Encyclopedia Astronautica
Soyuz 7K-L1



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L1 Overhead
Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar spacecraft. This seems to correspond to the unmanned 'as flown' version for direct flights to the moon.
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L1 Comparison
Official drawings of the unmanned early L1 version (without forward SOK, loaded with instruments in capsule, old-fashioned rumpled Soyuz-type solar panels) and the later L1 version (SOK consists of SAS electronics on light lattice structure, rigid solar panels first seen in Soyuz ASTP).
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Panel Soyuz 7K-L1
Control panel of the circumlunar version of Soyuz, based on photographs inadvertently released in the 1970's.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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L1 instrument module
The service module of the Soyuz 7K-L1 / Zond manned circumlunar spacecraft.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Zond motor
The Soyuz 7K-L1 rocket engine as developed for the circumlunar flights. This deleted the backup engine (presumably the reaction control system thrusters were powerful enough to accomplish mid-course corrections if the main engine failed).
Credit: © Mark Wade
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L1 Engine
The lunar LOK engine installation. The single main engine is flanked by four canted nozzles for yaw/pitch control.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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L1 instrument module
Close-up of the service module of the Soyuz 7K-L1 / Zond manned circumlunar spacecraft.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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L-1
Drawing of the L1 spacecraft at the Kaluga Museum. Note the hatch clearly shown in the side of the re-entry capsule and the very large inverted cone at the top - much larger than shown in other drawings. Is this a 'posadka' L1?
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Proton w/ LK
Proton 8K82K Block D launch vehicle with Soyuz 7K-L1 manned circumlunar spacecraft.
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L1 lunar craft
L1 lunar craft in assembly. Note the very extensive equipment boxes above the capsule, and the clear hatch providing entry into the side of the capsule. Is this a 'podsadka' L1?
Credit: RKK Energia
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L1 Podsadka
Concept of L1 Podsadka, using Soyuz Igla docking system for crew transfer to hatch in side of L1 capsule.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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L1 Cross-section
Cross section of L1 spacecraft with Block D stage - after a portrayal in an official RKK History.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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L1 Comparison
Comparison of L1 drawings, the first displayed in the Kaluga Museum, the second from the RKK Energia history. Differences are notable in the forward SOK, solar panels, external sensors on the PAO.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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L! Podsadka
Concept of L1 Podsadka, after the concept of Vick for a curved inflatable airlock and free-space crew transfer.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Soyuz 7K-L1
L1 manned circumlunar spacecraft, consisting of 11S824 Block D translunar injection stage and Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Zond
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Soyuz 7K-L1
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Zond rounding Moon
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian manned lunar flyby spacecraft. 12 launches, 1967.03.10 (Cosmos 146) to 1970.10.20 (Zond 8). The Soyuz 7K-L1, a modification of the Soyuz 7K-OK, was designed for manned circumlunar missions.

With a complex genesis, the spacecraft was flown as a replacement for Chelomei's LK-1. The 7K-L1 never actually demonstrated that it could safely take a cosmonaut around the moon and return him to earth until August 1969, a month after the successful American Apollo 11 landing on the moon. By then any thoughts of a manned flight had been abandoned as too little and too late. The Soviet disinformation organs began disseminating the myth that the USSR had never been in the moon race at all. The project was cancelled in 1970.

In comparison with the 7K-OK from which it was derived, the forward living module was deleted, as was the reserve parachute (in order to add an exit hatch in the side of the re-entry capsule). Special on-board systems were added for interplanetary navigation. The SAS launch escape system, more powerful than that for the earth orbital version of Soyuz, could pull the spacecraft away from a failing Proton booster up to the point of second stage ignition. A Spacecraft Support Cone (OK) was mounted on the forward hatch of the Soyuz capsule to provide a point of attachment for the SAS. This was jettisoned before Block D ignition for translunar injection.

Korolev had originally designed the Soyuz A-B-V (7K-9K-11K) spacecraft for the circumlunar mission, using earth orbit rendezvous to assemble the spacecraft and its translunar injection stage. This began development in 1964, but instead Chelomei's LK-1 single-manned spacecraft was selected on 3 August 1964 for that mission. The LK-1 was to be placed on a translunar trajectory in a single launch of Chelomei's UR-500K rocket.

On 14 October 1964 Khrushchev was ousted from power, and Chelomei lost his patron. At the same time, at the end of 1964, Korolev reanimated his Soyuz project - not overtly the circumlunar version, but the 7K-OK orbital spacecraft. Korolev's stated purpose was for two of these spacecraft to demonstrate rendezvous and docking in earth orbit. But this was not exactly what he really intended.

On 25 October 1965, less than three months before his death, Korolev regained the project for manned circumlunar flight. He would use a derivative of the 7K-OK, the 7K-L1, in place of Chelomei's LK-1. This would still be launched by Chelomei's large UR-500K rocket, but with a Block D translunar injection stage taken from Korolev's N1. Originally Korolev considered that the 7K-L1, for either safety or mass reasons, could not be boosted directly by the UR-500K toward the moon. Therefore he envisioned launch of the unmanned 7K-L1 into low earth orbit, followed by launch and docking of a 7K-OK with the 7K-L1. The crew would then transfer to the L1, which would then be boosted toward the moon.

After the death of Korolev OKB-1 was taken over by Vasiliy Pavlovich Mishin. It was decided that the Soyuz 7K-L1 could be lightened enough to be launched toward the moon safely by the UR-500K/Block D combination without an additional ferry flight of the 7K-LOK. This became the final baseline for the mission.

The L-1 was officially developed according to the decrees of 3 August 1964 and 25 October 1965. It consisted of the 11S824 Block D rocket stage and the 11F91 7K-L1 spacecraft, and the Block L-1 SAS (launch escape system). The L1 had a total mass of 27.5 metric tons at ignition of the Block D stage, which occurred at suborbital velocity. The Block D burned for 160 seconds the first time, placing the complex into an earth parking orbit. At translunar injection, total mass was 18.2 metric tons.

The Block D was derived from the N1-L3 moon landing braking stage. The spherical liquid oxygen oxidizer tank was of titanium and was enclosed by thermal insulation blankets. The toroidal fuel tank was also of titanium. The 11D58 engine had a thrust of 8.5 metric tons and a specific impulse of 349 seconds. It was derived from the 8D726 rocket engine of the 8K713 GR-1 Global Rocket, which itself was derive from the S1.5400 Block L of the 8K78 Monlniya launch vehicle.

The 7K-L1 was a modified Soyuz 7K-OK. The forward living module was deleted, as was the reserve parachute (in order to add an exit hatch in the side of the re-entry capsule). Special on-board systems were added for interplanetary navigation. The SAS launch escape system, more powerful than that for the earth orbital version of Soyuz, could pull the spacecraft away from the failing booster up to the point of second stage ignition. A Spacecraft Support Cone (OK) was mounted on the forward hatch of the Soyuz capsule to provide a point of attachment for the SAS. This was jettisoned before Block D ignition.

In February 1967 the government approved an integrated L1/L3 project plans indicating a first manned L1 circumlunar mission as early as June 1967. First tests would use 7K-L1P prototypes. These had only a boilerplate descent module and were not capable of re-entry and recovery. These would be followed by unmanned circumlunar test flights. These had descent modules equipped with photography equipment, radiation measuring instruments, and biological specimens for return to earth. Only after the design was proven in two successive unmanned missions would a crew be risked.

On March 10 1967, Cosmos 146 was launched in the first flight test of hardware for the project. A Proton launched the Soyuz 7K-L1P into the planned highly elliptical earth orbit. The Block D stage functioned correctly in its first test, putting the spacecraft into a translunar trajectory. The spacecraft was not aimed at the moon and no recovery was planned or possible. This successful launch created a false confidence just before the string of failures that would follow. On April 8 Cosmos 154 reached earth orbit but 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 spacecraft burned up two days later when its orbit decayed.

As noted in the chronology that follows, the 7K-L1 never actually demonstrated that it could safely take a cosmonaut around the moon and return him to earth until August 1969, a month after the successful American Apollo 11 landing on the moon. By then any thoughts of a manned flight had been abandoned as too little and too late. The Soviet disinformation organs began disseminating the myth that the USSR had never been in the moon race at all. The project was cancelled in 1970.

Characteristics

Crew Size: 2. Orbital Storage: 7.00 days. Habitable Volume: 4.00 m3. Spacecraft delta v: 200 m/s (650 ft/sec). Electric System: 0.80 average kW.

AKA: Zond 4-8; 7K-L1; 11F91.
Gross mass: 5,680 kg (12,520 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 4,980 kg (10,970 lb).
Height: 4.88 m (16.01 ft).
Thrust: 4.17 kN (937 lbf).
Specific impulse: 276 s.
First Launch: 1967.03.10.
Last Launch: 1970.10.20.
Number: 12 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 SA Russian manned spacecraft module. 12 launches, 1967.03.10 (Cosmos 146) to 1970.10.20 (Zond 8). Increased heat shield protection and presumably reaction control system propellant for re-entry from lunar distances. Reentry capsule. More...
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 SOK Russian manned spacecraft module. 12 launches, 1967.03.10 (Cosmos 146) to 1970.10.20 (Zond 8). Separates before trans-lunar injection. Jettisonable support cone. More...
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 PAO Russian manned spacecraft module. 12 launches, 1967.03.10 (Cosmos 146) to 1970.10.20 (Zond 8). Modification of Soyuz 7K-OK basic PAO service module with pump-fed main engines and separate RCS/main engine propellant feed system. Equipment-engine section. More...

Associated Engines
  • KTDU-53 Isayev Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. 4.089 kN. Zond 4-7 maneuvering engine. Out of Production. Spacecraft maneuvering engine, derivative of KTDU-35 without back-up engine. Isp=280s. More...

See also
  • Manned Circumlunar Boosting a manned spacecraft on a loop around the moon, without entering lunar orbit, allows a trip to be made near the moon with a total low earth orbit mass of as little as 20 tonnes. This was attractive during the space race as a manned mission that could be accomplished early with limited booster power. Gemini, Apollo, and Soyuz were all supposed to have made circumlunar flights. Only Soyuz reached the circumlunar flight-test stage under the L1 program. Any L1 manned missions were cancelled after the Americans reached lunar orbit with Apollo 8. The idea was resurrected in 2005 when a $100 million commercial flight around the moon was proposed, again using Soyuz. More...
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. More...
  • Soyuz The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the longest-lived, most adaptable, and most successful manned spacecraft design. In production for fifty years, more than 240 have been built and flown on a wide range of missions. The design will remain in use with the international space station well into the 21st century, providing the only manned access to the station after the retirement of the shuttle in 2011. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • N1 1969 Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1 launch vehicle, developed by Russia in the 1960's, was to be the Soviet Union's counterpart to the Saturn V. The largest of a family of launch vehicles that were to replace the ICBM-derived launchers then in use, the N series was to launch Soviet cosmonauts to the moon, Mars, and huge space stations into orbit. In comparison to Saturn, the project was started late, starved of funds and priority, and dogged by political and technical struggles between the chief designers Korolev, Glushko, and Chelomei. The end result was four launch failures and cancellation of the project five years after Apollo landed on the moon. Not only did a Soviet cosmonaut never land on the moon, but the Soviet Union even denied that the huge project ever existed. More...
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. Development of the Proton began in 1962 as a two-stage vehicle that could be used to launch large military payloads or act as a ballistic missile with a 100 megaton nuclear warhead. The ICBM was cancelled in 1965, but development of a three-stage version for the crash program to send a Soviet man around the moon began in 1964. The hurried development caused severe reliability problems in early production. But these were eventually solved, and from the 1970's the Proton was used to launch all Russian space stations, medium- and geosynchronous orbit satellites, and lunar and planetary probes. More...
  • Proton-K/D Russian orbital launch vehicle. This four stage version of the Proton was originally designed to send manned circumlunar spacecraft into translunar trajectory. Guidance to the Block D stage must be supplied by spacecraft. The design was proposed on 8 September 1965 by Korolev as an alternate to Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar mission. It combined the Proton 8K82K booster for the LK-1 with the N1 lunar Block D stage to boost a stripped-down Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft around the moon. The Korolev design was selected, and first flight came on 10 March 1967. The crash lunar program led to a poor launch record. Following a protracted ten year test period, the booster finally reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...
  • N1 The N1 launch vehicle, developed by Russia in the 1960's, was to be the Soviet Union's counterpart to the Saturn V. The largest of a family of launch vehicles that were to replace the ICBM-derived launchers then in use, the N series was to launch Soviet cosmonauts to the moon, Mars, and huge space stations into orbit. In comparison to Saturn, the project was started late, starved of funds and priority, and dogged by political and technical struggles between the chief designers Korolev, Glushko, and Chelomei. The end result was four launch failures and cancellation of the project five years after Apollo landed on the moon. Not only did a Soviet cosmonaut never land on the moon, but the Soviet Union even denied that the huge project ever existed. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...
  • MOM Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Ministry of General Machine Building (Moskva, Russia), Moscow, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Lunar L1 The Soviet program to put a man on a circumlunar flight around the moon. More...
  • Soyuz The Soyuz spacecraft was designed in 1962 for rendezvous and docking operations in near earth orbit, leading to piloted circumlunar flight. Versions remained in production into the 21st Century as a space station ferry, resupply craft, and lifeboat. After the retirement of the American space shuttle in 2011, it became the only means for regular human access to space. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Nitric acid/UDMH Drawing on the German World War II Wasserfall rocket, nitric acid (HNO3) became the early storable oxidiser of choice for missiles and upper stages of the 1950's. To overcome various problems with its use, it was necessary to combine the nitric acid with N2O4 and passivation compounds. These formulae were considered extremely secret at the time. By the late 1950's it was apparent that N2O4 by itself was a better oxidiser. Therefore nitric acid was almost entirely replaced by pure N2O4 in storable liquid fuel rocket engines developed after 1960. Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine ((CH3)2NNH2) became the storable liquid fuel of choice by the mid-1950's. Development of UDMH in the Soviet Union began in 1949. It is used in virtually all storable liquid rocket engines except for some orbital manoeuvring engines in the United States, where MMH has been preferred due to a slightly higher density and performance. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Semenov, Yuri P Editor, Raketno-kosmicheskaya korporatsiya 'Energia' imeni S P Koroleva, Moscow, Russia, 1996.
  • Johnson, Nicholas L, The Soviet Reach for the Moon, Cosmos Books, Washington, DC, 1994.
  • Clark, Philip, The Soviet Manned Space Program, Salamander Books, London, 1988.
  • Oberg, James, Red Star in Orbit, Random House, New York, 1981.
  • Kaesmann, Ferdinand, et. al., "Proton - Development of A Russian Launch Vehicle", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1998, Volume 51, page 3.
  • Air International, 1992, Issue 9, page 149.
  • Pesavento, Peter, "An Examination of Rumored Launch Failures in the Soviet Manned Program", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1990, Volume 43, page 379.
  • Semenov, Yu. P., S P Korolev Space Corporation Energia, RKK Energia, 1994.
  • Vick, Charles, et al, KH-11 Photography of N1, Federation of American Scientists, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Lantratov, K., "'Zvezda' Dmitriya Kozlova", Novosti Kosmonavtiki, 1997, Issues 3 to 6 (four part article).
  • Pirard, Theo, "25 Years Ago...The Cosmonauts Missed the Moon!", Spaceflight, 1994, Volume 35, page 411.
  • Hendrickx, Bart, "Soviet Lunar Dream that Faded", Spaceflight, 1995, Volume 37, page 135.
  • Vick, Charles, "Korolev's Lunar Mission Profile", Spaceflight, 1996, Volume 38, page 264. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Vick, Charles, "THE MISHIN MISSION December 1962 - December 1993", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1994, Volume 47, page 357. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Lebedev, D A, "The N1-L3 Programme", Spaceflight, 1992, Volume 34, page 288.
  • Afanasyev, Igor, "35 let RN Proton", Novosti kosmonavtiki, 1998, Issue 5, page 40.
  • Vladimirov, A, "Tablitsa zapuskov RN 'Proton' i 'Proton K'", Novosti kosmonavtiki, 1998, Issue 10, page 25.
  • Vetrov, G S, S. P. Korolev i evo delo, Nauka, Moscow, 1998.
  • National Space Science Center Planetary Page, As of 19 February 1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Chertok, Boris Yevseyevich, Raketi i lyudi, Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1994-1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Kamanin, N P, Skritiy kosmos, Infortext, Moscow, 1995.
  • Siddiqi, Asif A, The Soviet Space Race With Apollo, University Press of Florida, 2003.
  • NASA Report, Major Victory For Soviet Science. Data On The Invisible Side of The Moon, Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Soyuz 7K-L1 Chronology


1962 November 1 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Chelomei takes over Lavochkin and Myasishchev OKBs - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei; Khrushchev; Lavochkin; Myasishchev. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: At Khrushchev's decision Chelomei takes over Lavochkin's OKB-301 and Myasishchev's OKB-23. Lavochkin had built objects 205, 207, 400 (SA-1,2,5); Chelomei UR-96 ABM-1..

1965 August 20 - .
  • Soyuz crews - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Gagarin; Nikolayev; Bykovsky; Komarov; Artyukhin; Demin; Feoktistov; Volynov; Katys; Beregovoi. Program: Voskhod; Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A; Soyuz s/n 3/4; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 2. Spacecraft: Voskhod; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 September 1 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1 1964.
  • Voskhod/Soyuz crewing plans - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Gagarin; Nikolayev; Bykovsky; Komarov; Kolodin; Artyukhin; Matinchenko; Anokhin; Volynov; Katys; Ponomaryova; Solovyova. Program: Voskhod; Soyuz; Lunar L3. Flight: Voskhod 3; Voskhod 5; Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A; Soyuz s/n 3/4. Spacecraft: LK-1; LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Soyuz 7K-L1; Voskhod. 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 6 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Problems in lunar projects addressed. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK. Summary: Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 'On delays in work on piloted lunar programs' was issued..

1965 October 25 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton.
  • L1 manned circumlunar mission taken from Chelomei, given to Korolev. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei; Korolev. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-OK; LK-1. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Concentration of Forces of Industrial Design Organisations for the Creation of Rocket-Space Complex Means for Circling the Moon--work on the UR-500K-L1 program' was issued. As a result of a presentation to the Military Industrial Commission, Afanasyev backed Korolev in wresting control of the manned circumlunar project from Chelomei. The Chelomei LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft was cancelled. In its place, Korolev would use a derivative of the Soyuz 7K-OK, the 7K-L1, launched by Chelomeiís UR-500K, but with a Block D translunar injection stage from the N1. He envisioned launch of the unmanned 7K-L1 into low earth orbit, followed by launch and docking of a 7K-OK with the 7K-L1. The crew would then transfer to the L1, which would then be boosted toward the moon. This was the original reason for the development of the 7K-OK.

1965 November 13 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton.
  • Industrial orders to cancel LK-1 spacecraft and implement L1. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; LK-1. Summary: Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 'On work on the UR-500K-L1 program' was issued..

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.

1965 December 31 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1 1964.
  • Daunting year ahead - . Nation: USSR. 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. 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 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 February 15 - .
  • L1 trainers - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Tyulin. Program: Voskhod; Lunar L1. Flight: Voskhod 3; Voskhod 4; Voskhod 5. Spacecraft: Voskhod; Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: 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 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 April 4 - .
  • L1 and Voskhod - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Bushuyev; Gagarin; Komarov. Program: Voskhod; Lunar L1. Flight: Voskhod 4; Voskhod 5; Voskhod 6. Spacecraft: Voskhod; Luna E-6S; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 10 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K. LV Configuration: Proton 8K82K.
  • Cosmonaut training for lunar flights announced - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Leonov. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: Leonov announces that cosmonauts are in training for lunar missions..

1966 April 27 - .
  • L1 Mock-up Inspection - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Bushuyev; Gagarin; Komarov. Program: Voskhod; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Voskhod. 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 27 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton.
  • Soyuz L1 full scale development, LK-1 cancellation approved. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; LK-1. Summary: Decree 10 'On approving the work plan to build the p8loted spacecraft 7K-L1 -- approving the plan for for the UR-500K-L1 and terminating the UR-500K-LK-1' was issued..

1966 May 3 - .
  • Soviet recovery planning - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 19 - .
  • L1 flight plan - . Nation: USSR. Program: Voskhod; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Voskhod 3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 July 27 - .
  • VPK Meeting - L1 delays - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Vershinin; Chelomei; Mishin; Voronin; Severin. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 August 11 - .
  • Lunar cosmonaut training - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Tyulin; Burnazyan; Keldysh. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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.

September 1966 - . LV Family: N1; R-9; RT-2.
  • N1 two-launch moon scenario proposed - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Bushuyev. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1; Molniya-1. Bushuyev proposed a two launch variation on Korolev's single-launch scheme. The increased-payload version of the N1 with six additional engines was not planned to fly until vehicle 3L. 1L and 2L were to be technology articles for ground test with only the original 24 engine configuration. At that time the first Apollo test flight was planned by the end of 1966, and the US moon landing no later than 1969. The Soviets expected the first test of their LK lander in 1969, and concluded they could not expect to land a Soviet man on the moon until 1972. Additional Details: here....

1966 September 2 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K. LV Configuration: Proton 8K82K.
1966 September 2 - .
1966 September 7 - .
  • Cosmonaut group leaders - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Volkov; Grechko; Kubasov; Popovich; Belyayev; Severin; Khrunov; Gorbatko; Anokhin; Yeliseyev; Pravetskiy. Program: Soyuz; Almaz. Flight: Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz VI; Almaz OPS; Yastreb. 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 October 4 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Dummy Proton/Block D mounted on pad. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. A dummy 8K82K/Block D rocket was mounted at the launch site. The dummy was loaded with imitation propellants (kerosene as fuel and water/ethyl alcohol as oxidiser). The nitrogen tetroxide oxidiser had to be kept above -11 degrees C, and it was originally planned for a thermostatically-controlled electrical heating of the tank walls to achieve this. It was ultimately decided that the risk of explosion of such a system was too great, and the system was abandoned.

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 October 10 - .
1966 November 1 - . LV Family: N1; Proton.
  • Delays in Soviet manned lunar programs addressed. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK. Summary: Decree 'On lag of work on the N1-L3 and UR-500K-L1 programs' was issued..

1966 November 19 - .
1966 November 21 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • First Proton/Soyuz L1 begins assembly. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. The first flight rocket (serial number 22701) began assembly on 21 November 1966, with mechanical assembly completed by 29 November. Electrical connections and tests were completed by 4 December 1966. Due to New Yearís holidays work did not resume until 28 January 1967. By 28 February the fully assembled booster / spacecraft unit was completed in the MIK, including the 7K-L1P boilerplate spacecraft.

1966 November 21 - .
  • Soyuz crews agreed officially - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Kerimov; Mishin; Rudenko; Kamanin; Yeliseyev; Anokhin; Feoktistov; Komarov; Bykovsky; Khrunov; Gagarin; Nikolayev; Gorbatko; Kubasov. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK. 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 December 6 - .
  • Cosmos 133 probably self-destructed - . Nation: USSR. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Rudenko; Mishin; Kerimov; Komarov; Bykovsky; Khrunov; Yeliseyev; Gagarin; Nikolayev; Gorbatko; Beregovoi; Shatalov; Leonov; Volynov; Kubasov; Makarov; Volkov; Grechko; Yershov. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 2; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 3; Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A; Soyuz s/n 3/4; Soyuz s/n 5/6; Soyuz s/n 7. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 10 - .
  • L1 production and flight plans - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Ustinov; Smirnov. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 2; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 24 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K.
  • First session of State Commission for the L1 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Tyulin; Mishin; Chelomei; Barmin. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 2; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-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 31 - .
  • Second session of the L1 State Commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Chelomei; Barmin; Ryazanskiy; Spitsa; Zakharov. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 2; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K. LV Configuration: Proton 8K82K.
  • First L-1 Zond spacecraft mated to Proton - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1P #1. Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: Fit tests at Tyuratam. Not launched (Interavia SD)..

1967 January 5 - .
  • Cosmonaut training status - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Brezhnev; Titov. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz; Almaz. Spacecraft: Voskhod; Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1; Almaz OPS; Soyuz VI. 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. Additional Details: here....

1967 January 17 - .
1967 February 4 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • L1/L3 launch schedules set - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK. 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 February 4 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • UR-500K/L1 manned circumlunar design authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 115-46 'On the Progress of the Work on the Development of the UR500K-L1 --confirmation of schedule for piloted lunar missions' was issued..

1967 March 10 - . 11:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: UR-500K/Blok D N10722701.
  • Cosmos 146 - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1P s/n 2P. Mass: 5,017 kg (11,060 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Duration: 7.90 days. Decay Date: 1967-03-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 2705 . COSPAR: 1967-021A. Apogee: 312 km (193 mi). Perigee: 178 km (110 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 89.30 min. Protoype Soyuz 7K-L1P launched by Proton into planned highly elliptical earth orbit. The first flight four-stage Proton rocket began assembly on 21 November 1966, with mechanical assembly completed by 29 November. Electrical connections and tests were completed by 4 December 1966. Due to New Yearís holidays work did not resume until 28 January 1967. By 28 February the fully assembled booster / spacecraft unit was completed in the MIK, including the 7K-L1P boilerplate spacecraft. The launch tower was added on 2 March 1967 and the system was declared ready for launch. A serious potential problem during preparations was the discovery that fuel gases could lead to pump cavitation at the turbine exits. Tests on the ground showed that the problem was not the fuel itself, but in the monitoring equipment. The launch vehicle and Block D stage functioned correctly and put the spacecraft into a translunar trajectory. The spacecraft was not aimed at the moon, did not have a heat shield for reentry, and no recovery was planned or attempted. A successful launch that created false confidence just before the string of failures that would follow.

1967 March 14 - . LV Family: N1; Proton.
  • Lunar flyby/landing program plan reviewed - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Soyuz 7K-L1A; LK. 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. Additional Details: here....

1967 March 22 - .
  • L1 flight scenario undecided - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Kerimov; Mishin; Gagarin; Leonov; Volynov; Makarov. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. Additional Details: here....

1967 March 23 - .
  • L1 State Commission - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 April 8 - . 09:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 228-01. FAILURE: Block D ullage rocket failure; no restart.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Cosmos 154 - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1P s/n 3P. Mass: 5,020 kg (11,060 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei; Mishin; Tsybin. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Duration: 1.98 days. Decay Date: 1967-04-10 . USAF Sat Cat: 2745 . COSPAR: 1967-032A. Apogee: 203 km (126 mi). Perigee: 187 km (116 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 88.30 min. 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 29 - .
  • L1 trainer review. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Darevskiy; Tyulin; Mishin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 6 - .
  • Chief Designers favour direct L1 flight to the moon - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Tyulin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 15 - .
  • Soyuz parachute test results. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . 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 May 29 - .
  • Soviet of Chief Designers. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Beregovoi; Volynov; Tkachev. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - .
1967 July 24 - .
  • Cosmonaut group meeting. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Feoktistov. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. Additional Details: here....

1967 July 29 - .
  • Review of Soyuz trainer status. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Feoktistov; Tsybin. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. Additional Details: here....

1967 August 2 - .
1967 August 8 - .
  • Gagarin grounded. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gagarin; Feoktistov. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 September 19 - .
  • L1 Launch Commission. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 26 - .
  • L1 Launch Commission. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . 22:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 229-01. FAILURE: First stage -1 RD-253 failed, resulting at T+67 sec in deviation from flight path.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 4L - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 4L. Mass: 5,390 kg (11,880 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Barmin. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Decay Date: 1967-09-28 . COSPAR: F670927B. 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 6 - .
  • Soyuz parachute trials at Fedosiya. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K.
  • Soviet of Chief Designers - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei; Mishin; Glushko; Ustinov; Dementiev. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 16 - .
  • Continued problems with Soyuz landing system tests. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Tkachev. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 November 16 - .
  • State Commission on Cosmos 186/188. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 22 - . 19:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 230-01. FAILURE: Second stage - 1 x RD-0210 failure, shutoff of stage 4 seconds after ignition. Launcher crashed downrange.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 5L - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 5L. Mass: 5,390 kg (11,880 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Glushko; Chelomei; Mishin; Leonov. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Decay Date: 1967-11-21 . COSPAR: F671122A. 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.

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 26 - .
  • Unsuccessful L1 SAS abort system test at Vladimirovka. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 30 - .
  • Three-hour review of the L1 program at the Institute of Aviation Medicine. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: 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 12 - .
  • L1 Expert Commission meeting. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 21 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • L1 Launch Commission. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Glushko; Konopatov; Mishin. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 29 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • L1 commsision meeting. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 2 - . 18:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 231-01.
  • Zond 4 - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 6L. Mass: 5,390 kg (11,880 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1 . Duration: 5.22 days. Decay Date: 1968-03-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 3134 . COSPAR: 1968-013A. Apogee: 400,000 km (240,000 mi). Perigee: 191 km (118 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 15,561.71 min. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Feoktistov. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Tkachev. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1; Lunar L3; Almaz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Soyuz 7K-OK; Almaz OPS. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gagarin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 25 - .
1968 March 26 - .
  • A State Commission is held to review L1 and Soyuz status. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ustinov; Feoktistov. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 April 19 - .
  • L1 launch preparations - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: 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 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-OK. Summary: 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 22 - . 23:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 232-01. FAILURE: Second stage shut-off prematurely due to short-circuit in Zond control system.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 7L - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 7L. Mass: 5,390 kg (11,880 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Decay Date: 1968-04-22 . COSPAR: F680422A. L1 launch attempt, lift-off at 02:00 local time. The spacecraft was to separate at 589 seconds into the flight. Instead at 260 seconds, a short circuit in the malfunction detection system incorrectly indicated a launch vehicle failure. This in turn triggered the SAS abort system. The SAS shut down the good stage and separated the spacecraft from the booster. The capsule landed safely 520 km downrange from the launch site. This was the third such abort, which if nothing else proved the reliability of the SAS - all of the spacecraft landed safely.

1968 April 23 - .
  • L1 launch failure - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 May 21 - .
  • L1/Soyuz program review. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Keldysh. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: 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 June 3 - .
  • Ustinov demands manned Soyuz and L1 flights by October. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ustinov; Leonov. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: Meanwhile Saturday evening Leonov had another accident with his Volga - and with a group of Italian visitors in the car..

1968 June 26 - .
  • November manned circumlunar flight set - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. State commission sets November as date for manned circumlunar flight. The next L1 flight was set for July, with flights to continue at monthly intervals at each translunar launch window. 3 or 4 unmanned flights had to be successful before a manned flight would be attempted.

1968 June 26 - .
  • State Commission on L1 failure. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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.

July 1968 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K. LV Configuration: Proton 8K82K.
  • DIA/CIA warn of impending Zond circumlunar flight - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. The information led NASA to decide to send Apollo 8 on a risky lunar orbital mission at the end of December 1968. Interestingly enough the CIA warning to NASA came within days of the L1 State Commission's meeting and decision to press for a November circumlunar flight.

1968 July 15 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. Launch Pad: LC81/pad?. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • L1 pad explosion. - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 21 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K. LV Configuration: Proton 8K82K.
  • Zond 7K-L1 s/n 8L - . Payload: Zond 7K-L1 s/n 8L. Mass: 5,140 kg (11,330 lb). Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Decay Date: 1968-07-21 . Summary: Block D stage exploded on pad, killing three people. Booster and 7K-L1 spacecraft were still intact however..

1968 September 12 - .
  • L1 Training. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: 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 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . 21:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 234-01.
  • Zond 5 - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 9L. Mass: 5,390 kg (11,880 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1 . Duration: 5.76 days. Decay Date: 1968-09-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 3394 . COSPAR: 1968-076A. Apogee: 385,000 km (239,000 mi). Perigee: 200 km (120 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 14,722.06 min. 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. Additional Details: here....

1968 September 16 - .
  • Zond 5 midcourse aborted - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Beregovoi. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: 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 - . 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 September 20 - .
  • Kamanin hold a cosmonaut meeting. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Tereshkova; Titov; Beregovoi. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Leonov; Voronov; Bykovsky; Rukavishnikov; Popovich; Makarov. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-OK. 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 28 - .
  • Cosmonaut exams are held for Beregovoi, Shatalov, and Volynov. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Beregovoi; Shatalov; Volynov; Leonov; Makarov; Kuklin; Bykovsky; Rukavishnikov; Klimuk; Popovich; Sevastyanov; Voloshin. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 3; Soyuz 4; Soyuz 5; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 2; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Beregovoi; Leonov; Belyayev; Nikolayev. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Soyuz 3; Soyuz 4; Soyuz 5; Soyuz 4/5. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: The vessel Vasiliy Golovnin docks at Bombay with the L1 capsule..

1968 October 4 - .
  • Zond 5 arrives in Moscow - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: The L1 capsule is flown by An-12 from Bombay to Moscow..

1968 November 9 - .
  • Zond 6 State Commission - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: 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 - .
1968 November 10 - . 19:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 235-01.
  • Zond 6 - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 12L. Mass: 5,375 kg (11,849 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Bushuyev. Agency: MOM. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1 . Duration: 5.79 days. Decay Date: 1968-11-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 3535 . COSPAR: 1968-101A. Apogee: 400,000 km (240,000 mi). Perigee: 200 km (120 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 15,562.22 min. 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. Additional Details: here....

1968 November 11 - .
  • Zond 6 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ustinov; Mishin; Tyulin; Korolev. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Leonov; Sevastyanov. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC110R. LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1 1M1 mockup erected on pad with L1S payload - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: The N1 mockup was again erected on the pad, in order to conduct tests of the L1S payload in advance of the availability of the 3L launch vehicle..

1968 November 15 - .
  • Zond 6 hydrogen peroxide temperature falls to dangerous level - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Beregovoi. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 3; Soyuz 4; Soyuz 5; Soyuz 4/5. Spacecraft: Yastreb; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Titov; Leonov. Program: Soyuz; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 4; Soyuz 5; Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1; Soyuz 4/5. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 26 - .
  • Soviet Union needs a manned L1 to fly in the 8 to 12 December lunar launch window in order to beat Apollo 8. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Beregovoi. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Flight: Apollo 8. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-OK; LK. 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 29 - .
  • No mention of results of planned December 1968 L1 launch in Kamanin's diary... - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: 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 12 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: Spiral 50-50.
  • Kamanin catalogues the reasons the Soviet Union is losing the moon race - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Biryuzov; Ustinov. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK; Soyuz 7K-L1.
    • 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 16 - .
  • Lunar Soviet. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Severin. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Krechet. 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 25 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • L3 lunar lander behind schedule - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Malinovskiy; Smirnov; Ustinov; Brezhnev; Keldysh; Mishin. Program: Lunar L3; Apollo; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Luna Ye-8. 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 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Shatalov; Beregovoi; Severin; Mnatsakanian; Mishin. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz; Almaz. Flight: Apollo 8. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Soyuz 7K-S; Almaz OPS; Soyuz OB-VI; Soyuz VI. 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 - .
  • Apollo 8 and L1 plans - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Apollo 8. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. A State Commission investigating the crash of Zond 6 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. A discussion was conducted on when to conduct the next L1 test. The next capsule in line was s/n 13 - an unlucky omen. It was even proposed not to fly the capsule with such an unlucky number. That evening, the Soviet engineers could watch live video from the moon from aboard Apollo 8 via Eurovision from Western Europe. They had in any case lost the race to fly a man around the moon. The flight of further L1's, and sending a Soviet man on a lunar flyby, seemed a moot point.

1968 December 30 - . LV Family: N1; Proton.
  • Meeting of the VPK Military-Industrial Commission to discuss how to beat the Americans to the lunar landing - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Ustinov; Chelomei; Okhapkin; Keldysh; Pilyugin; Babakin. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Luna. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1; Luna Ye-8-5; LK-1. Ustinov called the meeting to order. Mishin was 'sick' again -- Okhapkin represented TsKBEM and gave a summary of the programme to that date:

    • The project had only been authorised on 3 August 1964. It consisted of two parts, circumlunar flights using Chelomei's UR-500K booster and LK-1 spacecraft, and a lunar landing using Korolev's N1 booster and L3 spacecraft.
    • On 25 October 1965 the programme was redirected. Military support was ordered and the decision was made to cancel Chelomei's LK-1 spacecraft and instead use the L1 version of Korolev's Soyuz for the circumlunar flights. This was ordered by the resolution 'On organisation of construction units for support of rocket-space systems for the lunar flyby'. That resolution ordered a manned L1 flight by the end of 1967 or early 1968.
    • The program actually took three years to implement rather than the two planned. Nine launches of he L1 had been made since March 1967, but it had not been possible to man-rate the UR-500K/L1 booster/spacecraft combination due to failures in both the launch vehicle and spacecraft. Flight trials of the N1 booster had not even begun yet.

    Keldysh proposed that further work on the L1 be abandoned, and Proton boosters instead be used to launch the Ye-8-5 lunar soil return robot spacecraft being developed by Babakin. Babakin had been accelerating this programme since the beginning of 1968 with the support of Keldysh, even though it would only return around 100 g of lunar soil, versus the tens of kilograms the Apollo manned flights would return. However it now offered an interesting possibility - he proposed obtaining lunar soil and returning it to earth before an American manned landing. The government's organs of mass communication would say that the Soviet Union's lunar program only consisted of robot probes, emphasising that his was much safer and that Russia would never risk it's citizen's lives for mere political sensation. Additional Details: here....


1969 January 8 - .
  • Plan for Soviet lunar and planetary launches to answer America's Apollo program during 1969 approved. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Babakin. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8; Lunokhod; Luna Ye-8-5; Soyuz 7K-L1; Venera 2V (V-69); Mars M-69. Summary: 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.. Additional Details: here....

1969 January 20 - . 04:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 237-01. FAILURE: Second stage - One RD-0210 engine fails at T+510 sec, resulting in flight path deviation, automatic shutoff of launch vehicle.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 13L - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 13L. Mass: 5,390 kg (11,880 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Smirnov; Ustinov; Mishin. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Decay Date: 1969-01-19 . COSPAR: F690120A. 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. Additional Details: here....

1969 January 29 - .
1969 January 31 - .
  • Kamanin meets with Vershinin. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Vershinin; Leonov; Bykovsky; Mishin; Volynov. Program: Lunar L1; Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 5; Soyuz 4/5. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1; Spiral OS. 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. Additional Details: here....

1969 March - .
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1 (cancelled) - . Crew: Leonov; Makarov. Backup Crew: Kuklin. Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Leonov; Makarov; Kuklin. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Planned first manned circumnavigation of the moon. Soviet plans to beat America around the moon were upstaged by the sudden decision to fly Apollo 8 into lunar orbit over Christmas 1968. It was decided after the American success to cancel any 'second place' Soviet manned circumlunar flights.

1969 March 20 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Soviet of military officers meets to review manned space plans. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Beregovoi. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Soyuz; Almaz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK; Soyuz OB-VI; Almaz OPS; Spiral OS. 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 Additional Details: here....

1969 May - .
1969 May 10 - .
  • Military space research plans - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Kutakhov. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Soyuz; Almaz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK; Soyuz OB-VI; Almaz OPS; Spiral OS. 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 June 9 - .
  • Delegates from the international Communist conference tour the Gagarin Centre. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Tereshkova. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: 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 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Revised Soviet lunar plans - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5; Luna Ye-8; Soyuz 7K-L1; Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK. 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 July - .
1969 August 7 - . 23:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 243-01.
  • Zond 7 - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 11. Mass: 5,379 kg (11,858 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1 . Duration: 5.00 days. Decay Date: 1969-08-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 4062 . COSPAR: 1969-067A. Apogee: 400,000 km (240,000 mi). Perigee: 200 km (120 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 15,562.22 min. Circumlunar flight; successfully recovered in USSR August 13, 1969. Only completely successful L1 flight that could have returned cosmonauts alive or uninjured to earth. Official mission was further studies of the moon and circumlunar space, to obtain colour photography of the earth and the moon from varying distances, and to flight test the spacecraft systems. Earth photos were obtained on August 9, 1969. On August 11, 1969, the spacecraft flew past the moon at a distance of 1984.6 km and conducted two picture taking sessions. Successfully accomplished double-dip re-entry and landed 50 km from aim point near Kustani in the USSR.

1969 September 1 - . LV Family: N1; UR-700.
  • Kamanin lists the reasons the Soviets have lost the moon race. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Ustinov; Smirnov; Korolev; Keldysh; Feoktistov; Gagarin. Program: Apollo; Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; Soyuz 7K-LOK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 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 19 - . LV Family: N1; Proton.
  • L1 state commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Tyulin; Brezhnev. Program: Lunar L3; Lunar L1; Luna. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8-5; Soyuz 7K-L1. VPK Deputy Chairman Tyulin headed a state commission on the L1 programme. Mishin pushed for a manned L1 circumlunar flight in 1970. This meeting was only five days before a Ye-8-5 robot spacecraft was to have returned lunar soil from the earth. The Block D stage failed in earth orbit, and the flight was given the cover name Cosmos 300. This indicated the L1 system still did not have the necessary reliability for manned flight. Furthermore, politically, Brezhnev and the Politburo did not want to see a Khrushchev-originated project like the L1 succeed.

1969 September 20 - .
  • The success of Zond 7 has emboldened Mishin and Tyulin. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Tyulin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 December 1 - .
  • Final L1 State Commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Semenov; Tyulin. Program: Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Yuri Semenov proved his management abilities in the successful unmanned launches and recoveries of Zond 7 and 8 on circumlunar missions. At the final state commission on the L1 program, VPK Deputy Chairman Tyulin said that if had been in charge instead of Mishin, the N1 would have succeeded. Semenov proved himself skilful in coordinating the work of four major, often hostile organizations -- TskBEM, NIIAP, TsKBM, and ZIKh. This would lead to his assignment to head the DOS/Salyut space station programme, and ultimately, head RKK Energia.

1970 October 20 - . 19:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 250-01.
  • Zond 8 - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 14. Mass: 5,390 kg (11,880 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1 . Duration: 5.17 days. Decay Date: 1970-10-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 4591 . COSPAR: 1970-088A. Apogee: 400,000 km (240,000 mi). Perigee: 200 km (120 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 15,562.22 min. Final circumlunar flight; successfully recovered October 26, 1970. The announced objectives were investigations of the moon and circumlunar space and testing of onboard systems. The spacecraft obtained photographs of the earth on October 21 from a distance of 64,480 km. The spacecraft transmitted flight images of the earth for three days. Zond 8 flew past the moon on October 24, 1970, at a distance of 1,110.4 km and obtained both black and white and colour photographs of the lunar surface. Scientific measurements were also obtained during the flight. The spacecraft used a new variant of the double-dip re-entry, coming in over the north pole, bouncing off the atmosphere, being tracked by Soviet radar stations as it soared south over the Soviet Union, then making a final precision re-entry followed by splashdown at the recovery point in the Indian Ocean.

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.


1970 October 28 - .
  • Zond 8 recovered, demonstrates Mishin's L3 ocean landing trajectory. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Lunar L1; Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-LOK; Soyuz 7K-L1. 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 31 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K. LV Configuration: Proton 8K82K.
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 10L and 15L - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 10L and 15L. Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Summary: Despite decision to cancel immediate manned circumlunar flights after Apollo 8, the remaining two L-1 spacecraft were kept in reserve for support of the L3 lunar landing program and possible later manned flights. They were never used..

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