Encyclopedia Astronautica
1962.08.22 - Future Vostok flight plans discussed


At Baikonur for the launch of a Venera probe, the Soviet space leadership discussed future plans. The female cosmonaut training group was there for their first rocket launch. The next Vostok would carry the first woman into space; Ponomaryova, Solovyova, and Tereshkova were the leading candidates. Flight plans were discussed at a meeting in the evening between Kamanin and Leonid Smirnov. It would be possible to make the flight by the end of 1962, but March-April 1963 was more likely, depending on the final report on the Vostok 3/4 flights. The work force would be fully occupied in August-October in launching probes to Venus and Mars, also probably delaying any Vostok flight until the following spring. The next flight would probably be part of a group flight of two or three spacecraft, piloted by both men and women. The female flights would be limited to three days, while the male flights would last for 7 to 8 days.

Although Smirnov spoke of up to five Vostok flights in 1963, there were actually only two complete Vostok spacecraft left. Korolev still claimed the first unpiloted Soyuz test flight could take place in May 1963. The Mars and Venus probes didn't bring any military and very little propaganda advantage to the Soviet Union, in the opinon of Kamanin. He wished that instead Korolev would use those resources for further manned flights, including orbital stations and moon landings. On the other hand the military leadership was even opposed to the modest existing manned space programme. Malinovskiy had blocked attempts to authorise a further ten Vostoks a year earlier. Korolev, Keldysh, and Smirnov were discussing sending a letter directly to Khrushchev, bypassing the General Staff, to plead for more support for manned space flight.

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