Soyuz 7K-OK BO
Soyuz 7K-OK Orbital Module with female docking unit
Credit: © Mark Wade
AKA: Amur (Amur - river). Launched: 1969-01-14. Returned: 1969-01-17. Number crew: 1 . Duration: 2.97 days.
Carried Vladimir Shatalov; docked with Soyuz 5; returned with Yevgeni Khrunov, Aleksei Yeliseyev from Soyuz 5. 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. Recovered January 17, 1969 06:51 GMT. 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.
Soyuz 4 successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 31. 24 hours later it was followed by Soyuz 5 from Launch Complex 1. After the problems with Soyuz 3, a first-revolution docking was not planned. Instead the automatic rendezvous began on 16 January at 13:37 GMT on the 34th revolution of Soyuz 4 and the 18th revolution of Soyuz 5. At 100 m distance Shatalov took over manual control of Soyuz 4 and guided the spacecraft to an accurate docking on the first attempt at 14:20 GMT.
Khrunov and Yeliseyev aboard Soyuz 5 immediately began preparing for their EVA. On the 35th revolution of the earth Khrunov exited into free space and began moving toward Soyuz 4. But one of his lines became tangled and he accidentally closed the tumbler of his suit ventilator. He quickly untied this, but the incident distracted Yeliseyev, who forgot to mount a movie camera on the divan of the orbital module before exiting the spacecraft. This deprived the world of the planned film of the spacewalk. A poor quality video transmission was the only record of the one hour EVA.
The two spacewalkers entered Soyuz 4 without incident and after pressurization of the orbital module were greeted by Shatalov. Soyuz 4 and 5 separated after 4 hours and 35 minutes docked together. Soyuz 4 prepared to land and the three crew successfully landed 100 km SW of Karaganda.
The crew was to be feted at a state ceremony at the Kremlin, but this was ruined by an attempted assassination of Soviet leader Brezhnev. A man from Leningrad armed with two pistols shot eight times at the second car of the motorcade, in which was not Brezhnev but rather cosmonauts Beregovoi, Leonov, Nikolayev, and Tereshkova. They were not injured but Brezhnev's vehicle accelerated and sped past the waiting Soyuz 4/5 crews on the podium on Red Square and into the safety of the Kremlin.
Soyuz 4 and 5 achieved the manned docking mission that was to have been accomplished by the third and fourth Soyuz spacecraft. It had taken 13 flights to accomplish what had been planned for 4.
161km X 215km orbit to 206km X 222km orbit. Delta V: 15 m/s
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.
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.
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.
Titov still would prefer to be a test pilot, not a cosmonaut. The Soyuz group is scheduled to complete their training and to depart for the cosmodrome on 20 December for final preparations. Leonov's L1 group is to complete their training on 20 January 1969, then depart to the cosmodrome for a flight to the moon in February.
Soyuz spacecraft 12 and 13 have begun their 45 day preparation cycle at Baikonur, which implies a 15 January 1969 launch for he Soyuz 4/5 mission. The crews will be ready by 25 December.
Kamanin compares the results of Soyuz capsule re-entries to date:
Soyuz s/n 7 8 9 10 11 Max G's 3.15 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 SA Propellant, kg 40.0 40.0 40.0 38.0 38.0 Propellant usage: Used Pre-reentry, kg 8.5 10.0 2.0 3.0 5.3 Used in Re-entry, kg 17.5 29.0 3.7 9.5 12.5 Total 26.0 39.0 5.7 12.5 17.8 Left at chute opening, kg 14.0 0.0 34.3 25.8 20.2 Miss distance, km 157 55 40 15 42
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.
Apollo 8 is on its way back to earth, but re-entry into the earth's atmosphere from lunar distances is risky, as the Soviet experience with the L1 has shown. The State Commission meets at 16:00 and sets the launch dates for Soyuz 4 and 5. Meanwhile Beregovoi and Yurasov are in the Soyuz spacecraft in the assembly building, running communications checks.
The head of the launch commission for Venera-5 and 6 says that will work on the Ye-8 and Ye-8-5 robot moon landers was making progress, it would be fantasy to believe that a moon landing and return to earth could be successfully accomplished in 1969. Venera was 'no answer' to Apollo at all. Meanwhile, he was worried about Soyuz landing in the Aral Sea in the event of problems during re-entry. Kustanin remembers times in the past when supposedly 'waterproof' spacecraft had landed in water. One Soyuz had splashed down in the Aral Sea, and one Zenit spysat in the Volga River. Both sank easily. But the chances of either Soyuz 4 or 5 landing in the Aral Sea were assessed as only 0.003. In any cases 5 helicopters and 3 Be-12 seaplanes were on standby to recover the crew in such an eventuality.
An Il-14 is sent on a flight to reconnoitre. It reports 12 to 50 cm ice over the entire surface. Mishin, Chertok, and the rest of he OKB-1 entourage arrive. An argument immediately ensures over provisions and planning for emergency landings. It is decided to make a review of emergency landing and recovery plans as the first agenda item every day of he flights.
At Baikonur, Ustinov and Afanasyev get into an argument with Mishin. They want Soyuz 4 and 5 to accomplish a completely automatic docking, as was done successfully by Cosmos 186/188 and Cosmos 212/213. Mishin categorically rejects this. He wants a manual docking, which was unsuccessful when attempted by Beregovoi on Soyuz 2/3. Meanwhile the Soyuz 4/5 crews hold a news conference.
The launch of the 13th Soviet cosmonaut into space aboard Soyuz 4 is scrubbed - the first launch scrub in the history of Soviet manned launch attempts. Despite -24 deg C temperatures and 8 to 10 m/s winds, the fuelling of the rocket proceeds successfully. Voice communications are lost with Shatalov whenever the television camera is turned on, but it is decided just to leave the camera off and proceed with the launch. Then at T - 9 minutes a problem is detected with the gyro platform of the rocket. It takes three hours to fix, pushing the launch back to 15:00, meaning the landing will have to be in darkness at the end of the mission. It is decided this is too risky, and the launch is cancelled. As Shatalov exits from the spacecraft, he jokes that he has set a new record: shortest space flight, and first to return to its exact point of lift-off. The engineers are concerned with the internal temperature of the SAS abort system solid rockets if left on the pad for 24 hours in these temperatures. The internal temperature of the fuel cannot go below -2 deg C at night. Any lower, the loss of specific impulse of the fuel would reduce the thrust by more than 5%, the limit established for safe operation.
The 'unlucky' Shatalov entered the spacecraft at 10:30. But the -24 deg C weather was below the limits of the booster's gyroscopes. The launch was scrubbed. The launch was made successfully the next day. Later in the day Mishin discussed the N1/L3 project with Afanasyev.
In the evening Afanasyev hosts 100 guests - the leadership of the space program - to watch the big Army-Dinamo football game. Space plans are discussed. The State Commission still needs to confirm the crews for Soyuz 4/5. The issue of automatic versus manual rendezvous is again argued. Kamanin believes this reliance on automated systems has cost the Soviet Union the moon race.
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.
A day after the launch of Soyuz 5, Soyuz 4 docked with it. The Soyuz 4 active spacecraft was equipped with a long docking probe, designated 'Shtir'. The Soyuz 5 target spacecraft was equipped with the 'Konus' receptacle. The symbology lead Volynov to joke that he 'was being raped' when the hard docking was accomplished. Khrunov and Yeliseyev transferred to and returned in Soyuz 4, the feat they had hoped to accomplish in the cancelled Soyuz 2 flight almost two years earlier. The external crew transfer was also a test of the technique needed for the Soviet lunar landing.
Soyuz 4 landed at 06:51 GMT 48 km south-west of Karaganda, 40 km from the planned point, with the crew of Khrunov, Shatalov and Yeliseyev aboard. Shatalov's performance has been outstanding -- all manoeuvres were made correctly with minimal expenditure of propellant. The soft landing system performed well, in temperatures of -30 deg C and in 60 to 80 cm of snow. The first recovery helicopter reached the capsule only five minutes after touchdown. 25 minutes later the crew is on a helicopter, on their way to the airfield at Karaganda. The crew is given a medical examination at the Hotel Chaika and then taken downstairs for a press conference. At 16:45 they board an An-24, bound for Tyuratam.
The engineering team at Yevpatoriya celebrated Mishin's birthday and Volynov's survival after his re-entry. These were four stressful days -- aside from the Soyuz missions, Babakin was commanding the Venera 5 and 6 probes to Venus, which had been launched on 5 and 10 January.
At 10:00 a State Commission convenes at Area 17. The mistakes made during the Soyuz 4/5 flight are reviewed. The EVA began with a closed valve on Khrunov's suit. The film camera was not activated, resulting in loss of one of the key propaganda points of the exercise.
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.
The assassination attempt is made on Brezhnev, instead hitting the cosmonaut's car, on the way to the Kremlin. A muted press conference follows. All the cosmonauts are there, except Feoktistov, who is on honeymoon with his second wife, and Nikolyaev, who has the Hong Kong flu.