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.
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.
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.
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.
Joint flight with Vostok 4. The first such flight, where Vostok capsules were launched one day apart, coming within a few kilometers of each other at the orbital insertion of the second spacecraft. The flight was supposed to occur in March, but following various delays, one of the two Vostok pads was damaged in the explosion of the booster of the third Zenit-2 reconnsat in May. Repairs were not completed until August. Vostok 3 studied man's ability to function under conditions of weightlessness; conducted scientific observations; furthered improvement of space ship systems, communications, guidance and landing. Immediately at orbital insertion of Vostok 4, the spacecraft were less than 5 km apart. Popovich made radio contact with Cosmonaut Nikolayev. Nikolayev reported shortly thereafter that he had sighted Vostok 4. Since the Vostok had no maneuvering capability, they could not rendezvous or dock, and quickly drifted apart. The launches did allow Korolev to offer something new and different, and gave the launch and ground control crews practice in launching and handling more than one manned spacecraft at a time. The cosmonaut took colour motion pictures of the earth and the cabin interior. Additional Details: here....
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.
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.
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....
Meeting of the Interdepartmental Soviet of the Academy of Sciences reviews space exploration plans. In the next two years, 5-6 Luna probes will be sent to the moon, including soft landers with a mass of 100 kg, and orbiters to map the surface. There will be flybys and landings of Mars and Venus. Two Zond spacecraft will study the space environment out to 20 million kilometres from the earth. In earth orbit, 10 Zenit spy satellites, 10 to 12 Vostok manned spacecraft, 4 to 6 Soyuz spacecraft, and 10 to 12 Kosmos satellites will be launched. The Kosmos will fly missions in meteorology, communications, television transmission, and heliographic, and geological studies. Kamanin finds this a good program, but it nearly all relies on a single launch pad and one-time transmission of data from a few satellites. The military plan is not reviewed; it must go through the VPK Military-Industrial Commission first. An Expert Commission is to be formed on the Soyuz spacecraft. Smirnov and Korolev have dictated a letter to Ustinov asking that eight more Vostoks be built. On the other hand, some on the general staff want 60 cosmonauts trained in the next two to three years, to support 8 to 10 flights of single-place spacecraft and 7 to 8 flights of multiplace spacecraft.
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.
Smirnov insisted on the following after reviewing Korolev's design: 1) there must be a space suit for every crew member; 2) the spacecraft must be able to use lift during re-entry to change its landing point; 3) the spacecraft must have ejection seats. Korolev and his assistants categorically rejected these demands. Smirnov was only insisting on the availability of suits, not that they be worn at all times; and only on small lifting surfaces to give the capsule more manoeuvrability during re-entry. But Korolev rejected even this. Later the commission went to Chelomei's bureau to see his Raketoplan manned spaceplane design. But this was not even laid out on paper yet, with the draft project not scheduled to be completed until the end of February. Chelomei has already been working on this for two years. In January 1961 he gave a presentation to the General Staff and made big promises in regard to this spacecraft - but nothing has been completed. The only spacecraft that will be realistically available in the next three to five years is Korolev's - anything else would only be purely experimental.
Smirnov only wants to fly two, not four Vostoks this year. One male, and one female cosmonaut would be launched in a group flight. Correct approvals cannot be obtained in time for manufacture of four Vostoks until August of this year. Later Kamanin has another scene with Titov. The cosmonaut was drunk on a factory visit, and defied the militia when confronted.
VVS officers meet to plan training for the Voskhod 1 crew. It is agreed that a passenger-cosmonaut can be trained within three months. That means, in order to be ready for an August mission, the candidates for the scientist- and physician-cosmonaut seats will have to be identified, screened, and selected by 30 April. It is estimated that 30 physician and 30 scientist candidates will have to be submitted to the medical commission in order for the necessary six finalists to get through the screening. Kamanin privately believes this is all an insanely dangerous adventure. Smirnov, Keldysh, and Korolev have gone off the rails in their desire to make sure that the Americans do not seize and space 'firsts' once the Gemini flights begin.
Work on the original N1-L3 had begun in 1963. This had been preceded by two years of working on a draft project for the LK lunar lander and its propulsion system. But there was no money for full scale development -- no code name from Gosplan against which to charge such work. It was annoying that Chelomei, Glushko, and Yangel were wasting resources on alternate designs at the same time. Additional Details: here....
This was his last visit, just weeks before his overthrow. The Soviet leadership were shown the UR-100 and observed launches of the competing UR-200 and R-36. Khrushchev agreed with the decision to put the R-36 into production instead of Chelomei's UR-200. He felt he couldn't turn down Yangel a third time after approving Korolev's N1 instead of Yangel's R-56 and Chelomei's UR-100 instead of Yangel's R-26. Khrushchev decided to cancel Korolev's badly behind schedule R-9A, even though Smirnov and Ustinov insisted they wanted it in their arsenal (in May 1965, after Khrushchev's overthrow, this decision was reversed and the R-9A went into production).
Khrushchev also visited a secret space fair, with Korolev, Chelomei, Yangel, and Glushko presenting their rockets and spacecraft. Chelomei presented his UR-700 heavy lift design as an alternative to Korolev's N1. This presentation was a surprise to Ustinov and Dementiev. Khrushchev ordered Chelomei to prepare a draft proposal for the design. Chelomei hoped that 12 to 18 months later, when the UR-700 draft project would be completed, the fallacy of Korolev's N1 design would be apparent to all. Korolev's N1 plans were also reviewed and approved at the meeting.
Over the two days, Khruschev witnessed five launches of rockets by Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei, all of them successful. Gagarin and Belyayev explained the Vykhod spacecraft to him, and Leonov donned a spacesuit and demonstrated how he would exit into open space form the inflatable airlock and return thereafter. All went very well.
This was the last time Khrushchev saw the chief designers of the Soviet rocket industry. Despite his support for them not one of them visited him in his retirement.
The world's first recovery of an orbital spacecraft with its crew aboard on land was made possible by rocket package suspended above capsule in parachute lines, which ignited just prior to impact in order to cushion landing. The trio landed after 16 orbits of the earth, 24 hours and 17 min after they had left, on October 13, 1964 07:47 GMT. Additional Details: here....
With the rocket erected on the pad, a meeting is held several hundred meters away between the chief designers, Keldysh, Rudenko, and 600 to 700 workers. Afterwards Korolev and Tyulin call Moscow, and certify to Smirnov, Ustinov, Kosygin, and Brezhnev that all is ready for the flight.
Kamanin meets Korolev at 9:30; Korolev agrees with Kamanin that the truth of the difficulties encountered should be revealed at the press conference. The matter must be escalated to Brezhnev, since Keldysh and Smirnov are against this course. At 10:30 the leading engineers of OKB-1 meet with 11 of the cosmonauts. The results of the Voskhod-2 flight are reviewed.
Titov and Kamanin visit LII to review the status of simulator construction. The engineers haven't had any time to even consider trainers for winged spacecraft. The Soyuz trainer will only be completed by July 1966, and the trainer for the new Voskhod configuration is still on paper only. Simulators for manned lunar or planetary flights have not even been discussed yet. It is clear that Kamanin is going to have to go up the chain of command to Dementiev and Smirnov to get resources allocated for the work to be accelerated.
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On creation of military Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft' was issued. Eight days later, Kamanin receives the resolution, signed by Marshal Zharkov, countersigned by Smirnov. Krylov, Vershinin, Sudts, and Gorshkov are ordered to immediately begin military space research aboard Voskhod and also develop a special version of the Soyuz spacecraft for visual and photographic military reconnaissance, satellite inspection, interception in orbit, as well as development of nuclear missile early warning systems. This is old hat to Kamanin. Krylov has no interest in military spacecraft, and will not implement the order.
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..
Brezhnev has finally read Gagarin's letter, and forwarded it to Smirnov for a full report. Smirnov in turn has asked the commanders of the military branches to convene a soviet to address the issues raised in the letter. Marshal Sudets meets with cosmonauts Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, Komarov, Leonov, as well as Kamanin and Kuznetsov. There is a consensus that a single military branch should handle space - either VSS, PVO, or RVSN - but many are opposed to that branch being the VVS. The consensus is that the mission should be given to the PVO.
Kamanin has his first face-to-face meeting with Korolev in 3 months - the longest delay in three years of working together. Their relationship is at low ebb. Despite having last talked about the next Voskhod flight by the end of November, Korolev now reveals that the spacecraft are still incomplete, and that he has abandoned plans to finish the last two (s/n 8 and 9), since these would overlap with planned Soyuz flights. By the first quarter of 1966 OKB-1 expects to be completing two Soyuz spacecraft per quarter, and by the end of 1966, one per month. Voskhod s/n 5, 6, and 7 will only be completed in January-February 1966. Korolev has decided to delete the artificial gravity experiment from s/n 6 and instead fly this spacecraft with two crew for a 20-day mission. The artificial gravity experiment will be moved to s/n 7. Completion of any of the Voskhods for spacewalks has been given up; future EVA experiments will be conducted from Soyuz spacecraft. Korolev says he has supported VVS leadership of manned spaceflight in conversations with Tyulin, Afanasyev, Pashkov, and Smirnov.
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.
Smirnov calls the Military Industrial Commission and the Chief Designers together to consider Pashkov's letter and how to respond to the American Gemini successes. Korolev is ill and unable to attend. His deputies are unable to provide any firm schedule for completion and fight of Voskhod or Soyuz spacecraft. Soviet projections are that over the next year the Americans will fly manned missions of 20 to 30 days duration and conduct many military experiments from manned spacecraft. It is decided that a crash effort needs to be applied to Soyuz development. However no further Voskhods will be built beyond the five already being assembled, but those Voskhods will be dedicated to setting record duration flights of 15 to 30 days and conducting military experiments.
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.
Smirnov again questions the chief designers about the reliability of the parachute systems developed by Tkachev. The VVS remains troubled as to the reliability of these systems. Recently the system has been tested at Fedosiya to increase its rating to 2900 to 3200 kg for use on Voskhod-3. Three parachutes in these tests suffered rips during deployment. The Voskhod-3 capsule will weigh 3000 kg. Tkachev says he will guarantee its safety, but VVS and LII specialists do not share this optimism. Leonov, Gagarin, and various cosmonauts ask Kamanin to stop further showings of the new film comedy "30-3", which they say denigrates Soviet cosmonauts. However a showing to the leadership is enjoyed by all, and they see no grounds for surpressing it.
A meeting of the VPK Military Industrial Commission begins with Tyulin, Mishin, Burnazyan, and Kamanin certifying the readiness for launch of Voskhod 3 on 25-28 May. Then Smirnov drops a bombshell: Voskhod 3 should be cancelled because: an 18-day flight will be nothing new; further work on Voskhod 3 will only interfere with completion of the Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft, which is to be the primary Soviet piloted spacecraft; and a new spaceflight without any manoeuvring of the spacecraft or a docking in orbit will only highlight the lead the Americans have. Kamanin argues that the long work of preparing for the flight is finally complete, and that it will set two new space records (in manned flight altitude and duration). Furthermore the flight will include important military experiments, which cannot be flown on early Soyuz flights. Smirnov and Pashkov appear not to be swayed by these arguments, but back down a bit. The State Commission for the flight may continue its work.
Kamanin reports the sad state of affairs. There is no Soviet state organ tasked with systematic management of the space program (the VPK and Smirnov only handle this as one of many tasks): within the Ministry of Defence there is no single organ that promotes and guides military space interests (TsUKOS under Karas only works to order, and does not formulate plans or policy); there is no one at the Academy of Sciences, in industry , or the Ministry of Defence charged with managing manned spaceflight (only 4% - 8 of 200 launches by the Soviet Union - have been on manned missions); in the last six years no new manned spacecraft has been flown (Voskhod being merely a modification of Vostok); the new Soyuz spacecraft is 3 to 4 years behind schedule due to the insistence it be capable of fully automatic docking in space; no adequate trainers for manned spacecraft have ever been delivered.
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.
Kamanin has prepared a draft letter from the Minister of Defence to the Central Committee decrying the lead of the United States in military space research and manned spaceflight. But the letter has not been forwarded. Rudenko has sought a meeting with Smirnov on the attempt by MOM and OKB-1 to take over all manned spaceflight functions, but Kamanin does not believe that he or Vershinin have Smirnov's ear.
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.
Training of the new cosmonaut cadre is reviewed. English language courses are proving to be a particular problem. There have been some potential washouts - Sharafutdinov has done poorly in astronomy, Shcheglov suffered an injury at the beach, Skvortsov damaged his landing gear on a MiG-21 flight.
At 15:00 a major review is conducted, with Komarov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Kamanin, and other VVS officer meeting with OKB-1 leaders Mishin, Tsybin, Severin, Alekseyev, Anokhin, and other engineers. Film is shown of the difficulties in the zero-G aircraft of cosmonauts attempting to exit from the 660 mm diameter hatch. In four sets of ten attempts, the cosmonaut was only to get out of the hatch half the time, and then only with acrobatic contortions - the inflated suit has a diameter of 650 mm, only 10 mm less than the hatch. Mishin finally concedes the point. But installation of the hatch in Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 is not possible - the spacecraft are essentially complete, and to add the hatch would delay their flight 6 to 8 months. Then Mishin makes the astounding assertion that Gorbatko and Khrunov are not adequately trained to be engineer-cosmonauts, and without this he will not allow them into space. He suggests OKB-1 engineers Anokhin and Yeliseyev instead. After outraged response, Severin finally sinks this suggestion by pointing out that no space suit has been prepared for Anokhin, and that it will take two to three months to make one. Kamanin is astounded that Mishin has pushed Anokhin all the way up to Smirnov and the VPK without even knowing he could not possibly fly due to this restriction. It again points out their poor management. Finally Mishin agrees that spacecraft s/n 5 and 6 and on will have 720 mm hatches. The ECS for the suits for those missions will have to be changed from a backpack configuration, with the equipment rearranged around the waist of the cosmonaut. The crews for the flight will be an experienced VVS pilot cosmonaut as commander, and (Kamanin realizes he may have to concede) a VVS engineer as flight engineer cosmonaut. They will have to complete training by 1 October 1966.
Mishin sends a letter to Kamanin, linking acceptance of his eight cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1 to continuation of sea recovery tests of the Soyuz capsule at Fedosiya. Kamanin's early hopes for Mishin have been dashed - not only is he no Korolev, but his erratic management style and constant attempts to work outside of accepted channels and methods, are ruining the space program. Later Gagarin briefs Kamanin on the impossibility of meeting Brezhnev, who has flown south for vacation without reacting to Gagarin's letter. Most likely, the letter will be referred to Ustinov, who will pass it to Smirnov, with instructions to suppress this "revolt of the military". Gagarin requests permission to resume flight and parachute training in preparation for a space mission assignment. Kamanin agrees to allow him to begin three months before the mission to space. This will be no earlier than 1967, as Gagarin will not be assigned to the first Soyuz flights.
Kamanin decides to smooth over matters with OKB-1. He calls Mishin, and then Tsybin, and agrees to begin processing of Anokhin, Yeliseyev, Volkov, and Kubasov as soon as he receives their personnel files and security clearances. Mishin promises to deliver the Soyuz mock-up of the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft soon - it slid from 20 July, then from 7 August.
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.
Nikolayev, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Kolodin, and Voronov complete two parachute jumps each, with landing at sea. Training in sea-recovery by helicopter, with the cosmonauts in spacesuits, will be completed over the next two days. Smirnov is ready to sign a letter from Afanasyev, Burnazyan and Keldysh creating a new civilian cosmonaut training centre under the Ministry of Medium Machine Building, separate from the VVS centre. The letter is not coordinated with the Defence Ministry, and contradicts the letter sent by the four marshals to the Central Committee. Kamanin prepares a vigorous refutation of the letter's position. The physicians' board on OKB-1 candidates has only cleared Yeliseyev for flight - they could not agree on Volkov, Kubasov, and Grechko. OKB-1 only submitted four candidates for review, not the eight promised.
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.
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 investigative committees unanimously concluded that the problems with Cosmos 133 were not due to any fundamental design defects, but rather poor pre-launch quality control and testing which did not reveal the problems. All Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft will be reworked to remove the problems by 15 December. The go-ahead is given to launch Soyuz s/n 1 between 15-18 December. Only Mnatsakanyan, designer of the automatic docking system, objects to the idea of a single spacecraft test flight. Tsybin reports that over four hundred system and subsystem qualification tests have been completed on Soyuz. However some vacuum tests in the TBK-60 chamber, and tests of the back-up parachute system and emergency recovery system will not be completed until 10 January 1967. Tsybin is ordered to accelerate the work so that the entire spacecraft is qualified for manned flight by 5 January. Mishin states that, assuming the flight of s/n 1 is successful, the manned flight of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 can begin by 29 January 1967. Kamanin is reminded that Smirnov's cancellation of the Voskhod 3 launch in June, based on the promise that Soyuz would fly by October, has instead resulted in almost two years without a Soviet manned spaceflight.
Later Kamanin learns that Malinovskiy is dying of cancer and will not return to work. Kamanin prays for his own health in the remaining five to seven years until his retirement. He will be able to retire peacefully only once Soviet voyages to the lunar surface have become routine.
Mishin briefs the production plan for the L1 circumlunar spacecraft. Two spacecraft, s/n 1 and 2, have already been shipped to Tyuratam. These prototypes are not equipped with heat shields, and will be used to perfect orbital operation of the spacecraft without recovery of the capsule. L1 s/n 3 and 4 will be used for unmanned flights around the moon, with recovery on earth, in March to May 1967. The first manned flight around the moon is set for 25 June. All present, after examining the detailed production and training plans, object that they cannot be met. Mishin advises that Ustinov and Smirnov dictated the schedules and they are not subject to revision.
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.
Kamanin accompanies 17 generals and other officers of the VVS in a tour of Chelomei's OKB-52. Chelomei spends five hours personally acquainting the visitors with his bureau's space technology capabilities. It was the first in-depth meeting Kamanin and Vershinin have had with Chelomei, despite meeting with him occasionally since 1961. They have mainly interacted with Korolev and now Mishin. Additional Details: here....
The Soyuz 1/2 crews had planned to depart for Baikonur on 30 March, but Mishin wants to push this forward to the night of 17/18 March. This disrupts all of Kamanin's training plans and shows the poor planning and work of Mishin and his followers. A Soyuz state commission is held. Kamanin doesn't trust Mishin. The spacecraft is unreliable and incompletely tested. But it is decided all the conditions exist for a launch of the mission on 20-25 April. The question of Gagarin flying on the mission is brought up. The Communist Party says he is too valuable to risk on further spaceflights. Kamanin is against making him a living 'museum exhibit'. Smirnov agrees to raise the matter with the Politburo.
Ustinov convened the commission at noon. The work was to be completed by 15 May, and the final report issued by 25 May. The members of the commission would be Ustinov, Smirnov, Serbin, Afanasyev, the Chief Designers, and Gagarin. 22 members would work in seven subcommittees that would:
Over 200 recommendations were made for revision of the parachute system, and all of these had to be made over the last two to three months. There have been 30 drops of the FAB-3000 Soyuz capsule mass simulator and two drops of capsule mock-ups. The entire series of tests is due to be completed by 20 September. This will allow flight of the first two manned spacecraft on 15 to 20 October. The commission is split over the selection of Feoktistov for the flight. It has to be referred to Smirnov and Ustinov for a final decision.
The booster was supposed to be launched by 1966, but there is no way it will be finished this year, and it is highly questionable it will even get off the ground in 1968. The N1 tanks are pressurised to 2 atmospheres, and can go up to three atmospheres in an emergency. In the enormous MIK assembly hall are three N1's - one 'iron bird' ground test model and two flight vehicles. The first roll out of the mock-up will take place in 1967, and the first launch attempt is still expected in 1968 (the first launch will not be attempted until the second and third stages complete stand tests. There is no test stand for the first stage, it will be fired for the first time in flight). An explosion would destroy the pad, requiring several years of repairs. There are two pads, but even that would not be a guarantee of the availability of the rocket due to the poor expected initial reliability. The N1 project is costing 10 billion roubles, not including considerable investment required by the military. To Kamanin the whole thing is a boondoggle, showing the necessity for development of lighter air-launched boosters. He believes there are many mistakes in design and construction, but Mishin, Pashkov, Smirnov, and Ustinov support these doubtful projects of Korolev and Mishin, instead of technically sound projects such as Chelomei's UR-700 or MiG's air-launched spacecraft. If Mishin thinks the current Proton/L1 reliability is only 0.6, then that of the completely unproved N1/L3 must be even less...
Mishin sends a letter to Afanasyev and Smirnov, proposing to cancel the Kozlov's 7K-VI military version of Soyuz. It is an unnecessary new spacecraft design, he says. As an alternative Mishin proposes to double to 8 to 10 the number of flights of the existing Soyuz design planned for 1968. Kamanin is astounded. Mishin was never opposed to Kozlov's 7K-VI before. No one had ever indicated that the VI had to be a precise copy of the Soyuz. The military is opposed to the move. On another matter, Kamanin sends a letter to Mishin, complaining about the L1 trainer provided - the simulator is not representative of the actual spacecraft. Meanwhile the second test of a Soyuz mock-up is made at the parachute trials at Fedosiya. It proceeds normally, and the test clears the way for an unmanned space flight of the redesigned Soyuz.
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.
A panel headed by Afanasyev and Mishin reviews the readiness of the N1. The mock-up booster is to complete pad compatibility tests by 30 March 1968. The first launch is still supposed to take place in the second half of 1968. The launch of the American Saturn V in November has reenergized the workers at Tyuratam. Kamanin is impressed - he was less sure of success, knowing all the problems of a project that requires the labour of thousands of persons. Afanasyev then turns to crew selection issues. The original resolution said that a cosmonaut was to be launched by an N1-L3 by April 1968. Mishin says he will be able to make two launches in the second half of 1968. It will take 18 to 24 months to train crews. But to date, Mishin still won't agree to crew selections, despite dozens of contacts and letters from Kamanin to Ustinov and Smirnov. There are still no simulators for the L3. Mishin wants to launch to the moon only engineers from TsKBEM. He is given an ultimatum: either the VVS will leave the space program, requiring Mishin to take over all training and crew responsibilities, or reach an agreement on crew composition in the next few days. Afansyev orders the commission to convene again in two to three days.
Kamanin is dumbfounded. The leadership has decided to accept Mishin's recommendations, scrap the 7K-VI project, and replace it with a Soyuz variant! Mishin is an egotist, but he is supported by highly-placed leaders - Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov, Serbin, Stroganov, Keldysh, and others. So everyone in the space program has to dance in the service of this 'engineer-performer', who is not a credible chief designer.
Vershinin looks bad after his surgery. His loss would be a blow for Kamanin's cause - Vershinin was steadfast against the unobjective positions of Mishin and Smirnov. Vershinin had just sent yet another letter about the procurement of the 16 m centrifuge for the TsPK. This is a six-year long story. The VVS has been trying to procure this essential piece of cosmonaut training equipment since 1962, but it still has not been delivered. Vershinin also has issued a letter on the L3 recovery force issue. He points out that the resolution of the Central Committee ordered the expenditure of 600 million roubles and the commitment of 9,000 men for recovery services. Another 400 million roubles and 12,000 men were earmarked by the Rocket Forces. Despite this huge commitment, Mishin now says he doesn't need any of them, that he can bring his L1 and L3 spacecraft to precision landings within the confines of the cosmodrome, eliminating the need for any Indian Ocean recoveries. This optimism is not accepted, but it is agreed the total requirement can be reduced to 400 million roubles and 7,000 men, through use of lighter recovery ships of the Leninskiy Komsomol class, and the use of three airborne relay stations instead of nine.
Apollo 8 has been launched. Kamanin recalls that he first saw a model of the Saturn V during his visit to Washington DC with Titov in 1962. At that time the Soviet Union planned to fly the N1 in four years, but the only manned spacecraft on the drawing boards after Voskhod was the Sever. Khrushchev didn't give a go-ahead for the lunar program until 1964. In the gap between Voskhod and Soyuz flights, when the American Gemini program seized the lead, the USSR could have achieved a record by flying Volynov for 18 days in Voskhod 3. But this was cancelled at the last minute by the leadership because the Voskhod had 'no development potential'. Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov were responsible for this decision, which put the USSR permanently behind in the space race.
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.
After two days of snow, family, and rest at this dacha, Kamanin is called to a General Staff meeting - the issue - how to answer the Americans? Attending are Generals Kutakhov, Moroz, Ponomarev, Kustanin, Yoffe, Frolov, Kartakhov, and others. It is agreed that the only proper answer is a Soviet lunar landing - but that is two to three years away. The 1964 resolution authorising the lunar program required a lunar flyby to be conducted by 1967 and a landing by 1968. But Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, and Pashkov hindered the attainment of this order. They were always requiring meetings, analyses, reports. The result - now many volumes of reports, but no action. The VPK proposes to land a Ye-8-5 robot on the moon and return lunar soil to earth in a 50 cm diameter, 38 kg capsule. The capsule will descend under a parachute and transmit on two VHF beacons in order to be located. But this still does not exist in metal, just in mock-up form. Considered logically, it could not be available earlier than the second half of 1969. The existing schedule for it to fly in the first half of the year is illogical and unachievable. Kamanin looks back with bitterness on the year of 1968 -- they have lost the moon race, they have lost Gagarin. His only consolation is his family.
Launch failure - but the abort system again functioned perfectly, taking the capsule to a safe landing (in Mongolia!). At 501 seconds into the flight one of the four engines of the second stage shut down, and remained shut down for 25 seconds. The ever-reliable SAS abort system detected the failure, and separated the capsule from the failed booster. Yet again a successful capsule recovery after a booster failure. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin and four cosmonauts return to Moscow from Tyuratam aboard an Il-18. It has been nearly nine years since Gagarin's flight, and now America looks like the winner of the space race, with the successful flight of Apollo 8 around the moon. Kamanin attributes the loss to the mistakes made by Ustinov and Smirnov in the erratic management of the Soviet program, coupled with the insistence of Korolev and Mishin to develop completely automated spacecraft that do not require intervention by the cosmonaut.
Mishin, Keldysh, Pashkov, Smirnov, and Serbin meet. Some of them are still expecting a big failure in the Apollo programme that will set the Americans back and still make it possible for Russia to be first on the moon. These are black days in the Soviet programme - it is clear to Kamanin that the Americans will successfully land on the moon in July, and the Russians are 2 to 3 years behind.
Over two days a State Commission reviewed all of the conclusions of the N1 3L failure investigation and the readiness of N1 5L for flight. All of the fixes identified to remedy the 3L failure had been incorporated into 5L. It was felt that the behaviour of the systems in fire conditions were understood and appropriate measures had been taken. The wiring had been rerouted and insulated. Barmin wanted the system not to shut down any engines under any conditions during the first 15-20 seconds of flight, so that the booster would clear the pad and there would be no risk of the pad's destruction. But there was no time to develop such measures before the 5L launch; it could only be added in vehicle 6L. Additional Details: here....
The Americans were able to pull equal in the race during their Gemini programme, then ahead with Apollo. The Soviet Union is now four to five years behind. Kamanin's accounting:
Meeting of Kamanin with S G Donevskiy. The L3 trainer will not be finished until May 1970 - and the current schedule for the first manned L3 launch is December 1970! But in any case Kamanin assesses the latter date as unrealistic -- there is no rocket or spacecraft in being yet. Later in the day Efimov, Moroz, and Kamanin meet with the female cosmonauts - Ponomaryova, Solovyova, Yerkina, and Kuznetsova. They advise them that despite the letter to the Central Committee asking for an all-female Soyuz flight, it has been rejected. Ustinov, Smirnov, and Pashkov are all opposed to the idea, as are MOM, MAP, AN, and VVS. Kamanin believes the whole female cosmonaut concept was a mistake. Flying Tereshkova in the first place started the whole thing, but now there is no follow-up.
However the board makes a big fuss over Kamanin having trained only four back-up cosmonauts to support eight prime-crew cosmonauts. A follow-up meeting is held with Smirnov and Afanasyev at 19:15, where Kamanin's training is denounced as a big failure. Nevertheless at 22:00 the word comes from the Kremlin to proceed with the missions. Kamanin points out that simultaneously with this mission he had cosmonauts in training for Soyuz s/n 17, 18, 19, 20 (Kontakt missions) and L1 circumlunar fights. Kuznetsov, Beregovoi, and several other cosmonauts are also enraged with Kamanin for bumping Nikolyaev from the Soyuz 8 crew. Kamanin maintains that in the circumstances he only had enough training resources for 8 prime + 4 back-up crew, especially for a mission scenario that would not be flown again in the future.
Smirnov recommended to the VPK Military-Industrial Commission that the flights go ahead in October. The triple Soyuz flight would make heavy demands on the Soviet tracking system. The problems were worked out in simulations and worldwide exercises conducted from the Baikonur cosmodrome.
The cause of the Ye-8-5 failure is found to be a valve that was stuck open after the first stage burn, resulting in the oxidiser boiling away in the vacuum of space. Tyulin inquires about the possibility of commanding the Ye-8-5 to conduct a series of manoeuvres and testing re-entry of the soil return capsule in the earth's atmosphere. An interesting concept, but the engineers have not planned for such an eventuality.
NII-2 MO, represented by Lt General Korolev and Chief Designer Savin present plans for their Svinets experiment. It will observe ICBM rocket plumes from space in order to aid design of anti-ballistic missile systems. They had asked Smirnov to conduct a solid propellant rocket launch in order to test the device properly, but he could only schedule a liquid propellant rocket launch. Kamanin had wanted this experiment to be conducted aboard Voskhod 3, but Smirnov has cancelled that mission as well - delaying Soviet ABM development, in Kamanin's view.
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!
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.
Kamanin recommends the death benefit to be awarded to Belyayev's family. There is to be a one-time payment of 2,000 roubles to his wife; 1,100 roubles to his daughter; 180 roubles/month pension to the wife; 75 roubles/month to the daughter; access to cosmonaut centre sanatoriums; and a seven-room apartment in Moscow.
Kamanin also reviews the government decree on the DOS-7K space station program. The Ministry of Defence is against it - they want to continue with the Almaz and Soyuz VI projects already underway. DOS will bring both of these to a halt. This is a repeat of the situation in 1967. Kozlov was making good progress on the original Soyuz VI, when it was killed by Mishin. Now three years later Mishin's Soyuz VI is put on the back burner. The Soyuz 7K-OK is still the only manned program brought to completion. Kamanin blames all this on Ustinov and Smirnov's stupid political manoeuvring. The DOS decree has not one word on the training of cosmonauts for these space station missions...
It was originally planned to fly two Soyuz spacecraft in August-September 1970, but at the end of December it was ordered that this be changed to a single 20 day flight in April 1970. Kamanin was given only two days to put together a training programme that had to prepare the cosmonauts for flight by 20 March. The State Commission meets and decides to move the Soyuz 9 flight to May, even though Kamanin says he can support the April schedule. It is the scientific institutes who say they cannot finish development of their experiments - even to meet the May schedule. Kamanin blames such chaos on Smirnov, Serbin, and Ustinov.
Kamanin meets with Chelomei. Chelomei discusses his 'war' with Korolev and Mishin. Korolev interfered with, and then finally took the manned lunar flyby project from Chelomei. Now Mishin is doing the same thing with Almaz. Chelomei had already invested five years in development of Almaz, and was on the way to producing a good space station. Then Mishin pushes him out of the way and seizes his production line to build the DOS-7K. DOS#1 is actually Almaz#5, nothing more than a bad copy of Chelomei's station. Serbin and Smirnov do not trust Mishin, which is why they have only authorised him to build four DOS stations. Serbin, Smirnov, and Afanasyev have visited Chelomei, and told him to accelerate work on the Almaz, using three shifts 24 hours a day.
Kamanin notes the second hijacking in Turkey of a Soviet airliner in the last two weeks.
Meeting DF Ustinov (Smirnov, Keldysh Afanasiev, Serbin, Stroganov, Kommissarov, Tsarev, Kerimov and others, on acceleration of N1 after 1973 for MKBS. Meeting at 12:00 - DF Ustinov (Smirnov, Keldysh Afanasiev, Serbin, Stroganov, Kommissarov, Tsarev, Kerimov and others.) ... 2) MKBS - Accelerate after 1973. It is necessary to accelerate the draft resolution on the MKBS and associated activities - EYaRD, reusable transport spacecraft. (Mishin Diaries 2-299)
A meeting with LV Smirnov and MV Keldysh (Mishin Diaries 2-296) goes through a shopping list of the vast work needed to be done on MKBS On accelerating the work on MKBS:
- Life support systems
- Equipment for scientific research
- Equipment for the benefit of the national economy
- Building design and experimental base
- Development of production capacity
- Expansion of cooperation.
Lunokhod-1 and Venera-7 missions continue well. The NIITsPK conference is completed, final total 88 papers. The conference has recommended a cautious build-up in manned flight durations - the next mission should be 22 days long, then 26, then 30. But Ustinov has ordered Mishin to ensure that the first flight to DOS will be 30 days long. Kamanin is categorically opposed to this. Kamanin runs through the principal differences between himself and Mishin:
It is obvious to Kamanin from the ECS conference that there are many mistakes in the organization of the Soviet space program. There is no single agency directing the program, like the American NASA. There is not only no five year plan for manned spaceflight, there is not even a plan for next year! Decisions on manned space are made erratically by unqualified members of the leadership. There is no single manager of military space projects. Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Karas at GUKOS are all pulling in different directions. Ustinov, Smirnov, and Keldysh don't give space more than 10% of their working time.
Kutakhov calls Smirnov to give the VVS position on DOS-7K flights. He is told that Mishin has not only Ustinov and Smirnov, but even Brezhnev behind him in support of 30, and then 60 day spaceflight durations aboard DOS. The VVS' position of limiting flights to 20 to 24 days has no chance.
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.
Mishin guarantees to Smirnov that Soyuz 11 will be able to dock to Salyut 1. He also promises thirty-day missions for both Soyuz 11 and Soyuz 12. But there is a problem with this last promise -- Soyuz 12 won't launch until 15-18 July, which will be after the guaranteed life of the Salyut 1 station. Kamanin protests the decision. Smirnov points out that they must fulfil the resolutions of the Communist Party without question. But he reassures Kamanin that they will take everything one step at a time, keeping the safety of the crew in mind. Kutakhov also does not support the decision, but orders must be followed.
The shocking news of rocket engine designer Isayev's premature death is received at the Soyuz 11 control point at Yevpatoriya. This is followed by the news that the third N1 failed 57 seconds into its flight. A total of 13 N1's were built, and all three launched so far have exploded. Kamanin agreed to cancellation of the entire project three years ago, but Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Mishin continued in their grandiose charade, wasting billions of roubles in the process. Meanwhile on the 22nd day of Soyuz 11's flight, the crew is up and about. Volkov is especially active, which should improve his readaptation when he returns to earth.
Kamanin account: The next communications session with Soyuz 11 comes at 00:16. Kamanin reads up to the crew the conditions at the primary and secondary landing zones (10 km visibility, 2-3 m/s wind, 16 deg temperature, 720 mm pressure). The crew is to told to report on HF and UHF using all antennae and to call out parachute opening. They are ordered to wait in the capsule for the recovery crews, not to open the hatch themselves under any circumstances. It should take no more than 20 to 30 minutes until the recovery team can open the hatch from the outside. They are under no circumstances to try to get out of the capsule without the assistance of the doctors. Dobrovolsky confirms: "All received, landing sequence proceeding excellent, all OK, crew is excellent".
Telemetry shows the Soyuz braking engine begins firing at 01:35:24 and makes a nominal 187 second retrofire burn. Ground control waits for verbal confirmation, but there are no voice communications received from the capsule. At 01:47:28 the crew should have reported successful BO and PAO module separations from the capsule, but still nothing heard. It is not clear to ground control at this point - is Soyuz 11 heading for a landing or staying in orbit? From 01:49:37 to 2:04:07 the capsule is in communications range but there is no reply to the ground's calls. It is now obvious that something is wrong aboard Soyuz 11, but it is not clear what.
At 01:54 the VVS command point reports that radar has picked up the spacecraft at 2200 km uprange from the landing zone. It is on course, so the feeling is that the capsule's communications system has simply failed. The parachute deploy signal is received from within the landing zone, but still no transmissions from the crew as on earlier missions. At 02:05 an Il-14 search plane and Mi-8 helicopter spot Soyuz 11 descending under its parachute, within 200 km east of Dzhezkazgan. Soyuz 11 lands at 02:18 Moscow time. Four helicopters land simultaneously as the capsule thumps down on the steppe. The report from the recovery forces to the control centre is only one word: "Wait". There are no further tramsmissions from the recovery forces. It is clear the crew must be dead. Kamanin calls Goreglyad and tells him to set up a State Commission.
Later it is learned that two minutes after landing the hatch was opened by the recovery group and the crew was seen to be without signs of life. At 06:00 by orders of Ustinov and Smirnov the designated members of the State Commission depart from the Crimea for the landing site aboard a Tu-104, then transfer to an An-10. But on arrival they find that Goreglyad has already left for Moscow with the corpses of the crew. At 16:00 the engineers and doctors meet with the State Commission. The spacecraft's cabin, seats, parachute, equipment, and instruments have been examined. They indicate no problems - the spacecraft made a good soft landing. A hard landing was not a factor. All switches on the instrument panel were in their correct positions. A vent in one of two air valves was open 10 mm. There were no other discrepancies, even though the doctors already report that they believe the crew died from decompression of the cabin. At 23:00 the State Commission members leave for Moscow. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin is furious. Of 25 cosmonauts that have flown, five are buried in the Kremlin Wall, one in Novdevich cemetery, and 19 are still in service. These deaths are due to the incompetent management of Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, Mishin, Afanasyev, Bushuyev, and Serbin. Some people are trying to blame Kamanin or the cosmonauts, saying the vent could have been plugged with a finger if the crew was properly trained. Others blame the crew in other ways. But the main problem was already brought up early over and over and over by the VVS and Kutakhov - the crew should never have flown without spacesuits! This has been going on for seven years. Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Ustinov, Smirnov, all wrote of their fear of allowing dangerous spaceflights. But these were the same leaders who supported the categorical rejection of the need for the crew to fly in spacesuits. The need for the suits was rejected first by Korolev, then Mishin. They kept saying that hundreds of manned and unmanned spacecraft had flown without depressurisation ever occurring.
The idea of plugging the vent with a finger is absurd. Had they done so, they would have had only 15 to 17 minutes to work the problem before the onset of G-forces. Imagine the real situation - retrofire was normal - the BO module jettisoned - suddenly the depress light on the caution warning panel is on! Dobrovolsky checks the hatch, but it's not the hatch -- and there are only 25 to 30 seconds until they all become unconscious. Volkov and Patsayev undo their straps and turn on the radio. The whistling of the air can only be heard at the commander's seat - where the vent valve is located. Kamanin discontinues diary entries for two years after this date.
Kamanin attends a reunion of cosmonauts on the occasion of the arrival of the Soyuz 15 crew at Chkalovsky Airfield. Demin has flown at the age of 48, the oldest astronaut ever, until Slayton makes his flight. Kamanin talks to Glushko and learns that the N1 has finally been cancelled. The misbegotten project went for eight years only because of the unconditional support of Mishin by Keldysh, Smirnov, and Ustinov. The earliest Soviet lunar landing cannot occur earlier than the Tenth Five Year Plan (e.g. 1980). Kamanin learns that Soyuz 15 was supposed to be a thirty-day flight, but the Igla automatic docking system failed yet again.