Status: Inactive; Active 1966-1985. Born: 1934-07-13. Spaceflights: 3 . Total time in space: 8.93 days. Birth Place: Zhizdra, Kaluga.
Graduated from Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School with an engineering degree, 1957. Candidate of technical sciences degree, 1967. Doctorate of technical sciences degree, 1973. Born as Aleksei Kuraitis. His Lithuanian-born father was arrested 1939 and sent into the gulag. In 1950 Aleksei assumed his mother's maiden name to erase any connection with his disgraced surname. Worked as a Civilian Engineer, Korolev OKB. Rector at Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School. Retired in 1991 .
Yeliseyev conducts tasks on centrifuge.
Credit: RKK Energia
The Voskhod 1 crew memorise and rehearse the speeches they will deliver to the leadership and masses on their return to Moscow. Later Kamanin plays tennis with the crew. Kamanin believes that Malinovskiy has finally become more supportive of Soviet manned spaceflight, which can be seen as a reflection of the country's military potential. Unwavering support will be needed to fulfil the recently approved space plan, which foresees manned docking operations in orbit, a manned flyby of the moon, a manned lunar landing, and missions of 20 to 30 days in earth orbit.
Kamanin is back from leave and orients himself. VVS General Rudenko has been visited by Mishin, Tsybin, and Tyulin. They want to replace Kamanin's crews for the first Soyuz mission in September-October with a crew made up of OKB-1 engineers: Dolgopolov, Yeliseyev, and Volkov as the prime crew, Anokhin, Makarov, and Grechko as back-ups. Kamanin believes this absurd proposal, made only three months before the planned flight date, shows a complete lack of understanding on the part of OKB-1 management of the training and fitness required for spaceflight. Kamanin has had eight cosmonauts (Komarov, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Bykovsky, Voronov, Kolodin, Gagarin, and Nikolayev) training for this flight since September 1965. Yet Mishin and Tyulin have been shopping this absurd proposal to Smirnov, Ustinov, and Malinovskiy, who do not know enough to reject it.
Tyulin heads a meeting that brings the Soyuz crewing dispute into the open. The opposing crews are represented as follows:
Kamanin is furious. Mishin and Tyulin think an engineer can be trained to be a spacecraft commander in three months, without passing a flight physical, without being a qualifed pilot, without screening and training on the centrifuge or zero-G aircraft, and without parachute training. They put no value in six years of VVS experience in cosmonaut training. They give no weight to the years of general training, spaceflight experience, and ten months of Soyuz-specific training his candidates have already had. He notes that the United States trains crews for a minimum of one to two years before a flight. Kamanin says this decision will not stand.
Training of the new cosmonaut cadre is reviewed. English language courses are proving to be a particular problem. There have been some potential washouts - Sharafutdinov has done poorly in astronomy, Shcheglov suffered an injury at the beach, Skvortsov damaged his landing gear on a MiG-21 flight.
At 15:00 a major review is conducted, with Komarov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Kamanin, and other VVS officer meeting with OKB-1 leaders Mishin, Tsybin, Severin, Alekseyev, Anokhin, and other engineers. Film is shown of the difficulties in the zero-G aircraft of cosmonauts attempting to exit from the 660 mm diameter hatch. In four sets of ten attempts, the cosmonaut was only to get out of the hatch half the time, and then only with acrobatic contortions - the inflated suit has a diameter of 650 mm, only 10 mm less than the hatch. Mishin finally concedes the point. But installation of the hatch in Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 is not possible - the spacecraft are essentially complete, and to add the hatch would delay their flight 6 to 8 months. Then Mishin makes the astounding assertion that Gorbatko and Khrunov are not adequately trained to be engineer-cosmonauts, and without this he will not allow them into space. He suggests OKB-1 engineers Anokhin and Yeliseyev instead. After outraged response, Severin finally sinks this suggestion by pointing out that no space suit has been prepared for Anokhin, and that it will take two to three months to make one. Kamanin is astounded that Mishin has pushed Anokhin all the way up to Smirnov and the VPK without even knowing he could not possibly fly due to this restriction. It again points out their poor management. Finally Mishin agrees that spacecraft s/n 5 and 6 and on will have 720 mm hatches. The ECS for the suits for those missions will have to be changed from a backpack configuration, with the equipment rearranged around the waist of the cosmonaut. The crews for the flight will be an experienced VVS pilot cosmonaut as commander, and (Kamanin realizes he may have to concede) a VVS engineer as flight engineer cosmonaut. They will have to complete training by 1 October 1966.
Mishin sends a letter to Kamanin, linking acceptance of his eight cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1 to continuation of sea recovery tests of the Soyuz capsule at Fedosiya. Kamanin's early hopes for Mishin have been dashed - not only is he no Korolev, but his erratic management style and constant attempts to work outside of accepted channels and methods, are ruining the space program. Later Gagarin briefs Kamanin on the impossibility of meeting Brezhnev, who has flown south for vacation without reacting to Gagarin's letter. Most likely, the letter will be referred to Ustinov, who will pass it to Smirnov, with instructions to suppress this "revolt of the military". Gagarin requests permission to resume flight and parachute training in preparation for a space mission assignment. Kamanin agrees to allow him to begin three months before the mission to space. This will be no earlier than 1967, as Gagarin will not be assigned to the first Soyuz flights.
Kamanin decides to smooth over matters with OKB-1. He calls Mishin, and then Tsybin, and agrees to begin processing of Anokhin, Yeliseyev, Volkov, and Kubasov as soon as he receives their personnel files and security clearances. Mishin promises to deliver the Soyuz mock-up of the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft soon - it slid from 20 July, then from 7 August.
At a meeting at LII MAP Zazakov, Litvinov, Mishin, Tsybin, Bushuev, Severin, Alekseyev, and Komarov spar over the hatch and spacesuit problem. Severin only agrees to modifying the ECS under immense pressure, but the modified suit will not be ready until November. Severin could not get Mishin to agree to an increased hatch diameter from Soyuz s/n 8 - Mishin will only "study the problem". An arrangement of the ECS around the waist of the cosmonaut is finally agreed. Mishin and Litvinov categorically rejected any modification of the hatch in the first production run of Soyuz.
In turn, Factory 918 insisted on a final decision on Soyuz crews. They cannot build 16 of the custom-built spacesuits for all possible candidates for the flights (8 from VVS and 8 from OKB-1). It was therefore agreed that the commanders of the first two missions would be Komarov and Bykovsky, with Nikolayev and Gagarin as their backups. It was finally decided to assume that the other crew members would be either Khrunov and Gorbatko from the VVS, or Anokhin and Yeliseyev from OKB-1.
In the period 1966 to 1968 there were five simultaneous Soviet manned space projects (Soyuz 7K-OK orbital; Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar; Soyuz VI military; L3 manned lunar landing; Almaz space station). Cosmonaut assignments were in constant flux, resulting in many claims in later years that 'I was being trained for the first moon flight'. Additional Details: here....
Volkov, Grechko and Kubasov believe they can complete cosmonaut training in two months. Of course they know space technology, but Kamanin informs them that, with intensive training, they might be ready in one or two years. Popovich is assigned as leader of the Soyuz VI military spacecraft training group, and Belyayev as head of the Almaz military orbital station training group. Kaminin tells Severin to complete spaceuits for Khrunov and Gorbatko, but to ignore Mishin's orders to prepare suits for Anokhin and Yeliseyev. Anokhin has already been rejected due to his age and health, and Yeliseyev is still being tested. Kamanin reviews draft test programs for the UR-500K/L1 and N1-L3. He lines out statements inserted by Pravetskiy on joint training of cosmonauts by the MOM, Ministry of Public Health and VVS.
First snow of the winter in Moscow. The training of Soyuz crews has to be completed within 40 days, but there is still no assurance the trainers will be ready by 15 November. Komarov will command the active spacecraft, and Bykovsky the passive. Gagarin and Nikolayev are their back-ups. The 20 December flight date can only be met if Khrunov and Gorbatko serve as flight engineers. Training of Kubasov, Volkov and Yeliseyev in 40 days is impossible. Yet there is still no agreement on the crew composition.
Kamanin visits OKB-1. Mishin certifies that unmanned Soyuz s/n 1 and 2 will fly by 26 November, and the manned spacecraft s/n 3 and 4 by the end of December. The departure of cosmonauts for the range must take place not later than 12-15 December. There remains only 30 days for training of the crews, the member of which have still have not been agreed. Mishin ignores common sense and still insists on the preparation of only his own engineers (Yeliseyev, Kubasov, Volkov, Makarov). The argument over the Soyuz crews continues without resolution up to the Central Committee level, then back down through the VPK and State Commission, over the next week.
Kamanin is at Tyuratam for the first Soyuz launch. He and Rudenko are accommodated in the new hotel at Area 2. It has all conveniences - a local telephone, radio and television with Moscow programs, even a promise to install an HF telephone that will allow secure communications with Moscow. Also there for the launch are Kerimov, Kirillov, Kuznetsov, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, amd Yeliseyev. Rudenko reports that he has been chewed out by Marshal Zakharov. Zakharov told him "What are you and Kamanin doing, blocking OKB-1 candidates from flight? If Mishin wants to send his people to the Moon, let him do it and do not interefere!"
Rudenko and Kamanin meet with Mishin at Area 31 (18-20 kilometers east of Area 2). Launch preparations are reviewed, and Mishin satisfies them that the two Soyuz will be launched on 26-27 November. The State Commission will meet officially tomorrow at 16:00. For today, they tour the N1 horizontal assembly building at Area 13. Korolev planned the N1 as early as 1960-1961. It will have a takeoff mass of 2700-3000 tonnes and will be able to orbit 90-110 tonnes. The first stage of rocket has 30 engines, and the booster's overall height is114 m. The construction of the assembly plant, considered a branch of the Kuibyshev factory, began in 1963 but is still not finished. Two factory shops are in use, and the adjacent main assembly hall is truly impressive - more than 100 m in length, 60 m high, and 200 wide. Work on assembly of the ground test version of the rocket is underway. Assembly will be completed in 1967, and it will be used to test the systems for transport to the pad, erection of the booster, servicing, and launch preparations. The booster is to be ready for manned lunar launches in 1968. The construction site of the N1 launch pads occupies more than one square kilometre. Two pads are located 500 meter from each other. Between and around them is a mutli-storied underground city with hundreds of rooms and special equipment installations.
Only late in the night Rudenko and Mishin finally agree that the crews for the first manned Soyuz flights will be: Basic crews: Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Yeliseyev; Back-up crews: Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, Kubasov. Meanwhile poor weather in Moscow is delaying zero-G training for the flight. In the last week only one weightless flight on the Tu-104 was possible - and a minimum of 24 flights need to be flown before the launch. It was therefore decided to ferry one Tu-104 to Tyuratam and train the cosmonauts here - it made its first flight today.
Feoktistov briefs the State Commission on the flight plan for the upcoming mission at 10:00. Each spacecraft will be in space for four days, and will demonstrate orbital manoeuvre, rendezvous and automatic spacecraft docking. If the passive vehicle can be placed in orbit within 20 kilometres of the previously launched active spacecraft, then docking can be accomplished on the first or second orbit of passive vehicle. If they are more than 20 kilometres apart, then 24 hours will be needed to manoeuvre the spacecraft to a rendezvous. Kamanin and Rudenko take a zero-G flight aboard the Tu-104 (Pravetskiy was bumped at the airfield "due to space limitations"). The Tu-104 needs good visibility of the horizon in order to fly the zero-G parabola. The aircraft is accelerated to maximum speed and then pulls up into a sharp climb (going from 7,000 to 10,000 m). At the end of the climb 20-25 seconds of weightlessness is available for training the cosmonauts. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov and Yeliseyev are aboard today. Khrunov practiced moving from the BO living module of the passive vehicle to that of the active spacecraft. Yeliseyev practiced exiting and entering the BO hatches with his bulky spacesuit and 50- kilogram ECS system strapped to his leg.
Mishin receives an encrypted telegram from Okhapkin and Tsybin. They propose that one of the cosmonauts on the first mission will back away from the docked spacecraft on a 10-m long safety line and film the other cosmonaut moving from one spacecraft to the other. Kamanin believes only Khrunov (with more than 50 Tu-104 weightless flights), has enough training to accomplish the task. After a sauna with Rudenko and an attempt to watch a film (aborted due to projector failure), Kamanin takes a walk in a drizzly, evocative night. He visits the cottages used by Korolev and the cosmonauts for the first missions. A light burns in Korolev's cottage - Mishin is working late. Kamanin recalls his many confrontations with Korolev, but also remembers how well he managed people compared to Mishin. Even if he had already decided personally what to do, he took the time to listen to other opinions and everyone felt their views had been considered.
The weather continues to deteriorate, and Kamanin considers moving the Tu-104 and cosmonauts to Krasnovodsk in order to get the 24 necessary zero-G flights before launch. At 11:00 the State Commission meets at Area 31. Present are Kerimov, Mishin, Rudenko, Kamanin, Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Yeliseyev, Anokhin and others. Mishin describes the status of preparations of Soyuz s/n 1, 2, 3, 4 for launch. He notes that the L1 and L3 lunar spacecraft are derived from the 7K-OK, and that these flights will prove the spacecraft technology as well as the rendezvous and docking techniques necessary for subsequent manned lunar missions. Feoktistov and the OKB-1 engineers say a launch cannot occur before 15 January, but Mishin insists on 25 December. That will leave only 20 days for cosmonaut training for the mission, including the spacewalk to 10 m away from the docked spacecraft. Faced with the necessity for the crews to train together as a team prior to flight, Mishin at long last officially agrees to the crew composition for the flights: Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev as prime crews, with Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov as back-ups. However a new obstacle appears. KGB Colonel Dushin reports that Yeliseyev goes by his mother's surname. His father, Stanislav Adamovich Kureytis , was a Lithuanian sentenced to five years in 1935 for anti-Soviet agitation. He currently works in Moscow as Chief of the laboratory of the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Shoe Industry. Furthermore Yeliseyev had a daughter in 1960, but subsequently annulled the marriage in 1966.
Later Feoktistov works with the crews on spacecraft s/n 1 to determine the feasibility of the 10-m EVA. The cosmonauts suggest a telescoping pole rather than a line be used to enable the cosmonaut to be in position to film the joined spacecraft. Bushuyev is tasked with developing the new hardware.
Faced with the possibility Yeliseyev will be bumped from the crew, Mishin requests accelerated training of Kubasov as a substitute. Kamanin asks the KGB for a definitive ruling on Yeliseyev's fitness. It will only be possible to meet a 25-29 December manned flight date by curtailing certain tests and supplementing the existing preparation and test staff with about 100 military staff from the Tyuratam range and 50 additional industrial technicians. Rudenko and Mishin have backed away from the agreement on the "final" crew compositions. Now they propose to assign as second cosmonauts the best two of Khrunov, Yeliseyev, and Kubasov. Kamanin adamantly opposes this latest deviation to plan.
Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev have completed zero-G training in the Tu-104 at Tyuratam, and need to get back to Moscow to complete simulator training. But continued bad weather at Moscow means that they will have to be flown by Il-14 to Gorkiy, and then get to Moscow by train. Kamanin notes reports on NASA's reorganised flight program for the Apollo program. Under the new schedule, the first attempt at a manned lunar landing will be possible in the first half of 1968. The first manned flight of the Apollo CSM has slipped from December 1966 to the first quarter of 1967. This makes it possible that the Soviets can make 3 to 5 manned spaceflights before the first Apollo flight - the flights of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 in December 1966, Voskhod 3 in January 1967, and Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 in February 1967.
Rudenko, Mishin, Kerimov and Kamanin agree on crews for upcoming flights. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev are assigned to Soyuz s/n 3 and 4; Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov to Soyuz s/n 5 and 6, with Beregovoi, Shatalov, Volkov, and Makarov trained as back-ups. For Soyuz s/n 7, which will conduct space welding experiments with the Vulkan furnace, the commander will be either Komarov, Bykovsky, Gagarin, Nikolayev, Beregovoi, or Shatalov. The other two crewmembers will be either Lankin and Fartushniy from the Paton Institute, VVS cosmonaut Kolodin, or an engineer from OKB-1.
Crews for the L1 must be named in order to complete the five-month training program in time. Eight L1's are being completed to the manned configuration, but Mishin believes it is necessary to plan for only six manned missions. It is decided to train nine crews. Spacecraft commanders will be Komarov, Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Gagarin, Leonov, Khrunov, Volynov, Beregovoi, and Shatalov. Flight engineers will be Yeliseyev, Kubasov, Makarov, Volkov, and Grechko. Komarov, Bykovsky or Nikolayev will command the first circumlunar flight. Mishin promises to name the OKB-1 candidates for that flight by 8 December. Mishin and Kerimov agree that training of cosmonaut- researchers from the Academy of Sciences may begin, although both Mishin and Rudenko expressed doubts about cosmonaut candidate Yershov.
The failures of Cosmos 133 have been narrowed to entangled thrust vector vanes in the main engines and a single defective approach and orientation thruster. It is agreed to set the unmanned launch of Soyuz s/n 1 for 18 December as a final functional check of all systems. If this is successful, the date will then be set for the manned launch of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4. Flight control will be conducted from Yevpatoria.
The first manned Soyuz flights were an attempt at an 'all up' manned rendezvous, docking, and crew transfer spectacular (eventually accomplished by Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5). Komarov was the pilot for the Soyuz 1 active spacecraft, which would be launched first. Soyuz 2, with the crew of Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev would launch the following day, with Khrunov and Yeliseyev space-walking to Soyuz 1 and returning to earth with Komarov. Komarov's spacecraft developed serious problems after launch, including the failure of one of the spacecraft's solar panels to deploy. The Soyuz 2 crew were given the order to rendezvous with Soyuz 1 and to try during the planned EVA to unfold the undeployed solar panel. But the launch of Soyuz 2 was cancelled due to heavy rain at the cosmodrome. Low on power and battery reserves, Komarov made an attempt to land the following day. Parachute failure led to the crash of Soyuz 1 and the death of Komarov. After the disaster the Soyuz 2 spacecraft was checked, and the parachute system had the same technical failure. If Soyuz 2 had launched, the docking may have been successful, but then both spacecraft would have crashed on landing, killing four cosmonauts instead of one.
Volynov conducts tests in a pressurised suit to see if it is possible to go from the SA capsule to the BO living module in a two-man crew transfer scenario. He shows it is not possible - exit from the SA to the BO is very unsafe, there is a good chance of getting stuck in the hatch. This shows it would be difficult or impossible for the spacecraft commander in the SA to go to the assistance of a single cosmonaut attempting to transfer from one Soyuz to another. Feoktistov proposes another alternative - launch of 3 cosmonauts in one Soyuz, one cosmonaut in another. After docking, a single cosmonaut would transfer from one Soyuz to another, but at least a second cosmonaut would be in the BO to assist him in case of difficulties. Two cosmonauts would return in each Soyuz capsule, meeting the reserve parachute mass limitations. This solution also takes care of a problem with the 1+2 scenario, in that it implied a crew consisting of Khrunov and Yeliseyev, but neither has been trained as a spacecraft commander. A crew could consist of Volynov and one of these, but then the problem is that no spacesuit has been fabricated for Volynov, and it requires two months to make one.
Khrunov tries to don the Yastreb space suit unassisted, in another test of the feasibility of a 1+2 Soyuz mission. He simply cannot accomplish the task in the four minute maximum time required. Mishin now has Ustinov interested in his 1+2 mission, with Yeliseyev to make a solo EVA from one Soyuz to another.
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.
The Soyuz 4 and 5 crews arrive at Tyuratam aboard an An-24. They work with their spacesuits at Area 31 until 23:00. On the bus back to the sleeping quarters Kamanin tells them of Ustinov's 'recommendation' that they do an automatic docking. They are against it, argue for a manual docking. If allowing enough time for the crew of the active spacecraft to adapt to zero-G is the issue, they propose switching the launch order of the active and passive spacecraft. This alternative is ruled out - it is too late and risky to modify the flight programs. Shatalov bursts out - 'Here we are debating this for the tenth time, while he Americans are orbiting the moon'. They call for the bus to stop. They exit out into the icy clear night and look at the moon. Thoughts came of the nine comrades who had died trying to put the USSR first to the moon, all to no avail.
At 3 am an An-12 arrives from Moscow with ten newspapers, and letters for Shatalov, to be delivered by the Soyuz 5 crew to him as the first 'space mail'. At 05:15 the State Commission convened and approved launch at 10:04:30. The countdown proceeds normally; meanwhile communications sessions are held with Shatalov on Soyuz 4. The commission is taken by automobile convoy from Area 2, to Area 17, where the Soyuz 5 crew declares itself ready for flight. At T-25 minutes, with the crew already aboard the spacecraft, a piece of electrical equipment fails and needs to be replaced. Engineer-Captain Viktor Vasilyevich Alyeshin goes to the fuelled booster and replaces it. While doing this he notices that the access hatch has been secured with only three bolts, instead of the four required. Nevertheless the launch proceeds successfully. After Soyuz 5 is in orbit, it and Soyuz 4 begin their mutual series of manoeuvres for rendezvous and docking. Officially the flight conducted 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.
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.
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.
They are Leonov, Bykovsky, Voronov, Khrunov, Yeliseyev, Makarov, Rukavishnikov, and Patsayev. Mishin expects a landing by the end of 1970; Kamanin thinks this is impossible. Afanasyev and Mishin propose modernisation of the N1, but this will take three to four years, by which time the booster will be essentially obsolete. The second launch of the N1 is set for 3 July. It would be a welcome miracle if it flew, but it still would not be enough to erase the American lead in the moon race.
Kamanin advises Nikolayev his chances of being named to fly Soyuz 8 are very low. Tereshkova arrives at Kamanin's office in the evening. She is infuriated that her husband is not to be allowed to fly the mission. She says she will take the matter to Ustinov and Polanskiy. Kamanin tells her that would be a mistake.
Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Carried Vulkan welding furnace for vacuum welding experiments in depressurized orbital module. Was to have taken spectacular motion pictures of Soyuz 7 - Soyuz 8 docking but failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to new helium pressurization integrity test prior to mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Additional Details: here....
Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Was to have docked with Soyuz 8 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Additional Details: here....
Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Was to have docked with Soyuz 7 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Recovered October 18, 1969 10:19 GMT. Additional Details: here....
Orbital manoeuvres for the Soyuz 7-8 docking have proceeded normally. The automated rendezvous system is supposed to kick in when the spacecraft are 250 km apart. The plan is that Soyuz 7 and 8 will dock while Soyuz 6 observes from only 50 m away. However when Soyuz 7 and 8 are only a kilometre apart, the Igla automated docking system fails. The crews could conduct a manual rendezvous, but the this is not allowed by the technical flight controller. Additional Details: here....
Following an orbital correction during the night, Soyuz 7 and 8 are expected to be less than 1 km from each other when communications are regained at 9 am. Instead they are 40 km apart. It will require two more orbits over Soviet territory to refine the tracking of the spacecraft and recalculate the necessary rendezvous manoeuvres. By 12:40 they are 1700 m apart and the crews begin the manual rendezvous manoeuvre. Shatalov fires his engines four times, but in the absence of any indication to the pilot of range to the target, he could not get into a position for a safe docking. He withdraws to a safe distance. Additional Details: here....
Soyuz 6 lands successfully at 09:52 GM, coming to rest in a vertical position. A recovery helicopter lands 10 minutes later, finding the cosmonauts have already emerged from the capsule. After the landing of Soyuz 6 there are two further attempts to dock Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8, but they fail due to large errors in the ballistic calculations of the manoeuvres necessary to correct their orbits.
Kamanin's 61st birthday begins with a communications session with Soyuz 8. Yells come from the spacecraft. What's wrong? the ground nervously inquires. They reply they are only celebrating the successful closing of the hatch, and the glowing 'SA hermetic' indication on the panel. This ends fears they had all during the flight of not being able to get the hatch closed with the broken wheel spoke. The 145 second long retrofire begins at 11:29. It looks OK on the telemetry, but Shatalov reports on UHF that the indication aboard the spacecraft was that there was a 4 second underburn. Nevertheless the landing proceeds normally, and there is a loud 'Ura!' at the command point once word of a safe crew recovery is received - the mission is completed. Soyuz 8 landed at 09:10 GMT. At 16:40 the teams head back toward Moscow aboard an Il-18. Kamanin discusses the necessity to complete an extra 8 to 10 Soyuz spacecraft. He is supported by Afanasyev and Kerimov, but Mishin and Karas are opposed now. Kamanin thinks it is insane how Soviet space progress is blocked by these kinds of politics.
The medical reports show all the cosmonauts lost 1.5 to 3.5 kg during the flight (with Filipchenko having the greatest loss). However Kamanin plays tennis with Gorbatko, Shonin, and Volkov just two days after the flight. They show no apparent ill effects of zero-G.
The cosmonauts fly from Baikonur to Moscow, escorted by six MiG-21 fighters to Vnukovo airfield, where they receive honours all around, followed by meetings with reporters. Brezhnev was no there - he was on his way to Baikonur to observe the Tyulpan ICBM exercise.
Traditional meeting between the cosmonauts and the engineers and workers at TsKBEM. They are quizzed on the flight failures, followed by dinner and toasts. Kamanin tells Afanasyev that instead of messing about with the N1-L3, they should build 8 to 10 more Soyuz and fly, fly, fly -- it is the only way to develop reliable systems. The Ministry of Defence needs a long-range plan of sustained flights of 5 to 6 spacecraft per year. All 300 present applaud the speech, except Mishin, who is against a new series of Soyuz spacecraft.
The Kontakt system designed for the lunar orbit rendezvous and docking of the LOK lunar orbiter and LK lunar lander was to be mounted on two Soyuz spacecraft and tested in earth orbit. These flights were continuously delayed after the success of Apollo 11 and finally cancelled.
Two months after first raising the issue, Mishin has proposed crews for the flights to the DOS station, still planned to occur before the end of the year. Mishin is still pushing Feoktistov, who Kamanin believes is not only seriously ill, but immoral, being on his second wife. Kamanin now has 20 spacecraft crews, but they will have to wait six years or more for a trip to space at the current mission rate. Mishin's proposed DOS crews are as follows: 1 - Shatalov, Yeliseyev, Rukavishnikov; 2 - Shonin, Kubasov, Kolodin; 3 - Volynov, Feoktistov, Patsayev; 4 - Khrunov, Volkov, Sevastyanov.
Meeting on DOS crews. Kamanin will agree to Mishin's proposed crews with the following provisions: 1) Feoktistov is eliminated from the list; 2) Military cosmonauts must be on 3 of the 4 crews, with the overall ratio six military to six civilian cosmonauts. The proposed crews: 1 - Shonin, Yeliseyev, Rukavishnikov; 2 - Leonov, Kubasov, Kolodin; 3 - Shatalov Volkov, Patsayev; 4- Dobrovolsky, Sevastyanov, Voronov. Mishin is opposed to Dobrovolsky and Volkov.
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.
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.
It is decided to send only Volynov and Khrunov to the FAI Congress in India. Shatalov and Yeliseyev are too busy with training on the DOS-7K simulator. Luna 17 has landed on the moon with the Lunokhod lunar rover, another success. DOS#1 is behind schedule for the planned 5 February 1971 launch. It still has not been decided, which will launch first - Soyuz 10 or the DOS station. Such indecision makes it very difficult to train the crews! The simulators for Soyuz, L3, DOS, and Almaz are all now in full use for crew training. Kamanin discusses with engineers construction of a pool for EVA training (25 m wide and 12 m deep). Kutakahov is opposed to the project. Chelomei has been ordered to accelerate the first Almaz launch to 1972, if he can resist the continuous attacks by Mishin. Mishin has become very accomplished, on the N1/L3 program, in spending huge amounts of money with no result.
Kamanin has a meeting with Leonov and Shonin on the KIS incident. Shonin claims he was sober. Mishin calls. He says Khrunov and Shonin were not ready for training anyway; they had to be led by the nose the whole time. He would prefer that Yeliseyev, Kubasov, and Rukavishnikov be assigned to the mission.
A major training session is held with Shatalov, Yeliseyev, and Rukavishnikov. They make a 15 hour simulated 'flight' aboard the DOS trainer from 09:15 to 22:45. All operations expected in a thirty-day mission to the station are gone through. This includes simulation of emergencies to test the reactions of both the crew and ground controllers. Kamanin receives a letter from Anders, thanking him for the tour of Star City. Representatives from the Swedish firm are in town to negotiate the contract for the TsF-18 18-metre radius centrifuge. Both Korolev and Mishin fought against the VVS getting such a centrifuge.
The third, back-up DOS crew of Dobrovolsky, Volkov and Patsayev train in the DOS trainer. All of the crews have made good runs, with no mistakes or failures. Shatalov, after training on the DOS simulator, now supports Mishin's 30 day flight approach. He has also talked to Yeliseyev and Sevastyanov about the matter. He believes there may be a very different reaction to zero-G from individual to individual, and the Soyuz 9 crew may have been the wrong two individuals.
Shatalov's crew arrived at 09:00 aboard a Tu-104 and were ensconced in Room 14 of the Hotel Kosmonavt. Two further Tu-104's arrived 20 and 30 minutes later with the second and third crews. At 18:00 they all went to the MIK assembly hall to view the two Soyuz spacecraft and the station. There were electrical problems with the station, and they finally returned to the hotel at 24:00 without the problem having been resolved. Kamanin notes two films are to be screened tomorrow - a Bulgarian movie and the Soviet film 'Diplomat'.
A four-story school burned down the previous night in Leninsk. The cosmonauts and space centre technicians watched the USA-USSR ice hockey match, which went from 23:00 until 02:00 the next morning. Kamanin returns to Moscow aboard a Tu-104. Aboard the flight the political intrigues surrounding selection of Kamanin's deputy are discussed.
The Communist Party Congress is addressed for five hours by Brezhnev. There are 5,000 delegates, including 101 international delegations from 90 countries. Brezhnev promises that the imperialist lackeys will be wiped out one by one until communism triumphs over the whole planet. Five cosmonauts are delegates - Nikolayev, Beregovoi, Shatalov, Yeliseyev, and Tereshkova.
Kamanin, the DOS crews, and 40 VVS specialists fly to Tyuratam. VVS medical officers have to battle outbreaks of measles, rabies, and dysentery at the cosmodrome. The crews are medically isolated in the Hotel Kosmonavt. In the evening they watch the film '300 Spartans'.
DOS-7K#1 will be ready on 19 April. The first crew is completely trained. During the day the engineers of the second and third crews train aboard the station. Afterwards the technicians fix the defects they have noted. The evening film is 'Beginning'. There are many high-level guests at Area 2. After the film the brass try out the training machines that will be used aboard the station - they tire quickly.
The Proton booster is erected on the pad. The decision is made to proceed despite a prediction of 15 m/s winds -- the prediction turns out to be wrong. All of the big brass are present for the rollout. Afterwards Mishin visits the cosmonauts. He says all is ready for the first space station mission, and promises them the N1-L3 will be available soon for lunar missions.
Soyuz s/n 31 is completed. The crew are given a final look at it in the afternoon. They spend four hours in the powered-down spacecraft. Kamanin notes that Nikolayev and Sevastyanov do not look out after their physical condition even on the ground -- no wonder they were so sick after their flight! Afterwards all three crews go to the sauna together.
The day dawns warm at Baikonur (7 deg C at 7 am). The cosmonauts' morning is spent in a review of the space station's guidance and control systems. In the afternoon there is a briefing by officers of IAKM-VVS on use of the vacuum facility 'Polinom' during the flight. The cosmonauts are against use of the device.
Intended first space station mission; soft docked with Salyut 1. Launch nearly scrubbed due to poor weather. Soyuz 10 approached to 180 m from Salyut 1 automatically. It was hand docked after faillure of the automatic system, but hard docking could not be achieved because of the angle of approach. Post-flight analysis indicated that the cosmonauts had no instrument to proivde the angle and range rate data necessary for a successful manual docking. Soyuz 10 was connected to the station for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the lack of hard dock, it is said that the crew were unable to enter the station due to a faulty hatch on their own spacecraft. When Shatalov tried to undock from the Salyut, the jammed hatch impeded the docking mechanism, preventing undocking. After several attempts he was unable to undock and land.
Soyuz 10 approached to 180 m from Salyut 1 automatically. It was hand docked after faillure of the automatic system, but hard docking could not be achieved because of the angle of approach. Post-flight analysis indicated that the cosmonauts had no instrument to proivde the angle and range rate data necessary for a successful manual docking. Soyuz 10 was connected to the station for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the lack of hard dock, it was said that the crew were unable to enter the station due to a faulty hatch on their own spacecraft. When Shatalov tried to undock from the Salyut, the jammed hatch impeded the docking mechanism, preventing undocking. After several attempts he was unable to undock and land. Additional Details: here....
Only a night landing on Soviet territory was possible, which meant the spacecraft could not be oriented for retrofire. The landing commission started planning for an emergency landing in South America, Africa, or Australia. But Shatalov reported the gyroscopes and orientation sensors were functioning well. He proposed that he orient on the dayside, spin up the gyro platform, and let the gyros orient the spacecraft on the nightside for retrofire. The plan is followed and the spacecraft was targeted for a landing area 80-100 km southwest of Karaganda.
PVO radars pick up the capsule as it soars over the Caspian Sea, and a Mi-4 helicopter sights the parachute even before it thumps down, upright, on the steppes. During the landing, the Soyuz air supply became toxic, and Rukavishnikov was overcome and became unconscious. Nevertheless the crew safely landed at 23:40 GMT, 120 km NW of Karaganda. At the cosmodrome, Chertok is assigned to head a special commission to find the cause of the docking failure and correct it before the next mission can be launched. The VVS aircraft leaves at 07:00 for Moscow. Mishin was to accompany the VPK on their aircraft back, but he is drunk and has to go separately at 15:00. The Soyuz 10 crew reaches Chkalovsky Air Base at 14:00 on 26 April and proceed to Star City for further debriefings. Film and photos indicated that the docking system on the Salyut was not damaged, setting the stage for the Soyuz 11 mission.
The Soyuz 10 crew receive awards at the Kremlin. Rukavishnikov is made a Hero of the Soviet Union, which means he will receive 5,000 roubles, a Volga automobile, and other privileges. Kamanin calls Mishin later in the day. Mishin wants to send up a two-man crew in Soyuz 11, in space suits. One of them will make a spacewalk to examine the docking collar on the Salyut station prior to docking and remove the cover from the scientific sensor bay. Kamanin is infuriated. Seven to eight months ago the VVS had asked Mishin about the possibility of carrying at least one spacesuit aboard the Soyuz or Salyut and the possibility of making an EVA. He categorically rejected the idea. At that time he said it was practically impossible. There are insufficient oxygen reserves aboard the station for a full depressurisation. It would reduce the oxygen to a 75-day supply, and 45 to 50 days worth of reserves are required by mission rules. A cosmonaut meeting is called to discuss the matter. This reveals that DOS#2 is planned to have spacesuits and all of the equipment necessary for an EVA. But an EVA on Soyuz 11 is not possible. There EVA equipment and have not been manufactured. Two to three months would be required to fabricate the suits and equipment and to train for the EVA. Salyut 1 can only last 60 to 70 days. A Soyuz 12 mission in the first part of June could not be ready for an EVA. All in all it would be better to incorporate the EVA hardware into the first mission to a new DOS#2 station.
At 10:00 the Soyuz 10 crew has the traditional post-flight meeting with the Central Committee, followed by speeches at 15:00 before the workers and engineers at TsKBEM. The truth about the flight is not revealed. Mishin is still pushing for an EVA on Soyuz 11; Kamanin tells him the idea is absurd. Kamanin fumes that Mishin still hasn't reliable solved the problem of automated space docking, on which he began work in 1962.
The Soyuz 10 cosmonauts hold a press conference. The truth behind the mission is concealed. Afterwards a simulator program review is held. Progress is being made, but all of the equipment needed for the simulators is not being funded. MAP is to deliver the Almaz simulator on 1 December 1971, but they can't guarantee it will include equipment that has to be delivered by a range of other ministries. Later a meeting is held on plans by the Moscow Soviet for a space museum. MOM, MAP, and VVS have to contribute to the final exposition plan.
Big dramas are being played out at the cosmodrome over the N1 failure, but Mishin seems protected by someone very high up and is untouchable in the blame game. This is the last full day aloft of the Soyuz 11 crew. At 19:30 the State Commission at the command point authorises the Soyuz 11 crew to undock from the Salyut space station. A communications session begins on the 15th orbit of the day at 19:45. Dobrovolsky and Volkov confirmed that the station was completely mothballed, all material to be returned was stowed in the Soyuz capsule, the crew was wearing their anti-G suits, and had completed shut-down of the station. Yeliseyev advised the crew that ground telemetry showed that they had not turned on the noxious gas filters in the station. Volkov argues that this must be a ground control error, but after checking admits the crew made a mistake.
After the crew has left the station, taken their seats in the capsule, and closed the hatch between the Soyuz BO orbital module and SA re-entry capsule, the strained voice of Volkov comes from space: 'Hatch not hermetically sealed? What's happening? What's going on?'. All this response to the fact that the caution and warning panel 'Hatch open' light has not gone out. Yeliseyev calmly advises the crew, 'Don't panic. Open the hatch, and move the wheel to the left to open. Close the hatch, and then move the wheel to the right six turns with full force'. The crew does this several times, but the light still won't go out. On a final attempt, with 6.5 turns of the wheel, the light goes out. On the second half of he 15th orbit, the crew lowers the pressure in the BO to 160 mm, and the hatch proves to be air-tight.
On the 16th orbit the crew separates their Soyuz from the Salyut station. At 21:35 they report normal separation and that they 'can see how the station moves away from the spacecraft'. They have enough propellant to stop the separation velocity, and take photographs of the station from 10 to 15 m away. They then back away to 30-40 m, and Patsayev takes another set of photographs documenting the condition of the station.