Status: Deceased; Active 1960-1970. Born: 1925-06-26. Died: 1970-01-10. Spaceflights: 1 . Total time in space: 1.08 days. Birth Place: Chelizshevo, Vologda.
Graduated from Air Force Academy, Sarapul, 1944 and from the Military Fighter Pilot School, Yeis, 1945. Belyayev was in the Soviet Air Force in various units from 1945 to 1959. He was then made a squadron commander in the Naval Aviation for only a few months before being selected as a cosmonaut. Cosmonaut training completed 3 April 1961. Call sign: Almaz (Diamond). From 1966 to 1967 he was head of the Almaz cosmonaut training group. Died of complications from a stomach ulcer - pneumonia after stomach operation for an ulcer due to pancreatitis.
The group was selected to provide pilot astronauts for the Vostok manned spaceflight program.. Qualifications: Military jet aircraft pilots under 30 years of age; under 170 cm tall; under 70 kg in weight.. While the Americans sought mature test pilots for their first spaceflights, the Soviets recruited young pilots with the intent of training them for a career as spacemen. There were 3,000 applicants following interviews with medical doctor teams that toured Soviet air bases beginning in August 1959. 102 were called for physical and psychological tests. 8 of these were selected, but then Chief Designer Korolev said he wanted a pool three times larger than the American Mercury cadre. Of the 20 selected, 12 would fly in space. Of the 8 that did not, 1 died in a ground fire in training; 3 were dismissed for disciplinary reasons; and 4 left following injuries in training.
The General Staff of the VVS considers future cosmonaut assignments. The acceptance of Beregovoi into the active cosmonaut corps is hotly contested. He has passed all the tests, but is 43 years old, and the official maximum age for a cosmonaut is 35. Finally it is decided that on 25 January six cosmonauts will begin training for Vostok flights (Volynov, Khrunov, Belyayev, Leonov, Komarov, and Beregovoi). On 1 February four crews will begin training for Soyuz flights: Crew 1: Nikolayev, Shonin, Demin, Kugno; Crew 2: Bykovsky, Zaikin, Artyukhin, Gulyayev; Crew 3: Popovich, Gorbatko, Ponomaryova, Kolodin; Crew 4: Titov, Shatalov, Solovyova, Zholobov.
Komarov has declared that nine cosmonauts are spaceflight-ready: Bykovsky, Popovich, Titov, Volynov, Leonov, Khrunov, Belyayev, Komarov, and Demin. One of these will command Voskhod, the other two seats will be occupied by a physician and an engineer or news correspondent. Kamanin is given only two to three months to prepare the passengers for spaceflight - something he reiterates is a dangerous adventure.
Kamanin select Volynov, Katys, and Yegorov as the prime crew for the Voskhod flight. Komarov, Feoktistov, and Sorokin will be the backup crew. Lazarev will serve as reserve for both crew physician position. The VVS leadership approves the selection. For the first space walk (the flight designated Vykhod at the time), Belyayev, Leonov, Khrunov, and Gorbatko are in training. All want to be first, but Kamanin finds Leonov and Khrunov to have the best analytical minds, to be able to get themselves out of a jam if something goes wrong. He selects Belyayev and Gorbatko to be trained as spacecraft commanders for the missions.
Kamanin arrives at Baikonur. All is ready for the Voskhod launch, except the spacecraft. Kamanin conducts a final readiness review with Volynov, Komarov, Katys, Feoktistov, Yegorov, Sorokin, and Lazarev. He tells them that every one of them must do his utmost to be physically and psychologically ready for the flight, since the final crew selection will not be made until 2 or 3 days before the launch. Gagarin, Belyayev, and Khrunov are at the cosmodrome, where they are showing the Vykhod spacecraft to Khrushchev. Later Kamanin discusses the crew selection with the military leadership. The top brass have no interest in space and seem to be ready to give in to Korolev. This invalidates everything Kamanin was worked for in terms of establishing a systematic method of cosmonaut selection, training, and crew selection.
This was his last visit, just weeks before his overthrow. The Soviet leadership were shown the UR-100 and observed launches of the competing UR-200 and R-36. Khrushchev agreed with the decision to put the R-36 into production instead of Chelomei's UR-200. He felt he couldn't turn down Yangel a third time after approving Korolev's N1 instead of Yangel's R-56 and Chelomei's UR-100 instead of Yangel's R-26. Khrushchev decided to cancel Korolev's badly behind schedule R-9A, even though Smirnov and Ustinov insisted they wanted it in their arsenal (in May 1965, after Khrushchev's overthrow, this decision was reversed and the R-9A went into production).
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 Korolev's 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 Korolev's N1 design would be apparent to all. Korolev's 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.
Kamanin spends the day with key OKB-1 staff and leading cosmonauts in reviewing problems with the Volga airlock and Berkut spacesuit at Factory 918. There are more than 50-60 presentations made by all concerned organisations. Belyayev and Leonov say that the trainer aboard the Tu-104 is sufficient for them to prepare for the task. However everything must be done to allow the feat to be accomplished with minimum energy on the part of the cosmonaut and with total reliability of the equipment.
The 15 candidate-astronauts take their first phase examinations. 13 are rated outstanding, with Shatalov, Gubarev, and Demin doing the best. Two are rated only 'good' - Dobrovolskiy and Pitskherlauri. Dobrovolskiy was the worst, getting some answers completely wrong. For example, he said that the maximum thickness of Vostok's heat shield was 440 mm, when the correct answer was 140 mm; and identified Krug as a homing beacon on the search aircraft, rather than aboard the spacecraft. However overall everything went well, and all were considered to have passed. On this day Belyayev and Leonov complete their centrifuge training. Belyayev is 40 years old, and had little trouble with the centrifuge. Kamanin resolves to name Khrunov as a spacecraft commander in Belyayev's place, with a final crew being Khrunov-Leonov in case Belyayev cannot fly for some reason. Khrunov is available since Zaikin since the decision has been made to train Zaikin as Leonov's backup instead of Gorbatko.
Kamanin is being pressured by his superiors to fly Beregovoi as commander of the Vykhod instead of Belyayev. Kamanin considers Beregovoi not to be necessarily a bad candidate, but the crews already selected have been training for six months and it would be dangerous to introduce someone relatively untrained into the crews. Furthermore, it would take 45 to 60 days to fabricate the custom spacesuit needed for Beregovoi. Therefore Kamanin rejects the suggestion. He notes that the Americans have launched a Gemini capsule unmanned - this after two earlier unsuccessful Titan 2 launches. In 1965 the Americans are planning 3 or 4 manned flights with the Gemini spacecraft.
Faced with continuing pressure to fly Beregovoi on the Vykhod flight. Kamanin notes that the spacecraft requires short cosmonauts of minimum weight (Belyayev is 170 cm tall and weighs 72 kg; Leonov 172 cm and 78.2 kg; Gorbatko 168.5 cm and 69 kg; Khrunov 171 cm and 70.8 kg; and Zaikin 167 cm and 69.3 kg). By comparison Beregovoi is 180 cm tall and weights 84.5 kg.
The 3KD spacecraft will be known as Voskhod-2 rather than Vykhod. It was felt that 'Vykhod' ('exit') would reveal the purpose of the flight, which should not be revealed unless the experiment succeeds. The cosmonauts are training very hard in the zero-G trainer and will use the airlock at 37 km equivalent vacuum in the TBK-60 on 8 February. The motto is "Train hard to make it easy to do".
Belyayev and Leonov practice deploying and exiting the airlock at 37 km equivalent altitude in the TBK-60 chamber. The Vega system for keeping track of the spacewalking cosmonaut's life signs fails again. Kamanin is infuriated. Later he discusses future spaceflight plans with Korolev, who was supposed to deliver five Voskhods in 1965. Korolev says that three spacecraft will only be completed by October, and should only be available for flights at the end of the year. He wants to use one as a biosat in an unmanned flight of organisms for 30 days; a second for the flight of a cosmonaut pilot and physician for 15 days; and the third for flight of a cosmonaut and engineer to perform an artificial gravity experiment. Two further spacecraft will be finished to the Vykhod configuration in October 1965 for flights in March 1966. Nothing is official yet, and Kamanin urges that the necessary resolutions be passed as soon as possible so that training can begin. He thought before that there was little chance that Yegorov's back-ups, Lazarev and Sorokin would fly, but now he puts them back in training so they will be ready for this flight schedule. But Korolev remains opposed to flying either candidate.
Kamanin reviews emergency procedures with the Voskhod-2 prime and backup crews, and finds their training fully complete - they are ready for flight. Re-entry with the airlock ring is a special concern. If the airlock has jettisoned normally, the ring will have a height of 27-40 mm above the surface of the spherical capsule; if it only partially jettisons, the rings could be as much as 70-80 mm high. In such a case the asymmetry of the ring on the upper heat shield might impart a rotation to the capsule. The drogue parachute can be safely deployed at up to 1.5 to 2.0 revolutions per second; beyond that there is real danger to the crew's survival. If the experiment with the Zenit capsule fitted with the ring is successful, that will provide some confidence. But if the Zenit is not launched or fails to return to earth, then in Korolev's opinion the flight should be delayed until the safety of re-entry with the ring can be demonstrated. However the majority of the State Commission disagrees with Korolev, and believe it will be safe to proceed with the Voskhod-2 flight even without the Zenit test.
Kamanin and the cosmonauts land at the airfield at 11:45, but have to wait until 12:10 for the arrival of Tyulin and Korolev for the official greeting. Korolev is ill but pushing himself hard. A dispute breaks out about crew assignments. At the last minute some want Khrunov to substitute for Belyayev. Korolev is clearly disgusted by such reversals after the prime crew has been set for months.
Final flight suit fitting is conducted on Belyayev, Khrunov, Leonov, and Zaikin by Komarov and Gagarin. It is decided that on flight day only Belyayev, Leonov, and Khrunov will suit up. Khrunov has trained for both crew positions, and in case of last second substitution, he can fly in place of either Belyayev or Leonov. Kamanin tells of the opposition to Belyayev making the flight, which goes back to an incident in the altitude chamber when a Colonel Karpov underhandedly reported that Belyayev was performing poorly. Kamanin believed this was due to bad telemetry. Leonov recounts another incident where the oxygen supply was failing during the same test, but Belyayev did not denounce the Factory 918 staff.
That evening the contingent watches the Arabic film "Black Glasses". At the same time an incident is developing when Khrunov insists that the second crew would only train in the capsule in their spacesuits - otherwise they would report to the State Commission that they were not ready for flight. That evening's training session was cancelled as a result.
Korolev, Rudenko, Kamanin, Kuznetsov, Gagarin, Komarov, and Tselikin give the crew their final briefing. Communications protocols are worked out. Korolev tells the crew he is satisfied that they are ready for flight, but tells them not to take unnecessary risks or heroics. The main thing is that they return safely to earth.
The Zenit-4 fitted with the airlock attachment ring successfully lands at 12:09, 170 km south of Kustanin (and 50 km north of the aim point). Later procedures for emergency landing on the first, second, and third orbits are discussed. The cosmonauts want to discuss the possibility of their taking action if the airlock fails to jettison (even though there are redundant systems to ensure this). Leonov discuses a method of inflating the airlock, his opening the hatch from the spacecraft, checking all connections, then returning to the capsule and attempting again. Data arrives in the evening from the recovered Zenit - the rotation rates are acceptable, Voskhod-2 is clear to launch on 18 March. In the evening the cosmonauts conduct interviews with journalists.
Korolev, Severin, Kuznetsov, and Kamanin certify the readiness of the booster and spacecraft, the airlock and spacesuit, the astronauts, and the recovery forces. Roll-out to the pad is set for the morning of 17 March, with launch on 18 or 19 March. In the evening the recovered Zenit-4 capsule arrives at Baikonur and is examined by the astronauts. The rate of rotation never exceeded 40 - 100 degrees/second, well within the tolerance of both the crew and the parachute deployment system.
First spacewalk, with a two man crew of Colonel Pavel Belyayev and Lt. Colonel Aleksey Leonov. During Voskhod 2's second orbit, Leonov stepped from the vehicle and performed mankind's first "walk in space." After 10 min of extravehicular activity, he returned safely to the spacecraft through an inflatable airlock.
This mission was originally named 'Vykhod ('Exit/Advance'). It almost ended in disaster when Leonov was unable to reenter the airlock due to stiffness of the inflated spacesuit. He had to bleed air from the suit in order to get into the airlock. After Leonov finally managed to get back into the spacecraft cabin, the primary hatch would not seal completely. The environmental control system compensated by flooding the cabin with oxygen, creating a serious fire hazard in a craft only qualified for sea level nitrogen-oxygen gas mixes (Cosmonaut Bondarenko had burned to death in a ground accident in such circumstances, preceding the Apollo 204 disaster by many years). Additional Details: here....
On re-entry the primary automatic retrorocket system failed. A manually controlled retrofire was accomplished one orbit later (evidently using the primary engine, not the backup solid rocket retropack on the nose of spacecraft). The service module failed to separate completely, leading to wild gyrations of the joined reentry sphere - service module before connecting wires burned through. Vostok 2 finally landed near Perm in the Ural mountains in heavy forest at 59:34 N 55:28 E on March 19, 1965 9:02 GMT. The crew spent two nights in deep woods, surrounded by wolves. Recovery crews had to chop down trees to clear landing zones for helicopter recovery of the crew, who had to ski to the clearing from the spacecraft. Only some days later could the capsule itself be removed. Additional Details: here....
The crew spent the night in the forest. Only at dawn can a helicopter fly over the landing point again. He reports he sees the two crew, one felling wood, the other building a bonfire. During the night, neither the two crew from the helicopter that landed 5 km away or the searchers from the PVO regiment were able to find the crew in the dense forest. Finally at 07:30 a Colonel Sibiryakov, physician Tumanov, and a technician are lowered from a Mi-4 helicopter to a point 1500 meters from the capsule. Several others are lowered to begin chopping down trees to create a clearing where the helicopter can land. Sibiyakov's party depart at 08:30, skiing toward the capsule, finally reaching the crew after three hours of arduous travel at 11:30. The crew is in fine condition - helicopters had dropped supplies and warm underwear the night before.
The recovery forces want to have a helicopter pick up the cosmonauts from the landing site, meaning hoisting them from a hover at an altitude of 5 to 6 m. Rudenko vetoes this idea due to the poor visibility, insisting they must be evacuated in snowmobiles. When he is told this is impossible, he becomes adamant that they must wait for conditions to improve. This is ridiculous. Kamanin believes there will be hell to pay if the cosmonauts have to spend a second night in the forest at a landing point only 70-80 km from the capital of the oblast.
By the next morning, two clearing suitable for helicopter operations have been cleared - a small zone 1.7 km from the capsule, and a larger zone 5 km from the capsule. At 6:50 the cosmonauts and their rescuers - seven in all - ski away from the capsule, reaching the small zone at 8:06. They are picked up there by an Mi-4 helicopter and flown to the large zone, arriving their 20 minutes later. From there a larger Mi-6 helicopter flies them at 9:50 to the airport at Perm. They were to depart aboard an An-10 from Perm at 11:00 for Tyuratam, but their departure is delayed by an hour as they talk on the telephone with Brezhnev. Afterwards toasts are raised at Area 10 at Baikonur by the Chief Designers and Keldysh. Korolev calls for them all to push together toward reaching the moon. The cosmonauts finally arrive at the cosmodrome at 17:30 and are driven through cheering crowds in Zvezdograd. In the hall of the hotel they give the first account of their mission.
Belyayev and Leonov are trained for their press conference. Keldysh and Sedov and others take the crew through the acceptable answers to likely questions. Kamanin wants the crew to provide truthful answers to questions on the problems the crew faced, but Keldysh absolutely prohibits this.
Kamanin meets Korolev at 9:30; Korolev agrees with Kamanin that the truth of the difficulties encountered should be revealed at the press conference. The matter must be escalated to Brezhnev, since Keldysh and Smirnov are against this course. At 10:30 the leading engineers of OKB-1 meet with 11 of the cosmonauts. The results of the Voskhod-2 flight are reviewed.
Belyayev and Leonov are given 60 likely questions from the press corps, and briefed on allowable answers. In the afternoon the press conferences are held, with Keldysh sitting at the podium with the cosmonauts. It goes well, and the video of the spacewalk is shown.
The Voskhod-2 cosmonauts and Kamanin see the film taken of Leonov's spacewalk. It was taken by internal and external cameras on the spacecraft, as well as by the cosmonauts. Kamanin finds the raw footage quite clear and believes a good film can be assembled from a combination of the video and film coverage. Later Kamanin hears that American Ed White will attempt to duplicate Leonov's spacewalk on the Gemini flight scheduled for 8 June 1965. In the following days the Voskhod 2 crew faces a round of press conferences, meetings with design bureaux staff.
Tereshkova and Nikolayev are to travel to Algeria on 1 April, and Hungary on 2 April. Yegorov is going to Berlin to deliver a medical lecture. There is an avalanche of fan mail for Belyayev and Leonov. Kamanin believes that Leonov is moving into the pantheon with Gagarin and Tereshkova of top space heroes.
Kamanin is trying to co-ordinate a visit to Kaluga by Belyayev and Leonov with Korolev, but Korolev is totally concentrating on getting a Luna E-6 to soft land on the moon. The Soviet Ministers are on his back as a result of the string of failures so far.
Kamanin visits Korolev and tells him that in an upcoming meeting between the cosmonauts and Brezhnev and Kosygin, they are going to push for the VVS to be given a leading role in the exploration of space, including the necessity to improve the cosmonaut training centre with 8 to 10 simulators for Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft, and development within the VVS of competence in space technology. Korolev is not opposed to this, but says he doubts the VVS leadership will support acquiring the new mission. Kamanin then indicates to Korolev his proposed crews for the upcoming Voskhod missions: Volynov-Katys, Beregovoi-Demin, Shatalov-Artyukhin. Kamanin hopes that Korolev will support Volynov as the prime candidate against Marshall Rudenko's favouring of Beregovoi. Kamanin then raises the delicate issue of Korolev's unfavourable opinion of Tereshkova. After her flight, Korolev angrily said: "I never want to have anything to do with these women again". Kamanin does not believe his remarks were meant seriously, and broaches the subject of training Soloyova and Ponomaryova for a female version of Leonov's spacewalk flight. Korolev says he will seriously consider the suggestion.
Kamanin notes Gemini-3 landed 96 km from the aim point. He notes that all Soviet Vostok and Voskhod landings have been of high precision, using the automatic landing system. Voskhod-2 missed the aim point by 368 km, but this was due to a 46 second delay in activating the retrorocket. This delay was due to the layout of Voskhod, which left the Vostok cabin instruments and Vzor visual orientation device in their original place, but mounted the crew seats perpendicular to the original orientation of the Vostok ejection seat. This meant, to manually orient the spacecraft, Belyayev had to float across the seats in order to see the Vzor device. After orienting the spacecraft, he had to return to his seat before igniting the retrorocket. All of this, in the cramped cabin and the crew in spacesuits, took much longer than expected.
A meeting between the cosmonauts and OKB-1 becomes heated on the question of the Voskhod design. Korolev and his specialists attempt to minimise the design approach that made manual re-entry for Voskhod-2 so difficult. In fact the state commission concluded that it was impossible to conduct a manual re-entry with the crew in their seats. Korolev agreed that later Voskhods will be equipped with instruments allowing manual re-entry with the astronauts seated, and apologised for the oversight.
Belyayev and Leonov are going to an IAF congress in Greece, where they will unofficially meet Wernher von Braun and several US astronauts. Komarov is touring West Germany. Factory 918 is refusing to fabricate space suits for the female crew for the planned Voskhod EVA flight. They are categorically against the concept. It is necessary to obtain a specific order instructing them to fabricate the suits.
The issue of ground support for manned lunar missions is discussed within the VVS. It will be necessary to have continuous and reliable tracking and communications of spacecraft in parking orbit prior to trans-lunar injection, in orbits with inclinations between 51 and 65 deg. Kamanin is tasked to develop a forecast and plan for necessary developments in the next 4 to 5 years. Later Kamanin considers cosmonaut travels. Nikolayev and Tereshkova are to go to Japan on 21 October. Leonov and Belyayev have returned from a tour of Bulgaria, Greece, East Germany, and Cuba, but they made several mis-statements during the tour which have been brought to Kamanin's attention. The issue of getting Gagarin back into cosmonaut training is again broached.
Gagarin, Belyayev, and Leonov are preparing for a meeting with Brezhnev. Nothing controversial is to be raised. The real issue now is to develop a winged, manned orbital spacecraft, and a winged booster stage for space launches. This will be essential to future manned military activities. Mikoyan's MiG bureau has been working on the orbital spaceplane, and Tupolev the winged booster stage. Titov, Filipchenko, and Matinchenko and a few other cosmonauts will coordinate with Mikoyan on development of the spaceplane design.
Korolev visits the centre, and spends more than six hours with the cosmonauts. However he says nothing about concrete flight plans. Afterwards Kamanin meets with Gagarin, Titov, Popovvich, Nikolayev, Tereshkova, Bykovsky, Komarov, and Belyayev (Leonov is at courses at the Academy). A profound pessimism prevails. Nothing has come of the letter to Brezhnev.
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.
Kamanin organises the cosmonauts into the following training groups:
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.
Belyayev and Leonov depart, after being briefed on correct responses to expected embarrassing questions (Why has there been no Soviet manned spaceflight for eighteen months? When will there be a Soviet rendezvous in space? Who now leads in the space race?)
Four years behind Korolev's original promised schedule, the countdown is underway for the first Soyuz spacecraft. A new closed circuit television system allows the rocket to be observed from several angles during the final minutes. Mishin, as per tradition, personally stays with the rocket until the last moment. Rudenko, Kerimov, and Kamanin observe the launch from the bunker, while Gagarin, Nikolayev, Belyayev and Yegorov observe from the observation post. The launch is perfect, within 0.2 seconds of the 16:00 launch time. The separation of the first stage strap-ons can be seen with the naked eye in the clear sky. The spacecraft is given the cover designation Cosmos 133 after launch. By 22:00 the spacecraft is in deep trouble. For unknown reasons the spacecraft consumed its entire load of propellant for the DPO approach and orientation thrusters within a 15-minute period, leaving the spacecraft in a 2 rpm spin. At the insertion orbital perigee of 179 kilometres, the spacecraft will have a life of only 39 orbits. It is decided to attempt to stop the spin on the 13th orbit using other thrusters and the ion flow sensors to determine attitude. Then the re-entry sequence will be commanded on the 16th orbit, with the spacecraft to use solar sensors to orient itself for retrofire on the 17th orbit.
Kamanin, Gagarin, Titov, Popovich, Belyayev, and Leonov meet with Marshal Yakabovskiy. They inform him that Mishin is blocking further development of the 7K-VI military manned spacecraft and also trying to kill Chelomei's Almaz military space station. They get nowhere. The Marshal says that while he doesn't understand much about space himself, Ustinov had assured him that Mishin and Afanasyev were taking all measures necessary to correct the necessary material...
Nikolayev is to be commander of the first group, with Leonov as his deputy. Titov would command the second group, with Popovich as his deputy. But Kamanin doesn't consider any of them to be command officer material yet. The automobile accidents of Popovich, the mess that led to Matinchenko's dismissal, the bad performance of Belyayev in his duties as chief of staff of the VVS group at Baikonur - none of these men have any discipline!
Holidays - in the first ten days of May, the civilians work only two days, while the military must work four. Kamanin assigns cosmonauts to the State Commission that will select the design for the Gagarin memorial obelisk. He then reviews cosmonaut pilot aircraft type qualifications. Titov is current on the Su-7, MiG-21, and several other high-performance aircraft. Nikolayev and Leonov are still certified to fly two or three MiG fighter types. Belyayev, Bykovsky, Popovich, Kutachov, and the others are only current on the L-29 trainer. The L-29 is 20 times more reliable than the MiG-21 or Su-7, and the MiG-15 trainer is 4x to 5x more reliable than the high performance types. In general the cosmonauts are against plans to move the air regiment to TsPK from Chkalovsky air field due to greater air space restrictions over Moscow.
The VPK confirms the Soyuz flight plan - a 0+1 mission to be followed by a 1+3 mission with crew transfer. Chiefs of the cosmonaut detachments are confirmed and announced. Nikolayev will be Deputy Chief of TsPK; Bykovsky, Commander of the First Detachment of Cosmonauts; Titov, Commander of the Second Detachment, and Popovich, Deputy Commander of the Second Detachment. Kuznetsov, Belyayev, and Leonov are not happy with these appointments. The General Staff also approves creation of a fourth training detachment at TsPK, charged with flight, engineering, and experiment development - requiring an additional 200 staff.
The cosmonauts are revolting against the selection of Nikolayev as their commander. They have written a letter demanding that Belyayev be put in the position. Leonov is also lobbying for the job, but Kamanin notes he has made two serious mistakes since April, no chance. Leonov attends a self-criticism meeting with the 'Gagarin comrades', self-confesses and emotionally says he will leave the cosmonaut unit if there are no future chances for promotion due to his repeated mistakes. Finally he is told that if does good work in the future, he could achieve the deputy commander position, but he can never, never make mistakes again.
A Zenit-2 spy satellite capsule has gone off course, splashed down in the Volga River, and sunk. Vershinin is in the hospital with intestinal polyps. Kamanin is reminded of Korolev's case, although he is told Vershinin's condition is not serious. There is criticism of the botched Zenit-2 recovery from Kutakhov. Meanwhile the Central Committee has decided to take no action on Czechoslovakia but send a letter to the Czech Communist Party. Kamanin is sick of this limp-wristed talk, talk, talk.
The L1 cosmonauts are doing training in autonomous navigation, zero-G training, and TBK-60 simulator training. Due to the continuing L1 failures, there would probably be no manned L1 flight until April-May 1969. As for Soyuz, a 0+1 (docking of one unmanned spacecraft and a manned spacecraft with a single cosmonaut aboard) is planned for 25 October, to be followed by a 1+3 mission with a crew transfer by December at the earliest - possibly not until February-March of the following year. Kamanin reassured Beregovoi that he will indeed fly following his excellent exam results -- but Beregovoi still has doubts. Later Kamanin confronts Leonov over his driving. Leonov has had three auto accidents in four months - simply too much. If he is such a bad driver on earth, how will be in space? Kamanin tells him to take two to three days off work and seriously consider his attitude and position. Next there are commissions to attend in charge of selecting monument designs for Gagarin memorials. There are to be obelisks at the Gagarin crash site, at the Vostok 1 landing site, and in Star City. These commissions are taking up a lot of the cosmonauts' time. Kuznetsov meets with Kamanin and tells him that cosmonauts Belyayev and Nikolayev rated Beregovoi poorly in the exam, giving him only a 5 and citing errors in his logic.
After Shatalov and Yeliseyev transferred to Soyuz 4, Volynov remained behind to live through the most unbelievable re-entry in the history of spaceflight. The service module of the Soyuz failed to separate after retrofire. Once the Soyuz started reaching the tendrils of the atmosphere, the combined spacecraft sought the most aerodynamically stable position - nose forward, with the heavy descent module with its light metal entry hatch at the front, the less dense service module with its flared base to the back. Luckily the struts between the descent and service modules broke off or burned through before the hatch melted through and the descent module righted itself, with the heat shield to the rear, before being consumed. Due to a failure of the soft-landing rockets the landing was harder than usual and Volynov broke his teeth. The landing came at 7:58 GMT. Additional Details: here....
Meeting with TsKBEM Deputy Chief Designer Tregub on manned space flight plans. Soyuz s/n 14 is set for a solo seven day mission in April-May. 15 and 16 with 5 cosmonauts aboard will fly a 7 day mission in August-September, remaining docked for three days. Soyuz s/n 17 through 20 will not fly until after May 1970 - there are no definite plans for them at this time. Additional Details: here....
They rule out 22 October as a start date, in order not to have the embarrassment of them being there during the Apollo 12 mission. They reject Belyayev and Shatalov as candidates for the trip; they want Beregovoi and Belyayev or Beregovoi and Feoktistov. Kamanin opposes Feoktistov, and doesn't' want Beregovoi diverted from his work as cosmonaut deputy-commander, where he feels he is doing well. He has started lots of good new initiatives. Meanwhile Nikolayev continues to make trouble for Kamanin in regard to being bumped from the Soyuz 8 crew.
The ship's logs/flight plans are reviewed one more time. Tyuratam commander General Kurushin runs through the Svinets ABM experiment again with Shonin and Kubasov - they're ready. The Communist Party has selected Beregovoi and Feoktistov for the trip to the United States in November, ignoring Kamanin's recommendation of Belyayev and Shatalov. Kamanin is not so much against Beregovoi, but he firmly believes that Feoktistov is not worthy of the privilege - he's a degenerate, now on this third marriage..
The leadership suddenly announces that a solo Soyuz mission of 17 to 20 days is to be flown for Lenin's 100th birthday (April 22). This will seize the space endurance record from the Americans and provide biomedical information for the DOS station, to be flown by the end of the year. Nikolayev and Sevastyanov are being pushed for the job. Kamanin objects, he would prefer Kolodin or Grechko, but Mishin won't hear of it. During December Kamanin, the Shatalov Soyuz 7 crew, Sevastyanov, and their wives vacation at Sochi on the Black Sea. Meanwhile Belyayev becomes serious ill. Surgeons operate to remove 2/3 of his stomach, part of his long intestine, and his appendix.
Russian pilot cosmonaut 1960-1970. 1 spaceflight, 1.1 days in space. Flew to orbit on Voskhod 2 (1965). After getting progressively worse after stomach ulcer surgery, Belyayev dies in the hospital of pneumonia. Meanwhile initial planning is underway for the Soyuz 9 mission.
Kamanin is making state funeral arrangements for Belyayev. The question is -- shall he be given the same send-off as Gagarin and Komarov, or less? Word comes down from the Kremlin - less. He is to be buried not in the Kremlin wall at Red Square, but in Novodevich Cemetary.
Kamanin notes that interest of the leadership in manned spaceflight has collapsed with the end of the moon race. Brezhnev has declared that his primary interest is in earth orbital space stations. Both Mishin and Chelomei have stations in development, but the work is progressing slowly. There will be no launch of either of their projects until 1972 - which means the Soviets will be beaten by the US Skylab. Kamanin believes the Americans can never be beaten in space unless all space projects are guided firmly by a single Ministry of Defence and Civilian Space office. Meanwhile the Hong Kong flu epidemic is hitting many at the cosmodrome - Moroz, Popovich, and Bykovsky are all seriously ill.
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...