Soyuz V tanker spacecraft. Several would be launched to top off the Soyuz B circumlunar stage.
AKA: 9K. Status: Study 1962. Gross mass: 5,900 kg (13,000 lb).
Following refueling by the required number of Soyuz V (11K) tanker spacecraft, a manned Soyuz spacecraft would rendezvous and dock with the 9K. It would then be boosted on its mission (circumlunar, satellite intercept, or high earth orbit).
The 9K consisted of the rocket block itself and an 'NO' rendezvous and docking module. The NO module provided a docking and fuel transfer system, guidance equipment, and storable propellant maneuvering rocket systems.
The 9K would be followed in orbit 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 7K spacecraft with the cosmonauts aboard would be launched and dock with the 9K. The NO propulsion module would be jettisoned from the 9K and it would then be used to put the 7K on its mission. This could be either a Soyuz-A on a circumlunar flight or a Soyuz-P on satellite intercepts at up to 6,000 km altitude.
The 9K was authorized for development by a subcontractor, but soon both the Soyuz-A and Soyuz-P were cancelled. On 3 August 1964 it was decided that Chelomei would develop his LK-1 for the manned lunar flyby in place of the Soyuz-A. The Soyuz-P was cancelled when manned satellite intercept was found to be impractical.
At the end of 1965, Korolev wrested the circumlunar project from Chelomei. In this final incarnation, the ancestor of the Soyuz B 9K rocket block, the Block D rocket stage used on the N1 lunar booster, would be used to put a stripped-down Soyuz on a circumlunar trajectory.
The Soyuz or Sever designs would utilize body lift to reduce G forces and allo the crew to make re-entries at hyperbolic speeds - when returning from the moon, or Mars. An associated design was a manned orbital tug version of the Vostok capsule to assemble spacecraft in low earth orbit.
Chelomei is informally asked by Khruschev to begin design of a booster and spacecraft for a manned circumlunar mission (UR-500 Proton and LK-1). There is no authorization for a lunar landing program, although Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei all begin booster designs.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Development of the 'Soyuz' Complex for Piloted flight to the Moon--approving the Soyuz program for circumlunar flight' was issued. The Soyuz was to be capable of the following:
The projection is made that the US will surpass the USSR in space in 1963-1964. Kennedy's 1961 speech announcing the Apollo project to land on the moon was passed to Vershinin for comment, but no reply was ever received. Rudenko, Vershinin, and especially Malinovskiy see no role for piloted space flight, let alone flights to the moon. America, with its superior electronics capability, is still proceeding with development of manned spacecraft that require the active piloting of the astronaut. Why then, Kamanin fumes, is the USSR trying to develop completely automated manned spacecraft? Military space is being run in the USSR by men who know nothing of it, he notes. Rudenko is ill, and not even at the conference.
Kamanin discusses with Rudenko the need for construction and flight of ten additional Vostok spacecraft. Korolev still plans to have the first Soyuz spacecraft completed and flying by May 1963, but Kamanin finds this completely unrealistic. The satellite is still only on paper; he doesn't believe it will fly until 1964. If the Vostoks are not built, Kamanin believes the Americans will surpass the Russians in manned spaceflight in 1963-1964. From 13:00 to 14:00 Nikolayev spends an hour in his spacesuit in the ejection seat. Kamanin finds many mistakes in the design of the ejection seat. There is no room for error in disconnect of the ECS, in release of the seat, and so on. At 17:00 the State Commission holds a rally to fete Gagarin and Titov in the square in front of headquarters. Kamanin finds the event very warm but poorly organised. At 19:00 Smirnov chairs the meeting of the State Commission in the conference hall of the MIK. Korolev declares the spacecraft and launch vehicle ready; Kamanin declares the cosmonauts ready. Nikolayev is formally named the commanding officer of Vostok 3, and Popovich of Vostok 4. Rudenko gets Popovich's name wrong - his second serious mistake. He had earlier called the meeting for the wrong time.
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.
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.
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.
The primary objective of the design is to achieve docking to two spacecraft in earth orbit. Secondary objectives are the operation of scientific and military equipment from the spacecraft. Three different spacecraft, all launched by an R-7 derived booster, are required to achieve this:
The system will conduct fuellings and dockings in a 250 km altitude parking orbit, and be boosted up to 400,000 km altitude on lunar flyby missions. The system will be ready in three years. Military variants proposed are the Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R. Each spacecraft will have 400 kg of automatic rendezvous and docking equipment. Manual docking will be possible once the spacecraft are within 300 m of each other.
Korolev still insists on an unguided landing and categorically rejects the use of wings. A parachute will deploy and slow the capsule to 10 m/s. Then a retrorocket will fire just before impact with the earth to provide a zero-velocity soft landing. Korolev still insists that spacesuits will not be carried for the crew. First test flight of the 7K, without docking, could not occur until the second half of 1964.
They decide that the VVS must insist on spacesuits or at least light pressure garments for the crew, and windows that will allow the crew to view the parachute cupola and ground during landings. It is agreed that the insistence on ejection seats and wings can be dropped.
Final design approval for Soyuz A spacecraft for earth orbit and circumlunar flight using orbital rendezvous, docking, and refuelling technques. Except for change of orbital module from cylindrical to spherical design, and changes to rendezvous radar tower arrangement, this design was essentially identical to the Soyuz 7K-OK that flew three years later. Additional Details: here....
Aside from the baseline Soyuz-B circumlunar mission, the draft project also proposed the Soyuz-P space interceptor and the Soyuz-R command-reconnaissance spacecraft. The military projects Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R were 'subcontracted' to OKB-1 Filial Number 3, based in Samara. The Soyuz B circumlunar version did not receive the same level of financial support.
The expert commission report on Soyuz is reviewed by the Chief Designers from 10:00 to 14:00. The primary objective of the Soyuz project is to develop the technology for docking in orbit. This will allow the spacecraft to make flights of many months duration and allow manned flyby of the moon. Using docking of 70 tonne components launched by the N1 booster will allow manned flight to the Moon, Venus, and Mars. Keldysh, Chelomei and Glushko all support the main objective of Soyuz, to obtain and perfect docking technology. But Chelomei and Glushko warn of the unknowns of the project. Korolev agrees with the assessment that not all the components of the system - the 7K, 9K, and 11K spacecraft - will fly by the end of 1964. But he does argue that the first 7K will fly in 1964, and the first manned 7K flight will come in 1965.
Four Vostoks are planned for 1964, one of these with dogs and other biological specimens, which will fly for ten days at altitudes of up to 600 km. This is to be followed by an eight day manned flight, then two Vostoks on a ten-day group flight. The altitude for these latter flights will be decided after the results of the dog flight. Then, by the end of the year, the first Soyuz flights will be made. Two to three of the new spacecraft are being prepared. Therefore the crews must start training for circumlunar flights and cislunar navigation. Kamanin decides that he must select 3-4 navigators, 1-2 mathematicians, and 2-3 astronomers to make up a training group of cosmonaut-navigators for these flights.
Decree 'On approval of work on the Soyuz 7K-9K-11K circumlunar complex' was issued. This elaborated on the Soyuz design made under the prior decree of 16 April 1962. Initial design work was authorised on the Soyuz 7K earth orbit basic version - capable of automatic rendezvous and docking with other spacecraft; and the 9K and 11K tanker / refuelable rocket blocks to put the 7K in high altitude or circumlunar orbits.
Kamanin meets with Rudenko, to discuss selection of three crews for Vostok and three crews for Soyuz flights in 1964. Ioffe reports that the Soyuz docking simulator will be completed by 25 December. Tereshkova, Nikolayev, and Bykovsky are in Indonesia on a public relations tour, to be followed by Burma.
Concepts for trainers for lunar landings and fly-bys are discussed. The five flown cosmonauts sit for entrance examinations to the Zhukovskiy Institute. Kamanin is irritated that of the five, only Bykovsky seems really bright and alert. Tereshkova is still studying for the examination.
The cosmonauts meet with engineers at TsNII-30 in Noginsk to review plans for docking trainers for the new Soyuz spacecraft. The trainers were supposed to be completed by now, but they are being held up for television and optical equipment to be delivered from Leningrad and Sverdlovsk. The mock-up of the 7K manned spacecraft trainer is immobile; it can only be turned around its centre of mass. The 1/30 scale of the 9K and 11K propulsion spacecraft with which the 7K will dock are free to rotate in all 3 axes. The cosmonauts in the 7K mock-up will see the 9K or 11K via the television screen aboard the spacecraft or in the Soyuz spacecraft in what the engineers promise will be a life-like appearance. They will practice approach and docking from a simulated distance of 300 m at a typical approach rate of 2 m/s. At the scale of the installation, this will equate to 10 cm/s. After the trainer review General Ioffe briefed the cosmonauts on plans for an electronic digital computer, with a mass of 40 kg, which was being developed for use in spacecraft navigation. Kamanin sees that very close collaboration will be needed between TsNII-30, TsPK, and GKNII VVS to complete trainer development on an accelerated schedule.
While Kamanin is away arranging screening of Voskhod candidates, Korolev meets with the VVS General Staff. He tells them he wants to have four Voskhods completed by the anniversary of the October Resolution for the first spacewalk. He dreams of a manned lunar flyby by either docking Soyuz A-B-V modules in orbit, or in a single N1 launch (no metal has even yet been cut for the N1 at Kuibyshev). In order to further develop EVA techniques he wants to convert a further five Vostoks into the Voskhod configuration. Meanwhile Kamanin agrees to a compression of the medical screening schedule from 20-25 days to 15-17 days. The physicians will reduce it no further than this.
A corespondent from the APN agency calls Kamanin and wants to know if the official press should react to the claims of a Belgian professor that all of the Soviet cosmonauts have returned from space with serious psychological problems. Kamanin says there is nothing to it, but that the best course is to ignore the report and publish no official response. Kamanin looks forward to the missions planned in the new year: first the Vykhod, the first spacewalk, followed by a 10 to 12 day mission by a single cosmonaut, then later crews of first two, and then five to six in joined Soyuz spacecraft. In 1966 the first space docking is planned, followed by the first lunar flyby. Kamanin feels apprehensive, though. All manned flights have been completed to date without a serious problem, whereas Soviet unmanned spacecraft have been extremely unreliable and failed more often than not. He attributes this to the involvement of the VVS in the manned flights, whereas the RVSN rocket forces were responsible for the others. He worries that, with the ascendancy of Brezhnev and the death of Biryuzkov, that standards will drop in the future. Indeed, the RVSN has asked if Komarov could transfer officially from the VVS to the RVSN, a move that Kamanin vigorously opposes.
At least progress on improvements at TsPK are underway. One apartment building with 75 apartments for cosmonauts is already finished, and an 11 story building should be finished in 1965, as well as schools, nurseries, stores, and so on. Currently there are 17 active cosmonauts and 13 candidate cosmonauts in training. An additional 40 will have to be recruited in 1965 to support the ambitious space plans recently adopted.
Kamanin will organise the cosmonauts into two groups: the first group will be commanded by Nikolayev, and the latest group by Beregovoi. They will be assigned to support and train seven missions: military space (reconnaissance, interceptor, and combat spacecraft); space navigation; life support and rescue systems; communications and telemetry systems; scientific orbital stations; lunar fly-by; and lunar landing expeditions. All of this may be for nought, since Marshall Malinovskiy has said that heavy launch vehicles and lunar flights have no military utility and should be funded and handled by the Academy of Science.
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 180 'On the Order of Work on the Soyuz Complex--approval of the schedule of work for Soyuz spacecraft' was issued. It set the following schedule for the new Soyuz 7K-OK version: two spacecraft to be completed in fourth quarter 1965, two in first quarter 1966, and three in second quarter 1966. Air-drop and sea trails of the 7K-OK spacecraft are to be completed in the third and fourth quarters 1965, and first automated docking of two unmanned Soyuz spacecraft in space in the first quarter of 1966. Korolev insists the automated docking system will be completely reliable, but Kamanin wishes that the potential of the cosmonauts to accomplish a manual rendezvous and docking had been considered in the design. With this decree the mission of the first Soyuz missions has been changed from a docking with unmanned Soyuz B and V tanker spacecraft, to docking of two Soyuz A-type spacecraft. It is also evident that although nothing is official, Korolev is confident he has killed off Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft, and that a Soyuz variant will be launched in its place.