Born: 1907-01-24. Died: 1977-05-14.
Chelomei visits Khrushchev in the Crimea and presents his ambitious plan for an Organic Space System - a space infrastructure serviced by an integrated family of launch vehicles and spacecraft. The system would include orbiting stations, space factories, winged rockets, and nuclear weapons stored in space with plenty of decoys to defeat any enemy counter-measures. UR-200 rockets would fulfil all roles in servicing this array of weapons. Dementiev supported Chelomei's proposals, but the chief designer would need a factory to support fabrication of the rockets and spacecraft. Myasishchev's bureau and its associated Khrunichev factory were an obvious choice, since the decision had been taken not to put the M-50 bomber or Buran cruise missile into production and the factory would soon be idle.
The capsule was recovered 45 km southeast of Votinsk. The mannequin was ejected successfully from the aircraft, the dog Zvezdochka was fine, and was displayed to journalists all day. Therefore all is ready for a manned flight. The cosmonauts agree: 'Everything is finished, we can fly'. All is ready for a one-orbit flight with recovery in the USSR, but Kamanin still worries about the lack of any realistic plan in emergency situations. The environmental control system has still not completed endurance tests, and won't be able to keep the cosmonaut alive for the ten to twelve days it would take the spacecraft to decay from orbit if the retrorocket fails. Trials with the hot mock-up of the ECS in the capsule have still not been successful. Furthermore, a recovery at sea is not practical.
The pace quickens leading to the first human spaceflight. Kamanin coordinates matters with Korolev and Voronin, and then discusses the ECS problems and cosmonaut landing issues with Dementiev. Plans are made for a meeting with Ustinov and Kozlov. In the evening a meeting of the General Staff is held. Decisions made: 1) Announce the name of the cosmonaut as soon as he is in orbit; 2) improve VVS support (aircraft, helicopters) needed to pick up the cosmonaut immediately after landing; 3) issue a formal letter to Moskalenko on rules for filming of the cosmonaut at the launch site; 4) organise an examination of the 11 cosmonauts not in the group of six now being prepared for flights.
The meeting is held at G T Voronin's OKB-124 at the 'Daks' factory. All of the program bigwigs are there (Korolev, Keldysh, etc). The big issue is the problem with the oxygen regenerator. On the 10 day trial 4 litres of lithium chloride were consumed, but the test was unsuccessful. A new solution of chlorine-lithium is proposed. But this is dangerous - the doctors are worried that if it gets into the cosmonauts body, it will poison him. A sharp discussion ensues, but the final decision is to try a five day trial with lithium chloride. At 12:00 the commission proceeds to Dementiev's GKAT. The tests of the Vostok recovery system are reviewed. There were to have been two to four ejection seat tests from Il-28 bombers, tests, plus tests at sea at Fedosiya of the NAZ ejection seat and the characteristics of the parachute underwater. The discussion turns again to the five-day ECS cabin test. It is decided to keep the faulty gas analyser, but not to connect it to the telemetry - the readings will be read with a television camera instead. There is a clear political aspect in the argument between the VVS design bureau and the institute over the performance of the ECS system. Lieutenant-General Kolkov orders yet another examination of the cosmonauts.
After eight months of debate, a Vostok project plan was finally agreed. There would be a single female cosmonaut flight in March-Apriil 1963. This would be followed by 4 to 5 additional Vostok flights in 1963 and 2 to 3 flights in 1964. This plan was approved by Malinovskiy, Keldysh, Smirnov, and Dementiev and forwarded to the Communist Party Central Committee. However Rudenko and others were still opposed.
The cosmonaut weds at the TsPK cosmonaut centre, and 80 guests attend. Of the female cosmonauts, only Ponomaryova is not yet married. However the next female flight will be made no earlier than 1965-1966. Tereshkova looks tired after her tour to Southeast Asia - and she's supposed to go to Ghana on 10 January! Korolev claims that the Soyuz schedule, as laid out in the resolution of 4 December 1963, is still realistic. He will have the first Soyuz flight in August 1964 and the second and third in September 1964. Ivanovskiy doesn't believe it will be possible to make any flights until 1965. Korolev and Tsybin disccuss Shcherbakov's design for a rocket-propelled high-altitude glider. This concept was supported by the VVS, but Dementiev was against it and it was killed in the bureaucracy.
Titov and Kamanin visit LII to review the status of simulator construction. The engineers haven't had any time to even consider trainers for winged spacecraft. The Soyuz trainer will only be completed by July 1966, and the trainer for the new Voskhod configuration is still on paper only. Simulators for manned lunar or planetary flights have not even been discussed yet. It is clear that Kamanin is going to have to go up the chain of command to Dementiev and Smirnov to get resources allocated for the work to be accelerated.
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.
Kamanin reviews the Spiral manned spaceplane program with Goreglyad, Frolov, and cosmonaut Titov. Work on the KLA orbiter began in 1961-1962. In the following eight years Kamanin has tried to push the leadership many times to accelerate the project, but without result. Still, the work is proceeding, albeit very slowly. Mikoyan has decided the first phase of the project will use rocket launch only - the air-breathing winged first stage will only be introduced later. Afanasyev has finally responded to the project, only to declare that the KLA must be not only for military missions, but serve as a transport shuttle for civilian space missions as well. Dementiev is holding the whole project up because he doesn't want to overburden the aircraft design bureaux and factories. And Kutakhov won't push the program without Dementiev's support.
Kamanin has been working for seven years on operation and improvement of the TsEZ Central Experimental Facility of he VVS. This includes the Volchok trainer, which simulates launch to orbit; the centrifuge facility; and numerous special test stands. The facility employs 120 engineers and 300 technicians. Later the Spiral project is discussed by the General Staff. It has been two weeks since Kutakhov promised to clarify Minister Dementiev's position on the project, but he never did talk to him. What is Kamanin expected to tell the cosmonauts training for the program? He is also trying to get a flight plan and press kit together in preparation for the Soyuz 9 mission, but there is no Central Committee resolution allowing this work. The KGB and Central Committee want to keep everything secret.
Meeting with the Spiral spaceplane cosmonaut training group. Mikoyan and Dementiev (son of the MAP Minister) have been working on this project for four years. Many in the leadership (Grechko, Zakharov, Krylov, etc) are against the concept and hinder the project in any way the can. Grechko considers it 'a fantasy' and Kutakhov does not support it energetically. Engineer-Colonel Sokolov-Sokolenik is the head of the unit (having replaced Titov, who is now in staff school). The United States has hundreds of flights on the X-15, which they have taken to 90 km altitude and 7000 km/hour airspeed. In the Soviet Union, all such work has been frozen for a decade.
Kutahkov is now Kamanin's direct superior; Efimov has been sent to a command in Cairo. Two An-22 heavy-lift transports have crashed in Pakistan and the Atlantic (en route to Chile). Kamanin meets with Dementiev and Kazatov at MAP. DOS-7K and Almaz simulator problems and the Spiral spaceplane project are discussed. There is not even a firm program plan for Spiral. Dementiev says this is because of the coolness of Grechko and Kutakhov to the subject. They block any discussion of the matter by the Central Committee. Grechko has written on Spiral - 'this is a fanatasy. We must spend money on more concrete items'.
Kamanin discusses with Kutakhov the need for the VVS to back Chelomei rather than Mishin. As for the Spiral, the support of Dementiev, Afanasyev, Kalmykov, and Zverev have been lined up for the program. But Grechko is still blocking it. And Kutakhov is unwilling to challenge Grechko on the issue.