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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Kamanin notes the second hijacking in Turkey of a Soviet airliner in the last two weeks.
Meanwhile the doctor's verdict is in on Shonin. He is to be sent to a sanatorium for rehabilitation.
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. Additional Details: here....
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.