Born: 1898-11-23. Died: 1967-03-31.
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.
Malinovskiy, head of the VVS Miliatry Soviet, and his wife and daughter throw a reception for the cosmonauts and their wives. The party goes from 18:00 to 24:00 and passes without incident, but Kamanin found the guests' attempts to convince Malinovskiy to support military space projects were unproductive. He just doesn't get it.
The projection is made that the US will surpass the USSR in space in 1963-1964. Kennedy's 1961 speech announcing the Apollo project to land on the moon was passed to Vershinin for comment, but no reply was ever received. Rudenko, Vershinin, and especially Malinovskiy see no role for piloted space flight, let alone flights to the moon. America, with its superior electronics capability, is still proceeding with development of manned spacecraft that require the active piloting of the astronaut. Why then, Kamanin fumes, is the USSR trying to develop completely automated manned spacecraft? Military space is being run in the USSR by men who know nothing of it, he notes. Rudenko is ill, and not even at the conference.
At Baikonur for the launch of a Venera probe, the Soviet space leadership discussed future plans. The female cosmonaut training group was there for their first rocket launch. The next Vostok would carry the first woman into space; Ponomaryova, Solovyova, and Tereshkova were the leading candidates. Flight plans were discussed at a meeting in the evening between Kamanin and Leonid Smirnov. It would be possible to make the flight by the end of 1962, but March-April 1963 was more likely, depending on the final report on the Vostok 3/4 flights. The work force would be fully occupied in August-October in launching probes to Venus and Mars, also probably delaying any Vostok flight until the following spring. The next flight would probably be part of a group flight of two or three spacecraft, piloted by both men and women. The female flights would be limited to three days, while the male flights would last for 7 to 8 days. Additional Details: here....
After eight months of debate, a Vostok project plan was finally agreed. There would be a single female cosmonaut flight in March-Apriil 1963. This would be followed by 4 to 5 additional Vostok flights in 1963 and 2 to 3 flights in 1964. This plan was approved by Malinovskiy, Keldysh, Smirnov, and Dementiev and forwarded to the Communist Party Central Committee. However Rudenko and others were still opposed.
VVS Chief of Staff Malinovskiy says that manned flights should be cut back due to safety considerations. Kamanin considers this a strange attitude - many die every day in auto or aircraft accidents, but not one death will be tolerated in the conquest of space. The whole plan for the next Vostok missions are thrown back for reconsideration. Many meetings occur over the next week - the basic question, was the MO / RVSN / VVS interested in manned space flight or not? Finally the decision was made to continue - a 180 degree reversal from the original position.
A meeting of the VVS General Staff with Marshal Malinovskiy reviews military roles in space. The VVS are tasked with developing environmental control systems for manned spacecraft, abort and recovery systems, training cosmonauts, and recovery of returned space capsules. The RVSN are responsible for final check-out and launch of spacecraft; the PVO are responsible for tracking and control of manned spaceflights. Kamanin pushes for VVS to take a role in development of manned military spacecraft as an extension of its responsibility for combat aircraft. Some of the generals agree in principle, but have no understanding of the new technology and how it might be appropriately applied. Others are opposed. Meanwhile the cosmonauts are taking their examinations in avionics technology, and Kamanin continues to argue for reorganisation of the TsPK cosmonaut training centre to include new specialities and training facilities (e.g. to support specialist engineer, navigator, and scientist cosmonauts).
Ministry of Defence Decree 'On military space programs for 1964-69, including the R spaceplane' was issued. The decree was issued by Defence Ministry Marshal Rodiono Yakovlevich Malinovksiy. Included in this plan were new versions of the automatic Zenit, Morya-1 (US series) spacecraft, the Spiral spaceplane, the Soyuz-R manned combat spacecraft, and others. Chelomei's Raketoplan spaceplane was cancelled.
The Voskhod 1 crew memorise and rehearse the speeches they will deliver to the leadership and masses on their return to Moscow. Later Kamanin plays tennis with the crew. Kamanin believes that Malinovskiy has finally become more supportive of Soviet manned spaceflight, which can be seen as a reflection of the country's military potential. Unwavering support will be needed to fulfil the recently approved space plan, which foresees manned docking operations in orbit, a manned flyby of the moon, a manned lunar landing, and missions of 20 to 30 days in earth orbit.
Kamanin will organise the cosmonauts into two groups: the first group will be commanded by Nikolayev, and the latest group by Beregovoi. They will be assigned to support and train seven missions: military space (reconnaissance, interceptor, and combat spacecraft); space navigation; life support and rescue systems; communications and telemetry systems; scientific orbital stations; lunar fly-by; and lunar landing expeditions. All of this may be for nought, since Marshall Malinovskiy has said that heavy launch vehicles and lunar flights have no military utility and should be funded and handled by the Academy of Science.
The tapes finally arrive from all concerned tracking stations by 11 am. Korolev is ill, and his deputies work in his place. At 16:00 the accident commission meets. They find that at precisely the same time, IP-6 and IP-7 transmitted command 42 (decompress airlock) to the spacecraft. In such a case, the command could have been received and interpreted by the spacecraft as a single command 5 (retrofire). IP-6 was supposed to have transmitted the command at this point in the mission, with IP-7 to retransmit them as a backup only on command from Moscow. However IP-7 thought at the time that they were responsible for sending commands to the spacecraft. Accordingly, the spacecraft itself has been fully exonerated.
However it is found that of the 45 commands that can be sent to the spacecraft, four of them, including the command of the re-entry sequence, are unprotected from this kind of error. In Kamanin's opinion, in the last five years, Mnatsakanian's bureau has done nothing to ensure security of commands to spacecraft or the exploitation of this major weakness by the United States.
It is decided that the launch of Voskhod-2 can go ahead in the second half of mine. However Korolev calls Kamanin and others to be briefed at his bedside. His temperature is down to 37 deg C, normal, but yesterday it was 40 deg C - diagnosis: "unknown cause". Korolev does not want to launch Voskhod-2 until a Zenit spy satellite has flown with its re-entry capsule fitted with the same airlock ring as Voskhod-2. This will prove that the re-entry capsule is stable during descent with the airlock ring, something that could not be demonstrated by Cosmos 57. Kamanin agrees that this will be proposed to the State Commission.
However they do not part without sharp words being exchanged over the quality of VVS doctors and military versus civilian cosmonauts. Korolev notes that due to the military's complete lack of interest in space, the only military cosmonaut that will ever be needed is Gagarin.... Kamanin is wounded but realises the truth of Korolev's words, attributing the issue to Malinovskiy, who has blocked all proposals for a military role in manned spaceflight, let alone a VVS role.
Kamanin, earlier believing the problems aboard the flight indicated the unreliability of American equipment, is discouraged. He blames Malinovskiy and Smirnov for lack of support for the space program and the ridiculous situation whereby VVS pilots are being shot into space aboard missiles and spacecraft designed by artillery specialists. They oppose manned space reconnaissance, and here the Gemini crew is photographing the territory of brother socialist states..
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.
Kamanin notes the Luna 8 mission, which will attempt the first soft landing on the moon the next day, and the launch of Gemini 7, which is to set a new space endurance record and make the first rendezvous in space. The Americans are clearly pulling well ahead of the Soviet Union, but Kamanin vows not to capitulate. He recaps the opposition of Malinovskiy, Smirnov, and Ustinov to manned spaceflight over the last five years. Korolev and Kamanin already wanted to build a second series of ten Vostok spacecraft in 1961, which could have been used to keep the lead in the race with America. Instead this was blocked year after year. The cosmonauts have been trained and ready for the fights aboard Vostok or Voskhod that would have kept the Soviet Union ahead in the space race; what has been lacking is the spacecraft to make the flights.
The VVS General Staff reviews a range of documents, authored by Korolev before his death, and supported by ministers Afanasyev and Petrovskiy. The schedules for the projects for flying around and landing on the moon are to be delayed from 1966-1967 to 1968-1969. A range of other space programs will similarly be delayed by 18 to 24 months. An institute for tests of space technology will be established at Chelomei's facility at Reutov. The IMBP will be made the lead organization for space medicine. Responsibility for space technology development will be moved from MOM to 10 other ministries. 100 million roubles have been allocated for the establishment of new research institutes. Kamanin is appalled, but Malinovskiy favours getting rid of the responsibility for these projects. The arguments over these changes - which reduce the VVS role in spaceflight - will be the subject of much of Kamanin's diary over the following weeks.
Kamanin is back from leave and orients himself. VVS General Rudenko has been visited by Mishin, Tsybin, and Tyulin. They want to replace Kamanin's crews for the first Soyuz mission in September-October with a crew made up of OKB-1 engineers: Dolgopolov, Yeliseyev, and Volkov as the prime crew, Anokhin, Makarov, and Grechko as back-ups. Kamanin believes this absurd proposal, made only three months before the planned flight date, shows a complete lack of understanding on the part of OKB-1 management of the training and fitness required for spaceflight. Kamanin has had eight cosmonauts (Komarov, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Bykovsky, Voronov, Kolodin, Gagarin, and Nikolayev) training for this flight since September 1965. Yet Mishin and Tyulin have been shopping this absurd proposal to Smirnov, Ustinov, and Malinovskiy, who do not know enough to reject it.
In the previous days Kamanin has been preparing Vershinin and Rudenko for the struggle to ensure the Ministry of Defence's interests in space are preserved and defended. Malinovskiy, Smirnov, and Ustinov must be convinced of the righteousness of the VVS position on space crew preparation and training. At the beginning of 1966, Kamanin thought 1966 would be the year Russia would leap ahead again in the space race. At that time four manned Voskhod and four manned Soyuz flights were expected. Now the year is half over, and it is clear that the only remaining Voskhod flight will not go ahead, and it will be luck if even two Soyuz missions are flown. Instead of a year of triumph, 1966 will see the USA pulling far ahead in the space race. This is the fault of the incredibly poor management of the Soviet space program by Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Malinovskiy -- but even more fundamentally due to the inept management of OKB-1 and TsUKOS. The Voskhod program was delayed, then destroyed by OKB-1's insistence on inclusion of their poorly thought-out and developed experiment in artificial gravity. VVS was always opposed to this experiment, yet OKB-1 dragged the program out for years trying to perfect it. Flights of the Soyuz spacecraft could already have occurred in 1962-1963, had Korolev not ignored VVS recommendations and insisted on perfecting a fully automatic rendezvous and docking system. Development of this system delayed the Soyuz project a minimum of three years.
Brezhnev has finally agreed to meet with Gagarin, Leonov, and Kamanin on 28 or 29 July. Gagarin will be in Czechoslovakia on 25 July, and Leonov in Hungary; they'll have to be back by the 27th to prepare for the meeting. Kamanin holds no great hope for the outcome - the cosmonauts' desire to reorganize and reprioritise Soviet spaceflight will meet powerful opposition from Ustinov, Smirnov, and Malinovskiy.
Tyulin advises Kamanin that Ustinov has instructed Mishin to accept that Soyuz spacecraft will be commanded by a VVS pilot cosmonaut, with OKB-1 providing cosmonauts for the engineering support role. Mishin is to immediately send four candidates from OKB-1 to Kamanin for cosmonaut training. Kamanin feels this is only a 50% victory, and vows to accelerate submission of the letter from Malinovskiy to the Central Committee, demanding that the support cosmonaut seats also be filled by trained VVS engineer cosmonauts (e.g. Khrunov, Gorbatko, Voronov, and Kolodin). Meanwhile spacesuit designer Severin informs Kamanin that OKB-1 has insisted that the outer hatch of Soyuz will remain at 660 mm diameter, even though he has told them for a long time that the minimum diameter for a cosmonaut in spacesuit with a life support system backpack is 700 mm. Kamanin agrees to support him, but notes the change can only be made in later spacecraft; it is too late to change the first production run.
Mishin, Rudenko, and others have met with Beregovoi and support his selection as commander for the first Soyuz mission. Kamanin does not believe he is fit for the assignment, due to his age, his height and weight (that are the limit of the acceptable for the Soyuz). Gagarin reports that during a visit to OKB-1 the day before, he discovered that they were still going all out to prepare their own crews and train their own cosmonauts for Soyuz flights. Kamanin reassures him that the full power of the VVS, the General Staff, and the Ministry of Defence is behind the position that only VVS pilots will command the missions. Mishin is gloating over the latest spacesuit tests. Khrunov tried exiting from the Soyuz hatch in the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft. Using his full dexterity and strength, he had more success than in earlier tests. But Kamanin notes that designing a spacecraft hatch only 10 mm wider than the cosmonaut is hardly the basis for practical spaceflight or training. Later Kamanin plays tennis with Volynov and Shonin. Their Voskhod 3 flight is still not officially cancelled. They have been fully trained for the flight for months now, but no go-ahead is given. On Saturday, Tsybin presents to the General Staff OKB-1's concept for training of engineer cosmonauts. Tyulin, Burnazyan, and Keldysh have approved the plan, except they have substituted VVS engineer cosmonauts for those from OKB-1 for the first Soyuz flights. So this is the result of months of controversy - a position that there is no fundamental opposition to cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1. Kamanin sees the absolute need for his draft letter to be sent from the four Marshals (Malinovskiy, Zakharov, Krylov, and Vershinin) to the Central Committee. Mishin continues to "assist" the situation - it has been two weeks since he promised to submit the names and documentation for his candidates to the VVS, and he has done nothing.
As expected, Gagarin's letter to Brezhnev was referred to Ustinov, then to Smirnov, who has now referred it to Afanasyev and Malinovskiy with the instructions that they are "to present a mutually agreed solution". Malinovskiy referred it in turn to his four marshals, and Rudenko immediately makes an error by conceding that TsPK will accept OKB-1 cosmonaut candidates for training aboard Soyuz.
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 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 L3 spacecraft still does not even exist in mock-up form. All of the leadership are responsible for this farce - Malinovskiy, Smirnov, Ustinov, Brezhnev. There is no single manager of the space program. The VPK and Central Committee operate on rumours. The Interagency Soviet headed by Keldysh was supposed to coordinate space activities, but in fact has not functioned in the last four to five years. There is no single military space organisation in the Ministry of Defence. Piloted flight tests are being run by former artillery officers in the RSVN. Various organizations of MAP and VVS coordinate ground and flight tests poorly. These are the reasons for the failure of the Soviet Union in space. Today in the Central Committee Ustinov asked - 'how to answer Apollo 8?' Ustinov relies on Keldysh, Keldysh supports Mishin, and Mishin is unfit for his duties. But Mishin is not even there! The program they come up with: In January 1969, 2 Venera probes will be launched, two manned Soyuz missions, and L1 s/n 13 will be sent around the moon. In February the first N1 will be launched. By the end of March the first Ye-8 robot will land on the moon and return lunar soil to the earth. This meeting is followed by a session of the VPK at 16:00. The crews are named for the Soyuz 4 and 5 flights.