Encyclopedia Astronautica
1965.02.22 - Cosmos 57


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

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

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