Encyclopedia Astronautica
1964.10.12 - Voskhod 1


The U.S.S.R. launched the world's first multi-manned spacecraft, Voskhod I, the first to carry a scientist and a physician into space. The crew were Col. Vladimir Komarov, pilot; Konstantin Feoktistov, scientist; and Boris Yegorov, physician. Potentially dangerous modification of Vostok to upstage American Gemini flights; no spacesuits, ejection seats, or escape tower. One concession was backup solid retrorocket package mounted on nose of spacecraft. Seats mounted perpendicular to Vostok ejection seat position, so crew had to crane their necks to read instruments, still mounted in their original orientation. Tested the new multi-seat space ship; investigated the in-flight work potential and co-operation of a group of cosmonauts consisting of specialists in different branches of science and technology; conducted scientific physico-technical and medico-biological research. The mission featured television pictures of the crew from space.

Coming before the two-man Gemini flights, Voskhod 1 had a significant worldwide impact. In the United States, the "space race" was again running under the green flag. NASA Administrator James E. Webb, commenting on the spectacular, called it a "significant space accomplishment." It was, he said, "a clear indication that the Russians are continuing a large space program for the achievement of national power and prestige."

Korolev and Marshall Rudenko get up at 06:00. It is a calm and clear morning, temperature -8 deg C. After callisthenics and a light breakfast they go to Area 2. Meteorologists say conditions are ideal - winds 3-4 m/s and visibility 20 km. As they arrive at the cosmonauts' residence, they find the crew has slept well and are just finishing breakfast. At 08:00 the State Commission meets 200 m from the fuelled booster. "All complete, no discrepancies, clear to launch." Meanwhile the crew has been following the following schedule:

- 06:30 - Awaken
- 06:40 - Temperatures taken
- 06:40-07:20: Wash, toilet, medical examination
- 07:20-07:50: Breakfast (of space rations)
- 08:00: Arrive at MIK assembly building
- 08:00-08:45: Fitted with medical sensors
- 08:45-09:00: Physical condition measured using Vega apparatus
- 09:00-09:30: Dressed in flight suits
- 09:30: Depart for launch pad

Since they do not have to don and test spacesuits, the crew is already finished by 09:00 and ready to go to the pad. Korolev is called but he says to wait for the scheduled time, there are minor defects in the rocket but he expects them all to be fixed and the launch to occur on schedule.

Kamanin briefs the crew on the secret code words the crew will use during the flight. "Outstanding" will mean that everything is all right, the flight can continue. "Good" will mean that the crew is not completely sure they can continue; and "Satisfactory" will mean that the flight should be aborted and preparations made for an emergency landing at the earliest opportunity.

Korolev arrives at 09:30 to ride with the crew to the booster. The bus with the cosmonauts arrives at the pad at 10:15. Fuelling has proceeded normally. Komarov salutes and declares to State Commission Chairman General Tyulin that the "Crew of Voskhod is ready for flight". Feoktistov and Yegorov go up in the lift to the spacecraft first, followed by Komarov on a second trip. They are loaded into the cramped cabin, Yegorov first, Feoktistov in the centre seat, and finally Komarov next to the hatch. At 10:35 the hatch is closed. Gagarin, Korolev, and Kirillov make final checks. Korolev enters the bunker at T-5 minutes.

The booster ignites on precise schedule at 12:30 local time (10:30 Moscow time). The voyage to orbit goes precisely on schedule, with cut-off at T+523 seconds. Gagarin is in clear voice communications with Komarov aboard the spacecraft throughout the ascent. On the sixth and seventh orbits clear voice communication sessions are held and television pictures from the cabin are received. On the 7th orbit, all cabin readings - temperature, pressure, humidity, gas composition - are normal. Direct radio communications are not possible after the 8th orbit, when the orbital track no longer passes over Soviet territory. Only the unreliable Signal system and HF radio can be used for communications. Direct clear communications can only be resumed on orbit 13.

There were minor discrepancies in the first hours of flight. There was a false pulse reading for Yegorov; there was a two-hour delay in confirming correct operation of the spacecraft's orientation system; the cabin temperature rose in the first orbit from 15 to 21 deg C.

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