Encyclopedia Astronautica
1969.10.19 - DOS Conspiracy briefed to wide circle of space planners


In the euphoria after the return of the Soyuz 6/7/8 crews, the problem was how to get Ustinov to meet further with the DOS 'conspirators'. Mishin had prohibited any meetings by TsKBEM staff with the Communist Party Secretary unless Mishin was also present. Another obstacle was that Feoktistov was not a party member; how could his presence at a party meeting be explained to Mishin later?

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

After the meeting, convinced of Ustinov's support, the 'conspirators' were left with just a year to build the station. Engineers immediately started to switch from the dead-end L3 lunar spacecraft effort to DOS. Bushuyev was worried that this only further sealed the fate of the N1. It was in any case important that the matter be formalised quickly. Being discovered working on it would be an embarrassment.

The biggest new development required was the docking collar and hatch unit. Semenov (L1 manager, and later head of RKK Energia) was the obvious project leader - the L1 had only two flights to go and he had demonstrated on that project the ability to maintain good communications and relations with OKB-52 and Chelomei. But how did they know whether he would support the DOS concept?

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