Credit: © Mark Wade
Status: operational 1965.
Oxygen, used for both breathing and cooling, was contained in a metal backpack. A relief valve vented the suit into space, carrying away heat, moisture, exhaled carbon dioxide, and unconsumed oxygen. There were two relief valve pressure settings - 0.27 atmosphere or 0.40 atmosphere. Sufficient oxygen was carried for 45 minutes of depressurized activity. It was only worn on the Voskhod 2 flight, when Leonov had great difficulties in getting back into the airlock due to the suit's stiffness. It was only after switching to the lower relief valve pressure setting that, bathed in sweat, he was able to get the hatch of the inflatable airlock closed.
|Voskhod 2 Airlock|
Voskhod 2 Airlock and space suit
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Voskhod 2 EVA.|
Credit: RKK Energia
Kamanin receives the directive issued by Biryuzov to implement the Voskhod Party resolutions. Four spacecraft will be completed, two in a three-man configuration, to be flown in the second half of 1964, and two in a configuration that will provide an airlock and allow one cosmonaut to exit into open space. Less than a year is allowed to develop the new spacecraft version for the spacewalk, as well as develop the space suit. This will be a crash priority program, and allow Korolev no resources to complete and launch five Vostok spacecraft on manned and life sciences missions beginning in May.
A meeting of Generals Kholodkov (VVS) and Yuryshev (General Staff) reviews military space plans - launch centres, anti-satellite forces, command and control systems. Kamanin looks forward to the VVS taking control of military cosmonautics. Later a meeting with Korolev and Bushuyev reviews Voskhod crew plans. It is agreed that the commanders will be selected from among the four flight-ready unflown cosmonauts (Volynov, Komarov, Leonov, Khrunov). Korolev describes in detail for the first time the inflatable airlock that is to be fitted to four Voskhods to allow one cosmonaut to exit into space. Korolev believes it will be possible to use the existing Vostok spacesuit for this operation, but Kamanin severely doubts this.
Composition of the crew for Voskhod continues to be debated intensively. There has been talk of the medical unsuitability of Katys and Yegorov. Later Kamanin discusses progress with the Vykhod mission based on their work at Factory 918 and LII. Many technical details have to be worked out -- movement in open space, the space suit, airlock, communications, etc. The work is in two steps: first to solve simply doing spacewalk, and then how to control and manoeuvre the spacecraft when a cosmonaut is outside. Korolev seems to think that enthusiasm will solve all problems, but Kamanin is concerned of the demonstrated unreliability of Korolev's Luna, Mars, and Molniya unmanned spacecraft.
Katys insists that he knew nothing of his brother and sister living in Paris. His father had these children before 1910, when they left with their mother for Paris. His father did not marry Katys' mother until 1924. His father was arrested in 1931, when Katys was only 5 years old. Meanwhile Tyulin recommends that Kamanin delay his departure for Baikonur by 2 to 3 days. The launch vehicle for the first test mission hasn't been delivered yet. There are still problems with the landing system. In a test at Fedosiya on 29 August, the capsule was dropped from an aircraft with the parachute hatch already opened. Normally this would be ejected by a barometric switch at 7 to 8 km altitude. So the tests have not really proven the end-to-end function of the landing system. 2 to 3 months would be needed to correctly wring out the system, which is still showing many bugs. Instead Korolev now says that the first Voskhod flight will take place no earlier than 10-15 September, and the first manned flight has realistically moved into October. The 3KD Vykhod flight Korolev still plans by the end of the year, but Kamanin believes it cannot take place until 1965. Leonov reports that there are still a lot of problems and defects with the spacesuit being designed for the space walk. Finally two VVS officers have discovered there is a real problem with Voskhod internal temperatures post-landing. Since the crew compartment hatch will not be ejected as in Vostok, they estimate that temperatures will reach 40 deg C at 11 minutes after landing, peaking at 60 deg C 5 to 8 minutes after that. They recommend that the crew has to be able to open the external air vents manually - currently they only open automatically 11 minutes after landing.
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.
The Voskhod 1 crew have completed their post-flight debriefings and final report. Plans for 1965 are laid out. The Vykhod spacewalk flight will be made in the first quarter of 1965. Of the five Voskhod spacecraft, that are to be completed in the first quarter of 1965, the following program is laid out: two will be devoted to flights of a single cosmonaut, without a spacesuit, on endurance missions of 12 to 15 days. Two will be used for scientific research missions. One will be used to repeat the spacewalk of the Vykhod mission.
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.
All systems development is complete, and the two boosters for Vykhod are ready. The launch of the pathfinder spacecraft with mannequins aboard will take place at the end of January, with the manned mission scheduled for March. Leonov's spacesuit is complete, but Zaikin's will not be finished until 5 February, and there will exist only the metal detail parts for Gorbatko's suit.
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.
The first manned test of the airlock fails before an audience of 60 government and industry leaders. A VVS pilot in a spacesuit was to demonstrate the entire sequence involved in exiting into space. (release of the forward ring, inflation of the airlock, opening of the hatch between the spacecraft and airlock, closing the hatch, evacuation of the air from the airlock, opening of the outer hatch of the airlock, then the sequence in reverse). Two attempts are made at 15 km equivalent altitude, but the hatch from the spacecraft to the airlock cannot be opened due to defects in its construction in the first try. This is fixed, but on the second try the Vega system that monitors the cosmonaut's condition fails.
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, 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.
At 07:30 the state commission meets at the pad and gives the go-ahead. At 8:30 Korolev, Tyulin, Rudenko, and Kamanin observed the cosmonauts donning their suits. At 09:20 they met the cosmonauts again at the pad. After handshakes, the crew went up the elevator, the calm Belyayev being loaded first in the capsule, followed by excited Leonov. Korolev, Gagarin, and the others left the pad for the bunker 10 minutes before the launch. The launch went well, although the suspense in the first 44 seconds of flight (when crew abort was not possible) was unbearable. The final stage shut down at T+526 seconds, and the crew was in orbit. Even though he doesn't smoke, Korolev has a cigarette at T+530 seconds, once he knows the crew is safe in orbit.
The party then moved to the KP command point, where over the next four hours they watched the first man - a Soviet man, Alexei Leonov - enter free space. All operations - airlock deployment, airlock pressurisation, opening the hatch from the spacecraft, entering the airlock, the inner hatch closing, depressurisation of he airlock, opening of the outer hatch, Leonov's exit into space - went well. Television images showed him somersaulting in space, moving 3 to 5 m from the capsule with the earth in the background. There was some worry when the capsule began revolving at 20 degrees per second during the spacewalk, and the high concentration of oxygen (45%) in the cabin. The rotation is stopped, but after consulting with the crew, and considering the large oxygen reserves available, it is decided not to worry about the high oxygen level in the cabin. Kamanin goes to bed at 12:00, overjoyed by the success of the day's events.
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.
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.