Status: Deceased; Active 1960-1979. Born: 1935-08-03. Died: 1997-04-07. Spaceflights: 1 . Total time in space: 4.95 days. Birth Place: Rovenki, Lugansk.
Graduated from Yeisk Military Pilot School, 1957. Graduated from Zhukovsky Military Engineering Academy, Monino, 1968. Cosmonaut training March 1960 - 3 April 1961. Call sign: Antey (Antaeus - mythological giant). Left cosmonaut group for medical reasons on 28 April 1979. Director of Department NII-30 in the Central Research Institute of Soviet Ministry of Defense. Retired in 1990. Died of a heart attack.
The group was selected to provide pilot astronauts for the Vostok manned spaceflight program.. Qualifications: Military jet aircraft pilots under 30 years of age; under 170 cm tall; under 70 kg in weight.. While the Americans sought mature test pilots for their first spaceflights, the Soviets recruited young pilots with the intent of training them for a career as spacemen. There were 3,000 applicants following interviews with medical doctor teams that toured Soviet air bases beginning in August 1959. 102 were called for physical and psychological tests. 8 of these were selected, but then Chief Designer Korolev said he wanted a pool three times larger than the American Mercury cadre. Of the 20 selected, 12 would fly in space. Of the 8 that did not, 1 died in a ground fire in training; 3 were dismissed for disciplinary reasons; and 4 left following injuries in training.
The only cosmonauts staying at TsPK are Komarov, Shonin, Volynov, and the five female cosmonauts. Kamanin believes the Soviet Union had every possibility of making several multi-day spaceflights in 1962, up to 8-10 days, but that this is no longer possible due to delays caused by repeated booster failures and poor leadership.
The General Staff of the VVS considers future cosmonaut assignments. The acceptance of Beregovoi into the active cosmonaut corps is hotly contested. He has passed all the tests, but is 43 years old, and the official maximum age for a cosmonaut is 35. Finally it is decided that on 25 January six cosmonauts will begin training for Vostok flights (Volynov, Khrunov, Belyayev, Leonov, Komarov, and Beregovoi). On 1 February four crews will begin training for Soyuz flights: Crew 1: Nikolayev, Shonin, Demin, Kugno; Crew 2: Bykovsky, Zaikin, Artyukhin, Gulyayev; Crew 3: Popovich, Gorbatko, Ponomaryova, Kolodin; Crew 4: Titov, Shatalov, Solovyova, Zholobov.
Korolev dies at age 59 during what was expected to be routine colon surgery in Moscow. The day began for Kamanin with firm plans finally in place for the next three Voskhod and first three Soyuz flights. Volynov and Shonin will be the crew for the first Voskhod flight, with Beregovoi and Shatalov as their back-ups. That will be followed by a female flight of 15-20 days, with the crew begin Ponomaryova and Solovyova, with their back-ups Sergeychik (nee Yerkina) and Pitskhelaura (nee Kuznetsova). Tereshkova will command the female training group. Training is to be completed by March 15. After this Kamanin goes to his dacha, only to be called by General Kuznetsov around 19:00, informing him that Korolev has died during surgery.
Kamanin does not minimise Korolev's key role in creating the Soviet space program, but believes the collectives can continue the program without him. In truth, Kamanin feels Korolev has made many errors of judgment in the last three years that have hurt the program. Mishin, Korolev's first deputy, will take over management of Korolev's projects. Kamanin feels that Mishin is a clever and cultured engineer, but he is no Korolev. Over the next three days the cosmonauts console Korolev's widow.
Korolev's surgery was done personally by Petrovskiy, the Minister of Health. Korolev was told the surgery would take only a few minutes, but after five hours on the operating table, his body could no longer endure the insult, and he passed away.
Kamanin observed cosmonaut training at TsPK on this Saturday. Beregovoi and Shatalov work in the Voskhod trainer. The exercises show that the Svinets military equipment is working poorly. Engineers are brought in Saturday evening and Sunday to fix the problems. Three crews are in training for Voskhod 3, prepared for flights of up to 30-40 days duration. Prime crew is now Volynov and Shonin; backup Beregovoi and Shatalov; reserve cosmonauts Katys and Gorbatko. Afterwards the daily routine for the long-duration missions is discussed - communications session protocols, scientific and military experiments (although these are still not completely developed). Of particular concern to Volynov is that each cosmonaut gulp down 2.088 litres of water per day. There is no good way of measuring the precise amount - some kind of dosage device needs to be developed. Beregovoi's worry is the unnecessary complex and irrational design of operation of the Svinets device. Shonin is concerned with problems with the NAZ survival equipment. There are so many open issues, yet the final flight program has to be established by 5 February.
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.
Successfully recovered March 15, 1966 13:00 GMT. Precursor mission for Voskhod 3 hardware. Two dogs carried into lower Van Allen radiation belts.
Officially: Biological research.
Voskhod s/n 5 launched at 23:10 Moscow time, with two dogs, Veterka and Ygolka, aboard. This will be a 25-day mission. Kamanin is disgusted, he had proposed this as a 25-day mission by a single cosmonaut, but Korolev had constantly held with the 'dog variant'. Preparations for Voskhod-3 are proceeding well. The prime and back-up crews have completed their training and will take their examinations on 28 February. Parallel trials of the oxygen regeneration system at IMBP and OKB-124 both went well (IMBP, 12 days so far, temperature 16-24 deg C, 70% humidity; OKB-124, 10 days so far, temperature 18-16 deg C, 65% humidity).
All four members of the prime and back-up crews pass their final examination before the board with 'outstanding' scores. On the negative side, the trials of the Voskhod-3 at IMBP were stopped on 25 February after 14 days when the oxygen content of the cabin fell below minimums. Kamanin believes that this reflects not on the ECS system itself, but on the incompetence of IMBP staff in conducting the experiment. However even Kamanin is of the opinion that the system is not yet qualified for a 20-day manned flight. Parachute trials are also going badly. The spacecraft has to be shipped to the cosmodrome, but it is not ready. Voronin and Tkachev both say their systems are good enough for flight, but for Kamanin, in the unforgiving arena of spaceflight, good enough is not enough. He notes the death of American astronauts See and Bassett in a T-38 crash. Neither the Americans or the Soviets have lost a pilot in space yet, but only because no compromise is allowed in the preparations, no uncertainties allowed to remain before launch. Kamanin had apprehension before Gagarin's flight, and even greater apprehension before the flight of Voskhod-2. But his current level concern for Voskhod 3 exceeds both. Safety provisions are less, the spacecraft will orbit at an unprecedented high altitude, the load of experiments and scientific research is enormous.
An OKB-1 review is held, without Tyulin and Mishin, who are at Baikonur supervising launch of a Monlniya satellite and Luna 10. Tsybin leads the meeting. Although the Cosmos 110 flight was successful, there were several deviations: the Zarya antenna did not deploy, the Komar system did not 'digest' after landing, the ion flow sensors were unreliable, and the Signal radio system only functioned in the HF band within the zone of visibility of a tracking station. There was no detectable dangerous radiation at the 900 km apogee of the satellite. The dogs were alive, but uncoordinated in their movement after landing, and showed a loss of calcium in their bones. The flight also showed good functioning of the ECS - the problems seen on the ground could not be duplicated in flight. A new run at IMBP has reached its 16th day with no abnormalities, which clears the system for use on an 18-19 day manned flight. The Voskhod-3 spacecraft has been completed and shipped to Baikonur; the booster has also been delivered and is ready for flight. The crew has completed their flight plans and ship's logs. After completion of the ECS trials (planned for 10 April), Voskhod 3 will be cleared for launch.
Work on the Svinets experiment continues. It was discovered that the device needs a night horizon, and the absence of a moon in the sky, in order to detect a rocket launch in the infrared band. The designer has been working with the cosmonauts for three months to fix this and problems in reliably operating the equipment. Kamanin estimates it will take 10 to 15 days to rectify these problems. Svinets is a crucial experiment, but in his view the development of the device by the PVO has been poorly managed.
The simulators and partial-task trainers continue very much behind schedule. There is talk of moving responsibility for them from Darevskiy's bureau to OKB-1. Popovich's fitness for future flight and command assignments is questionable. Nevertheless, he will join Titov, Leonov, Volynov, Shonin, Zaikin, Gagarin, and Solovyova at the Zhukovskiy Academy, from which they will be expected to graduate with advanced degrees in engineering in October 1967. Nikolayev, Bykovsky, and Gorbatko will finish one or two years later, since they will be preoccupied with flight assignments on the 7K-OK.
Kamanin receives the order to prepare Volynov and Shatalov and their crews for a 20-27 May launch date. The commanders are understandably upset about the constant postponements. Later the continuing transgressions of Popovich and Titov are discussed with Gagarin and Nikolayev. Are they really fit to be detachment commanders?
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.
Kamanin organises the cosmonauts into the following training groups:
Shonin, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev are in zero-G training aboard the Tu-104 aircraft. The cabin is outfitted with two partial Soyuz mock-ups. In space their EVA between two spacecraft is expected to take one hour and forty minutes, but they can only experience 20 to 25 seconds of weightlessness at a time in the aircraft. The 18 staff aboard the Tu-104 have parachutes in case of a serious problem with the aircraft, but it would take 32 seconds for all of them to jump from the three hatches on the aircraft. Meanwhile the pilot cosmonauts are only flying 50 to 60 hours per year, instead of the 150 to 200 hours that Kamanin had requested.
Nikolayev, Leonov, Popovich, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Zaikin, Volynov, and Shonin all receive their diplomas from the Zhukovskiy Test Pilot Engineering Academy. Khrunov graduates with honours. All of them began training for a lunar landing on January 8. Titov and Gagarin will complete their studies for the diploma in May. Ponomareva and Solovyova willl graduate in the second half of 1968, leaving only Tereshkova, Kuznetsova, and Yerkina. Tereshkova has had her appendix removed in surgery at the Vishevskiy Centre. The surgery went well.
All pass. Volynov, Shatalov, and Khrunov do best; Gorbatko and Shonin make mistakes (for example stating that the spacesuit pressure is 35 atmospheres instead of 3.5 atmospheres). Kuznetsov had planned for Gagarin to be cosmonaut commander, and Beregovoi has been poorly prepared for the job. But he still plans to make Beregovoi his deputy in the position. The other cosmonauts bitterly oppose this decision, and spread stories of Beregovoi's incompetence.
The Soyuz 4 and 5 crews arrive at Tyuratam aboard an An-24. They work with their spacesuits at Area 31 until 23:00. On the bus back to the sleeping quarters Kamanin tells them of Ustinov's 'recommendation' that they do an automatic docking. They are against it, argue for a manual docking. If allowing enough time for the crew of the active spacecraft to adapt to zero-G is the issue, they propose switching the launch order of the active and passive spacecraft. This alternative is ruled out - it is too late and risky to modify the flight programs. Shatalov bursts out - 'Here we are debating this for the tenth time, while he Americans are orbiting the moon'. They call for the bus to stop. They exit out into the icy clear night and look at the moon. Thoughts came of the nine comrades who had died trying to put the USSR first to the moon, all to no avail.
Soyuz 4 is launched with Vladimir Shatalov aboard without further problems at 10:30. This time the rockets gyroscopes, the capsule communications, and the television camera all functioned perfectly. Volynov and his crew for Soyuz 5 watched the launch from Area 17. Later Soyuz 4 would dock with Soyuz 5, and following a transfer of two cosmonauts, return with Shatalov, Yevgeni Khrunov and Alexsei Yeliseyev from Soyuz 5. Official purpose: scientific, technical and medico-biological research, checking and testing of onboard systems and design elements of space craft, docking of piloted space craft and construction of an experimental space station, transfer of cosmonauts from one craft to another in orbit. This mission finally successfully completed the simulated lunar orbit docking and crew transfer mission attempted by Soyuz 1 in April 1967. In making the transfer Khrunov and Yeliseyev avoided the most spectacular survivable incident of the space age - the nose-first reentry of Soyuz 5, still attached to its service module.
The commission considers plans for the rest of the Soyuz production. Spacecraft s/n 14, 15, and 16 are to fly in August 1969, 17 and 18 in November 1969, and 19 and 20 in February-March 1970. Crews selected for the August flights are: for spacecraft 14, Shonin and Kubasov; for 15, Filipchenko, Volkov, and Gorbatko; for 16, Nikolayev and Sevastyanov. Back-ups will be Kuklin, Grechko, and Kolodin. All of the spacecraft will fly 4 to 5 day missions. Spacecraft 15 and 16 will dock and remain together 2 or 3 days to form an 'orbital station'. Experiments planned for the flight are:
Spacecraft 17 through 20 will fly 15 to 16 day missions to demonstrate the new SZhO life support system for the L3, and conduct rendezvous and docking operations using the L3's Kontakt system. Additional Details: here....
The ship's logs/flight plans are reviewed one more time. Tyuratam commander General Kurushin runs through the Svinets ABM experiment again with Shonin and Kubasov - they're ready. The Communist Party has selected Beregovoi and Feoktistov for the trip to the United States in November, ignoring Kamanin's recommendation of Belyayev and Shatalov. Kamanin is not so much against Beregovoi, but he firmly believes that Feoktistov is not worthy of the privilege - he's a degenerate, now on this third marriage..
Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Carried Vulkan welding furnace for vacuum welding experiments in depressurized orbital module. Was to have taken spectacular motion pictures of Soyuz 7 - Soyuz 8 docking but failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to new helium pressurization integrity test prior to mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Additional Details: here....
Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Was to have docked with Soyuz 8 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Additional Details: here....
Following an orbital correction during the night, Soyuz 7 and 8 are expected to be less than 1 km from each other when communications are regained at 9 am. Instead they are 40 km apart. It will require two more orbits over Soviet territory to refine the tracking of the spacecraft and recalculate the necessary rendezvous manoeuvres. By 12:40 they are 1700 m apart and the crews begin the manual rendezvous manoeuvre. Shatalov fires his engines four times, but in the absence of any indication to the pilot of range to the target, he could not get into a position for a safe docking. He withdraws to a safe distance. Additional Details: here....
Soyuz 6 lands successfully at 09:52 GM, coming to rest in a vertical position. A recovery helicopter lands 10 minutes later, finding the cosmonauts have already emerged from the capsule. After the landing of Soyuz 6 there are two further attempts to dock Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8, but they fail due to large errors in the ballistic calculations of the manoeuvres necessary to correct their orbits.
The medical reports show all the cosmonauts lost 1.5 to 3.5 kg during the flight (with Filipchenko having the greatest loss). However Kamanin plays tennis with Gorbatko, Shonin, and Volkov just two days after the flight. They show no apparent ill effects of zero-G.
The cosmonauts fly from Baikonur to Moscow, escorted by six MiG-21 fighters to Vnukovo airfield, where they receive honours all around, followed by meetings with reporters. Brezhnev was no there - he was on his way to Baikonur to observe the Tyulpan ICBM exercise.
Traditional meeting between the cosmonauts and the engineers and workers at TsKBEM. They are quizzed on the flight failures, followed by dinner and toasts. Kamanin tells Afanasyev that instead of messing about with the N1-L3, they should build 8 to 10 more Soyuz and fly, fly, fly -- it is the only way to develop reliable systems. The Ministry of Defence needs a long-range plan of sustained flights of 5 to 6 spacecraft per year. All 300 present applaud the speech, except Mishin, who is against a new series of Soyuz spacecraft.
Nikolayev and crew go to Sochi. Tereshkova is back from sick leave, and she goes there as well. Kamanin meets with Shonin, the topic: many bad reports he has received of Shonin's behaviour since Soyuz 6. He tells him to watch out, or he'll end up on a five-year flight suspension like Titov.
Two months after first raising the issue, Mishin has proposed crews for the flights to the DOS station, still planned to occur before the end of the year. Mishin is still pushing Feoktistov, who Kamanin believes is not only seriously ill, but immoral, being on his second wife. Kamanin now has 20 spacecraft crews, but they will have to wait six years or more for a trip to space at the current mission rate. Mishin's proposed DOS crews are as follows: 1 - Shatalov, Yeliseyev, Rukavishnikov; 2 - Shonin, Kubasov, Kolodin; 3 - Volynov, Feoktistov, Patsayev; 4 - Khrunov, Volkov, Sevastyanov.
Meeting on DOS crews. Kamanin will agree to Mishin's proposed crews with the following provisions: 1) Feoktistov is eliminated from the list; 2) Military cosmonauts must be on 3 of the 4 crews, with the overall ratio six military to six civilian cosmonauts. The proposed crews: 1 - Shonin, Yeliseyev, Rukavishnikov; 2 - Leonov, Kubasov, Kolodin; 3 - Shatalov Volkov, Patsayev; 4- Dobrovolsky, Sevastyanov, Voronov. Mishin is opposed to Dobrovolsky and Volkov.
The training session at KIS yesterday was subverted by Shonin's drunkenness. Kamanin investigates the matter all day. Shonin is said to have brought vodka to the KIS and consumed vodka during the session. Kamanin confronted him, but of course he is sober now. Kamanin cannot understand the man, He has known him for eleven years and thought him a competent person.
Kamanin has a meeting with Leonov and Shonin on the KIS incident. Shonin claims he was sober. Mishin calls. He says Khrunov and Shonin were not ready for training anyway; they had to be led by the nose the whole time. He would prefer that Yeliseyev, Kubasov, and Rukavishnikov be assigned to the mission.
Kamanin is still fighting the issue of mission length - he doesn't want to risk lives. Soyuz 9 landed virtually in the laps of the doctors, but what if they had made an emergency landing in the ocean, or taiga? They were in no condition to save themselves before assistance arrived. Every day over 20-22 days is a risk to the life of the crew, in Kamanin's view. Smirnov, Serbin, Mishin - they don't care about this.
Meanwhile the doctor's verdict is in on Shonin. He is to be sent to a sanatorium for rehabilitation.
More than 1,000 people gather at Area 2 of Baikonur to commemorate the day. Kamanin muses that of the dozens of cosmonauts present, only one - Feoktistov - was there on the day the first man went into space. Now there were men on the moon, and the first space station was being prepared for flight. Kamanin believes the crew can survive a thirty-day flight, now that Shatalov has replaced Shonin on the crew.