Nikita S. Khrushchev was premier of the USSR from 1958 to 1964 and first secretary of the Communist party from 1953 to 1964. He was noted for an astonishing speech in 1956 denouncing the crimes and blunders of Joseph Stalin and for gestures of reconciliation with the West in 1959-1960, ending with the breakdown of a Paris summit with President Eisenhower and the leaders of France and Great Britain in the wake of Khrushchev's announcement that the Soviets had shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance aircraft over the Urals on 1 May 1960. Then in 1962 Khrushchev attempted to place Soviet medium range-missiles in Cuba. This led to an intense crisis in October, following which Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles if the U.S. promised to make no more attempts to overthrow Cuba's Communist government. Although he could be charming at times, Khrushchev was also given to bluster (extending even to shoe-pounding at the U.N). and was a tough negotiator, although he believed, unlike his predecessors, in the possibility of Communist victory over the West without war.
Birth Place: Kalinovka.
The Soviets created a new design bureau to copy the Sidewinder. Fabrication of the crystal for the infrared sensor was the main obstacle. The initial production batches had a 99% rejection rate. A state commission was set up to get to the bottom of the problem, but couldnít find a solution. The main problem seemed to be low-quality ore provided by the mines.
The State Commission met again at 17:00, to decide whether to extend Popovich to a fourth day as well. Smirnov and Korolev have already discussed this with Khrushchev. It all right with them, and there are no technical reasons not to. But Popovich is much more active than Nikolayev, since he wasn't expecting a four day flight, and he has not conserved his resources as Nikolayev has. At 12:00 the spacecraft temperature was down to 11 deg C, with low humidity. Kamanin objects violently, and finally it is decided to ask the cosmonaut directly if he feels able to go for the extra day. Popovich, when contacted, immediately declares himself ready to go for an extra day and a 65 orbit mission. It is decided to study expected landing conditions for an extended mission and the physical condition of the cosmonaut before making a final decision.
A new problem arises -- the 'Go' light for the Block-E third stage won't illuminate on the control room console. It can't be determined if it is a failure of the stage or an instrumentation failure. It will take two to five hours to bring up the service tower and check out the stage. But if the rocket is left fuelled that long, regulations say it must be removed from the pad and sent back to the factory for refurbishment. In that case there can be no launch until August. Krylov and the State Commission would rather defer the launch to August. The last possible launch time is 17:00 in order to have correct lighting conditions for retrofire and at emergency landing zones. But Korolev, Tyulin, Kirillov, and Pilyugin have faith in their rocket, decide that the problem must be instrumentation, and recycle the count for a 17:00 launch.
The launch goes ahead perfectly at 17:00 - even all six UHF communications channels function perfectly. On orbit 4 Bykovskiy talks to Khrushchev from orbit and good television images are received from the capsule. Bykovskiy reports he can see the stars but not the solar corona. His orbit is good for eleven days.
At 12:15 Tereshkova is on the pad. Her pulse skyrockets to 140 aboard the elevator to the top of the rocket. 10 to 15 minutes later she is in the capsule and testing radio communications with ground control. There are no problems with the spacecraft or launch vehicle during the countdown - everything goes perfectly, just as it did on 12 April 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Tereshkova handles the launch and ascent to orbit much better than Popovich or Nikolayev according to her biomedical readings and callouts. Kamanin feels reassured that it was no mistake to select her for the flight.
The launch of the first woman into space creates a newspaper sensation throughout the world. Direct orbit-to-orbit communications between Tereshkova and Bykovskiy are excellent. She talks to Khrushchev and the Soviet leadership soon thereafter. This was truly a great victory for Communism!
Khrushchev also visited a secret space fair, with Korolev, Chelomei, Yangel, and Glushko presenting their rockets and spacecraft. Chelomei presented his UR-700 heavy lift design as an alternative to Korolevís N1. This presentation was a surprise to Ustinov and Dementiev. Khrushchev ordered Chelomei to prepare a draft proposal for the design. Chelomei hoped that 12 to 18 months later, when the UR-700 draft project would be completed, the fallacy of Korolevís N1 design would be apparent to all. Korolevís N1 plans were also reviewed and approved at the meeting.
Over the two days, Khruschev witnessed five launches of rockets by Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei, all of them successful. Gagarin and Belyayev explained the Vykhod spacecraft to him, and Leonov donned a spacesuit and demonstrated how he would exit into open space form the inflatable airlock and return thereafter. All went very well.
This was the last time Khrushchev saw the chief designers of the Soviet rocket industry. Despite his support for them not one of them visited him in his retirement.
After the death of Korolev in January, a letter was sent to the Central Committee requesting that Mishin be appointed director of OKB-1. Ustinov tried to line up support for Mishin, but by the time of the first first Saturn IB orbital flight on 26 February 1966, no decision had been made. America was progressing on the path to the moon, but Russia was stalled. An alternate that had been considered was Sergei Okhapkin, another Deputy Chief Designer at TsKBEM. But Okhapkin knew only spacecraft, he had never developed complete launch-booster-spacecraft systems. By the time Mishin was appointed, it was clear that the race was lost. The American's planned their first Saturn V launch in September 1967 and their first manned flight in 1968. Mishin could not expect trials of the LK lunar lander until 1969 at the earliest. There were insufficient funds allocated, and the schedule had no allowance for test flight failures. Ustinov, Morozhin, and Keldysh pointed fingers as to who had presented such unrealistic schedules to the Politburo. Keldysh now supported unmanned robot lunar landers in development by Babakin. Even these would not land until 1970, allowing three years of flight trials to achieve reliability. Khrushchev, it seemed, was to blame for such enormous unaffordable projects. This in turn put Ustinov in danger, as Khrushchev's point man for space.
The idea of plugging the vent with a finger is absurd. Had they done so, they would have had only 15 to 17 minutes to work the problem before the onset of G-forces. Imagine the real situation - retrofire was normal - the BO module jettisoned - suddenly the depress light on the caution warning panel is on! Dobrovolsky checks the hatch, but it's not the hatch -- and there are only 25 to 30 seconds until they all become unconscious. Volkov and Patsayev undo their straps and turn on the radio. The whistling of the air can only be heard at the commander's seat - where the vent valve is located. Kamanin discontinues diary entries for two years after this date.