AKA: Sokol (Falcon). Launched: 1970-06-01. Returned: 1970-06-19. Number crew: 2 . Duration: 17.71 days.
Manned flight endurance test. Medico-biological, scientific and technical studies and experiments in prolonged orbital flight. Inconclusive results due to slow sun-oriented rotation of spacecraft to conserve fuel producing motion sickness in cosmonauts. Recovered June 19, 1970 11:59 GMT.
176km X 228km orbit to 208km X 256km orbit. Delta V: 17 m/s
208km X 256km orbit to 244km X 259km orbit. Delta V: 10 m/s
Total Delta V: 27 m/s.
|Soyuz 9 Comm
Tereshkova and daughter and Khrunov communicate with Nikolayev during Soyuz 9.
Credit: RKK Energia
|Soyuz 9 Comm Session
Nikolayev on screen in communications session with his wife, Valentina Tereshkova, and daughter.
Credit: RKK Energia
|Soyuz 9 Crew
Soyuz 9 crew before lift-off
Credit: RKK Energia
The leadership suddenly announces that a solo Soyuz mission of 17 to 20 days is to be flown for Lenin's 100th birthday (April 22). This will seize the space endurance record from the Americans and provide biomedical information for the DOS station, to be flown by the end of the year. Nikolayev and Sevastyanov are being pushed for the job. Kamanin objects, he would prefer Kolodin or Grechko, but Mishin won't hear of it. During December Kamanin, the Shatalov Soyuz 7 crew, Sevastyanov, and their wives vacation at Sochi on the Black Sea. Meanwhile Belyayev becomes serious ill. Surgeons operate to remove 2/3 of his stomach, part of his long intestine, and his appendix.
Kamanin meets with nine generals involved in supervising aspects of the space programme. Only one is from the VVS aviation, the rest have artillery or rocket backgrounds. Naturally they have no bad words for the RSVN or TsUKOS. At the centre, crew selection for the Soyuz 10 and Soyuz 11 missions to the DOS space station are underway. A review is conducted of the biomedical and zero-G studies planned for Soyuz 9. This is followed by a meeting with General Komarov and the cosmonauts on plans for the new cosmonaut training building and a nine-story apartment building.
Kamanin meets with TsKBEM (Tregub, Anokhin) to review issues for the Soyuz 9 mission. These include post-flight care of the cosmonauts, the fact the centrifuge is not available for training, storage of rations and the possibility of spoilage during the long flight.
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.
Meeting with Mishin. It is clear that he wanted to continue with the original plan for a dual Soyuz flight in August. It was Afanasyev and Kerimov who were pushing for a single long-duration flight in May. There is no action by the Ministry of Defence to provide rational decision making in regard to manned spaceflight.
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.
All is ready for a flight in April, but the Communist Party resolution says the flight has to wait for May. The Soyuz ECS is designed to only operate for five days, but will have to operate 3 to 4 times longer for this mission. Various problems are identified and reviewed. Mishin wants to accept a carbon dioxide level in the cabin atmosphere double the percentage considered acceptable earlier. Plans are made for a quick flight of the crew after the long duration mission to Moscow for extensive physical examinations.
Kamanin has been working for seven years on operation and improvement of the TsEZ Central Experimental Facility of he VVS. This includes the Volchok trainer, which simulates launch to orbit; the centrifuge facility; and numerous special test stands. The facility employs 120 engineers and 300 technicians. Later the Spiral project is discussed by the General Staff. It has been two weeks since Kutakhov promised to clarify Minister Dementiev's position on the project, but he never did talk to him. What is Kamanin expected to tell the cosmonauts training for the program? He is also trying to get a flight plan and press kit together in preparation for the Soyuz 9 mission, but there is no Central Committee resolution allowing this work. The KGB and Central Committee want to keep everything secret.
Launch is set for 31 May with an 18 day mission duration. Afterwards Serbin asks why the Soviet Union is not conducting more manned spaceflights. Kamanin tells him, because no more spacecraft have been built. And why no spacecraft, Serbin asks. Kamanin replies that GUKOS, the General Staff, and Mishin were all opposed to production of 10 additional Soyuz ships for military flights.
Kamanin leaves for Tyuratam at 09:00 with 13 others aboard an Il-18 from Chkalov Airfield. The group included the 'space family' - Nikolayev, his wife Tereshkova, and their daughter Aleuka - with extensive photographic and film coverage. After the 10 hour flight, Kamanin goes to the 'Alley of Heroes' at Area 17 of the cosmodrome. Here each crew plants a tree before departing for space. The 11 first trees planted have all grown well, and are now 6 m tall with large crowns. Sevastyanov plants the 22nd tree. After a meeting of the State Commission, everyone watches an Italian movie, 'The Owl Appears at Day' - a story of murder in Sicily, terror against women, and the corruption of the Mafia (apparently a remake of the classic 'M').
Soyuz 9 is planned to launch at 24:00. A new feature is that the crews' sleeping hours have been modified to put them in synch with the shifts at ground control over the long mission. The cosmonauts spent all day at Area 17, preparing the flight plan and logs. It is 28 degrees in the shade, and Kamanin plays tennis with the crews in the late afternoon. In the evening the American film 'One Million Years BC' is shown. Kamanin found the struggle between the savages interesting.
The Soyuz 9 crew trains with the bungee arrangements they'll have to exercise with twice a day while in space. They will have to work constantly in order to fight off the effects of sustained zero-gravity. Dysentery has broken out in the Tyuratam garrison. The cosmonauts are given prophylactic measures so that they won't get the bug. A Zenit spy satellite is launched from Area 2. There is some damage to the pad that will require repair, but nothing substantial. The OK is given for Soyuz 9 to launch from the pad. That evening the movie is West German - 'What does a woman do, when her husband disappears?'. At 23:00 the Soyuz 9 crew views the night sky, spotting constellations and guide stars.
The diet for the long-duration flight is reviewed. The cosmonauts will have four meals a day, totalling 2800 kcal, with 105 g of protein, 102 g fat, 342 g carbohydrates, and 847 g water. Meanwhile problems have been found with Soyuz 9's electrical system - the launch will have to be delayed. Some points in the electrical harnesses, which should have a 38 V capacity, are measuring greater than 60 V. This will have to be fixed, then the spacecraft put through its vacuum chamber test, then fuelling, and finally integration with the booster. Mishin is still not at the cosmodrome - he is managing the launch from Moscow. The result: neither the spacecraft or the booster are ready for an April launch, perhaps not even by the end of May. Of 20 members of the State Commission, only Kamanin and two others are actually at the launch site. This never would have happened in Korolev's time...
Kamanin, the cosmonauts, and other VVS officers spend the day at the lake 7 km from the Tyuratam liquid oxygen plant. An asphalt road leads to the recreation area. They play tennis, chess, and billiards. The artificial lake was made by diverting water from the Syr Darya river.
They have completed their physical tests and trained with the survival kit. Nikolayev and Sevastyanov were caught smoking just the day before the launch. Kamanin has a serious discussion with them, for this was completely prohibited. Kamanin would replace them with the backup crew, but it is too late for that.
The backup crews were to train in the Soyuz 9 spacecraft from 10:00, followed by the prime crew at 12:00, but Mishin didn't allow the backups to start until 11:00. Inspectors have found 15 discrepancies in the spacecraft, 3 to 4 of them serious (including incorrect mounting of the crew head rests, unusable photographic equipment).
Soyuz 9 State Commission meets at Area 31 at 11:00. That evening the spacecraft will be integrated with the booster, with roll-out to the pad scheduled for the following morning at 05:00. At 17:00 the cosmonauts give a formal interview to the Russian 'Parade' magazine. After that they hold a general press conference.
At 09:00 the State Commission members and 36 military officers board an aircraft to return to Moscow. Kamanin, the Soyuz 9 back-up crews, Kuznetsov, Shatalov, and 14 other officers board an Il-18 for the flight to mission control at Yevpatoriya. Conversation aboard the flight is about the weather, football - nothing about space. After four hours the plane arrives at Saki. The first communications session with Soyuz 9 is with Issuriysk at 15:40. In a three-minute conversation the crew confirms that all is normal. At 19:00 the first of the daily landing commission meetings takes place. This commission's role is to assess the flight status and to establish contingency plans for the next day in case an emergency return to earth is required.
In the evening Kamanin calls Tereshkova, and promises to tell Nikolayev that she and Aleuka were fine, worried, to kiss him, and the looked forward to meeting him on his return. On 8 June Aleuka will be six years old, and Tereshkova would like to fly to Yevpatoriya to give her a surprise communications session with her father. At 21:25 Kamanin relays the news from his family to Nikolayev during a pass over Yevpatoriya. Kamanin observes that the tracking station is not suited to serve as mission control over a long spaceflight. There is no transport, and no recreational facilities. The only diversions are gymnastics, chess, and billiards. Furthermore there seem to be a lot of unnecessary staff at the command point.
All is normal aboard Soyuz 9. At 10:00 there is an operational management meeting. There are worries the crew did not engage and disengage the orientation engines at the time scheduled for an engine burn. Kamanin defends the crew -- this was not a mistake, it took the crew 50 minutes to go through the same exercises that took 30 minutes on the ground, and therefore they were delayed in being able to conduct the manoeuvre. There is a television communications session in the evening. The crew looks all right, but Sevastyanov's face is visibly swollen.
There are a total of 500 staff at Yevpatoriya for the mission, including 53 representatives from the VVS, 6 military cosmonauts, and 3 civilian cosmonauts. Mishin returns to Moscow, leaving Tregub in his place. In the afternoon there is a problem with the control of the spacecraft's solar cells. On the 47th orbit Sevastyanov reports that one solar panel is energised, but only generating 26 amps. This could only mean that the automatic control of the solar panels was not working. On the second day the crew had to engage and disengage the solar batteries 12 times manually. After the 15th manual session it became clear that the mission could last only eight days before the batteries would run down. In the orbit of Soyuz 9 in June, the night lasts 40 minutes. On the previous flight, in October, it lasted only 10 minutes and this would not have been a problem. The crew is told to revolve the spacecraft at 0.5 deg/sec around the long axis. By this method the spacecraft remains fully oriented towards the sun, and the batteries don't have to work so long on the night passes. The cosmonauts do not report any unpleasant sensations from the rotation. At the 23:25 communications sessions the cosmonauts report that their appetites are good and they are sleeping well.
At 08:40 Kamanin discusses the solar battery problem in a communications section with the cosmonauts. Telemetry shows the system is generating 25.6 to 26.0 V. There will be an emergency situation if the voltage drops to 23 to 24 V - in that case the crew must land within 1.5 orbits of the earth, or two hours. They would likely have to land out of tracking range of Soviet units. The crew gets the spacecraft back into its solar orientation roll on the sixth attempt. At 18:00 clear communications are again obtained with the capsule via Vesna (Khabarovsk and Alma Alta). Nikolayev reports that when oriented to the sun, the system generates 26 V instead of the 31 V it should be generating. A long technical discussion ensues. It is finally decided that the automatic system is actually working correctly, but that Sevastyanov is confusing the ammeter and voltmeter readings (which are displayed on one instrument). Later Kamanin talks to Tereshkova. She will fly via An-24 to Yevpatoriya on 7 June with her daughter.
At an 08:30 communications session Filipchenko reports to the tracking vessel Komarov that all is OK, everything normal, they are eating well. At 22:15 alarming telemetry is received that indicates that the temperatures in the fuel tanks are getting high due to the extended time of continuous exposure to the sun. They drop slightly after two minutes in shadow.
Soyuz 9's environmental control system is working well. Tereshkova and her daughter arrive at the command point at 14:40 after landing at the airfield at 12:00. The landing commission meets in the evening to consider contingency landings. It is reported that the crew is medically in better shape on Day 6 than Day 1, according to telemetry. In fact they are doing so well, extension of the flight to 20 days duration is discussed. Between 20:00 and 20:30 Tereshkova and her daughter communicate via radio and television with Nikolayev aboard Soyuz 9.
Things are proceeding normally aboard Soyuz 9. Shatalov and Yeliseyev prepare to depart for the Crimea to train for use of the big solar and stellar telescopes planned for the DOS station. The 15-20 day course will be attended by all 12 DOS cosmonauts. The training plan for DOS is discussed, with a May 1971 flight date as the objective. Kamanin discusses smoking with Bykovsky and Gorbatko - they have to stop.
The Soyuz 9 crew has completed their 12th day but are beginning to get tired. They are making mistakes (for example putting the television camera on the wrong setting). The landing commission decides to constantly monitor the weather at potential landing sites from 14 June onwards so that a quick landing decision can be made if necessary.
The first communications session begins alarmingly - contact could not be made with the crew for the first three minutes they were in radio range. But then they came through, and said everything was all right and their condition was excellent. At 12:00 Sevastyanov accidentally engages the ASP automatic landing system. This removes the first lock on the system, which is then armed so that it will be activated by a signal from the barometer at an altitude of 11 km above the earth. It is said not to be dangerous, but Filipchenko made the same mistake on Soyuz 7. Kamanin had asked Mishin to put a lock on the ASP switch to prevent this from happening, but he did nothing. At 12:30 the State Commission arrives. At 17:30 Mishin has his first communications session with the crew. There are problems with the environmental control system - the carbon dioxide level is up to 8.5 mm, and the oxygen level down to 160 mm. The crew is told to turn off ECS cartridge number 2 and use number 3. By 23:00 it is clear that cartridge 2 was working badly - oxygen pressure is up to 170 mm, carbon dioxide down to 4. 5 mm. Nikolayev hints to Mishin that he would like to use the two day reserve of consumables aboard to extend the mission to 20 days. Kamanin is opposed to the idea - this would be a dangerous adventure. The whole point of a reserve is that it is never used except in case of an emergency.
All is normal aboard Soyuz 9, except that one of the local telemetry commutators in Ryazanskiy's system has failed. The telemetry data involved is not critical to the flight, and Mishin and Ryazanskiy allow the flight to continue. Mishin is considering extending the flight to 19 or 20 days. To do this the crew will have to stretch their rations. Kamanin finds himself out of the decision loop, 'as usual'. The landing commission wants to complete the flight as scheduled on the 287th orbit.
Today the Soyuz 9 crew set a new space endurance record. Everything is normal aboard the spacecraft, except for the failed telemetry commutator and the engaged ASP switch. What would now be needed, notes Kamanin, are new Soyuz spacecraft to extend the duration in space gradualy to 30, 40, 50, and then 60 days. But there are no new spacecraft - Kamanin's plan for construction of an additional ten Soyuz was blocked. Grechko and others in the leadership want a big greeting ceremony for the crew in Moscow, but Kamanin only wants the crew in the hands of the doctors for the first 10 to 12 days after the flight. At 15:00, Mishin and Kerimov, following their bosses' orders from Moscow, announce that they want to extend the flight to 20 days.
Final Landing Commission meeting is held. The primary landing site is 50 km west of Karaganda. Visibility there is 10 km, winds 6-10 m/s. Mishin wants to land 50 km further wesst, near a city with passenger train service. It is finally agreed to land there, at 71 deg 31' E, but that will mean that an emergency ballistic re-entry (in the event of a guidance system failure) would bring the capsule down in the Aral Sea. That in turn means additional recovery forces, consisting of three amphibious vehicles, three helicopters, five naval cutters, and 15 scuba divers have to be alerted and prepared. The Politburo approves the landing, and the plan to fly the cosmonauts to Chkalovsky Airfield, followed by ten days in the hospital. Mishin and Kerimov discussed having the traditional cosmonaut greeting at Vnukovo Airport, but they'll have to forget such extravaganzas in the years to come, when only long-duration missions are planned. Meanwhile the crew is well, preparing for landing. They secure the BO living module, stow items in the SA re-entry vehicle that are to be returned to earth. There is a communications pass at 08:00 to 08:30. Afanasyev, Karas, Chertok, Bushuyev, Tsybin, and other members of the State Commission now arrive at Yevpatoriya.
At 13:00 it was reported that the landing site was ready, 12 to 15 km visibility, 5-7 m/s winds. At 14:00 it is officially ordered that the landing commence. There are 150 technicians in the hall of mission control for the landing. Nikolayev reports the start of the retrofire burn of the TDU. Retrofire and seperation of the spacecraft modules is normal. The PVO radar at Turtsiy picks up the Soyuz at 83 km altitude and follows it down to the point of parachute deployment. Two helicopters sight the parachute and follow the capsule to landing. Within a minute after the capsule has landed General Goreglyad and Colonel Popov are already at the hatch. Following landing Leonov advises that the crew is all right. However the cosmonauts' condition after landing is awful. It is painful and difficult for them to get up. They fall down in their first tortured attempts at walking. They have to be dragged along by the arms. At 16:30 an Il-18 leaves from Saki for Moscow with the cosmonauts aboard. Both of the cosmonauts looked very ill aboard the plane. They had to be supported by Shatalov and Yeliseyev to get down the stairs in Moscow. Nikolayev departs from his prepared speech to the Sate Commission, and says 'Comrade Chairman! The orders for flight aboard the spacecraft Soyuz 9 were fulfilled and we await further orders!' After the report hey are rushed to the doctors.
It is obvious to the Soviets that they were seriously mistaken about the effects of zero-G on human beings (Mishin thought flights of three to four months would be no problem). Kamanin recites again his belief in the need for more long solo Soyuz flights, how the leadership has blocked such flights, and the general lack of support for manned space. He even had to fight to allow the Soyuz 9 crew to go straight to the hospital and their loved ones, rather than attending ceremonies.
Ten days after their 18-day flight, the Soyuz 9 crew can still only work 3 to 4 hours a day. They can only take two short walks daily and tire quickly. Their pulse, temperature, blood pressure fluctuate from day to day, often being in the range of ill people. Meanwhile the head army physician examines Tereshkova, and prescribes a one-week spa cure.
Nikolayev and Sevastyanov fly to Sochi to write out their post-flight debriefing. Mishin won't accept that there are problems with sustained zero-G flight, since that would wreck the assumptions on which he has based his DOS station plans. Kamanin believes a series of 30, 50, then 50-plus day flights are needed to investigate and prove human adaptation to space.