Encyclopedia Astronautica
1969.10.17 - Landing of Soyuz 7

The landing commission meets at the command post at 08:00. Soyuz 7 is to land on orbit 97, beginning a 95 m/s retrofire impulse at 11:44:11. The main parachute is to deploy at 12:12:34. All is reported normal aboard the spacecraft, except that the Soyuz 7 warning light panel shows 'ASP' - automatic landing sequence. Despite this, Soyuz 7 landed successfully at 09:26 GMT.

There can be only two reasons for this light to illuminate. Either it comes on after separation of the modules prior to retrofire, or after pushing two distinctive buttons on the panel. But there has been no separation command, and the crew has not engaged the autoland program aboard the spacecraft. It is probably an electrical glitch, but there is a serious danger of proceeding with the autoland sequence if there is a short in the spacecraft somewhere. Kamanin tells Filipchenko not to get excited and await instructions from the ground. In Moscow and Yevpatoriya experts analyse the situation, pouring over electrical logic diagrams. After long debate they unanimously declare that the erroneous signal does not endanger the landing.

The autoland sequence cannot proceed without module separation occurring first. The cosmonauts are calmed, but still warned that the light may an indication of some larger fault. However in the event the landing proceeds normally. At 19:30 that evening the first practical demonstration of communications with Soyuz 8 via the Molniya transponder satellite is made. Kamanin hopes use of this capability in the future will end the 6 to 7 'deaf' orbits per day of Soviet spaceflights. At 21:30 Filipchenko's Soyuz 7 crew arrives at the cosmodrome.

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