Encyclopedia Astronautica
Afanasyev, Sergei

Afanasyev Sergei
Afanasyev, Sergei Aleksandrovich (1918-) Russian politician. First Minister of General Machine Building, in charge of the Soviet ballistic rocket and space industries, from 1965-1983.

Afanasyev graduated from the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical University (MTVU) in 1941. During the Second World War he worked as an engineer at an artillery factory in Perm, learning armour design. He became the protégé of Minister of Defence Ustinov and from 1946 worked in the Ministry of Defence, then at the Ministry of Defence Industries. After the death of Stalin and the ascendancy of Khrushchev Ustinov was sideline. Nevertheless from 1957 Afanasyev was elected to ascending political positions, culminating in his 1961 election as Deputy Chairman of the Soviet Ministers of the Russian Republic. In October 1964 Khrushchev was overthrown by Brezhnev and Ustinov was returned to a position of power. Afanasyev was made Minister of General Machine Building in March 1965. He held this position and thereby managed the entire rocket and space industries of the Soviet Union until 1983, when Ustinov retired due to poor health. From 1983-1987 he was Minister of the Heavy and Transport Machine Industry. In 1988 he retired but continued as a consultant to the Ministry of Defence.

Born: 1918.08.30.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
Associated Programs
  • Lunar L3 The Soviet program to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth. More...

  • Melnik, T G, Voenno-Kosmicheskiy Siliy, Nauka, Moscow, 1997..

Afanasyev, Sergei Chronology

1965 November 24 - .
  • Kamanin and Korolev - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Tyulin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Pashkov; Smirnov. Program: Voskhod; Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Voskhod 3; Voskhod 4; Voskhod 5; Voskhod 6; Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A; Soyuz s/n 3/4. Spacecraft: Voskhod; Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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.

1966 January 24 - .
  • New space schedules - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Afanasyev, Sergei; Petrovskiy; Chelomei; Malinovskiy. Program: Voskhod; Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Soviet Lunar Landing. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK. 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 March 6 - . LV Family: N1; R-9; RT-2.
  • Soviet design bureaux reorganised and renamed. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Okhapkin; Afanasyev, Sergei. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. Decree 'On renaming OKB-1 as TsKBEM and OKB-52 as TsKBM' was issued. In 1966 Afanasyev reorganised the military industrial complex. OKB-1 was redesignated TsKBEM. Sergei Osipovich Opakhin was made First Deputy within the new organization.

    However within TsKBEM there were no relative priorities for the projects competing for resources. The R-9 and RT-2 ICBM's, the orbital, circumlunar, and lunar orbiter versions of Soyuz, the LK lunar lander, the N1 booster -- all were 'equal'. It seemed folly to be pursuing the orbital ferry version of the Soyuz when no space station had to be funded. But it was felt flying the spacecraft would solve reliability questions about the design, so it was pursued in parallel with the L1 and L3 versions.

1966 August 23 - .
  • Soyuz recovery training at sea - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Bykovsky; Komarov; Khrunov; Gorbatko; Kolodin; Voronov; Smirnov; Afanasyev, Sergei; Burnazyan; Keldysh; Volkov; Kubasov; Grechko. Program: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Yastreb. 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 October 5 - .
  • Council for the Problem of the Conquest of the Moon - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Karas; Sokolov. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 November 19 - .
1966 December 16 - .
  • Soyuz post-mortem - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Mishin. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK. 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.

1967 April 27 - .
  • State Commission on Soyuz 1 crash. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ustinov; Smirnov; Serbin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Gagarin. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 May 26 - .
  • Soyuz 1 Commission report is reviewed. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Kerimov; Tyulin; Gagarin. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 October 10 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Lunar Soviet - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Keldysh; Chelomei; Mishin; Kuznetsov. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: L5-1967. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Smirnov. Spacecraft: Soyuz 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 November 1 - .
  • Cosmos 188 self-destructs during re-entry. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Kerimov; Tyulin; Mishin. Program: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 30 - .
  • Almaz program review. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Pashkov; Afanasyev, Sergei; Chelomei; Gagarin; Mishin. Program: Almaz. Spacecraft: Almaz OPS. 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 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Lunar Soviet. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Mishin; Ustinov; Smirnov. Program: Lunar L3; Apollo. 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 27 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Mishin to remain in charge until first L3 launches. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Feoktistov; Afanasyev, Sergei; Mishin; Ustinov. Program: Lunar L3. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Mishin. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK. 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 23 - . LV Family: MR-UR-100; N1; RT-2; UR-100N.
1968 January 27 - .
  • Cosmonauts take case against Mishin to VVS high command. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gagarin; Titov; Popovich; Belyayev; Leonov; Chelomei; Mishin; Ustinov; Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Lunar L1; Almaz. Spacecraft: Soyuz VI; Almaz OPS. 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 February 17 - .
  • Soyuz VI cancellation approved. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Kozlov; Afanasyev, Sergei. Spacecraft: Soyuz VI. Summary: 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 August 2 - .
  • Reduced L3 recovery forces accepted. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Vershinin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Keldysh; Ryabikov; Gagarin. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-LOK. Summary: 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 September 17 - .
  • Zond 5 midcourse using earth sensor - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Bulldozer delays N1 launch by two months - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 October 20 - .
  • Soyuz 2/3 QA coordination issues. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Ustinov. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK. 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.

1969 January 9 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • State Commission for the first N1 launch - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Kurushin. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1A. 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 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1 state commission meeting. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1A. Summary: 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 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Ustinov; Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 4; Soyuz 5; Soyuz 4/5. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 23 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1 stormclouds - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK. Summary: In the morning Mishin advised his staff of comments made by Afanasyev at the Kremlin reception the previous evening. He had called a Soviet of the chief designers for 27 January to discuss the fate of the N1 programme..

1969 January 27 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Soviet of Chief Designers considers N1 cancellation - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Keldysh; Chelomei; Serbin; Barmin; Tyulin. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Mars 5NM; Aelita. Afanasyev and Keldysh chaired the unusual and extraordinary Soviet of the chief designers. Mishin opened with an emotional plea not to cancel the N1. He justified the delays and failures by saying that he had not been given sufficient budget to conduct necessary experimental and qualification tests of systems before flight. Additional Details: here....

1969 January 31 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Preparations for the first N1 launch. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Lunar L3. Mishin was staying in Korolev's cottage at the launch centre. The other chief designers were staying at the cosmodrome's hotel, while the technicians and workers were at the new apartments at Area 113. Afanasyev headed the 'Little Soviet', the State Commission, that would oversee the launch. The commission met in the conference hall in the huge horizontal assembly building for the N1 at Area 112. The commission gave the approval, and the first flight-ready N1 was rolled out of its assembly building over the 4 km of track to the launch pad. The huge dimensions of the booster had required a new method of building the booster at the launch site. Simulators were able to check all of he booster functions up to the point of engine ignition.

1969 February 21 - . 09:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC110R. LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1. LV Configuration: N-1 11A52 3L. FAILURE: First stage failure.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • N1 3L launch - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1S s/n 3. Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Kirillov; Dorofeyev; Afanasyev, Sergei; Mishin. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L3. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1A. Decay Date: 1969-02-21 . COSPAR: F690221A. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi). 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. Additional Details: here....

1969 May 29 - . LV Family: MR-UR-100; N1; Proton; UR-100N; UR-700.
  • N1 State Commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Barmin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Smirnov; Tyulin; Bushuyev; Pashkov; Okhapkin; Yangel; Chelomei; Nadiradze; Keldysh. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-L1A; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Aelita. Over two days a State Commission reviewed all of the conclusions of the N1 3L failure investigation and the readiness of N1 5L for flight. All of the fixes identified to remedy the 3L failure had been incorporated into 5L. It was felt that the behaviour of the systems in fire conditions were understood and appropriate measures had been taken. The wiring had been rerouted and insulated. Barmin wanted the system not to shut down any engines under any conditions during the first 15-20 seconds of flight, so that the booster would clear the pad and there would be no risk of the pad's destruction. But there was no time to develop such measures before the 5L launch; it could only be added in vehicle 6L. Additional Details: here....

1969 June 18 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Mishin and Kamanin select candidates for the lunar landing mission. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Leonov; Bykovsky; Voronov; Khrunov; Yeliseyev; Makarov; Rukavishnikov; Patsayev; Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Lunar L3. 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 July 22 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Soviet post-mortems after Apollo 11 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Keldysh; Glushko; Ustinov; Kuznetsov. Program: Lunar L3. Two sequential N1 failures could not just be blamed on the poor reliability of the first stage. It was apparent that, compared to the Americans, both the management and the development practices of the Soviet space programme were inferior to the Americans. Politically there was no consensus within the Soviet state of the need for a space programme. Glushko and Ustinov waged a perpetual struggle against Afanasyev, Keldysh, and Mishin. RVSN Commander Kirillov wrote a letter to Smirnov on behalf of Afanasyev on the root causes of the failures. His faction believed these were the continued use of artillery/military rocket development practices for large, complex systems. These outdated practices required 20 to 60 flight tests to achieve reliability before a rocket could be put into production. Additional Details: here....

1969 September 18 - .
  • Approval is given for proceeding with the Soyuz 6-7-8 flights - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Beregovoi; Kuznetsov, Nikolai Fedorovich; Smirnov; Afanasyev, Sergei; Nikolayev. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Flight: Soyuz 6; Soyuz 7; Soyuz 8; Soyuz n 17; Soyuz n 18; Soyuz n 19; Soyuz n 20. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 30 - .
  • Politburo approves Soyuz 6/7/8 flight. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ustinov; Smirnov; Afanasyev, Sergei; Mishin; Kutakhov. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 6; Soyuz 7; Soyuz 8. Summary: 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 5 - .
  • DOS Conspiracy briefed to Ustinov - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Tyulin; Feoktistov; Ustinov. Program: Lunar L3; Almaz; Salyut. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK. Mishin was opposed to the DOS space station concept - he wanted to pursue the N1-launched MKBS. Afanasyev and Deputy Minister Tyulin wouldn't support the idea either. None of them wanted to take the risk. The only chance was to get to VPK Chairman Ustinov through Communist party channels. The opportunity came on the flight of engineers and management to Baikonur for the Soyuz 6/7/8 flight. Feoktistov had prepared a briefing on DOS, which he presented to Ustinov.

1969 October 18 - .
  • Landing of Soyuz 8 - . Return Crew: Shatalov; Yeliseyev. Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei; Kerimov; Mishin; Karas; Shatalov; Yeliseyev. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 6; Soyuz 7; Soyuz 8. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 - .
  • DOS Conspiracy briefed to wide circle of space planners - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Ustinov; Feoktistov; Keldysh; Afanasyev, Sergei; Tyulin; Serbin; Bushuyev; Semenov; Chelomei. Program: Lunar L3; Almaz; Salyut. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Almaz OPS; Salyut 1. In the euphoria after the return of the Soyuz 6/7/8 crews, the problem was how to get Ustinov to meet further with the DOS 'conspirators'. Mishin had prohibited any meetings by TsKBEM staff with the Communist Party Secretary unless Mishin was also present. Another obstacle was that Feoktistov was not a party member; how could his presence at a party meeting be explained to Mishin later?

    In any event these consideations were simply ignored. Feoktistov was present at a party meeting with Keldysh, Afanasyev, Tyulin, Serbin, and the Ministry of Defence's party cell: Strogonov, Kravtsev, and Popov. Keldysh was mainly worried how the project would affect the N1, but was reassured that the N1 had a dedicated work force, and the L3 lunar lander spacecraft engineers and workers that would work on DOS were currently idle and had no part of that work. It was finally decided to go ahead with the DOS no earlier than January, to allow time for Ministry Decrees, approval of a work plan by the VPK, preparation of a decree for signature by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Soviet Ministers. Work began on the project in December 1969 under the initial auspices of the Academy of Sciences. Additional Details: here....

1969 December 6 - .
  • The DOS Conspiracy in the open - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Pilyugin; Ryazanskiy; Kuznetsov, Viktor; Chelomei; Ustinov. Program: Almaz; Salyut. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-S; Almaz OPS; Salyut 1; Soyuz 7KT-OK. Afanasyev met with the Chief Designers - Pilyugin, Ryazanskiy, V Kuznetsov, and Chelomei's Deputy, Eydis. Mishin was 'sick' and Chelomei had sent his deputy, as usual, to avoid having to meet Mishin. Afanasyev started with the demand that an Almaz flight take place within less than two years, before the end of the Eighth Five Year Plan. He asked Eydis to install an Igla passive docking system to permit docking with the station of the existing Soyuz 7K-OK as opposed to the planned 7K-S. If Chelomei's bureau could not meet this requirement, then the 'conspirator's' DOS project could be authorised in its place. Additional Details: here....

1970 February 25 - .
  • Soyuz 9 decision preempts Soyuz Kontakt flights - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Kerimov. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L3. Flight: Soyuz 9; Soyuz n 17; Soyuz n 18; Soyuz n 19; Soyuz n 20. Spacecraft: Soyuz Kontakt. 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 April 7 - . Launch Vehicle: Spiral 50-50.
  • Spiral spaceplane programme stalled - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Goreglyad; Frolov; Titov; Mikoyan; Afanasyev, Sergei; Dementiev; Kutakhov. Spacecraft: Spiral OS. 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 May 28 - .
  • Pace quickens at Baikonur. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Sevastyanov; Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 9. Summary: 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 June 18 - .
  • Soyuz 9 Day 18 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Nikolayev; Sevastyanov; Kerimov; Afanasyev, Sergei; Karas; Bushuyev; Tsybin. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 9. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 October 24 - .
  • Cosmonauts oppose ocean landing for the L3. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-LOK. Summary: 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 28 - .
  • Chelomei's 'war' with Korolev and Mishin - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei; Mishin; Serbin; Smirnov; Afanasyev, Sergei. Program: Almaz; Salyut; Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Almaz OPS; Salyut 1; LK-1; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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.

1971 January 14 - .
  • VVS should support Almaz and Spiral. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Kutakhov; Mishin; Dementiev; Afanasyev, Sergei; Kalmykov; Grechko, Andrei; Zverev. Program: Almaz; Salyut. Spacecraft: Salyut 1; Spiral OS. 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 April 14 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1 threatened again - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Keldysh; Babakin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Ustinov. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK. An expert commission met to consider the N1-L3. Keldysh made several categorical demands:

    • the laser-based Kontakt rendezvous and docking system had to either be backed up with redundancy throughout, or an independent back-up system had to be developed
    • the L3 had to be designed with an internal transfer compartment, as was being done for the DOS/7K-T space station system
    • each stage of the N1 had to undergo flammability tests
    • the mission scenario had to be reformulated to provide support by more than one cosmonaut on the moon at a time, and use of automated landers and rovers from Babakin at Lavochkin
    • landings of the capsule in the equatorial oceans of the world had to be eliminated. The capsules had to land on the territory of the USSR
    Additional Details: here....

1972 August 21 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1 7L State Commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Okhapkin; Afanasyev, Sergei; Lapygin; Kuznetsov. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-LOK. The State Commission was held to verify readiness of N1 7L for launch. Mishin was 'sick' the whole week of the hearings and had to be represented by his deputies. However neither Mishin or his first deputy Okhapkin were available - both were in the hospital. The commission nearly ruled that until Mishin was available, no launch could be approved. However the review continued. Additional Details: here....

1972 October 18 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • UR-500K failure investigation. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei. Summary: Afanasyev was back at the cosmodrome for investigation of the latest UR-500K failure..

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