Soyuz R military research laboratory (conceptual drawing based on description).
Credit: © Mark Wade
Status: Cancelled 1970. Gross mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb).
Mishin's 11F730 Soyuz VI consisted of on orbital block 11F731 OB-VI and a transport spacecraft Soyuz S (11F732 7K-S). The Soyuz OB-VI would be launched for a 30 day mission into a 51.6 degree orbit at 250 x 270 km, and would use solar panels in the place of Kozlov's nuclear power sources. The orbital block of the OB-VI would have 700 to 1,000 kg of specialized and scientific instruments.
Kozlov at Filial 3 of OKB-1 had been entrusted with development of the Soyuz VI military version of Soyuz. By August 1967 he was predicting first flight of the VI in 1968. At this point, the Chief Designer of OBK-1, Vasiliy Pavlovich Mishin took an interest in the VI. On 13 October 1967 Mishin began his efforts to take over Kozlov's VI program. His staff in Kaliningrad felt that Kozlov had insulted them by redesigning the VI to rectify the 'defects' of their Soyuz 7K-OK design. They were also fundamentally opposed to the use of radio-isotope power sources, and raised interminable objections about the 800 mm hatch cut into the heat shield (as they did later in the case of Chelomei's VA). Especially after the heat shield failure of a 7K-OK in January 1967 and its subsequent sinking in the Aral Sea, the Podpliki 'Mafia' relentlessly criticized Kozlov about the heat shield design. Mishin wrote a letter to Afanasyev and Smirnov, urging them to cancel the 7K-VI program.
In the place of Kozlov's 7K-VI Mishin proposed an OIS consisting of a separately-launched orbital block and a transport Soyuz. This was the exact same concept as Kozlov's cancelled Soyuz-R system, but using Kaliningrad spacecraft in the place of Samara spacecraft. In a November 1967 meeting with Kozlov, Mishin demanded the abandonment of Kozlov's 7K-VI project. Kozlov rejected this and subsequently attempted to recruit Kamanin to his cause. It was all for naught; through various complex machinations Mishin seized control of the project on 8 December 1967. Mishin's revised project was reaffirmed in May 1968.
Mishin's 11F730 Soyuz VI consisted of on orbital block 11F731 OB-VI and a transport spacecraft 11F732 7K-S. The Soyuz would have a crew of two, a probe-drogue docking system and an internal transfer tunnel. It was proposed that two versions of the 7K-S could conduct autonomous flights for military projects. These versions were the 11F733 7K-S-I for short-term research and the 11F734 7K-S-II for longer flights. For resupply of the orbital stations a payload transport craft 7K-SG 11F735 was proposed (This was an ancestor of the Progress spacecraft used to resupply Salyut and Mir space stations).
Mishin's Soyuz VI would be launched for a 30 day mission into a 51.6 degree orbit at 250 x 270 km, and would use solar panels in the place of the nuclear power sources. The orbital block of the OB-VI would have 700 to 1,000 kg of specialized and scientific instruments. Chief Designer for the 11F730 was K D Bushuyev, with veteran spaceplane designer P V Tsybin assisting.
Using Kozlov's groundwork, the draft project OIS 11F730, was issued by TsKBEM and Filial 3 jointly on 21 June 1968. Design materials for the 11F732 7K-S spacecraft were issued on 14 October 1968. In 1969 complete drawings were released for the OIS project including those for the spacecraft 7K-S, 7K-S-I, and 7K-S-II.
It was singularly noticeable that relatively little effort was expended on the OIS by Mishin. Despite his desire to take the project from Kozlov, his bureau was too preoccupied with the L1 and N1-L3 lunar programs and improvement of the 7K-OK after the Soyuz 1 disaster. Nevertheless by 1968 the cosmonaut group in training for the OIS included Aleksei Gubarev, Yuri Glazkov, Vyacheslav Zudov, Eduard Stepanov, Gennadiy Sarafanov, Aleksandr Kramarenko, Leonid Kizim, Aleksandr Petrushenko, and Mikhail Lisun.
At the time of the cancellation of Kovlov's 7K-VI project Mishin promised that the first OIS would be launched in 1969. This was based solely on convincing the military that he could beat Kozlov's 1970 date. Yet by May 1969 Kamanin's diary indicates there was no chance of launching an Almaz or Soyuz VI until 1972. At best no more than seven solo military flights of the Soyuz 7K-S could be expected before 1972.
In December 1969 it was decided that Chelomei would hand over unfinished spaceframes of Almaz stations to Mishin for completion as Salyut DOS-7K space stations. The OIS was cancelled in February 1970 in recognition that it would be available no earlier than the more-capable Salyut or Almaz stations. The Soyuz-VI cosmonaut group was incorporated into the Almaz training group.
The Soyuz 7K-S, however continued in two parallel designs - the base variant, which was for special-purpose military solo missions; and a space station transport variant 7K-ST.
Two planning documents are discussed. The first deals with the training of civilian cosmonauts. Two phases of training are planned, the first phase at MOM institutes and Minzorar, the second at TsPK and the VVS. In addition 50 new air force pilots will be identified for space duty in three groups in 1968, 1969, and 1970. They will be ready for the planned large number of 7K-VI and Almaz flights beginning in 1972. Brezhnev would like to see more Voskhod flights. Meanwhile Titov has qualified as a test pilot third class, and will qualify as second class by the end of the year. All in all, things are looking good in the years ahead.
Mishin is away on 'cure' for his drinking problem. A 'Podlipki Soviet' is held at TsKBEM. The issue is cancellation of Kozlov's 7K-VI military Soyuz. Bushuyev, Chertok, Okhapkin, Feoktistov are in favour of cancelling it. Opposed are Karas, Shcheulov, Kostonin, Gaidukov, and the various military representatives at the meeting. It was now six years since OKB-1 was required to put a military manned spacecraft into space - and, factually speaking, nothing has been done. Military experiments proposed for each manned flight by OKB-1 to date had been rejected on various grounds - no weight, no space aboard the spacecraft. Good progress has been made with Kozlov's VI and Chelomei's Almaz - now they've managed to kill the VI, and Mishin and Kerimov are constantly denigrating Almaz (saying it is too heavy, and unsuited for the purpose). The whole thing is a replay of the LK-1 situation. In 1963, a resolution was issued to send a Soviet man around the moon. Instead, after two years of development, Korolev managed to get Chelomei's LK-1 lunar spacecraft cancelled, and started all over with his own L1. Additional Details: here....
The training for the Soyuz 4 and 5 flights was completed last night. Today the crews undergo medical tests and start preparation of their flight logs/flight plans. On the return flight to Moscow Shatalov, Beregovoi, Severin, Kamanin, and Mnatsakanian get into a heated argument. The cosmonauts attack Mnatsakanian's Igla automated docking system. It limits docking manoeuvres to periods when the spacecraft are flying over the Soviet Union due to the requirement for ground stations to receive live television. The Americans worked only on the Apollo spacecraft for the last two to three years, while the Soviets have divided their efforts on no less than five spacecraft types: the L1, L3, Soyuz, Soyuz VI, and Almaz. This is all Mishin's fault...
A 50 minute presentation is given on space plans. Russia plans to fly no less than six different types of manned spacecraft in 1969-1970 - the Soyuz, L1, L3, Almaz, Soyuz VI, and Spiral. This will result in a decisive answer to the American Apollo programme within two to three years. No N1 launch with the complete L3 lunar landing spacecraft is planned until 1970. Approval is sought for the VVS to buy 10 Soyuz spacecraft for continued manned military flights in low earth orbit. Otherwise between the second half of 1970 and during all of 1971 there will be no spacecraft available for manned flights Additional Details: here....
Kamanin makes a speech to the VVS Soviet, setting forth again plans for military research in space. His presentation shows how far the USSR is behind the Americans, and the need to regain the lead. He again proposes 10 to 12 military Soyuz flights beginning in the first quarter 1970. This will fill the gap until Soyuz VI and Almaz will begin flying in 1972. Kutakhov is categorically against these Soyuz flights but, under pressure from others, still agrees to form a commission to study the matter. Reference is made to a Ministry of Defence decree of 7 January 1969.
Brezhnev orders a cooperative crash program to build a civilian space station to beat Skylab into orbit. The civilian station (later named Salyut) will use the Almaz spaceframe fitted out with Soyuz functional equipment. Mishin's OIS military station was cancelled and Chelomei's Almaz would continue, but as second priority to the civilian station. The Soyuz 7K-S station ferry, the 7K-ST, would be revised to be a more conservative modification of the Soyuz 7K-OK. The OIS cosmonaut group was incorporated into the Almaz group.
Kamanin recommends the death benefit to be awarded to Belyayev's family. There is to be a one-time payment of 2,000 roubles to his wife; 1,100 roubles to his daughter; 180 roubles/month pension to the wife; 75 roubles/month to the daughter; access to cosmonaut centre sanatoriums; and a seven-room apartment in Moscow.
Kamanin also reviews the government decree on the DOS-7K space station program. The Ministry of Defence is against it - they want to continue with the Almaz and Soyuz VI projects already underway. DOS will bring both of these to a halt. This is a repeat of the situation in 1967. Kozlov was making good progress on the original Soyuz VI, when it was killed by Mishin. Now three years later Mishin's Soyuz VI is put on the back burner. The Soyuz 7K-OK is still the only manned program brought to completion. Kamanin blames all this on Ustinov and Smirnov's stupid political manoeuvring. The DOS decree has not one word on the training of cosmonauts for these space station missions...
The Ministry of Defence and VVS approve the draft DOS resolution. Kamanin has fought against it. He would prefer to develop a single reliable Soyuz spacecraft model by building and flying ten more (there are only four left of the original production lot in assembly). Instead the space leadership keep dreaming up new projects. In Kamanin's view, the DOS and its new Soyuz ferry design join Almaz, Soyuz VI, and the L3 as 'paper spacecraft'. Mishin still thinks he will 'teach the N1 to fly' and complete the L3, but Kamanin thinks the chances of this are nil. There is no coherent plan for Soviet spaceflight.
A meeting is held on the DOS project. The Central Committee and Soviet Ministers have directed that two DOS space stations be completed by the end of 1970. TsNIIMASH thinks this is impossible - the task can be accomplished in no less than 18 to 24 months. Mishin insists it can be done in ten months, as directed. Kamanin believes he won't even have it ready by the second half of 1971. It took five to seven years to just bring the Almaz, Soyuz VI, and L1 to flight status. This DOS will stop work on all other projects. Mishin still wants to fly two Soyuz spacecraft to test Bogomolov's Kontakt docking system for the L3.
Kamanin is asked to assist in preparation of the next five-year plan for spaceflight (1971-1975). He muses that nothing that was to be accomplished in the last five-year plan was achieved, so what is he supposed to put in the new one? 1966-1971 was supposed to have seen Soviet manned flybys and landings on the moon; a cosmonaut contingent increased to 140 and cadres in training for military missions on the Soyuz VI and Almaz. None of this was achieved, and the cosmonaut corps actually only numbers 97.
Kamanin is to fly back to Yevpatoriya in the afternoon. Chelomei is often ill lately -- Mishin is using the opportunity to lobby Ustinov and Smirnov to kill Almaz, and increase the DOS-7K order from four to ten. Mishin killed Kozlov's Soyuz VI in a similar manner. Prior to his departure, the cosmonauts brief Kamanin on the results of the visits of Popovich and Sevastyanov to France, and Khrunov to the USA. Kamanin is having trouble with the leadership in allowing Volynov to be assigned to another crew.
As Kamanin is on the way to the airport, a serious situation develops aboard the station. At 13:00 the cosmonauts report a strong burning smell, and smoke in the station. The crew evacuates the station and retreat to the Soyuz lifeboat. Forty minutes later, just as Kamanin is boarding the Tu-104, Shatalov reports that the mission will continue, but the situation aboard the station is not comfortable. The crew has turned off the primary oxygen regenerator and exchanged the filters of the oxygen supply and reserve regenerator. At 14:05 Kamanin finally boards the aircraft, which takes off and sets course for the Crimea. At 14:30 they are ordered to turn around and land at Chkalovksy Airfield outside Moscow. The whole thing turns out to be a banal mistake by one of the officers at an air traffic control station! They lose two hours in the process. No information is available when the Tu-104 finally lands at Saki, since Nikolayev and the other cosmonauts who attended the emergency meetings had taken off to return to Moscow three hours earlier. Kamanin finally arrives at Yevpatoriya at 23:00, in time for a comms session with Dobrovolsky and Patsayev (Volkov is sleeping). The Soyuz 11 crew reports that the training suits are very tiring. Dobrovolsky reports all is now normal otherwise. He requests permission to continue the flight. Bykovsky reports that the situation on the station is now stable. There is no more smoke or burning smell, but the crew has been overloaded in the last six hours. They have done a lot of work with no food or rest. The situation was so bad at one point that preparations had been made for undocking the Soyuz for an emergency return to earth.
The Soyuz 7K-S had two parallel designs - the base variant, which was for special-purpose military solo missions; and a space station transport variant 7K-ST. The Soyuz 7K-S program was to consist of four unmanned, followed by two manned test flights, then two operational launches.
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On establishment of the State Commission for testing the Soyuz-T' was issued. A State Commission was formed to oversee the flight tests of the solo mission 7K-S. The draft design for 7K-ST space station transport version was completed in August 1974.
The 7K-S was cancelled at the same time as the N1 and the reorganisation of the space industry. Experiments planned for the solo flights were transferred to the Salyut program. The first test vehicle was already at Baikonur being prepared for launch. It was decided to launch the first three unmanned as technology tests - Cosmos 670 (7K-S No.1), Cosmos 772 (7K-S No.2), and Cosmos 869 (7K-S No.3). The Soyuz 7K-ST transport project continued, except now being redesigned for a crew of three. The 7K-ST would eventually fly as the Soyuz T and Soyuz TM ferry to the Salyut 7 and Mir space stations.