Encyclopedia Astronautica
Vostok 4



vostkalu.jpg
Vostok Kaluga Museum
Credit: © Mark Wade
ivostok4.jpg
Vostok 4
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
Crew: Popovich. Joint flight with Vostok 3. Problems with life support system, resulted in cabin temperature dropping to 10 deg C. Returned to earth a day early due to communications secret code mix-up. First Ukrainian astronaut. Backup crew: Komarov, Volynov.

Joint flight with Vostok 3. Acquisition of experimental data on the possibility of establishing a direct link between two space ships; coordination of astronauts' operations; study of the effects of identical spaceflight conditions on the human organism. Popovich had problems with his life support system, resulting in the cabin temperature dropping to 10 degrees Centigrade and the humidity to 35%. The cosmonaut still managed to conduct experiments, including taking colour motion pictures of the terminator between night and day and the cabin interior.

Despite the conditions, Popovich felt able to go for the full four days scheduled. But before the mission, Popovich had been briefed to tell ground control that he was 'observing thunderstorms' if he felt the motion sickness that had plagued Titov and needed to return on the next opportunity. Unfortunately he actually did report seeing thunderstorms over the Gulf of Mexico, and ground control took this as a request for an early return. He was ordered down a day early, landing within a few mintutes of Nikolayev. Only on the ground was it discovered that he was willing to go the full duration, and that ground control had thought he had given the code. Recovered August 15, 1962 6:59 GMT. Landed 48:09 N 71:51 E.

AKA: Berkut (Golden Eagle ).
First Launch: 1962.08.12.
Last Launch: 1962.08.15.
Duration: 2.96 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Komarov Komarov, Vladimir Mikhailovich (1927-1967) Russian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Voskhod 1, Soyuz 1. First person to die during spaceflight when the parachute lines of Soyuz 1 tangled and it crashed to earth. Cosmonaut training March 1960 - 3 April 1961. Call sign: Rubin (Ruby). More...
  • Popovich Popovich, Pavel Romanovich (1930-2009) Ukrainian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Vostok 4, Soyuz 14. Commander of first military space station mission. More...
  • Volynov Volynov, Boris Valentinovich (1934-) Jewish-Russian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Soyuz 5, Soyuz 21. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Vostok Russian manned spacecraft. 13 launches, 1960.05.15 (Korabl-Sputnik 1) to 1963.06.16 (Vostok 6). First manned spacecraft. Derivatives were still in use in the 21st Century for military surveillance, earth resources, mapping, and biological missions. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • RVSN Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Raketniye Voiska Stratigcheskovo Naznacheniya (Russian Strategic Rocket Forces), Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Vostok World's first manned spacecraft, it was later developed into the Voskhod, and numerous versions of Zenit recoverable reconnaisance, materials, and biological research satellites which remained in service into the 21st Century. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Vostok 4 Chronology


1961 August 15 - .
  • Korolev proposes a Vostok group flight - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Korolev proposes to Kamanin the launch of three manned Vostok spacecraft at one-day intervals: the first on a three-day flight, and the second and third on two- or three-day flights. Three Soviet manned spacecraft would be in orbit at once. Kamanin has no problem in principle, but does not believe any such flight could take place until 1962, rather than the November 1961 schedule proposed by Korolev. Kamanin goes so far as to write a letter from the VVS saying they would not agree to such a schedule. Due to problems on Titov's one-day flight, Kamanin believed the next flight should not exceed two days, which implied a maximum of only two spacecraft could be in space at one time. Korolev is furious -- and his relationship with the VVS and Kamanin are poor thereafter.

1961 October 28 - .
  • Zenit-2 priority delays manned space flights - . Nation: USSR. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Zenit-2; Vostok. Summary: Plans for a November group flight are delayed due to the priority of the spy satellite program. Korolev wants to fly manned Vostoks in December 1961/January 1962, but Kamanin and the VVS oppose this due to poor weather during that period..

1961 December 25 - .
  • New cosmonauts to be recruited. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. The leadership has approved Kamanin's plan for the selection in the next year of 60 new cosmonaut trainees, including five women. Kamanin expects to see some of the women in orbit by the second half of 1962. DOSAAF has submitted 40 to 50 potential female candidates, selected from their files. Meanwhile, Titov is set to tour Indonesia in January. The Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 group flight is planned for March 1962.

1961 December 26 - .
  • Meeting on the planned Vostok 3/4 flights. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Vostok; Sokol SK-1. Six cosmonauts are certified as ready for flight. Trials of a new parachute and spacesuit design are not going well. The Vostok ECS has also not yet been perfected. The temperature in the cabin of Vostok 2 went down to 10 deg C due to what turned out to be an installation error (both the primary and back-up circulation fans were operating). Before finding the true nature of the problem, other modifications were made to the system, which resulted in the cabin being at 35 to 40 deg C in tests. The Mikron system, which is supposed to control the physiological function of the cosmonaut for ejection and landing, has never worked correctly.

1962 February 17 - .
  • Immediate Vostok launches demanded - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ustinov; Nikolayev; Popovich; Titov. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Ustinov wants launch of two cosmonauts within a month to answer the American Glenn flight. Of seven candidates, Nikolayev and Popovich are most likely to be selected. Meanwhile Titov has more incidents. He has driven his Volga into a bus. This is his third accident within a year.

1962 February 20 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 training - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ustinov; Nikolayev; Popovich; Nelyubov; Bykovsky. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Kamanin selects the cosmonauts for the dual flight ordered by Ustinov: Nikolayev and Popovich, with Nelyubov and Bykovsky as back-ups. Ustinov has ordered launch by 10-12 March. - such is the Soviet's lousy leadership, Kamanin notes. They don't do anything for months, then suddenly want a manned launch within 10 days. Korolev wants a three-day flight, but the VVS wants no more than two days, and only then if the cosmonauts are in excellent condition after the first day.

1962 February 22 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 to fly three days - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Kamanin's plan for a limitation of two days has been blocked by Korolev. Korolev sees Kamanin as a brake on his adventures. Kamanin is also ordered to have the female cosmonauts selected by 1 March, and ready for flight by the end of August. Nine women have passed the hospital tests; from these four or five will be selected for cosmonaut training, and one of these will become the first woman in space.

1962 February 24 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 flight duration - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Vershinin. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: Korolev is pressuring Vershinin to allow a three day flight. Korolev provides reassurances that this will only occur if the cosmonauts are all right after two days in space. Kamanin remains categorically opposed..

1962 February 27 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 plans - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: Korolev is still pushing for a three-day flight and new scientific experiments for the cosmonauts to conduct. Kamanin remains opposed to these 'adventures'..

1962 March 5 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 delayed - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gagarin; Titov; Nikolayev; Popovich; Nelyubov; Bykovsky. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Zenit-2. Due to technical problems and the launch failure of a Zenit spy satellite, the launch of the dual Vostoks is pushed back to April. Therefore a trip to New York by the cosmonauts in March will not be possible. In any case the Presidium has decided against allowing them to address the United Nations.

1962 March 7 - .
1962 April 9 - .
  • Flight duration - . Nation: USSR. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Kamanin notes an American/West German experiment where five men spent five days confined to a fallout shelter. The result was bad, with the men showing deterioration physically and mentally. Titov says that this shows how dangerous it will be to extend space flight durations too quickly.

1962 April 12 - .
  • First Cosmonautics Day - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Titov. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: The Central Committee has cleared Kamanin and Titov to travel to New York in May. But Kamanin believes they should instead be in Russia at that time for the Vostok 3/4 launches..

1962 April 18 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 Plans - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Smirnov; Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Smirnov approves Korolev's flight plan. Vostok 3 is to fly three days; Vostok 4, launched a day later, for two days; they will land simultaneously. Kamanin feels the rush is crazy. For seven to eight months there was no authority from the leadership to fly. Then, suddenly, after Glenn's flight, come orders to launch into space within ten days.

1962 April 26 - . 10:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K.
  • Cosmos 4 - . Payload: Zenit-2 11F61 s/n 2. Mass: 4,610 kg (10,160 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Agency: RVSN. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Zenit-2. Duration: 3.00 days. Decay Date: 1962-04-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 287 . COSPAR: 1962-Xi-1. Apogee: 317 km (196 mi). Perigee: 285 km (177 mi). Inclination: 65.0000 deg. Period: 90.50 min. Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite. Program partially completed. Failure of primary spacecraft orientation system. It was to spend four days in space, to be followed by another mission during 5-10 May. This meant that Vostok 3/4 could not be launched before 20-30 May. The cosmonaut prime crew returned from their in-suit parachute training at Fedosiya.

1962 June 22 - .
  • Zenit booster failure damages pad, delays Vostok 3/4 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Gagarin; Titov; Vershinin; Keldysh. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Zenit-2. A briefing by engineer V A Smirnov predicts that the Americans will make a 17-18 revolution flight of the earth by the end of 1962. Kamanin disagrees, believing they will not achieve this until the second half of 1963. Another Zenit-2 spy satellite has failed to achieve orbit. The first had failed due to a third stage problem, and now the third attempt failed due to a first stage problem. It blew up 300 m from the pad, and did enough damage to put the launch complex out of operation for a month. Therefore the Vostok 3/4 launches cannot now take place until the end of July at the earliest.

    Kamanin has continued arguments over the reorganisation of VVS space units and the role of IAKM. Korolev has never supported a leading role for the VVS or Kamanin in the Soviet space program. He is complaining about the 'offences' of the VVS, Kamanin, and the cosmonauts. Korolev cites Gagarin's trauma and Titov's motor accidents. He believes cosmonauts should be selected only from OKB-1 engineers. He also believes the cosmonauts are wasting too much time on publicity tours. Vershinin and Keldysh are hearing all of these complaints.


1962 July 13 - .
  • Three-day Vostok flight - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Khrushchev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: Kamanin notes that Korolev now has Khrushchev's backing for a three-day duration Vostok flight. Of 15 State Commission members, Kamanin finds himself the only one opposed to the idea..

1962 July 16 - .
  • State Commission on Vostok 3/4 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: American nuclear tests over the Pacific have increased radiation levels in space. But the scientists believe manned flights of three to five days duration will still be safe..

1962 July 16 - .
  • Experiments for Vostok 3/4 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Vostok. Meeting at OKB-1 between the cosmonaut commander and spacecraft engineers. It is decided that experiments conducted during the flight will be observations of: the third stage of the Vostok booster after separation of the spacecraft; the launch of Vostok 4, as seen from Vostok 3; and preselected ground objects. These will require two to three hours of manual orientation of the spacecraft, with pointing accurate to within 7 degrees of the expected position of the objects to be observed.

1962 July 17 - .
  • Medical specialists support three day flight - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: The doctors now support Korolev's proposal for a three-day flight duration. They all opposed it after the problems on Titov's one-day flight. So much for Soviet 'science', harrumphs Kamanin..

1962 July 27 - .
  • First Zero-G training on Tu-104 - . Nation: USSR. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: The Soviets conduct their first cosmonaut zero-G training on an aircraft flying parabolic trajectories. 6 to 25 seconds of weightlessness is experienced on each manoeuvre..

1962 July 30 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 State Commission - . Nation: USSR. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: Nearly 70 people attend the meeting. Launch is set for 9 and 10 August. The support teams will fly to Tyuratam on 2 to 3 August..

1962 August 2 - .
  • At Tyuratam - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. The VVS contingent flies to the cosmodrome in three Il-14's. Due to the very hot conditions, they land on the 2 km dirt strip - the paved runway is only 1200 m long. Kamanin notices a lot of new construction since he was last at the cosmodrome, 16 months earlier, for Gagarin's launch.

1962 August 3 - .
  • Titov again - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ponomaryova; Kuznetsova; Titov; Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Vostok. Kamanin learns that Ponomaryova and Kuznetsova spent all night in TItov's apartment at TsPK. 'Dumb girls' he intones. Kamanin travels in a Lvov bus from Area 10 to Area 2, a distance of 40 km. Driving a Volga automobile, the stretch can now be done in only thirty minutes on the newly paved road. Korolev and his engineers are hard at work. Spacecraft number 5 is already in final tests, with Spacecraft 6 one to two days behind it in the processing flow. The launches will be observed by all of the female cosmonauts and 4 to 8 of the new engineer-cosmonauts.

1962 August 4 - .
  • Launch preparations - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich; Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Vostok; Zenit-2. Kamanin is at the Syr Darya River at 06:50, and arrives at Area 2 at 09:00. Suit communications tests are underway. From 11:00 to 13:00 there is a discussion on how the cosmonauts will observe the third stage of their booster, and how the spacecraft will be oriented. To stay pointed, they will need to put the spacecraft in a very slow maneuver of 0.06 deg/sec, or one revolution in 1.8 hours. Once they have achieved this, they have to put the spacecraft in a roll of 0.5 deg/sec, or one revolution in 12 minutes, in order to maintain the spacecraft's thermal balance due to solar heating. Kamanin does not understand why this is necessary - the Cosmos 4 spy satellite, of the same design, spent all four days of its mission in stabilised flight, using infrared horizon trackers, and maintained a stable internal temperature of 17 deg C. Korolev mentions that Cosmos 4 could distinguish types of aircraft on airfields, and the form and tonnage of ships at sea.

1962 August 5 - .
  • Sunday at the cosmodrome - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Vostok. Summary: Launch preparations continue. From 08:00 to 15:00 the NUZ ejection seat parachute system and radio communications are tested. Spacecraft 6 completed acceptance tests for the third time. All should be ready for launch by August 6..

1962 August 7 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 Launch Commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich; Smirnov; Rudenko; Gagarin; Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Smirnov, Rudenko, Gagarin attend. Go-ahead is given for launch on 10/11 August. Nikolayev wants to spend one hour in his spacecraft before launch, but Korolev is against this, not wanting the spacecraft disturbed after it has passed all of its tests. Finally a compromise is reached, whereby Nikolayev will get his hour, but without wearing his spacesuit.

1962 August 8 - .
  • Additional Vostok missions; launch preparations. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Rudenko; Nikolayev; Popovich; Korolev; Gagarin; Titov. Program: Vostok; Soyuz. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4; Vostok 5; Vostok 6; Vostok 6A; Vostok 7; Vostok 8; Vostok 9. Spacecraft: Vostok; Soyuz A; Soyuz B; Soyuz V. Kamanin discusses with Rudenko the need for construction and flight of ten additional Vostok spacecraft. Korolev still plans to have the first Soyuz spacecraft completed and flying by May 1963, but Kamanin finds this completely unrealistic. The satellite is still only on paper; he doesn't believe it will fly until 1964. If the Vostoks are not built, Kamanin believes the Americans will surpass the Russians in manned spaceflight in 1963-1964. From 13:00 to 14:00 Nikolayev spends an hour in his spacesuit in the ejection seat. Kamanin finds many mistakes in the design of the ejection seat. There is no room for error in disconnect of the ECS, in release of the seat, and so on. At 17:00 the State Commission holds a rally to fete Gagarin and Titov in the square in front of headquarters. Kamanin finds the event very warm but poorly organised. At 19:00 Smirnov chairs the meeting of the State Commission in the conference hall of the MIK. Korolev declares the spacecraft and launch vehicle ready; Kamanin declares the cosmonauts ready. Nikolayev is formally named the commanding officer of Vostok 3, and Popovich of Vostok 4. Rudenko gets Popovich's name wrong - his second serious mistake. He had earlier called the meeting for the wrong time.

1962 August 8 - .
  • Launch preparations - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Vostok. Kamanin gets up at 05:00. A Yangel missile was to have been launched in the morning, but it has been postponed to the evening. Vostok 4 completed its third series of functional tests, but did not pass the visual inspection. The ejection seat, which was taken out of the capsule last night at 23:00, was not back into the capsule until 09:00 this morning, which meant that Popovich could not complete his training in the seat in his suit as planned. The cosmonauts start preparing the ship's flight plans/logs. The Tyuratam airfield is discussed. The 1200 m paved runway is insufficient, it needs to be extended to 3000 m for future requirements. From 15:00 to 20:30 the cosmonauts and the press go on a photo opportunity - fishing on the Syr Darya River.

1962 August 9 - .
  • Vostok 3 rollout - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich; Smirnov; Korolev; Keldysh. Program: Vostok; Soyuz. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Soyuz A; Soyuz B; Soyuz V. At the MIK Popovich finally trains in his suit in the seat 'as planned'. At 11:30 Smirnov, Korolev, and Keldysh inspect the new space food prepared for the flight, then meet with the cosmonauts. The Soyuz spacecraft is discussed - the cosmonauts want to have a mock-up commission. Afterwards the pilots conduct more training in their flight suits. At 21:00 Vostok 3 is rolled out from Area 10 to the pad. There was a two hour delay due to the need to reinspect the fasteners on the ejection seat - use of unauthorised substitutes was detected on other seats.

1962 August 10 - .
  • Vostok 3 countdown - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich; Smirnov; Korolev; Feoktistov. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. At 12:00 the first press conference was held with reporters from Tass, Pravda, Izvestia, and Krasnaya Zvezda. At 13:15 the launch team holds a meeting at the pad, confirming all is ready. Afterwards Korolev, Smirnov, and the cosmonauts went up in the lift to the capsule. Nikolayev sat in the spacecraft while Korolev quizzed him for thirty minutes on changes made to standard configuration. Then they go to the 'Gagarin' cottage (actually that of Marshal Nedelin) for the night. From 17:00 to 19:00 Feoktistov briefs the cosmonauts on the final flight and contingency plans. Korolev comes in, and discusses the future Soyuz spacecraft, and his planned 16 tonne and 75 tonne manned spacecraft. Then Korolev goes out to the pad again to check on the booster. Kamanin notes that Korolev seems to be made of granite - aside from the Zenit-2 and Vostok launches, Korolev is preparing for three launches of probes to Venus in September, and more probes to Mars and the moon in October. Korolev yens to be allowed to travel abroad, at least to Czechoslovakia. But the State will not allow even this, let alone revealing his central role in their space program. At 22:00 it is agreed that the flight could be prolonged to a fourth day if the spacecraft and cosmonaut were holding up. There were some problems in the three-day test of the Tral telemetry system, but only actual use will show if the problem exists in operational conditions.

1962 August 12 - . 08:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K.
  • Vostok 4 - . Call Sign: Berkut (Golden Eagle ). Crew: Popovich. Backup Crew: Komarov; Volynov. Payload: Vostok 3KA s/n 6. Mass: 4,728 kg (10,423 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich; Komarov; Volynov. Agency: RVSN. Program: Vostok. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Vostok. Duration: 2.96 days. Decay Date: 1962-08-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 365 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Nu-1. Apogee: 211 km (131 mi). Perigee: 159 km (98 mi). Inclination: 65.0000 deg. Period: 88.20 min. Joint flight with Vostok 3. Acquisition of experimental data on the possibility of establishing a direct link between two space ships; coordination of astronauts' operations; study of the effects of identical spaceflight conditions on the human organism. The launch of Popovich proceeds exactly on schedule, the spacecraft launching with 0.5 seconds of the planned time, entering orbit just a few kilometers away from Nikolayev in Vostok 3. Popovich had problems with his life support system, resulting in the cabin temperature dropping to 10 degrees Centigrade and the humidity to 35%. The cosmonaut still managed to conduct experiments, including taking colour motion pictures of the terminator between night and day and the cabin interior.

    Despite the conditions, Popovich felt able to go for the full four days scheduled. But before the mission, Popovich had been briefed to tell ground control that he was 'observing thunderstorms' if he felt the motion sickness that had plagued Titov and needed to return on the next opportunity. Unfortunately he actually did report seeing thunderstorms over the Gulf of Mexico, and ground control took this as a request for an early return. He was ordered down a day early, landing within a few mintutes of Nikolayev. Only on the ground was it discovered that he was willing to go the full duration, and that ground control had thought he had given the code.


1962 August 13 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. The dual flights proeceed normally. At the 07:30 communications session Nikolayev is on his 31st orbit, and Popovich on his 16th. Nikolayev reports having awoken from his sleep period at 04:30 and Popovich at 04:53. At 22:30 there is a stormy meeting of the State Commission. Nikolayev's cabin temperature has dropped from 27 deg C at lift-off, to 13 deg C on the 29th orbit, and still 13 deg C on the 36th orbit. However the cosmonaut reports he has no trouble with this temperature in his suit. Problem existed with the Tral telemetry system, but these have now been solved. Nearly everyone wants to prolong Nikolayev's flight to a fourth day, except Kamanin, who is worried about the unknown physical condition of the cosmonaut after such a long flight. Furthermore the change will move the landing to a rocky area with higher winds expected. After heated discussion it is decided to review the matter again in the morning and decide then.

1962 August 14 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich; Smirnov; Korolev; Khrushchev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. A meeting of the state commission is held at 07:00 to decide whether to prolong Nikolayev's flight to a fourth day. It is finally agreed that they will bring both spacecraft down on 15 August, with Nikolayev re-entering on his 65th orbit and Popovich on his 49th. Kamanin advises Nikolayev via the Yelizovo tracking station: "Go for a fourth day / 65 orbits". But this will ruin plans for a three-day comprehensive post-landing medical examination, since Nikolayev and Popovich have to be in Moscow on Friday, the 18th, for the preplanned celebrations at the Kremlin.

    The State Commission met again at 17:00, to decide whether to extend Popovich to a fourth day as well. Smirnov and Korolev have already discussed this with Khrushchev. It all right with them, and there are no technical reasons not to. But Popovich is much more active than Nikolayev, since he wasn't expecting a four day flight, and he has not conserved his resources as Nikolayev has. At 12:00 the spacecraft temperature was down to 11 deg C, with low humidity. Kamanin objects violently, and finally it is decided to ask the cosmonaut directly if he feels able to go for the extra day. Popovich, when contacted, immediately declares himself ready to go for an extra day and a 65 orbit mission. It is decided to study expected landing conditions for an extended mission and the physical condition of the cosmonaut before making a final decision.


1962 August 15 - .
  • Landing of Vostok 4 - . Return Crew: Popovich. Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich; Smirnov; Korolev; Khrushchev; Rudenko; Keldysh; Gagarin. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 4. Recovered August 15, 1962 6:59 GMT. Landed 48:09 N 71:51 E. By 07:00 the temperature aboard Vostok 4 is down to 10 deg C, and the humidity at 35%. Popovich is ready to continue for a fourth day, but he admits the cold is getting to him. Keldysh and Rudenko now support returning Vostok 4 to earth on the 49th orbit, but Smirnov still wants to go for the extra day. Then Popovich radios 'I observe thunderstorms (groza). Groza is the pre-agreed code word to indicate that the cosmonaut is vomiting. It is believed he is declaring an emergency and requesting an immediate landing. The State Commission meets again and has to decide within 40 minutes whether to begin setting the spacecraft up for retrofire. But then when Korolev and Smirnov ask the cosmonaut to verify, he explains "I am excellent, I was observing meteorological thunderstorms and lightning". However Gagarin and Kamanin are suspicious of the explanation - they believe Popovich had an attack of nausea, panicked, made the emergency radio transmission, but then felt better and didn't want to admit to his weakness when confronted by the leadership. However it is now too late. He is set to return at nearly the same time as Nikolayev on Vostok 3. Both spacecraft land successfully six minutes apart a short distance from each other. However flight plans for the State Commission are wrecked due to bad weather at nearby airfields.

1962 August 16 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 post-flight debriefings - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Vostok. Nikolayev and Popovich finally arrive in Kuibyshev aboard an Il-18 aircraft that originated from from Sary Shagan. Now come the medical check-ups and interviews by the State Commission, The State Commission finds that both missions have outstanding results. The cosmonauts present believe that in the future men, not machines, should pilot the spacecraft. The way was clear for 5 to 10 Vostok flights in the next year.

    Nikolayev's post-flight debriefing: The rocket vibration was not great initially, but very forceful at the end of operation of the second stage. There was quite a shock on separation of the spacecraft from the third stage. 15 minutes before the launch of Popovich's spacecraft I oriented the Vostok and at 11:03 the spacecraft was at the correct 73 degree pitch attitude. However I was unable to see either Popovich's spacecraft or his booster rocket. I had bad communications with Zarya on the first day. On the fourth revolution, during the communications session with Khrushchev, I could not hear, but then during the second, third, and fourth day of the flight communications were clear. The Globus instrument was valuable. Zero-G was not unpleasant, and on the fourth day I sharply turned by head to the left and right but could not force any bad reactions. I felt fully trained in use of the equipment. Over Turkey I could see airfields, cities, paved roads, and ships at sea. The TDU retrorocket operated for 42 seconds. The re-entry capsule revolved randomly on reaching the denser atmosphere and I pulled 8 to 9 G's on re-entry. There were many boulders in the landing area, but I was able to guide my parachute to land in a 2 x 2 m clear area.

    Popovich debriefing: I could easily see the earth flowing below. Manual orientation using this by day or the stars by night was possible. There was lots of static on the UHF band on space-ground communications. Space-to-space communications with Sokol were very good, especially over the equator. Moving my head caused no motion sickness problems. After ejection, I secured my reserve parachute (as had Nikolayev). I saw a search aircraft twenty minutes after landing. The NAZ antenna did not deploy (as with Nikolyaev).

    After the debriefing, a celebration is held with the cosmonauts, State Commission, and local officials. Everyone gets pretty drunk. Kamanin is finally instructed to take Nikolayev and Popovich to bed at midnight. The rest continue until 2 in the morning.


1962 August 17 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 post-flight - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich; Gagarin; Titov. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. The cosmonauts continue their post-flight medical examinations, but everyone is suffering from hangovers from the celebration the night before. There was a stupid incident, with some of the leaders blaming Nikolayev of bad behaviour. Most of the commission leaves in the evening. In the afternoon the new heroes of the cosmos - Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, and Popovich - are taken boating, to the acclaim of crowds on the shore.

1962 August 18 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 cosmonauts arrive in Moscow - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. In the morning, the cosmonauts rehearse the speeches sent to them from Moscow for the celebrations. Then they depart Kuibyshev. A fighter escort intercepts the cosmonauts' aircraft at 13:00, and the aircraft lands at Moscow at 14:00 sharp. Enormous celebrations follow.

1962 August 20 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 cosmonauts meet with workers - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: The cosmonauts hold their traditional meeting with 6,000 workers at OKB-1, and hand over the ships' logs to Korolev..

1962 August 21 - .
  • Vostok 3/4 cosmonauts meetings - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: The cosmonauts meet with the General Staff of the Air Force, followed by a press conference at noon..

1962 December 22 - .
  • Big fight on cosmonaut tour - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich; Rudenko. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: The issue of Popovich and Nikolayev going to Indonesia has been escalated to the level of Gromyko, Rudenko, and Ivashutin of the KGB..

1962 December 27 - .
  • Absurd situations! - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Popovich. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 4. A decree ordering the training of sixty cosmonauts has been laying around, and suddenly the leadership wants to enforce it. 15 new trainee male cosmonauts, and 15 women are to be recruited - an overall total of 20 by the end of 1962 and 40 by the end of 1963 And crews are to be formed and trained, even though there are no spacecraft being built for the missions. And the decision that Popovich is to go on his Cuba tour is handed down only 2.5 hours before he is supposed to depart.

1963 January 12 - .
  • Cosmonaut travels. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Summary: Following interminable discussions with the leadership, in the end only Nikolayev is to go to Indonesia. Popovich has returned from Cuba, after a 14 hour non-stop flight from Havana to Moscow aboard a Tu-114..

1963 January 17 - .
  • Cosmonaut PR training - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Nikolayev; Popovich. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. The cosmonauts need to be trained for press conferences. Nikolayev is to receive special training, as well as Popovich who is being criticised for mistakes made during his Cuba tour. He told reporters 'We will assist Cuba not just on the earth, but from space', and 'The world will soon learn the names of all of the first cosmonaut team', neither of which are state policy.

1963 June 5 - .
  • Vostok 5/6 Flight Preparations - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Bykovsky; Volynov. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4; Vostok 5. Spacecraft: Vostok. On the last five days it has been 25 deg C during the days and 15 deg C at night. In the evening the classified film on Nikolayev and Popovich's flights is screened. Kamanin regrets that it cannot be made public. What the Soviet state considers secrets - the configuration of the rocket and spacecraft, the identity of the managers and launch teams - are public knowledge in the US program. A VVS Li-2 (DC-3) transport arrives at Tyuratam with three tonnes of fruit. A real treat for the launch teams. The cosmonauts spend their final night in the cottages. These are equipped with good-quality Italian air conditioners that keep the cosmonauts comfortable on their last night on earth.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use