Born: 1903-10-17. Died: 1976-04-26.
The VVS leadership has been diverted for the last three days in meetings of the General Staff of the Warsaw Pact. At 09:00 Kamanin takes a break to prepare two letters. One goes to the Ministry of Defence, certifying readiness for the launch of Vostok 1 on 10-20 April; the other goes to Zakharov on the General Staff, turning over all in-flight photographs to the VVS. Vershsinin pages through Kamanin's photo album of earth photographs taken during the unmanned Vostok test flights. They show the precise orbital orientation of the spacecraft. He says he will show these to Grechko and Malinovskiy, trying to convince them of the usefulness of manned spaceflight. Kamain calls Korolev and advises him that Voronin is ready. Korolev says that he plans to put wood wool into the cabin to absorb any excess lithium chloride.
The Soviet leadership attends a secret exhibition of Soviet rocket technology in a sporting hall at Pitsunda, on the Black Sea. The Chief Designers offer competing designs. It is decided that the R-16, R-9, UR-200, UR-500, and N1 will go forward. Yangel's R-56 is rejected. Additional Details: here....
A major programme review is held on plans for Voskhod s/n 5, 6, and 7. Tsybin insists that to conduct all of the experiments requested by the Ministry of Defence will take ten spacecraft and missions, but only five have been authorised. Spacecraft s/n 5 will fly with dogs, on a biosat mission. Spacecraft s/n 6 and 7 are being completed for 15-day flights with two crew, outfitted for artificial gravity experiments and medical and military research. The readiness of the military experiments is very poor, due to the fact that in the past Malinovskiy over and over again prohibited any work on military uses of space, at least until the ideal military platform was developed. It was only on Keldysh's initiative that any preliminary work had been done at all. Kamanin replies to Tsybin that it was not the business of OKB-1 to develop military experiments; this was the concern of the Military of Defence. Yet, Kamanin admits to himself, there is no single organisation within the Ministry that is supervising this work. Later Kamanin takes Gagarin to a meeting with Vershinin and Marshal Grechko. The Marshal is unimpressed with Gagarin's understanding of the issues involved in the issue of whether the VVS or RVSN should handle manned spaceflight. Kamanin resolves not to take cosmonauts to such high-level meetings in the future. Grechko does understand finally how poorly Malinovskiy and his deputies have handled military spaceflight. But Malinovskiy, and his supporters, Marshal Rudenko, and Colonel-General Ponomaryov, will not give up in their effort to prevent the VVS from becoming the responsible organisation for military spaceflight.
The cosmonauts began work at 10:30 in the morning, and didn't complete work until 23:30 at night. They spent 16 hours working on Cosmonaut's Day, due to the criminally chaotic performance of TsKBEM. The cosmonauts have to train simultaneously for the Soyuz and L1 missions. Kamanin warns Kerimov about the unacceptable situation. Grechko arrives to head the state commission. The launch of Soyuz 1 is set for 24-25 April - there will be only eight days to fix all of the problems. The energy and optimism of Korolev is sorely missed. Mishin was a poor deputy, and a worse leader - his constant mistakes and stupidity delay work and aggravate people. The cosmonauts have to keep in shape by playing tennis, but there is only one court at Tyuratam - a second court is to be built eventually (!)
The first Saturn V and Surveyor 6 have been launched by the Americans. Kamanin catalogues why the Americans are beating them: bad organisation, on the parts of Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov, Malinovskiy, and Grechko; technical errors and an undisciplined approach to the fulfilment of government decrees concerning the Soyuz and N1 on the parts of Chief Designers Korolev and Mishin; lack of coordination between the institutes and design bureaux compared to the United States; and finally, the Americans are spending several times more money than has been dedicated to the Soviet space program.
The 'big' Soviet of Chief Designers meets and the three-launch landing concept developed a month earlier is presented in detail. Pilyugin pointed out that this was a typical contradiction. Mishin had just made a presentation to the expert commission justifying that the one-launch scheme was safe and reliable. Now they wanted to put forward a new scheme because the one-launch scheme was unsafe and unfeasible. Additional Details: here....
Marshal Zakharov has consulted with Ryabikov at Gosplan on what commitments Grechko has made from Ministry of Defence funds for L3 recovery forces. Gosplan advised him that 800 million roubles and 21,000 staff were committed, but the justification for these amounts were not methodically developed. Mishin is now saying that hundreds, not thousands of cadres will be required, see he can set the return capsule down in within the confines of the cosmodrome.
Meetings are held at the cosmonaut centre to plan for the big visit to the base by Marshal Grechko. N F Kuznetsov briefs plans for the centre with the general staff. Kamanin discusses the situation with Leonov. Leonov notes the saying from Lenin on a banner at the centre: "Know how to work!" Unfortunately, they have left out the second part: "Don't hurry!" Leonov states he is not assigning Volynov to any future flights.
Tereshkova is on a tour of Jordan and Syria. Kamanin muses over the year 1969. He is able to rationalise that it wasn't a bad year -- they flew 9 cosmonauts on five space missions. But of course they lost the moon to the Americans. He blames Mishin, Keldysh, Smirnov, and Ustinov for this. But he also blames the attitude of the Ministry of Defence and VVS. This is indicated by the total indifference to civilian space projects of Grechko and Kutakhov. They don't support the Gagarin Centre, or Kamanin's request for 10 additional Soyuz flights in earth orbit. Kamanin views the L3 spacecraft and mission scenario as unsafe. What is needed is a new spacecraft, launched by two N1 boosters, that will take a crew of 3 to 5 to the moon.
Work continues at the Gagarin Centre even on Sundays. Kamanin studies the reorganization of space units within the Ministry of Defence. Leonov wants to write a letter to Brezhnev, complaining about the management of the space programme. He wants to finger Mishin, Keldysh, Sminrov, Serbin, Ustinov, Krylov, Zakharov, and Grechko by name. Kamanin asks him -- can all the cosmonauts write to the head of state whenever they want? Who will protect them from the inferno of backlash that would result? He doesn't support Leonov's idea.
Today the Soyuz 9 crew set a new space endurance record. Everything is normal aboard the spacecraft, except for the failed telemetry commutator and the engaged ASP switch. What would now be needed, notes Kamanin, are new Soyuz spacecraft to extend the duration in space gradualy to 30, 40, 50, and then 60 days. But there are no new spacecraft - Kamanin's plan for construction of an additional ten Soyuz was blocked. Grechko and others in the leadership want a big greeting ceremony for the crew in Moscow, but Kamanin only wants the crew in the hands of the doctors for the first 10 to 12 days after the flight. At 15:00, Mishin and Kerimov, following their bosses' orders from Moscow, announce that they want to extend the flight to 20 days.
Meeting with the Spiral spaceplane cosmonaut training group. Mikoyan and Dementiev (son of the MAP Minister) have been working on this project for four years. Many in the leadership (Grechko, Zakharov, Krylov, etc) are against the concept and hinder the project in any way the can. Grechko considers it 'a fantasy' and Kutakhov does not support it energetically. Engineer-Colonel Sokolov-Sokolenik is the head of the unit (having replaced Titov, who is now in staff school). The United States has hundreds of flights on the X-15, which they have taken to 90 km altitude and 7000 km/hour airspeed. In the Soviet Union, all such work has been frozen for a decade.
All will have to be on dry land. 500 million roubles would have been necessary to fund the sea forces, and the risk to the crews would have been greater. Kamanin sees the whole bogus controversy as a diversionary tactic of Mishin's to take attention away from the fact that the L3 spacecraft is in fact nonexistent - as is its N1 rocket. An additional 300 million roubles are needed to achieve a 'flying' N1. A completely new solution to the lunar landing problem needs to be worked out. Shatalov worked today with Grechko to lay out the program for French President Pompidou's visit to the Baikonur cosmodrome. Pompidou wants to see two live rocket launches, and Shatalov will show him the Soyuz spacecraft.
Kutahkov is now Kamanin's direct superior; Efimov has been sent to a command in Cairo. Two An-22 heavy-lift transports have crashed in Pakistan and the Atlantic (en route to Chile). Kamanin meets with Dementiev and Kazatov at MAP. DOS-7K and Almaz simulator problems and the Spiral spaceplane project are discussed. There is not even a firm program plan for Spiral. Dementiev says this is because of the coolness of Grechko and Kutakhov to the subject. They block any discussion of the matter by the Central Committee. Grechko has written on Spiral - 'this is a fanatasy. We must spend money on more concrete items'.
Kamanin discusses with Kutakhov the need for the VVS to back Chelomei rather than Mishin. As for the Spiral, the support of Dementiev, Afanasyev, Kalmykov, and Zverev have been lined up for the program. But Grechko is still blocking it. And Kutakhov is unwilling to challenge Grechko on the issue.
Marshal Grechko has sent a telegram to Kamanin, informing him that the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre has received the Order of Lenin. The UR-500K booster is mated to space station DOS-7K#1. Chelomei is ill. Mishin takes the opportunity to insult him by replacing Chelomei with Mishin's man on the commission that will judge the UR-500's readiness for launch. Nevertheless, the commission clears the booster to be moved out to the pad on 15 April, with launch set for 19 April at 06:40. In the evening Beregovoi's 50th birthday is celebrated.