserve parachute deployed normally. However descent on both main and auxiliary chutes occurs only with noticeable pulsations of their cupolas, with the capsule revolving at one RPM. In this case it finally led to failure of the lines of the reserve chute at 1500 m, after which it crashed to earth. Contributing to the problem was the jettison of the remaining hydrogen peroxide reaction control system fuel from the capsule during the descent. It is normally expected that 30 kg of the 70 kg load of propellant will remain after re-entry. When this was vented, it burned the parachute lines. Each line will normally carry a load of 450 kg, but after being burnt by the peroxide, they can be torn apart by hand. Meanwhile there is still no agreement on crew composition. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov and Gorbatko can be ready for flight by10 December. However the VPK representatives, Tyulin and Mishin insist that their OKB-1 candidates be flown in stead of Khrunov and Gorbatko.


1966 November 11 - Soyuz crew dispute drags on

Kamanin visits OKB-1. Mishin certifies that unmanned Soyuz s/n 1 and 2 will fly by 26 November, and the manned spacecraft s/n 3 and 4 by the end of December. The departure of cosmonauts for the range must take place not later than 12-15 December. There remains only 30 days for training of the crews, the member of which have still have not been agreed. Mishin ignores common sense and still insists on the preparation of only his own engineers (Yeliseyev, Kubasov, Volkov, Makarov). The argument over the Soyuz crews continues without resolution up to the Central Committee level, then back down through the VPK and State Commission, over the next week.


1966 November 17 - VVS told to surrender on crew assignments issue.

Kamanin is at Tyuratam for the first Soyuz launch. He and Rudenko are accommodated in the new hotel at Area 2. It has all conveniences - a local telephone, radio and television with Moscow programs, even a promise to install an HF telephone that will allow secure communications with Moscow. Also there for the launch are Kerimov, Kirillov, Kuznetsov, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, amd Yeliseyev. Rudenko reports that he has been chewed out by Marshal Zakharov. Zakharov told him "What are you and Kamanin doing, blocking OKB-1 candidates from flight? If Mishin wants to send his people to the Moon, let him do it and do not interefere!"


1966 November 18 - N1 facilities tour

Rudenko and Kamanin meet with Mishin at Area 31 (18-20 kilometers east of Area 2). Launch preparations are reviewed, and Mishin satisfies them that the two Soyuz will be launched on 26-27 November. The State Commission will meet officially tomorrow at 16:00. For today, they tour the N1 horizontal assembly building at Area 13. Korolev planned the N1 as early as 1960-1961. It will have a takeoff mass of 2700-3000 tonnes and will be able to orbit 90-110 tonnes. The first stage of rocket has 30 engines, and the booster's overall height is114 m. The construction of the assembly plant, considered a branch of the Kuibyshev factory, began in 1963 but is still not finished. Two factory shops are in use, and the adjacent main assembly hall is truly impressive - more than 100 m in length, 60 m high, and 200 wide. Work on assembly of the ground test version of the rocket is underway. Assembly will be completed in 1967, and it will be used to test the systems for transport to the pad, erection of the booster, servicing, and launch preparations. The booster is to be ready for manned lunar launches in 1968. The construction site of the N1 launch pads occupies more than one square kilometre. Two pads are located 500 meter from each other. Between and around them is a mutli-storied underground city with hundreds of rooms and special equipment installations.

Only late in the night Rudenko and Mishin finally agree that the crews for the first manned Soyuz flights will be: Basic crews: Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Yeliseyev; Back-up crews: Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, Kubasov. Meanwhile poor weather in Moscow is delaying zero-G training for the flight. In the last week only one weightless flight on the Tu-104 was possible - and a minimum of 24 flights need to be flown before the launch. It was therefore decided to ferry one Tu-104 to Tyuratam and train the cosmonauts here - it made its first flight today.


1966 November 19 - First Soyuz Launch Commission

Rudenko has reached agreement with Mishin that L1 and L3 crews will also consist of a VVS pilot as commander, and an OKB-1 flight engineer. Kamanin is depressed. Despite the support six marshals (Malinovskiy, Grechko, Zakharov, Krylov, Vershinin and Rudenko), Mishin has won this argument with the support of Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, Pashkov, Keldysh, Afanasyev, and Petrovskiy. Later the State Commission meets, for the first time in a long time at Tyuratam. Kerimov chairs the session, with more than 100 attendees, including Mishin, Rudenko, Krylov, Pravetskiy, Kurushin, Ryazanskiy, Mnatsakanian, and Tkachev. All is certified ready,. Launch of the active spacecraft is set for 26 November, and the passive vehicle on 27 November.


1966 November 20 - Soyuz first flight plan

Feoktistov briefs the State Commission on the flight plan for the upcoming mission at 10:00. Each spacecraft will be in space for four days, and will demonstrate orbital manoeuvre, rendezvous and automatic spacecraft docking. If the passive vehicle can be placed in orbit within 20 kilometres of the previously launched active spacecraft, then docking can be accomplished on the first or second orbit of passive vehicle. If they are more than 20 kilometres apart, then 24 hours will be needed to manoeuvre the spacecraft to a rendezvous. Kamanin and Rudenko take a zero-G flight aboard the Tu-104 (Pravetskiy was bumped at the airfield "due to space limitations"). The Tu-104 needs good visibility of the horizon in order to fly the zero-G parabola. The aircraft is accelerated to maximum speed and then pulls up into a sharp climb (going from 7,000 to 10,000 m). At the end of the climb 20-25 seconds of weightlessness is available for training the cosmonauts. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov and Yeliseyev are aboard today. Khrunov practiced moving from the BO living module of the passive vehicle to that of the active spacecraft. Yeliseyev practiced exiting and entering the BO hatches with his bulky spacesuit and 50- kilogram ECS system strapped to his leg.

Mishin receives an encrypted telegram from Okhapkin and Tsybin. They propose that one of the cosmonauts on the first mission will back away from the docked spacecraft on a 10-m long safety line and film the other cosmonaut moving from one spacecraft to the other. Kamanin believes only Khrunov (with more than 50 Tu-104 weightless flights), has enough training to accomplish the task. After a sauna with Rudenko and an attempt to watch a film (aborted due to projector failure), Kamanin takes a walk in a drizzly, evocative night. He visits the cottages used by Korolev and the cosmonauts for the first missions. A light burns in Korolev's cottage - Mishin is working late. Kamanin recalls his many confrontations with Korolev, but also remembers how well he managed people compared to Mishin. Even if he had already decided personally what to do, he took the time to listen to other opinions and everyone felt their views had been considered.


1966 November 21 - Soyuz crews agreed officially

The weather continues to deteriorate, and Kamanin considers moving the Tu-104 and cosmonauts to Krasnovodsk in order to get the 24 necessary zero-G flights before launch. At 11:00 the State Commission meets at Area 31. Present are Kerimov, Mishin, Rudenko, Kamanin, Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Yeliseyev, Anokhin and others. Mishin describes the status of preparations of Soyuz s/n 1, 2, 3, 4 for launch. He notes that the L1 and L3 lunar spacecraft are derived from the 7K-OK, and that these flights will prove the spacecraft technology as well as the rendezvous and docking techniques necessary for subsequent manned lunar missions. Feoktistov and the OKB-1 engineers say a launch cannot occur before 15 January, but Mishin insists on 25 December. That will leave only 20 days for cosmonaut training for the mission, including the spacewalk to 10 m away from the docked spacecraft. Faced with the necessity for the crews to train together as a team prior to flight, Mishin at long last officially agrees to the crew composition for the flights: Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev as prime crews, with Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov as back-ups. However a new obstacle appears. KGB Colonel Dushin reports that Yeliseyev goes by his mother's surname. His father, Stanislav Adamovich Kureytis , was a Lithuanian sentenced to five years in 1935 for anti-Soviet agitation. He currently works in Moscow as Chief of the laboratory of the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Shoe Industry. Furthermore Yeliseyev had a daughter in 1960, but subsequently annulled the marriage in 1966.

Later Feoktistov works with the crews on spacecraft s/n 1 to determine the feasibility of the 10-m EVA. The cosmonauts suggest a telescoping pole rather than a line be used to enable the cosmonaut to be in position to film the joined spacecraft. Bushuyev is tasked with developing the new hardware.


1966 November 22 - Crash efforts to make manned Soyuz flight by end of December

Faced with the possibility Yeliseyev will be bumped from the crew, Mishin requests accelerated training of Kubasov as a substitute. Kamanin asks the KGB for a definitive ruling on Yeliseyev's fitness. It will only be possible to meet a 25-29 December manned flight date by curtailing certain tests and supplementing the existing preparation and test staff with about 100 military staff from the Tyuratam range and 50 additional industrial technicians. Rudenko and Mishin have backed away from the agreement on the "final" crew compositions. Now they propose to assign as second cosmonauts the best two of Khrunov, Yeliseyev, and Kubasov. Kamanin adamantly opposes this latest deviation to plan.


1966 November 24 - Apollo program delays give Soviets opportunity to leapfrog Americans

Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev have completed zero-G training in the Tu-104 at Tyuratam, and need to get back to Moscow to complete simulator training. But continued bad weather at Moscow means that they will have to be flown by Il-14 to Gorkiy, and then get to Moscow by train. Kamanin notes reports on NASA's reorganised flight program for the Apollo program. Under the new schedule, the first attempt at a manned lunar landing will be possible in the first half of 1968. The first manned flight of the Apollo CSM has slipped from December 1966 to the first quarter of 1967. This makes it possible that the Soviets can make 3 to 5 manned spaceflights before the first Apollo flight - the flights of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 in December 1966, Voskhod 3 in January 1967, and Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 in February 1967.


1966 November 25 - Soyuz launch commission

Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, Kolodin and Belousov arrive at Tyuratam for Tu-104 zero-G training, while the prime crews successfully arrive at Moscow for simulator training. The State Commission meets. After extensive detailed reports, Mishin certifies that the boosters and spacecraft at 09:00 on 26 November. S/N 2 would be launched first, on 28 November at 14:00, followed by s/n 2 24 hours later. The go-ahead is given for launch. In zero-G tests, the reserve cosmonauts find it is necessary to grip the handrail from above with both hands to move easily with the ECS strapped to the leg. The previously approved method, with one hand on top, the other below the handrail, was only good with the ECS configured as a backpack. The hardest part of the EVA will be getting on the spacesuits beforehand, especially in achieving a seal between the gloves and the suit


1966 November 26 - Soyuz vehicles rolled out to pads for dual launch

The boosters were rolled out to the pads over eight hours late, at 17:30. There were delays in integrating the spacecraft in its fairing with the rocket, due to the much greater length of the Soyuz fairing and SAS abort tower (making the whole vehicle 46 m long). There was even concern that the assembled rocket would topple over in its horizontal carriage due to the forward centre of gravity. Mishin is getting out of control - publicly screaming at his staff. He demeans the competence of the cosmonauts and extols the quality of his own engineer-cosmonauts in front of the leadership. He yet again insists on crew changes. Kamanin discusses Mishin's public hysterics and tantrums with Rudenko. Rudenko agrees that the man is unstable and unsuitable, but says that he has powerful forces behind him on the Central Committee and Council of Ministers. No one except Vershinin dares oppose him. Rudenko's only course is to let the State Commission and government decide who will fly.


1966 November 28 - Cosmos 133

Four years behind Korolev's original promised schedule, the countdown is underway for the first Soyuz spacecraft. A new closed circuit television system allows the rocket to be observed from several angles during the final minutes. Mishin, as per tradition, personally stays with the rocket until the last moment. Rudenko, Kerimov, and Kamanin observe the launch from the bunker, while Gagarin, Nikolayev, Belyayev and Yegorov observe from the observation post. The launch is perfect, within 0.2 seconds of the 16:00 launch time. The separation of the first stage strap-ons can be seen with the naked eye in the clear sky. The spacecraft is given the cover designation Cosmos 133 after launch. By 22:00 the spacecraft is in deep trouble. For unknown reasons the spacecraft consumed its entire load of propellant for the DPO approach and orientation thrusters within a 15-minute period, leaving the spacecraft in a 2 rpm spin. At the insertion orbital perigee of 179 kilometres, the spacecraft will have a life of only 39 orbits. It is decided to attempt to stop the spin on the 13th orbit using other thrusters and the ion flow sensors to determine attitude. Then the re-entry sequence will be commanded on the 16th orbit, with the spacecraft to use solar sensors to orient itself for retrofire on the 17th orbit.


1966 November 29 - Cosmos 133 fails to land on first attempt

At 10:00 the re-entry command sequence is transmitted, but there is some doubt if the sequence was correct. Mishin decides to abort the landing attempt. Later telemetry shows that the command sequence was indeed correct. Attempts are made on orbits 18 and 19 to orient the spacecraft using data from the ion flow sensors, but these were not successful. After orbit 20 the spacecraft's orbital track no longer passed over Soviet ground stations, and another attempt for a solar-oriented re-entry would have to wait for orbit 32. But the spacecraft would possibly decay out of orbit before that time. Commands were transmitted to the spacecraft to raise its orbit, but from orbits 20 to 29 there was no tracking that allowed verification if the manoeuvres had been made. After an uncertain night, telemetry was received in the morning that showed the spacecraft had accepted all three commands for firing of the engines using the ion flow sensors for orientation. However on the first manoeuvre, the engines cut off after 10 seconds, after 13 seconds on the second, and 20 seconds on the third. In all three cases the spacecraft became unstable as soon as the engine firing began, developing large angular oscillations, which resulted in the engines being automatically shut down prior to delivering the total planned total impulse.


1966 November 30 - Cosmos 133 lost on re-entry

At 09:00 Cosmos 133 appears above the horizon of tracking stations on Soviet territory, but does not respond. On the next orbit, the 30th, it accepted and acknowledged receipt of a command sequence. On the 32nd orbit the retrofire command sequence was transmitted to the spacecraft and accepted. The sequence began on the 33rd orbit, but the engine again cut out after a few seconds firing. The sequence was transmitted for a re-entry with orientation using the ion flow sensors on the 34th orbit, and the spacecraft finally headed to earth. PVO radars tracked the capsule during re-entry from stations at Krasnodar, Gurevym, and Aktyubinsk, with the final track being 200 kilometres southeast of Orsk. Landing should have been at 14:32 Moscow time. There are reports of reception of the homing beacon and sightings of the parachute from areas around Orsk, but by nightfall the capsule has not been found. It is possible the capsule was destroyed by its APO self-destruct system. It is decided the search will be resumed in the morning. Four State Commissions are formed and charged with determining the causes of the failures by 6 December. Meanwhile preparation of spacecraft s/n 3 and 4; will continue, and s/n 1 will be removed from the pad and stored in readiness in the MIK for a possible launch in mid-December.


1966 December 1 - No sign of Cosmos 133

The search for the wreckage of Cosmos 133 continues without success. Mishin and Kerimov agree with Kamanin's opinion that if a cosmonaut had been aboard instead of a mannequin, the mission could have been successful. Kamanin has temporarily removed Gagarin from flight status after he missed a Tu-104 flight debriefing, then a 22:30 curfew, and did not show up at the Cosmonaut Dormitory at Tyuratam until 14:00 the next day. While on his escapade he also was found to have driven an automobile while intoxicated.


1966 December 6 - Cosmos 133 probably self-destructed

The wreckage of Cosmos 133 has not been found. NII-4 has calculated, based on PVO tracking data that the re-entry capsule probably passed over Orsk at 70 to 100 kilometres altitude. The APO self-destruct system sensed the overshoot and exploded. The fragments would have fallen into the Pacific Ocean east of the Marianas Islands. Further searching is called off. Meanwhile, with only three months to go before the first flight of the L1 circumlunar spacecraft, the VPK has finally woken up to the total lack of preparation for location and recovery of the returning space capsule if it comes down outside of Soviet territory.


1966 December 7 - Soyuz and L1 crew assignments.

Rudenko, Mishin, Kerimov and Kamanin agree on crews for upcoming flights. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev are assigned to Soyuz s/n 3 and 4; Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov to Soyuz s/n 5 and 6, with Beregovoi, Shatalov, Volkov, and Makarov trained as back-ups. For Soyuz s/n 7, which will conduct space welding experiments with the Vulkan furnace, the commander will be either Komarov, Bykovsky, Gagarin, Nikolayev, Beregovoi, or Shatalov. The other two crewmembers will be either Lankin and Fartushniy from the Paton Institute, VVS cosmonaut Kolodin, or an engineer from OKB-1.

Crews for the L1 must be named in order to complete the five-month training program in time. Eight L1's are being completed to the manned configuration, but Mishin believes it is necessary to plan for only six manned missions. It is decided to train nine crews. Spacecraft commanders will be Komarov, Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Gagarin, Leonov, Khrunov, Volynov, Beregovoi, and Shatalov. Flight engineers will be Yeliseyev, Kubasov, Makarov, Volkov, and Grechko. Komarov, Bykovsky or Nikolayev will command the first circumlunar flight. Mishin promises to name the OKB-1 candidates for that flight by 8 December. Mishin and Kerimov agree that training of cosmonaut- researchers from the Academy of Sciences may begin, although both Mishin and Rudenko expressed doubts about cosmonaut candidate Yershov.

The failures of Cosmos 133 have been narrowed to entangled thrust vector vanes in the main engines and a single defective approach and orientation thruster. It is agreed to set the unmanned launch of Soyuz s/n 1 for 18 December as a final functional check of all systems. If this is successful, the date will then be set for the manned launch of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4. Flight control will be conducted from Yevpatoria.


1966 December 8 - Soyuz parachute problems unresolved

The newly named crew for Soyuz s/n 7 begin zero-G training on the Tu-104 (Beregovoi, Shatalov, Volkov and Makarov). A review will be held of the SAS emergency recovery system in Vladimirovka tomorrow. VVS engineers are worried about the hydrogen peroxide venting which has burned parachute lines on two occasions. It is not believed that Soyuz s/n 1 can complete all tests to verify the systems that failed on s/n 2 before 18 December. It is clear that Mishin cannot resist the pressure from the leadership to hurry, and is cutting out pre-launch tests, with an inevitable decrease in the chances for mission success. TsNII-30 has been given until the end of December complete plans for search and recovery of returning lunar spacecraft. But Mishin and OKB-1 have not provided the necessary trajectory data for such planning.


1966 December 9 - Soyuz State Commission

The investigative committees unanimously concluded that the problems with Cosmos 133 were not due to any fundamental design defects, but rather poor pre-launch quality control and testing which did not reveal the problems. All Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft will be reworked to remove the problems by 15 December. The go-ahead is given to launch Soyuz s/n 1 between 15-18 December. Only Mnatsakanyan, designer of the automatic docking system, objects to the idea of a single spacecraft test flight. Tsybin reports that over four hundred system and subsystem qualification tests have been completed on Soyuz. However some vacuum tests in the TBK-60 chamber, and tests of the back-up parachute system and emergency recovery system will not be completed until 10 January 1967. Tsybin is ordered to accelerate the work so that the entire spacecraft is qualified for manned flight by 5 January. Mishin states that, assuming the flight of s/n 1 is successful, the manned flight of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 can begin by 29 January 1967. Kamanin is reminded that Smirnov's cancellation of the Voskhod 3 launch in June, based on the promise that Soyuz would fly by October, has instead resulted in almost two years without a Soviet manned spaceflight.

Later Kamanin learns that Malinovskiy is dying of cancer and will not return to work. Kamanin prays for his own health in the remaining five to seven years until his retirement. He will be able to retire peacefully only once Soviet voyages to the lunar surface have become routine.


1966 December 10 - L1 production and flight plans

Mishin briefs the production plan for the L1 circumlunar spacecraft. Two spacecraft, s/n 1 and 2, have already been shipped to Tyuratam. These prototypes are not equipped with heat shields, and will be used to perfect orbital operation of the spacecraft without recovery of the capsule. L1 s/n 3 and 4 will be used for unmanned flights around the moon, with recovery on earth, in March to May 1967. The first manned flight around the moon is set for 25 June. All present, after examining the detailed production and training plans, object that they cannot be met. Mishin advises that Ustinov and Smirnov dictated the schedules and they are not subject to revision.


1966 December 10 - Soviets view scope of American Apollo program with dismay

Grechko, Zakharov, Shtemenko, Ivashutin, Vershinin, Rudenko and with dozens of other generals view a film prepared by the GRU on the American Apollo program. It gives the viewers a clear idea of the immense scale of the American program, which dwarfs the resources the Soviets have devoted to their counterpart. Kamanin believes it clearly demonstrates why the Soviet Union is lagging in the space race and how illusory is the hope of ever regaining the lead.


1966 December 12 - Second Soyuz rolled out to pad

At Tyuratam, the staff views American films on the Gemini program. Kamanin notes the use of manual methods for rendezvous and docking, and the use of an umbilical cord to supply oxygen to the spacewalker as opposed to an autonomous backpack. Despite over a hundred training sessions, American astronauts have experienced pulse rates of over 160 per minute, immense fatigue and overwhelming perspiration on their spacewalks. Three of their four EVA's were curtailed because of these and other unforeseen complications. This clearly indicates how Mishin, Smirnov, Kerimov, Tyulin, and Rudenko have underestimated the danger and difficulty of this work. The booster for Soyuz s/n 1 has been erected at Area 31 and the missile crews have gone home for the weekend. Kamanin credits Mishin for being ahead of schedule for the first time ever - he believes he can launch on 14 December.


1966 December 14 - Soyuz SAS firing destroys booster and pad

The second attempt to launch a Soyuz spacecraft ends tragically. The State Commission had met at Area 31 at 11:00. Mishin reported complete readiness for launching, which was set for 16:00 local time. Fifteen minutes before launch the observers move to the observation post 300 metres from the pad. At the ignition command, a smaller-than-usual amount of flame and smoke appeared, and the rocket did not rise. Several seconds later orders to flood the pad with water were given. The fire subsided, and the rocket remained on the pad, steaming more than usual. Over a half hour later, the order to clear the area is given, and Kamanin goes to phone the airfield from the Cosmonaut Dormitory to cancel the planned takeoff of the aircraft that was to take the flight control team to Yevpatoriya. As Kamanin ascends the staircase to the dormitory's second floor, he hears a muffled explosion, runs outside, and sees a large parachute descending 600 to 700 m beyond the MIK assembly building. He understands immediately that the booster has exploded and the capsule has been hurled away from the pad by the SAS escape tower. From the third floor of the dormitory the burning rocket could be seen on the pad. Kamanin orders everyone away from the windows before the first stage blows, and two seconds later there is a flash, and a series of powerful explosions blow out all the windows and shower everyone with plaster from the ceiling. The dormitory was 700 m from the pad, but buildings even a kilometre from the pad were damaged. Telephone communications with the bunker and pad were cut, and the fate of Mishin, Kerimov, and Kirillov, and others near the pad was unknown. It is clear further Soyuz flights will be delayed by several months, especially due to the need to repair the pad for the two-spacecraft mission. In fact, the entire Soviet lunar flight schedule is questionable now.


1966 December 15 - Soyuz failure in detail

Kerimov, Mishin, and Kirillov were nearly scared to death but escaped unharmed. A fuller account of yesterday's events is available. At the command "ignition", only the second stage engines of the core vehicle ignited; the first stage strap-ons did not, therefore the rocket did not develop enough thrust to move an inch. On the order to flood the pad, all power was cut off to the rocket and equipment. 35-40 minutes after shutdown of the booster and the flooding, only steam and oxygen vapour were rising from the pad. Mishin and Kirillov emerged from the bunker and approached the rocket. They decided the danger was past, and gave the command for the service gantries to be raised, to protect the rocket from wind gusts. As the gantry arms reached the upper stage, and personnel were climbing up to service the rocket, one arm tilted the dislocated rocket more than seven degrees from the vertical. At such an angle the SAS abort sequence was activated. The solid rockets of the SAS abort motor suddenly ignited, pulling the Soyuz capsule 600 m into the sky, but also setting the third stage of the rocket on fire. This immediately alerted Mishin, Kerimov, and Kirillov to take cover in the bunker, while others were able to run to 100 to 200 m from the pad in the two minutes before the first stage exploded. A Major Korostylev and a group of soldiers decided instead to take cover behind the concrete wall of the pad, and paid for this decision with their lives or severe injuries. A preliminary accident commission meeting was convened at 09:00 at Area 2. An oxygen bypass valve failure several seconds after the ignition command is blamed for the shutdown of the first-stage engines. Although final acceptance tests of the SAS tower only began at Vladimirovka on 10 December, it is noted that the SAS system has actually just passed its most realistic test - it saved the Soyuz capsule, which landed 300 meters from the pad. Examining the blackened and smoking pad later, it is estimated it will take at least six months to get it back into operation.


1966 December 16 - Soyuz post-mortem

Kamanin views film of the Soyuz SAS failure and subsequent first stage explosion. The film is of little help, being taken from far away and the camera jiggling. Afanasyev arrives in Tyuratam that evening and is domiciled in the house in Area 17 used by Khrushchev and DeGaulle during their stay. Kamanin leaves for Moscow, but ends up having to take the train from Kuibyshev due to sustained poor weather. Meanwhile Afanasyev heads the State Commission at Tyuratam. Mishin bravely confesses that OKB-1's design of the SAS system had fundamental errors in logic. It was found that after power was removed from the SAS during the booster deactivation process, the gyroscopes would slowly rise to the stops of their supports, which in turn would trigger firing of the abort rocket. It had previously been thought there were only three ways to fire the SAS: by command from the flight director, when the flight angle of the rocket dropped below seven degrees, or when the combustion chamber pressure dropped below a specific level. The subsequent fire in the booster was inevitable since the separation of the descent module of Soyuz from the instrument compartment was accomplished by firing 32 squib charges. The commission hears with alarm that a test of the SAS on 11 December at Vladimirovka also started a small fire for about a minute, but it was restricted to the Soyuz instrument module since the dummy third stage was not fuelled. This was considered insignificant at the time, but the failure to report it prior to the launch attempt of 14 December is now seen as a major failure of communications. Mishin's resolve to accept the blame does not last long - he soon tries to blame the engine manufacturer. However Glushko's representative proves that the first stage shut down because of a failed oxygen valve in the Block G strap-on. Normally this could be repaired and the launch reattempted within three days. The reason for the catastrophe was the defective logic of Mishin's SAS system.


1966 December 16 - Manned Soyuz flights delayed to March

The State Commission sets a new schedule, with the launch of a single unmanned Soyuz planned for 15 January 1967. Spacecraft s/n 3 and 5 will be prepared in parallel for this flight. The booster will be prepared at Area 2, and the spacecraft at Area 31. Launch of two manned Soyuz spacecraft will take place in March at the earliest.


1966 December 20 - Americans have understood true purpose of Cosmos 133 mission

Kamanin meets with key personnel of the TsPK and explains the reasons for the Soyuz incident, noting inadequate understanding of the abort systems. Kamanin orders improved medical examination of cosmonauts immediately after flight at the recovery site. Gagarin and Nikolayev request that the Soyuz crews now be allowed to take leave. Reports in the American press show that their experts have correctly interpreted the true nature of Cosmos 133 as a manned precursor mission. The American press alleges that there were two other explosions of the spacecraft in the USSR during September and October.


1966 December 22 - Recent failures blamed on Mishin

Vershinin has explained to the General Staff that recent Soviet space failures were due to poor development and testing by industry, and the personal deficiencies of Mishin.


1966 December 23 - SAS abort system modifications ordered

The State Commission finds that the 14 December uncommanded SAS escape tower firing was the fault of the system designers. They directed that a number of the modifications of the SAS be made.


1966 December 24 - First session of State Commission for the L1

Tyulin chairs the meeting. Mishin, Chelomei and Barmin brief the status of the spacecraft, booster, and launch site. There is much to be done in order to fly cosmonauts around the moon by 7 November 1967 - the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. The first manned flight around the moon is planned for 26 June 1967. To achieve this, four flights of the L1 without a crew have to be completed first. The UR-500K booster should be capable of launching the L1 on a direct flight around the Moon and back to the earth. But since the UR-500K has not yet flown, and its 19-tonne low earth payload has not bee verified, Mishin plans to follow the podsadka scenario. The UR-500K will place in low earth orbit an L1 without a crew, and then a Soyuz booster will place a manned Soyuz 7K-OK Soyuz in orbit. The Soyuz crew will rendezvous and dock with the L1, and the crew for the circumlunar mission will spacewalk through open space from the 7K-OK into the L1. The spacecraft will then separate. The 7K-OK returns to earth, while the L1 is boosted on a circumlunar trajectory. After 4 to 6 launches of the UR-500K to verify its reliability and payload margins, it should be possible to make the direct flight to the moon on subsequent versions. For the time being it is necessary to develop both versions in parallel.


1966 December 28 - Almaz and LK-700 development status

Kamanin accompanies 17 generals and other officers of the VVS in a tour of Chelomei's OKB-52. Chelomei spends five hours personally acquainting the visitors with his bureau's space technology capabilities. It was the first in-depth meeting Kamanin and Vershinin have had with Chelomei, despite meeting with him occasionally since 1961. They have mainly interacted with Korolev and now Mishin.

The expansion of Chelomei's facility has been enormous, and the in the quality of the rockets and spacecraft the influence of the higher standards of the aviation industry is obvious. The meticulous project planning, the high quality of the hardware, the intricate finishing of details - all are significantly better than at OKB-1. The UR-100, cancelled UR-200, and UR-500 missiles are exhibited.

Chelomei has designed the UR-700 heavy booster based on the proven UR-100 and UR-500 technology. The design was reviewed favourably by an expert commission, but no resolution authorizing its development and production was forthcoming. The development of Korolev's N1 has already consumed hundreds of millions of roubles, and the leadership will not authorise a similarly expensive parallel project. The Saturn V has a payload of 130 tonnes to a 200 km orbit, the N1 95 tonnes, but the UR-700 would beat both with a 145 tonne payload. The technology of the N1 was frozen 5-6 years ago, and there is no growth in the design. By contract, the UR-700 uses the latest technology and its modular design would allow easy growth to more powerful versions.

It is tragic for Soviet Union that Smirnov and Ustinov supported Korolev rather than Chelomei. It is true that Chelomei's manned boost-glide vehicle never got off the drawing board, and he has had only limited success developing umanned satellites. His primary task now is development of the Almaz military space station. The visitors closely examine the Almaz mockup and Kamanin concludes it is a good multipurpose spacecraft.

The first Almaz station is expected to be launched within a year. Crews of three will be rotated every two months. Metal is already being cut for the first station. Perhaps it will be launched that soon, but Kamanin has no confidence that by 1967-1968 the experience will exist for keeping each crew in space for two months. The crews will probably have to be changed more frequently.

Three years ago Chelomei was charged by the Central Committee and Council of Ministers with developing and flying a manned circumlunar spacecraft. But Korolev was able to take this project away from Chelomei after the fall of Khrushchev. This was a pyrrhic victory for the state - it resulted in a delay of two years in the project. Chelomei and OKB-52 continued development of his lunar spacecraft quietly, on their own risk. Kamanin finds it a pleasure to familiarise himself with Chelomei's LK-700 manned spacecraft and to sit in its crew seat. He finds Chelomei's spacecraft to be considerably simpler, more reliable and more fully thought out and developed than OKB-1's L3. Unfortunately, Chelomei's spacecraft is designed only for direct flight to the moon. It has a mass of 45 tonnes, which means it can only be orbited by a booster in the class of the N1 or UR-700.

Kamanin's general impression of OKB-52 is outstanding - the competence of its people, the order in the shops, and the quality of products. The production base at OKB-52 greatly resembles that of a contemporary aircraft plant. By comparison OKB-1 still shows vestiges of its origin as an ordnance factory. Improved contacts with Chelomei are agreed, and Kamanin promises to bring Vershinin and Rudenko to visit the plant in January. Kamanin sends Chelomei films of the Gemini 6, 7, 11 flights and the Apollo program as thanks for his hospitality.


1966 December 31 - Second session of the L1 State Commission

Mishin, Chelomei and Barmin report that the spacecraft, booster, and launch facilities are ready. The first unmanned launch of the L1 is set for the end of January, with the arrival of the members of state commission at Tyuratam on 10-12 January.

The commission then considers reports on improvements needed for command, control, and recovery of manned lunar spacecraft. General Spitsa and Chief Designer Ryazanskiy list needed improvements to tracking and communications stations. These will cost more than 100 million roubles, including 50 million to equipment tracking ships. Tracking stations at Yevpatoria and Ussuriysk will require extensive new equipment for control of lunar spacecraft. Officers from TsNII-30 report on enhancements required for search and recovery forces. Due to the worldwide requirement, this can no longer be handled by the VVS alone - naval, long-range aviation, and communications forces need to be involved. Returning lunar ships will be targeted for landing on Soviet territory, but there is a great probability in the event of guidance problems of a splashdown in the Indian Ocean or a landing in Iran, Pakistan, or India. The VVS only has very limited capability for sea search and rescue. On 21 December Marshal Zakharov split manned spacecraft recovery responsibility between the VVS and VMF. To enable search and recovery of spacecraft at sea or on land outside of Soviet territory will require 12,000 to 15,000 personnel and dozens of ships, aircraft, and helicopters. A new net of ground-based radio stations and direction finders will also be needed. This will cost hundreds of millions of roubles to implement. The cost must be borne - it is clearly unacceptable that a Soviet crew fly to the moon and back, only to perish on return to earth due to inadequate recovery forces. A special subcommittee under Marshal Rudenko is named to handle the matter. Kamanin reports on training plans for lunar spacecraft. Crew training will have to begin in January 1967 for crews to complete the five-month syllabus in time for the planned flight dates. L1 commanders must be pilots with prior spaceflight experience. The second cosmonaut need not have flown before. Training of L1 and 7K-LOK crews must be carried out in parallel and separately in order to meet schedules. Mishin, the Ministry of Public Health, and Kamanin should name the crews for thee flights within five days in order to make schedule.


1967 January 5 - Cosmonaut training status

Crews are in training for Voskhod, Soyuz, Lunar L-1, Almaz, and 7K-VI missions. There will be 100 cosmonauts in training by February. Meanwhile the Americans have conducted 10 manned flights since the last Soviet manned flight in March 1965. The cosmonauts want Kamanin to be training 8 crews for L-1 translunar flights, but he only has 4 in training. He doesn't think it is worth to train more, since if one successful L-1 flight is conducted before the 50th Anniversary of the Soviet Union in November 1957, all subsequent flights will be cancelled.

The cosmonauts are also pressing for a meeting with Brezhnev to discuss planned military experiments, the role of the pilot in spacecraft, and the mistakes of OKB-1 in spacecraft design. Kamanin thinks this would be too risky - unforeseen results could occur. Titov is assigned to the Spiral spaceplane programme. Kamanin thinks the project is risky and likely to be cancelled. But Titov enjoys being able to fly high performance MiG-21 aircraft, and has wanted out of the main cosmonaut program for a long time. There is constant high level pressure on Kamanin to assign OKB-1 engineer cosmonaut candidates to crews and fly them.


1967 January 17 - Manned space plans reviewed

At a meeting of the VPK Military-Industrial Commission and Chief Designers current manned space plans are reviewed.

The cosmonauts are currently organised in the following training groups:

- 7K-OK Soyuz: Commanders: Gagarin, Nikolayev, Komarov, Bykovskiy, Beregovoi, Shatalov; EVA teams: Khrunov-Yeliseyev, Gorbatko-Kubasov, Kolodin-Volkov
- L1 missions with 'embarkation' in low earth orbit profile: Commanders: Leonov, Popovich, Belyayev, Volynov, Klimuk; Engineer-cosmonauts: Makarov, Voronov, Rukavishnikov, Artyukhin
- L1 with single-launch direct flight to the moon misison profile: Gagarin, Nikolayev, Komarov, Bykovskiy, Khrunov; Engineer-Cosmonauts: Gorbatko, Grechko, Sevastyanov, Kubasov, Volkov

It is proposed at the meeting that the L1 fly with only one cosmonaut aboard. A bitter argument ensues.


1967 February 4 - L1/L3 launch schedules set

The following is the schedule set be decree for the L1 and L3 projects:

Serial # Mission               Date
2P       Develop Block D stage Feb or Mar 67
3P       same                  Mar 67
4L       Unmanned lunar flyby  May 67
5L       Unmanned lunar flyby  Jun 67
6L       Manned lunar flyby    Jun or Jul 67
7L&8L    Manned lunar flybys   Aug 67
9L&10L   Manned lunar flybys   Sep 67
11L&12L  Manned lunar flybys   Oct 67
13L      Reserve spacecraft
 
N1-3L
Serial # Mission                  Date
3L       Develop LV & Blocks G&D  Sep 67
4L       Reserve
5L       LOK/LK unmanned          Dec 67
6L       LOK/LK unmanned          Feb 68
7L       Manned LOK/unmanned LK   Apr 68
8L       Manned LOK/unmanned LK   Jun 68
9L       Piloted LOK/unmanned LK 
         with LK landing on moon  Aug 68
10L      First men land on moon   Sep 68
11L      Reserve
12L      Reserve
Kamanin's personal opinion of this schedule - manned L1 flights may occur before the end of 1967, but there will be no lunar landing until 1969.
1967 March 12 - Spiral and Soyuz training

Titov visits Kamanin on leave from test pilot duties at Vladimirovka. Titov will spend a year training as a test pilot on MiG-21, Su-7, and Su-9 aircraft. He flies well, and has matured and changed for the better over the last two years. Kamanin has talked to him 3 or 4 times about his future plans. Titov has bound his future with the Spiral spaceplane programme.

Kamanin cannot convince him to work on the manned lunar landing programme instead. Kamanin cannot understand why Titov is not interested in landing on the moon. Kamanin was 60 and could not qualify for spaceflight, but would have jumped at the chance to walk on the moon if younger. Titov's position seemed to be based on his belief that the space programme managers would have no faith on his ability to make another spaceflight after the problems he had with space sickness on Vostok 2.

Meanwhile Nikolayev has injured himself when trying to close the BO airlock hatch on the Soyuz mock-up, removing 20-25 mm of scalp in the process. Things are going badly with Soyuz training at Baikonur. The flight spacecraft has no crew seats, and is lacking the orientation system and other equipment. Therefore the cosmonauts have to occupy themselves with basic classroom training. Their time would have been more productively used in Moscow.


1967 March 14 - Lunar flyby/landing program plan reviewed

UR-500K/L1 project will consist of three phases. Phase I will be dedicated to development of the Block D translunar stage, using prototype, incomplete L1 spacecraft. Phase II will conduct lunar flybys with complete but unmanned L1 spacecraft. Phase III will fly Soviet cosmonauts around the moon. The N1/L3 project will consist of five phases. Phase I will use the N1 and the 7K-L1A spacecraft. This will be used primarily to test out the Block G translunar and Block D lunar orbit insertion stages, but will also conduct lunar flybys, returning photographs of the lunar surface to the earth. Phase II will use N1's to fly L3 spacecraft with an unpiloted LOK lunar orbiter and an unpiloted LK lunar lander. Phase III, the first manned missions, will use N1's to fly L3 spacecraft with a piloted LOK lunar orbiter and an unpiloted LK lunar lander. Phase IV will fly a piloted LOK lunar orbiter and an unpiloted LK lunar lander, that will be landed on the lunar surface. In Phase V N1-L3 number 10L is to launch the first manned landing on the moon in September 1968. N1-L3 numbers 11L and 12L were back-ups, in the event any of the planned earlier missions failed.

The detailed schedule was as follows:

UR-500/L1 flights

Phase I:
Vehicle 2P - Complete manufacture: 1966 December; Launch: 1967 February (delayed to March 10)
Vehicle 3P - Complete manufacture: 1967 February; Launch: 1967 March
Phase II:
Vehicle 4L - Complete manufacture: 1967 February; Launch: 1967 May
Vehicle 5L - Complete manufacture: 1967 March; Launch: 1967 June
Phase III:
Vehicle 6L - Complete manufacture: 1967 April; Launch: 1967 July
Vehicle 7L - Complete manufacture: 1967 May; Launch: 1967 August
Vehicle 8L - Complete manufacture: 1967 June; Launch: 1967 August
Vehicle 9L - Complete manufacture: 1967 July; Launch: 1967 September
Vehicle 10L - Complete manufacture: 1967 August; Launch: 1967 September
Vehicle 11L - Complete manufacture: 1967 August; Launch: 1967 October
Vehicle 12L - Complete manufacture: 1967 September; Launch: 1967 October
Vehicle 13L - Complete manufacture: 1967 September (back-up)

N1 flights

Phase I:
Vehicle 3L - Complete manufacture: 1967 June; Launch: 1967 September
Vehicle 4L - Complete manufacture: 1967 December (back-up)
Phase II:
Vehicle 5L - Complete manufacture: 1967 October; Launch: 1967 December
Vehicle 6L - Complete manufacture: 1967 December; Launch: 1968 February
Phase III:
Vehicle 7L - Complete manufacture: 1968 February; Launch: 1968 April
Vehicle 8L - Complete manufacture: 1968 April; Launch: 1968 June
Phase IV:
Vehicle 9L - Complete manufacture: 1968 June; Launch: 1968 August
Phase V:
Vehicle 10L - Complete manufacture: 1968 August; Launch: 1968 Sep
Vehicle 11L - Complete manufacture: 1968 October (back-up)
Vehicle 12L - Complete manufacture: 1968 December (back-up)


1967 March 16 - Soyuz state commission

The Soyuz 1/2 crews had planned to depart for Baikonur on 30 March, but Mishin wants to push this forward to the night of 17/18 March. This disrupts all of Kamanin's training plans and shows the poor planning and work of Mishin and his followers. A Soyuz state commission is held. Kamanin doesn't trust Mishin. The spacecraft is unreliable and incompletely tested. But it is decided all the conditions exist for a launch of the mission on 20-25 April. The question of Gagarin flying on the mission is brought up. The Communist Party says he is too valuable to risk on further spaceflights. Kamanin is against making him a living 'museum exhibit'. Smirnov agrees to raise the matter with the Politburo.


1967 March 20 - Soyuz 1 preparations

The cosmonauts have given up on further training at Baikonur due to the incomplete state of the spacecraft and returned to Moscow. Kamanin wanted to confront Mishin on the issue - this was all his fault, six days wasted - but Mishin never even showed up on the plane for the flight to Baikonur.


1967 March 22 - L1 flight scenario undecided

Kerimov argued with Mishin that without any logical reason his demand that the cosmonauts go to the cosmodrome for training has disrupted their preparation schedule. Later Kamanin met with Gagarin, Leonov, Volynov, and Makarov, all selected as pilots for L1 lunar flybys. The L1 flight scenario was still open. Variant 1 would involve launch of two spacecraft, with transfer of one to two crew to the translunar spacecraft in earth orbit. Variant 2 would be a direct flight to the moon.

No flightworthy lunar spacecraft or trainers have been completed yet, making it impossible to solve many questions of how to equip the spacecraft. Kamanin continues to argue with Mishin and OKB-1 over the background of the lunar lander pilot for L3 missions. Mishin wants him to be an engineer instead of an Air Force pilot. But it would take two to three years to train an engineer, and they have only 15 months until the planned date for the lunar landing.


1967 March 23 - L1 State Commission

A State Commission is held on the impending L1 translunar flights. A major issue is the L1 tracking/recovery radio beacon and the Zarya-3 deep space communications system. Launches of prototype L1P spacecraft are planned for April and May, with the first all-up L1 in June. All commission members are confident a Soviet man will the first around the moon by the end of the year. The State Commission also considers the pending Soyuz 1 / Soyuz 2 flight.


1967 March 31 - Soviet lunar maps prepared.

Kamanin examines maps of the moon, executed at scales of 1:5,000,000 and 1:10,000,000. 2000 are to be printed for use by the cosmonauts in preparation for the Soviet lunar landings. Mishin doesn't see the point - he is very aggressively anti-pilot for his lunar spacecraft.


1967 April 1 - Manual docking for Soyuz 1/2

Ustinov reviews the cosmonauts. Kamanin urges that a manual docking be allowed on the Soyuz 1/2 mission - he had argued the same point with Korolev before his death. Komarov say he can accomplish a manual docking from 350 km range (once the Igla automatic system has brought him there from 23 km range). There follows a discussion of an all-female flight. Four female cosmonauts would be assigned to the mission, and Kamanin would need 5 to 6 months to complete there training. The mission is designated 'Voskhod-6'.


1967 April 8 - Cosmos 154

Protoype Soyuz 7K-L1 manned circumlunar spacecraft. There are high winds for the L1 launch, 15-17 m/s. The official limit is 20 m/s, but Chelomei wants to scrub the launch if winds go over 15 m/s. Nevertheless the launch proceeds in 17-18 m/s winds and the L1 reached earth orbit. However the Block D translunar injection stage failed to fire (ullage rockets, which had to fire to settle propellants in tanks before main engine fired, were jettisoned prematurely). The failure is blamed on Mishin and has Tsybin seething in anger. Mishin is disorganised and has made many mistakes. Spacecraft burned up two days later when orbit decayed. Later in the day comes the news the RTS has to be replaced on one of the Soyuz 1/2 spacecraft. This will have a 3 to 4 day schedule impact, and push the launch back to 15-20 April. The crews arrive the same day for the upcoming Soyuz launch.


1967 April 12 - Chaos at Area 31.

The cosmonauts began work at 10:30 in the morning, and didn't complete work until 23:30 at night. They spent 16 hours working on Cosmonaut's Day, due to the criminally chaotic performance of TsKBEM. The cosmonauts have to train simultaneously for the Soyuz and L1 missions. Kamanin warns Kerimov about the unacceptable situation. Grechko arrives to head the state commission. The launch of Soyuz 1 is set for 24-25 April - there will be only eight days to fix all of the problems. The energy and optimism of Korolev is sorely missed. Mishin was a poor deputy, and a worse leader - his constant mistakes and stupidity delay work and aggravate people. The cosmonauts have to keep in shape by playing tennis, but there is only one court at Tyuratam - a second court is to be built eventually (!)


1967 April 14 - Huge blow-up at Tyuratam.

The cosmonauts are completely trained, ready for launch at any time with four hours notice. Then Mishin calls Ustinov and tells him that their training is what is holding up the Soyuz 1 launch! From the point of view of the military quality assurance inspectors, there are 100 unresolved discrepancies on Soyuz 1 - the spacecraft is a piece of shit.


1967 April 16 - Soyuz 1 is moved to the integration hall.

The Soyuz 2 crew trains from 15:00 to 20:00 - they had to wait due to problems with the spacecraft, but then the training went all right. The argument continues on whether to do an automatic or a manual docking. The design bureau wants to use the Igla automatic system; the cosmonauts want to do it manually. They have done 800 dockings in the simulator, so they should know best, in Kamanin's opinion. They want to let the automatic system take the spacecraft up to 50 to 70 m from the target, then use manual maneuvering to proceed to dock. The number two valve on the Soyuz 1 spacecraft's nitrogen tank was inadvertently opened during preparation. It was said not to be serious, but the problems are getting on everyone's nerves.


1967 April 20 - Soyuz 1/2 State Commission.

150 people attend. The readiness of the spacecraft and launch vehicles are confirmed. The final responsibilities and schedule are approved. Everything is go. Afterwards there is a meeting with Mishin. He is mainly worried about two things that could cause them to scrub the launch of the second Soyuz: a failure of the Igla automatic docking system or the solar panels on Soyuz 1.


1967 April 23 - Soyuz 1

Space disaster that put back Soviet lunar program 18 months. Soyuz 1 as active spacecraft was launched first. Soyuz 2, with a 3 man crew would launch the following day, with 2 cosmonauts spacewalking to Soyuz 1. However immediately after orbital insertion Komarov's problems started. One of the solar panels failed to deploy, staying wrapped around the service module. Although only receiving half of the planned solar power, an attempt was made to manoeuvre the spacecraft. This failed because of interference of the reaction control system exhaust with the ion flow sensors that were one of the Soyuz' main methods of orientation.

Kamanin' account: Before the launch, the cosmonauts have a special meeting with VVS Marshals, and confirm the technical readiness and reliability of the spacecraft. The launch proceeded normally. On the second orbit, Komarov reported: 'Conditions are poor. The cabin parameters are normal, but the left solar panel didn't deploy. The electrical bus is at only 13 to 14 amps. The HF communications are not working. I cannot orient the spacecraft to the sun. I tried orienting the spacecraft manually using the DO-1 orientation engines, but the pressure remaining on the DO-1 has gone down to 180.' Komarov was ordered to continue orienting to the sun using the DO-1, as this would still be the most economical use of fuel and energy. A few minurtes later two 3-channel telemetry signals were received. Yegorov said these showed cabin pressure 560 mm and zero pressure in the DO-1 - obviously incorrect values. Komarov was asked what his cockpit readings were - '760 mm pressure in the cabin, 180 on DO-1, and 14 amps on the power bus. Solar batteries not deployed, cannot orient to the sun' was the reply. It was clear that the spacecraft could not fly for three days in these conditions. After five hours of trying, Komarov still could not orient to the sun. The ion sensors were not working, and manual orientation was difficult. Between the 7th and 13th revolutions there were no communications with the capsule. It was not within the radius of UHF ground stations and the HF communications were not working. The time was allocated to crew rest, and Komarov in any case had to convserve his use of electricity.


1967 April 24 - Crash of Soyuz 1. Cosmonaut Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov is killed at age 40.

The decision was made to bring Komarov back due to an undeployed solar panel which reduced electrical power and blocked orientation sensors. Re-entry was successful and the drag chute deployed. However due to a flaw during manufacture, the parachute compartment housing was too rough and the main parachute would not deploy. Komarov released the reserve chute, but it became tangled with the drag chute. The descent module crashed into a field near Orenburg at 03:24 GMT.

Kamanin' account: Kamanin flew to the Command Point at Yevpatoriya to join Gagarin. Meanwhile the decision had been taken to return the spacecraft to earth. Keldysh, Kerimov, and Tyulin wanted to terminate the flight on the 17th revolution, but Mishin wanted to proceed with the full flight program. A decision needed to be taken by revolution 13 to allow landing on revolutions 17, 18, or 19. On orbit 13 Komarov was requested to orient the spacecraft using the ion sensors and manually. Repeated attempts were unsuccessful. The situation was clear. The Soyuz 2 launch would have to be cancelled, and all efforts had to concentrate on the successful landing of Soyuz 1.

There were three orientation systems on the Soyuz: the astro-inertial system (which was blocked by the unfolded left solar panel), the ion system (which was unreliable due to ion holes), and the manual system using the Vzor device. The problem with the manual system was that it could only be used on the dayside of the planet, and for a 05:30 retrofire on the 17th revolution the earth would be in shadow. Therefore it was decided to make a first landing attempt on the 17th revolution using the ion system. It seemed clear to Kamanin that this was a mistake. Nevertheless on revolutions 15 and 16 Komarov prepared for landing using the ion system. In the event, it did not function. There was no time left to set up for a manual retrofire on revolution 18.

Kamanin had no choice but to inform Marshal Rudenko that a landing on the 18th revolution was not possible due to Mishin's mismanagement. Komarov would have to wait until the 19th revolution and then attempt a manual orientation for retrofire with landing near Orsk. A method was worked out to accomplish this. Komarov was to orient the spacecraft manually on the dayside, spin up the gyro platform, and then use this to orient on the night side for retrofire. Telemetry showed that this was successful -- the TDU engine functioned normally, and a signal of parachute deployment was received from the capsule 65 km east of Orsk. However the main parachute did not fully deploy and the reserve parachute did not fully inflate. The capsule crashed into the ground at 30-40 m/s. Kamanin departed Yevpatoriya and arrived at 06:45 in Orsk. What was left of Komarov's body was an irregular lump 30 cm in diameter and 80 cm long. Three hours later Keldysh, Tyulin, Rudenko, and other State Commission members visited the site. At 21:45 Kamanin accompanied Komarov's body to the Orsk aerordorme, where it was loaded on an Il-18. Ten minutes before departure an An-12 landed with Kuznetsov and several cosmonauts. Kamanin landed in Moscow in the wee hours of the morning. The aircraft had to divert to Sheremetovo since all the other airfields around Moscow were socked in. Then he had to wait 90 minutes on the ground until the ground transportation showed up. The orders were that Komarov's remains were to be photographed, then immediately cremated so that a state burial in the Kremlin wall could take place. The remains underwent a quick autopsy that morning, then were cremated.


1967 April 26 - Komarov state funeral.

Komarov's ashes are interred in the wall of the Kremlin.


1967 April 27 - State Commission on Soyuz 1 crash.

Ustinov convened the commission at noon. The work was to be completed by 15 May, and the final report issued by 25 May. The members of the commission would be Ustinov, Smirnov, Serbin, Afanasyev, the Chief Designers, and Gagarin. 22 members would work in seven subcommittees that would:

  • Investigate design and test of the spacecraft structures
  • Investigate design and test of the landing and parachute systems
  • Investigate design and test of the orientation and guidance systems
  • Study the performance of the tracking, communications, and flight ground control systems
  • Investigate design and test of the launch system
  • Analyse the contents of the Mir-3 flight data recorder, telemetry, and space-to-earth communications
  • Review the design and as-built documentation for the spacecraft, subsystems, training program, flight plan, and the on-board flight log

1967 April 29 - L1 trainer review.

Review of progress on the L1 trainer MN-17, consisting of the SA and NO of the spacecraft It was built by the Factory Brigade headed by Darevskiy and was finished three to four weeks ago. But there is still the question of the cosmonauts conducting autonomous navigation. Tyulin and Mishin promised a solution long ago, but nothing has been delivered to date.


1967 May 4 - Kamanin view on Phantom Cosmonauts.

According to a Tass report, 11 cosmonauts have died - Dolgov, Mikhailov, Grachev, etc. However these men were not cosmonauts, though Kamanin notes that they did work in 1961-1963 at the Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine.


1967 May 5 - Gagarin and Leonov want Mishin cited in Soyuz crash report.

Gagarin and Leonov meet with Kamanin. They discuss the complete inadequacy of Mishin - his excitability, poor knowledge of the Soyuz spacecraft and the details of its operation, his lack of cooperation in working with the cosmonauts in flight and training activities. They urge that these facts be documented in the Komarov crash commission report. Problems are discussed with getting an additional Tu-104 for zero-G/one sixth-G training. Three are needed, and only two have been made available. Even these two can only be used for 23 flights up to 10 August, after which they must be sent away for ejection seat modifications.


1967 May 6 - Chief Designers favour direct L1 flight to the moon

Tyulin calls Kamanin. He reports that all of the Chief Designers are in favour of direct L1 flight to the moon instead of the earth orbit rendezvous method. However the Central Committee wants to see four consecutive successful unmanned flights, rather than two, before a manned L1 flight can be made.


1967 May 7 - Soyuz return-to-flight plans.

Aboard Mishin's aircraft, he discusses his plans with Kamanin. He plans to launch two unmanned Soyuz spacecraft in the second half of July. An automated docking will be attempted, but the mission will be considered successful if the spacecraft rendezvous in space and approach to within 50 to 70 m of each other. He expects to follow this in August with a manned rendezvous, docking, and crew transfer mission. Two further pairs of spacecraft will be available by November 1967. This means a total of eight crews, including back-up crews, will have to be trained. He wants Feoktistov to fly on one of these missions. Kamanin tells Mishin that it will take two to three months to prepare Feoktistov for flight and will be too disruptive to flight training. After arriving at Fedosiya they attend a Soyuz 1 State Commission meeting from 10:00 to 13:00. Tests of the Soyuz parachute system are to be conducted beginning 14 May, on two mass models and one Soyuz mock-up.


1967 May 15 - Soyuz parachute test results.

In the first drop, the reserve parachute didn't open. In the second test, it did inflate, but only after a delay of twenty seconds. TsAGI studies show the drogue chute is creating an area of turbulence in the wake of the capsule, and the reserve chute is deploying right into that zone of chaotic air, preventing it from inflating. Tests on the parachute show that while it was designed to deploy with 1.8 tonnes of drag force from the drogue chute, it actually requires 3-4 tonnes of force to pull the packed parachute out of the container and allow parachute deployment. The parachute fails at 8 tonne load. The Soyuz parachute system is supposed to have a reliability of 95% ... and this essential problem was unknown...


1967 May 20 - LII Soyuz parachute findings

The drop of the Soyuz 1 mock-up at Fedosiya was cancelled due to the great likelihood of loss of the spacecraft and the low likelihood of obtaining any new data as a result. The LII assessment of the parachute system has been completed:

  • The likely cause of non-deployment of the primary parachute on Soyuz 1 was insufficient drag force created by the drogue chute to pull it out of the container (the drogue needs to produce 3 tonnes of force, but tests show only 1.1 to 1.8 tonnes of force are being produced at an ambient pressure of 0.67 atmospheres)
  • The reliable operation of the reserve parachute and the drogue parachute at the same time was never demonstrated in trials. The chance of them getting tangled was actually very likely.
LII's recommended changes:
  • Remove the reserve parachute and have a system of two main parachutes, with landing possible even if one of the main chutes does not deploy
  • Develop through extensive actual testing reliable inflation of the drogue chute
  • Add controls to allow manual parachute deployment by the crew, with appropriate cockpit instruments
  • Increase the jettison time of the heat shield from 60.7 seconds to 100 seconds after parachute deployment to allow the full interval for operation of the automatic landing system.

1967 May 22 - LII Soyuz parachute recommendations impractical.

The conclusions of the LII study are found to be sound, but it would take months or even years to implement such an extensive spacecraft redesign. Mishin is still under orders to fly a manned mission around the moon by the 50th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution in October.


1967 May 26 - Soyuz 1 Commission report is reviewed.

Afanasyev, Kerimov, and Tyulin object to Kamanin's conclusion that problems exist with the automated landing system and that a manual backup is needed. They want to find fault only with the parachute. The findings of VVS LII, and TsAGI are discussed. Later Kamanin has an unpleasant conversation with Gagarin. He wants to remove control of the manned flight control centre away from the MOM. Kamanin believes this is contrary to the interests of the Ministry of Defence.


1967 May 29 - Soviet of Chief Designers.

Tkachev, chief designer of parachute systems, rejects the findings of the Soyuz 1 state commission. His objections are overruled. The final decision is to adopt the conclusions of the commission in their entirety. Two unmanned Soyuz flights will take place in August, followed by manned flight in September. However the manned flights will go ahead only if the unmanned flights are entirely 'clean' - without any deviations. Beregovoi and Volynov are to head the first two crews.


1967 July 16 - Soviet space setbacks

Kamanin observes in his diary that there will be no way a Soviet cosmonaut will fly in space in 1967 and blames it all on Mishin.

He faults Mishin for:

- Idiotic insistence on fully automatic manned spacecraft
- Frivolous refusal to fly 'old' spacecraft like Vostok or Voskhod
- Haste in preparation of new spacecraft of the Soyuz series
- Weakness in sticking to unrealistic schedule wishes of Communist Party and government management (notably Smirnov and Pashkov)
- Terrible lack of discipline of his staff, leading to inability to fully execute government decrees
- Complete lack of co-operation with other design bureaux and government agencies.

Kamanin observes that Mishin is trying to take Korolev's place, but lacks Korolev's authority, organisational talent, and unsurpassed ability to motivate and energise people. Mishin has no authority, no talent, and actually demotivates his subordinates. He micromanages and insists on sticking his nose into everything.

Mishin keeps pushing and pushing for Feoktistov to be named a Soyuz spacecraft commander. Kamanin believes this is impossible. The Communist Party requires years of training before a cosmonaut can be appointed to such a position. This Feoktistiov does not have, and besides his vision is far below requirements. The VVS categorically rejects Feoktistov for such duty, but Mishin will not take no for an answer.


1967 July 21 - Soyuz spacecraft programme review is conducted.

Problems are identified with the parachutes and oxygen regeneration system which must be solved before the first manned flight.


1967 July 24 - Cosmonaut group meeting.

Mishin is seen as jeopardising Soviet manned lunar plans. He has no understanding of the necessity of providing proper training simulators to prepare the cosmonauts for flight. He is coarse, rude, doesn't listen to critics, and ignores the comments of those who will have to fly aboard his spacecraft. The cosmonauts agree they should request a meeting with Brezhnev and tell him flat out - there will be no moon landing as long as Mishin is in charge.

In his plan for using Feoktistov as a commander cosmonaut, Mishin has lied to party and government managers. Now the only ones not supporting Feoktistov's appointment as a Soyuz commander are Kamanin and the cosmonauts.


1967 July 29 - Review of Soyuz trainer status.

The Soyuz simulator has not been functional for three months -- entirely the fault of Mishin and Tsybin. The L1 trainer has not been finished, and the autonomous navigation system has not completed development. There are two prototype electronic computers at TsKBEM, but they are not complete and don't work. The first L1 spacecraft was to fly in May, but it is now clear it won't be ready until September at the earliest. There will be no manned lunar flyby for the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution as was ordered by the Party.

Feoktistov visits the cosmonaut centre. To meet Mishin's wishes, he must complete the 30 month cosmonaut training curriculum in two months. He is told flat out he doesn't meet the physical standards required for a pilot.


1967 July 31 - Meeting of space programme management in the Crimea.

Two planning documents are discussed. The first deals with the training of civilian cosmonauts. Two phases of training are planned, the first phase at MOM institutes and Minzorar, the second at TsPK and the VVS. In addition 50 new air force pilots will be identified for space duty in three groups in 1968, 1969, and 1970. They will be ready for the planned large number of 7K-VI and Almaz flights beginning in 1972. Brezhnev would like to see more Voskhod flights. Meanwhile Titov has qualified as a test pilot third class, and will qualify as second class by the end of the year. All in all, things are looking good in the years ahead.


1967 August 2 - Manned spacecraft trainer status

The Volga and Soyuz trainers are to be finally operational on 10 and 20 August respectively. The L1 trainer is not progressing and the L3 trainer exists only on paper. The lead cosmonauts have decided to boycott Feoktistov. Nikolayev and Bykovskiy simply refuse to fly with him. They feel Feoktistov's poor vision could result in a catastrophe in a docking attempt, resulting in the death of the crews of both spacecraft involved. The IMBP agrees - 'we can't put an invalid into space'....


1967 August 8 - Gagarin grounded.

The Soviet leadership has decided Gagarin is too important a propaganda asset to take any risks with his life. He is removed from the list of cosmonauts to be selected for space flights, and will be allowed to fly aircraft only with an instructor aboard. This ruling overrules a promise made by Kamanin to Gagarin that he would be put back on the flight rosterthat after he obtained his engineering diploma from the Zhukovskiy Academy on 1 May 1968. A vote is taken of the cosmonaut selection commission on Feoktistov's fitness for duty. The vote is 4:4, but then a quorum of at least 12 commission members is demanded. Feoktistov passes 9:8 in the final vote.


1967 August 9 - Gorbatko grounded.

Gorbatko shows heart abnormalities in his EKG during a run on the TBK-60 centrifuge.


1967 August 14 - Gulyayev grounded; Feoktistov in training.

Cosmonaut Gulyayev has hit his head on a stone when diving in the Kholodniy River. Feoktistov continues his attempt to complete 30 months of command cosmonaut training in 75 days. The makes ten dockings in the Volga trainer - 8 of the are rated as 'bad'.


1967 August 15 - L3 quarantine discussed.

Sterilisation and quarantine of the L3 spacecraft on its return from the moon is discussed.


1967 August 24 - Soyuz launch commission.

Over 200 recommendations were made for revision of the parachute system, and all of these had to be made over the last two to three months. There have been 30 drops of the FAB-3000 Soyuz capsule mass simulator and two drops of capsule mock-ups. The entire series of tests is due to be completed by 20 September. This will allow flight of the first two manned spacecraft on 15 to 20 October. The commission is split over the selection of Feoktistov for the flight. It has to be referred to Smirnov and Ustinov for a final decision.


1967 August 31 - 7K-VI Zvezda program review.

The 7K-VI military Soyuz was supposed to have been built on the basis of the 7K-OK model, with a first flight in December 1967. After all the problems with the 7K-OK, Kozlov replaced most subsystems and ended up with a basically new spacecraft, the Zvezda, which will have a mass of 6.3 to 6.6 tonnes. Officially first flight was set for the second half of 1968, but Kozlov says that even a flight in 1969 may not be possible. They simply can't meet the 21 July 1967 decree to have the spacecraft in service in 1968 - they need a further 18 to 24 months of development time. In Kamanin's opinion, this whole approach has been mismanaged. Urgent military experiments could have been flying long ago on a series of Voskhod flights. Furthermore there is no trainer yet for the 7K-VI. Kozlov says simply that he is not responsible for providing a trainer. Resort has to be made to a new design bureau set up specifically to produce simulators, headed by Darevskiy.


1967 September 8 - L1 Expert Commission.

Mishin certifies that the spacecraft will be delivered on 13-14 September, so launch is set for the window of 25-27 September. There are two recovery zones: Baikonur is the prime, with the Indian Ocean as secondary in case of a ballistic re-entry.


1967 September 11 - Kamanin reviews military space plans for the period 1968-1975.

The first military combat space units are to be formed - for operations with the 7K-VI and Almaz spacecraft, together with subsidiary Soyuz transport and training flights.


1967 September 13 - Kamanin continues work on the 8-year plan for military space.

The general staff's space plans are impressive - in 1968-1975 they foresee no less than 20 Almaz space stations, 50 military 7K-VI missions, 200 Soyuz training spacecraft flights and 400 Soyuz space transport flights. This is based on the assumption that the crew of the military space stations will have to be rotated every 15 days. That will require 48 transport spacecraft per year, implying not less than 30 ready crews with 3 cosmonauts in each crew (this in turn implies each each cosmonaut will fly a space mission 1.5 times per year). Since supplies will have to be delivered to the stations, that will require another 200 additional transport spacecraft launches. And all of this is aside from civilian Soyuz flights, L1, L3, and various other civilian spacecraft - implying a total of 1000 launches in the period. This will require 800 Soyuz-class launch vehicles, 100 Protons, and 10 to 12 N1 boosters. The inevitable conclusion for Kamanin is that most of the transport launches should be made by a reusable winged spacecraft, air-launched from an An-22 heavy transport. This is the goal of the Spiral project. By 1975 Kamanin sees a requirement for 400 active cosmonauts, organised in two to three aerospace brigades, supported by10 aviation regiments, and including the TsPK training centre -- altogether 20,000 to 25,000 men. 250 million roubles will be needed to build new aerodromes and facilities alone, all chargeable to the VVS. Total cost will run into tens of billions of roubles per year.


1967 September 13 - Smirnov told Feoktistov unready for command.

Vershinin writes a letter to Smirnov on the subject of Feoktistov. He tells Smirnov he is not ready to be a spacecraft commander.


1967 September 19 - L1 Launch Commission.

The cosmonauts are training at Area 113, and the launch will be from Area 81. The State Commission meets from 15:00 to 18:30. So far there have been six successful Proton flights and only one failure. The Proton assembly was completed in 71 working days. UR-500 s/n 7 for this launch had 138 systems requiring rework at the launch site and 120 discrepancies (an increase: Proton number 5 for the first L1 launch had 208 reworks/223 discrepancies, while Proton number 6 for the first L1 launch was down to 70 reworks/194 defects). The L1 spacecraft had 15 notable defects on delivery, but this had increased to 100 by the time of the commission. Therefore Mishin should not be certifying readiness for launch. Manned flight to the moon requires a total mission probability of 0.99 to 0.9999, and Mishin puts the current Proton/L1 system reliability at only 0.6. It certainly has to be better- this is an 'all-up mission'. It will be the world's first re-entry at parabolic velocity. On return from the moon the spacecraft has to hit a re-entry corridor only 30 km across. The range of possible touchdown points extends along a 400 km wide corridor stretching from the equator to the North Pole, and extending over the Indian Ocean, India, Central Asia, and Siberia.


1967 September 20 - Review of N1 progress.

The booster was supposed to be launched by 1966, but there is no way it will be finished this year, and it is highly questionable it will even get off the ground in 1968. The N1 tanks are pressurised to 2 atmospheres, and can go up to three atmospheres in an emergency. In the enormous MIK assembly hall are three N1's - one 'iron bird' ground test model and two flight vehicles. The first roll out of the mock-up will take place in 1967, and the first launch attempt is still expected in 1968 (the first launch will not be attempted until the second and third stages complete stand tests. There is no test stand for the first stage, it will be fired for the first time in flight). An explosion would destroy the pad, requiring several years of repairs. There are two pads, but even that would not be a guarantee of the availability of the rocket due to the poor expected initial reliability. The N1 project is costing 10 billion roubles, not including considerable investment required by the military. To Kamanin the whole thing is a boondoggle, showing the necessity for development of lighter air-launched boosters. He believes there are many mistakes in design and construction, but Mishin, Pashkov, Smirnov, and Ustinov support these doubtful projects of Korolev and Mishin, instead of technically sound projects such as Chelomei's UR-700 or MiG's air-launched spacecraft. If Mishin thinks the current Proton/L1 reliability is only 0.6, then that of the completely unproved N1/L3 must be even less...


1967 September 21 - L1 launch delayed to November.

The L1 in preparation at Area 31 will not be ready for the planned 20 October launch due to delays in qualification of the parachute system at Fedosiya. No launch attempt now expected until November.


1967 September 26 - L1 Launch Commission.

Proton s/n 229 and L1 s/n 4L are ready for launch. There remain communications problems, including the 3-channel telemetry and the SAS abort system. Launch is set for 28 September, landing after return from the moon on 4 October at 19:52, 200 to 300 km north of Dzhezkazgan. At Area 31 there is a problem with the solar cells on the Soyuz. They have to be replaced, which means acceptance tests will have to start all over. At Fedosiya parachute trials are still experiencing delays.


1967 September 27 - Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 4L

First attempted circumlunar flight. The UR-500K failed, crashing 50 to 60 km from the launch pad. The L1 radio beacon was detected 65 km north of the Baikonur aerodrome by an Il-14 search aircraft. An Mi-6 helicopter recovered the capsule and had it back to the cosmodrome by 13:30. Mishin's record: of seven launches of the Soyuz and L1, only one has been successful. Film of the launch shows that one engine of the first stage failed. Mishin still wants to launch the next L1 by 28 October. The other chief designers oppose the move. Barmin says at least five months are needed to diagnose the cause of the failures and makes fixes to ensure they don't happen again. Nevertheless the leadership sides with Mishin, and Barmin is ordered to prepare the left Proton pad for a launch within 30 to 40 days.


1967 October 3 - Mishin's errors means Kamanin will not see a Soviet man on the moon in his lifetime.

The moon landing has already been delayed three to four years due to the mistakes of Mishin. Kamanin feels his mortality, the limited number of years remaining in his life, and is furious that Mishin is wasting time when life is so short for everyone.


1967 October 5 - First public revelation of Soviet manned space hardware.

The statues are unveiled at the space monument in Moscow, in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the launch of Sputnik. The opening also marks the first screening of a new film devoted to the Soviet space program, the first to publicly reveal the configuration of the Vostok booster and spacecraft and show actual launches from Baikonur.


1967 October 6 - Soyuz parachute trials at Fedosiya.

They need to complete 70 drops, which normally would take five to six months. Mishin still insists that they be completed by 1 November. Three tests are made in one day, a record, including the drop of a Soyuz mock-up at 17:55 from an An-12. The parachute deployed correctly, but the soft landing system fired at 2000 m instead of 1.2 m. The spacecraft hit the ground on its side at 8 m/s. Because of the angle of impact the crew seat shock absorbers couldn't function. If any cosmonauts had been aboard, they would have suffered serious trauma.


1967 October 7 - Soviet of Chief Designers

In Moscow, Mishin heads a meeting of all the Chief Designers (including Chelomei, Mishin, and Glushko). Glushko says that the last UR-500K failure was due to errors made during manufacture of an engine in 1965 at Factory 19 at Perm. Ustinov notes that the failure has cost the state 100 million roubles and has delayed the program two to three months. He brutally attacks Dementiev, Minister of Aviation Industry, for the poor work of his factories on the space program. Another issue is continued delays in the Salyut computer for the L1. Ustinov orders an alternate technical solution to be developed in parallel with the digital computer development. The next Soyuz flight is set for the end of December, the next L1 attempt for 21-22 November.


1967 October 10 - Lunar Soviet

The meeting is headed by Afanasyev. The first N1 will have a payload of only 76 tonnes, versus the 95 tonnes required for the L3 lunar landing complex. In order to land two cosmonauts on the moon, as the Americans are planning, a 105 tonne low earth orbit payload would be needed. This would require new engines in the first and second stages. Kuznetsov says that his 153 tonne engine could be uprated to 170 tonnes without any basic changes. Lox/LH2 engines would be needed for the upper stages. Keldysh questions the safety of the current plan of landing only one cosmonaut on the moon. Mishin replies that putting two cosmonauts on the moon simply is not possible with the N1. Chelomei raises a question - How is it possible that the Americans have built he Saturn V, which can put 130 tonnes in low earth orbit, in order to land two men on the moon, and Mishin says he can do the same mission with 105 tonnes? Mishin claims that this is due to the lighter design and construction of the L3. The following decisions are made:

  • The first Soviet flight to he moon will use the current plan - one N1 launch, one cosmonaut on the moon.
  • Special measures must be taken to ensure the safety of that single cosmonaut
  • A new N1 model is to be developed to land the new L5 spacecraft (which will be able to handle 4 to 5 crew, 1.5 to 2.0 tonnes of scientific equipment, and spend three months on the lunar surface). This is to be ready two to three years after the first landing.
  • The Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Defence, and MOM are to develop a program of military and scientific experiments to be carried aboard the L3
  • The next meeting of the lunar soviet will be in November/December 1967

1967 October 13 - Mishin seeks cancellation of 7K-VI.

Mishin sends a letter to Afanasyev and Smirnov, proposing to cancel the Kozlov's 7K-VI military version of Soyuz. It is an unnecessary new spacecraft design, he says. As an alternative Mishin proposes to double to 8 to 10 the number of flights of the existing Soyuz design planned for 1968. Kamanin is astounded. Mishin was never opposed to Kozlov's 7K-VI before. No one had ever indicated that the VI had to be a precise copy of the Soyuz. The military is opposed to the move. On another matter, Kamanin sends a letter to Mishin, complaining about the L1 trainer provided - the simulator is not representative of the actual spacecraft. Meanwhile the second test of a Soyuz mock-up is made at the parachute trials at Fedosiya. It proceeds normally, and the test clears the way for an unmanned space flight of the redesigned Soyuz.


1967 October 15 - Meeting on crew selections for the L3 program.

Attending are Kuznetsov, Gagarin, Khlebnikov. There are three training groups: Soyuz, L1, and L3. Mishin and the MOM are holding up further training of cosmonauts until the VVS agrees to accept Mishin's candidates from TsKBEM. In any case, Mishin's attitude is that 'automation in space is everything. Humans in space are only supposed to monitor the operation of automated systems'. L3 cosmonauts selected by the VVS are: Leonov, Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Popovich, Voronov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Artyukhin, Kubasov, Makarov, and Rukavishnikov. The official requirements: balanced composition of a crew according to mass requirements (no more than 70 kg weight per cosmonaut), and the ability to monitor fully automated function of the L3. According to official documents, the crew's primary function is to guide the flight, but now Mishin intends that their primary role will be as subjects of psychological and physical observations to establish the adaptation of the human organism to space flight).


1967 October 16 - Continued problems with Soyuz landing system tests.

A further test of the Soyuz landing system went all right, if you don't consider the fact that the 'Tor' altimeter triggered the braking system 3.3 seconds early. One certainly couldn't say, as a result of only these two successful tests, that the system was reliable. The system uses a gamma altimeter, with redundant verification using pulses from HF and UHF antennae. The system has been approved for unmanned flights, but needs additional tests before it can be certified for manned flights. Kholdokov wants the VVS to take over not just trials, but all further development of the landing system, since Mishin and Tkachev are unable to deliver a reliable product. But such a decision can only be taken jointly by the VVS and RVSN.


1967 October 17 - The return to flight of Soyuz is approved.

There have been many improvements and additional qualification tests conducted since the Soyuz 1 crash, notably to the parachute system. MAP, TsAGI, LII, and the VVS want the L1 to have a reserve parachute as well, but Mishin rejects the recommendation -- it would cost 200 kg extra mass, and there are absolutely no reserves in the L1.


1967 October 21 - Lunar crew controversy rages.

First Mishin was pushing the 60-year-old Anokhin for spaceflight, now the invalid Feoktistov. Feoktistiov suffers from gastrointestinal ulcers. Tyulin and Kerimov are of one voice in the matter - this is not even a question that can be raised - sick is sick, period. The L1 and L3 crews will have to endure eight to ten days of orbital flight. They can only be between 170 and 175 cm tall, and can have a maximum weight of 70 kg. Mishin insists that he doesn't even need military pilots for the L1 and L3, and therefore doesn't need to decide crew compositions until the middle of 1968, and then only 'his' engineer cosmonauts from TsKBEM should be considered. The Marshal interrupts Mishin, angrily reminding him that the space program is a national enterprise, not something being accomplished by 'your' spacecraft or 'your' cosmonauts. A three hour-long bitter debate ensues, with no resolution on crew selections. The final conclusions are only that the crews will consist of one pilot, and one engineer, and that Feoktistov will never be allowed to go into space.


1967 October 23 - Soyuz launches delayed.

The Soyuz launches have been delayed two to three days because of rain. In any case a membrane in an orientation system propellant tank burst during fuelling of spacecraft number 6.


1967 October 24 - Soyuz launch commission

Soyuz launch commission is held at Area 31 at 17:00.


1967 October 27 - Cosmos 186

Docked with Cosmos 188; first automated rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft. The dockings were timed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution (in lieu of a succession of manned space feats that all had to be cancelled due to schedule delays). Achieved automatic rendezvous on second attempt. Capture achieved but hard docking and electric connections unsuccessful due to misallignment of spacecraft. Star tracker failed and had to make a high-G ballistic re-entry. Recovered October 31, 1967 08:20 GMT.


1967 October 29 - Cosmos 188 launch scrubbed.

The Soyuz-B ('Baikal') launch was delayed to 30 October due to problems with the celestial navigation system aboard Cosmos 186. Later that day an N1-L3 review is held. The first launch vehicle will be completed in two to three weeks, but the launch complex will not be ready until next January. The first trials of the booster on the pad will begin in February-March 1968, with the first launch in the second half of the year.


1967 October 30 - Cosmos 188

Docking target craft for Cosmos 186, which achieved world's first automatic rendezvous on second attempt. Hard docking achieved but electric connections unsuccessful due to misallignment of spacecraft. Ion flow sensor failed and Cosmos 188 had to make a high-G uncontrolled re-entry. When it deviated too far off course, it was destroyed by the on-board self-destruct system,. However officially the Soviet Union reported that it landed succesfully on November 2, 1967 at 09:10 GMT, and that its mission was 'investigation of outer space, development of new systems and elements to be used in the construction of space devices'.

Cosmos 188 / Soyuz-B (the passive spacecraft - 7K-OK(P) s/n 5) was launched and inserted into orbit 24 km from Cosmos 186 / Soyuz-A. This was the spacecraft that was to have flown the Soyuz 2 manned mission in April 1967. Cosmos 186 was ordered to attempt a first-orbit automatic rendezvous and docking. Although a docking was not planned for the flight, Mishin decided to attempt it anyway. The first docking attempt failed when the active spacecraft flew past Cosmos 188 at a distance of 900 m after the system lost contact. The spacecraft set itself up for a second attempt and achieved soft-dock. However when hard-dock was attempted an excessive lateral movement led to torquing of the directional steering of the active spacecraft. The detailed interface latches and connectors of the docking rings did not join. The spacecraft had hard docked but without full latching and electrical connections.

There was also a significant over-expenditure of propellant in the docking process. Cosmos 186's rendezvous manoeuvring engine had fired 28 times with a cumulative burning time of 200 seconds. As the spacecraft come into range of tracking station IP-16, the cameras showed mission control that the spacecraft were docked, but off-axis. The earth could be seen racing below in the television images. Kamanin had opposed the fully automatic docking approach when Korolev first advocated it three to four years ago, but this success moves Kamanin to feel that Korolev was right after all. Chief Designer Armin Sergeyevich Mnatsakanian's 'little Igla' has come through. Kamanin believes that this technology will be the death of big boosters like the Saturn V or N1. It makes it possible to assemble payloads in orbit launched by smaller rockets.


1967 October 31 - Cosmos 186 landing.

Due to failure of a star tracker a guided lifting re-entry of 3-4 G was not accomplished. A ballistic re-entry of 7-8 G however resulted in a successful soft landing in the target zone. Rudenko's recovery crews demonstrated a lack of training. Ustinov and Mishin were anxious to release a proclamation of total mission success, but they needed confirmation that the soft landing rockets had functioned correctly. It was only after 2.5 hours that the recovery teams arrived aboard an Mi-6 helicopter that the correct function of the landing system is verified and the leadership notified.


1967 November 1 - Cosmos 188 self-destructs during re-entry.

Mishin is drunk again at a critical mission phase. Afanasyev, Kerimov, and Tyulin all know about Mishin's drinking problem but do nothing. Meanwhile in orbit Soyuz-B's stellar navigation system has not functioned correctly (it hasn't worked on any Soyuz, Kamanin notes). The decision is made to use the ion orientation system. The TDU braking rocket fires at 10:03 on 2 November. But the spacecraft is not oriented correctly, and the landing will take place 2000 to 3000 km from the recovery area. The APO destruct system determines that the landing point will be 300 to 400 km east of Ulan-Ude, and automatically blows up the capsule during re-entry at an altitude of 60 to 70 km above Irkutsk. This was completely unnecessary, since the capsule would have landed on Soviet territory, or in Mongolian territory close to the border. The orientation problem is found to be due to incorrect functioning of the ion orientation system.


1967 November 4 - Manned Soyuz flight by May 1968?

Discussion on the Il-18 on the way back to Moscow from Tyuratam. Mishin thinks that a manned flight aboard Soyuz will be possible by April-May of 1968; the others don't think it can happen until the second half of the year.


1967 November 5 - Soyuz capsule recovery issues.

Kamanin meets with Rudenko. They go over the problems with the training of his recovery crews. They have three helicopters, 10 men, yet nobody could determine if a soft landing had occurred or not.


1967 November 7 - The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Soviet Revolution.

Kamanin feels there has been no event like this in a century. The celebrations were marked by clear, sunny weather. All the cosmonauts were in Moscow for the celebrations, except Popovich, who was in Rumania. Kamanin notes with disapproval Rumania's attempted alliance with Mao Tse-Tung. During November 7 demonstrations in Bucharest, there were no Russian flags to be seen.


1967 November 13 - Kamanin's thoughts on first Saturn V launch.

The first Saturn V and Surveyor 6 have been launched by the Americans. Kamanin catalogues why the Americans are beating them: bad organisation, on the parts of Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov, Malinovskiy, and Grechko; technical errors and an undisciplined approach to the fulfilment of government decrees concerning the Soyuz and N1 on the parts of Chief Designers Korolev and Mishin; lack of coordination between the institutes and design bureaux compared to the United States; and finally, the Americans are spending several times more money than has been dedicated to the Soviet space program.


1967 November 16 - State Commission on Cosmos 186/188.

Problems on the mission included excessive firing of the manoeuvring engine during rendezvous and docking, and failure of the stellar navigation systems. The systems still need work before a man's life can be risked. It is decided to conduct another unmanned dual docking mission in March-April 1968; with a manned flight in May-June 1968. As for the L1, the simulator was still 'raw' and had many problems. Four to six successful unmanned flights are needed to prove the L1 before a manned flight can be made.


1967 November 17 - L1 cosmonauts to Baikonur.

Three VVS aircraft fly to Baikonur for the L1 launch. Passengers include Leonov and the 12 cosmonauts of the L1 training group.


1967 November 18 - L1 launch weather delays.

Bad weather at Baikonur. Low visibility and snow may delay the L1 launch. Kamanin rails against Mishin - he's a drunk, an authoritarian, etc. etc.


1967 November 21 - Cause of Proton failure in last launch.

Glushko at Baikonur. He reports the Perm factory is under close supervision - the engine that failed on the last launch was found to have resin in the main fuel line.


1967 November 22 - Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 5L

The launch takes place at 00:07 local time (22:07 on 22 November Moscow time). Glushko, Chelomei, and Kamanin observe the launch from an observation point in -5 deg C weather. Three to four seconds after second stage ignition, the SAS pulls the spacecraft away from the booster. Telemetry shows that engine number 4 of stage 2 never ignited, and after 3.9 seconds the remaining three engines were shut dwon by the SBN (Booster Safety System) and the SAS abort tower fired. The capsule's radio beacon was detected and the spacecraft was found 80 km southwest of Dzhezkazgan, 285 km down range. The Proton problems are maddening. Over 100 rocket launches have used engines from this factory, with no previous failure. Of ten of the last launches under Mishin's direction (6 Soyuz and 4 L1) only two have went well - an 80% failure rate! Mishin is totally without luck. Kamanin and Leonov take an An-12 to see the L1 at its landing point. Leonov wants to see proof that the cosmonauts would be saved in any conditions. The capsule landed in -17 deg C and 12 m/s winds. The parachute pulled the capsule along the ground for 550 m, and the soft landing rockets fired somewhere above the 1.2 m design height. After safing of the APO self-destruct package, the capsule is lifted to an airfield by a Mi-4.


1967 November 25 - Titov in France.

Titov is on tour in France. Kamanin notes that Titov used to make many mistakes, but has now reformed.


1967 November 29 - Kamanin appeals for 7K-VI program to continue.

Kamanin writes a letter to the Central Committee on the need for the 7K-VI spacecraft for military research. He also complains about his problems in obtaining adequate spacecraft simulators. Later he meets with Grigoriy Nikolayevich Postukov, sculptor of cosmonaut statutes.


1967 November 30 - Almaz program review.

Kamanin attends an Almaz program review with Pashkov, Afanasyev, and Chelomei. The resolution of June 1967 required space trials to begin in 1968, and entry of the system into military service in 1969. But this schedule was flawed from the beginning. The project plan required design, qualification, and delivery of completely new complex systems from ten different ministries. The Ministry of Radio Equipment was to deliver 66 items, but the ministry refused, saying they could handle two at most. Similar responses were received from other ministries. The result is that six months into the program, the first flight schedule has already slid 24 months, to 1970. The VVS has been dealing with Chelomei for two years, and find him much better to work with than Mishin. Chelomei's deputies are highly cultured men, pleasant to work with (unlike Mishin and his circle). The VVS is to handle the following on the Almaz program:

  • Development of crew safety items, cockpit indicators on the function of the landing system, and controls for manual landing by the astronaut
  • Development of the HAZ complex for training of crew members
  • Review and approval of station systems for water generation, medical observation of the crew, and atmosphere indicators and controls
  • Development of a manned manoeuvring unit to allow the cosmonauts to manoeuvre up to 300 m from the station
Gagarin is at the Chkalov Airfield, in preparation for his solo flight in a MiG-17. This will be his first solo aircraft flight in seven years. Kuznetsov tried to keep this day from coming.
1967 December 2 - Lunar Soviet.

A panel headed by Afanasyev and Mishin reviews the readiness of the N1. The mock-up booster is to complete pad compatibility tests by 30 March 1968. The first launch is still supposed to take place in the second half of 1968. The launch of the American Saturn V in November has reenergized the workers at Tyuratam. Kamanin is impressed - he was less sure of success, knowing all the problems of a project that requires the labour of thousands of persons. Afanasyev then turns to crew selection issues. The original resolution said that a cosmonaut was to be launched by an N1-L3 by April 1968. Mishin says he will be able to make two launches in the second half of 1968. It will take 18 to 24 months to train crews. But to date, Mishin still won't agree to crew selections, despite dozens of contacts and letters from Kamanin to Ustinov and Smirnov. There are still no simulators for the L3. Mishin wants to launch to the moon only engineers from TsKBEM. He is given an ultimatum: either the VVS will leave the space program, requiring Mishin to take over all training and crew responsibilities, or reach an agreement on crew composition in the next few days. Afansyev orders the commission to convene again in two to three days.


1967 December 3 - L3 trainer controversy.

Mishin wants only his organisation to build L3 trainers, not the VVS. A whole series of previously-unmentioned trainers and simulators are mentioned, included the Turbolet, a V-10 helicopter with a lunar cabin, etc. For the L3 simulator Mishin wants to develop the specification documents without inputs from the VVS and have it built only to Mishin's requirements. This is rejected by Kamanin, who insists on a decision by 20 December, with issuance of the specifications for the L3 trainers with the input of VVS. If two simulators are buit, one must be installed at TsPK and the other at TsKBEM. If only one is built, it will have to be at TsPK.


1967 December 6 - 7K-VI cancelled.

Kamanin is dumbfounded. The leadership has decided to accept Mishin's recommendations, scrap the 7K-VI project, and replace it with a Soyuz variant! Mishin is an egotist, but he is supported by highly-placed leaders - Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov, Serbin, Stroganov, Keldysh, and others. So everyone in the space program has to dance in the service of this 'engineer-performer', who is not a credible chief designer.


1967 December 8 - TsKBEM confirms Mishin's decision to cancel Soyuz VI

Mishin is away on 'cure' for his drinking problem. A 'Podlipki Soviet' is held at TsKBEM. The issue is cancellation of Kozlov's 7K-VI military Soyuz. Bushuyev, Chertok, Okhapkin, Feoktistov are in favour of cancelling it. Opposed are Karas, Shcheulov, Kostonin, Gaidukov, and the various military representatives at the meeting. It was now six years since OKB-1 was required to put a military manned spacecraft into space - and, factually speaking, nothing has been done. Military experiments proposed for each manned flight by OKB-1 to date had been rejected on various grounds - no weight, no space aboard the spacecraft. Good progress has been made with Kozlov's VI and Chelomei's Almaz - now they've managed to kill the VI, and Mishin and Kerimov are constantly denigrating Almaz (saying it is too heavy, and unsuited for the purpose). The whole thing is a replay of the LK-1 situation. In 1963, a resolution was issued to send a Soviet man around the moon. Instead, after two years of development, Korolev managed to get Chelomei's LK-1 lunar spacecraft cancelled, and started all over with his own L1.

On 13 October 1967 Mishin began his efforts to kill the VI program. From the point of view of the 'Podpliki Mafia', Kozlov had insulted them by redesigning the Soyuz VI in light of the defects of their 7K-OK design. They were also fundamentally opposed to the use of radio-isotope power sources, and raised doubts about the 800 mm hatch cut into the heat shield (as they did in the case of Chelomeiís VA). Mishin wrote a letter to Afanasyev and Smirnov, urging them to cancel the 7K-VI program. In the place of Kozlov's VI Mishin proposed his own project for an Soyuz-derived OIS orbital station. In a November 1967 meeting between Mishin and Kozlov Mishin demanded the abandonment of Kozlovís 7K-VI project. Kozlov rejected this and subsequently appealed to Kamanin. Through various complex machinations Mishin seized control of the project on 8 December 1967 and promised that the first OIS would be launched in 1969. Mishinís revised project was reaffirmed in May 1968. Having won the battle, Mishin lost interest. OKB-1 would pursue it at a desultory pace until it was finally cancelled in 1969.

In the place of Kozlov's VI Mishin proposed his own project for an orbital station 11F730 Soyuz VI. This would consist of on orbital block 11F731 OB-VI and a transport spacecraft 11F732 7K-S. Through various complex machinations Mishin seized control of the project on 8 December 1967. The new Soyuz VI was designated the OIS 11F730. It would be launched into a lower-inclination 51.6 degree orbit at 250 x 270 km, and would use solar panels in the place of the nuclear power sources.


1967 December 15 - L3 issues

There is still no enabling resolution for the L3. Many meetings are held, discussing the L3, L3 trainers, and Feoktistov's assignment as a cosmonaut.


1967 December 20 - Feoktistov medical reports

Kamanin receives two medical reports on Feoktistov. Kamanin's summary - Feoktistov is a 'sick man'.


1967 December 25 - 1965 Air Force Group cosmonaut trainees are examined.

Of the 18, 13 scored a '5', four scored '4', and one '3'. Belousov, Grishchenko, Skvortsov, Sharafutdinov, and Voloshin - the low scorers - are all to be dismissed from the cosmonaut corps.


1967 December 27 - Mishin to remain in charge until first L3 launches.

Afanasyev holds meetings on the L3 lunar expedition program. Kamanin recites Mishin's failings. Afanasyev replies that he has talked to Ustinov about it, but Ustinov will leave the current management in charge until N1 flight tests begin. If they are unsuccessful, then Mishin alone will have to answer for it. Afansyev also assures Kamanin that although Feoktistov should be allowed to train for a space flight, he and Ustinov will make sure he never flies.


1968 January 17 - Afanasyev inspects the TsPK.

He is shown the Volga and L1 trainers, takes a seat in the trainer, and is given a simulated space flight. At the air base he reviews the aircraft and the TBK-60 altitude chamber. Throughout the tour, Mishin constantly wore a soft expression and used coarse language. Afanasyev was briefed on and recognised problems with development and delivery of the Salyut digital computer needed for the L1 guidance system. But he was not told that cooperation had broken down totally on the L3 simulator development and crew selection.


1968 January 19 - Gagarin and Titov visit Tereshkova in the hospital.

In 1967, the average cosmonaut who had already flown in space spent 50 days on public relations activities and tours - a serious loss to them in terms of training for future missions.


1968 January 26 - Unsuccessful L1 SAS abort system test at Vladimirovka.

The parachute failed to inflate after the capsule separated from the escape tower. The recovery apparatus on both the Soyuz and L1 versions of the capsule continue to perform badly. The soft landing engines have ignited at altitudes of 2000 to 4000 m instead of the 1.2 m required for a soft landing. On the first UR-500K abort the SAS functioned, but the parachute failed to separate after landing, dragging the capsule for 600 m across the steppes. On the second UR-500K abort, there was a premature opening of the parachute, and reaction control system venting led to burn-through of some of the parachute lines.


1968 January 27 - Cosmonauts take case against Mishin to VVS high command.

Kamanin, Gagarin, Titov, Popovich, Belyayev, and Leonov meet with Marshal Yakabovskiy. They inform him that Mishin is blocking further development of the 7K-VI military manned spacecraft and also trying to kill Chelomei's Almaz military space station. They get nowhere. The Marshal says that while he doesn't understand much about space himself, Ustinov had assured him that Mishin and Afanasyev were taking all measures necessary to correct the necessary material...


1968 January 30 - Three-hour review of the L1 program at the Institute of Aviation Medicine.

The Volchka L1 trainer, M-220 computer, centrifuge, L1 cabin, and instructor control station are in place. But many critical equipment items have not yet been installed, including essential cabin instruments and flight indicators.


1968 February 3 - Ye-8-5 robot lunar soil return plans

VVS Party Conference. It is clear to Kamanin that there is no support from the Air Force for manned spaceflight. Kamanin only heard yesterday that Babakin is working on an automatic soil sample return spacecraft. He will need a minimum of two to three years to complete it. Kamanin complained that it would interfere with plans for the L1 program. An uninterrupted series of flights will be needed to complete the L1 spacecraft qualification, and the Ye-8, using the same booster, could be an interference in achieving that goal.


1968 February 6 - L1 commander assignments agreed.

The final medical report rejects Feoktistov's fitness to be a cosmonaut. Mishin accepts the findings of the report, but in classic manner ignores it and advocates Feoktistov be appointed as commander of the active spacecraft in the first Soyuz docking mission after return to flight. Kamanin is livid. Feoktistov has had years of training for EVA, but he has not had one day of training as a spacecraft commander, and now he wants him to command a mission due to launch in only two to three months! However agreement is finally reached on L1 commander assignments: Leonov, Bykovskiy, Popovich, Voloshin. Agreement is not reached on the second (civilian) crew member position for the flights. According to Mishin, the Soyuz and L1 flights planned from March 1 to the end of 1968 will require 16 to 18 crew members total.


1968 February 8 - VVS officers inspect TsPK.

It is currently organised in three cosmonaut detachments: Nikolayev commands the first detachment, which is training for L3, L1, and Soyuz fiights. Popovich commands the second, training for Almaz and 7K-VI military space missions. Nikeryasov commands the third, which is the 'observer' detachment.


1968 February 12 - L1 Expert Commission meeting.

Kamanin states his belief that the L1 will not be ready for manned flight for 2 to 3 years, and will need 8 unmanned flight tests before it can be man-rated. Others disagree, and the final decision is that four unmanned flights without significant failure will be required before the spacecraft is man-rated.


1968 February 17 - Soyuz VI cancellation approved.

The NTK General Staff approves Mishin's cancellation fo the 7K-VI. Kozlov has agreed only under duress. The military is opposed to the cancellation, but Afanasyev won't listen to them.


1968 February 21 - L1 Launch Commission.

The booster failure on the previous launch was found to be due to premature fuel injection during engine start, causing initial chamber temperatures to rise 200 degrees above normal. Glushko and Konopatov both guarantee their engines for the next launch. The next L1 flight will use the 'Kruga' landing predictor. This will predict the landing point to within a 150 x 150 km area two to three hours before re-entry. Landing points on the three previous flights would have been 2000 km from Madagascar and India, Novosibirsk, and the North Pole... Mishin plans the next dual Soyuz flight for 5-10 April. Kamanin protests that the parachute and sea trials of the redesigned capsule are not yet complete. Mishin, as usual, dismisses his concerns.


1968 February 27 - Soviet on plan through 1975 for automated probes to the moon and planets.

Keldysh heads a Soviet on plans through 1975 for automated probes and space research of the moon and planets. Barmin attends, his interest being the relation of this work to his lunar base. Kamanin finds the plan not well thought out... Tereshkova sees Kamanin and tells him she cannot handle the stress of both political demands on her time and cosmonaut training. She wants Kamanin's assistance to get her out of political tasks.


1968 February 28 - Staff move to Baikonur for L1 launch.

Kamanin flies to Baikonur aboard a Tu-124.There is very bad weather, -10 deg C, ice flows in the Syr Darya river.


1968 February 29 - L1 commsision meeting.

For this L1 launch Chelomei wants to film separation of the first and second stages of the Proton rocket at 126 seconds into the flight - altitude 41 km, distance downrange 47 km. To do this two An-12 and one Tu-124 with long focal-length cameras will orbit 35 to 40 km from base. The discussion turns to how to recover the L1 if it lands in the ice-bound Aral Sea. The circle of possible landing points has a radius of 500 km from a point west of Karaganda. For political reasons it is not possible to deploy recovery forces to areas of Iran and India that are within this circle.


1968 March 1 - Kamanin appearance in American documentary.

An American film on the Russian space program, for which Kamanin was interviewed, is shown at Tyuratam. Smirnov criticised Kamanin for being 'too soft' and for not using the correct party phrases to describe American imperialism.


1968 March 2 - Zond 4

What at first seemed to be a success, very much needed by the L1 program, ended in failure. The Proton booster lifted off in 18 m/s winds, -3 deg C temperatures, and into very low clouds - it disappeared from view at only 150 m altitude. Aircraft at 9, 10, and 11 km altitude reported the cloud deck topped 8300 m, with 1.5 to 2.0 km visibility. The spacecraft was successfully launched into a 330,000 km apogee orbit 180 degrees away from the moon. On reentry, the guidance system failed, and the planned double skip maneuver to bring the descent module to a landing in the Soviet Union was not possible. Ustinov had ordered the self-destruct package to be armed and the capsule blew up 12 km above the Gulf of Guinea. Kamanin disagreed strongly with this decision; the spacecraft could have still been recovered in the secondary area by Soviet naval vessels after a 20 G reentry. The decsion was made to recover the spacecraft in the future whenever possible.
Officially: Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Study of remote regions of circumterrestrial space, development of new on-board systems and units of space stations.


1968 March 3 - Zond 4 first midcourse fails.

At 07:35 the first midcourse manoeuvre for Zond 4, then 225,000 km from earth, was cancelled due to an orientation system problem. The sun tracker worked, but the star tracker could not acquire Sirius. The first and second midcourse manoeuvres are not strictly necessary. However if the third midcourse fails, when the spacecraft is 167,000 km from earth on the return leg, the spacecraft will miss the atmosphere and head back out into space. A meeting is held on cosmonaut training. The simulators are still not adequate. Feoktistov is still demanding that he be trained for the first Soyuz docking mission.


1968 March 5 - Zond 4 midcourse succeeds.

The L1 reaches its apogee. The time comes to attempt the third midcourse manoeuvre. There are three attempts to orient the spacecraft. The first was at the minimum sensitivity setting for the star tracker, the second at the maximum setting, and the third using a high-density filter. Sirius is finally acquired the third time. The spacecraft is oriented and makes a 15 second burn with a 9.129 m/s delta-V (versus 9.202 m/s planned). This is good enough to assure the spacecraft will hit the re-entry corridor without a further correction.


1968 March 6 - Zond 4 on course.

It is estimated that Zond 4 will fly 45.8 km below the initial re-entry corridor at an altitude of 145 km, after which it will ricochet back out into space and proceed to a final re-entry and landing on Soviet territory. It is calculated it will land on 7 March at 21:56, 13 minutes later than the originally estimated time.


1968 March 7 - Zond 4 self-destructs during re-entry

The L1's SUS guidance system failed on re-entry. It hit the atmosphere precisely at the calculated time, but wasn't guided to generate lift and fly out of the atmosphere again. A ballistic re-entry would mean no recovery on Soviet soil, so the APO destruct system automatically blew up the capsule at 10 to 15 km altitude, 180-200 km off the African coast at Guinea.


1968 March 7 - Soyuz parachute recertification holding up all manned programs.

Mishin certified to MAP on 5 March that the Soyuz parachute system development is complete, but Tkachayev has dissented, saying that the system was unreliable and overweight (this from the same chief designer that certified the previous design as having an 0.999 reliability!). The parachute trials will not be finished until May - meaning there will be no manned Soyuz launch in April. This problem is holding up the L1, L3, and Almaz projects as well.


1968 March 12 - Cosmonaut meeting at Yevpatoriya.

Gagarin wants better organisation of the TsPK for the L1 circumlunar manned flights, including: better training in manual navigation in case of failure of automated systems; improved training in survival of 20 G re-entries if the automated SUS capsule guidance system fails. The cosmonauts review material for the Seventh International UFO Conference in Mainz (!).


1968 March 13 - L3 project plan.

Titov is going to Italy, Feoktistov to Hungary. The 30 month program for the L3 lunar landing is settled. The cosmonauts already began training in January. The first LK lunar lander will be tested in low earth orbit in the second half of 1969. The first Soviet manned lunar landing cannot take place any earlier than 1970-1971. The resolution had set the date as 1967-1968, but the N1 and L3 will not be ready in time. The L3 is still conceptual, a purely paper spacecraft. The first N1 was to have been moved to the pad by March of this year, but it won't even make that milestone by May.


1968 March 14 - Soviets review American plans.

Six Apollo spacecraft are to be flown into earth orbit in 1968, four unmanned and two manned. Five flights are planned for 1969, including the first landing on the moon. Beyond this is the Apollo Applications Program. Expenditures for this are planned as $179 million in 1968 and $435 million in 1969, leading to the first orbital laboratory in 1970.


1968 March 20 - Lunar spacesuit review.

Meeting with Gay Ilyich Severin. Two spacesuits are being developed for the L3 program: the Krechet-94 and Orlan. Both have been in development for two years. The Krechet-94 will allow six hours of lunar surface activity, the Orlan, 2.5 hours. Both weigh about 90 kg. There are consumables for a total of 52 hours of life support in the LK and the LT Lunar Cart. Kamanin feels the suits are too heavy, due to Mishin's demand for a 5 km range from the LK over a three day traverse with the LT. Severin could have instead developed the spacesuit used by Leonov to have a four hour autonomous operation, but Mishin insisted on doubling of the capacity.


1968 March 25 - Simulator status

Kamanin reviews the unfinished status of Soyuz and L1 simulators. Then there is the Feoktistov issue...


1968 March 26 - A State Commission is held to review L1 and Soyuz status.

Hours are spent arguing over flying Feoktistov as a cosmonaut. Finally the matter is referred to the VPK. Kamanin briefs Ustinov's deputy on his position against Feoktistov. The L1 is reviewed. The star sensor only operated on Zond-4 on the fourth day of flight. However when it worked, it provided a 2 km positional accuracy at re-entry versus the 10 km required. The next L1 is to be launched on 23 April. If that date cannot be met, it will be launched on 25-30 April on a deep-space trajectory (not aimed at the moon).


1968 March 27 - Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin dies at age of 34 -- Crash of MiG-15 trainer.

Gagarin is killed together with instructor pilot Sergin on a flight in a UTI MiG-15 trainer. Gagarin was being requalified as a jet pilot after being denied flight status by the leadership for a long time. At that time the mean flight hours between fatal accidents hours for Soviet jet fighters were: MiG-15, 18,440 hours; MiG-17, 11,460 hours; MiG-19, 4,475 hours; MiG-21, 4,422 hours; Su-7, 2,245 hours; Su-11, 2,100 hours. Gagarin's UTI MiG-15 s/n 612739 was built at the Vodokhod factory in Czechoslovakia and delivered on 19 March 1956. It had a 2100 hour airframe life, and had flown 1113 hours. It had two overhauls to date: one on 13 July 1962, after 13,834 'mil' hours, and the second on 30 March 1967, after 36,986 'mil' hours. It should have had a 500 hour life after the second overhaul, had flown only 62 hours since then, and had 438 hours left.


1968 April 4 - Ustinov tours the TsPK.

He agrees that only pilots should be assigned as crew commanders. However he says that the increase of the training centre to 500 staff will need discussion with the party. Furthermore, Kamanin's wish to move management of manned spacecraft projects from the RSVN to the VVS is a 'difficult subject' that has to be discussed at the highest levels of the Ministry of Defence.


1968 April 6 - Joint meeting of the VPK and the Academy of Sciences.

There is, to the disappointment of Kamanin, no discussion of moving manned spacecraft management from TsUKOS to VVS.


1968 April 8 - Further MiG-15UTI crashes

MiG-15UTI trainer crashes are reported from Algeria and Hungary. They are to be investigated - could they be due to some common problem that also killed Gagarin?


1968 April 10 - Cosmonauts occupied with Gagarin crash investigation

No cosmonauts will be sent to witness the next series of unmanned Soyuz flights beginning on 14 April. All cosmonaut staff efforts are concentrated on the Gagarin crash investigation. Kamanin notes the flight of Apollo 6. According to his information the first manned Apollo flight will take place in May-October 1968, and the first American moon landing by the end of 1969.


1968 April 15 - Cosmos 213

Cosmos 213 was the target for Cosmos 212 in a successful test of Soyuz 7K-OK rendezvous and docking systems. The Cosmos 213 launch was the most accurate yet. The spacecraft was placed in orbit only 4 km from Cosmos 212, ready for a first-orbit docking. Both spacecraft were recovered, but Cosmos 213 was dragged by heavy wind across the steppes when the parachute lines didn't jettison at touchdown. This failure caused the upcoming Soyuz 2/3 manned docking mission to be scaled back.
Officially: Investigation of outer space, development of new systems and elements to be used in the construction of space devices.

Passive docking target for Cosmos 212 in the first completely successful Soyuz rendezvous and docking mission. First Soyuz fitted with the 76K infrared horizon sensor, which established local horizontal for the spacecraft. Ion sensors were used to detect the direction of motion, as had been proven on the Zenit spy satellites. Cosmos 213 launched at 09:36 local time, and Cosmos 212 immediately began the active rendezvous phase. By 12:54 the two spacecraft were 33 m apart, closing at 2 m/s - then ground lost contact with them. There was tremendous relief at 13:21 when the Alma Alta tracking station received a positive parameter 2 in the telemetry - confirming hard dock and electrical connection between the two craft. A loud "Ura!" echoed through the control centre. The two ships spent 3 hours and 50 minutes docked, and then separated. Cosmos 213 landed in the middle of a violent storm at 13"3, with 25 m/s winds on April 20, 1968 10:11 GMT. The landing system worked and a soft touchdown was achieved, but the mission was marred when the parachute did not jettison. The capsule was dragged for several kilometers across the steppes. This was later found to be due to static electricity build up in the parachute lines. The cosmonauts argued that a pilot aboard would have manually commanded jettison of the lines, but this occurred just a few weeks after Gagarin's shocking death in a MiG trainer crash. The Soyuz was cleared for a manned flight in June, but a more conservative approach was selected for the Soyuz 2/3 mission. Beregovoi, the pilot for the next mission, had no time for bureaucracy or expert commissions. He believed all flight tests should be piloted. In his view, the death of Komarov was no catastrophe, just a normal failure as experienced in aircraft test programmes.


1968 April 18 - Two men are killed working on the N1.


1968 April 19 - L1 launch preparations

Kamanin goes to Baikonur aboard an Il-18 for the L1 launch. This is to be the first flight demonstration of the SUS system that will use the capsule's L/D ratio of 0.3 to make a lifting re-entry. Preparations are on schedule.


1968 April 20 - Cosmos 213 landing/L1 preparations

Unfuelled tests of the Proton rocket on the pad are completed successfully. The K-100 star sensor on the L1 is a special concern.


1968 April 21 - L1 on schedule; N1 in trouble.

This was a reserve day in the L1 countdown, in case of problems in preparation. However all is on schedule for the launch. The same cannot be said for the N1. There are many delays. Mishin promised the first N1 rollout in the first half of March, but it is still in the assembly building, with no end in sight of preparations. The weather at the cosmodrome is -5 deg at night, clear pleasant days. The Hotel Kosmonavt was finished on 15 April. Although it has all of its furniture, it was not completely painted before the furniture was moved in!


1968 April 22 - The L1 State Commission meets and the launch is set for the next day.

However the Commission did not agree to disarm the APO destruct system aboard the capsule. They don't want any chance of 'Soviet electronic secrets' falling into the hands of the Americans. Kamanin disagrees - he thinks they should conduct one fully ballistic re-entry and landing of an L1 to see if the landing system would function and the crew would survive. What's the point of deploying recovery ships to the Indian Ocean if they are only going to blow up the capsule anyway if the SUS fails and it reverts to ballistic mode? Mishin's answer: 'I was always against having those forces in the Indian Ocean!' Yet he had demanded those 7 to 9 recovery ships in February!


1968 April 23 - L1 launch failure

The cosmonauts and VVS staff will watch the Proton launch from Area 130. Kamanin observes from Area 81, near the pads. It is a warm, starry night and the booster heads toward space on pillars of fire. Up until T+260 seconds all proceeds normally, then the stage 2 shuts down 79 seconds into its burn. At 02:50 it is reported that the capsule separated successfully from the inert booster and has landed 520 km from the launch pad, 110 km east of Dzhezkazgan. Two Il-14 search aircraft and one Mi-4 helicopter fly over the recovery zone, but no signal is received from the capsule. Mishin immediately blames Chelomei's TsKBEM for the booster failure -- later it is shown that Mishin's L1 spacecraft sent an erroneous abort command to the rocket, which then shut down it engines! The capsule is sighted after dawn and picked up by a Mi-6 helicopter and delivered to Dzhezkazgan airfield at 15:00. It is then taken to Moscow for examination. The SAS abort and capsule landing systems have certainly been proven reliable! They have worked perfectly on the last three launches!


1968 April 25 - A memorial service is held for Komarov at his crash site near Omsk.

Over 10,000 people come out to the steppe, some driving hundreds of kilometres for the event. Kamanin discharges Matinchenko from the cosmonaut corps. He was in two bad automobile accidents on 19 and 21 April. In one of the accidents a six-year-old child was killed.


1968 April 26 - State Commission on the Gagarin crash.

The course and manoeuvres taken by the aircraft in its last minutes has been determined from radar data and the on-board recorder.


1968 April 27 - Kamanin proposes organising the cosmonauts into two detachments.

Nikolayev is to be commander of the first group, with Leonov as his deputy. Titov would command the second group, with Popovich as his deputy. But Kamanin doesn't consider any of them to be command officer material yet. The automobile accidents of Popovich, the mess that led to Matinchenko's dismissal, the bad performance of Belyayev in his duties as chief of staff of the VVS group at Baikonur - none of these men have any discipline!


1968 April 29 - Mishin '2+2' scenario for the next manned Soyuz flight.

Mishin calls Kamanin and asks what he would think of a revised scenario for the next manned Soyuz flight. Mishin's '2+2' concept would call for four, instead of five cosmonauts, aboard two Soyuz capsules with transfer of only one cosmonaut by EVA. He gives Kamanin until 6 May to give his opinion on the change of plan. Titov is planning on selling his Volga automobile and buying a Moskovich.


1968 April 30 - Soyuz program review.

Mishin's 'corps de ballet' dance the dance and walk the walk in a Soyuz program review.


1968 May 4 - Gagarin survivor benefits

It is decided that the TsPK will be named for Gagarin. Meanwhile 400 soldiers and 50 officers have combed the Gagarin crash site, recovering pieces of the aircraft. Gagarin's widow will receive a one-time payment of 5000 roubles, plus 200 roubles/month pension, plus 100 roubles/month for Gagarin's daughter. This is in addition to base amounts of 150/month for the widow and 75/month for the daughter.


1968 May 6 - Review of military spacecraft plans.

Kamanin meets with Yuryshev, Deputy Chief of NTK/General Staff, and Maksimov, Deputy Chief of TsKIK, to review military spacecraft. Such spacecraft can be placed in two general categories: Category 1 would be manoeuvrable spacecraft that use active gliding to be guided to a landing point. This technology was currently being developed in the Soyuz and L1 projects. Category 2 would be an orbital aircraft which would be launched from a winged, recoverable, aircraft first stage booster. Less work has been accomplished on such spacecraft. The Mikoyan and Tupolev bureaux have been authorised to begin design and development, but this was still in its earliest stages. But Kamanin believes the second approach has the greatest future potential, and should be pursued more vigorously.


1968 May 7 - Soyuz manned flights delayed 2 to 3 more months

Kamanin reviews the ongoing controversy with Mishin over assignment of Feoktistov to spaceflights. He then turns to the trials of the revised parachute system for Soyuz. The new design has been proven in three landings of spacecraft and 23 tests of mock-ups from aircraft. The SAS abort system has not been retested -- Korolev took full responsibility for its design, and the VVS accepted that in the old days. In any case the likelihood of having to use the SAS or the reserve parachute was not great. Yet still Mishin refuses to recommend going ahead with manned flights. 'I will only proceed when the Central Committee orders me!' he has said. Nevertheless he does declare that Soyuz is now ready to resume manned flights, except for the reserve parachute system, which needs two to three months more development. Based on successful completion of these tests, a manned flight will be possible in the first half of August.


1968 May 11 - Cosmonaut jet trainers.

Holidays - in the first ten days of May, the civilians work only two days, while the military must work four. Kamanin assigns cosmonauts to the State Commission that will select the design for the Gagarin memorial obelisk. He then reviews cosmonaut pilot aircraft type qualifications. Titov is current on the Su-7, MiG-21, and several other high-performance aircraft. Nikolayev and Leonov are still certified to fly two or three MiG fighter types. Belyayev, Bykovsky, Popovich, Kutachov, and the others are only current on the L-29 trainer. The L-29 is 20 times more reliable than the MiG-21 or Su-7, and the MiG-15 trainer is 4x to 5x more reliable than the high performance types. In general the cosmonauts are against plans to move the air regiment to TsPK from Chkalovsky air field due to greater air space restrictions over Moscow.


1968 May 12 - Belyayev is grounded due to stomach ulcers.

He has also had a violent argument with Kuznetsov, who has termed him 'undisciplined'.


1968 May 15 - Soyuz parachute problems will limit crew size.

One engineer has resigned in the belief that the Gagarin crash was due to a hydraulic accumulator failure. The reason Mishin has been pushing for a reduced Soyuz crew is revealed when the reserve parachute will burst when subjected to forces greater than 1300 kgf/square metre. This implies that the Soyuz SA has to be reduced by 150 to 200 kg mass to allow safe functoning of the reserve parachute in an emergency. A reserve parachute system redesign is not an alternative due to the schedule requirements. Mishin's solution is to fly only two crew in each Soyuz. So he is proposing that the two-Soyuz manned flight carry only two crew in each capsule. No crew transfer will take place, but the BO living module will be depressurised to check its function as an airlock. Kamanin is furious -- this conclusion is reached now, when two years ago crews were standing by for launch on what is now believed to be an unsafe mission! The cosmonauts are also against Mishin's concept - such a flight proves nothing new.


1968 May 20 - Tests to evaluate feasibility of '1+2' Soyuz mission profile.

Volynov conducts tests in a pressurised suit to see if it is possible to go from the SA capsule to the BO living module in a two-man crew transfer scenario. He shows it is not possible - exit from the SA to the BO is very unsafe, there is a good chance of getting stuck in the hatch. This shows it would be difficult or impossible for the spacecraft commander in the SA to go to the assistance of a single cosmonaut attempting to transfer from one Soyuz to another. Feoktistov proposes another alternative - launch of 3 cosmonauts in one Soyuz, one cosmonaut in another. After docking, a single cosmonaut would transfer from one Soyuz to another, but at least a second cosmonaut would be in the BO to assist him in case of difficulties. Two cosmonauts would return in each Soyuz capsule, meeting the reserve parachute mass limitations. This solution also takes care of a problem with the 1+2 scenario, in that it implied a crew consisting of Khrunov and Yeliseyev, but neither has been trained as a spacecraft commander. A crew could consist of Volynov and one of these, but then the problem is that no spacesuit has been fabricated for Volynov, and it requires two months to make one.


1968 May 21 - L1/Soyuz program review.

The next L1 launch is set for 17 July. Mishin wants an L1 crew ready for an around-the-moon flight by June. He also wants to fly a 2+2 Soyuz mission in August. Keldysh insists that the Soyuz be proven in another unmanned flight first.


1968 May 22 - Mishin pushes for '1+2' Soyuz mission

Titov is to tour. He will spend the next two days in Semipalatinsk, then go to Italy in the first week of June. He has been offered command of the second unit at TsPK, but says he doesn't want to be an administrator. He would rather pursue a career as a test pilot, at either OKB MiG or GNIKI VVS. Mishin is now pushing for a 1+2 Soyuz mission in August on safety grounds. He is also still pushing Khrunov as a spacecraft commander, even though Khrunov has no training in manual docking and it would take at least two months to train and qualify him.


1968 May 24 - Cosmonaut Africa tour with secret objectives.

Tereshkova is fighting against her appointment to the Committee of Soviet Women with the requirement for constant tours, appearances, committee sessions, and so on. He has gone to see Suslov about it. Meanwhile the Communist Central Committee and the Soviet Ministers are having a fight over the dates for the planned cosmonaut tour of Africa (the secret objective is to give the cosmonauts training in recognition of southern hemisphere constellations in preparation for lunar missions). Leonov is involved in sending mixed signals to the leadership.


1968 May 28 - Tereshkova has a heart-to-heart with Kamanin.

How is she supposed to have time for space training, her engineering classes at the test pilot academy, flight training, herself, and her daughter -- and still the incessant demands from the state for political and public relations activities?


1968 May 29 - Further tests to evaluate feasibility of '1+2' Soyuz mission profile.

Khrunov tries to don the Yastreb space suit unassisted, in another test of the feasibility of a 1+2 Soyuz mission. He simply cannot accomplish the task in the four minute maximum time required. Mishin now has Ustinov interested in his 1+2 mission, with Yeliseyev to make a solo EVA from one Soyuz to another.


1968 May 30 - Soviet of the Chief Designers.

Mishin still wants to eventually conduct a 2+2 mission, but now wants the flight in August to be a 0+1 test flight. In this he is supported by Keldysh and Ustinov. He wants Feoktistov to be the pilot. Kamanin is adamantly opposed and offers him Beregovoi, Volynov, or Shatalov.


1968 June 3 - Ustinov demands manned Soyuz and L1 flights by October.

Meanwhile Saturday evening Leonov had another accident with his Volga - and with a group of Italian visitors in the car.


1968 June 5 - Leonov on the carpet.

Leonov is raked over the coals concerning his latest accident. In the first place, he had no permission to even be meeting with the Italians. In the second place, he was supposed to be chauffeured when in Moscow, not driving himself. In the third place, he was in training for an L1 lunar mission, and was supposed to be in bed by 23:00, instead of gallivanting around Moscow at all hours of the night.


1968 June 12 - State Commission on Soyuz.

Mishin wants one more unpiloted Soyuz launch, resulting in a 0+1 unmanned/manned test flight in September, to be followed by the design 1+3 mission with crew transfer in November/December. The reserve chute failed in tests at an SA re-entry capsule mass of 2800 kg. Therefore, Mishin feels the 0+1 mission would be safe, resulting in a mass for the manned capsule of 2650 kg. But Ustinov insists on the 1+3 mission, meaning an SA mass of 2750 kg. Another consideration is that the capsule may need ballast anyway in order to obtain the correct centre of gravity location for the lifting re-entry manoeuvres. It must be balanced in such a way so that it can re-enter the atmosphere at its maximum 23 degree angle of attack.


1968 June 22 - Soyuz simulator status.

The state plan required 12 Volga simulators to be built for Soyuz crew training. Four years after the plan was approved, only six have been delivered.


1968 June 26 - State Commission on L1 failure.

The State Commission determines the cause of the Proton booster shutdown in April was a short in the L1 abort system. This sent an incorrect abort signal to the launch vehicle, triggering it to shut down its engines. The next L1 launch is set for 19 July, followed by one launch per month thereafter. After 3 or 4 successful unmanned circumlunar missions, the spacecraft will be cleared for a manned lunar flyby.


1968 July 3 - VPK confirms Soyuz flight plans.

The VPK confirms the Soyuz flight plan - a 0+1 mission to be followed by a 1+3 mission with crew transfer. Chiefs of the cosmonaut detachments are confirmed and announced. Nikolayev will be Deputy Chief of TsPK; Bykovsky, Commander of the First Detachment of Cosmonauts; Titov, Commander of the Second Detachment, and Popovich, Deputy Commander of the Second Detachment. Kuznetsov, Belyayev, and Leonov are not happy with these appointments. The General Staff also approves creation of a fourth training detachment at TsPK, charged with flight, engineering, and experiment development - requiring an additional 200 staff.


1968 July 10 - L3 recovery controversy.

Marshal Zakharov has consulted with Ryabikov at Gosplan on what commitments Grechko has made from Ministry of Defence funds for L3 recovery forces. Gosplan advised him that 800 million roubles and 21,000 staff were committed, but the justification for these amounts were not methodically developed. Mishin is now saying that hundreds, not thousands of cadres will be required, see he can set the return capsule down in within the confines of the cosmodrome.


1968 July 12 - L3 recovery controversy.

VVS has been charged with arranging for ocean recovery of the L3 capsule in case it splashes down in the Indian Ocean since 1966. TsNII-30 did the research work under project 'Ellips', resulting in the recommendation that the VVS and VMF jointly develop the air and naval forces to recover the capsule at sea, at a cost of 800 million roubles. The Ellips concept requires that the L3 capsule be equipped with radio beacons and dye markers. Despite knowing this for two years, Mishin has done nothing to implement these features into the spacecraft.


1968 July 15 - L1 pad explosion.

During launch preparations with the fuelled Proton / L1, there was an explosion, killing three technicians. Their death alone indicates the area around the pad was unsafe at the time. The Block D oxidiser tank of the L1 exploded - the first such failure in 30 uses. The rocket and spacecraft were relatively undamaged. The third stage of the Proton had some external damage due to exposure to the Block D's fuel, but it can be cleaned. The real question is how to remove the L1 spacecraft on the pad. A helicopter could hoist the spacecraft away, but the available Mi-6 or V-10 helos can lift only 8 to 10 tonnes, and the L1 weighs 14 tonnes. A V-10 crew is sent to investigate the possibilities anyway. Some engineers suggest just firing the BPO abort tower and lifting the capsule away from the stack! Emergency political and military meetings are held at the cosmodrome to discuss the impending invasion of Czechoslovakia.


1968 July 18 - Cosmonaut revolt.

The cosmonauts are revolting against the selection of Nikolayev as their commander. They have written a letter demanding that Belyayev be put in the position. Leonov is also lobbying for the job, but Kamanin notes he has made two serious mistakes since April, no chance. Leonov attends a self-criticism meeting with the 'Gagarin comrades', self-confesses and emotionally says he will leave the cosmonaut unit if there are no future chances for promotion due to his repeated mistakes. Finally he is told that if does good work in the future, he could achieve the deputy commander position, but he can never, never make mistakes again.

A Zenit-2 spy satellite capsule has gone off course, splashed down in the Volga River, and sunk. Vershinin is in the hospital with intestinal polyps. Kamanin is reminded of Korolev's case, although he is told Vershinin's condition is not serious. There is criticism of the botched Zenit-2 recovery from Kutakhov. Meanwhile the Central Committee has decided to take no action on Czechoslovakia but send a letter to the Czech Communist Party. Kamanin is sick of this limp-wristed talk, talk, talk.


1968 July 29 - Reduced L3 recovery forces.

Vershinin looks bad after his surgery. His loss would be a blow for Kamanin's cause - Vershinin was steadfast against the unobjective positions of Mishin and Smirnov. Vershinin had just sent yet another letter about the procurement of the 16 m centrifuge for the TsPK. This is a six-year long story. The VVS has been trying to procure this essential piece of cosmonaut training equipment since 1962, but it still has not been delivered. Vershinin also has issued a letter on the L3 recovery force issue. He points out that the resolution of the Central Committee ordered the expenditure of 600 million roubles and the commitment of 9,000 men for recovery services. Another 400 million roubles and 12,000 men were earmarked by the Rocket Forces. Despite this huge commitment, Mishin now says he doesn't need any of them, that he can bring his L1 and L3 spacecraft to precision landings within the confines of the cosmodrome, eliminating the need for any Indian Ocean recoveries. This optimism is not accepted, but it is agreed the total requirement can be reduced to 400 million roubles and 7,000 men, through use of lighter recovery ships of the Leninskiy Komsomol class, and the use of three airborne relay stations instead of nine.


1968 August 2 - Reduced L3 recovery forces accepted.

Vershinin, Afanasyev, Keldysh, and Ryabikov accept the reduced recovery forces estimate. Meanwhile a letter from the cosmonauts disputes the Gagarin crash investigation finding ('pilot error resulting in an abrupt manoeuvre').


1968 August 5 - Czech situation worstening.

Kamanin notes the Czech situtation with Dubcek is reaching a crisis point, absorbing the attention of the military services that support the space program.


1968 August 8 - Further Soyuz delays

The next flight of an unmanned Soyuz has been delayed yet again. It had been set for 27 July, then 10 August, and now 20 August. The problem is qualification of the reserve parachute system. The test at Fedosiya on 3 August was a failure - the SA capsule's parachute hatch didn't jettison, the parachute system couldn't operate, and the capsule was destroyed on impact with the ground. The system needed 3 to 5 final tests for qualification. The first test in the series was successful, but this second test was a disaster. Another setback for Mishin. The same parachute hatch mechanism had never failed before in 200 flights of Vostok, Zenit, and Soyuz spacecraft. Meanwhile the invasion of Czechoslovakia is underwayÖ


1968 September 10 - L1 preparations.

23 VVS staff fly to the cosmodrome aboard an An-24 for the impending L1 launch. The State Commission will meet there on 13 September to consider the L1 preparations, and on 17 September, L3 preparations.


1968 September 11 - L1 review.

L1 documentation is reviewed at Areas 82 and 17. Kamanin and the cosmonauts play tennis in the evening.


1968 September 12 - L1 Training.

The cosmonauts have been well trained on the L1 spacecraft at TsKBEM, but not on the real thing at the test area at Baikonur. Mishin is opposed to their doing this training at the cosmodrome.


1968 September 13 - L1 recovery plans

200 aircraft and helicopters are ready for the L1 launch, as well as eight ships in the Indian Ocean. The latter are spaced at 300 km intervals in an area 2500 km long x 400 km wide along the re-entry trajectory. There are Ka-25 helicopters aboard only three of the ships. For manned flights, a minimum of nine ships, all equipped with helicopters, plus a long range Tu-95 search aircraft will be required. But this has been recommended 20 times by Kamanin, and rejected 20 times by the Ministry of Defence. Later the L1 State Commission meets in the new three-story building at Area 81. Launch is set for 15 September at 00:42:10.6, which will mean a night landing at 19:00 on 21 September. The capsule has no visual lights or beacons, which will make it very hard to locate. But Mishin is adamant he cannot change the landing time.


1968 September 14 - Zond 5

First successful circumlunar flight with recovery. Test flight of manned spacecraft; launched from an earth parking orbit to make a lunar flyby and return to earth. On September 18, 1968, the spacecraft flew around the moon at an altitude of 1950 km. High quality photographs of the earth were taken at a distance of 90,000 km. A biological payload of turtles, wine flies, meal worms, plants, seeds, bacteria, and other living matter was included in the flight. Before re-entry the gyroscopic platform went off line due to ground operator failure. However this time the self destruct command was not given. After a ballistic 20G re-entry the capsule splashed down in the Indian Ocean at 32:63 S, 65:55 E on September 21, 1968 16:08 GMT. Soviet naval vessels were 100 km from the landing location and recovered the spacecraft the next day, shipping it via Bombay back to Soviet Union.

Zond 5 is launched on schedule into a very accurate parking orbit (within 0.4 km of planned perigee, 0.2 km of apogee). Stage 1 separated and stage 2 ignited at T+126 seconds at 42 km altitude. The SAS abort tower was jettisoned at T+185 seconds. Stage 2 separated and Stage 3 ignited at T+338 seconds at 130 km. Third stage cut-off came at T+481 seconds at 161 km altitude. The L1 assembly then coasted for 251 seconds, followed by a 108 second Block D stage burn to put it into parking orbit. After 56 minutes in orbit, the Block D fired again to put the spacecraft on translunar trajectory.


1968 September 16 - Zond 5 midcourse aborted

The first Zond 5 midcourse correction was aborted. The star tracker failed, and the spacecraft wouldn't orient itself properly. Later the reasons for Beregovoi's mistakes in the Soyuz 3 docking are discussed. Kamanin blames them on inadequate simulators.


1968 September 17 - Zond 5 midcourse using earth sensor

It is decided to orient Zond 5 using the earth sensor. This is not as accurate as the star tracker, but it is good enough to ensure the spacecraft can be put on a course that will take it back to earth. However it is not accurate enough to allow a a lifting re-entry with a double skip manoeuvre and landing in the Soviet Union. It means the spacecraft must follow a high-G ballistic re-entry and land in the Indian Ocean. Afanasyev is personally supervising the midcourse orientation and engine burn.


1968 September 19 - Bulldozer delays N1 launch by two months

The Zond 5 situation remains the same. The star trackers quit working, and the use of the back-up systems has not been completely successful. However the spacecraft is on course for a ballistic re-entry. At Area 112 Afanasyev heads the State Commission for the N1-L3 first launch. There are problems with the launch complex. The main electrical cable to the launch complex was accidentally bulldozed. The back-up cables were buried only 30 cm from the main line and both were destroyed. The cables were poorly marked. It will take 50 days to repair the damage. This will delay first launch until the second half of November 1968, and the second launch to February 1969. Most likely the first launch cannot take place until next year.


1968 September 20 - Kamanin hold a cosmonaut meeting.

Tereshkova is having political problems. Titov is to go to Mexico, although he still is making errors of judgement which make it questionable whether he can be trusted on foreign tours. Beregovoi is to complete his cosmonaut examinations on 27 September, and then will be certified for flight.


1968 September 21 - Soyuz parachute failure

At the Fedosiya test range a Soyuz parachute test failed when the parachute hatch wouldn't jettison. This was due to an incorrectly inserted safing pin - it was not a spacecraft problem. So the Soyuz was still cleared for manned flight. Aboard Zond 5, the star tracker has completely failed. So the spacecraft will have to make a ballistic re-entry with splashdown in the Indian Ocean planned at 31 deg 58' S, 65 deg 21' E.


1968 September 22 - Zond 5 sucessfully recovered

At 17:00 communications with Zond 5 are lost as it re-enters over the South Pole. It has to re-enter at an angle of 5 to 6 degrees to the horizontal. One degree too high, and it will skip off the atmosphere and be lost into space; one degree too low and the G-forces will increase from 10-16 to 30-40 - which are not only enough to kill the crew, but to destroy the spacecraft. The safe entry corridor is only 13 km across and it has to be hit at 11 km/sec. - like hitting a kopek with a rifle at 600 m range. The re-entry schedule:

  • 18:37 jettison PAO service module
  • 18:53 re-entry begins
  • 18:54 nominal time of reaching trajectory's perigee of 33 km
  • 18:56 parachute should deploy at 7 km altitude
  • 19:08 splashdown
Only three minutes after landing the capsule is located 105 km from one of the recovery ships. It is picked up after a few hours in the water.
1968 September 23 - L1 lunar crew selections

Meeting of VVS, Mishin, and other designers at Fedosiya to review trials of the improved Soyuz parachute system. The Soyuz is cleared for manned flights. Mishin tells Leonov he will not support him in his bid to make the first lunar flight. Kamanin tells Leonov that of the three crews - Leonov-Voronov, Bykovsky-Rukavishnikov, Popovich-Makarov - the Bykovsky crew is favoured.


1968 September 27 - Cosmonauts on tour.

Titov is in Mexico, Leonov is serving on the sculpture commission for Gagarin and space monuments. Beregovoi confides to a film crew that the members of the original cosmonaut group are opposed to his making a spaceflight.


1968 September 28 - Cosmonaut exams are held for Beregovoi, Shatalov, and Volynov.

The results will establish the order in which they will fly as Soyuz commanders. A 25-person board, consisting of spacecraft designers and cosmonauts, conduct the oral examinations. Each cosmonaut must answer five mandatory essay questions and select two two-part questions. All three are certified for flight and have a complete mastery of the Soyuz systems.

Mishin and Kamanin meet and decide on L1 crews: Leonov-Makarov (with Kuklin as back-up); Bykovsky-Rukavishnikov (Klimuk back-up); and Popovich-Sevastyanov (Voloshin back-up). But that evening Leonov has yet another automobile accident. He hit a bus with his Volga at kilometre 24 near Shchelkovsky. This was his second accident in four months. Kamanin decides to prohibit him from driving automobiles for six months.


1968 October 1 - L1 and Soyuz plans

The L1 cosmonauts are doing training in autonomous navigation, zero-G training, and TBK-60 simulator training. Due to the continuing L1 failures, there would probably be no manned L1 flight until April-May 1969. As for Soyuz, a 0+1 (docking of one unmanned spacecraft and a manned spacecraft with a single cosmonaut aboard) is planned for 25 October, to be followed by a 1+3 mission with a crew transfer by December at the earliest - possibly not until February-March of the following year. Kamanin reassured Beregovoi that he will indeed fly following his excellent exam results -- but Beregovoi still has doubts. Later Kamanin confronts Leonov over his driving. Leonov has had three auto accidents in four months - simply too much. If he is such a bad driver on earth, how will be in space? Kamanin tells him to take two to three days off work and seriously consider his attitude and position. Next there are commissions to attend in charge of selecting monument designs for Gagarin memorials. There are to be obelisks at the Gagarin crash site, at the Vostok 1 landing site, and in Star City. These commissions are taking up a lot of the cosmonauts' time. Kuznetsov meets with Kamanin and tells him that cosmonauts Belyayev and Nikolayev rated Beregovoi poorly in the exam, giving him only a 5 and citing errors in his logic.


1968 October 3 - Zond 5 arrives in Bombay

The vessel Vasiliy Golovnin docks at Bombay with the L1 capsule.


1968 October 4 - Zond 5 arrives in Moscow

The L1 capsule is flown by An-12 from Bombay to Moscow.


1968 October 5 - Soyuz 4/5 zero-G training

Shonin, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev are in zero-G training aboard the Tu-104 aircraft. The cabin is outfitted with two partial Soyuz mock-ups. In space their EVA between two spacecraft is expected to take one hour and forty minutes, but they can only experience 20 to 25 seconds of weightlessness at a time in the aircraft. The 18 staff aboard the Tu-104 have parachutes in case of a serious problem with the aircraft, but it would take 32 seconds for all of them to jump from the three hatches on the aircraft. Meanwhile the pilot cosmonauts are only flying 50 to 60 hours per year, instead of the 150 to 200 hours that Kamanin had requested.


1968 October 7 - Soviets consider Apollo 8 has no chance of success

Tyulin is still complaining that the VVS never signed the L1 design specification. But the crews are ready for flight. The flight of Apollo 8 to the moon is announced. Kamanin considers this an adventure with no chance of success. After all, there have been only two Saturn V launches, the last one a partial failure. The US has never flown a crew to escape velocity or lunar distance. The whole thing is a risky, unsafe adventure.


1968 October 9 - Soyuz 3 preparations.

Kamanin is at Tyuratam. There is a Soyuz review - the preparation of the spacecraft is on schedule. Mishin is 'sick' (drunk) again and does not attend. Beregovoi weighs in at 80.4 kg and his opponents are using this against him, saying he is too fat for the mission. He had been up to 86 kg, but had already lost weight on Kamanin's recommendation.


1968 October 11 - Soyuz 3 preparations.

At Area 31 one of the Soyuz has thermoregulation system problems and is in repair - it can't be used for flight training. Kamanin notes that Apollo 7 has been launched - the Americans are back in space after almost two years and on the schedule announced a month ago.


1968 October 15 - Soyuz 3 review.

Soyuz 3 has 18 deficiencies remaining of a total of 55 originally identified. 11 have been cleared, the balance will not affect the flight or reduce redundancy in emergencies. It is decided that Beregovoi and his back-ups will not stay at the traditional cosmonaut cottage at Area 2 but rather at the Hotel Kosmonavt at Area 17.


1968 October 18 - Birthdays at the cosmodrome.

It is Kamanin's 60th birthday, and Beregovoi is 47. Many birthday greetings received. In the evening, at a gala dinner, Mishin makes a very warm speech honouring Kamanin and presents him with a model of the Soyuz spacecraft.


1968 October 19 - Sunday at the cosmodrome.

Nikolayev wants to take Kamanin duck hunting.


1968 October 20 - Soyuz 2/3 QA coordination issues.

Coordination problems between the ministries in preparation of the Soyuz spacecraft. VVS and MAP have managers assigned for quality control of each system, while MOM (Afanasyev) counterpart staff are disorganised. Yet again conflicts have to be appealed to 'Cardinal' Ustinov.


1968 October 22 - Soyuz 2/3 State Commission.

Soyuz 2/3 State Commission. All the 'grey eminences' are there - Keldysh, Barmin, Glushko, Kirillov, etc. There are a huge number of physicians - 22 from the VVS, 100 from Minzdrav - all to check the single cosmonaut.


1968 October 23 - Soyuz 2/3 State Commission.

State Commission meets again and finds all is ready. Word is received that the Central Committee is opposed to Volynov as back-up.


1968 October 24 - Soyuz 2 roll-out.

Kamanin visits the Korolev and Gagarin cottages. He finds them in bad condition, in need of repair. They should be restored as they were in 1961 and be made into museums. At 16:00 the rocket is rolled out to Area 31. 500 are present at the State Commission meeting.


1968 October 25 - Soyuz 2

Unmanned docking target for Soyuz 3. Soyuz 2 launched on time at 12:00 local time, in 0 deg C temperatures and 5 m/s winds. Launch was on time 'as in Korolev's time', notes Kamanin. Docking with Soyuz 3 a failure. Recovered October 28, 1968 7:51 GMT, 5 km from its aim point. Maneuver Summary: 177km X 196km orbit to 184km X 230km orbit. Delta V: 12 m/s.
Officially: Complex testing of spaceship systems in conditions of space flight.


1968 October 26 - Soyuz 3

Second manned Soyuz flight. Rendezvoused with the unmanned Soyuz 2 but failed to dock. Complex testing of spaceship systems; development, in joint flight with space ship Soyuz 2 of processes of space ship manoeuvring and docking in artificial earth satellite orbit; development of elements of celestial navigation; conduct of research under space flight conditions. The failed docking was blamed on manual control of the Soyuz by Beregovoi, who repeatedly put the spacecraft in an orientation that nulled the automatic docking system. Beregovoi used nearly all of his orientation fuel in his first attempt to dock - of 80 kg allocated, only 8 to 10 kg was remaining.

Kamanin and the state commission fly by Il-18 to the main command point in Yevpatoriya. Soyuz 3 is launched on schedule and placed in orbit within 11 km of Soyuz 2. The automatic rendezvous sequence begins. At 8 km distance, Soyuz 3 is approaching Soyuz 2 at 15 m/s. But then no docking occurs, due to an unexplained deviation of the spacecraft from its course. The DPO engine system for orientation and docking manoeuvres has 80 kg of propellant, of which 70 kg has already been consumed. 8-10 kg must be reserved to orient the spacecraft for retrofire and re-entry.


1968 October 27 - Kamanin talks to Beregovoi on the 14th orbit of Soyuz 3.

He can't understand why Beregovoi couldn't dock. Beregovoi seems garbled. The cabin atmosphere is all right. He is ordered to orient the spacecraft to the sun - which he accomplishes readily with minimum propellant expenditure. The Soyuz 2 45K star sensor is not functioning - 'as usual' notes Kamanin.


1968 October 28 - Soyuz 2 lands 45 km from its aim point.

Meanwhile Beregovoi was instructed to conduct experiments with the 45K stellar sensor on Soyuz 3. He would quickly disengage the 45K, then orient the spacecraft to the sun. He would then reengage the sensor and the automatic orientation system. This did two complete turns of the spacecraft searching for the star, but not acquiring it. To Kamanin this shows the uselessness of the system, and the wastage of propellant it causes.


1968 October 30 - Landing of Soyuz 3

Telemetry analysis has shown Soyuz 3 used 30 kg of propellant during 20 minutes of manoeuvring in the automatic regime during docking, followed by 40 kg consumed in two minutes of manual manoeuvring. Essentially Beregovoi was trying to dock the spacecraft upside down. This was either due to incorrect configuration of the running lights or cosmonaut error. Soyuz 2 had two continuously illuminated lights on its upper side and two blinking lights on the lower side. Evidently Beregovoi didn't identify these correctly in weightlessness.

In case Beregovoi has to do a ballistic re-entry, Be-2 seaplanes are in the air in case of a splashdown in the Aral Sea. On his 81st revolution, Beregovoi manually oriented the spacecraft for retrofire, then engaged the vertical sensor and ion orientation system. But the spacecraft hit on ion pocket and it took two to three minutes for the automated system to engage. Retrofire started 3 seconds late, coming at 9:45:05 and continuing for 149 seconds, producing a delta V of 95 m/s. The main parachute deployed at 10:12:24 at 7000 m altitude. Beregovoi spent 13 minutes under the main parachute, descending at 4 to 5 m/s. Soyuz 3 landed 10 km from the aimpoint at 07:25 GMT.


1968 October 31 - Soyuz 3 post-flight debriefing

The post-flight debriefing of Beregovoi reveals that the automated docking sequence from 11,000 to 200 m range from the Soyuz 2 target was normal. At 200 m Beregovoi took over manual control of the spacecraft. At a range of 30 to 40 m he observed the running lights on Soyuz 2 were inverted. He stopped his approach and waited until the spacecraft moved into daylight. By that time the spacecraft were still 30 to 40 m away, but had drifted so that he was 30 degrees off-angle from Soyuz 2. It was in attempting to bring the spacecraft back on axis that he used 30 kg of propellant. He then gave up and hand-flew the spacecraft around Soyuz 2 to take photographs. On the first day of his flight he constantly felt like he was hanging upside-down. This feeling only disappeared on the last day of the flight.


1968 November 9 - Zond 6 State Commission

The State Commission for the flight of L1 s/n 12 meets at Tyuratam. Launch is set for 10 November. Kamanin notes that the Americans plan to fly Apollo 8 to the moon at great risk in December, but the Russians will not undertake such risk.


1968 November 10 - Soyuz, L1 training

The Soyuz cosmonaut group is in zero-G training at Zhemchug. The L1 group is learning celestial navigation at the State Optics Institute (GOI).


1968 November 10 - Zond 6

Test flight of manned circumlunar spacecraft. Successfully launched towards the moon with a scientific payload including cosmic-ray and micrometeoroid detectors, photography equipment, and a biological specimens. A midcourse correction on 12 November resulted in a loop around the moon at an altitude of 2,420 km on 14 November. Zond 6 took spectacular photos of the moonís limb with the earth in the background. Photographs were also taken of the lunar near and far side with panchromatic film from distances of approximately 11,000 km and 3300 km. Each photo was 12.70 by 17.78 cm. Some of the views allowed for stereo pictures. On the return leg a gasket failed, leading to cabin depressurisation, which would have been fatal to a human crew. The 7K-L1 then made the first successful double skip trajectory, dipping into the earth's atmosphere over Antarctica, slowing from 11 km/sec to suborbital velocity, then skipping back out into space before making a final re-entry onto Soviet territory. The landing point was only 16 km from the pad from which it had been launched toward the moon. After the re-entry the main parachute ejected prematurely, ripping the main canopy, leading to the capsule being destroyed on impact with the ground. One negative was recovered from the camera container and a small victory obtained over the Americans. But the criteria for a manned flight had obviously not been met and Mishin's only hope to beet the Americans was a failure or delay in the Apollo 8 flight set for December. The next Zond test was set for January.

Zond 6 was the cover name for 7K-L1 s/n 12. It was supposed to photograph the moon in colour and black and white from 8000 km and 2600 km ranges, then return to earth, landing at Tyuratam only 16 km from the launch pad. It had been a long and difficult road to develop the L1 guidance system, but it worked perfectly this time. But trouble began on the sixth day of the flight. The capsule developed a leak, the pressure first dropping from 760 to 380 mm. It then continued to drop until it reached 25 mm by the time of re-entry. Due to the vacuum, static electricity built up in the spacecraft's electronics. A coronal discharge sent an erroneous signal, indicating that the gamma altimeter had sensed the approaching earth, even though the capsule was at 5300 m altitude. This tripped the soft landing rockets, followed by jettison of the parachute. The capsule plummeted to earth Luckily the APO self-destruct system did not explode when the capsule hit the ground, and Bushuyev was able to recover the film cartridges from the wreckage. The pictures of the earth and moon, similar to those of Apollo 8, were published and the world was told the mission was a complete success. A State Commission investigating the crash later determined that the coronal discharge effect which caused the parachute to jettison would only occur at the 25 mm capsule pressure. If the capsule had been completely depressurised to a high vacuum, the accident would not have occurred.


1968 November 11 - Zond 6

Two Volga automobiles and two buses take the State Commission from the Hotel Kosmonavt to Area 81. The L1 launch into parking orbit is good (parameters 88.23 minutes period vs 88.3 planned; inclination 51.24 deg vs 51.5 deg planned; perigee 188.5 km vs 192 km planned; apogee 207 km vs 218 km planned). Translunar injection proceeds normally, but afterwards the high gain antenna doesn't deploy. As a result, there is no telemetry from the astro-navigation system. Kamanin rages, 100 million roubles in launch costs, ruined by one defect. The star sensors 100K and 101K will be tested tomorrow. However without course corrections the spacecraft will miss the earth by 1050 km on return. When the midcourse correction is attempted, the 101K sensor fails, but the 100K functions, and acquires Sirius. This is enough to orient the spacecraft, and 40 minutes later an 8.5 second engine burn is made to put the spacecraft on course.


1968 November 13 - Zond 6 midcourse correction.

Tracking of the L1 shows it will hit the earth on return, but without a further midcourse correction the perigee will be 200 km instead of the 45 km required. Therefore another correction will be needed on the way back from the moon. Ustinov calls a meeting and asks 'How do we answer Apollo 8?'. The reply of Mishin and Tyulin is that 'we are not ready to answer Apollo 8. Apollo 8 is a high-risk adventure. The Americans have not accomplished any unmanned lunar flybys to demonstrate that their systems will function correctly; and of only two Saturn V flight tests to date, the second was a failure. We need to make the L1 program public to show the seriousness and completeness of Soviet readiness'. Ustinov orders the following plan be carried out in the next two months: in December, one unmanned L1 flight, and the first launch of the N1 with an L3 mock-up. In January 1969, a lunar flyby with two cosmonauts; a Lunokhod robot rover will be placed on the lunar surface; and a dual Soyuz manned flight with 1+3 crewmembers. Kamanin notes that the problem with the technical approach of Korolev and Mishin is that cosmonauts are seen only as observers and back-ups to automated systems. Therefore the whole manned space program is based on a false assumption. Because of this the Soviets have lost 2-3 years in the space race, which would have been saved if they had followed the Gemini/Apollo 'pilot in the loop' approach. Afterwards Mishin meets with the L1 cosmonaut group. He wants to get rid of the on-board flight plan and reduce the manual for operation of the spacecraft to one page. 'Don't want to bring bureaucracy aboard the spacecraft' he says. This completely absurd idea again demonstrates his belief in total reliance on automated systems.


1968 November 14 - Zond 6 passes behind moon.

The L1 went behind the moon at 05:49:37, and emerges at 06:21:11. At the time of the next orientation session it is 390,000 km from the earth and moving at 0.6 km/s. All orientations have been made on Sirius so far. Two more are needed: one for the midcourse correction, and then the second for the guided re-entry. The 100K sensor has proven itself despite Kamanin's doubts. Mishin's grumbly voice was grating on everyone, and finally he was put to bed. Kamanin despairs that the Soviet space program is dependent on this poorly organised, capricious, shortsighted man. Discussions are held with Moscow. If Apollo 8 succeeds, the next L1 test in January and the manned flight in April are probably not worth the risk. Some of the scientists want to discuss the inclusion of new medical experiments on pending manned spaceflights, but Kamanin is opposed to it. He does not want anything interfering with the primary mission. What to name the manned L1 spacecraft is discussed. Leonov wants to call it Rodina, Sevastyanov Ural, and Kamanin - 'Academician Korolev'.


1968 November 15 - Zond 6 hydrogen peroxide temperature falls to dangerous level

Overnight a serious situation has developed. The hydrogen peroxide temperature aboard the L1 capsule has fallen from +20 deg C to -2 deg C. By the following morning it was down to -5 deg C. At such temperatures it will disassociate into oxygen and water, and the capsule's orientation thrusters will not be able to function for re-entry. A colour television camera was supposed to have been included in the cabin. If it was there it could be turned on and warm the capsule, but Mishin had insisted to the State Commission that it be deleted. The spacecraft could be oriented so that the sun would shine directly over the peroxide tank and warm it, but this might damage the 100K star sensor, which was mounted right next to it. A proposal is made that an attempt is made to orient the spacecraft using the ONA gyroscope package as flywheels, but Mishin and his deputies don't want to try anything. Mishin suddenly says that the next L1 will not be ready until February or later (before the date was January). This was seen by Kamanin as a typical 180-degree turn for him. Mishin looks bad - probably he's been drinking again. Kamanin sees no solution but a complete reorganisation of the space program, moving the manned program to the VVS.


1968 November 16 - Zond 6 depressurises

Mishin is comatose, pulse 88, blood pressure 160 over 90. The doctors want to put him in the hospital, but he stays. The side of the L1 where the tanks were mounted finally comes into the sun, and the temperature rises to -1 deg C, a safer temperature than before. But now there is a new problem -- the cabin pressure fell from 718 mm at 05:13 to 610 mm by 05:20. By 08:30 it was down to 350 mm - essentially a situation of a depressurised cabin as far as the landing instruments are concerned. By 18:00 the temperature and pressure in the capsule have stabilised and Mishin is in the hospital. Meanwhile Kosygin is visiting the TsPK.


1968 November 17 - Zond 6 midcourse maneuver

The hydrogen peroxide temperature has risen to +1 deg C, and the cabin pressure is at 380 mm. The eighth stellar orientation and midcourse manoeuvre was made successful - the 100K sensor has rehabilitated itself. The 3.3-second burn moved the perigee by 25 km, and the spacecraft is expected to hit the center of the re-entry corridor - 49 km altitude plus/minus 7 km. But the State Commission has decided to arm the APO destruct system to destroy the spacecraft if it deviates from its ballistic trajectory.


1968 November 18 - Zond 6 re-entry

By 20:00 the cabin pressure was down to 180 mm, and then reached 25 mm at re-entry. At 16:00 the spacecraft confirmed that all landing commands had been received successfully. At 16:20 it confirmed correct orientation for re-entry. The tracking vessel Komarov tracked the capsule in its first dip into the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean. The tracking ship crew estimated the capsule would miss the landing point by 1800 km. However Zond 6 successfully completed the double-skip re-entry. It was picked up by PVO radars 300 km from the border of Afghanistan, and tracked to 100 to 150 km north of the cosmodrome. Radio communications and the radar transponder aboard the capsule were inoperative, and the precise landing point could not be determined. The parachute should have deployed at 17:19 and Kiev and Baku received a brief 1 to 2 second radio burst from the capsule, but nothing thereafter. A search begins for the capsule using 50 aircraft and 12 helicopters. Finally at 06:35 the next morning an Mi-4 sees the parachute 38 km southeast of Novokazalinsk, 70 km from Baikonur. The spacecraft is found 3 km away at 12:00.


1968 November 20 - Soyuz spacesuit review

Kamanin attends an Yastreb spacesuit review with VVS doctors. The suit removes 200 cal/hour, but when the cosmonaut is exerting himself, he will generate 3 to 4 times more than this. So the cabin is chilled to 18 deg C prior to the EVA, and there will be lots of pauses during preparations to exit the spacecraft. The L1 cosmonaut-engineers at the meeting have little zero-G experience, and need to get a lot more. The new oxygen generating system for the L1 is still not complete. It will be 6 to 8 kg lighter than the old system (using calcium instead of the old material). Mishin insists that the new system should be completed and installed. Ground qualification testing will be completed on 1 January, but the system will not be flight-proven - Kamanin believes it needs test on low earth orbit missions before being adopted for lunar flights. Beregovoi's experience on Soyuz 3 is reviewed. He needed more time to adapt to zero-G before being required to attempt a docking. He had the impression he was upside-down and had intestinal tract problems.


1968 November 20 - Soviet manned circumlunar flight set for February

Titov still would prefer to be a test pilot, not a cosmonaut. The Soyuz group is scheduled to complete their training and to depart for the cosmodrome on 20 December for final preparations. Leonov's L1 group is to complete their training on 20 January 1969, then depart to the cosmodrome for a flight to the moon in February.


1968 November 21 - The N1-L3 state commission meets.

The previous launch date of 25 November has been pushed back to January 1969. The N1 has completed a good cycle of ground tests, but work on the L3 has not even begun. There is no news when it will be ready. The L3 plan called for the first article to be ready in March 1968. 20 cosmonauts from the L1 and Soyuz groups were to have trained on the spacecraft. But MOM never issued the implementation plan to the industrial enterprises to begin work on the spacecraft.


1968 November 23 - Soyuz 4/5 crew training

The Soyuz crews complete training in the TBK-60 vacuum chamber and zero-G flights aboard the Tu-104. These show there exertion level in the Yastreb suit to be 600 to 900 kcal/hr - and the suit is rated to only 1/3 to 1/4 of that amount.


1968 November 26 - Soviet Union needs a manned L1 to fly in the 8 to 12 December lunar launch window in order to beat Apollo 8.

The primary issue in the next 3 to 4 months will be how to answer the impending American Apollo 8 flight. The Soviet Union needs to fly a manned L1 in the 8 to 12 December lunar launch window. But the spacecraft is still considered too unsafe for manned flight. The Apollo 8 mission is risky, but the US can't fly the Apollo spacecraft to the moon unmanned...

Beregovoi is to be named commander of the Gagarin Centre. Gagarin himself was being prepared for the job, but his death in a plane crash ended that plan. The other cosmonauts are not ready for command. The centre desperately needs the two planned L3 trainers: the TBK-150 and Volchuk. Kamanin has been jerked around for four months on the issue. Even if the simulators were delivered, he would still need 2 million roubles and an additional 30 to 40 staff to install and operate them.


1968 November 28 - Soyuz 4 / 5 spacecraft begin preparation

Soyuz spacecraft 12 and 13 have begun their 45 day preparation cycle at Baikonur, which implies a 15 January 1969 launch for he Soyuz 4/5 mission. The crews will be ready by 25 December.

Kamanin compares the results of Soyuz capsule re-entries to date:

Soyuz s/n 7 8 9 10 11
Max G's 3.15 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

SA Propellant, kg 40.0 40.0 40.0 38.0 38.0
Propellant usage:
Used Pre-reentry, kg 8.5 10.0 2.0 3.0 5.3
Used in Re-entry, kg 17.5 29.0 3.7 9.5 12.5
Total 26.0 39.0 5.7 12.5 17.8
Left at chute opening, kg 14.0 0.0 34.3 25.8 20.2

Miss distance, km 157 55 40 15 42

1968 November 29 - No mention of results of planned December 1968 L1 launch in Kamanin's diary...

Kamanin states he will be travelling to the Far East for a reunion of his World War 2 unit. He will miss the state commission on the L1.


1968 December 4 - Soviets judge that Apollo 8 has only a 25% chance of success.

The State Commission investigating Gagarin's crash publishes it report. It found that pilot error put the aircraft into a critical situation. Kamanin judges that the Apollo 8 mission is only being flown to give US President Lyndon Johnson a triumph before he leaves office. He judges the mission has only a 25% chance of success.


1968 December 11 - Kuznetsov is being blamed for the Gagarin crash.

First he wouldn't allow him to fly at all, then he let him go aloft without adequate retraining.


1968 December 12 - Kamanin catalogues the reasons the Soviet Union is losing the moon race

  • Fighting between the VVS and its 'enemies' (Ustinov etc.)
  • No single state organisation is responsible for civilian spaceflight.
  • Various entities are responsible for various aspects of military spaceflight (RSVN, VMF, General Staff, VVS). Kamanin notes that the state has poured 10 billion roubles into the N1 without visible effect. He believes reusable systems are needed to reduce the cost of spaceflight. The death of General Biryuzov in a plane crash meant that the Soviet Union lost a strong supporter of a robust military space program.
  • Kamanin believes the VVS should be in charge of piloted spacecraft, not the RVSN.
  • Furthermore the entire design approach to manned spacecraft is incorrect -- what is needed is piloted spacecraft, not cosmonauts flying as passengers in automated spacecraft. The result of the automated philosophy was that the Soyuz was not man-rated until 1968. While the qualification process was going on, the American Gemini flew ten times. The Apollo-Saturn V has flown twice, while the L3 was still just a mock-up. In effect, the Soviet Union gave the Americans a two to three year lead, allowing them to beat the Russians.

1968 December 13 - Soviets ponder Apollo 8

Articles appear in the Soviet newspapers explaining the risky nature of the Apollo 8 flight. Meanwhile an LLRV lunar landing trainer has crashed in America - Kamanin notes this is the second loss of an American 'lunar module'. The Apollo 8 flight has been delayed from 18 to 21 December due to engine problems.

Kamanin reviews the organisational structure of the NII-TsPK Gagarin Centre. There is a commander, three deputies, 700 staff, and 12 MiG-21's for flight training (8 single-seat combat aircraft and four two-seat trainers). There are three training tracks for the cosmonauts: Orbital, Lunar, and Military.


1968 December 15 - Cosmonauts graduate.

Nikolayev, Leonov, Popovich, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Zaikin, Volynov, and Shonin all receive their diplomas from the Zhukovskiy Test Pilot Engineering Academy. Khrunov graduates with honours. All of them began training for a lunar landing on January 8. Titov and Gagarin will complete their studies for the diploma in May. Ponomareva and Solovyova willl graduate in the second half of 1968, leaving only Tereshkova, Kuznetsova, and Yerkina. Tereshkova has had her appendix removed in surgery at the Vishevskiy Centre. The surgery went well.


1968 December 16 - Lunar Soviet.

In a four-hour meeting, a number of issues are dealt with. First point was military control of the KIK control centre for lunar missions. A civilian mission control centre is requested. Next, the issue of recovery of L1 and L3 capsules in the Indian Ocean. The re-entry corridor within which landings might occur is 6000 km long and 100 km wide, stretching from Antarctica to India. To cover it will require 20 naval vessels, each with a helicopter, and 10 An-22 or Tu-95 long-range maritime reconnaissance and relay aircraft. Total cost: 600 million roubles. As Kamanin sees it, all this is due to Mishin's inability to design spacecraft capable of precision landing that also incorporates the landing and recovery aids requested by the VVS. Kamanin notes in his diary violent criticism of Mishin's disregard for the safety of the cosmonaut crews, development of crew-associated items at the last minute, unrealistic schedules and expectations, etc. etc. Severin reports that the lunar space suit he is designing will support the cosmonaut for three days, during walks extending 5 km. To do this requires a bulky suit weighing 100 kg. Kamanin disagrees, saying what is needed is to develop a simple and safe approach for the first landing, with a minimum programme for the cosmonaut - not the fantastic schemes of Mishin.


1968 December 17 - The crews take their final examinations to qualify for the Soyuz 4/5 flights.

All pass. Volynov, Shatalov, and Khrunov do best; Gorbatko and Shonin make mistakes (for example stating that the spacesuit pressure is 35 atmospheres instead of 3.5 atmospheres). Kuznetsov had planned for Gagarin to be cosmonaut commander, and Beregovoi has been poorly prepared for the job. But he still plans to make Beregovoi his deputy in the position. The other cosmonauts bitterly oppose this decision, and spread stories of Beregovoi's incompetence.


1968 December 19 - Trouble in Star City

Kamanin is called to a meeting with Moroz - the topic - how to reassure the General Staff about the Beregovoi decision? Word has reached the top that there is 'conflict in Kamanin's bureaucracy'...


1968 December 20 - Volynov crew selection questioned

The Communist Party Central Committee meets to approve the crews for the upcoming Soyuz 4/5 flights. The committee is unhappy with the selection of Volynov - his mother is a Jew.


1968 December 21 - Soviets sure to lose moon race

Kamanin meets with Kuznetsov. The reasons for the Soviet Union lagging in the space race are rehashed - use of automated instead of piloted systems, etc.


1968 December 22 - Soviet reaction to Apollo 8

Apollo 8 has been launched. Kamanin recalls that he first saw a model of the Saturn V during his visit to Washington DC with Titov in 1962. At that time the Soviet Union planned to fly the N1 in four years, but the only manned spacecraft on the drawing boards after Voskhod was the Sever. Khrushchev didn't give a go-ahead for the lunar program until 1964. In the gap between Voskhod and Soyuz flights, when the American Gemini program seized the lead, the USSR could have achieved a record by flying Volynov for 18 days in Voskhod 3. But this was cancelled at the last minute by the leadership because the Voskhod had 'no development potential'. Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov were responsible for this decision, which put the USSR permanently behind in the space race.


1968 December 24 - Cosmonauts ponder loss of the moon race

The Soyuz 4 and 5 crews arrive at Tyuratam aboard an An-24. They work with their spacesuits at Area 31 until 23:00. On the bus back to the sleeping quarters Kamanin tells them of Ustinov's 'recommendation' that they do an automatic docking. They are against it, argue for a manual docking. If allowing enough time for the crew of the active spacecraft to adapt to zero-G is the issue, they propose switching the launch order of the active and passive spacecraft. This alternative is ruled out - it is too late and risky to modify the flight programs. Shatalov bursts out - 'Here we are debating this for the tenth time, while he Americans are orbiting the moon'. They call for the bus to stop. They exit out into the icy clear night and look at the moon. Thoughts came of the nine comrades who had died trying to put the USSR first to the moon, all to no avail.


1968 December 25 - Launch dates set for Soyuz 4 and 5

Apollo 8 is on its way back to earth, but re-entry into the earth's atmosphere from lunar distances is risky, as the Soviet experience with the L1 has shown. The State Commission meets at 16:00 and sets the launch dates for Soyuz 4 and 5. Meanwhile Beregovoi and Yurasov are in the Soyuz spacecraft in the assembly building, running communications checks.


1968 December 25 - L3 lunar lander behind schedule

The L3 spacecraft still does not even exist in mock-up form. All of the leadership are responsible for this farce - Malinovskiy, Smirnov, Ustinov, Brezhnev. There is no single manager of the space program. The VPK and Central Committee operate on rumours. The Interagency Soviet headed by Keldysh was supposed to coordinate space activities, but in fact has not functioned in the last four to five years. There is no single military space organisation in the Ministry of Defence. Piloted flight tests are being run by former artillery officers in the RSVN. Various organizations of MAP and VVS coordinate ground and flight tests poorly. These are the reasons for the failure of the Soviet Union in space. Today in the Central Committee Ustinov asked - 'how to answer Apollo 8?' Ustinov relies on Keldysh, Keldysh supports Mishin, and Mishin is unfit for his duties. But Mishin is not even there! The program they come up with: In January 1969, 2 Venera probes will be launched, two manned Soyuz missions, and L1 s/n 13 will be sent around the moon. In February the first N1 will be launched. By the end of March the first Ye-8 robot will land on the moon and return lunar soil to the earth. This meeting is followed by a session of the VPK at 16:00. The crews are named for the Soyuz 4 and 5 flights.


1968 December 26 - Heated arguments over technical approach of Soviet space systems

The training for the Soyuz 4 and 5 flights was completed last night. Today the crews undergo medical tests and start preparation of their flight logs/flight plans. On the return flight to Moscow Shatalov, Beregovoi, Severin, Kamanin, and Mnatsakanian get into a heated argument. The cosmonauts attack Mnatsakanian's Igla automated docking system. It limits docking manoeuvres to periods when the spacecraft are flying over the Soviet Union due to the requirement for ground stations to receive live television. The Americans worked only on the Apollo spacecraft for the last two to three years, while the Soviets have divided their efforts on no less than five spacecraft types: the L1, L3, Soyuz, Soyuz VI, and Almaz. This is all Mishin's fault...


1968 December 27 - Americans win the race to be first around the moon

The General Staff considers the impending Soyuz 4 and 5 flights. Vershinin asks - what is the likelihood of Apollo 8 being successful? Kamanin tells him it is very good now; the final midcourse correction was made successfully. A State Commission convenes to consider the Zond 6 failure. Mishin and Tyulin do not attend - they send Bushuyev to represent them. It has been found that 70 km from the cosmodrome, as the spacecraft deployed its parachute, the parachute lines were pyrotechnically severed at 3 km altitude and the capsule crashed into the plain. This in turn was found to be due to an ONA landing antenna failure; and this in turn caused by the SUS going down to temperatures of -5 deg C during the flight and the depressurisation of the cabin. The hydrogen peroxide, due to the low temperature, put the spcecraft at a 45 degree attitude instead of the 18 degree maximum (?). There are five L1's left. Number 13 is at Tyuratam begin prepared for an unmanned flight due for launch on 20 or 21 January, number 11 is being readied for a March 1969 manned launch, to be followed by numbers 14, 15, and 16 in April, May, June. At 19:15 the successful splashdown of Apollo 8 is reported. The race to be first around the moon is over.


1968 December 28 - Soviet space cadres stand down after Apollo 8 success

Two to three days rest for the demoralised cadres is declared, before renewing anew the assault on the cosmos in January. Kamanin muses that some day Communism will be on all of the planets of the solar system, and men will travel in fully automated spacecraft. But full automation is the wrong approach now.


1968 December 31 - How to answer the Americans?

After two days of snow, family, and rest at this dacha, Kamanin is called to a General Staff meeting - the issue - how to answer the Americans? Attending are Generals Kutakhov, Moroz, Ponomarev, Kustanin, Yoffe, Frolov, Kartakhov, and others. It is agreed that the only proper answer is a Soviet lunar landing - but that is two to three years away. The 1964 resolution authorising the lunar program required a lunar flyby to be conducted by 1967 and a landing by 1968. But Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, and Pashkov hindered the attainment of this order. They were always requiring meetings, analyses, reports. The result - now many volumes of reports, but no action. The VPK proposes to land a Ye-8-5 robot on the moon and return lunar soil to earth in a 50 cm diameter, 38 kg capsule. The capsule will descend under a parachute and transmit on two VHF beacons in order to be located. But this still does not exist in metal, just in mock-up form. Considered logically, it could not be available earlier than the second half of 1969. The existing schedule for it to fly in the first half of the year is illogical and unachievable. Kamanin looks back with bitterness on the year of 1968 -- they have lost the moon race, they have lost Gagarin. His only consolation is his family.


1969 January 4 - Soyuz 4/5 preparations

Kamanin and 50 VVS officers arrived at Tyuratam aboard an An-24 to supervise the launch of Soyuz 4 and 5.


1969 January 6 - Mishin a no-show.

There is much criticism of Mishin and Keldysh for not attending launches any longer. The opinion is that they are afraid to show their faces.


1969 January 7 - Preparations at Baikonur

The head of the launch commission for Venera-5 and 6 says that will work on the Ye-8 and Ye-8-5 robot moon landers was making progress, it would be fantasy to believe that a moon landing and return to earth could be successfully accomplished in 1969. Venera was 'no answer' to Apollo at all. Meanwhile, he was worried about Soyuz landing in the Aral Sea in the event of problems during re-entry. Kustanin remembers times in the past when supposedly 'waterproof' spacecraft had landed in water. One Soyuz had splashed down in the Aral Sea, and one Zenit spysat in the Volga River. Both sank easily. But the chances of either Soyuz 4 or 5 landing in the Aral Sea were assessed as only 0.003. In any cases 5 helicopters and 3 Be-12 seaplanes were on standby to recover the crew in such an eventuality.


1969 January 8 - Concern over the possibility of Soyuz 4 or 5 landing in the Aral Sea continues.

An Il-14 is sent on a flight to reconnoitre. It reports 12 to 50 cm ice over the entire surface. Mishin, Chertok, and the rest of he OKB-1 entourage arrive. An argument immediately ensures over provisions and planning for emergency landings. It is decided to make a review of emergency landing and recovery plans as the first agenda item every day of he flights.


1969 January 8 - Plan for Soviet lunar and planetary launches to answer America's Apollo program during 1969 approved.

Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 19-10 'On Work on Research of the Moon, Venus and Mars by Automatic Stations--work on automated lunar and interplanetary spacecraft' was issued.

The decree sets forth the plans for Soviet lunar and planetary launches to answer America's Apollo program during 1969. There will be Ye-8-5 soil return launches in April, May, June, August, and September. Ye-8 lunar rover launches will be made in February, October, and November. Two Venera-69 launches to Venus will be made in January. Launches of Mars-69 will be made in March and April. This compared to American plans for Apollo 9 on 28 February, Apollo 10 in April, followed by the Apollo 11 moon landing in June or July. Kamanin notes that this is a very grandiose plan, but not backed up by the necessary reliable boosters, spacecraft, or trained launch crews. Meanwhile Soviet manned space plans for 1969 have not even been agreed. There will be perhaps 3 to 4 Soyuz earth orbital flights and 1 or 2 L1 manned lunar flybys. Kamanin views all of this as the result of the mistakes of the last 3 to 4 years, chief of which was the reliance on automated systems. Chertok observes that Babakin's team was suited to be handed the torch -- they were young and enthusiastic, while the engineers at TsKBEM were tired, burned out, and dispirited.


1969 January 9 - State Commission for the first N1 launch

The State Commission for the first N1 launch, headed by Afanasyev, convenes at Area 12 of Baikonur. All of the Chief Designers and top generals of the VVS are in attendance. Many defects are identified in the review, but there seem to be no show-stoppers. Payload integration with the booster is to begin 13 January and launch by 18 February. Then Baikonur commander General Kurushin drops a bombshell - he declares he is not prepared to attempt to launch this 'unready' rocket. Much argument and discussion ensues. Finally Afanasyev asks that the issues raised be reviewed, in preparation for the next commission meeting on 11 January.


1969 January 11 - N1 state commission meeting.

The issues raised with the N1 have been cleared up and settled. Afanasyev approves the schedule leading to an 18 February first launch of the N1.


1969 January 12 - Soyuz 4/5 profile still not settled

At Baikonur, Ustinov and Afanasyev get into an argument with Mishin. They want Soyuz 4 and 5 to accomplish a completely automatic docking, as was done successfully by Cosmos 186/188 and Cosmos 212/213. Mishin categorically rejects this. He wants a manual docking, which was unsuccessful when attempted by Beregovoi on Soyuz 2/3. Meanwhile the Soyuz 4/5 crews hold a news conference.


1969 January 13 - N1 payload preparation and fuelling are underway.

Four N1 launches are planned in 1969: The launch of 3L will be followed by 5L, 6L, and 7L in April, June, and November. But this is probably much too optimistic due to delays in delivery of critical systems needed to complete the boosters. But at least 4L, 5L, and 6L should be launched this year.


1969 January 13 - Soyuz 4 scrub

The launch of the 13th Soviet cosmonaut into space aboard Soyuz 4 is scrubbed - the first launch scrub in the history of Soviet manned launch attempts. Despite -24 deg C temperatures and 8 to 10 m/s winds, the fuelling of the rocket proceeds successfully. Voice communications are lost with Shatalov whenever the television camera is turned on, but it is decided just to leave the camera off and proceed with the launch. Then at T - 9 minutes a problem is detected with the gyro platform of the rocket. It takes three hours to fix, pushing the launch back to 15:00, meaning the landing will have to be in darkness at the end of the mission. It is decided this is too risky, and the launch is cancelled. As Shatalov exits from the spacecraft, he jokes that he has set a new record: shortest space flight, and first to return to its exact point of lift-off. The engineers are concerned with the internal temperature of the SAS abort system solid rockets if left on the pad for 24 hours in these temperatures. The internal temperature of the fuel cannot go below -2 deg C at night. Any lower, the loss of specific impulse of the fuel would reduce the thrust by more than 5%, the limit established for safe operation.


1969 January 13 - Soyuz 4/5 profile still not settled

In the evening Afanasyev hosts 100 guests - the leadership of the space program - to watch the big Army-Dinamo football game. Space plans are discussed. The State Commission still needs to confirm the crews for Soyuz 4/5. The issue of automatic versus manual rendezvous is again argued. Kamanin believes this reliance on automated systems has cost the Soviet Union the moon race.


1969 January 14 - Soyuz 4

Soyuz 4 is launched with Vladimir Shatalov aboard without further problems at 10:30. This time the rockets gyroscopes, the capsule communications, and the television camera all functioned perfectly. Volynov and his crew for Soyuz 5 watched the launch from Area 17. Later Soyuz 4 would dock with Soyuz 5, and following a transfer of two cosmonauts, return with Shatalov, Yevgeni Khrunov and Alexsei Yeliseyev from Soyuz 5. Official purpose: scientific, technical and medico-biological research, checking and testing of onboard systems and design elements of space craft, docking of piloted space craft and construction of an experimental space station, transfer of cosmonauts from one craft to another in orbit. This mission finally successfully completed the simulated lunar orbit docking and crew transfer mission attempted by Soyuz 1 in April 1967. In making the transfer Khrunov and Yeliseyev avoided the most spectacular survivable incident of the space age - the nose-first reentry of Soyuz 5, still attached to its service module.


1969 January 15 - Soyuz 5

At 3 am an An-12 arrives from Moscow with ten newspapers, and letters for Shatalov, to be delivered by the Soyuz 5 crew to him as the first 'space mail'. At 05:15 the State Commission convened and approved launch at 10:04:30. The countdown proceeds normally; meanwhile communications sessions are held with Shatalov on Soyuz 4. The commission is taken by automobile convoy from Area 2, to Area 17, where the Soyuz 5 crew declares itself ready for flight. At T-25 minutes, with the crew already aboard the spacecraft, a piece of electrical equipment fails and needs to be replaced. Engineer-Captain Viktor Vasilyevich Alyeshin goes to the fuelled booster and replaces it. While doing this he notices that the access hatch has been secured with only three bolts, instead of the four required. Nevertheless the launch proceeds successfully. After Soyuz 5 is in orbit, it and Soyuz 4 begin their mutual series of manoeuvres for rendezvous and docking. Officially the flight conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological research, checking and testing of onboard systems and design elements of space craft, docking of piloted space craft and construction of an experimental space station, transfer of cosmonauts from one craft to another in orbit.


1969 January 16 - EVA Soyuz 4/5-1

A day after the launch of Soyuz 5, Soyuz 4 docked with it. The Soyuz 4 active spacecraft was equipped with a long docking probe, designated 'Shtir'. The Soyuz 5 target spacecraft was equipped with the 'Konus' receptacle. The symbology lead Volynov to joke that he 'was being raped' when the hard docking was accomplished. Khrunov and Yeliseyev transferred to and returned in Soyuz 4, the feat they had hoped to accomplish in the cancelled Soyuz 2 flight almost two years earlier. The external crew transfer was also a test of the technique needed for the Soviet lunar landing.


1969 January 16 - 10 Soyuz for military proposed

The space leadership board planes to depart Tyuratam. During the flight to Moscow, Kamanin discusses with Mishin the possibility of purchase of 10 to 15 Soyuz spacecraft by the Ministry of Defence for military experiments. Mishin is very interested in the possibility.


1969 January 17 - Landing of Soyuz 4

Soyuz 4 landed at 06:51 GMT 48 km south-west of Karaganda, 40 km from the planned point, with the crew of Khrunov, Shatalov and Yeliseyev aboard. Shatalov's performance has been outstanding -- all manoeuvres were made correctly with minimal expenditure of propellant. The soft landing system performed well, in temperatures of -30 deg C and in 60 to 80 cm of snow. The first recovery helicopter reached the capsule only five minutes after touchdown. 25 minutes later the crew is on a helicopter, on their way to the airfield at Karaganda. The crew is given a medical examination at the Hotel Chaika and then taken downstairs for a press conference. At 16:45 they board an An-24, bound for Tyuratam.


1969 January 18 - Landing of Soyuz 5

After Shatalov and Yeliseyev transferred to Soyuz 4, Volynov remained behind to live through the most unbelievable re-entry in the history of spaceflight. The service module of the Soyuz failed to separate after retrofire. Once the Soyuz started reaching the tendrils of the atmosphere, the combined spacecraft sought the most aerodynamically stable position - nose forward, with the heavy descent module with its light metal entry hatch at the front, the less dense service module with its flared base to the back. Luckily the struts between the descent and service modules broke off or burned through before the hatch melted through and the descent module righted itself, with the heat shield to the rear, before being consumed. Due to a failure of the soft-landing rockets the landing was harder than usual and Volynov broke his teeth. The landing came at 7:58 GMT.

At 05:00 Belyayev serves as capcom for a communications session with Volynov aboard Soyuz 5. All is OK. At 06:00 the landing commission convenes. A landing during the next three orbits is possible, but then -35 deg C anticyclonic conditions will move into the landing area. Volynov, at ground control's request, is asked to test manual orientation for retrofire on orbit 30. He is able to hold the correct orientation for 9 minutes -- only 2 minutes is required for retrofire. It is decided to take the risk of a manual landing on the first landing orbit. But discussion with Volynov reveals he has already set up all systems for automatic retrofire sequence on the second landing orbit. He tries, but is unable to set up correct retrofire attitude in the first two minutes of daylight of the first landing orbit. So the manual attempt is aborted and the program reverts to the original automatic landing on the second landing orbit. Mishin is not available for any of these key decisions. He spent the entire previous night at a banquet feting the Soyuz 4 crew, and only arrived at the command post still hung over and drunk at 8 am. Meanwhile Volynov experiences a reverse re-entry, following which is parachute wouldn't open automatically. The result were high-G forces and a landing 12 minutes earlier than planned. At 21:00 Brezhnev calls to try to find out what the hell is going on.


1969 January 19 - State Commission on Soyuz 4/5

At 10:00 a State Commission convenes at Area 17. The mistakes made during the Soyuz 4/5 flight are reviewed. The EVA began with a closed valve on Khrunov's suit. The film camera was not activated, resulting in loss of one of the key propaganda points of the exercise.


1969 January 20 - Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 13L

Launch failure - but the abort system again functioned perfectly, taking the capsule to a safe landing (in Mongolia!). At 501 seconds into the flight one of the four engines of the second stage shut down, and remained shut down for 25 seconds. The ever-reliable SAS abort system detected the failure, and separated the capsule from the failed booster. Yet again a successful capsule recovery after a booster failure.

The spacecraft separates and is recovered south-west of Irkutsk, in Mongolia. At 08:20 the telemetry is read out. It shows the number 4 engine of the second stage stopped working 25 seconds into its burn. The third stage then separated, and the SAS abort system operated to separate the spacecraft and bring it to a safe landing, which was in Mongolia, 350 km from Irkutsk. The capsule landed in a valley between mountains 3000 m high. The capsule used in this L1#13 launch was reused from the aborted L1#7 flight, and set a new record -- two recoveries from two aborts. Only minor rework was required after the first abort. Smirnov and Ustinov have had enough and want to shut down the L1 program. In Kamanin's view, this would repeat the mistake they made with Voskhod , cost the Soviet Union two to three years in the space race. They originally had expected to accomplish successful L1 flights in only 2 to 3 years from go-ahead, but it has taken 5 years.


1969 January 22 - American looks likely to win moon race

Kamanin and four cosmonauts return to Moscow from Tyuratam aboard an Il-18. It has been nearly nine years since Gagarin's flight, and now America looks like the winner of the space race, with the successful flight of Apollo 8 around the moon. Kamanin attributes the loss to the mistakes made by Ustinov and Smirnov in the erratic management of the Soviet program, coupled with the insistence of Korolev and Mishin to develop completely automated spacecraft that do not require intervention by the cosmonaut.


1969 January 23 - Cosmonauts shot at in assassination attempt

The assassination attempt is made on Brezhnev, instead hitting the cosmonaut's car, on the way to the Kremlin. A muted press conference follows. All the cosmonauts are there, except Feoktistov, who is on honeymoon with his second wife, and Nikolyaev, who has the Hong Kong flu.


1969 January 25 - Apollo vs Ye-8-5

America is preparing Apollo 9 for flight, and Kamanin muses that the Soviet reply will be the N1 and Ye-8-5, neither of which is proven or reliable. The Soviet Union would have a better chance of sending a manned L1 on a flight around the moon during the first quarter of 1969. Meanwhile Mishin's bureau has a new L3M lunar lander on the drawing boards. This will land 4 to 5 men on the moon, but require two N1 or seven UR-500K launches to assemble in orbit.


1969 January 28 - Soyuz 4/5 crew feted

The last few days have been occupied with daily press conferences or meetings with the state leadership by the Soyuz 4/5 crews.


1969 January 29 - Lunar systems status

Review of spacesuit development at Zvezda Factory with Gay Severin. The specifications for the moon suit are 10 hours life, 80 kg mass, able to handle a heat load of 500 kcal/hour. But this load is insufficient for heavy work. By comparison, the suits used by Leonov and Khrunov could only handle 200-250 kcal/hour. 14 suits have been completed for tests. In the afternoon Soyuz descent systems are reviewed at Aleksander Lobanov's institute. The descent system parachutes are rated for a 10 tonne payload, but 40 tonnes of force are required to pull the parachute out of the compartment in the capsule. Individual parachutes could be provided for the crew, weight 6 kg each. This would evidently be considered as the back-up on L1 and LOK flights where the capsule had a side hatch and no reserve parachute.


1969 January 30 - N1/Ye-8-5 launch preparations

Mishin agrees with Tyulin that he will fly to Tyuratam on 3 February to supervise launch of the Ye-8 on 18 February and the first N1 on 21 February.


1969 January 31 - Kamanin meets with Vershinin.

Plans for purchase of ten Soyuz spacecraft for the VVS are discussed. They next turn to Volynov's problems during the Soyuz 5 re-entry. The fault can be attributed entirely to the modular design of the spacecraft, requiring that two modules be jettisoned before re-entry. Vershinin declares that what was needed was a true KLA space flight craft, which would be winged, set toward orbit by aircraft-type booster stages, and could be recovered at a conventional air base borne on wings or rotor blades.

Kamanin then goes to the Gagarin Centre for a series of meetings to define concrete proposals for future Soyuz flights. He becomes very upset when discussing the cover-up of the L1 programme with Mishin. This was followed by a meeting of the Central Soviet of the Cosmonauts. Leonov and Bykovskiy make several proposals for new missions. Bykovskiy is especially critical of lack of action by the VVS in standing up for the cosmonaut's views. But Kamanin knows Bykovskiy, being unaware of all of the secret decrees and initiatives of the Ministry of Defence, is mistaken.


1969 February 3 - N1/Ye-8 preparations

Kamanin arrives at Tyuratam at 15:30 aboard an An-24. The State Commission for the first Ye-8 robot lunar rover mission is chaired by Tyulin at Area 31. The spacecraft will make a soft landing on the moon, deploy a mobile lunar rover that can traverse slopes up to 30 degrees. The rover will find a position that is clear of obstacles for the first Soviet manned lunar landing. It will then park there, and provide a landing beacon for the LK manned lander. The spacecraft will have a mass of 1700 kg in lunar orbit. Launch is set for 19-20 February.


1969 February 4 - UR-500K failure state commission

At Area 81 a State Commission is held on failures of the UR-500K booster. A D Konopatov describes the analysis of the stage 2 and 3 failures on the 20 January launch attempt. The number 4 engine of stage 2 shut down 25 seconds into its burn due to high temperatures detected in the turbopump. The same thing occurred on the third stage. The couldn't pin down the source of the problem. Engines of this type had worked correctly 700 times on earlier flights. Despite the cause of the failure not being identified, approval is given at 14:30 for the launch of the Ye-8 to proceed. Babakin confirms the spacecraft is ready.


1969 February 5 - Cosmonaut centre plans

Kamanin flies back to Moscow aboard an An-24. Plans for the Cosmonaut Centre are discussed during the flight. It is to consist of 600 officer, 8 generals (vs. 1 currently), 3 directorates (vs. 1 now), and 6 deputy positions (instead of 3). It will become the country's centre for both cosmonaut training and scientific research. Vershinin had spent all day at Chkalovskiy on 3 February. He was unable to get anything going on these plans despite promises to implement them by higher officers.


1969 February 6 - Volynov grounded

Meetings are held at the cosmonaut centre to plan for the big visit to the base by Marshal Grechko. N F Kuznetsov briefs plans for the centre with the general staff. Kamanin discusses the situation with Leonov. Leonov notes the saying from Lenin on a banner at the centre: "Know how to work!" Unfortunately, they have left out the second part: "Don't hurry!" Leonov states he is not assigning Volynov to any future flights.


1969 February 7 - Beregovoi to head cosmonauts

Word has got out that Beregovoi is to be made head of the cosmonaut training. It is controversial, to say the least.


1969 February 10 - Soyuz plans

Meeting with TsKBEM Deputy Chief Designer Tregub on manned space flight plans. Soyuz s/n 14 is set for a solo seven day mission in April-May. 15 and 16 with 5 cosmonauts aboard will fly a 7 day mission in August-September, remaining docked for three days. Soyuz s/n 17 through 20 will not fly until after May 1970 - there are no definite plans for them at this time.

As for the cosmonaut centre, Beregovoi and Nikolaeyv will be chiefs, Titov a deputy chief, and Belayayev, Leonov, Popovich, Bykovskiy, and Shatalov, heads of directorates.


1969 February 11 - Military space objectives

The Ye-8 and N1 are on schedule for their respective launches. Kamanin discusses the cosmonaut training curriculum with Kerimov. No one has ever defined what it is cosmonauts are actually supposed to do in space. No one really knows what their purpose is --- not Keldysh, not Mishin, not Smirnov, not Ustinov. Kerimov agrees to put together a state commission to define the role of man in space and draw up plans for future space missions.


1969 February 19 - Ye-8 s/n 201 + Lunokhod s/n 201 - first stage malfunction

Attempted launch of a Ye-8 with a Lunokhod lunar rover. Evidently coordinate in some way with the N1 launch two days later. A first-stage booster engine failure causes the rocket to crash 15 km from the pad after a lift-off at 09:48 local time. Kamanin meanwhile has the Hong Kong flu.


1969 February 21 - N1 3L launch

N-1 serial number 3L was the first N-1 launched. The vehicle ran into trouble immediately at lift-off. A fire developed in the tail compartment. The engine monitoring system detected the fire, but then gave an incorrect signal, shutting down all engines at 68.7 seconds into the flight. British intelligence detected the launch attempt, but the CIA's technical means for some reason missed it and they denied for years that it had ever occurred. In retrospect the launch team at Baikonur pointed to a grave mistake - at the christening of the first N1, the champagne bottle broke against the crawler-transporter rather than the hull of the rocket. After the 3L failure everyone knew there was no chance at all of beating the Americans to the moon.

On the day of the launch the assembly building and worker's villages at Areas 112 and 113 were completely evacuated on the principle that 'God helps them what helps themselves'. The launch directors at the Sixth Control Centre were: Colonel Pavel Katayev, Yevgeniy Moiseyev, Launch Complex commander Colonel Anatoliy Kirillov, N1 Chief Designer Boris Dorofeyev, Afanasyev, and Mishin.

The payload was the 7K-L1A adaptation of the 7K-L1 spacecraft. This had a modified engine block and a total mass of 6900 kg. The planned mission was a lunar orbital flight. The L3 assembly would have been placed into a 204 x 287 km orbit of the earth at 597 seconds after lift-off. Total mass in earth orbit would have been 70.56 tonnes (the Block G, Block D, and 7K-L1A). The launch window for the lunar launch was open from 18 to 21 February; the launch was made on the last possible day. The N1 had a total mass of 2762 tonnes at ignition and 2756 tonnes at lift-off. Lift-off thrust was measured at 4,590 tonnes. The propellants had been densified before loading by chilling the Lox to -191 deg C and the fuel to -15 deg C. The mission plan called for the Block G to put the Block D and 7K-L1A on a translunar trajectory. After a 3.5 day coast to the moon, the Block D would fire and place the assembly into lunar orbit. After two days of photography of the lunar surface, the Block D would fire again and place the 7K-L1A on a trans-earth trajectory. The Block D would separate and the 7K-L1A would use its own engines for mid-course corrections on the return leg. After re-entry in the atmosphere, the 7K-L1A would be recovered on Soviet territory.

Chertok's account:

Launch came at 12:18:07 local time. The heat of the exhaust vaporised the top few meters of the launch pad's concrete. The booster rose into the sky on a pillar of flame 3 to 4 times longer than its own 110 m height. However telemetry later revealed the vehicle had run into trouble immediately at lift-off. As a result of a rising high frequency oscillation in the gas generator of engine number two, some engine components tore off their mounts, resulting in a forced leak of propellants, setting in motion a fire in the tail compartment. The BKS engine monitoring system detected the fire, but then gave an incorrect signal, shutting down all engines at 68.7 seconds into the flight. The vehicle was destroyed by range safety 70 seconds into the flight. The escape tower worked as designed. The remains of the N1 crashed 52 km downrange from the pad.

In the control room gloom prevailed. 'Everything has ended' - 'All those years of work down the drain..' Only Barmin was upbeat - 'don't worry, my launch complex is note damaged'. Barmin had said the same thing on the first R-7 launch on 15 May 1957. But that first ICBM had run for 100 seconds, which was an enormous accomplishment at that time, but nothing today. There was much more at stake. Five years of enormous and costly effort may have died with the booster.

The preliminary investigation into the cause of the failure took several days, but Mishin was impatient to know the cause. Preliminary word was that the problem was a turbogenerator, but it took until March for a more complete analysis to be available. A turbogenerator had leaked hot 340 deg C gas. This had started a fire in the compartment. The KORD engine control system was affected, and a 1000 Hz vibration of the booster, in harmony with the operating frequency of the system, stimulated an erroneous shut-down command to all engines. The operating voltage of the system had increased to 25 V instead of the 15 V design voltage. The solution implemented for the next booster was to reroute the KORD sensor and command lines, and to insulate them with asbestos. However the leadership still refused to pay for a test stand at Tyuratam to ground-test the Block A first stage! The project budget just couldn't accommodate the expense...

After the 3L failure everyone knew there was no chance at all of beating the Americans to the moon. The revised programme included further unmanned L1 flights, automated return of lunar soil by Babakin's robot landers, a crash programme of Soyuz 7K-OK earth orbit manned flights, and development of new versions of the Soyuz for military space programmes. 5L was scheduled for the next test launch. Booster 4L had always been seen as a back-up booster for the failed 3L, and there was no manpower available to complete it.

Kamanin's account:

At 41 seconds after launch, one of the 32 engines of the N1 first stage shuts down, followed by all of the others. The KORD should have only shut down one engine opposite the failing engine -- and the launch vehicle could still continue with the loss of six engines. The booster reached its peak altitude of 27 km at 50 seconds into the flight, then continued to impact 23 km down range. The L1 spacecraft capsule was pulled away by the SAS escape tower, and landed under its parachute successfully. Kamanin observes that the Soviet lunar program is depending on the success of the N1, but a series of UR-500K launches could be used as well to assemble the lunar spacecraft in low earth orbit. In his opinion the N1 may one day fly, but it can never be a reliable booster due to the inherent design flaws.


1969 March 10 - Apollo 9 points to US win

Kamanin notes the successful Apollo 9 mission. In his opinion Americans will land on the moon by the end of the year. The Soviet program is 3 to 4 years behind.


1969 March 17 - Russian military space management changes

There is a management shuffle in the VVS head shed. Vershinin, a good supporter of Kamanin's attempts to obtain more VVS control of the space programme, is finished.


1969 March 20 - Soviet of military officers meets to review manned space plans.

A 50 minute presentation is given on space plans. Russia plans to fly no less than six different types of manned spacecraft in 1969-1970 - the Soyuz, L1, L3, Almaz, Soyuz VI, and Spiral. This will result in a decisive answer to the American Apollo programme within two to three years. No N1 launch with the complete L3 lunar landing spacecraft is planned until 1970. Approval is sought for the VVS to buy 10 Soyuz spacecraft for continued manned military flights in low earth orbit. Otherwise between the second half of 1970 and during all of 1971 there will be no spacecraft available for manned flights

20 Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft were purchased in the initial development batch, and Soyuz 13 will mark the flight of the 20th. Analysis is under way and it is expected the commanders will have a full report and recommendation by April 15 on how to use manned spacecraft for military purposes.

After the presentation General Gudkov agrees with the personnel plans for the Gagarin Centre, including appointment of Beregovoi as cosmonaut chief.


1969 March 27 - Gagarin remembered

Day of remembrance of Gagarin on the anniversary of his death in a plan crash.


1969 March 28 - Military Soyuz plan rejected

Kutakhov is having trouble selling Kamanin's plans for military spaceflights and the appointment of Beregovoi to the General Staff. Marshal Zakharov has rejected the plan for ten military Soyuz, as he had done with similar earlier plans for Vostok and Voskhod. As far as he is concerned, manned spaceflight has no significant military potential.


1969 March 29 - Apollo films on view in Soviet Union

VVS General Staff views US documentaries on Apollo 8 and 9, and footage from the 1968 Turin Air Show.


1969 April 2 - M-69 s/n 522

Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars, together with a landing probe. Further Mars launches during the 1969 launch window were cancelled when this attempt resulted in a major accident, which almost wiped out all of the leaders of the space industry. The Proton rocket lifted off, but one engine failed. The vehicle flew at an altitude of 50 m horizontally, finally exploding only a short distance from the launch pad, spraying the whole complex with poisonous propellants that were quickly spread by the wind. Everyone took off in their autos to escape, but which direction to go? Finally it was decided that the launch point was the safest, but this proved to be even more dangerous - the second stage was still intact and liable to explode. The contamination was so bad that there was no way to clean up - the only possibility was just to wait for rain to wash it away. This didn't happen until the Mars launch window was closed, so the first such probe was not put into space until 1971. This accident also severely damaged plans to divert attention from America's Apollo programme during the rest of 1969. 10-12 UR-500K launches had been intended to land on the moon lunar soil return and rover robots to supplement the N1 launches.


1969 April 5 - Kaluga visit

Kamanin and the cosmonauts go to Kaluga on a two-day visit to formally hand over Gagarin's flight log to the space museum there.


1969 April 18 - Titov in trouble

There is an incident between Titov and a movie crew. This is the first such altercation he has had in three years but is still very serious.


1969 April 19 - Military Soyuz meeting

Kamanin meets with the General Staff, presents the results of the study he has commissioned on the military utility of manned spaceflight, and pleads for support for his proposal to procure ten Soyuz spacecraft.


1969 April 26 - Soyuz program review

The commission considers plans for the rest of the Soyuz production. Spacecraft s/n 14, 15, and 16 are to fly in August 1969, 17 and 18 in November 1969, and 19 and 20 in February-March 1970. Crews selected for the August flights are: for spacecraft 14, Shonin and Kubasov; for 15, Filipchenko, Volkov, and Gorbatko; for 16, Nikolayev and Sevastyanov. Back-ups will be Kuklin, Grechko, and Kolodin. All of the spacecraft will fly 4 to 5 day missions. Spacecraft 15 and 16 will dock and remain together 2 or 3 days to form an 'orbital station'. Experiments planned for the flight are:

  • Visual observation of rocket launch plumes using the Svinets device
  • Film and photography of the spacecraft 15-16 docking from spacecraft 14
  • Demonstration of welding in weightless vacuum conditions using the Vulkan device
  • Demonstration of autonomous navigation by the cosmonauts using a sextant
  • Medium wave radio communications
  • Test of new television sensors for the Soyuz orientation system

Spacecraft 17 through 20 will fly 15 to 16 day missions to demonstrate the new SZhO life support system for the L3, and conduct rendezvous and docking operations using the L3's Kontakt system.

The results of the State Commission on the failure of the Soyuz 5 SA capsule to separate from the SO service module are presented. The SA and SO are connected with 102 clamps. Dozens of failure modes were studied and rejected as the cause of the failure to separate. The most likely reason was that one of the clamps became hung up on one of the intermodule struts after it had separated. Tests showed that the two sections would normally separate cleanly with the usual 70 kg of force generated by the separation pyrotechnics. But in some cases the force of the pyros could be greater than this, which would result in the clamp rebounding and closing again.


1969 May 8 - Russian only hope is major Apollo failure

Mishin, Keldysh, Pashkov, Smirnov, and Serbin meet. Some of them are still expecting a big failure in the Apollo programme that will set the Americans back and still make it possible for Russia to be first on the moon. These are black days in the Soviet programme - it is clear to Kamanin that the Americans will successfully land on the moon in July, and the Russians are 2 to 3 years behind.


1969 May 10 - Military space research plans

Kamanin makes a speech to the VVS Soviet, setting forth again plans for military research in space. His presentation shows how far the USSR is behind the Americans, and the need to regain the lead. He again proposes 10 to 12 military Soyuz flights beginning in the first quarter 1970. This will fill the gap until Soyuz VI and Almaz will begin flying in 1972. Kutakhov is categorically against these Soyuz flights but, under pressure from others, still agrees to form a commission to study the matter. Reference is made to a Ministry of Defence decree of 7 January 1969.


1969 May 16 - Cosmonauts in Leningrad

The cosmonauts tour Leningrad, visiting the sites of the October Revolution - the Battleship Aurora, Winter Palace, etc. Except for Shatalov and Kamanin, none had ever been there before. They also visited subcontractor premises and military units involved in the space programme.


1969 May 17 - Venera 6 lands on Venus

Kamanin notes in his diary that the twin Venus missions mark a new triumph of the USSR in space, but pale in comparison with the American launch of Apollo 10. Kamanin notes there is not one word about the Apollo 10 mission in Pravda.


1969 May 20 - Apollo 10 trumps Venera missions

Kamanin notes that the Apollo 10 mission is a ten-times greater achievement that the Venera missions being trumpeted by the Soviet media.


1969 May 24 - Way clear for Apollo 11

Kamanin writes that Apollo 10 has completed its lunar mission successfully. The way is clear for the final step in American winning the moon race.


1969 June 1 - Soviet lunar plans

Despite having no stand testing of the N1 first stage, Mishin still expected the first Soviet lunar landing to take place by the end of 1970. He began pushing Kamanin to assign L3 flight crews for the missions. Mishin's staff did not believe he had the necessary discipline to pull it off, but supported him out of solidarity. Mishin accepted the resolution to use 5L to conduct a lunar flyby. The payload consisted of the L3-S. This spacecraft used the new unified guidance system developed for the LOK by NIIAP, replacing the 7K-L1 guidance system, and functional rocket stages G and D, plus the payload bay of the LK. The only functional spacecraft system was the SAS abort tower. Although unthinkable in Korolev's time, lunar launch window constraints meant the launch had to be made at precisely 23:18 on 3 June 1969.


1969 June 2 - Tereshkova receives her degree from test pilot engineering school.

Her thesis was 'Braking engines for orbital aircraft'. Kamanin is very proud of her - six years after her flight, the factory worker has become an erudite engineer and a holder of a degree of the highest international class.


1969 June 6 - Gagarin Centre plans

Moscow is occupied with a meeting of the Communist Parties from 75 countries. Kamanin reviews plans for the Gagarin Centre. Within 10 years, scientific institutes, housing, and training facilities will have been erected to support 500 cosmonauts.


1969 June 7 - Borman to visit USSR

Kamanin is advised that US astronaut Borman will arrive in Moscow in July, and he is to put together a program for him. Kamanin notes it has been difficult for the cosmonauts to appear in public - citizens pester them with unanswerable questions about the status of the Soviet moon landing program.


1969 June 9 - Delegates from the international Communist conference tour the Gagarin Centre.

They are shown the Soyuz, L1, and Soyuz docking simulators. Tereshkova speaks on the future in space. The delegates view the living areas of Star City, visit the Gagarin Museum, and are shown the film 'Four in Orbit'.


1969 June 10 - Revised Soviet lunar plans

The VPK Military-Industrial Commission issues a decree on the schedule for the rest of 1969. There are to be five launches of Ye-8-5 lunar soil return robots, on 14 June, 13 and 28 July, 25 August, and 25 September. There are to be two launches of Ye-8 Lunokhod robot rovers on 22 October and 21 November. Further manned L1 flights are cancelled. There are no plans made for the L3 since the N1 is not ready.


1969 June 13 - Leonov in trouble

Leonov interviewed by Japanese reporters. He tells them that both manned and unmanned lunar spacecraft are in preparation and that lunar rocks will be returned by Soviet spacecraft by March 1970.

This causes a sensation in the foreign press. The foreign press are all calling the Central Committee for comment. Kamanin has to beat off all of the resulting attacks on Leonov from the leadership. Meanwhile Shatalov and Yeliseyev are going to go to the Paris Air Show, where they will meet the Apollo 9 astronauts.


1969 June 14 - Ye-8-5 s/n 402

Another attempt to launch a Ye-8-5 to return lunar soil to the earth, 'scooping', the Americans' impending Apollo 11 mission. Yet another UR-500K launch failure. This time the UR-500K booster functioned perfectly, but the Block D upper stage did not fire, and the payload did not even attain earth orbit. Every UR-500K launch is costing the Soviet state 100 million roubles. This failure pretty much ended the chances for the Russians to trump the American moon landing. Tass yesterday began running stories to prepare the masses for the upcoming Apollo 11 triumph. The party line is that the Soviet Union is not about to risks the lives of its cosmonauts on flights to the moon, when automated probes can safely retrieve soil from the moon for study on earth.

Kamanin notes that there have been 7 failures in 13 flights, 1 in the first seven, followed by six consecutive failures. There is, disturbingly, no pattern. Two failures have been in Mishin's Block D upper stage; 2 failures have been with Stage 1 engines, built by Glushko at the Perm factory; 3 failures have been in the second and third stage engines, built by Konopatov at the Voronezh factory. This can only point to widespread poor quality control in the factories. There is no discipline at these factories, and few qualified workers. The investigative commissions can cite specific reasons for each failure all they want, but as far as Kamanin is concerned, the underlying cause is the lack of a culture of quality in Soviet industry.


1969 June 17 - Four-hour tour of the Gagarin Centre by the Bulgarian party boss and other high officials.


1969 June 18 - Mishin and Kamanin select candidates for the lunar landing mission.

They are Leonov, Bykovsky, Voronov, Khrunov, Yeliseyev, Makarov, Rukavishnikov, and Patsayev. Mishin expects a landing by the end of 1970; Kamanin thinks this is impossible. Afanasyev and Mishin propose modernisation of the N1, but this will take three to four years, by which time the booster will be essentially obsolete. The second launch of the N1 is set for 3 July. It would be a welcome miracle if it flew, but it still would not be enough to erase the American lead in the moon race.


1969 June 19 - Plans are made for Borman's visit to the USSR on 1 to 10 July.

He is to visit cosmonauts and journalists, and visit Leningrad, Moscow, and the Crimea. The only space-related facilities he is to be shown will be the living quarters at Star City and the tracking station at Yevpatoriya.


1969 June 20 - Kamanin meets with Chief of Ministry of Defence General Staff Zakharov.

Zakharov is violently opposed to the Ministry of Defence spending a single kopeck on the exploration of space. It all must be paid for by the Academy of Sciences or be consigned to the waste bin.


1969 July 1 - Borman arrival in Russia delayed

Borman was to arrive with his wife and two sons (ages 15 and 17). There is lots of high-level interest in the visit and meetings. They are unsure -- is Borman just a visiting astronaut or an official representative of the American aggressors? Borman's plane makes an emergency landing in Canada when an engine fails en route. His late arrival wrecks Kamanin's carefully-laid out schedule for his trip. Kamanin notes that in June 1968 the VVS suffered four times the accident rate as a year earlier. Two An-12's, one An-12 and an Il-14, and two Tu-22's were lost in three midair collisions, costing 131 lives.


1969 July 2 - Borman arrives in USSR

Borman arrives from Canada at 04:40 after further delay. His wife is worried that the weather in Novosibirsk might be called (it's 32 deg C there!). By 11:00 they are already packed onto a Tu-124 bound for Leningrad together with Feoktistov, Titov and his wife, Shatalov, and 30 foreign correspondents. There are hardly any Soviet correspondents - the government has ordered them not to cover the visit.


1969 July 3 - Grechko has agreed to the selection of 30 new cosmonauts

Titov test flew a MiG-21. Borman visit is continuing according to plan.


1969 July 5 - Borman tours the officer's quarters at the Gagarin Centre.

On the key day of his visit to Russia, Tereshkova shows Mrs Borman around, while Shatalov accompanies Mr Borman. Borman shows the cosmonauts a film on his Apollo 8 mission and answers questions. Then the Soviets show him exce3rpts from the films 'Road to Space' (on the Gagarin mission) and 'Four in Space' (on the Soyuz 4/5 mission). Beregovoi gives the Bormans a model of the Vostok, Popovich a photo album, and Titov guides them through the museum. In the evening twenty attend a dinner where toasts are exchanged in the Russian manner. Borman and Volynov exchange wristwatches. Borman presented Titov with the watch he received from President Johnson after the Gemini 7 mission - it is to be put in the museum. Eight hours are spent in total at Star City. Kamanin finds Borman to be disciplined and precise. He is at the same time a skilled orator, diplomat, and born politician.


1969 August 20 - Kamanin returns to work 'after a forty-day vacation'.

There are no published diary entries for the key period of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon or the Luna 15 attempted landing on the moon.


1969 August 21 - Final crew selections are made for the Soyuz 6, 7, 8 flights.

Sevastyanov and Nikolayev did poorly on the final test for the 7/6 crew. Therefore Shatalov and Yeliseyev have been selected. Khrunov has been in an auto accident, and Kuklin didn't pass his centrifuge tests - so they're out as well.


1969 August 26 - Soyuz 6-7-8 are slated to fly in the first half of October.

Tests of the spacecraft at Baikonur showed 40 to 60 defects, requiring replacement of 17 to 25 equipment items. This demonstrates the poor quality of final assembly and test at TsKBEM and inadequate measures to protect the spacecraft during storage and transport to the launch site. Soyuz 6 is to launch on 4-6 October, followed by another spacecraft each day thereafter. Nixon has invited two cosmonauts to visit the USA in November -- this is seen by Kamanin as the work of Borman to reciprocate for his visit to the USSR in February.


1969 August 28 - Titov flew the MiG-21 again today.

He is flying 30 hours per month now. Kamanin finds him a fine fellow with a great zest for life.


1969 August 30 - Beregovoi vs Kuznetsov

Beregovoi has been the first deputy of NII TsPK for four months, but in fact has only worked ten days in that time. General Kuznetsov won't let him get involved in detail work. Tereshkova went on a propaganda trip to Afghanistan yesterday.


1969 September 1 - Kamanin lists the reasons the Soviets have lost the moon race.

The Americans were able to pull equal in the race during their Gemini programme, then ahead with Apollo. The Soviet Union is now four to five years behind. Kamanin's accounting:

  • No qualified Soviet government leadership in space research (Ustinov and Smirnov are a parody of proper management). They operate without rhyme or reason or plan. There is no single direction, no disciplined execution when a decision is finally made
  • Korolev, Keldysh, Mishin, and Feoktistov are all dedicated to automated spacecraft - 'over-automation'
  • Korolev and MIshin's rejection of Glushko's engines, and the leadership's rejection of the UR-700 as an alternative
  • Ustinov and Smirnov's cancellation of the 18 day Voskhod 3 mission, even though the crews had been trained, and the associated pressure on development of Soyuz. This resulted in Soyuz being flown before it was mature, resulting in the death of Komarov and an 18 month delay in manned flights
  • Death of Korolev and Gagarin both badly affected morale
  • Making Mishin head of TsKBEM was a huge mistake. Mishin cannot cope with the huge number of space and missile projects assigned to his bureau

1969 September 3 - L3 Trainer and Female Cosmonauts

Meeting of Kamanin with S G Donevskiy. The L3 trainer will not be finished until May 1970 - and the current schedule for the first manned L3 launch is December 1970! But in any case Kamanin assesses the latter date as unrealistic -- there is no rocket or spacecraft in being yet. Later in the day Efimov, Moroz, and Kamanin meet with the female cosmonauts - Ponomaryova, Solovyova, Yerkina, and Kuznetsova. They advise them that despite the letter to the Central Committee asking for an all-female Soyuz flight, it has been rejected. Ustinov, Smirnov, and Pashkov are all opposed to the idea, as are MOM, MAP, AN, and VVS. Kamanin believes the whole female cosmonaut concept was a mistake. Flying Tereshkova in the first place started the whole thing, but now there is no follow-up.


1969 September 5 - State Commission meets on the Luna 15 failure investigation

It is felt the problems are understood and go-ahead is given for the next lunar soil return robot launch attempt on 23 September. Kamanin considers this very unlikely to be successful -- all of the plans for automated spacecraft and their booster rockets have not been realised to date.


1969 September 8 - Kuznetsov is in the hospital for 45 days after a heart attack.

Beregovoi is in charge of NII TsPK.


1969 September 12 - Shatalov and Yeliseyev are progressing well for their Soyuz 8 flight.

Kamanin advises Nikolayev his chances of being named to fly Soyuz 8 are very low. Tereshkova arrives at Kamanin's office in the evening. She is infuriated that her husband is not to be allowed to fly the mission. She says she will take the matter to Ustinov and Polanskiy. Kamanin tells her that would be a mistake.


1969 September 18 - Approval is given for proceeding with the Soyuz 6-7-8 flights

However the board makes a big fuss over Kamanin having trained only four back-up cosmonauts to support eight prime-crew cosmonauts. A follow-up meeting is held with Smirnov and Afanasyev at 19:15, where Kamanin's training is denounced as a big failure. Nevertheless at 22:00 the word comes from the Kremlin to proceed with the missions. Kamanin points out that simultaneously with this mission he had cosmonauts in training for Soyuz s/n 17, 18, 19, 20 (Kontakt missions) and L1 circumlunar fights. Kuznetsov, Beregovoi, and several other cosmonauts are also enraged with Kamanin for bumping Nikolyaev from the Soyuz 8 crew. Kamanin maintains that in the circumstances he only had enough training resources for 8 prime + 4 back-up crew, especially for a mission scenario that would not be flown again in the future.


1969 September 20 - The success of Zond 7 has emboldened Mishin and Tyulin.

They want to fly Zond 8 unpiloted in December 1969, to be followed by a two-man L1 lunar flyby in April 1970. This would look bad compared to the Apollo moon landings, but there was no other manned space mission they could offer the leadership in 1970. Of the 15 L1 spacecraft built, only three remain.


1969 September 22 - Kamanin arrives at Tyuratam at 15:00 aboard an An-124

A second arrives 50 minutes later. They bring the 49-strong VVS contingent for the Soyuz 6-7-8 state commission. The other members of the commission arrive aboard an Il-18. 2 to 3 weeks earlier an epidemic of dysentery swept the cosmodrome. This was a danger to the space flight crews -- no one showing signs of carrying the disease were allowed near them. They were isolated in special areas and only cleared trainers were allowed access to them during the outbreak. In the evening the American film 'Good Arrangement' is shown, the story of a husband in the role of a nanny for three children.


1969 September 23 - Two Volga buses transport the cosmonauts and VVS specialists to Area 31.

To ensure the buses do not exceed 60 km/hour checkpoints are manned along the roads. The readiness review is conducted form 10:00 to 13:00. The crews, and spacecraft are ready. Mishin is away 'sick' again. General Pushkin and Beregovoi are at Area 81 to view the Ye-8-5 launch. Kamanin likes Chelomei's UR-500K rocket. He blames its series of failures on its engines and Block D upper stage, not on the fundamental booster design. If it had been more successful, the Russians would have beaten the Americans in a lunar flyby. The launch proceeds as planned at 15:00, but the Block D fails to restart in parking orbit, and is given the cover name 'Cosmos 300'.


1969 September 24 - Ye-8-5 failure analysis

The cause of the Ye-8-5 failure is found to be a valve that was stuck open after the first stage burn, resulting in the oxidiser boiling away in the vacuum of space. Tyulin inquires about the possibility of commanding the Ye-8-5 to conduct a series of manoeuvres and testing re-entry of the soil return capsule in the earth's atmosphere. An interesting concept, but the engineers have not planned for such an eventuality.

NII-2 MO, represented by Lt General Korolev and Chief Designer Savin present plans for their Svinets experiment. It will observe ICBM rocket plumes from space in order to aid design of anti-ballistic missile systems. They had asked Smirnov to conduct a solid propellant rocket launch in order to test the device properly, but he could only schedule a liquid propellant rocket launch. Kamanin had wanted this experiment to be conducted aboard Voskhod 3, but Smirnov has cancelled that mission as well - delaying Soviet ABM development, in Kamanin's view.


1969 September 24 - Soyuz 6-7-8 readiness review is made by Ustinov, Kerimov (for Afanasyev), Mishin, and Karas

The members do not believe the three spacecraft and crews are ready for flight. They rate the availability of the actual spacecraft for training before the flight at 20 to 30%, while the trainers are being used at 200% of their rated capacity. The result is the cosmonauts can only train on the technical systems of the actual spacecraft after they have been delivered to the cosmodrome. The situation is even worse with the experimental equipment for the flights, which in some cases they do not see until they are at the cosmodrome. Unwilling to commit themselves, the commission bumps the decision whether to proceed up to the Politburo. Ustinov and Smirnov badly guide the whole space program, in Kamanin's view. The Politburo won't meet until 29 September -- he hopes the Russian bureaucracy can complete all the steps to approve the flights before the scheduled launch day!


1969 September 25 - The Central Committee debates plans for the upcoming visit of two cosmonauts tot he USA.

They rule out 22 October as a start date, in order not to have the embarrassment of them being there during the Apollo 12 mission. They reject Belyayev and Shatalov as candidates for the trip; they want Beregovoi and Belyayev or Beregovoi and Feoktistov. Kamanin opposes Feoktistov, and doesn't' want Beregovoi diverted from his work as cosmonaut deputy-commander, where he feels he is doing well. He has started lots of good new initiatives. Meanwhile Nikolayev continues to make trouble for Kamanin in regard to being bumped from the Soyuz 8 crew.


1969 September 27 - Fuelling begins of Soyuz 6.

V A Smirnov and other specialists again go over the near-disaster with Soyuz 5. The true cause of the failure of the re-entry capsule to separate has never been established, but the separation systems have been fully reworked (latches, pyrotechnics, etc) and fundamentally improved. The improved system was used on Zond 7, but no flights have yet been flown with the new system on a Soyuz.

A deadly spider is found at the sport hall. Many cosmonauts saw it for the first time, and it led to a discussion of the dangers of Central Asia. - poisonous spiders and scorpions. Kamanin also makes a pilgrimage to Area 2, visiting the Korolev cottage and Gagarin museum.


1969 September 28 - Soyuz 6-7-8 flight preparations

It is Sunday, but the cosmonauts are at work, training on the scientific equipment for the flight and preparing for the autonomous navigation experiment. Nikolayev is preparing the work plan for the launch of the first spacecraft. The cosmonauts have been working ten hours per day for weeks now without interruption. The use of a new anti-radiation vitamin preparation the cosmonauts will take during the flights is discussed.


1969 September 29 - Soyuz 7 manual rendezvous proposed

Meeting with the crew commanders for the upcoming flights. The ship's logs/flight plans are reviewed. The draft flight plans provided by Anokhin at TsKBEM had many errors that had to be corrected. Shatalov proposes a method of making a more fuel-efficient docking on the flight - uncoupling the automatic system and accomplishing not just the final docking manoeuvres but the terminal rendezvous manoeuvres manually. The flight specialists agree to review the proposal.


1969 September 30 - Politburo approves Soyuz 6/7/8 flight.

Ustinov, Smirnov, Afanasyev, Mishin, and Kutakhov appear before the Politburo and affirm the readiness of the spacecraft, boosters, and crews of Soyuz 6/7/8 for flight. Approval is given to proceed.


1969 October 1 - Problems with Beregovoi.

Kamanin notes that Beregovoi is not doing well as chief of the cosmonaut centre. But he still feels no other cosmonaut has any better leadership qualities.


1969 October 2 - Soyuz 6/7/8 State Commission

The State Commission convenes at Tyuratam and affirms everything is ready for the Soyuz 6/7/8 flight.


1969 October 3 - Mishin arrives at Tyuratam.

Kamanin notes he now always shows up only after the State Commission has met.


1969 October 5 - Sunday at the cosmodrome

It is agreed that future pre-flight reviews of spacecraft operations should not just be limited to standard procedures, but should cover back-up and emergency procedures as well, even though this will take 2 to 3 days longer to prepare. It is Sunday at the cosmodrome. Kamanin gives a speech on the Gagarin launch in 1961. There are chess, tennis, billiards, and ping-pong tournaments.


1969 October 6 - Soyuz 6/7/8 experiment review

Meeting between the Soyuz 6/7/8 crews and engineers. Shatalov pushes his idea for a manually flown spacecraft rendezvous, provided that Soyuz 7 and 8 visually acquire each other immediately after Soyuz 8 is put into orbit. He believes this would not only save time and fuel, but also provide the chance to develop procedures for interception of non-cooperative enemy satellites. Mishin rejects the idea, seeing a doubling of risk of an unsuccessful flight. The fact is, the Soyuz is only equipped for automatic docking. There are no on-board indicators of range and range-rate to target - necessary inputs for any manual docking. The view through the periscope is the only forward-looking view available to the crew, and it is inadequate for manual docking.

The main experiments for the flight are reviewed. The technical experiments include: A-1, observation and photography of the process of rendezvous, docking, crew transfer, and undocking of Soyuz 7 and 8 from Soyuz 6; A-6, development of systems for orientation and translation of the spacecraft; A-15, development of methods for autonomous navigation. Scientific experiments include: B-1, observation and photography of clouds and cyclones; B-5, photography of geological and geographic surface features; B-10, welding methods in vacuum and weightlessness; B-13, observation of space glow phenomena (Gegenschein, zodiacal light, etc); B-19, micrometeoroid erosion of windows; B-19, arterial pressure before and after exercise. Military experiments include: V-15, observations of earth's surface under both light and dark conditions; V-19, receiving of middle-range radio waves through the ionosphere; V-20, measurement of energetic medium-energy rays tunnelling through the engine section; V-22, research into the possibility of targeted and aimed photography. There will also be television sessions and observation of ballistic missile launches using the Svinets device.


1969 October 8 - Soyuz 6/7/8 State Commission

Kamanin takes General Efimov to see the roll-out of the Soyuz 6 booster. Mishin calls during the tour to ask that Volkov be switched with TsKBEM engineer Grechko on the Soyuz 7 crew. Kamanin refuses at this late date, noting in disgust Mishin is always pushing his staff for flight regardless of how it might affect the mission. Efimov is then taken to see the N1 MIK assembly building, the largest building in Europe. They view the construction of the 104-m-long booster's three stages. Next they go out to the pad, surveying the facility from 120 m up in one of the gantries. Kamanin muses that unless the N1 can be made reliable, the Russians will be 7 to 8 years behind the Americans in planetary and lunar exploration. Later the State Commission meets and fixes the launch schedule for the upcoming flights. Mishin does not raise the issue of Grechko flying to the commission. Shatalov is named commander of the entire three-spacecraft group flight.


1969 October 9 - Final preparations

The ship's logs/flight plans are reviewed one more time. Tyuratam commander General Kurushin runs through the Svinets ABM experiment again with Shonin and Kubasov - they're ready. The Communist Party has selected Beregovoi and Feoktistov for the trip to the United States in November, ignoring Kamanin's recommendation of Belyayev and Shatalov. Kamanin is not so much against Beregovoi, but he firmly believes that Feoktistov is not worthy of the privilege - he's a degenerate, now on this third marriage..


1969 October 10 - Cosmonaut awards discussed.

Bad weather at the cosmodrome - rain and 12-15 m/s wind. The traditional meeting of the cosmonauts and their support teams takes place at 15:00 at Area 31. Afterwards Kamanin meets with VVS General I M Moroz and Efimov. The future policy is that a cosmonaut will receive the Hero of the Soviet Union award and a military promotion only on their first flight into space. On later flights they will receive a lesser decoration and a cash award. Exceptions would be made for exceptional missions. Mozzhorin disagrees, preferring to keep things as they are.


1969 October 11 - Soyuz 6

Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Carried Vulkan welding furnace for vacuum welding experiments in depressurized orbital module. Was to have taken spectacular motion pictures of Soyuz 7 - Soyuz 8 docking but failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to new helium pressurization integrity test prior to mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings.

Kamanin awakes the crew of Soyuz 6 at 07:30. It had rained all night and into the morning, but then let up a bit. At 11:00 the State Commission convened at Area 31 and gave the final approval for launch. Fuelling of the launch vehicle was scheduled to start at 16:00. At 12:30 the bus arrives with the cosmonauts, and they begin a 90-minute medical examination. Kamanin looks on jealously, wishing he could be going in their place. It takes a half hour to get to the launch pad. Shonin declares his crew's readiness to the State Commission gathered at the base of the launch vehicle. Then the crew boards the spacecraft. The launch into orbit proceeds uneventfully, but after separation of the spacecraft from the third stage, the spacecraft's DPO orientation and docking engine system fails to respond to commands. If it cannot be fixed, the crew will be unable to manoeuvre in orbit, wrecking the planned filming of Soyuz 7 and 8. An override command is sent from the ground on the third orbit, after which Shonin locks the pyrotechnic valves of the system open. This fixes the problem and the mission proceeds.


1969 October 12 - Soyuz 7

Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Was to have docked with Soyuz 8 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings.

Rain all night at the cosmodrome, but clearing at dawn. Kamanin's bosses Mozzhorin and Efimov tag along for the day. They wake the Soyuz 7 crew at 07:30. The State Commission meets at Area 2 at 10:30, finds that all is ready, and sets launch for 13:44:42. Launch proceeds normally and the crew transmits television from the spacecraft on their first orbit. At 16:18 Shonin and Kubasov aboard Soyuz 6 conduct the first Svinets experiment, tracking the launch of a ballistic missile. There is no firm verbal report on how it went, but telemetry confirmed the operation of the device, so it must have been successful. The Air Force officers meet with Mishin. Kamanin is still worried that the modified capsule separation mechanism has not been proven in space since the Soyuz 5 failure. Mishin assures them that all is in control. In the afternoon the officers go duck hunting, bagging 3 ducks and 1 goose.


1969 October 13 - Soyuz 8

Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Was to have docked with Soyuz 7 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Recovered October 18, 1969 10:19 GMT.

As the day begins, Soyuz 6 and 7 are out of range of tracking stations and there is little activity at the cosmodrome. Kamanin awakes the Soyuz 8 crew at 07:30. The state commission meets at Area 31 at 10:30. At 13:05 the crew meets the commission again at the base of the rocket and declare themselves ready for flight. The crew takes the lift to the rocket. 15 minutes later they report a problem - one of three spokes of the wheel used to close the airlock has a crack in it. There is the possibility of decompression if they could not get the hatch closed in space, but Mishin decides to launch anyway. Launch proceeds normally, and the spacecraft begin their rendezvous manoeuvres.

With all the crews in orbit, the military and engineering teams prepare to fly from Tyuratam to the tracking station at Yevpatoriya. All is normal aboard all three spacecraft. The Svinets experiment has been fully completed. The teams board an Il-18 for the five-hour flight to Yevpatoriya. Mozzhorin and Efimov return to Moscow with Afanasyev, Mishin, and 70 other specialists.


1969 October 14 - Soyuz 7-8 docking problem

Orbital manoeuvres for the Soyuz 7-8 docking have proceeded normally. The automated rendezvous system is supposed to kick in when the spacecraft are 250 km apart. The plan is that Soyuz 7 and 8 will dock while Soyuz 6 observes from only 50 m away. However when Soyuz 7 and 8 are only a kilometre apart, the Igla automated docking system fails. The crews could conduct a manual rendezvous, but the this is not allowed by the technical flight controller.

After analysis Mishin agrees to the manual docking, but by this time the spacecraft are 3000 m apart. Mission rules are that no manual docking be attempted unless the spacecraft are within 1500 m. Shatalov courageously refuses to violate an instruction to execute an unsafe procedure not allowed by the rules. By this time the spacecraft's orbits take them out of the range of tracking stations - the so-called 'deaf' orbits. But the spacecraft have plenty of propellant left for further attempts at rendezvous and docking. The weather in the recovery area is bad (stormy, 25-30 m/s wind).


1969 October 15 - Second attempt to dock Soyuz 7 & 8 - rendezvous of Soyuz 6 with Soyuz 8

Following an orbital correction during the night, Soyuz 7 and 8 are expected to be less than 1 km from each other when communications are regained at 9 am. Instead they are 40 km apart. It will require two more orbits over Soviet territory to refine the tracking of the spacecraft and recalculate the necessary rendezvous manoeuvres. By 12:40 they are 1700 m apart and the crews begin the manual rendezvous manoeuvre. Shatalov fires his engines four times, but in the absence of any indication to the pilot of range to the target, he could not get into a position for a safe docking. He withdraws to a safe distance.

The flight engineers aboard he spacecraft could actually see each other at the closest approach, but did not have any trustworthy data available to them to guide them in the manoeuvring process. The cosmonauts' heart rates went up to 100 beats per second during the docking attempt, indicating extreme nervous stress. Everyone at the command post could understand the danger of the situation, but none could assist the crew with real-time positional data. This points, in Kamanin's opinion, to the poor design approach of the Soyuz. When the Igla system fails, there is to back-up system or method to allow the spacecraft to complete rendezvous and docking. The leadership in Moscow is contacted. It is decided that in the absence of a functioning Igla system, no further docking attempts will be made. The primary objective now is the safe recovery of all three crews.

In the evening Shonin and Kubasov guide their Soyuz 6 to within 800 m of Soyuz 7. The landing commission meets and directs Soyuz 6 to land the next day on its 81st orbit. The schedule is: retrofire with a delta-v of 105 m/s to begin at 12:12:39. Main parachute deployment 12:40, normal landing at 50 deg 36' N, 72 deg E; emergency ballistic landing at 47 deg 52' N, 62 deg 40' E. Station IP-3 is to send the command to commence Program 5, orient for retrofire, at 12:02:39. IP-15 to send command for start of Program 6, retrofire, at 12:12:39 If a failure occurs, second attempts at landing in the primary recovery zone can be made on orbit 82 or 83. A final opportunity for a landing in the Western contingency zone would come on orbit 84.


1969 October 16 - Landing of Soyuz 6 - further attempts to dock Soyuz 7 and 8

Soyuz 6 lands successfully at 09:52 GM, coming to rest in a vertical position. A recovery helicopter lands 10 minutes later, finding the cosmonauts have already emerged from the capsule. After the landing of Soyuz 6 there are two further attempts to dock Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8, but they fail due to large errors in the ballistic calculations of the manoeuvres necessary to correct their orbits.


1969 October 17 - Landing of Soyuz 7

The landing commission meets at the command post at 08:00. Soyuz 7 is to land on orbit 97, beginning a 95 m/s retrofire impulse at 11:44:11. The main parachute is to deploy at 12:12:34. All is reported normal aboard the spacecraft, except that the Soyuz 7 warning light panel shows 'ASP' - automatic landing sequence. Despite this, Soyuz 7 landed successfully at 09:26 GMT.

There can be only two reasons for this light to illuminate. Either it comes on after separation of the modules prior to retrofire, or after pushing two distinctive buttons on the panel. But there has been no separation command, and the crew has not engaged the autoland program aboard the spacecraft. It is probably an electrical glitch, but there is a serious danger of proceeding with the autoland sequence if there is a short in the spacecraft somewhere. Kamanin tells Filipchenko not to get excited and await instructions from the ground. In Moscow and Yevpatoriya experts analyse the situation, pouring over electrical logic diagrams. After long debate they unanimously declare that the erroneous signal does not endanger the landing.

The autoland sequence cannot proceed without module separation occurring first. The cosmonauts are calmed, but still warned that the light may an indication of some larger fault. However in the event the landing proceeds normally. At 19:30 that evening the first practical demonstration of communications with Soyuz 8 via the Molniya transponder satellite is made. Kamanin hopes use of this capability in the future will end the 6 to 7 'deaf' orbits per day of Soviet spaceflights. At 21:30 Filipchenko's Soyuz 7 crew arrives at the cosmodrome.


1969 October 18 - Landing of Soyuz 8

Kamanin's 61st birthday begins with a communications session with Soyuz 8. Yells come from the spacecraft. What's wrong? the ground nervously inquires. They reply they are only celebrating the successful closing of the hatch, and the glowing 'SA hermetic' indication on the panel. This ends fears they had all during the flight of not being able to get the hatch closed with the broken wheel spoke. The 145 second long retrofire begins at 11:29. It looks OK on the telemetry, but Shatalov reports on UHF that the indication aboard the spacecraft was that there was a 4 second underburn. Nevertheless the landing proceeds normally, and there is a loud 'Ura!' at the command point once word of a safe crew recovery is received - the mission is completed. Soyuz 8 landed at 09:10 GMT. At 16:40 the teams head back toward Moscow aboard an Il-18. Kamanin discusses the necessity to complete an extra 8 to 10 Soyuz spacecraft. He is supported by Afanasyev and Kerimov, but Mishin and Karas are opposed now. Kamanin thinks it is insane how Soviet space progress is blocked by these kinds of politics.


1969 October 19 - Post mortem on the Soyuz 6-7-8 mission

State commission meets to do a post mortem on the Soyuz 6-7-8 mission. Kamanin gives a 15-minute briefing on the readiness of the crews for flight. He pointed to the need for more information and training on manual flight and navigation of the spacecraft, and more active use of the pilots throughout the mission. Then the commission acts out a few scenes of their meting for the press, television, and a documentary filmmaker. The Soyuz crews are undergoing medical exams at Area 17 at Baikonur.


1969 October 20 - Weight loss of Soyuz 6-7-8 crew

The medical reports show all the cosmonauts lost 1.5 to 3.5 kg during the flight (with Filipchenko having the greatest loss). However Kamanin plays tennis with Gorbatko, Shonin, and Volkov just two days after the flight. They show no apparent ill effects of zero-G.


1969 October 21 - Cosmonaut press conference at Baikonur

The cosmonauts hold a press conference on their flight. They are only allowed to speak one of ten prepared responses to questions, despite Kamanin's objections.


1969 October 22 - Cosmonauts arrive in Moscow

The cosmonauts fly from Baikonur to Moscow, escorted by six MiG-21 fighters to Vnukovo airfield, where they receive honours all around, followed by meetings with reporters. Brezhnev was no there - he was on his way to Baikonur to observe the Tyulpan ICBM exercise.


1969 October 23 - Cosmonauts feted at TsKBEM

Traditional meeting between the cosmonauts and the engineers and workers at TsKBEM. They are quizzed on the flight failures, followed by dinner and toasts. Kamanin tells Afanasyev that instead of messing about with the N1-L3, they should build 8 to 10 more Soyuz and fly, fly, fly -- it is the only way to develop reliable systems. The Ministry of Defence needs a long-range plan of sustained flights of 5 to 6 spacecraft per year. All 300 present applaud the speech, except Mishin, who is against a new series of Soyuz spacecraft.


1969 October 27 - Cosmonauts tours.

Kamanin assigns cosmonauts to upcoming foreign propaganda tours. Beregovoi and Feoktistov are to go to the United States, Tereshkova to Hungary, Popovich to France, Khrunov to Odessa. Titov will not be given this privilege because of his numerous automobile accidents, run-ins with the militia, and motorcycle habit.


1969 October 29 - Titov wants out of the cosmonaut corps

Titov wants out of the cosmonaut corps after hearing of his being banned from foreign travel. He is suffering a heavy penalty for his indiscretions. He has been banned from driving an automobile or flying an aircraft for two years, and lost his honoraria.


1969 October 31 - Cosmonaut centre starved of equipment.

Kamanin reviews the scandalous state of equipment deliveries to the cosmonaut centre. Only 10% of the equipment required by party decrees has been delivered, due to lack of support for manned spaceflight by the VVS.


1969 November 3 - Press conference preparations

A meeting is held with Mishin and Keldysh to prepare the cosmonauts and other participants for an upcoming press conference. Kamanin notes a huge amount of time is spent in such preparations.


1969 November 5 - Press conference - lunar project raised.

Major press conference. Keldysh dodges questions from American reporters on the Soviet lunar landing program. The cosmonauts perform all right, no mistakes. Kamanin views Keldysh as a braking force on the space programme. He attributes the loss of the moon race to bad managers like Keldysh and Mishin.


1969 November 6 - Cosmonaut photo sessions.

The day is spent in photo sessions with the cosmonauts in various ministries.


1969 November 10 - Cosmonauts in demand.

Certain generals want the cosmonauts to appear at a meeting. Kamanin is forced to pull them out of follow-up physical examinations for the task.


1969 December 15 - TsUKOS to be created.

Five years after he first recommended such a move, Kamanin finally sees a major reorganisation of military space with the creation of TsUKOS.


1969 December 29 - Kamanin's job at risk.

Over the last two months Kamanin has had to fight internal moves to sideline him and turn him into a 'consultant' to the cosmonaut centre. He finally kept his post only by writing a letter directly to Andrei Grechko.


1969 December 30 - Soyuz 9 planned - Belyayev seriously ill.

The leadership suddenly announces that a solo Soyuz mission of 17 to 20 days is to be flown for Lenin's 100th birthday (April 22). This will seize the space endurance record from the Americans and provide biomedical information for the DOS station, to be flown by the end of the year. Nikolayev and Sevastyanov are being pushed for the job. Kamanin objects, he would prefer Kolodin or Grechko, but Mishin won't hear of it. During December Kamanin, the Shatalov Soyuz 7 crew, Sevastyanov, and their wives vacation at Sochi on the Black Sea. Meanwhile Belyayev becomes serious ill. Surgeons operate to remove 2/3 of his stomach, part of his long intestine, and his appendix.


1969 December 31 - 1969 in retrospect.

Tereshkova is on a tour of Jordan and Syria. Kamanin muses over the year 1969. He is able to rationalise that it wasn't a bad year -- they flew 9 cosmonauts on five space missions. But of course they lost the moon to the Americans. He blames Mishin, Keldysh, Smirnov, and Ustinov for this. But he also blames the attitude of the Ministry of Defence and VVS. This is indicated by the total indifference to civilian space projects of Grechko and Kutakhov. They don't support the Gagarin Centre, or Kamanin's request for 10 additional Soyuz flights in earth orbit. Kamanin views the L3 spacecraft and mission scenario as unsafe. What is needed is a new spacecraft, launched by two N1 boosters, that will take a crew of 3 to 5 to the moon.


1970 January 10 - Cosmonaut Pavel Ivanovich Belyayev dies in hospital at age of 44 -- complications from surgery for stomach ulcers.

After getting progressively worse after his surgery, Belyayev dies in the hospital. Meanwhile initial planning is underway for the Soyuz 9 mission.


1970 January 11 - Funeral arrangements for Belyayev

Kamanin is making state funeral arrangements for Belyayev. The question is -- shall he be given the same send-off as Gagarin and Komarov, or less? Word comes down from the Kremlin - less. He is to be buried not in the Kremlin wall at Red Square, but in Novodevich Cemetary.


1970 January 19 - Soviet leadership interest in manned spaceflight has collapsed.

Kamanin notes that interest of the leadership in manned spaceflight has collapsed with the end of the moon race. Brezhnev has declared that his primary interest is in earth orbital space stations. Both Mishin and Chelomei have stations in development, but the work is progressing slowly. There will be no launch of either of their projects until 1972 - which means the Soviets will be beaten by the US Skylab. Kamanin believes the Americans can never be beaten in space unless all space projects are guided firmly by a single Ministry of Defence and Civilian Space office. Meanwhile the Hong Kong flu epidemic is hitting many at the cosmodrome - Moroz, Popovich, and Bykovsky are all seriously ill.


1970 January 29 - Kamanin is subject to a government audit of the Gagarin Centre and its future plans.

The audit reveals that the institute should receive an 850,000 rouble budget increase, and construct new training facilities.


1970 February 2 - Soyuz 9 experiment review

Nikolayev visits the IMBP to review the modified ECS required for the long-duration Soyuz 9 mission. This will have to function reliably for 20 days. The biomedical experiments and objectives of the mission are also reviewed.


1970 February 7 - Soyuz 10 and 11 crew selections; Soyuz 9 experiment review

Kamanin meets with nine generals involved in supervising aspects of the space programme. Only one is from the VVS aviation, the rest have artillery or rocket backgrounds. Naturally they have no bad words for the RSVN or TsUKOS. At the centre, crew selection for the Soyuz 10 and Soyuz 11 missions to the DOS space station are underway. A review is conducted of the biomedical and zero-G studies planned for Soyuz 9. This is followed by a meeting with General Komarov and the cosmonauts on plans for the new cosmonaut training building and a nine-story apartment building.


1970 February 8 - Leonov wants to send letter to Brezhnev

Work continues at the Gagarin Centre even on Sundays. Kamanin studies the reorganization of space units within the Ministry of Defence. Leonov wants to write a letter to Brezhnev, complaining about the management of the space programme. He wants to finger Mishin, Keldysh, Sminrov, Serbin, Ustinov, Krylov, Zakharov, and Grechko by name. Kamanin asks him -- can all the cosmonauts write to the head of state whenever they want? Who will protect them from the inferno of backlash that would result? He doesn't support Leonov's idea.


1970 February 11 - TsUKOS to be GUKOS

Meeting of senior generals. The decision is made to reorganise TsUKOS as GUKOS and place it on an equal footing with the other services.


1970 February 14 - Soyuz 9 issues

Kamanin meets with TsKBEM (Tregub, Anokhin) to review issues for the Soyuz 9 mission. These include post-flight care of the cosmonauts, the fact the centrifuge is not available for training, storage of rations and the possibility of spoilage during the long flight.


1970 February 16 - Cosmonaut book

Riabchakov is at the cosmonaut centre, conducting interviews for his upcoming book Soviet Cosmonauts. Kamanin reviews the film script 'Arkadiy Kamanin' by Bezuglov. The film enterprise needs clearance from the VVS before filming can start.


1970 February 18 - Kamanin opposes DOS

Kamanin recommends the death benefit to be awarded to Belyayev's family. There is to be a one-time payment of 2,000 roubles to his wife; 1,100 roubles to his daughter; 180 roubles/month pension to the wife; 75 roubles/month to the daughter; access to cosmonaut centre sanatoriums; and a seven-room apartment in Moscow.

Kamanin also reviews the government decree on the DOS-7K space station program. The Ministry of Defence is against it - they want to continue with the Almaz and Soyuz VI projects already underway. DOS will bring both of these to a halt. This is a repeat of the situation in 1967. Kozlov was making good progress on the original Soyuz VI, when it was killed by Mishin. Now three years later Mishin's Soyuz VI is put on the back burner. The Soyuz 7K-OK is still the only manned program brought to completion. Kamanin blames all this on Ustinov and Smirnov's stupid political manoeuvring. The DOS decree has not one word on the training of cosmonauts for these space station missions...


1970 February 19 - Tereshkova never to fly again

Kamanin has a run-in with Tereshkova over her automobile benefit. Kamanin finds Tereshkova capricious and touching, but also sometimes downright rude. She is also very energetic .... and powerful (though her leadership of the Committee of Soviet Women). She badgers Kamanin after every cosmonaut meeting, as to when another female flight will be scheduled. Kamanin knows from his fights with the leadership on the issue that this will never happen.


1970 February 20 - Soyuz 9 schedule; Soyuz Kontakt flights in limbo

It was originally planned to fly two Soyuz spacecraft in August-September 1970, but at the end of December it was ordered that this be changed to a single 20 day flight in April 1970. Kamanin was given only two days to put together a training programme that had to prepare the cosmonauts for flight by 20 March. The State Commission meets and decides to move the Soyuz 9 flight to May, even though Kamanin says he can support the April schedule. It is the scientific institutes who say they cannot finish development of their experiments - even to meet the May schedule. Kamanin blames such chaos on Smirnov, Serbin, and Ustinov.


1970 February 21 - Cosmonaut book

Riabchikov conducts further interviews at the Gagarin Centre for his book.


1970 February 25 - Soyuz 9 decision preempts Soyuz Kontakt flights

Meeting with Mishin. It is clear that he wanted to continue with the original plan for a dual Soyuz flight in August. It was Afanasyev and Kerimov who were pushing for a single long-duration flight in May. There is no action by the Ministry of Defence to provide rational decision making in regard to manned spaceflight.


1970 February 26 - Kamanin views DOS, continuation of N1-L3 with dismay

The Ministry of Defence and VVS approve the draft DOS resolution. Kamanin has fought against it. He would prefer to develop a single reliable Soyuz spacecraft model by building and flying ten more (there are only four left of the original production lot in assembly). Instead the space leadership keep dreaming up new projects. In Kamanin's view, the DOS and its new Soyuz ferry design join Almaz, Soyuz VI, and the L3 as 'paper spacecraft'. Mishin still thinks he will 'teach the N1 to fly' and complete the L3, but Kamanin thinks the chances of this are nil. There is no coherent plan for Soviet spaceflight.


1970 February 27 - DOS schedules, Soyuz Kontakt flights still in play

A meeting is held on the DOS project. The Central Committee and Soviet Ministers have directed that two DOS space stations be completed by the end of 1970. TsNIIMASH thinks this is impossible - the task can be accomplished in no less than 18 to 24 months. Mishin insists it can be done in ten months, as directed. Kamanin believes he won't even have it ready by the second half of 1971. It took five to seven years to just bring the Almaz, Soyuz VI, and L1 to flight status. This DOS will stop work on all other projects. Mishin still wants to fly two Soyuz spacecraft to test Bogomolov's Kontakt docking system for the L3.


1970 February 28 - Failure to achieve space objectives in Five-Year Plan

Kamanin is asked to assist in preparation of the next five-year plan for spaceflight (1971-1975). He muses that nothing that was to be accomplished in the last five-year plan was achieved, so what is he supposed to put in the new one? 1966-1971 was supposed to have seen Soviet manned flybys and landings on the moon; a cosmonaut contingent increased to 140 and cadres in training for military missions on the Soyuz VI and Almaz. None of this was achieved, and the cosmonaut corps actually only numbers 97.


1970 March 18 - Shonin on report

Nikolayev and crew go to Sochi. Tereshkova is back from sick leave, and she goes there as well. Kamanin meets with Shonin, the topic: many bad reports he has received of Shonin's behaviour since Soyuz 6. He tells him to watch out, or he'll end up on a five-year flight suspension like Titov.


1970 March 19 - Cosmonaut tours

Leonov is going on a propaganda tour to Japan, and Shatalov to Cuba.


1970 March 24 - Only nine of 16 cosmonaut-finalists cleared by the KGB and Communist Party

Kamanin reports that only nine of 16 cosmonaut-candidates that completed the arduous selection process have been cleared by the KGB and Communist Party for actual acceptance for cosmonaut training. He feels this makes the whole time-consuming selection process a waste of time. The VVS is reluctant to submit officers as cosmonaut candidates, fearing that if they fail the vestibular table tests they will not only be rejected as cosmonauts, but be unable to return to flight duty with the Air Force. The result is a final selection of dullards, who are not intellectual, or literary, or sports enthusiasts, who are poor readers and not really interested in spaceflight or cosmonautics. The final decree has been issued reorganising TsUKOS as GUKOS.


1970 March 26 - Gagarin Monument in Moscow.

The Chernov design has been selected for the Gagarin Monument in Moscow.


1970 April 7 - Spiral spaceplane programme stalled

Kamanin reviews the Spiral manned spaceplane program with Goreglyad, Frolov, and cosmonaut Titov. Work on the KLA orbiter began in 1961-1962. In the following eight years Kamanin has tried to push the leadership many times to accelerate the project, but without result. Still, the work is proceeding, albeit very slowly. Mikoyan has decided the first phase of the project will use rocket launch only - the air-breathing winged first stage will only be introduced later. Afanasyev has finally responded to the project, only to declare that the KLA must be not only for military missions, but serve as a transport shuttle for civilian space missions as well. Dementiev is holding the whole project up because he doesn't want to overburden the aircraft design bureaux and factories. And Kutakhov won't push the program without Dementiev's support.


1970 April 9 - State Commission is held to review issues of the Soyuz 9 flight.

All is ready for a flight in April, but the Communist Party resolution says the flight has to wait for May. The Soyuz ECS is designed to only operate for five days, but will have to operate 3 to 4 times longer for this mission. Various problems are identified and reviewed. Mishin wants to accept a carbon dioxide level in the cabin atmosphere double the percentage considered acceptable earlier. Plans are made for a quick flight of the crew after the long duration mission to Moscow for extensive physical examinations.


1970 April 10 - Documentary film on the Soyuz 6-7-8 missions

Kamanin previews the documentary film 'Launch after Launch' on the Soyuz 6-7-8 missions.


1970 April 13 - Tenth anniversary of the Gagarin Centre.

A big celebration is held at Star City on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Gagarin Centre.


1970 April 18 - Kamanin considers the Apollo 13 mission.

He believes it was a 'true test' of American technical capability in space. The saving of the American astronauts demonstrated the robust redundancy in the American Saturn V - Apollo design, as compared with the Soviet N1-L3. The latter, Kamanin remarks, is a bad launch vehicle, boosting a bad spacecraft. Kamanin sees the Soviet science fiction film Solaris - and finds it too fantastic for his taste.


1970 April 22 - Lenin's 100th birthday - no Soviet space spectacular as expected.

On the occasion of Lenin's 100th birthday, Kamanin notes what a great force in world history and civilisation Lenin represented.


1970 April 23 - Mishin proposes crews for Soyuz 10 and 11.

Two months after first raising the issue, Mishin has proposed crews for the flights to the DOS station, still planned to occur before the end of the year. Mishin is still pushing Feoktistov, who Kamanin believes is not only seriously ill, but immoral, being on his second wife. Kamanin now has 20 spacecraft crews, but they will have to wait six years or more for a trip to space at the current mission rate. Mishin's proposed DOS crews are as follows: 1 - Shatalov, Yeliseyev, Rukavishnikov; 2 - Shonin, Kubasov, Kolodin; 3 - Volynov, Feoktistov, Patsayev; 4 - Khrunov, Volkov, Sevastyanov.


1970 April 25 - Spiral project not raised with General Staff.

Kamanin has been working for seven years on operation and improvement of the TsEZ Central Experimental Facility of he VVS. This includes the Volchok trainer, which simulates launch to orbit; the centrifuge facility; and numerous special test stands. The facility employs 120 engineers and 300 technicians. Later the Spiral project is discussed by the General Staff. It has been two weeks since Kutakhov promised to clarify Minister Dementiev's position on the project, but he never did talk to him. What is Kamanin expected to tell the cosmonauts training for the program? He is also trying to get a flight plan and press kit together in preparation for the Soyuz 9 mission, but there is no Central Committee resolution allowing this work. The KGB and Central Committee want to keep everything secret.


1970 April 27 - Soyuz 9 book.

Kamanin works at his dacha on his proposed book on Soyuz 9 (to be ghost-written by Mikahil Debrov). Debrov will be in Japan in May, while Kamanin must go to Tyuratam for the Soyuz 9 mission. Titov is trying to get his flight ban lifted.


1970 April 29 - Intrigues at Star City.

Leonov is briefed for his trip to Japan. Meanwhile Kamanin has to fight off the intrigues of Kuznetsov against Beregovoi as deputy director of cosmonaut training.


1970 April 30 - Pressure on cosmonauts for more public relations tasks.

Kamanin notes that the 27 April decree has selected only nine new cosmonauts from 300 pilot and 100 engineer candidates. He believes at least 30 should have been selected. Currently there are only 18 active cosmonauts, but Kamanin feels he needs at least 100, just to cover all the public relations appearance demands made on them.


1970 May 5 - Tereshkova promoted to colonel.

Kamanin notes that on 30 April decree number 0635 of the Ministry of Defence promoted Tereshkova to Colonel. She has risen in rank from Lieutenant to Colonel in only eight years, a record result for a woman (it normally takes more than ten years). Many within the VVS opposed the promotion, but Kamanin feels she deserves it and has served her country well on the Committee of Soviet Women. Later Kamanin has a filmed interview as part of a Riabchikov television project. Shatalov's trip to Cuba has proceeded well - he met Castro several times. Kutakhov is in the hospital.


1970 May 6 - Soyuz 10 / 11 crew discussions.

Meeting on DOS crews. Kamanin will agree to Mishin's proposed crews with the following provisions: 1) Feoktistov is eliminated from the list; 2) Military cosmonauts must be on 3 of the 4 crews, with the overall ratio six military to six civilian cosmonauts. The proposed crews: 1 - Shonin, Yeliseyev, Rukavishnikov; 2 - Leonov, Kubasov, Kolodin; 3 - Shatalov Volkov, Patsayev; 4- Dobrovolsky, Sevastyanov, Voronov. Mishin is opposed to Dobrovolsky and Volkov.


1970 May 7 - Tereshkova's political duties.

Tereshkova did well at a meeting of Soviet Women commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Defeat of Fascist Germany. She is to attend similar functions on 8 and 9 May.


1970 May 13 - DOS crew assignments

Mishin and Kamanin sign a decree setting out the DOS crew assignments. The first DOS will not be orbited earlier than May-June 1971, probably even later. Kamanin played tennis with the Soyuz 9 crew.


1970 May 15 - Soviet view on space cooperation conference.

Kamanin meets with Muravev, who attended a Congress for Joint US-USSR Space Cooperation in America. He told of protests in America against Nixon's aggression in Cambodia.


1970 May 16 - A VVS Military Soviet is held for Soyuz 9.

The three crews all passed their examinations, physicals, and have been certified as having completed their training.


1970 May 18 - VPK reviews Soyuz 9 readiness.

Launch is set for 31 May with an 18 day mission duration. Afterwards Serbin asks why the Soviet Union is not conducting more manned spaceflights. Kamanin tells him, because no more spacecraft have been built. And why no spacecraft, Serbin asks. Kamanin replies that GUKOS, the General Staff, and Mishin were all opposed to production of 10 additional Soyuz ships for military flights.


1970 May 19 - Soyuz 9 crew departs for Baikonur.

Kamanin leaves for Tyuratam at 09:00 with 13 others aboard an Il-18 from Chkalov Airfield. The group included the 'space family' - Nikolayev, his wife Tereshkova, and their daughter Aleuka - with extensive photographic and film coverage. After the 10 hour flight, Kamanin goes to the 'Alley of Heroes' at Area 17 of the cosmodrome. Here each crew plants a tree before departing for space. The 11 first trees planted have all grown well, and are now 6 m tall with large crowns. Sevastyanov plants the 22nd tree. After a meeting of the State Commission, everyone watches an Italian movie, 'The Owl Appears at Day' - a story of murder in Sicily, terror against women, and the corruption of the Mafia (apparently a remake of the classic 'M').


1970 May 20 - Soyuz 9 crew preparations at Baikonur

Soyuz 9 is planned to launch at 24:00. A new feature is that the crews' sleeping hours have been modified to put them in synch with the shifts at ground control over the long mission. The cosmonauts spent all day at Area 17, preparing the flight plan and logs. It is 28 degrees in the shade, and Kamanin plays tennis with the crews in the late afternoon. In the evening the American film 'One Million Years BC' is shown. Kamanin found the struggle between the savages interesting.


1970 May 21 - Dysentery in the Tyuratam garrison threatens cosmonauts.

The Soyuz 9 crew trains with the bungee arrangements they'll have to exercise with twice a day while in space. They will have to work constantly in order to fight off the effects of sustained zero-gravity. Dysentery has broken out in the Tyuratam garrison. The cosmonauts are given prophylactic measures so that they won't get the bug. A Zenit spy satellite is launched from Area 2. There is some damage to the pad that will require repair, but nothing substantial. The OK is given for Soyuz 9 to launch from the pad. That evening the movie is West German - 'What does a woman do, when her husband disappears?'. At 23:00 the Soyuz 9 crew views the night sky, spotting constellations and guide stars.


1970 May 22 - Delays in Soyuz 9 preparation.

The diet for the long-duration flight is reviewed. The cosmonauts will have four meals a day, totalling 2800 kcal, with 105 g of protein, 102 g fat, 342 g carbohydrates, and 847 g water. Meanwhile problems have been found with Soyuz 9's electrical system - the launch will have to be delayed. Some points in the electrical harnesses, which should have a 38 V capacity, are measuring greater than 60 V. This will have to be fixed, then the spacecraft put through its vacuum chamber test, then fuelling, and finally integration with the booster. Mishin is still not at the cosmodrome - he is managing the launch from Moscow. The result: neither the spacecraft or the booster are ready for an April launch, perhaps not even by the end of May. Of 20 members of the State Commission, only Kamanin and two others are actually at the launch site. This never would have happened in Korolev's time...


1970 May 24 - Cosmonauts recreate.

Kamanin, the cosmonauts, and other VVS officers spend the day at the lake 7 km from the Tyuratam liquid oxygen plant. An asphalt road leads to the recreation area. They play tennis, chess, and billiards. The artificial lake was made by diverting water from the Syr Darya river.


1970 May 25 - Soyuz 9 crew ready for flight.

They have completed their physical tests and trained with the survival kit. Nikolayev and Sevastyanov were caught smoking just the day before the launch. Kamanin has a serious discussion with them, for this was completely prohibited. Kamanin would replace them with the backup crew, but it is too late for that.


1970 May 26 - Soyuz 9 State Commission.

Fuelling of Soyuz 9 is to begin at 07:00 on 27 May. Launch will be at 24:00 on 2 June.


1970 May 27 - Cosmonauts go fishing.

A meeting is held at 11:00 at Area 2 in memory of Gagarin. Then the cosmonauts go fishing at the 'Lox Lake' with a television and film crew. Kamanin plays billiards with Mishin.


1970 May 28 - Pace quickens at Baikonur.

The big shots (Afanasyev and others) are finally showing up, just in order to see the launch. The crew completes preparation of the flight log. At night they do more stellar navigation training, including use of new electronic binoculars.


1970 May 30 - Soyuz 9 final inspection.

The backup crews were to train in the Soyuz 9 spacecraft from 10:00, followed by the prime crew at 12:00, but Mishin didn't allow the backups to start until 11:00. Inspectors have found 15 discrepancies in the spacecraft, 3 to 4 of them serious (including incorrect mounting of the crew head rests, unusable photographic equipment).


1970 May 31 - Go-ahead for Soyuz 9 launch.

Soyuz 9 State Commission meets at Area 31 at 11:00. That evening the spacecraft will be integrated with the booster, with roll-out to the pad scheduled for the following morning at 05:00. At 17:00 the cosmonauts give a formal interview to the Russian 'Parade' magazine. After that they hold a general press conference.


1970 June 1 - Soyuz 9

Manned flight endurance test. Medico-biological, scientific and technical studies and experiments in prolonged orbital flight. Inconclusive results due to slow sun-oriented rotation of spacecraft to conserve fuel producing motion sickness in cosmonauts.

Weather on launch day is 25 deg C temperatures, 5 m/s winds. Kamanin meets with the crew at 14:00 at Area 31 to go over the secret code words for the mission. When the cosmonauts radio that they are 'good' or 'excellent' that will mean that they are fully able to continue the flight. If they say their condition is 'normal', that will mean that continuation of the flight requires resolution of problems already known to ground control. 'Satisfactory' will mean that the ground needs to quickly resolve the problem or the crew will have to land ahead of schedule. Kamanin also advises them not to take unnecessary risks, he will support them in any decisions they may make in an emergency. At 19:00 the State Commission meets and gives permission for fuelling of the booster to begin, starting the final countdown to a launch at 24:00 local time. At 19:55 the cosmonauts report to the medical zone at Area 31. It takes 45 minutes to get them in their biosensor harnesses. They arrive at the launch pad at 21:45 and declare their readiness to the State Commission to proceed with flight. Three minutes later they are in the capsule. The launch goes perfectly, the radio and television communications quality from the capsule are excellent.


1970 June 2 - Soyuz 9 Day 2

At 09:00 the State Commission members and 36 military officers board an aircraft to return to Moscow. Kamanin, the Soyuz 9 back-up crews, Kuznetsov, Shatalov, and 14 other officers board an Il-18 for the flight to mission control at Yevpatoriya. Conversation aboard the flight is about the weather, football - nothing about space. After four hours the plane arrives at Saki. The first communications session with Soyuz 9 is with Issuriysk at 15:40. In a three-minute conversation the crew confirms that all is normal. At 19:00 the first of the daily landing commission meetings takes place. This commission's role is to assess the flight status and to establish contingency plans for the next day in case an emergency return to earth is required.

In the evening Kamanin calls Tereshkova, and promises to tell Nikolayev that she and Aleuka were fine, worried, to kiss him, and the looked forward to meeting him on his return. On 8 June Aleuka will be six years old, and Tereshkova would like to fly to Yevpatoriya to give her a surprise communications session with her father. At 21:25 Kamanin relays the news from his family to Nikolayev during a pass over Yevpatoriya. Kamanin observes that the tracking station is not suited to serve as mission control over a long spaceflight. There is no transport, and no recreational facilities. The only diversions are gymnastics, chess, and billiards. Furthermore there seem to be a lot of unnecessary staff at the command point.


1970 June 3 - Soyuz 9 Day 3

All is normal aboard Soyuz 9. At 10:00 there is an operational management meeting. There are worries the crew did not engage and disengage the orientation engines at the time scheduled for an engine burn. Kamanin defends the crew -- this was not a mistake, it took the crew 50 minutes to go through the same exercises that took 30 minutes on the ground, and therefore they were delayed in being able to conduct the manoeuvre. There is a television communications session in the evening. The crew looks all right, but Sevastyanov's face is visibly swollen.


1970 June 4 - Soyuz 9 Day 4

There are a total of 500 staff at Yevpatoriya for the mission, including 53 representatives from the VVS, 6 military cosmonauts, and 3 civilian cosmonauts. Mishin returns to Moscow, leaving Tregub in his place. In the afternoon there is a problem with the control of the spacecraft's solar cells. On the 47th orbit Sevastyanov reports that one solar panel is energised, but only generating 26 amps. This could only mean that the automatic control of the solar panels was not working. On the second day the crew had to engage and disengage the solar batteries 12 times manually. After the 15th manual session it became clear that the mission could last only eight days before the batteries would run down. In the orbit of Soyuz 9 in June, the night lasts 40 minutes. On the previous flight, in October, it lasted only 10 minutes and this would not have been a problem. The crew is told to revolve the spacecraft at 0.5 deg/sec around the long axis. By this method the spacecraft remains fully oriented towards the sun, and the batteries don't have to work so long on the night passes. The cosmonauts do not report any unpleasant sensations from the rotation. At the 23:25 communications sessions the cosmonauts report that their appetites are good and they are sleeping well.


1970 June 5 - Soyuz 9 Day 5

At 08:40 Kamanin discusses the solar battery problem in a communications section with the cosmonauts. Telemetry shows the system is generating 25.6 to 26.0 V. There will be an emergency situation if the voltage drops to 23 to 24 V - in that case the crew must land within 1.5 orbits of the earth, or two hours. They would likely have to land out of tracking range of Soviet units. The crew gets the spacecraft back into its solar orientation roll on the sixth attempt. At 18:00 clear communications are again obtained with the capsule via Vesna (Khabarovsk and Alma Alta). Nikolayev reports that when oriented to the sun, the system generates 26 V instead of the 31 V it should be generating. A long technical discussion ensues. It is finally decided that the automatic system is actually working correctly, but that Sevastyanov is confusing the ammeter and voltmeter readings (which are displayed on one instrument). Later Kamanin talks to Tereshkova. She will fly via An-24 to Yevpatoriya on 7 June with her daughter.


1970 June 6 - Soyuz 9 Day 6

At an 08:30 communications session Filipchenko reports to the tracking vessel Komarov that all is OK, everything normal, they are eating well. At 22:15 alarming telemetry is received that indicates that the temperatures in the fuel tanks are getting high due to the extended time of continuous exposure to the sun. They drop slightly after two minutes in shadow.


1970 June 7 - Soyuz 9 Day 7

Soyuz 9's environmental control system is working well. Tereshkova and her daughter arrive at the command point at 14:40 after landing at the airfield at 12:00. The landing commission meets in the evening to consider contingency landings. It is reported that the crew is medically in better shape on Day 6 than Day 1, according to telemetry. In fact they are doing so well, extension of the flight to 20 days duration is discussed. Between 20:00 and 20:30 Tereshkova and her daughter communicate via radio and television with Nikolayev aboard Soyuz 9.


1970 June 8 - Soyuz 9 Day 8

During the day Tereshkova has a meeting with a Young Pioneers Group. In the evening she and Nikolayev enjoy another communications session together.


1970 June 9 - Soyuz 9 Day 9

Tereshkova and her daughter return to Moscow. The landing commission meets at 20:00. The cosmonauts' activity level seems to be declining - they are drinking little water and their oxygen consumption has declined.


1970 June 10 - Soyuz 9 Day 10

This is the first day 'off' for the Soyuz 9 crew on their long duration flight. No experiments are scheduled and radio communications will be minimised. The crew plays chess via radio with Gorbatko.


1970 June 11 - Soyuz 9 Day 11

Things are proceeding normally aboard Soyuz 9. Shatalov and Yeliseyev prepare to depart for the Crimea to train for use of the big solar and stellar telescopes planned for the DOS station. The 15-20 day course will be attended by all 12 DOS cosmonauts. The training plan for DOS is discussed, with a May 1971 flight date as the objective. Kamanin discusses smoking with Bykovsky and Gorbatko - they have to stop.


1970 June 12 - Soyuz 9 Day 12

Shatalov departs from Yevpatoriya for Leningrad at 14:35 - his father has died.


1970 June 13 - Soyuz 9 Day 13

The Soyuz 9 crew has completed their 12th day but are beginning to get tired. They are making mistakes (for example putting the television camera on the wrong setting). The landing commission decides to constantly monitor the weather at potential landing sites from 14 June onwards so that a quick landing decision can be made if necessary.


1970 June 14 - Soyuz 9 Day 14

The crew seems better today. Landing is planned for between June 16 and 19 (on June 16 the crew will beat the US spaceflight endurance record). The crew says everything is excellent.


1970 June 15 - Soyuz 9 Day 15

The first communications session begins alarmingly - contact could not be made with the crew for the first three minutes they were in radio range. But then they came through, and said everything was all right and their condition was excellent. At 12:00 Sevastyanov accidentally engages the ASP automatic landing system. This removes the first lock on the system, which is then armed so that it will be activated by a signal from the barometer at an altitude of 11 km above the earth. It is said not to be dangerous, but Filipchenko made the same mistake on Soyuz 7. Kamanin had asked Mishin to put a lock on the ASP switch to prevent this from happening, but he did nothing. At 12:30 the State Commission arrives. At 17:30 Mishin has his first communications session with the crew. There are problems with the environmental control system - the carbon dioxide level is up to 8.5 mm, and the oxygen level down to 160 mm. The crew is told to turn off ECS cartridge number 2 and use number 3. By 23:00 it is clear that cartridge 2 was working badly - oxygen pressure is up to 170 mm, carbon dioxide down to 4. 5 mm. Nikolayev hints to Mishin that he would like to use the two day reserve of consumables aboard to extend the mission to 20 days. Kamanin is opposed to the idea - this would be a dangerous adventure. The whole point of a reserve is that it is never used except in case of an emergency.


1970 June 16 - Soyuz 9 Day 16

All is normal aboard Soyuz 9, except that one of the local telemetry commutators in Ryazanskiy's system has failed. The telemetry data involved is not critical to the flight, and Mishin and Ryazanskiy allow the flight to continue. Mishin is considering extending the flight to 19 or 20 days. To do this the crew will have to stretch their rations. Kamanin finds himself out of the decision loop, 'as usual'. The landing commission wants to complete the flight as scheduled on the 287th orbit.


1970 June 17 - Soyuz 9 Day 17

Today the Soyuz 9 crew set a new space endurance record. Everything is normal aboard the spacecraft, except for the failed telemetry commutator and the engaged ASP switch. What would now be needed, notes Kamanin, are new Soyuz spacecraft to extend the duration in space gradualy to 30, 40, 50, and then 60 days. But there are no new spacecraft - Kamanin's plan for construction of an additional ten Soyuz was blocked. Grechko and others in the leadership want a big greeting ceremony for the crew in Moscow, but Kamanin only wants the crew in the hands of the doctors for the first 10 to 12 days after the flight. At 15:00, Mishin and Kerimov, following their bosses' orders from Moscow, announce that they want to extend the flight to 20 days.


1970 June 18 - Soyuz 9 Day 18

Final Landing Commission meeting is held. The primary landing site is 50 km west of Karaganda. Visibility there is 10 km, winds 6-10 m/s. Mishin wants to land 50 km further wesst, near a city with passenger train service. It is finally agreed to land there, at 71 deg 31' E, but that will mean that an emergency ballistic re-entry (in the event of a guidance system failure) would bring the capsule down in the Aral Sea. That in turn means additional recovery forces, consisting of three amphibious vehicles, three helicopters, five naval cutters, and 15 scuba divers have to be alerted and prepared. The Politburo approves the landing, and the plan to fly the cosmonauts to Chkalovsky Airfield, followed by ten days in the hospital. Mishin and Kerimov discussed having the traditional cosmonaut greeting at Vnukovo Airport, but they'll have to forget such extravaganzas in the years to come, when only long-duration missions are planned. Meanwhile the crew is well, preparing for landing. They secure the BO living module, stow items in the SA re-entry vehicle that are to be returned to earth. There is a communications pass at 08:00 to 08:30. Afanasyev, Karas, Chertok, Bushuyev, Tsybin, and other members of the State Commission now arrive at Yevpatoriya.


1970 June 19 - Landing of Soyuz 9

At 13:00 it was reported that the landing site was ready, 12 to 15 km visibility, 5-7 m/s winds. At 14:00 it is officially ordered that the landing commence. There are 150 technicians in the hall of mission control for the landing. Nikolayev reports the start of the retrofire burn of the TDU. Retrofire and seperation of the spacecraft modules is normal. The PVO radar at Turtsiy picks up the Soyuz at 83 km altitude and follows it down to the point of parachute deployment. Two helicopters sight the parachute and follow the capsule to landing. Within a minute after the capsule has landed General Goreglyad and Colonel Popov are already at the hatch. Following landing Leonov advises that the crew is all right. However the cosmonauts' condition after landing is awful. It is painful and difficult for them to get up. They fall down in their first tortured attempts at walking. They have to be dragged along by the arms. At 16:30 an Il-18 leaves from Saki for Moscow with the cosmonauts aboard. Both of the cosmonauts looked very ill aboard the plane. They had to be supported by Shatalov and Yeliseyev to get down the stairs in Moscow. Nikolayev departs from his prepared speech to the Sate Commission, and says 'Comrade Chairman! The orders for flight aboard the spacecraft Soyuz 9 were fulfilled and we await further orders!' After the report hey are rushed to the doctors.

It is obvious to the Soviets that they were seriously mistaken about the effects of zero-G on human beings (Mishin thought flights of three to four months would be no problem). Kamanin recites again his belief in the need for more long solo Soyuz flights, how the leadership has blocked such flights, and the general lack of support for manned space. He even had to fight to allow the Soyuz 9 crew to go straight to the hospital and their loved ones, rather than attending ceremonies.


1970 June 22 - Grechko meets with the cosmonauts.

They push for production of ten additional Soyuz spacecraft, necessary trainers for the L1 and L3, more female-crew flights, and complain of lack of support from GUKOS (who agree with Mishin's approach of total automation of spacecraft).


1970 June 23 - Soyuz 9 crew still ill.

The cosmonauts still appear ill, with pulses of 90 to 100 and temperatures of 37.8 deg C. They reported that earth's gravity felt to them like 3 to 4 G's after landing. They are adapting to gravity only very slowly.


1970 June 26 - Soyuz 9 crew improving.

The Soyuz 9 crew are still suffering from the effects of their flight, but getting better each day. Tereshkova was taken ill last night.


1970 June 27 - Soviet flights should not exceed 25 days duration.

The crew is recovering slowly. It is recommended to Smirnov that the Soviet Union not plan any spaceflights over 20 to 25 days duration, and that a new series of Soyuz spacecraft be built to extend experience in long-duration flight.


1970 June 29 - Additional Soyuz flights requested.

Kamanin pleads with Kutakhov for construction of at least 3 to 4 new Soyuz spacecraft, and necessary improvements to Star City facilities.


1970 June 30 - Soyuz 9 crew still very weak.

Ten days after their 18-day flight, the Soyuz 9 crew can still only work 3 to 4 hours a day. They can only take two short walks daily and tire quickly. Their pulse, temperature, blood pressure fluctuate from day to day, often being in the range of ill people. Meanwhile the head army physician examines Tereshkova, and prescribes a one-week spa cure.


1970 July 3 - Soyuz 9 crew feted at Kremlin.

Nikolayev and Sevastyanov finally attend their post-flight reception at the Kremlin - over 900 people are there to greet them.


1970 July 6 - Soyuz 9 press conference preparations.

Kamanin and the Soyuz 9 cosmonauts meet with Keldysh and Mishin to prepare for a press conference, to be carried live on television.


1970 July 7 - Cosmonaut jet flight training.

On this typical training day 16 cosmonauts are flying, four in the morning aboard a MiG-21, 12 in the afternoon aboard L-29's. It is difficult to schedule these training flights, since the cosmonaut training unit is co-located with an aviation transport brigade and repair centre.


1970 July 10 - Indian General Lal tours space facilities.

The press conference behind them, Nikolayev and Tereshkova leave for Leningrad, and then on to Sochi for recuperation. General Lal from India tours Soviet space facilities. Smirnov proposes cooperation with India in space technology development.


1970 July 11 - Soyuz 9 cosmonauts meet with Communist Party leaders.

Sevastyanov notes how small the earth appears from space, the same observation made by Gagarin and the American astronauts.


1970 July 14 - Soyuz 9 interview.

The cosmonauts give an interview with Izvestia.


1970 July 16 - Soyuz 9 crew presses for new Soyuz series.

Sevastyanov and Nikolayev visit GUKOS, and press for construction of a new Soyuz series. Karas and Maksimov say it would interrupt development of the 7K-S. The cosmonauts argue that the Soyuz 7K-OK is now proven, while the 7K-S exists only on paper.


1970 July 27 - Titov in trouble again.

Titov has been in another automobile accident, and has again been prohibited from driving.


1970 July 28 - Soyuz 9 crew tours Leningrad

Kamanin, Nikolayev, Sevastyanov, and their families take a train to Leningrad. There they do some sightseeing, visit the television tower, and make a local television appearance.


1970 July 29 - DOS plans laid out at Monino Space Conference.

The Fourth Military-Scientific VVS Space Conference at Monino. The VPK has finally approved completion of space stations DOS #1 and #2. They are designed to support 70 to 80 days of inhabited flight. They will be launched by a Proton UR-500K, then followed 8-10 days later by a Soyuz 7KS launched by an R-7. After thirty days aboard the station, the first crew will return. A few days later a second crew will be launched to man the station. The 7KS version of the Soyuz will have an internal hatch for transfer of the crew from the spacecraft to the station. There will be no solo Soyuz flight to test the crew's response to a 30-day mission before the first DOS flight. DOS#1 is scheduled for launch in February 1971, to coincide with the 24th Meeting of the Communist Party of the USSR. Kamanin knows it actually can't be any earlier than May 1971, but nevertheless the cosmonauts are required to train so that they will be ready by 1 February.


1970 July 30 - Soyuz 9 crew debrefing.

Nikolayev and Sevastyanov fly to Sochi to write out their post-flight debriefing. Mishin won't accept that there are problems with sustained zero-G flight, since that would wreck the assumptions on which he has based his DOS station plans. Kamanin believes a series of 30, 50, then 50-plus day flights are needed to investigate and prove human adaptation to space.


1970 July 31 - Titov's privileges at risk.

Kamanin meets with Titov. In his nine-year cosmonaut career, Titov has had ten major disciplinary incidents. Kamanin tells him this is the last time -- one more incident, and he will be removed from the General Staff Academy, stripped of his titles, and lose his benefits. He doesn't seem to take Kamanin seriously - to the world, he is still Cosmonaut#2, the second man in orbit...


1970 August 1 - Middle East preoccupies VVS leadership.

Kutakhov flies to Egypt, but before leaving tells Kamanin he is not happy with his draft decree on future space plans. In Egypt, four MiG-21's with Russian pilots aboard have been shot down by Israel, killing two of the pilots. These are the first Russian casualties in the Middle East. July 1970 has been the worst month for safety in the history of the VVS - 20 aircraft losses and crashes (previous record - 16 in July 1964).


1970 August 3 - Centrifuge for Cosmonaut Training Centre

A meeting is held to try to finally get the IF-16 centrifuge into the state plan. The Americans has several centrifuges of this size, Russia not one. It has to be purchased abroad, with the choice being either a French or Swedish model. The Swedish model is preferred, but there is not enough money in the state plan for the hefty 12 million rouble asking price. The entire space budget his year will be limited to 700 million roubles - the money for the centrifuge will have to be found within that at the expense of something else...


1970 August 5 - Beregovoi appointment challenged.

More flak concerning Kamanin's recommendation of Beregovoi for the post of deputy commander of the cosmonaut centre.


1970 August 7 - Almaz program review.

Work has been underway for 5 to 6 years. The decree of the Communist Party/Ministry of Defence of 16 June 1970 finally set forth a firm flight schedule: first trials flight in fourth quarter 1971; all flight trials to be completed by the end of 1972; the design to be accepted for military service in 1973. Priorities are provided to the program that will allow VVS institutes and forces to support this schedule. The Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine (IAKM) will be especially involved in biomedical issues.


1970 August 10 - Vacations in Russia.

Kutakhov returns from Egypt. Borman will visit the USSR again tomorrow. Afterwards Kamnin will head for a holiday at the spa at Chemitokvadze in the Kavkaz region.


1970 September 16 - Cosmonaut meeting.

Kamanin returned from summer vacation on 14 September. In his first meeting with the cosmonauts, the centrifuge problem is reviewed. The USSR has not a single centrifuge over 8 m radius, while the Americans have six in the 14-20 m range, and have begun building one with a 46 m arm. Nikolayev will tour West Germany from 4 October, and Tereshkova will be in the USA from 18 October.


1970 September 17 - New Gagarin book in the works.

Kamanin works with the authors of a new Gagarin book.


1970 September 18 - Luna 16

Luna 16 is underway. This is the latest attempt to obtain lunar soil Five previous launches failed, four due to UR-500K booster failures. Luna 15 almost made it but crashed on the moon.


1970 September 20 - Luna 16 lands on moon.

Luna 16 first placed itself into a 106 x 15 km lunar orbit, inclination 71 degrees. After the trajectory was measured and calculations made on earth, it was instructed to make its Phase 1 descent using a timed burn. Phase 2 began at 600 m altitude. From this point the new-design braking rocket was controlled automatically according to height and velocity as measured by radar. At 220 m altitude the main engine shut down, and small braking rockets fired. These were shut down just 2 m above the surface. At 08:18 Luna 16 successfully made a soft landing on the moon. Getting there required 68 communications sessions over nine days of flight. At 10:00 the drill obtains the soil sample and inserts it into the return capsule.


1970 September 21 - Luna 16 ascent stage heads for earth.

At 10:43 the Luna 16 ascent stage fires, thrusting the return capsule with the lunar soil toward the earth. It will land somewhere on Soviet territory within a 1500 km radius of Dzhezkazgan. The 25 cm diameter capsule is equipped with a 10 square meter parachute. It was thought that it would take 10 to 15 launches to perfect this system, but instead it has succeeded on the sixth attempt.


1970 September 23 - Cosmonaut training plans.

The training plan for DOS#1 is reviewed. The station is to be launched by February 1971. Soyuz 10 and Soyuz 11 will dock with it and crew the station for two to three months, according to Mishin's plan. This however will slow down flight test of Bogomolov's Kontakt docking system for the L3. This was to have been ready by January 1970, but it is still not ready for flight. On the other hand, the completion of the DOS station within four to five months is not possible. There are currently 12 cosmonauts in training for DOS, and ten for Soyuz flights. Popovich heads a group of 22 cosmonauts training for Almaz; and Bykovsky heads a group on lunar issues. The new trainers and simulators are on schedule; the existing ones are being heavily used.


1970 September 24 - Mishin has new landing scenario for L3 missions.

Mishin's latest plan is land the L3 in the Indian Ocean after return from the moon, but Soyuz is not rated for swells over 3 to 4 balls. Also there is no money for the needed recovery forces. By comparison the Americans have made the sea their home. Their aircraft carriers give them control over 300 times more ocean area than the Soviet Union.


1970 September 24 - Luna 16 returns lunar soil to earth.

Luna 16 lands only 30 km from its aim point, 80 km southeast of Dzhezkazgan. There was ideal weather in the recovery area, the radio beacon worked well, and a helicopter picked up the capsule only a few minutes after landing.


1970 September 25 - Cosmonaut flight training.

More controversy over Mishin and Gorshkov's new sea recovery plan for the L3. The Seregin Flight Regiment of the cosmonaut training centre flew 4002 hours in the first nine months of 1970, of which 900 were at night and 1307 were in poor weather. The cosmonauts themselves flew 1987 hours.


1970 September 28 - Centrifuge negotiations.

Kamanin prepares Nikolayev and Tereshkova for their trips to West Germany and the USA. A Soviet delegation goes to Sweden to negotiate a contract for purchase of a TsF-20 centrifuge.


1970 September 30 - DOS trainer final inspection.

Nasser is dead - a blow to Soviet interests. Kamanin goes to Khrunichev to inspect the DOS-7K space station mock-up. It is to be delivered to the cosmonaut training centre on 20 October. Kamanin believes the planned 5 February launch for DOS#1, and 15 February launch for Soyuz 10, cannot be met.


1970 October 3 - DOS issues reviewed by VVS.

Kamanin meets with the General Staff to discuss issues with the DOS trainer. The issue of forming crews for the DOS program consisting only of unflown cosmonauts is debated.


1970 October 6 - Cosmonaut training centre status.

Kamanin reviews the work of the training centre in 1970-1971. There are 12 cosmonauts training for DOS missions; 22 for Almaz; 5 for Spiral; and a 'group' for the L3. They have flown 5000 flight hours in jet trainers. During the last two years Kamanin has increased the number of trainers and simulators available; achieved 100% of the training plan; and met the physical training requirements (all cosmonauts must accomplish a 10 km run).


1970 October 6 - Spiral spaceplane project review.

Meeting with the Spiral spaceplane cosmonaut training group. Mikoyan and Dementiev (son of the MAP Minister) have been working on this project for four years. Many in the leadership (Grechko, Zakharov, Krylov, etc) are against the concept and hinder the project in any way the can. Grechko considers it 'a fantasy' and Kutakhov does not support it energetically. Engineer-Colonel Sokolov-Sokolenik is the head of the unit (having replaced Titov, who is now in staff school). The United States has hundreds of flights on the X-15, which they have taken to 90 km altitude and 7000 km/hour airspeed. In the Soviet Union, all such work has been frozen for a decade.


1970 October 14 - Contacts on join USA/USSR docking system.

Communist Party Meeting at the cosmonaut centre. Keldysh calls later. Six specialists are to be sent to the United States to discuss design of a common USA/USSR docking system. Kamanin yet again goes through the correct answers and prepared speeches to be given to the press by Nikolayev and Sevastyanov on their visit to West Germany.


1970 October 16 - Mishin seems to have lost his fight for a water landing on L3 missions.

All will have to be on dry land. 500 million roubles would have been necessary to fund the sea forces, and the risk to the crews would have been greater. Kamanin sees the whole bogus controversy as a diversionary tactic of Mishin's to take attention away from the fact that the L3 spacecraft is in fact nonexistent - as is its N1 rocket. An additional 300 million roubles are needed to achieve a 'flying' N1. A completely new solution to the lunar landing problem needs to be worked out. Shatalov worked today with Grechko to lay out the program for French President Pompidou's visit to the Baikonur cosmodrome. Pompidou wants to see two live rocket launches, and Shatalov will show him the Soyuz spacecraft.


1970 October 23 - Mishin still fighting for an ocean landing for the L3.

He has recruited some cosmonauts and admirals to fight for the concept.


1970 October 24 - Cosmonauts oppose ocean landing for the L3.

18 VVS officers and cosmonauts meet to discuss the L3 water landing issue. Kamanin is to draft a letter against the concept to Mishin and Afanaseyev.


1970 October 26 - Gagarin documentary.

Leningrad Television is making a program about Gagarin. People are coming out of the woodwork that knew him or claimed to have known him. New facts are expected to emerge.


1970 October 28 - Zond 8 recovered, demonstrates Mishin's L3 ocean landing trajectory.

Zond 8 is recovered only 15 minutes after splashdown by the vessel Taman. Of five Zonds recovered, this was the only one to fly over the north pole. The remainder re-entered over the south pole. The reason for this was the need to fly over tracking stations on Soviet territory in order to get trajectory updates that allowed a precise landing after the second plunge into the atmosphere. This was the reason Mishin now wants a water landing for the L3. The dilemma is that after a first dip into the atmosphere over the North Pole, tracking for a precision landing is possible, but then the spacecraft cannot land on Soviet territory. Re-entering first over the South Pole means that no trajectory updates are available, but then the spacecraft can land only imprecisely somewhere on Soviet territory.

15 L1's were completed, of which only five ever returned to earth. With this successful final recovery, the programme is cancelled. The main cause of the project's failure was the unreliability of the UR-500K rocket.


1970 October 28 - Cosmonauts learn of NASA techniques.

Nikolayev and Sevastyanov return from their tour of the USA, They learned a lot about the technology, management, and training techniques of the American space program. Nikolayev leaves immediately for another tour of Czechoslovakia.


1970 October 28 - Chelomei's 'war' with Korolev and Mishin

Kamanin meets with Chelomei. Chelomei discusses his 'war' with Korolev and Mishin. Korolev interfered with, and then finally took the manned lunar flyby project from Chelomei. Now Mishin is doing the same thing with Almaz. Chelomei had already invested five years in development of Almaz, and was on the way to producing a good space station. Then Mishin pushes him out of the way and seizes his production line to build the DOS-7K. DOS#1 is actually Almaz#5, nothing more than a bad copy of Chelomei's station. Serbin and Smirnov do not trust Mishin, which is why they have only authorised him to build four DOS stations. Serbin, Smirnov, and Afanasyev have visited Chelomei, and told him to accelerate work on the Almaz, using three shifts 24 hours a day.

Kamanin notes the second hijacking in Turkey of a Soviet airliner in the last two weeks.


1970 October 30 - Shatalov and Yeliseyev selected for first space station flight.

Shatalov and Yeliseyev are selected as the prime crew to man DOS#1. This selection is made even though they have both made two flights already and other cosmonauts have been waiting six years with no flight assignment. The choice is due to the role of the pilot, who it is felt must have prior docking experience. Kamanin reviews the training schedule for the pair, plus a tour of India they will have to make before the flight.


1970 November 9 - Cosmonauts have perfect flight safety record since Gagarin's crash.

The cosmonaut's Seregin Regiment has now flown 4500 hours without an accident. The safety record for the VVS was 18,000 hours between crashes in 1969, 22,000 in 1970 so far.


1970 November 16 - Nikolayev-Tereshkova marital problems a VVS management issue

Kamanin has a difficult and unpleasant conversation with Tereshkova. She and her mother have written to generals in the chain of command over Kamanin several times about Nikolayev's bad behaviour. This was never mentioned to Kamanin. He doesn't know what to do about the quarrels between the 'space couple'.


1970 November 17 - Indecision on DOS profile; Almaz station accelerated.

It is decided to send only Volynov and Khrunov to the FAI Congress in India. Shatalov and Yeliseyev are too busy with training on the DOS-7K simulator. Luna 17 has landed on the moon with the Lunokhod lunar rover, another success. DOS#1 is behind schedule for the planned 5 February 1971 launch. It still has not been decided, which will launch first - Soyuz 10 or the DOS station. Such indecision makes it very difficult to train the crews! The simulators for Soyuz, L3, DOS, and Almaz are all now in full use for crew training. Kamanin discusses with engineers construction of a pool for EVA training (25 m wide and 12 m deep). Kutakahov is opposed to the project. Chelomei has been ordered to accelerate the first Almaz launch to 1972, if he can resist the continuous attacks by Mishin. Mishin has become very accomplished, on the N1/L3 program, in spending huge amounts of money with no result.


1970 November 18 - Luna 17 lands on moon.

Luna 17 / Lunokhod have landed on the Sea of Storms on the moon. Chelomei is assisting Kamanin in securing funds for the water basin for zero-G training, further simulators, etc.


1970 November 23 - First lunar rover.

Lunokhod 1 is ready to go on its first lunar drive.


1970 November 24 - DOS ECS delays.

A gala is held at the Soviet Army Theater on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Zhukovskiy Flight Academy. There is also a meeting of the Central Chess Club of the USSR to honour the first space-earth chess match played during the Soyuz 9 flight. Even Spasskiy is there. IMBP has advised the environmental control system for DOS#1 will not be ready in time to support a 5 February launch.


1970 November 25 - TsPK Deputy Commander appointment disputed.

Kamanin is being pressured to replace the Deputy Commander of the training centre with a non-cosmonaut officer.


1970 November 26 - Kutakhov opposes expanded VVS role in space.

Kutakhov visits the cosmonaut training centre. He is still against the VVS being involved in manned spaceflight. He tells Kamanin that Kamanin's draft resolution on the use of space for reconnaissance, communications, navigation, and piloted flight is not appropriate for 1971 - more like 1980. In the evening, Kamanin talks to Nikolayev about Tereshkova's complaints. He claims that in seven years he has only had two or three of these blow-ups with her. He blames her in-laws for starting the whole thing and keeping the bad feelings going.


1970 November 27 - VVS considers role in space.

The leaders of the VVS meet to consider the role of the Air Force in space and Kamanin's draft resolution. Frolov wants to form a VVS regiment for Almaz operations. Molzhavtsev wants to emphasize full use of unmanned satellites for support of the VVS (communications, navigation, reconnaissance). Later in the meeting V V Kuznestov discusses with Kamanin plans for a planned Nikolayev-Tereshkova-Sevastyanov trip to Egypt in January 1971. It has to be planned around opening ceremonies for the Aswan Dam.


1970 December 2 - Grechko blocking Spiral program.

Kutahkov is now Kamanin's direct superior; Efimov has been sent to a command in Cairo. Two An-22 heavy-lift transports have crashed in Pakistan and the Atlantic (en route to Chile). Kamanin meets with Dementiev and Kazatov at MAP. DOS-7K and Almaz simulator problems and the Spiral spaceplane project are discussed. There is not even a firm program plan for Spiral. Dementiev says this is because of the coolness of Grechko and Kutakhov to the subject. They block any discussion of the matter by the Central Committee. Grechko has written on Spiral - 'this is a fanatasy. We must spend money on more concrete items'.


1970 December 9 - Funds allocated to Cosmonaut Training Centre only a fraction of what is needed.

Kamanin reviews 1970. It has been a good year. The Soviet Union set a duration record with the Soyuz 9 flight, Luna-16 and Lunokhod-1 conducted successful robot missions to the moon, dozens of Kosmos satellites were successfully launched. In the next year cosmonaut training will concentrate on DOS-7K, Almaz, and Soyuz 7KT. The five-year plan for the centre includes construction of 5000 square metres of new laboratories, improved simulators, completion of a water tank for EVA training, and installation of the IF-20 centrifuge. However all of this will cost 11 million roubles, and only 2 to 3 million are likely to be allocated...


1970 December 15 - TsPK Technical Conference Opens

Kamanin returns from vacation after two weeks at his dacha. Lunokhod was successsfully revived after surviving a lunar night. Venera-7 is set to soft-land on Venus. NII-TsPK holds a science/technology conference on manned spaceflight. 80 papers are presented, with 600 attendees from 39 organisations present. Kamanin talks to Mishin for the first time since the unpleasant phone call in October.


1970 December 17 - Public information policy for DOS/Almaz discussed.

Plans for secrecy, public information policy, and arrangements for the upcoming DOS and Almaz space station flights are discussed.


1970 December 19 - Differences between VVS and Mishin enumerated.

Lunokhod-1 and Venera-7 missions continue well. The NIITsPK conference is completed, final total 88 papers. The conference has recommended a cautious build-up in manned flight durations - the next mission should be 22 days long, then 26, then 30. But Ustinov has ordered Mishin to ensure that the first flight to DOS will be 30 days long. Kamanin is categorically opposed to this. Kamanin runs through the principal differences between himself and Mishin:

  • Mishin wants to continue work on the N1-L3 moon project. Kamanin thinks the whole thing should be cancelled
  • Kamanin wants the L3 to land on Soviet territory. Mishin wants it to land in the Indian Ocean
  • Mishin wants to make the next manned flight 30 days long. Kamanin wants to limit it to 18 days
Mishin has the Soviet Ministers (Smirnov), and the Central Committee (Ustinov, Stroganov, etc) behind him. Kamanin has only shaky support from the VVS...
1970 December 23 - DOS launch moved to March.

A new DOS schedule is agreed by the Chief Designers. DOS#1 launch is delayed 40 days to 15 March 1971. Kamanin thinks the first half of April is more likely. He is still arguing the Soyuz 10 flight duration with Mishin - Kamanin won't accept more than 20-25 days, Mishin has been ordered to fly 30 days.


1970 December 30 - Spacecraft simulator review.

Trainer review with S G Darevskiy. It is estimated that the trainers only meet 25% to 30% of the total training needs of the cosmonauts. In the next year Kamanin wants Darevskiy to exert 75% of his effort on the Almaz simulator, 20% on the DOS-7K, and only 5% on the L3. Mishin wants zero effort on Almaz, 70% on DOS-7K, and 30% on the L3.


1971 January 5 - VVS Reviews TsKBEM Facilities and Programs

Two hour meeting between the VVS leadership and Mishin at TsKBEM. Mishin claims he will fly the N1 to orbit this year, and that it will have a payload of 95 to 100 tonnes to low earth orbit. He wants to make 4 to 5 unmanned launches in 1971-1972, followed by one unmanned lunar flyby, culminating in the first Soviet cosmonaut landing on the moon in March 1973. Afterwards the VVS leaders tour the L3 and DOS-7K mock-ups. Mishin asks - Why won't the VVS support his plan for an Indian Ocean landing for the L3? Why is the VVS against a 30-day duration for the first DOS flight? Why isn't the VVS training engineer-cosmonauts as pilots? Kutakhov replies that these are decisions that have to be made by aviation specialists, not by engineers or chief designers. The General Staff supports the VVS position.


1971 January 9 - Shatalov comes to leadership attention after good work on Pompidou visit.

The leadership wants to appoint Shatalov as a space adviser to the General Staff. Kamanin wants him as Deputy Commander of TsPK.


1971 January 9 - VVS Reviews TsKBM Facilities and Programs

The VVS leadership visits Chelomei's facility at Reutov. Kamanin recalls first seeting the Almaz mock-up five years earlier - it was already fully defined then. But it was only in August 1970 that a resolution was issued setting a firm schedule: Chelomei was to start flight trails in the second half of 1971, and the station was to enter service in 1972. Mishin is proposing to cancel Almaz and build 10 DOS stations instead. Mishin currently supervises five design bureaux, 60,000 workers, and is working on Soyuz, 7K-S, L3, DOS-7K, and a very few other projects. Chelomei has only one design bureau and 8,000 workers. Yet he has produced well-designed, mass-produced cruise missiles for the Navy, over 1,000 ICBM's for the RVSN, and the high-quality UR-500 Proton launch vehicle. Almaz could have flown on time if Ustinov had allowed Chelomei just 10% of the resources he has let Mishin squander on DOS. Chelomei easily agrees with the VVS to a mutual schedule for Almaz crew training, crew composition, etc. The contrast with the argumentative Mishin couldn't be greater.


1971 January 14 - VVS should support Almaz and Spiral.

Kamanin discusses with Kutakhov the need for the VVS to back Chelomei rather than Mishin. As for the Spiral, the support of Dementiev, Afanasyev, Kalmykov, and Zverev have been lined up for the program. But Grechko is still blocking it. And Kutakhov is unwilling to challenge Grechko on the issue.


1971 January 15 - Spiral to be raised at VVS Soviet.

Kamanin manges to get to Zakahrov, who agrees to take the Spiral issue to the Military Soviet of the VVS. Leonov and Nikolayev review Kamanin's new draft decree to be presented to he Military Soviet. The DOS-7K is two weeks behind schedule for the planned 15 March launch date.


1971 January 16 - Lunokhod 1 has completed its lunar activities.

Kamanin's son, also a VVS pilot, is being sent to Hanoi for service. Kamanin writes a letter to Keldysh on the naming of lunar craters for deceased cosmonauts.


1971 January 18 - Spiral controversy continues.

Kutakhov flies to Minsk, with the draft decree to be submitted to the Military Soviet still not approved. The leadership have many questions, especially concerning the Spiral project.


1971 January 20 - Mishin pushing 'Big Orbital Station'.

Mishin is attempting to set up a separate training centre for civilian cosmonauts at the Moscow Aviation Institute. Mishin and the civilian cosmonauts come to view the TsPK premises to get ideas. This is a new attack by Mishin, in Kamanin's eyes. Mishin has been ill for a long time, but it doesn't stop him from meddling in the details of work of his deputies. Now they are working on a Big Orbital Station (BOS) for 9-12 crew. This amounts to nothing more than a new move against Chelomei. Mishin is intent on monopolising manned spaceflight at any cost. He attempts to take over any other such projects allocated to Chelomei or Kozlov.


1971 January 22 - Low and Anders visit the Gagarin Training Centre.

They are very interested in the Soyuz and Volga trainers.


1971 January 23 - Meeting of VVS leadership.

Kamanin reviews his public relations operations. In ten years the cosmonauts have made 6,000 speeches and gone on 200 publicity tours. Tereshkova is the most in demand. 30 documentary films have been produced, as well as hundreds of books and brochures. The Star City Museum had 13,000 visitors in 1970.


1971 January 25 - Cosmonauts on public relations duty.

A record number of cosmonauts are away from the training centre on public relations trips.


1971 January 26 - ECS technology review.

Keldysh heads a review of spacecraft environmental control system development. The work of the IMBP is not well organised. They have been developing systems for eight years with no concrete results. G I Voronin is responsible for oxygen regenerator and thermal regulation systems; G I Severin, for space suits; O G Gazenko for biosensors, medicines, and space food. Two problems need to be solved: to understand and counter the effects of zero gravity on the human organism; and to develop a reliable environmental control system with a guaranteed life of two to three years. Keldysh declares that in the next five to ten years the Soviet Union will not fly space stations with artificial gravity. Therefore, due to the inevitable deterioration of the human body in zero gravity, crews will have to be rotated every 30 to 60 days. Development must continue with an eye to supporting eventual lunar bases and manned expeditions to Mars.


1971 January 27 - Kamanin lists Soviet space management failures.

It is obvious to Kamanin from the ECS conference that there are many mistakes in the organization of the Soviet space program. There is no single agency directing the program, like the American NASA. There is not only no five year plan for manned spaceflight, there is not even a plan for next year! Decisions on manned space are made erratically by unqualified members of the leadership. There is no single manager of military space projects. Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Karas at GUKOS are all pulling in different directions. Ustinov, Smirnov, and Keldysh don't give space more than 10% of their working time.


1971 January 27 - DOS training conflicts.

Beregovoi, Leonov, and Shatalov go to TsKBEM to review the training plan for the DOS-7K station at the KIS (Experimental Control Station) facility. Mishin wants the crew of Soyuz s/n 32 to be working aboard the 'live' spacecraft on 3-4 February, but they need to be at the cosmodrome on those dates for training on the Svinets ICBM detector experiment. This conflicts with Mishin's schedule for availability of a 'live' Soyuz for training. Mishin still wants, completely unrealistically, to launch on the day of the 24th Party Conference.


1971 January 28 - Spiral negotiations continue.

An article Kamanin has written on aircraft designer Ilyushin has been published in Pravda. Kamanin is impressed by a new book by Orlov on possible civilian medical applications of technology developed for spaceflight. Negotiations continue with the Military Soviet on the resolution on future manned military space projects.


1971 January 29 - Plans for test of DOS ABM sensor technology at Baikonur.

Three DOS-7K crews are to fly on two Tu-104's to Baikonur on 30 January. The Tu-104's are fitted with the Svinets equipment, which the cosmonauts will use to capture spectral data on two rocket launches. This training will prepare them for use of the Svinets equipment aboard the DOS station. Lots of bigwigs from the VVS plan to tag along as well.


1971 January 30 - Warsaw Pact officers tour Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre.

The TsPK is visited by participants in a meeting of the Warsaw Pact General Staff. This amounts to 29 generals, 2 to 3 from each country of the pact.


1971 February 1 - Military Soviet of the VVS considers manned space plans - Day 1.

The Military Soviet of the VVS meets from 10:00 to 15:00. Kamanin's draft decree is debated. The Apollo 14 launch has bolstered interest in Soviet spaceflight. Problems with the decree are identified, but solved. Kamanin is particularly happy that mention is made of good use of crewed spacecraft designs as opposed to total automation.


1971 February 2 - Military Soviet of the VVS considers manned space plans - Day 2.

Kamanin waits and waits to give his speech on the second day of the VVS Military Soviet. It is constantly postponed. He spends 16 hours waiting 'on-call'. This demonstrates to him the poor organisation of the military leadership.


1971 February 3 - First Svinets test successful.

Leonov reports that the Tu-104 was ready last night for the flight to observe a rocket launch using the Svinets device. All went normally. The second launch will be made tonight at 20:00.


1971 February 4 - Second Svinets test successful.

The DOS crews return from Tyuratam. The second missile launch was observed successfully by the Svinets apparatus as well. Cosmonaut teams are assigned to public relations tours of Egypt, USA, Italy, Viet Nam, and Hungary.


1971 February 5 - Soviet view of Apollo 14.

Apollo 14 successfully lands on the moon. Kamanin notes that the Soviet Union is now five to six years behind, due to the mistakes of Mishin, Keldysh, Smirnov, and Ustinov. Shonin is training on Soyuz s/n 32 at the KIS of TsKBEM.


1971 February 6 - Incident with Shonin during DOS training.

The training session at KIS yesterday was subverted by Shonin's drunkenness. Kamanin investigates the matter all day. Shonin is said to have brought vodka to the KIS and consumed vodka during the session. Kamanin confronted him, but of course he is sober now. Kamanin cannot understand the man, He has known him for eleven years and thought him a competent person.


1971 February 8 - Repercussions of Shonin incident.

Kamanin has a meeting with Leonov and Shonin on the KIS incident. Shonin claims he was sober. Mishin calls. He says Khrunov and Shonin were not ready for training anyway; they had to be led by the nose the whole time. He would prefer that Yeliseyev, Kubasov, and Rukavishnikov be assigned to the mission.


1971 February 15 - Medical verdict on Shonin.

Shonin is examined by VVS physicians. They believe he became a secret drinker after his October 1969 spaceflight.


1971 February 17 - Management plans for Gagarin Cosmonaut Centre jeopardised.

Management of TsPK is in question due to intrigues by Mishin and his allies within the VVS. After the death of Belyayev it was committed that Leonov would become head of the First Directorate of TsPK. This is now in doubt.


1971 February 19 - Kamanin fascinated by peaceful use of nuclear explosives.

The Minister of Medium Machine Building holds a conference on the occasion of the 53rd Anniversary of the Soviet Army. A film is shown on the use of nuclear explosives to extract oil in Central Asia - fantastic images.


1971 February 24 - VVS position to limit duration of DOS missions hopeless.

Kutakhov calls Smirnov to give the VVS position on DOS-7K flights. He is told that Mishin has not only Ustinov and Smirnov, but even Brezhnev behind him in support of 30, and then 60 day spaceflight durations aboard DOS. The VVS' position of limiting flights to 20 to 24 days has no chance.


1971 February 27 - Mishin plans to get Almaz cancelled.

Kamanin has a meeting scheduled with Chelomei, but this is cancelled and he is called to another meeting with Mishin -- all to advance Mishin's agenda. Mishin complains that he doesn't know what the Almaz project is about. He claims Chelomei has spent half a billion roubles so far, and has nothing to show for it. Mishin, on the other hand, has two DOS stations ready to fly, done at a cost of only 80 million roubles. But Kamanin knows very well who has really wasted hundreds of millions of roubles - Mishin. Mishin produces his plans for DOS#3 and DOS#4 follow-on stations. These are to be copies of Almaz, delivered in 18 months. Mishin says he is building ten 7K-S for the spacecraft, despite the fact that Karas at GUKOS is not interested in manned spaceflight. Afterwards Kamanin tells Kutakhov to warn Chelomei that he must support the VVS' 7K-S and Spiral projects, if he wants VVS support for Almaz.


1971 March 2 - Cosmonaut press conference.

Nothing is said of plans for launch of the DOS station, only a month away.


1971 March 3 - Soviet of Chief Designers.

DOS-7K #1 completed its factory testing on 3 March. Checkout at Baikonur is to be completed by 9 April, and launch is scheduled for 15 April. The first crew to the station will be launched aboard a Soyuz on 18-20 April. Remaining items to be cleared:

  • Vibration qualification test of the station test article are not complete. They will only begin on 5 March and will take two months using 3-shift work. Mishin wants the preliminary results on 20 March.
  • Four complete Igla systems are required. Five have been completed and are working satisfactorily.
  • The expiration date on the parachute installed in the Soyuz 10 capsule is 15 April. It will have to be repacked before the flight.
  • There were numerous failures in the first phase of environmental control system qualification tests. They have to be repaired before the second phase can even be started.
  • Mishin wants the first crew to stay on the station for 30 days, the second crew 45 days. Glushko and the doctors say this is a grave risk.

1971 March 4 - N1/L3 Expert Commission

Pushkin and Kuznetsov brief Kamanin on the results of the N1/L3 expert commission. They found that the N1/L3 is unreliable and that the design needs to be fundamentally re-examined. Therefore the Soviet Ministers and Central Committee passed a decree that the commission must determine by 1 May 1971 what to do with the lunar project. Kamanin's opinion: abandon the N1-L3, modify Chelomei's UR-700 design to replace it, and design a new lunar landing spacecraft for missions in 1974-1975. Mishin is afraid of such a solution. Kamanin believes that the commission, headed by Keldysh, will finally recommend continued development and flight of Mishin's bad booster and even worse spacecraft. It is true that the N1 design has been substantially reworked in the last 18 months, but Kamanin believes it to be fundamentally flawed and that nothing can make it reliable.

After Mishin pushed his Indian Ocean recovery plan for the L3, the VVS insisted on sea trials of the capsule. These showed the cosmonauts had to get out within 30 to 35 minutes before the valves to the interior started leaking seawater. The L3 is also unsafe due to the EVA method of transfer to the LK of a single unassisted cosmonaut. The Krechet spacesuit is very bulky and unmanoeuvrable.

Prague wanted Gagarin's widow for International Women's Day.since Tereshkkova couldn't go, but she wants no part of public appearances.


1971 March 5 - Launch of DOS#1 is set for 15 April.

Kamanin is still fighting the issue of mission length - he doesn't want to risk lives. Soyuz 9 landed virtually in the laps of the doctors, but what if they had made an emergency landing in the ocean, or taiga? They were in no condition to save themselves before assistance arrived. Every day over 20-22 days is a risk to the life of the crew, in Kamanin's view. Smirnov, Serbin, Mishin - they don't care about this.

Meanwhile the doctor's verdict is in on Shonin. He is to be sent to a sanatorium for rehabilitation.


1971 March 6 - Space Plan for 1971 unrealistic.

The space plan for 1971 has finally been approved. There are to be three space stations launched, manned by ten Soyuz launches and a total of over 12 different crewmembers in space during the year. But it is clear to Kamanin that the second DOS and first Almaz station will not really be ready this year. And there won't be more than two Soyuz and two TKS transports available by the end of the year. Ranazomov says that Chelomei's TKS, being designed to fly to the Almaz, will cover many of he same requirements of the Spiral spaceplane. He proposes that Mikoyan should collaborate with Chelomei on Spiral. Meanwhile simulators at TsPK remain underfunded.


1971 March 9 - Major DOS training exercise by first crew.

A major training session is held with Shatalov, Yeliseyev, and Rukavishnikov. They make a 15 hour simulated 'flight' aboard the DOS trainer from 09:15 to 22:45. All operations expected in a thirty-day mission to the station are gone through. This includes simulation of emergencies to test the reactions of both the crew and ground controllers. Kamanin receives a letter from Anders, thanking him for the tour of Star City. Representatives from the Swedish firm are in town to negotiate the contract for the TsF-18 18-metre radius centrifuge. Both Korolev and Mishin fought against the VVS getting such a centrifuge.


1971 March 11 - Major DOS training exercise by second crew.

Leonov, Kubasov, and Kolodin train in the DOS simulator.


1971 March 15 - Major DOS training exercise by third crew.

The third, back-up DOS crew of Dobrovolsky, Volkov and Patsayev train in the DOS trainer. All of the crews have made good runs, with no mistakes or failures. Shatalov, after training on the DOS simulator, now supports Mishin's 30 day flight approach. He has also talked to Yeliseyev and Sevastyanov about the matter. He believes there may be a very different reaction to zero-G from individual to individual, and the Soyuz 9 crew may have been the wrong two individuals.


1971 March 17 - State Commission on DOS.

The crews, station, and Soyuz spacecraft are all ready.


1971 March 19 - State Commission for Launch of DOS#1.

The VVS insists that the Soyuz 10 crew land in daylight. Mishin says that in order that the crew can land in daylight at the end of the 30-day mission, the spacecraft must be launched at 03:00 at night. Kamanin believes this also to be unsafe.


1971 March 20 - DOS crews arrives in Baikonur.

Shatalov's crew arrived at 09:00 aboard a Tu-104 and were ensconced in Room 14 of the Hotel Kosmonavt. Two further Tu-104's arrived 20 and 30 minutes later with the second and third crews. At 18:00 they all went to the MIK assembly hall to view the two Soyuz spacecraft and the station. There were electrical problems with the station, and they finally returned to the hotel at 24:00 without the problem having been resolved. Kamanin notes two films are to be screened tomorrow - a Bulgarian movie and the Soviet film 'Diplomat'.


1971 March 21 - DOS communications tests at Baikonur

Due to problems with the electrical system aboard the station, the crews are unable to start their training aboard the actual station until 22:00. So after breakfast they work on their flight plans and logs and test the training suits to be used on this flight for the first time. This includes the Penguin suit which has elastic bands sewn into it to simulate the strain of gravity. At 17:00 the crews go to the MIK and start communications tests on the DOS. All proceeds normally. On the bus back, the crews discuss the new tracking ship Yuri Gagarin. It has a displacement of 45,000 tonnes and cost 120 million roubles. It will expand the time communications are possible with the ground during the long station flight.


1971 March 22 - Problems with Igla system on DOS.

There are problems with the Igla rendezvous system and also the stabilisation systems aboard DOS#1. The April 15 launch date is not realistic, according to Shabarov's deputies, although he himself says he can still meet the schedule. From 12:00 to 16:00 the cosmonauts participate in communications tests between the Soyuz spacecraft and the station. They go all right, but there are many problems with the ground segment. Mishin arrives in the evening. He has to give the VPK the final word on 27 March as to the launch date for the station. Shabarov is afraid to tell Mishin about the problems they are having with the Igla system.


1971 March 23 - Cosmonauts return to Moscow from Tyuratam.

A four-story school burned down the previous night in Leninsk. The cosmonauts and space centre technicians watched the USA-USSR ice hockey match, which went from 23:00 until 02:00 the next morning. Kamanin returns to Moscow aboard a Tu-104. Aboard the flight the political intrigues surrounding selection of Kamanin's deputy are discussed.


1971 March 24 - Gagarin film

Gagarin Centre management are away at various sites. Kamanin enjoys the television film on Gagarin, 'About my friend', broadcast from Leningrad.


1971 March 25 - DOS#1 Launch Commission.

The launch date, time, and first mission duration are debated. The VVS specialists now say a night landing by a Soyuz is acceptable from a safety point of view. Only two months earlier they were rejecting the possibility - these are people without principles, in Kamanin's view. He believes the crew's lives will be at risk with the planned thirty day flight duration.


1971 March 26 - VPK meets at the Kremlin.

The launch of DOS#1 is set for 15-20 April. The first crew will launch three days later on a thirty-day mission. 25 days after they return to earth the second crew will be launched. That crew will stay aboard for 30 to 45 days. The spaceships and crews are declared ready for both missions.


1971 March 27 - Gagarin exhibit at Space City Museum.

t is three years since Gagarin's death. Exhibits at the space centre museum commemorating the cosmonaut include Vostok spacecraft and MiG-15UTI aircraft of the types he flew; three automobiles he owned; films, etc.


1971 March 29 - VVS crashes up.

Kamanin notes that it was a bad safety month for the VVS. Ten aircraft were lost, six of those in three midair collisions (two MiG-21's in Egypt, two MiG-17's in Khabarovsk, and two helicopters in Tashkent). There were 29 losses in the first four months of 1971 (compared to 18 in 1970). Kamanin sees this as symptomatic of Kutakhov's poor management.


1971 March 30 - 24th Congress of he Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The Congress began in the Kremlin at 10:00. Vital questions concerning the future space program will be considered.


1971 March 31 - Cosmonaut delegates to Communist Party Congress.

The Communist Party Congress is addressed for five hours by Brezhnev. There are 5,000 delegates, including 101 international delegations from 90 countries. Brezhnev promises that the imperialist lackeys will be wiped out one by one until communism triumphs over the whole planet. Five cosmonauts are delegates - Nikolayev, Beregovoi, Shatalov, Yeliseyev, and Tereshkova.


1971 April 2 - International Delegations tour Star City.

Star City staff is busy preparing for foreign delegations attending the communist party congress that will also visit the cosmonaut centre. There is dirty snow, icy roads - and in two days 100 delegates will have to get to the forested location and be able to get around. The Vietnamese are coming on 4 April, followed by the Hungarians on 6 April and the Czechs on 7 April. A standard tour is laid out, to be followed by the films 'Our Gagarin' and 'In Memory of a Visit to Star City'.


1971 April 5 - Plans for launch of DOS#1.

Mishin says they are right on schedule.


1971 April 6 - DOS cosmonauts fly to Tyuratam.

Kamanin, the DOS crews, and 40 VVS specialists fly to Tyuratam. VVS medical officers have to battle outbreaks of measles, rabies, and dysentery at the cosmodrome. The crews are medically isolated in the Hotel Kosmonavt. In the evening they watch the film '300 Spartans'.


1971 April 7 - DOS crew commanders inspect completed DOS#1 station.

Shatalov, Leonov, and Dobrovolsky are all working hard on final preparations for DOS-7K. The station is fully complete. Only small defects have been noted. This is the first look by the crews at their future home in space in its fully completed version. On the bus back to the hotel the cosmonauts discuss the poor quality and inedibility of 'space food'.


1971 April 8 - Soyuz 10 crew preparations.

The DOS cosmonauts are working on their flight plans/logs at Area 17. Kamanin discusses the physical training of crews for long missions with Stepanov. They must do thirty minutes of vigorous exercise per day.


1971 April 9 - State Commission meets at new MIK.

DOS-7K#1 will be ready on 19 April. The first crew is completely trained. During the day the engineers of the second and third crews train aboard the station. Afterwards the technicians fix the defects they have noted. The evening film is 'Beginning'. There are many high-level guests at Area 2. After the film the brass try out the training machines that will be used aboard the station - they tire quickly.


1971 April 10 - Old Comrades toast Gagarin's memory.

-6 deg C at Baiknur, 5 m/s wind. A party of the 'old comrades' is held in Leninsk to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Gagarin's launch.


1971 April 11 - Cosmonaut fishing trip cancelled.

Weather continues cold and windy, but clear, at the cosmodrome. Leonov wants to take the DOS crews fishing on the Syr Darya River, but he is vetoed by the doctors. They were afraid they might catch cold.


1971 April 12 - Tenth Anniverary of Yuri Gagarin's launch.

More than 1,000 people gather at Area 2 of Baikonur to commemorate the day. Kamanin muses that of the dozens of cosmonauts present, only one - Feoktistov - was there on the day the first man went into space. Now there were men on the moon, and the first space station was being prepared for flight. Kamanin believes the crew can survive a thirty-day flight, now that Shatalov has replaced Shonin on the crew.


1971 April 13 - Cosmodrome jammed for series of historic launches.

Nikolayev and others are flying to the cosmodrome. All of the cosmonauts except Volynov will be present for the historic launch of the first space station., the first crew to the station, and the N1 launch planned for 1 May. Kamanin has an argument with the cosmonauts on the necessity of working out on the KTF trainer during the mission.


1971 April 14 - Salyut 1 cleared for roll-out.

Marshal Grechko has sent a telegram to Kamanin, informing him that the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre has received the Order of Lenin. The UR-500K booster is mated to space station DOS-7K#1. Chelomei is ill. Mishin takes the opportunity to insult him by replacing Chelomei with Mishin's man on the commission that will judge the UR-500's readiness for launch. Nevertheless, the commission clears the booster to be moved out to the pad on 15 April, with launch set for 19 April at 06:40. In the evening Beregovoi's 50th birthday is celebrated.


1971 April 15 - Salyut 1 erected on pad.

The Proton booster is erected on the pad. The decision is made to proceed despite a prediction of 15 m/s winds -- the prediction turns out to be wrong. All of the big brass are present for the rollout. Afterwards Mishin visits the cosmonauts. He says all is ready for the first space station mission, and promises them the N1-L3 will be available soon for lunar missions.


1971 April 16 - Soyuz 10 closed out.

Soyuz s/n 31 is completed. The crew are given a final look at it in the afternoon. They spend four hours in the powered-down spacecraft. Kamanin notes that Nikolayev and Sevastyanov do not look out after their physical condition even on the ground -- no wonder they were so sick after their flight! Afterwards all three crews go to the sauna together.


1971 April 17 - Soyuz 10 crew preparations.

The day dawns warm at Baikonur (7 deg C at 7 am). The cosmonauts' morning is spent in a review of the space station's guidance and control systems. In the afternoon there is a briefing by officers of IAKM-VVS on use of the vacuum facility 'Polinom' during the flight. The cosmonauts are against use of the device.


1971 April 18 - More brass arrive at Baikonur to view the launch of Salyut 1.

All is on schedule at Area 81.


1971 April 19 - Salyut 1

First manned space station. Salyut 1 included a number of military experiments, including the OD-4 optical visual ranger, the Orion ultraviolet instrument for characterising rocket plumes, and the highly classified Svinets radiometer. Primary objectives included photography of the earth, spectrographs of the earth's horizon, experiments with intense gamma rays, and studying manual methods for station orientation.

At 05:20 the State Commission and their guests arrive at the Area 95 observation point to view the launch. The booster takes off on schedule at 06:40 in light rain and 60 km/hr wind. The tracking station reports good orbital insertion, separation from the third stage, and antennae and solar panel deployment. But the cover of the scientific equipment bay does not separate. This will mean that many experiments cannot be accomplished. It is decided to launch the crew to the station anyway, since the station is otherwise functioning normally. The cosmonauts go to the baths in the evening.


Maneuver Summary:
186km X 220km orbit to 253km X 276km orbit. Delta V: 35 m/s
198km X 204km orbit to 187km X 221km orbit. Delta V: 8 m/s
188km X 215km orbit to 208km X 217km orbit. Delta V: 5 m/s
208km X 212km orbit to 210km X 235km orbit. Delta V: 6 m/s
206km X 227km orbit to 225km X 262km orbit. Delta V: 15 m/s
225km X 262km orbit to 257km X 264km orbit. Delta V: 9 m/s
222km X 237km orbit to 238km X 284km orbit. Delta V: 17 m/s
200km X 237km orbit to 226km X 292km orbit. Delta V: 23 m/s
201km X 251km orbit to 248km X 299km orbit. Delta V: 27 m/s
248km X 229km orbit to 285km X 314km orbit. Delta V: 34 m/s
265km X 300km orbit to 221km X 266km orbit. Delta V: 21 m/s
177km X 182km orbit to 177km X 20km orbit. Delta V: 48 m/s
Total Delta V: 200/248 m/s.

The station was deorbited after 175 days in space, on October 16, 1971.

Officially: Testing of design elements and on-board systems; conduct of research and experiments in space flight. Testing of design elements and on-board systems; conduct of research and experiments in space flight.


1971 April 20 - DOS State Commission.

Six of eight fans in the ECS have failed. There are only two back-ups, which are not enough for the 90-day active mission life planed. But it is decided the problem could actually be failed sensors, and in any case the first crew can easily repair the fans. At 17:00 the State Commission meets publicly (radio and television coverage) to approve the launch of Soyuz 10. Launch is set for 22 April at 03:30.


1971 April 21 - Rain at the cosmodrome jeopardises Soyuz 10 launch.


1971 April 22 - Soyuz 10

Intended first space station mission; soft docked with Salyut 1. Launch nearly scrubbed due to poor weather. Soyuz 10 approached to 180 m from Salyut 1 automatically. It was hand docked after faillure of the automatic system, but hard docking could not be achieved because of the angle of approach. Post-flight analysis indicated that the cosmonauts had no instrument to proivde the angle and range rate data necessary for a successful manual docking. Soyuz 10 was connected to the station for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the lack of hard dock, it is said that the crew were unable to enter the station due to a faulty hatch on their own spacecraft. When Shatalov tried to undock from the Salyut, the jammed hatch impeded the docking mechanism, preventing undocking. After several attempts he was unable to undock and land.


1971 April 22 - Launch of Soyuz 10?

nearly scrubbed due to weather.?.


1971 April 23 - Soyuz 10 docking failure.

Soyuz 10 approached to 180 m from Salyut 1 automatically. It was hand docked after faillure of the automatic system, but hard docking could not be achieved because of the angle of approach. Post-flight analysis indicated that the cosmonauts had no instrument to proivde the angle and range rate data necessary for a successful manual docking. Soyuz 10 was connected to the station for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the lack of hard dock, it was said that the crew were unable to enter the station due to a faulty hatch on their own spacecraft. When Shatalov tried to undock from the Salyut, the jammed hatch impeded the docking mechanism, preventing undocking. After several attempts he was unable to undock and land.

Kamanin's account: Docking was planned for 03:00. The Igla system takes over 16 km from the station at 27 m/s closing rate. At 500 m the rate is down to 2 m/s. At 200 m Shatalov takes control of the spacecraft for a manual docking. Contact is made with the stations docking ring at 20-30 cm/s velocity. After 15 minutes, Shatalov reports that he cannot get a docking light - there is no electrical connection between the spacecraft and the station. Telemetry shows that the spacecraft and station are still separated by a 90 mm gap. It is impossible to obtain a hermetic seal of the docking mechanisms. The crew have no spacesuits that would allow them to move to the station through free space. The cosmonauts can't do anything but sit and wait for advice from the ground.

They try repeatedly to force the docking, but nothing works. After four revolutions soft-docked to the station, they are ordered to separate. The cosmonauts had by then tried all of the ground's recommended actions. There was no panic, and all possible variants were attempted.

The Soyuz 10 ECS is left with 40 hours of oxygen - a few metres away in the station, is 3 months' supply. But there are no spacesuits, either in the Soyuz or in the station, no provisions for EVA at all. Any attempt to try to make an entry to the station would leave Mishin with the death of three cosmonauts on his hands. It should be possible to try docking again several times, since 80 kg of propellant is allocated for docking (twice what is normally required) and there needs to be only 45 kg remaining for a guaranteed retrofire. But the limited oxygen aboard the spacecraft means the crew has to prepare for return instead.


1971 April 24 - Landing of Soyuz 10

Only a night landing on Soviet territory was possible, which meant the spacecraft could not be oriented for retrofire. The landing commission started planning for an emergency landing in South America, Africa, or Australia. But Shatalov reported the gyroscopes and orientation sensors were functioning well. He proposed that he orient on the dayside, spin up the gyro platform, and let the gyros orient the spacecraft on the nightside for retrofire. The plan is followed and the spacecraft was targeted for a landing area 80-100 km southwest of Karaganda.

PVO radars pick up the capsule as it soars over the Caspian Sea, and a Mi-4 helicopter sights the parachute even before it thumps down, upright, on the steppes. During the landing, the Soyuz air supply became toxic, and Rukavishnikov was overcome and became unconscious. Nevertheless the crew safely landed at 23:40 GMT, 120 km NW of Karaganda. At the cosmodrome, Chertok is assigned to head a special commission to find the cause of the docking failure and correct it before the next mission can be launched. The VVS aircraft leaves at 07:00 for Moscow. Mishin was to accompany the VPK on their aircraft back, but he is drunk and has to go separately at 15:00. The Soyuz 10 crew reaches Chkalovsky Air Base at 14:00 on 26 April and proceed to Star City for further debriefings. Film and photos indicated that the docking system on the Salyut was not damaged, setting the stage for the Soyuz 11 mission.


1971 May 3 - EVA to Salyut discussed.

The Soyuz 10 crew receive awards at the Kremlin. Rukavishnikov is made a Hero of the Soviet Union, which means he will receive 5,000 roubles, a Volga automobile, and other privileges. Kamanin calls Mishin later in the day. Mishin wants to send up a two-man crew in Soyuz 11, in space suits. One of them will make a spacewalk to examine the docking collar on the Salyut station prior to docking and remove the cover from the scientific sensor bay. Kamanin is infuriated. Seven to eight months ago the VVS had asked Mishin about the possibility of carrying at least one spacesuit aboard the Soyuz or Salyut and the possibility of making an EVA. He categorically rejected the idea. At that time he said it was practically impossible. There are insufficient oxygen reserves aboard the station for a full depressurisation. It would reduce the oxygen to a 75-day supply, and 45 to 50 days worth of reserves are required by mission rules. A cosmonaut meeting is called to discuss the matter. This reveals that DOS#2 is planned to have spacesuits and all of the equipment necessary for an EVA. But an EVA on Soyuz 11 is not possible. There EVA equipment and have not been manufactured. Two to three months would be required to fabricate the suits and equipment and to train for the EVA. Salyut 1 can only last 60 to 70 days. A Soyuz 12 mission in the first part of June could not be ready for an EVA. All in all it would be better to incorporate the EVA hardware into the first mission to a new DOS#2 station.


1971 May 4 - Soyuz 11 EVA pushed.

At 10:00 the Soyuz 10 crew has the traditional post-flight meeting with the Central Committee, followed by speeches at 15:00 before the workers and engineers at TsKBEM. The truth about the flight is not revealed. Mishin is still pushing for an EVA on Soyuz 11; Kamanin tells him the idea is absurd. Kamanin fumes that Mishin still hasn't reliable solved the problem of automated space docking, on which he began work in 1962.


1971 May 6 - Almaz simulator delays.

The Soyuz 10 cosmonauts hold a press conference. The truth behind the mission is concealed. Afterwards a simulator program review is held. Progress is being made, but all of the equipment needed for the simulators is not being funded. MAP is to deliver the Almaz simulator on 1 December 1971, but they can't guarantee it will include equipment that has to be delivered by a range of other ministries. Later a meeting is held on plans by the Moscow Soviet for a space museum. MOM, MAP, and VVS have to contribute to the final exposition plan.


1971 May 8 - Soyuz 11 / Soyuz 12 plans.

Frolov reports to Kamanin on a meeting of the general designers. Mishin has planned the Soyuz 11 launch for June, to be followed by Soyuz 12 in July. The reworked docking mechanism will be ready for installation on Soyuz 11 by 18 May. Mishin recommends a full automated docking for the next mission.


1971 May 10 - Cause of Soyuz 10's failure to dock.

A sunny day in Moscow. Chertok's investigative commission has found that the likely cause of Soyuz 10's failure to dock was a dented sleeve on the active part of the docking mechanism. In repeated tests the sleeve bent at 130 kg force 60% of the time. The real force of docking was estimated at 160 to 200 kg. Therefore for Soyuz 11 and subsequent models the sleeve will be reinforced by a factor of two. The crew will also be given the capability of steering the docking probe and of operating the orientation engine to improve the chances of docking when difficulties do occur.


1971 May 12 - VPK Meeting on Soyuz 11/12.

Mishin guarantees to Smirnov that Soyuz 11 will be able to dock to Salyut 1. He also promises thirty-day missions for both Soyuz 11 and Soyuz 12. But there is a problem with this last promise -- Soyuz 12 won't launch until 15-18 July, which will be after the guaranteed life of the Salyut 1 station. Kamanin protests the decision. Smirnov points out that they must fulfil the resolutions of the Communist Party without question. But he reassures Kamanin that they will take everything one step at a time, keeping the safety of the crew in mind. Kutakhov also does not support the decision, but orders must be followed.


1971 May 14 - Soyuz 11 launch considerations argued.

The crews are continuing training for Soyuz 11. Mishin expects launch on 6 June. He is not opposed to limiting the flight duration to 25 days, necessary in order to make a landing in daytime at the end of the mission. Kamanin doesn't trust this change of heart - he asks the VVS ballistics section to confirm Mishin's calculations. Feoktistov visits Kamanin. He wants to be on the fourth crew to fly to DOS#2. VVS ballistics calls back. A launch as late as 11-12 June would still allow a daytime landing after 25 days. However from day 6 to 24 of the flight retrofire would be on the night side, and could only be accomplished using the technique of Soyuz 10 - aligning the spacecraft on the day side, spinning up the gyro platform, and using the gyros for night-side orientation during retrofire. At a meeting of the Central Committee, Kamanin fights with Ustinov for the safety of the crew. After a three-hour debate the majority of those present are still worried about the reliability of the docking system. But nevertheless the decision is made to proceed with Soyuz 11.


1971 May 15 - Party line on Soviet space program.

Shatalov is actively pushing his candidacy for the position of Kamanin's deputy. Popovich and Sevastyanov prepare for a trip to the Paris Air how on 2 June. They need 'correct' replies to inevitable questions about the moon race, the Salyut 1 station, and Soyuz 10's failure to dock. The line they are to follow is that the Soviet Union is fulfilling its safe and systematic exploration of space. The robots Luna-16 and Lunokhod 1 safely surveyed the moon. After the Soyuz 9 long-duration flight, Salyut 1 was launched and Soyuz 10 tested the rendezvous equipment. The line is that the USSR is not behind the USA, but is exploring space in a safe and responsible way.


1971 May 17 - Feoktistov pushed for flight to DOS#2.

Tregub calls Kamanin to promote Feoktistov's plan to participate in a flight to a Salyut station.


1971 May 19 - Mars 2

Mars probe intended to conduct of a series of scientific investigations of the planet Mars and the space around it. Parameters are for Mars orbit. Mid-course corrections were made on 17 June and 20 November. Mars 2 released the descent module (1971-045D) 4.5 hours before reaching Mars on 27 November 1971. The descent system malfunctioned and the lander crashed at 45 deg S, 302 deg W, delivering the Soviet Union coat of arms to the surface. Meanwhile, the orbiter engine performed a burn to put the spacecraft into a 1380 x 24,940 km, 18 hour orbit about Mars with an inclination of 48.9 degrees. Scientific instruments were generally turned on for about 30 minutes near periapsis. Data was sent back for many months. It was announced that Mars 2 and 3 had completed their missions by 22 August 1972. On-orbit dry mass: 2265 kg. Had the lander survived, data would have been relayed to the earth via the orbiter.


1971 May 21 - Soyuz 11 crews arrive at Tyuratam.

The Salyut crews arrive at Tyuratam and see the new reinforced docking system for the first time. Then they go to Area 2 to prepare their flight plans. Aferwards they train from 20:00 to 24:00 aboard Soyuz 11. But due to the parallel work on revising the Igla system, the systems are not all updated yet. The cosmonauts have no confidence in the new system, and can only say they 'probably' have a better chance of success in docking than before.


1971 May 22 - Kamanin's position in jeopardy.

The weather dawns at Tyuratam 22 deg C, and has already risen to 30 deg C by 09:30. Kamanin flies back to Moscow, where the weather is rain, and he learns of new moves to try to put him aside.


1971 May 25 - Crews of Apollo 14 and Soyuz 9 to meet in Paris.

Sevastyanov is given further preparation for his visit to the Paris Air Show. He will meet with the crew of Apollo 14 on television. Kamanin informs him that he is earmarked for the fourth crew of DOS#2.


1971 May 27 - Still no centrifuge for cosmonaut training centre.

Rebrov is working on a book on Salyut 1, and the Soyuz 10 and 11 missions. Despite three trips to Sweden and France, there has still been no vendor selection for the TsF-18 centrifuge. In any case there is still not enough money (12 million roubles needed, 3 million roubles available).


1971 May 28 - Soyuz 11 and 12 crews depart for Baikonur.

The Salyut crews, Kamanin, and VVS support technicians and staff - 46 people altogether - fly to Tyuratam aboard three Tu-104's.


1971 May 29 - No improvements at cosmodrome for cosmonauts.

Kamanin notes with disgust that the cosmodrome has been updated for 15 years but not one kopeck has been spent to provide training facilities for the cosmonauts. Leonov's 37th birthday is celebrated.


1971 May 31 - Problems with Salyut station atmosphere.

Kamanin is advised that the atmosphere aboard Salyut 1 is now all right. He finds the news disturbing, since he was not informed until then that there was a problem! Feoktistov outlines the modifications made to Soyuz 11 compared to Soyuz 10 to the cosmonauts. The reinforcement of the docking ring system has added 10 kg to the spacecraft. Consumables are carried that increase the time for autonomous flight from three to four days.


1971 June 1 - Soyuz 11 spacecraft closed out.

The Soyuz 11 and 12 crews train. The Soyuz-11 spacecraft is closed out, ready for flight.


1971 June 2 - Contingency planning for Soyuz 11.

From 09:00 to 13:00 the Soyuz 11 cosmonauts and engineers discuss the best approaches for docking, contingency plans, and so on. A concrete solution is provided for every possible problem they might encounter aboard the station - bad air, water contaminated, stuck exit hatch, and so on.


1971 June 3 - Kubasov found not fit to fly aboard Soyuz 11.

The cosmonauts play tennis in the morning. There are two dysentery cases in the staff at Area 2. Contact between the officers and workers at the centre is minimised. The Soyuz 11 crew undergoes their final medical checkups. A spot is found on Kubasov's lung in the x-ray. The doctors say it is the beginning of tuberculosis, and prohibit him from flying in space! Mishin, backed by Moscow, says that under mission rules, this means the Dobrovolsky back-up crew will have to fly in place of Leonov's crew. Kamanin feels uncomfortable with the decision, but can make no good argument for his preference - just replacing Kubasov on Leonov's crew with Volkov. The Launch Commission decides that Soyuz 11 is to be rolled out to the pad at 06:00 on 4 June, with launch at 07:39 on 6 June, with Dobrovolsky's crew aboard.


1971 June 4 - Backup crew named to fly Soyuz 11

Soyuz 11 is on the launch pad, and which crew will fly is still being argued. Kamanin wants to simply have Volkov replace Kubasov on Leonov's crew. Mishin wants the complete backup crew to replace Leonov's crew. Others on the launch commission support Mishin. At 15:30 a team of physicians arrive from Moscow to verify the diagnosis of Kubasov. At 18:00 the final state commission meeting confirms the Dobrovolsky crew. At 19:00 a press conference is held - Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, and Volkov are publicly presented as the crew of Soyuz 11.


1971 June 5 - Leonov crew fights to be put back aboard Soyuz 11.

Leonov and his crew meet with Kamanin at 10:00 and argue against flying the back-up crew. Kamanin tells him that they are not reacting in a correct manner to the decision. Afterwards Kamanin meets with Krylov at Area 17 to discuss the planned new three-story hotel, which will finally include some sports training facilities for the cosmonauts. By the evening ten VVS generals have arrived to see the launch -- no more than 2 or 3 really need to be there.


1971 June 6 - Soyuz 11

First space station flight, two years before the American Skylab. The Soyuz 11 launch proceeds without any difficulties. The first orbital correction in the set of rendezvous manoeuvres to head for Salyut 1 is made on the fourth revolution. At 15:00 Kamanin and other critical staff board a plane for the mission control centre at Yevpatoriya. The aircraft takes 4 hours 30 minutes to get there.

Equipment aboard Salyut 1 included a telescope, spectrometer, electrophotometer, and television. The crew checked improved on-board spacecraft systems in different conditions of flight and conducted medico-biological research. The main instrument, a large solar telescope, was inoperative because its cover failed to jettison. A small fire and difficult working conditions will lead to a decision to return crew before planned full duration of 30 days.


1971 June 7 - Soyuz 11 docks with Salyut 1.

A joint meeting of the Soyuz 11 State Commission and Soviet of Chief Designers takes place at Yevpaptoriya at 07:00. Aboard Soyuz 11, the Igla automatic rendezvous and docking system is switched on when the spacecrafft is 7 km from Salyut 1. There is no manual intervention in the process; Dobrovolsky simply makes reports to the ground of the rendezvous and docking system's progress. Docking itself takes place out of tracking range. There is considerable suspense in mission control during the 90-minute wait until reacquisition. Before leaving radio contact, telemetry showed a signal that the docking mechanism had depressurised, which would have prevented the cosmonauts from opening the hatch and entering the space station. But when the station comes back in view, it turns out that all went normally and the crew has already entered the station. Patsayev entered first, turned on the air regenerator, and replaced two failed fans. The crew report that the station atmosphere is unpleasant, with a strong burned smell. It will take 20 hours for all of the air in the station to cycle through the ECS scrubbers, so the crew is told to spend the first night aboard their Soyuz.


1971 June 8 - Soyuz 11 powered down and crew begins long-duration mission aboard Salyut 1.

When the crew awakes, the station air is all right, and all eight fans and filters of the ECS are operating. Soyuz 11 is powered down and put in storage mode. The crew begins the DOS work program. But they have not yet put on their Penguin training suits and are not yet following the exercise program. Clearly, they are not taking the necessary steps to adapt to zero-G and preserve their health for their return. They take control of the station for the first time, making an orbital correction manoeuvre, and then orienting the station and its solar panels fully toward the sun. The world press is full of the great news of a new Soviet victory - the first station in space.


1971 June 9 - Soyuz 11 Day 4

All continues normal aboard the station. Television sessions are held with the crew. They have now put on their training suits, and are urged to do regular physical training as required by the program. There are enough ECS consumables, fuel, water, and food aboard for the station to continue in manned operation until 20 August. The return of he Soyuz 11 crew is planned for 30 June, with launch of Soyuz 12 on 20 July. The first of the daily landing commission meetings is held. Emergency landing sites and procedures for the following day are discussed and set.


1971 June 10 - Soyuz 11 Day 5

All normal aboard Salyut 1. It is established that Soyuz 11 has enough propellant remaining for 57 hours of autonomous flight, including orientation and retrofire. It is decided to ask the crew to conduct a couple of experiments with the 'globus' instrument on the station to determine the accuracy of its landing point prediction.


1971 June 11 - Soyuz 11 Day 6

All is normal aboard the station. Mishin, Kamanin, and most of the high-ranking military officers return to Moscow. Nikolayev will lead the cosmonaut contingent at Yevpatoriya for five days. Then Kamanin will return.


1971 June 12 - Soyuz 11 Day 7

Launch, docking, and the first five days of work by the Soyuz 11 crew aboard the Salyut 1 station proceeded with virtually no failures whatsoever. Cosmonauts Filipchenko, Lavarev, and Vorobyov will fly with Kamanin to Yevpatoriya to act as capcoms and cosmonaut centre liaisons for the rest of the mission.


1971 June 15 - Soyuz Kontakt and DOS-2 crew assignments made.

Crews are formed for six Soyuz (Kontakt?) flights. Soyuz s/n 18 - Filipchenko and Grechko; Soyuz s/n 19 - Lazarev and Makarov; Soyuz s/n 20 - Vorobyov and Yazdovsky; Soyuz s/n 21 - Yakovlelv and Porvatkin; Soyuz s/n 22 - Kovalyonok and Isakov; Soyuz s/n 23 - Shcheglov and [illegible]. Five crews are training for Salyut flights: Crew 1, Leonov, Rukavishnikov, and Kolodin; Crew 2, Gubarev, Sevastyanov, and Voronov. TsKBEM engineer cosmonauts are to be selected will round out the last three crews, but VVS members will be: Crew 3, Klimuk, Artyukhin; Crew 4, Bykovskyy, Alekseyev; Crew 5, Gorbatko. Leonov and Gubarev will have their crews fully ready for Soyuz 12 by 30 June, for a launch date between 15-20 July. Leonov is asking to go to East Germany for two to three days in the first week of July. Kamanin is fully opposed to this - he is thinkng not of his upcoming flight, but the exhibition of his paintings at the Prezdensk Gallery!


1971 June 16 - Soyuz 11 Day 11 - fire aboard the station.

Kamanin is to fly back to Yevpatoriya in the afternoon. Chelomei is often ill lately -- Mishin is using the opportunity to lobby Ustinov and Smirnov to kill Almaz, and increase the DOS-7K order from four to ten. Mishin killed Kozlov's Soyuz VI in a similar manner. Prior to his departure, the cosmonauts brief Kamanin on the results of the visits of Popovich and Sevastyanov to France, and Khrunov to the USA. Kamanin is having trouble with the leadership in allowing Volynov to be assigned to another crew.

As Kamanin is on the way to the airport, a serious situation develops aboard the station. At 13:00 the cosmonauts report a strong burning smell, and smoke in the station. The crew evacuates the station and retreat to the Soyuz lifeboat. Forty minutes later, just as Kamanin is boarding the Tu-104, Shatalov reports that the mission will continue, but the situation aboard the station is not comfortable. The crew has turned off the primary oxygen regenerator and exchanged the filters of the oxygen supply and reserve regenerator. At 14:05 Kamanin finally boards the aircraft, which takes off and sets course for the Crimea. At 14:30 they are ordered to turn around and land at Chkalovksy Airfield outside Moscow. The whole thing turns out to be a banal mistake by one of the officers at an air traffic control station! They lose two hours in the process. No information is available when the Tu-104 finally lands at Saki, since Nikolayev and the other cosmonauts who attended the emergency meetings had taken off to return to Moscow three hours earlier. Kamanin finally arrives at Yevpatoriya at 23:00, in time for a comms session with Dobrovolsky and Patsayev (Volkov is sleeping). The Soyuz 11 crew reports that the training suits are very tiring. Dobrovolsky reports all is now normal otherwise. He requests permission to continue the flight. Bykovsky reports that the situation on the station is now stable. There is no more smoke or burning smell, but the crew has been overloaded in the last six hours. They have done a lot of work with no food or rest. The situation was so bad at one point that preparations had been made for undocking the Soyuz for an emergency return to earth.


1971 June 17 - Soyuz 11 Day 12

At the 08:00 comms session Volkov is on duty, while Dobrovolsky and Patsayev sleep. Kamanin notes that to Volkov everything in his account of the previous day's emergency is 'I' - 'I' decided, 'I' did, etc. Mishin expresses his opinion that the flight commander must make all the decisions; to which Volkov answers 'the whole crew decides things together'. The tracking team, however, considers him too independent and emotional, a person who won't recognise or acknowledge his errors. The State Commission meets at 11:00 and decides there is nothing to prevent the mission continuing. However it is decided to shut down all scientific equipment. They will be turned back on one by one in an attempt to find the origin of the burning.


1971 June 18 - Soyuz 11 Day 13

The crew makes a five minute television transmission. The telescope in the background produces dissonance in the image. Kamanin calls Mishin at Tyuratam, where the N1 is being prepared for launch. There are delays, and the launch must be moved back two days to 22 June. Kamanin tells the crews that this means there will be no good opportunity for them to observe the launch from the station with the Svinets apparatus, as was planned. Meanwhile the electrical specialists and Chertok in Moscow cannot localise the electrical problem. All of the equipment aboard has been turned off and on, and the burning simply does not occur again. Meanwhile there are concerns that Soyuz 11 may be able to reach the desired mission length, but that Soyuz 12 may not be safe to fly by its launch date. The mission is still planned for the full 30 days, but the physical training program has not been followed due to the problems and breakdowns aboard the station, requiring the cosmonauts to spend a lot of time in unplanned repair activities. The physicians are not in favour of prolonging the flight.


1971 June 20 - Soyuz 11 Day 15

The Soyuz 11 crew completes their 1000th revolution of the earth. Gorbatko jokes that they are 'go for 2000' but the crew is not enthusiastic. Kamanin does not believe they have more than 10 or 11 days endurance left in them. Clear problems exist: the Penguin training suits do not adequately replace gravitational effects (they have suffered torn elastic bands); the measured lung capacity of the crews has declined from 300 on the first day of the flight to 200 now; use of the treadmill caused the whole station to vibrate alarmingly and was discontinued (the solar panels flapped, the propellants sloshed in the tanks, and the noise of the track couldn't be kept out of the rest areas). The weather is very poor in the prime recovery area for the last two days - 20-25 m/s wind - dangerous for landing.


1971 June 21 - Soyuz 11 Day 16

The State Commission decides that the flight of Soyuz 11 can continue to 27 to 30 June. Kamanin wanted to bring the crew down earlier, but his position is rejected. He has become so tired of some of his unsupportive higher-ups.


1971 June 22 - Soyuz 11 Day 17

Thirty years since the start of World War II, Kamanin muses. He thinks of the weight of those years - of Stalinist repression, war, loss of his oldest son, evacuation to Ashkabad and Tashkent, death of Komarov, and finally the heaviest loss of all - the death of Gagarin. Kamanin will be 63 in October, and the war memories still engulf him. He is so tired. Time to retire, make way for the younger men. There are some good men in the first cosmonaut team. Meanwhile, all is normal aboard Salyut 1 on the 17th day of Soyuz 11's mission.


1971 June 23 - Soyuz 11 Day 18

The weather is bad, and Kamanin is depressed. Over the last three days various 'stars' of space medicine have come to the command point to pontificate. They are convinced this crew will be in better shape on their return than the Soyuz 9 crew due to the KTF trainer, Polinom vacuum device, Penguin prophylactic suits, and so on. Kamanin is not convinced. He thinks the readaptation period will be very difficult. Volkov will be the worst off. In flight he often complains of problems with the physical training equipment, doesn't drink enough water, and often makes mistakes. But the doctors say all will be quite OK. The landing commission meets. The touchdown of the crew is set for 30 June, 150-200 km south-west of Karaganda.


1971 June 24 - Soyuz 11 Day 19

Dobrovolsky and Patsayev successfully complete the Svinets experiment, fixing the position of a rocket launched at night. The N1 launch has been delayed again. Karas reports that telemetry shows many problems with the rocket, even just sitting on the pad. Kamanin sees this lousy rocket as a heavy cross for Soviet cosmonautics to bear. As for Soyuz 11, the Landing Commission discusses moving the landing from the 3rd to 2nd revolution on 30 July. But then the crew will land in the dark, while for the 3rd revolution landing they will touch down 24 minutes before sunrise. It is decided to continue planning for the third revolution, in case the crew needs immediate medical assistance.


1971 June 25 - Soyuz 11 Day 20

The crew sets a new world endurance record in space. Overnight they conduct another successful Svinets experiment, this time observing the launch of a solid propellant missile. The crew seems alert and in good shape. The Landing Commission confirms landing for 30 June, but now 200 to 250 km south-west of Karaganda. The medical teams will be prepared for all possible situations. There are bitter arguments within the commission as to the current and likely condition of the crew.


1971 June 26 - Soyuz 11 Day 21

The crew has completed all scientific and technical experiments aboard the Salyut station. They will spend the last two to three days concentrating on physical training, medical observations, and preparation for landing. They will turn off all station equipment not required for autonomous flight, prepare the Soyuz for landing, and measure the water and consumable reserves available for the next crew. The experiments have produced many film cartridges, experiment samples, and so on that should be returned to earth. However there is not enough space or mass reserves in the Soyuz capsule for them all so they are only to return those specifically listed by ground control.


1971 June 27 - Soyuz 11 Day 22

The shocking news of rocket engine designer Isayev's premature death is received at the Soyuz 11 control point at Yevpatoriya. This is followed by the news that the third N1 failed 57 seconds into its flight. A total of 13 N1's were built, and all three launched so far have exploded. Kamanin agreed to cancellation of the entire project three years ago, but Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Mishin continued in their grandiose charade, wasting billions of roubles in the process. Meanwhile on the 22nd day of Soyuz 11's flight, the crew is up and about. Volkov is especially active, which should improve his readaptation when he returns to earth.


1971 June 28 - Soyuz 11 Day 23

The cosmonauts have to be extremely careful in putting Salyut in storage mode. They go through the checklist together with the ground to make sure no errors are made. The Salyut station is much more comfortable than the Soyuz, but the mission has revealed it needs many improvements, including: a unit for ejecting liquids from the station; solar panels, and scientific instruments, that can be automatically pointed at the sun or their target and stabilised; an improved control section; better crew rest provisions. Only with such improvements will it be possible to make flights of two months or longer. And such flights will take ten years to work up to, not by the end of the year, as Mishin claims. Kamanin thinks it will be possible to prolong flights to 40 to 60 days in 1972, but that this will then be a long-standing record. Any longer would be equivalent to running 100 km but then collapsing and dying - the Soviet Union doesn't need those kind of records!

The bigwigs arrive from Moscow to be in on the landing. But Afanasyev, Keldysh, Mishin, and Karas all remain at the cosmodrome for the investigation into the N1 failure.


1971 June 29 - Soyuz 11 day 24 - final preparations for landing.

Big dramas are being played out at the cosmodrome over the N1 failure, but Mishin seems protected by someone very high up and is untouchable in the blame game. This is the last full day aloft of the Soyuz 11 crew. At 19:30 the State Commission at the command point authorises the Soyuz 11 crew to undock from the Salyut space station. A communications session begins on the 15th orbit of the day at 19:45. Dobrovolsky and Volkov confirmed that the station was completely mothballed, all material to be returned was stowed in the Soyuz capsule, the crew was wearing their anti-G suits, and had completed shut-down of the station. Yeliseyev advised the crew that ground telemetry showed that they had not turned on the noxious gas filters in the station. Volkov argues that this must be a ground control error, but after checking admits the crew made a mistake.

After the crew has left the station, taken their seats in the capsule, and closed the hatch between the Soyuz BO orbital module and SA re-entry capsule, the strained voice of Volkov comes from space: 'Hatch not hermetically sealed? What's happening? What's going on?'. All this response to the fact that the caution and warning panel 'Hatch open' light has not gone out. Yeliseyev calmly advises the crew, 'Don't panic. Open the hatch, and move the wheel to the left to open. Close the hatch, and then move the wheel to the right six turns with full force'. The crew does this several times, but the light still won't go out. On a final attempt, with 6.5 turns of the wheel, the light goes out. On the second half of he 15th orbit, the crew lowers the pressure in the BO to 160 mm, and the hatch proves to be air-tight.

On the 16th orbit the crew separates their Soyuz from the Salyut station. At 21:35 they report normal separation and that they 'can see how the station moves away from the spacecraft'. They have enough propellant to stop the separation velocity, and take photographs of the station from 10 to 15 m away. They then back away to 30-40 m, and Patsayev takes another set of photographs documenting the condition of the station.


1971 June 30 - Landing of Soyuz 11 and death of crew.

Kamanin account: The next communications session with Soyuz 11 comes at 00:16. Kamanin reads up to the crew the conditions at the primary and secondary landing zones (10 km visibility, 2-3 m/s wind, 16 deg temperature, 720 mm pressure). The crew is to told to report on HF and UHF using all antennae and to call out parachute opening. They are ordered to wait in the capsule for the recovery crews, not to open the hatch themselves under any circumstances. It should take no more than 20 to 30 minutes until the recovery team can open the hatch from the outside. They are under no circumstances to try to get out of the capsule without the assistance of the doctors. Dobrovolsky confirms: "All received, landing sequence proceeding excellent, all OK, crew is excellent".

Telemetry shows the Soyuz braking engine begins firing at 01:35:24 and makes a nominal 187 second retrofire burn. Ground control waits for verbal confirmation, but there are no voice communications received from the capsule. At 01:47:28 the crew should have reported successful BO and PAO module separations from the capsule, but still nothing heard. It is not clear to ground control at this point - is Soyuz 11 heading for a landing or staying in orbit? From 01:49:37 to 2:04:07 the capsule is in communications range but there is no reply to the ground's calls. It is now obvious that something is wrong aboard Soyuz 11, but it is not clear what.

At 01:54 the VVS command point reports that radar has picked up the spacecraft at 2200 km uprange from the landing zone. It is on course, so the feeling is that the capsule's communications system has simply failed. The parachute deploy signal is received from within the landing zone, but still no transmissions from the crew as on earlier missions. At 02:05 an Il-14 search plane and Mi-8 helicopter spot Soyuz 11 descending under its parachute, within 200 km east of Dzhezkazgan. Soyuz 11 lands at 02:18 Moscow time. Four helicopters land simultaneously as the capsule thumps down on the steppe. The report from the recovery forces to the control centre is only one word: "Wait". There are no further tramsmissions from the recovery forces. It is clear the crew must be dead. Kamanin calls Goreglyad and tells him to set up a State Commission.

Later it is learned that two minutes after landing the hatch was opened by the recovery group and the crew was seen to be without signs of life. At 06:00 by orders of Ustinov and Smirnov the designated members of the State Commission depart from the Crimea for the landing site aboard a Tu-104, then transfer to an An-10. But on arrival they find that Goreglyad has already left for Moscow with the corpses of the crew. At 16:00 the engineers and doctors meet with the State Commission. The spacecraft's cabin, seats, parachute, equipment, and instruments have been examined. They indicate no problems - the spacecraft made a good soft landing. A hard landing was not a factor. All switches on the instrument panel were in their correct positions. A vent in one of two air valves was open 10 mm. There were no other discrepancies, even though the doctors already report that they believe the crew died from decompression of the cabin. At 23:00 the State Commission members leave for Moscow.

Chertok account: Soyuz 11 undocked at 21:25 Moscow time on 29 June. The crew had two revolutions to prepare for re-entry. They manually oriented the spacecraft in the zone of visibility with tracking stations in the Soviet Union and spun up the gyro platform for retrofire. Contact during re-entry would be via the NIP-16 tracking station with NIP-15 serving as a back-up. Soyuz 11's SKTDU main engine fired on 01:47 on 30 June. The crew reported all events leading up to retrofire on time. But the spacecraft had passed out of the range of any Soviet tracking stations at the the time of completion of retrofire - when the acceleration integrator commanded cut-off of the engine. By the time the vehicle was back in range, it was already in the blackout of re-entry. After emerging from that, telemetry was received, but no crew communications (after the death of Komarov on Soyuz 1 - when his voice transmissions blocked telemetry from the capsule - the communications were changed to a multi-channel system, allowing simultaneous voice and telemetry to be transmitted). An aircraft sighted the SA re-entry capsule, descending under its parachute 10 km from the aim point. A helicopter touched down next to the capsule within two minutes of its landing. There was no response from within the capsule. When the capsule was opened, the three cosmonauts were found to be dead. Dobrovolsky's corpse was still warm. The bodys were removed from the capsule and attempts were made to resuscitate the crew, to no avail. The cabin recorder showed the pressure had gone from 915 to 100 mm in 130 seconds.


1971 July 1 - Soyuz 11 capsule evaluated at landing site.

At 05:00 specialists arrive from Moscow to the Soyuz 11 landing site to test the hermetic seal of the cabin. By 08:00 the pressure tests of the cabin show a slight loss, but it takes 1.5 hours for the cabin to fully depressurise. There are no cracks or holes in the cabin. Therefore the only cause could be the two air valves. The medical experts have already determined that the cosmonauts died from depressurisation of the spacecraft. The crew have haemorrhages in their brains, blood in their lungs, and nitrogen in their blood. The flight recorder shows that four seconds after the depressurisation began Dobrovolsky's breathing rate went to 48/minute (normally 16/minute), asphyxiation began, and 20 to 30 seconds later he was dead. By 19:30 Kamanin is in Moscow, and he sees the bodies laying in state at 21:40. They are cremated at 22:00.


1971 July 3 - Soyuz 11 investigative commission.

The Soyuz 11 crew is buried in the Kremlin Wall in a State Funeral at Red Square. This is followed by the first meeting of the State Commission on the Soyuz 11 disaster. Ten sub-committees were set up to concentrate on various technical aspects of the investigation. The initial finding is that the air valve in the 'Mir' apparatus opened in free space at 170 km altitude. Within 112 seconds the capsule fully depressurised. The valve was designed to let in fresh air after re-entry. It should have been impossible for this valve to open until the external barometric pressure had increased to a set level. The only crew instructions and training in relation to this valve were that it was to be closed by either the crew or the recovery forces in case of a landing in water.


1971 July 5 - Soyuz 11 crew deaths preventable.

So many kinds of failures were simulated during Soyuz training - but never the failure that killed the Soyuz 11 crew. Yet the deaths were preventable. The VVS and the cosmonauts had been writing letters for eight years on the necessity of wearing suits aboard the spacecraft. Mishin's reply: 'I don't want to fly cowards on my spacecraft'. It would have been possible to fly Soyuz with a crew of two, in suits, or at least adequate reserve oxygen tanks to flood the compartment and maintain pressure in the situation of a capsule leak. The VVS protested the decision not to fly with such measures, but Mishin simply rejected the protests.


1971 July 7 - Kamanin's last diary entry in service.

Kamanin is furious. Of 25 cosmonauts that have flown, five are buried in the Kremlin Wall, one in Novdevich cemetery, and 19 are still in service. These deaths are due to the incompetent management of Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, Mishin, Afanasyev, Bushuyev, and Serbin. Some people are trying to blame Kamanin or the cosmonauts, saying the vent could have been plugged with a finger if the crew was properly trained. Others blame the crew in other ways. But the main problem was already brought up early over and over and over by the VVS and Kutakhov - the crew should never have flown without spacesuits! This has been going on for seven years. Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Ustinov, Smirnov, all wrote of their fear of allowing dangerous spaceflights. But these were the same leaders who supported the categorical rejection of the need for the crew to fly in spacesuits. The need for the suits was rejected first by Korolev, then Mishin. They kept saying that hundreds of manned and unmanned spacecraft had flown without depressurisation ever occurring.

The idea of plugging the vent with a finger is absurd. Had they done so, they would have had only 15 to 17 minutes to work the problem before the onset of G-forces. Imagine the real situation - retrofire was normal - the BO module jettisoned - suddenly the depress light on the caution warning panel is on! Dobrovolsky checks the hatch, but it's not the hatch -- and there are only 25 to 30 seconds until they all become unconscious. Volkov and Patsayev undo their straps and turn on the radio. The whistling of the air can only be heard at the commander's seat - where the vent valve is located. Kamanin discontinues diary entries for two years after this date.


1971 July 8 - Kamanin relieved as head of VVS space affairs and cosmonaut training.

In a letter signed by both men, citing a Ministry of Defence decree number 0777 dated 25 June 1971, Kamanin resigns his position as assistant to the VVS General Staff for training and direction of spaceflights, and hands over this position to Shatalov.


1971 October 18 - Kamanin retires from the military on his 63rd birthday.


1972 - Soyuz sn 23 (cancelled)

Soyuz s/n 23 would have been equipped with the passive Kontakt rendezvous/docking system of the LK lunar lander. The spacecraft would have served as a docking target for Soyuz s/n 22. In Kamanin's diary, the name of the second crewmember is illegible.


1972 - Soyuz sn 22 (cancelled)

Soyuz s/n 22 would have been the active spacecraft of the second dual launch to test the Kontakt lunar orbit rendezvous system.


1973 December 12 - Kamanin makes his first diary entry in two years.

Since Soyuz 11 and his subsequent 'retirement', the Soviet Union has launched two space stations that failed in orbit, and made only one two-day Soyuz flight. Meanwhile the Americans had run successfully their entire Skylab program. The fourth N1 exploded on 23 November 1972. Ustinov has thrown away tens of billions of roubles on that useless project. Soyuz 13 landed yesterday - the first Soviet manned spaceflight not under Kamanin's command. Khrushchev made many mistakes, but Brezhnev continues to make even more. Kamanin feels his country is however not fit for democracy, that it needs discipline - otherwise there will be anarchy.


1974 January 17 - Kamanin sees Comet Kohoutek.


1974 March 9 - Kamanin in retirement.

Gagarin's birthday. Kamanin reflects that before Gagarin's death, everything seemed possible - they were planning manned expeditions to the Moon, Mars, VenusÖnow there are no plans for man to ever get beyond low earth orbit. Kamanin's life in retirement is full of small concerns. He spends time at the dacha, the apartment needs repairs but he has no savings to pay for it. He goes to Communist Party meetings and commemorations of various space anniversaries. He is consulted to provide advice for historical books and films.


1974 August 31 - Cosmonaut reunion as Soyuz 15 crew arrives in Moscow.

Kamanin attends a reunion of cosmonauts on the occasion of the arrival of the Soyuz 15 crew at Chkalovsky Airfield. Demin has flown at the age of 48, the oldest astronaut ever, until Slayton makes his flight. Kamanin talks to Glushko and learns that the N1 has finally been cancelled. The misbegotten project went for eight years only because of the unconditional support of Mishin by Keldysh, Smirnov, and Ustinov. The earliest Soviet lunar landing cannot occur earlier than the Tenth Five Year Plan (e.g. 1980). Kamanin learns that Soyuz 15 was supposed to be a thirty-day flight, but the Igla automatic docking system failed yet again.


1975 February 26 - Kamanin in hospital.

Kamanin has to go to the hospital for the first time in his life.


1977 November 14 - Kamanin still keeping his diary.

Kamanin looks back at celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the October Revolution. He notes that Soyuz 25 failed to dock.


1978 August 20 - Kamanin in Star City.

At a visit to Star City, Kamanin is allowed to participate together with Yeliseyev in a communications session with the EO-2 crew (Ivanchenkov, Kovalyonok) aboard Salyut 6.

More... - Chronology...

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