Soyuz 7K-OK Assembly
Credit: RKK Energia
AKA: Argon (Argon). Launched: 1968-10-26. Returned: 1968-10-30. Number crew: 1 . Duration: 3.95 days.
Officially mission was "complex testing of spaceship systems; development, in joint flight with space ship Soyuz 2 of processes of space ship maneuvering and docking in artificial earth satellite orbit; development of elements of celestial navigation; conduct of research under space flight conditions". The failed docking was blamed on manual control of the Soyuz by Beregovoi, who repeatedly put the spacecraft in an orientation that nulled the automatic docking system. Beregovoi used nearly all of his orientation fuel in his first attempt to dock - of 80 kg allocated, only 8 to 10 kg was remaining. Recovered October 30, 1968 7:25 GMT.
186km X 206km orbit to 173km X 232km orbit. Delta V: 10 m/s
173km X 232km orbit to 205km X 231km orbit. Delta V: 9 m/s
Total Delta V: 31 m/s.
Rudenko proposes that three very experienced officers be recruited as cosmonauts, given one spaceflight each, then be appointed to manage cosmonaut training. This will provide qualified managers, which cannot be recruited from among the ranks of the cosmonauts themselves. To this end Beregovoi, Sidorenko, and Katys are interviewed. Rudenko wants Beregovoi to fly first. Kamanin agrees with the general concept, but not with giving Beregovoi the next flight. Volynov, Komarov, and Leonov have been waiting for a flight after completing two years of training, and should fly next.
The results will establish the order in which they will fly as Soyuz commanders. A 25-person board, consisting of spacecraft designers and cosmonauts, conduct the oral examinations. Each cosmonaut must answer five mandatory essay questions and select two two-part questions. All three are certified for flight and have a complete mastery of the Soyuz systems.
Mishin and Kamanin meet and decide on L1 crews: Leonov-Makarov (with Kuklin as back-up); Bykovsky-Rukavishnikov (Klimuk back-up); and Popovich-Sevastyanov (Voloshin back-up). But that evening Leonov has yet another automobile accident. He hit a bus with his Volga at kilometre 24 near Shchelkovsky. This was his second accident in four months. Kamanin decides to prohibit him from driving automobiles for six months.
The L1 cosmonauts are doing training in autonomous navigation, zero-G training, and TBK-60 simulator training. Due to the continuing L1 failures, there would probably be no manned L1 flight until April-May 1969. As for Soyuz, a 0+1 (docking of one unmanned spacecraft and a manned spacecraft with a single cosmonaut aboard) is planned for 25 October, to be followed by a 1+3 mission with a crew transfer by December at the earliest - possibly not until February-March of the following year. Kamanin reassured Beregovoi that he will indeed fly following his excellent exam results -- but Beregovoi still has doubts. Later Kamanin confronts Leonov over his driving. Leonov has had three auto accidents in four months - simply too much. If he is such a bad driver on earth, how will be in space? Kamanin tells him to take two to three days off work and seriously consider his attitude and position. Next there are commissions to attend in charge of selecting monument designs for Gagarin memorials. There are to be obelisks at the Gagarin crash site, at the Vostok 1 landing site, and in Star City. These commissions are taking up a lot of the cosmonauts' time. Kuznetsov meets with Kamanin and tells him that cosmonauts Belyayev and Nikolayev rated Beregovoi poorly in the exam, giving him only a 5 and citing errors in his logic.
Kamanin is at Tyuratam. There is a Soyuz review - the preparation of the spacecraft is on schedule. Mishin is 'sick' (drunk) again and does not attend. Beregovoi weighs in at 80.4 kg and his opponents are using this against him, saying he is too fat for the mission. He had been up to 86 kg, but had already lost weight on Kamanin's recommendation.
At Area 31 one of the Soyuz has thermoregulation system problems and is in repair - it can't be used for flight training. Kamanin notes that Apollo 7 has been launched - the Americans are back in space after almost two years and on the schedule announced a month ago.
Soyuz 3 has 18 deficiencies remaining of a total of 55 originally identified. 11 have been cleared, the balance will not affect the flight or reduce redundancy in emergencies. It is decided that Beregovoi and his back-ups will not stay at the traditional cosmonaut cottage at Area 2 but rather at the Hotel Kosmonavt at Area 17.
Coordination problems between the ministries in preparation of the Soyuz spacecraft. VVS and MAP have managers assigned for quality control of each system, while MOM (Afanasyev) counterpart staff are disorganised. Yet again conflicts have to be appealed to 'Cardinal' Ustinov.
Kamanin visits the Korolev and Gagarin cottages. He finds them in bad condition, in need of repair. They should be restored as they were in 1961 and be made into museums. At 16:00 the rocket is rolled out to Area 31. 500 are present at the State Commission meeting.
Glushko has a private conversation with Isayev at the N1 MIK during the Soyuz 3 launch preparations. Glushko revealed to Isayev that in 1961 he had offered Korolev a compromise - if Korolev would use the same 'packet' scheme for the N1 that he had used on the R-7, so that the individual engine modules could be individually tested on the ground before flight, Glushko would give up his insistence on the use of storable propellants. However, after checking with Mishin, Korolev would not compromise. Additional Details: here....
Unmanned docking target for Soyuz 3. Soyuz 2 launched on time at 12:00 local time, in 0 deg C temperatures and 5 m/s winds. Launch was on time 'as in Korolev's time', notes Kamanin. Docking with Soyuz 3 a failure. Recovered October 28, 1968 7:51 GMT, 5 km from its aim point. Maneuver Summary:
177km X 196km orbit to 184km X 230km orbit. Delta V: 12 m/s.
Officially: Complex testing of spaceship systems in conditions of space flight.
Second manned Soyuz flight. Rendezvoused with the unmanned Soyuz 2 but failed to dock. Complex testing of spaceship systems; development, in joint flight with space ship Soyuz 2 of processes of space ship manoeuvring and docking in artificial earth satellite orbit; development of elements of celestial navigation; conduct of research under space flight conditions. The failed docking was blamed on manual control of the Soyuz by Beregovoi, who repeatedly put the spacecraft in an orientation that nulled the automatic docking system. Beregovoi used nearly all of his orientation fuel in his first attempt to dock - of 80 kg allocated, only 8 to 10 kg was remaining. Additional Details: here....
He can't understand why Beregovoi couldn't dock. Beregovoi seems garbled. The cabin atmosphere is all right. He is ordered to orient the spacecraft to the sun - which he accomplishes readily with minimum propellant expenditure. The Soyuz 2 45K star sensor is not functioning - 'as usual' notes Kamanin.
Meanwhile Beregovoi was instructed to conduct experiments with the 45K stellar sensor on Soyuz 3. He would quickly disengage the 45K, then orient the spacecraft to the sun. He would then reengage the sensor and the automatic orientation system. This did two complete turns of the spacecraft searching for the star, but not acquiring it. To Kamanin this shows the uselessness of the system, and the wastage of propellant it causes.
Telemetry analysis has shown Soyuz 3 used 30 kg of propellant during 20 minutes of manoeuvring in the automatic regime during docking, followed by 40 kg consumed in two minutes of manual manoeuvring. Essentially Beregovoi was trying to dock the spacecraft upside down. This was either due to incorrect configuration of the running lights or cosmonaut error. Soyuz 2 had two continuously illuminated lights on its upper side and two blinking lights on the lower side. Evidently Beregovoi didn't identify these correctly in weightlessness.
In case Beregovoi has to do a ballistic re-entry, Be-2 seaplanes are in the air in case of a splashdown in the Aral Sea. On his 81st revolution, Beregovoi manually oriented the spacecraft for retrofire, then engaged the vertical sensor and ion orientation system. But the spacecraft hit on ion pocket and it took two to three minutes for the automated system to engage. Retrofire started 3 seconds late, coming at 9:45:05 and continuing for 149 seconds, producing a delta V of 95 m/s. The main parachute deployed at 10:12:24 at 7000 m altitude. Beregovoi spent 13 minutes under the main parachute, descending at 4 to 5 m/s. Soyuz 3 landed 10 km from the aimpoint at 07:25 GMT.
The post-flight debriefing of Beregovoi reveals that the automated docking sequence from 11,000 to 200 m range from the Soyuz 2 target was normal. At 200 m Beregovoi took over manual control of the spacecraft. At a range of 30 to 40 m he observed the running lights on Soyuz 2 were inverted. He stopped his approach and waited until the spacecraft moved into daylight. By that time the spacecraft were still 30 to 40 m away, but had drifted so that he was 30 degrees off-angle from Soyuz 2. It was in attempting to bring the spacecraft back on axis that he used 30 kg of propellant. He then gave up and hand-flew the spacecraft around Soyuz 2 to take photographs. On the first day of his flight he constantly felt like he was hanging upside-down. This feeling only disappeared on the last day of the flight.
Kamanin attends an Yastreb spacesuit review with VVS doctors. The suit removes 200 cal/hour, but when the cosmonaut is exerting himself, he will generate 3 to 4 times more than this. So the cabin is chilled to 18 deg C prior to the EVA, and there will be lots of pauses during preparations to exit the spacecraft. The L1 cosmonaut-engineers at the meeting have little zero-G experience, and need to get a lot more. The new oxygen generating system for the L1 is still not complete. It will be 6 to 8 kg lighter than the old system (using calcium instead of the old material). Mishin insists that the new system should be completed and installed. Ground qualification testing will be completed on 1 January, but the system will not be flight-proven - Kamanin believes it needs test on low earth orbit missions before being adopted for lunar flights. Beregovoi's experience on Soyuz 3 is reviewed. He needed more time to adapt to zero-G before being required to attempt a docking. He had the impression he was upside-down and had intestinal tract problems.