Encyclopedia Astronautica
1969.01.20 - Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 13L


Launch failure - but the abort system again functioned perfectly, taking the capsule to a safe landing (in Mongolia!). At 501 seconds into the flight one of the four engines of the second stage shut down, and remained shut down for 25 seconds. The ever-reliable SAS abort system detected the failure, and separated the capsule from the failed booster. Yet again a successful capsule recovery after a booster failure.

The spacecraft separates and is recovered south-west of Irkutsk, in Mongolia. At 08:20 the telemetry is read out. It shows the number 4 engine of the second stage stopped working 25 seconds into its burn. The third stage then separated, and the SAS abort system operated to separate the spacecraft and bring it to a safe landing, which was in Mongolia, 350 km from Irkutsk. The capsule landed in a valley between mountains 3000 m high. The capsule used in this L1#13 launch was reused from the aborted L1#7 flight, and set a new record -- two recoveries from two aborts. Only minor rework was required after the first abort. Smirnov and Ustinov have had enough and want to shut down the L1 program. In Kamanin's view, this would repeat the mistake they made with Voskhod , cost the Soviet Union two to three years in the space race. They originally had expected to accomplish successful L1 flights in only 2 to 3 years from go-ahead, but it has taken 5 years.

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