Home - Search - Browse - Alphabetic Index: 0- 1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 6- 7- 8- 9
A- B- C- D- E- F- G- H- I- J- K- L- M- N- O- P- Q- R- S- T- U- V- W- X- Y- Z
Soyuz A
Part of Soyuz
Soyuz A
Soyuz A
Original Soyuz A manned spacecraft design as approved in 1963. The Soyuz 7K-LOK that would fly three years later was very similar, except the forward living module was changed from cylindrical to spherical in shape.
Russian manned spacecraft. Study 1962. The 7K Soyuz spacecraft was initially designed for rendezvous and docking operations in near earth orbit, leading to piloted circumlunar flight.

AKA: 7K. Status: Study 1962. Thrust: 4.09 kN (919 lbf). Gross mass: 5,880 kg (12,960 lb). Unfuelled mass: 5,050 kg (11,130 lb). Specific impulse: 282 s. Height: 7.40 m (24.20 ft).

A circumlunar mission would begin with launch of the Soyuz B 9K rocket block into a 225 km orbit. This would be followed by one to three Soyuz V 11K tankers (depending on the mission), which would automatically rendezvous and dock with the 9K. They would transfer up to 22 metric tons of propellant. Finally the Soyuz A 7K spacecraft with the cosmonauts aboard would be launched, dock with the 9K, and be propelled on a lunar flyby trajectory.

Soyuz continued the themes of the earlier Sever project. In the definitive December 1962 Soyuz draft project, the Vostok-Zh of the 1962 technical project was gone and Soyuz appeared as a complete two-place spacecraft. The Soyuz 7K spacecraft, Soyuz B 9K rocket acceleration block and Soyuz V 11K tanker would be launched into orbit by Soyuz 11A511 boosters.

The Soyuz A consisted, from fore to aft, of the living module (BO), the landing capsule (SA), the equipment module (PO), the propulsion module (NO) and the rendezvous electronics module (AO). This last toroidal module would be jettisoned before the Soyuz B rocket burn to minimize mass. It was retained in the initial Soyuz 7K-OK design and was misidentified in most earlier books as a 'toroidal fuel tank').

The 7K would be equipped with cinema cameras and scientific sensors to record the lunar surface during the flyby, which would be at from 1,000 to 20,000 km from the lunar surface. Total flight time was 7 to 8 days. The SA would separate from the 7K at 120 to 150 km altitude and re-enter the earth's atmosphere at 11 km/sec. After decelerating to subsonic speed, the SA's parachute would open at 10-18 km altitude. Total mass of the L1 in low earth orbit was 23,000 kg and the flyby mass of the Soyuz alone was 5,100 kg.

Korolev understood very well that financing for a project of this scale would only be forthcoming from the Ministry of Defense. Therefore his draft project proposed two additional modifications of the 7K: the Soyuz-P space interceptor and the Soyuz-R command-reconnaissance spacecraft.

The Soyuz draft project was submitted to the expert commission on 20 March 1963. However only the reconnaissance and interceptor applications of the Soyuz could be understood and supported by the military. Due to the press of other work it was decided that OKB-1 would concentrate only on development of the 7K spacecraft, while development of the 9K and 11K spacecraft would be passed to other design bureaus. The military projects Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R were 'subcontracted' to OKB-1 Filial number 3, based in Samara.

The Soyuz A L1 was described in a 23 September 1963 letter of Korolev setting out the space exploration plan for 1965 to 1975. At this time the configuration was still being tinkered with and the Soyuz modules were: the Descent Capsule (SA), Living Module (BO); Equipment Module (AO); Propulsion Module (AO); Rendezvous electronics module (NO) and Docking Unit (SU). The system still consisted of the 7K manned spacecraft, the 9K rocket spacecraft, and the 11K tanker. A total of six launches of the 11A511 Soyuz booster would be required. The 9K rocket stage would be put in orbit first. It would be followed by four 11K tankers which would top off the tanks of the rocket block. Then, when all was ready, the 7K manned craft would be put into orbit and dock with the 9K stage. The stage would fire and put the manned spacecraft on a translunar trajectory.

To Korolev's frustration, while Filial 3 received budget to develop the military Soyuz versions, his own Soyuz-A did not receive the support of the leadership for inclusion in the space program of the USSR. The 7K-9K-11K plan would have required five successful automatic dockings to succeed. This seemed impossible at the time. Instead the road to the moon advocated by Vladimir Nikolayevich Chelomei was preferred. Chelomei was Korolev's arch-rival, and had the advantage of having Nikita Khrushchev's son in his employ. He attempted to break the stranglehold that 'Korolev and Co.', also known as the 'Podpilki' Mafia, had on the space program. Chelomei's LK-1 single-manned spacecraft, to be placed on a translunar trajectory in a single launch of his UR-500K rocket, was the preferred approach. Chelomei issued the advanced project LK-1 on 3 August 1964, the same day the historic decree was issued that set forth the Soviet plan to beat the Americans to the moon. Under this decree Chelomei was to develop the LK-1 for the manned lunar flyby while Korolev was to develop the N1-L3 for the manned lunar landing. The 7K-9K-11K system was cancelled. But the Soyuz A itself would be developed by Korolev as the 7K-OK manned earth orbit spacecraft. Korolev kept his options open and had versions of it designed which would in the end be flown for manned orbital and circumlunar missions.

Crew Size: 3. Orbital Storage: 30 days. Habitable Volume: 9.00 m3. Spacecraft delta v: 420 m/s (1,370 ft/sec).

Family: Manned Circumlunar, Manned spacecraft. Country: Russia. Spacecraft: Soyuz A SA, Soyuz A BO, Soyuz A PAO. Launch Vehicles: R-7, Soyuz 11A511. Propellants: Nitric acid/Hydrazine. Agency: Korolev bureau. Bibliography: 121, 157, 21, 23, 26, 283, 367, 376, 474, 72, 75, 6906.
Photo Gallery

Cutaway view of 1963 L1 circumlunar spacecraft.

Soyuz ABV ComplexSoyuz ABV Complex
Soyuz complex of 1963 as it would appear during tanker operations. From left to right: Soyuz A manned spacecraft; Soyuz B translunar injection stage; Soyuz V tanker spacecraft.

L1 Complex 1961L1 Complex 1961
The earliest Sever project tackled such problems as manoeuvring in orbit, rendezvous and docking, use of manipulators to move station modules, and testing of lifting re-entry vehicles. Sever (left) was 50% larger than Soyuz, which replaced it by late 1961 in OKB-1 studies. The Vostok-Zh manoeuvrable Vostok spacecraft (right) would be used as a manned tug to assemble the stages in low earth orbit.

L1 Complex 1961L1 Complex 1961
2 view version.

Soyuz AB CircumlunarSoyuz AB Circumlunar
Soyuz complex of 1963 as it would appear before boost into a circumlunar trajectory.

L1 Complex 1962L1 Complex 1962
The first 1961 draft of the Soyuz project was used a modernisation of the Vostok 3KA series (Vostok-Zh). Three rocket stages would be assembled in low earth orbit using a manned Vostok tug. They would then launch a Soyuz capsule on a lunar flyby and return to earth.

Soyuz ABV ComplexSoyuz ABV Complex

Soyuz ASoyuz A
Credit: © Mark Wade

Soyuz ASoyuz A
Credit: © Mark Wade

1961 During the Year - .
1961 June 1 - . Launch Vehicle: N1.
1962 April 12 - . Launch Vehicle: N1.
1962 April 16 - .
1962 June 11 - .
1962 August 8 - .
1962 August 9 - .
1962 December - .
1962 December 6 - .
1963 January 18 - .
1963 January 21 - .
1963 January 23 - .
1963 February 1 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511.
1963 February 16 - .
1963 March 7 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511.
1963 March 20 - .
1963 March 21 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1 1964.
1963 March 21 - .
1963 September 23 - .
1963 November 30 - .
1963 December 3 - .
1963 December 7 - .
1963 December 16 - .
1964 January 3 - .
1964 January 16 - .
1964 January 23 - .
1964 February 18 - .
1964 February 26 - .
1964 May 12 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1 1962.
1964 June 23 - .
1964 July 2 - .
1964 July 27 - .
1964 August 1 - .
1964 December 30 - .
1965 February 2 - .
1965 April 2 - .
1965 April 20 - .
1965 June 26 - .
1965 August 18 - .

Back to top of page
Home - Search - Browse - Alphabetic Index: 0- 1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 6- 7- 8- 9
A- B- C- D- E- F- G- H- I- J- K- L- M- N- O- P- Q- R- S- T- U- V- W- X- Y- Z
© 1997-2019 Mark Wade - Contact
© / Conditions for Use