Born: 1919-11-14. Died: 2003-03-29.
Born in Baku. Completed Dzerzhinsky Artillery Academy in 1944. Became involved in creating the earliest rocket units in the Soviet Union. Ascending positions in the rocket forces throughout the 1950's culminating in assignment as Commander of the Third Directorate of GURVO in September 1960. Chaired the State Commission for Soyuz 1966-1991.
The State Commission meets at Baikonur. Chertok advises that the failure of the parachute hatch to jettison in the trials in Fedosiya was due to a serious defect in the schematics of the electrical layout and will not occur again. Korolev declares he is ready to certify Voskhod ready for the final drop test at Fedosiya but would prefer to delay the launch of the spacecraft with mannequins until after the Fedosiya test. The state commission finally agrees to reschedule the launch from 28-30 September, subject to a successful test at Fedosiya on 24-25 September.
Aftrwards Tyulin calls Korolev, Mrykin, Kerimov, Rudenko, and Kamanin aside. He tells them the Communist Party and Soviet Ministers have now taken a personal interest in the crew selection for Voskhod. Korolev and Kamanin bitterly debate their competing preferred crews.
At 13:00 the State Commission meets at the launch pad. All work is complete, and the approval to launch the E-6 robot probe to the moon is given. Keldysh takes the opportunity to confront Rudenko by asking him, who will manage the manned flights to the moon - the VVS or the Rocket Forces? Kerimov replies that this is a function of the VVS. Ishilinskiy, Kamanin, and Kerimov hope very much to be the first commander of a spaceport on the moon... The Lunik is launched successfully into earth parking orbit, but the fourth stage fails to ignite when the moment comes to launch it towards the moon. This is the sixth Lunik not to make it anywhere near its objective; together with the 100% failure rate of the planetary probes, there have been 10 failures. Kamanin believes this points to the absolute necessity of the crew being in control at all times during a manned lunar flight, as opposed to Korolev's insistent reliance on fully automatic systems. Korolev is greatly disturbed by this latest failure, and appoints Chertok to head the investigation.
The new year begins, with no clear space plans. Although Smirnov has ordered the American 14-day space endurance record to be broken by a Soviet fight before the 23rd Party Congress, it is clear this will not happen. Trials of the long-duration oxygen regeneration system at IMBP qualified the system for a 16-day flight. But VVS specialists hesitate to certify it for 20-22 day missions. Kerimov is pushing to get the system qualified by February, but it simply won't be ready in time. Even such a simple thing as getting the two Admira movie cameras from Czechoslovakia required for the Voskhod 4 mission require writing to Marshal Zakharov. The cosmonauts don't even have one in order to learn how to operate them.
The commission, chaired by Tyulin, with attendance by Mishin, Tsybin, Shabarov, Kerimov, and others considers manned flight plans for 1966. The 20-day dog flight of Voskhod s/n 5 is expected to launch on 22-23 February. Kamanin notes that although he is not against the flight, it has no interest to the military. Launch of Voskhod 3 is set for 20-23 March. Kamanin names his crews for the flight - Volynov/Shonin and Beregovoi/Shatalov as back-ups. Only Pravetskiy objects to these selections, pushing Katys for the prime crew. This settled, Mishin announces he still intends to pursue the artificial gravity experiment on the flights of Voskhod s/n 7 and/or 8. Kamanin informs Mishin that he has requested for more than a year that this experiment be moved to a Soyuz flight - there are 700 kg of new military scientific equipment that has to be flown aboard Voskhod, leaving little room for nothing else.
It is decided that the flights of Voskhod s/n 5 and 6 will be run from Moscow rather than from the cosmodrome. The state commission will return to Moscow immediately after launch for this purpose. Four groups of staff will follow the flight on four-hour shifts.
Tyulin, Keldysh, and Mishin want engineer and scientist cosmonauts to be trained for early Soyuz flights. Kamanin agrees, telling them he will submit suitable candidates. The meeting goes well, possibly since in the absence of Korolev the commission is stacked with military representatives - of 17 members, 9 are military.
While Gemini 11 orbits above, the Soviet leadership argues about fundamental organisational details. Pashkov leads a meeting of the VPK, with Litvinov, Kerimov, Pravetskiy, Tregub, Tsarev, Bogdanov; Rudenko, and Moroz present. After prolonged debate, it is decided that Kiyasov, Kerimov and Kamanin will prepare a letter to the Central Committee. The TsPK Cosmonaut Training Centre will remain the only such centre in the country. However the VVS will agree to some modifications in existing selection and training arrangements. The Ministry of Public Health will be excluded from participation in selection and training of cosmonauts.
The government has decided to decrease rather than increase the authority of the Chairman of the State Commission for Manned Flights. Kerimov will be appointed to the post. He is now only Chief for the MOM Third Main Administration. His predecessors were Ministers or Deputy Ministers (Rudnev, Smirnov, Tyulin). Kerimov will not have the rank or authority to stand up to dozens of chief designers, deputy ministers, Marshals, Generals, or the President of the Academy of Sciences. Kamanin observes that Soviet space affairs continue to roll downhill under the "valiant" management of Ustinov and Smirnov.
Kamanin is at Tyuratam for the first Soyuz launch. He and Rudenko are accommodated in the new hotel at Area 2. It has all conveniences - a local telephone, radio and television with Moscow programs, even a promise to install an HF telephone that will allow secure communications with Moscow. Also there for the launch are Kerimov, Kirillov, Kuznetsov, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, amd Yeliseyev. Rudenko reports that he has been chewed out by Marshal Zakharov. Zakharov told him "What are you and Kamanin doing, blocking OKB-1 candidates from flight? If Mishin wants to send his people to the Moon, let him do it and do not interefere!"
Rudenko has reached agreement with Mishin that L1 and L3 crews will also consist of a VVS pilot as commander, and an OKB-1 flight engineer. Kamanin is depressed. Despite the support six marshals (Malinovskiy, Grechko, Zakharov, Krylov, Vershinin and Rudenko), Mishin has won this argument with the support of Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, Pashkov, Keldysh, Afanasyev, and Petrovskiy. Later the State Commission meets, for the first time in a long time at Tyuratam. Kerimov chairs the session, with more than 100 attendees, including Mishin, Rudenko, Krylov, Pravetskiy, Kurushin, Ryazanskiy, Mnatsakanian, and Tkachev. All is certified ready,. Launch of the active spacecraft is set for 26 November, and the passive vehicle on 27 November.
The weather continues to deteriorate, and Kamanin considers moving the Tu-104 and cosmonauts to Krasnovodsk in order to get the 24 necessary zero-G flights before launch. At 11:00 the State Commission meets at Area 31. Present are Kerimov, Mishin, Rudenko, Kamanin, Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Yeliseyev, Anokhin and others. Mishin describes the status of preparations of Soyuz s/n 1, 2, 3, 4 for launch. He notes that the L1 and L3 lunar spacecraft are derived from the 7K-OK, and that these flights will prove the spacecraft technology as well as the rendezvous and docking techniques necessary for subsequent manned lunar missions. Feoktistov and the OKB-1 engineers say a launch cannot occur before 15 January, but Mishin insists on 25 December. That will leave only 20 days for cosmonaut training for the mission, including the spacewalk to 10 m away from the docked spacecraft. Faced with the necessity for the crews to train together as a team prior to flight, Mishin at long last officially agrees to the crew composition for the flights: Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev as prime crews, with Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov as back-ups. However a new obstacle appears. KGB Colonel Dushin reports that Yeliseyev goes by his mother's surname. His father, Stanislav Adamovich Kureytis , was a Lithuanian sentenced to five years in 1935 for anti-Soviet agitation. He currently works in Moscow as Chief of the laboratory of the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Shoe Industry. Furthermore Yeliseyev had a daughter in 1960, but subsequently annulled the marriage in 1966.
Later Feoktistov works with the crews on spacecraft s/n 1 to determine the feasibility of the 10-m EVA. The cosmonauts suggest a telescoping pole rather than a line be used to enable the cosmonaut to be in position to film the joined spacecraft. Bushuyev is tasked with developing the new hardware.
Four years behind Korolev's original promised schedule, the countdown is underway for the first Soyuz spacecraft. A new closed circuit television system allows the rocket to be observed from several angles during the final minutes. Mishin, as per tradition, personally stays with the rocket until the last moment. Rudenko, Kerimov, and Kamanin observe the launch from the bunker, while Gagarin, Nikolayev, Belyayev and Yegorov observe from the observation post. The launch is perfect, within 0.2 seconds of the 16:00 launch time. The separation of the first stage strap-ons can be seen with the naked eye in the clear sky. The spacecraft is given the cover designation Cosmos 133 after launch. By 22:00 the spacecraft is in deep trouble. For unknown reasons the spacecraft consumed its entire load of propellant for the DPO approach and orientation thrusters within a 15-minute period, leaving the spacecraft in a 2 rpm spin. At the insertion orbital perigee of 179 kilometres, the spacecraft will have a life of only 39 orbits. It is decided to attempt to stop the spin on the 13th orbit using other thrusters and the ion flow sensors to determine attitude. Then the re-entry sequence will be commanded on the 16th orbit, with the spacecraft to use solar sensors to orient itself for retrofire on the 17th orbit.
The search for the wreckage of Cosmos 133 continues without success. Mishin and Kerimov agree with Kamanin's opinion that if a cosmonaut had been aboard instead of a mannequin, the mission could have been successful. Kamanin has temporarily removed Gagarin from flight status after he missed a Tu-104 flight debriefing, then a 22:30 curfew, and did not show up at the Cosmonaut Dormitory at Tyuratam until 14:00 the next day. While on his escapade he also was found to have driven an automobile while intoxicated.
Rudenko, Mishin, Kerimov and Kamanin agree on crews for upcoming flights. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev are assigned to Soyuz s/n 3 and 4; Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov to Soyuz s/n 5 and 6, with Beregovoi, Shatalov, Volkov, and Makarov trained as back-ups. For Soyuz s/n 7, which will conduct space welding experiments with the Vulkan furnace, the commander will be either Komarov, Bykovsky, Gagarin, Nikolayev, Beregovoi, or Shatalov. The other two crewmembers will be either Lankin and Fartushniy from the Paton Institute, VVS cosmonaut Kolodin, or an engineer from OKB-1.
Crews for the L1 must be named in order to complete the five-month training program in time. Eight L1's are being completed to the manned configuration, but Mishin believes it is necessary to plan for only six manned missions. It is decided to train nine crews. Spacecraft commanders will be Komarov, Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Gagarin, Leonov, Khrunov, Volynov, Beregovoi, and Shatalov. Flight engineers will be Yeliseyev, Kubasov, Makarov, Volkov, and Grechko. Komarov, Bykovsky or Nikolayev will command the first circumlunar flight. Mishin promises to name the OKB-1 candidates for that flight by 8 December. Mishin and Kerimov agree that training of cosmonaut- researchers from the Academy of Sciences may begin, although both Mishin and Rudenko expressed doubts about cosmonaut candidate Yershov.
The failures of Cosmos 133 have been narrowed to entangled thrust vector vanes in the main engines and a single defective approach and orientation thruster. It is agreed to set the unmanned launch of Soyuz s/n 1 for 18 December as a final functional check of all systems. If this is successful, the date will then be set for the manned launch of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4. Flight control will be conducted from Yevpatoria.
At Tyuratam, the staff views American films on the Gemini program. Kamanin notes the use of manual methods for rendezvous and docking, and the use of an umbilical cord to supply oxygen to the spacewalker as opposed to an autonomous backpack. Despite over a hundred training sessions, American astronauts have experienced pulse rates of over 160 per minute, immense fatigue and overwhelming perspiration on their spacewalks. Three of their four EVA's were curtailed because of these and other unforeseen complications. This clearly indicates how Mishin, Smirnov, Kerimov, Tyulin, and Rudenko have underestimated the danger and difficulty of this work. The booster for Soyuz s/n 1 has been erected at Area 31 and the missile crews have gone home for the weekend. Kamanin credits Mishin for being ahead of schedule for the first time ever - he believes he can launch on 14 December.
Kerimov, Mishin, and Kirillov were nearly scared to death but escaped unharmed. A fuller account of yesterday's events is available. At the command "ignition", only the second stage engines of the core vehicle ignited; the first stage strap-ons did not, therefore the rocket did not develop enough thrust to move an inch. On the order to flood the pad, all power was cut off to the rocket and equipment. 35-40 minutes after shutdown of the booster and the flooding, only steam and oxygen vapour were rising from the pad. Mishin and Kirillov emerged from the bunker and approached the rocket. They decided the danger was past, and gave the command for the service gantries to be raised, to protect the rocket from wind gusts. As the gantry arms reached the upper stage, and personnel were climbing up to service the rocket, one arm tilted the dislocated rocket more than seven degrees from the vertical. At such an angle the SAS abort sequence was activated. The solid rockets of the SAS abort motor suddenly ignited, pulling the Soyuz capsule 600 m into the sky, but also setting the third stage of the rocket on fire. This immediately alerted Mishin, Kerimov, and Kirillov to take cover in the bunker, while others were able to run to 100 to 200 m from the pad in the two minutes before the first stage exploded. A Major Korostylev and a group of soldiers decided instead to take cover behind the concrete wall of the pad, and paid for this decision with their lives or severe injuries. A preliminary accident commission meeting was convened at 09:00 at Area 2. An oxygen bypass valve failure several seconds after the ignition command is blamed for the shutdown of the first-stage engines. Although final acceptance tests of the SAS tower only began at Vladimirovka on 10 December, it is noted that the SAS system has actually just passed its most realistic test - it saved the Soyuz capsule, which landed 300 meters from the pad. Examining the blackened and smoking pad later, it is estimated it will take at least six months to get it back into operation.
Kerimov argued with Mishin that without any logical reason his demand that the cosmonauts go to the cosmodrome for training has disrupted their preparation schedule. Later Kamanin met with Gagarin, Leonov, Volynov, and Makarov, all selected as pilots for L1 lunar flybys. The L1 flight scenario was still open. Variant 1 would involve launch of two spacecraft, with transfer of one to two crew to the translunar spacecraft in earth orbit. Variant 2 would be a direct flight to the moon. Additional Details: here....
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 (!)
Afanasyev, Kerimov, and Tyulin object to Kamanin's conclusion that problems exist with the automated landing system and that a manual backup is needed. They want to find fault only with the parachute. The findings of VVS LII, and TsAGI are discussed. Later Kamanin has an unpleasant conversation with Gagarin. He wants to remove control of the manned flight control centre away from the MOM. Kamanin believes this is contrary to the interests of the Ministry of Defence.
First Mishin was pushing the 60-year-old Anokhin for spaceflight, now the invalid Feoktistov. Feoktistiov suffers from gastrointestinal ulcers. Tyulin and Kerimov are of one voice in the matter - this is not even a question that can be raised - sick is sick, period. The L1 and L3 crews will have to endure eight to ten days of orbital flight. They can only be between 170 and 175 cm tall, and can have a maximum weight of 70 kg. Mishin insists that he doesn't even need military pilots for the L1 and L3, and therefore doesn't need to decide crew compositions until the middle of 1968, and then only 'his' engineer cosmonauts from TsKBEM should be considered. The Marshal interrupts Mishin, angrily reminding him that the space program is a national enterprise, not something being accomplished by 'your' spacecraft or 'your' cosmonauts. A three hour-long bitter debate ensues, with no resolution on crew selections. The final conclusions are only that the crews will consist of one pilot, and one engineer, and that Feoktistov will never be allowed to go into space.
Mishin is drunk again at a critical mission phase. Afanasyev, Kerimov, and Tyulin all know about Mishin's drinking problem but do nothing. Meanwhile in orbit Soyuz-B's stellar navigation system has not functioned correctly (it hasn't worked on any Soyuz, Kamanin notes). The decision is made to use the ion orientation system. The TDU braking rocket fires at 10:03 on 2 November. But the spacecraft is not oriented correctly, and the landing will take place 2000 to 3000 km from the recovery area. The APO destruct system determines that the landing point will be 300 to 400 km east of Ulan-Ude, and automatically blows up the capsule during re-entry at an altitude of 60 to 70 km above Irkutsk. This was completely unnecessary, since the capsule would have landed on Soviet territory, or in Mongolian territory close to the border. The orientation problem is found to be due to incorrect functioning of the ion orientation system.
Mishin is away on 'cure' for his drinking problem. A 'Podlipki Soviet' is held at TsKBEM. The issue is cancellation of Kozlov's 7K-VI military Soyuz. Bushuyev, Chertok, Okhapkin, Feoktistov are in favour of cancelling it. Opposed are Karas, Shcheulov, Kostonin, Gaidukov, and the various military representatives at the meeting. It was now six years since OKB-1 was required to put a military manned spacecraft into space - and, factually speaking, nothing has been done. Military experiments proposed for each manned flight by OKB-1 to date had been rejected on various grounds - no weight, no space aboard the spacecraft. Good progress has been made with Kozlov's VI and Chelomei's Almaz - now they've managed to kill the VI, and Mishin and Kerimov are constantly denigrating Almaz (saying it is too heavy, and unsuited for the purpose). The whole thing is a replay of the LK-1 situation. In 1963, a resolution was issued to send a Soviet man around the moon. Instead, after two years of development, Korolev managed to get Chelomei's LK-1 lunar spacecraft cancelled, and started all over with his own L1. Additional Details: here....
The members do not believe the three spacecraft and crews are ready for flight. They rate the availability of the actual spacecraft for training before the flight at 20 to 30%, while the trainers are being used at 200% of their rated capacity. The result is the cosmonauts can only train on the technical systems of the actual spacecraft after they have been delivered to the cosmodrome. The situation is even worse with the experimental equipment for the flights, which in some cases they do not see until they are at the cosmodrome. Unwilling to commit themselves, the commission bumps the decision whether to proceed up to the Politburo. Ustinov and Smirnov badly guide the whole space program, in Kamanin's view. The Politburo won't meet until 29 September -- he hopes the Russian bureaucracy can complete all the steps to approve the flights before the scheduled launch day!
Kamanin's 61st birthday begins with a communications session with Soyuz 8. Yells come from the spacecraft. What's wrong? the ground nervously inquires. They reply they are only celebrating the successful closing of the hatch, and the glowing 'SA hermetic' indication on the panel. This ends fears they had all during the flight of not being able to get the hatch closed with the broken wheel spoke. The 145 second long retrofire begins at 11:29. It looks OK on the telemetry, but Shatalov reports on UHF that the indication aboard the spacecraft was that there was a 4 second underburn. Nevertheless the landing proceeds normally, and there is a loud 'Ura!' at the command point once word of a safe crew recovery is received - the mission is completed. Soyuz 8 landed at 09:10 GMT. At 16:40 the teams head back toward Moscow aboard an Il-18. Kamanin discusses the necessity to complete an extra 8 to 10 Soyuz spacecraft. He is supported by Afanasyev and Kerimov, but Mishin and Karas are opposed now. Kamanin thinks it is insane how Soviet space progress is blocked by these kinds of politics.
Meeting with Mishin. It is clear that he wanted to continue with the original plan for a dual Soyuz flight in August. It was Afanasyev and Kerimov who were pushing for a single long-duration flight in May. There is no action by the Ministry of Defence to provide rational decision making in regard to manned spaceflight.
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.
Final Landing Commission meeting is held. The primary landing site is 50 km west of Karaganda. Visibility there is 10 km, winds 6-10 m/s. Mishin wants to land 50 km further wesst, near a city with passenger train service. It is finally agreed to land there, at 71 deg 31' E, but that will mean that an emergency ballistic re-entry (in the event of a guidance system failure) would bring the capsule down in the Aral Sea. That in turn means additional recovery forces, consisting of three amphibious vehicles, three helicopters, five naval cutters, and 15 scuba divers have to be alerted and prepared. The Politburo approves the landing, and the plan to fly the cosmonauts to Chkalovsky Airfield, followed by ten days in the hospital. Mishin and Kerimov discussed having the traditional cosmonaut greeting at Vnukovo Airport, but they'll have to forget such extravaganzas in the years to come, when only long-duration missions are planned. Meanwhile the crew is well, preparing for landing. They secure the BO living module, stow items in the SA re-entry vehicle that are to be returned to earth. There is a communications pass at 08:00 to 08:30. Afanasyev, Karas, Chertok, Bushuyev, Tsybin, and other members of the State Commission now arrive at Yevpatoriya.