Encyclopedia Astronautica
1969.10.11 - Soyuz 6


Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Carried Vulkan welding furnace for vacuum welding experiments in depressurized orbital module. Was to have taken spectacular motion pictures of Soyuz 7 - Soyuz 8 docking but failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to new helium pressurization integrity test prior to mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings.

Kamanin awakes the crew of Soyuz 6 at 07:30. It had rained all night and into the morning, but then let up a bit. At 11:00 the State Commission convened at Area 31 and gave the final approval for launch. Fuelling of the launch vehicle was scheduled to start at 16:00. At 12:30 the bus arrives with the cosmonauts, and they begin a 90-minute medical examination. Kamanin looks on jealously, wishing he could be going in their place. It takes a half hour to get to the launch pad. Shonin declares his crew's readiness to the State Commission gathered at the base of the launch vehicle. Then the crew boards the spacecraft. The launch into orbit proceeds uneventfully, but after separation of the spacecraft from the third stage, the spacecraft's DPO orientation and docking engine system fails to respond to commands. If it cannot be fixed, the crew will be unable to manoeuvre in orbit, wrecking the planned filming of Soyuz 7 and 8. An override command is sent from the ground on the third orbit, after which Shonin locks the pyrotechnic valves of the system open. This fixes the problem and the mission proceeds.

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