Encyclopedia Astronautica
1968.10.26 - Soyuz 3

Second manned Soyuz flight. Rendezvoused with the unmanned Soyuz 2 but failed to dock. Complex testing of spaceship systems; development, in joint flight with space ship Soyuz 2 of processes of space ship manoeuvring and docking in artificial earth satellite orbit; development of elements of celestial navigation; conduct of research under space flight conditions. The failed docking was blamed on manual control of the Soyuz by Beregovoi, who repeatedly put the spacecraft in an orientation that nulled the automatic docking system. Beregovoi used nearly all of his orientation fuel in his first attempt to dock - of 80 kg allocated, only 8 to 10 kg was remaining.

Kamanin and the state commission fly by Il-18 to the main command point in Yevpatoriya. Soyuz 3 is launched on schedule and placed in orbit within 11 km of Soyuz 2. The automatic rendezvous sequence begins. At 8 km distance, Soyuz 3 is approaching Soyuz 2 at 15 m/s. But then no docking occurs, due to an unexplained deviation of the spacecraft from its course. The DPO engine system for orientation and docking manoeuvres has 80 kg of propellant, of which 70 kg has already been consumed. 8-10 kg must be reserved to orient the spacecraft for retrofire and re-entry.

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