Encyclopedia Astronautica
1969.04.26 - Soyuz program review


The commission considers plans for the rest of the Soyuz production. Spacecraft s/n 14, 15, and 16 are to fly in August 1969, 17 and 18 in November 1969, and 19 and 20 in February-March 1970. Crews selected for the August flights are: for spacecraft 14, Shonin and Kubasov; for 15, Filipchenko, Volkov, and Gorbatko; for 16, Nikolayev and Sevastyanov. Back-ups will be Kuklin, Grechko, and Kolodin. All of the spacecraft will fly 4 to 5 day missions. Spacecraft 15 and 16 will dock and remain together 2 or 3 days to form an 'orbital station'. Experiments planned for the flight are:

  • Visual observation of rocket launch plumes using the Svinets device
  • Film and photography of the spacecraft 15-16 docking from spacecraft 14
  • Demonstration of welding in weightless vacuum conditions using the Vulkan device
  • Demonstration of autonomous navigation by the cosmonauts using a sextant
  • Medium wave radio communications
  • Test of new television sensors for the Soyuz orientation system

Spacecraft 17 through 20 will fly 15 to 16 day missions to demonstrate the new SZhO life support system for the L3, and conduct rendezvous and docking operations using the L3's Kontakt system.

The results of the State Commission on the failure of the Soyuz 5 SA capsule to separate from the SO service module are presented. The SA and SO are connected with 102 clamps. Dozens of failure modes were studied and rejected as the cause of the failure to separate. The most likely reason was that one of the clamps became hung up on one of the intermodule struts after it had separated. Tests showed that the two sections would normally separate cleanly with the usual 70 kg of force generated by the separation pyrotechnics. But in some cases the force of the pyros could be greater than this, which would result in the clamp rebounding and closing again.

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