Status: Deceased; Active 1960-1968. Born: 1934-03-09. Died: 1968-03-27. Spaceflights: 1 . Total time in space: 0.0750 days. Birth Place: Gzhatsk, Smolensk.
Graduated from Lyberts School in 1951, Saratov Aeroclub Aerotechnical School in 1955, Voroshilov First Chkalovsk Military Fighter School in 1957. Served in fighter units with the Northern Fleet. Selected as a cosmonaut in 1960, and named commander of the cosmonaut group in 1963 after being the first person to fly in space. Completed Zhukovskiy Military Academy in 1968 but died in a MiG-15 trainer crash shortly thereafter. Call sign: Kedr (Cedar).
Gagarin and Korolev
|Soyuz 1 training.|
Gagarin and Komarov during Soyuz 1 training.
Credit: RKK Energia
Gagarin with Korolev before flight.
Credit: RKK Energia
Russian pilot cosmonaut 1960-1968. First person in space. Due to his fame, the Soviet leadership did not want to risk him on another flight, but later relented. Died in a 1968 MiG trainer crash while requalifying for flight status. 1 spaceflight, 1.8 hours in space. Flew to orbit on Vostok 1 (1961).
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 Examination Commission consists of members from the VVS Air Force , AN Academy of Science, industry, and LII Flight Test Institute. The sessions are filmed. Each cosmonaut sits in a Vostok mock-up for 40 to 50 minutes and describes the equipment and the operations to be conducted in each phase of flight. Special emphasis is given in the examiners' questions on orientation of the spacecraft for manual retrofire and egress on land or water. For this phase, Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, and Popovich are rated 'outstanding' and Nelyubov and Bykovsky 'good'.
The essay portion of the written examination consists of three questions, with the essay replies to be written out in 20 minutes. After handing in the essay, each cosmonaut is given three to five multiple choice questions. All six pass and are rated as ready to fly the Vostok 3KA. But which of the six is best suited to be the first man in space (at least publicly - one Vostok flight in 1960 would have resulted in the death of the cosmonaut). Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov are in the top echelon. Nikolayev is the quietest of the six. Bykovsky is less so, especially in internal meetings, but he says nothing important and doesn't contribute anything substantial. Popovich is a puzzle, his behaviour perhaps influenced by secret family problems.
Chief of Staff F A Agaltsov visits the Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine (IAKM) to review the six cosmonauts' training for flight. An 11-day trial is underway of the hot mock-up of the Vostok capsule's environmental control system. He also sees the dogs that have flown in space: Belka, Strelka, and Chernushka. Strelka has six 3-month-old puppies. Vershinin delivers a speech asking the cosmonauts to be morally prepared for spaceflight. The cosmonauts complain about the performance of Alekseyev's design bureau - of six spacesuits ordered, only three have been delivered (for Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov), and they haven't been able to train in parachute jumping in the suits yet.
The VVS contingent departs for Tyuratam in three Il-14's. The two with cosmonauts aboard stop at Kuibyshev to give the pilots a look at the recovery zone. Aboard the first aircraft are Kamanin, Gagarin, Nelyubov, and Popovich. Aboard the other are Titov, Bykovsky, and Nikolayev. At the VVS Sanatorium at Privolzhskiy on the Volga the cosmonauts relax, and play ping-pong, chess, and billiards. The cosmonauts, Kamanin, Yazdovskiy, and Karpov sleep together in a single large room. Kamanin finds it a lively group; only Gagarin is pale and quieter than the others. On 7 March his wife had their second daughter and only yesterday he brought them back from the hospital. It was tough on him to then have to leave them on his dangerous secret mission - to be the first man into space.
The cosmonauts play chess and cards on the flight to Tyuratam. At the airfield, Korolev, Keldysh, and five film cameramen await the cosmonauts. Korolev and Keldysh warmly greet the cosmonauts, but categorically refuse to be filmed. Korolev asks each cosmonaut one or two technical questions. All are correctly answered. Korolev says he wants to ensure that each one of them is 'ready to fly today'. As of now, six Vostoks have been launched, of which four reached orbit, and two landed successfully (one of these albeit after an emergency separation from the third stage on a suborbital trajectory). Two have been unsuccessful, including one on-pad failure on 28 July 1960. Two hours after arrival the cosmonauts go to the MIK assembly hall to familiarise themselves with the launch vehicle and spacecraft. At 14:00 Kamanin meets with the cosmonauts to review the 'Cosmonaut's Manual'. They make several suggestions. They do not feel it is necessary to loosen the parachute harness during the one-orbit flight. They note that the gloves are tried on only 15 minutes before the launch, and not on the closing of the hatch as indicated by Alekseyev. They recommend that a shortened version of the manual should be on board the spacecraft for use in case of a manual re-entry. Communications will be mainly using the laryngeal microphone Incidents will be recorded in the ship's log. The cosmonauts should be able to manually activate the reserve parachute. Kamanin agrees with the latter, but there is no time to change it for the first flight.
The launch has been delayed to 24-25 March due to problems with L I Gusev's radio system aboard the spacecraft. A meeting of the cosmonauts at 10:00 reviews landing contingency plans that will bring the capsule down on the territory of the USSR. The best chances for such a landing are on orbits 1, 2, and 16, but it is also possible on orbits 4, 5, 6, and 7. A map will be aboard the capsule to show where and when to ignite the TDU retrorocket for each landing opportunity. Feoktistov was a great help in developing this visual aid. For about an hour Kamanin, Korolev, Yazdovskiy, Karpov, and Azbiyevich discuss long-range plans. Korolev is interested in the VVS position that they should be responsible for all military space activities. The reconnaissance satellite version of Vostok is discussed. Korolev says he plans to send a cosmonaut to the moon by 1965.
Afterwards the cosmonauts develop the radio communications plan for the flight. During the 710-second ascent to orbit, and after landing, they are to use the UHF radio. The HF and UHF radios can be used from orbit, but only over the USSR. Plans for filming the cosmonaut in flight are also discussed.
The cosmonauts practice donning the suits and adjusting the regulators. Kamanin muses on the need to convince the VVS leadership to support the TTZ for a new manned spacecraft, on the way to better organize the IP tracking stations, and how to obtain a leading role for the VVS in development of reconnaissance satellites. Otherwise, he believes the Russians will lose the space race to the Americans, who are launching 3 to 4 times more satellites. He notes that 22 Discoverers have been launched to develop an American reconnaissance satellite, and he comments on the Echo-1 passive communications balloon. The Americans are pushing to match the Soviet Union in launch vehicles and already surpass them in electronics, communications, and telemetry. Kamanin notes that communications with Venera 1 were lost when it was only 2 million kilometres from earth, while the US has already demonstrated communications with satellites out to 37 million kilometres. He admires the way the Americans have concentrated all of their efforts in one civilian space organization, with full-time managers for the effort. By comparison, the Soviets only have part-time managers, such as Ustinov, Rudnev, and so on. After the suit exercise the cosmonauts play chess and cards, but again Gagarin does not take part, and is deep in silent thought.
It is a beautiful day. The cosmonauts discuss contingencies in case of a water landing. In fact their chances are slim. There are only two Soviet ships equipped with HF and UHF direction-finding equipment that could locate them. The NAZ ejection seat is not designed to float, and the spherical re-entry capsule is no better. Therefore the only option is a landing on the territory of the Soviet Union. In the evening Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov practice at the MIK - donning their suits, landing in the spacecraft cabin if that is necessary, getting out of the suit, communications operations, and so on. They are able to get the suit on in 20 minutes, and get it off in 15 minutes. Many space centre workers come to watch the exercises.
Between 10:00 and 12:00 Chief Designer of Launch Facilities Barmin meets with the cosmonauts. He reviews the launch mechanism. The rocket is suspended at the 'shoulders' of the strap-ons, on four swivelled supports. After the rocket has lifted 49 mm, it is free from these, and counterweights weighing dozens of tonnes will swing them back and away from the rising booster. At 12:00 Kamanin meets with Keldysh and Korolev. They agree with his position that the flight be announced as soon as the cosmonaut is safely in orbit.
At Tyuratam in the morning, LII engineers brief the cosmonauts on correcting the Globus instrument in flight, which indicates their position over the earth. Korolev checks in for a few minutes to make sure the cosmonauts have everything they need. In the evening the news of the death of cosmonaut Bondarenko reaches the cosmodrome. He died on the tenth day of a 15-day endurance experiment in a pressure chamber at IAKM when a fire broke out in the pure-oxygen cabin. Kamanin blames his death on IAKM's poor organisation and control of the experiment.
At 08:54 a meeting is held, where it is decided the bad performance of Voronin and Alekseyev in completing their capsule subsystems will be reported to Ustinov and Rudnev. At 13:00 the booster is rolled out to the pad. At 18:00 Gagarin and Titov donn their space suits and practice riding the elevator up to the spacecraft, and entering the hatch. This is to give them a practical feel for the time it will actually take them to get aboard and complete checkout of the spacecraft and suit.
Carried dog Zvezdochka and mannequin Ivan Ivanovich. Ivanovich was again ejected from the capsule and recovered by parachute, and Zvezdochka was successfully recovered with the capsule on March 25, 1961 7:40 GMT.
Officially: Development of the design of the space ship satellite and of the systems on board, designed to ensure man's life functions during flight in outer space and return to Earth. Additional Details: here....
The eleven cosmonauts not short-listed for early spaceflights are given a new screening examination. However only Khrunov and Komarov are interviewed before an urgent phone call is received from the General Staff: report at 13:00 with Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov, then proceed to a Communist Party meeting at 15:00 for the first flight decision. All concerned again confirm readiness for flight, and again Kamanin passes around his photo album, showing the Vostok's potential for military photoreconnaissance. Kamanin briefs the cosmonauts afterwards on the results of the NAZ ejection seat tests. There have been three successful ejections from the Il-28 aircraft, plus ejections from the re-entry capsule on the ground and from an altitude of 5 km. All tests were successful. The cosmonauts are aware of the remaining problems with the capsule but are confident it is safe for a one-orbit flight. Gagarin says that Parachutist Colonel Nikolai Konstantinovich Nikitin, their instructor, should inspect the cosmonaut's parachute at the pad. The cosmonauts have confidence in him, but he has made problems over the tests at Fedosiya. At 16:00 Korolev calls. The Central Committee has approved the flight. He leaves for Tyuratam for final launch preparations. The cosmonauts' confirmation of readiness for flight was recorded and played back to the committee. The resulitng decree 'On approval for launch of Vostok' provided the final authority to proceed with the first manned spaceflight.
They also, on the basis of the recent examinations and interviews, clear the rest of the cosmonaut trainees for flight except for Rafikov, Filatev, and Zaikin, who passed the examinations but had not yet completed all the tests and training. Moskalenko has given approval for a Soviet film team to go to Tyuratam and film preparations for the flight. At the Presidium meeting Khrushchev had questioned what would be done if the cosmonaut reacted poorly in the first minute of the flight. Korolev answered in his deep voice: 'Cosmonaut are extraordinarily trained, they know the spacecraft and flight conditions better than I and we are confident of their strength'. The flight is still seen as very risky - of seven Vostoks flown unmanned so far, five made it to orbit, three landed safely, but one did not. On the other hand, both recent Venera launch attempts reached low earth orbit.
Kamanin departs for the airport in the morning after a good breakfast. There was a fresh snowfall overnight, and Moscow looks beautiful. Three Il-14's wait to shuttle the six cosmonauts and other VVS staff to the launch centre. Gagarin and Nelyubov will fly in Kamanin's aircraft, and Titov and the others in General Goreglyad's. The third aircraft will carry the physicians and film team. The aircraft depart at fifteen-minute intervals, and the entire flight is in beautiful weather. Kamanin's Il-14 lands at Tyuratam at 14:30. Korolev, Gallay, and officers of the staff of the cosmodrome are there to greet them. Korolev requests additional last-minute training for the cosmonauts in manual landing of the spacecraft, suit donning, and communications, but Kamanin refuses. He sees no reason for any training not already agreed in the official plan. Korolev says rollout of the booster is planned for 8 April, followed by launch on 10 or 11 April. Everyone wants to know first - Gagarin or Titov? But Kamanin has not made a final decision yet. Gagarin shows hesitancy in accepting the automatic parachute deployment on the first flight, and only reluctantly agrees to the compromise solution. Titov is a stronger character, better able to hold up during a long duration mission, such as the one-day flight planned for the second mission. But the first into space will be the object of all of the attention from the news media and public. There is not a day that goes by that Kamanin does not think through the issue, without reaching a final conclusion. In the evening the cosmonauts go to the theatre, but the projectionist refuses to run the planned movie on orders of the base commander.
Rudnev arrives at the cosmondrome, and the first state commission meeting is held with Korolev and the technicians at 11:30. The oxygen regenerator is still not ready, and it is decided to fly with the old dehumidifier on the first flight, since only a 90 minute mission is planned anyway. The suit and all recovery systems worked perfectly on the 9 and 25 March mannequin flights, so the NAZ system is deemed ready for flight. After the meeting Rudnev and Makarov of the KGB go to work on the written orders that will be binding on the cosmonauts in case of accidental landing on foreign territory. Kamanin, Keldysh, and Korolev draw up the final draft of the announcements to be issued in case of normal orbital insertion and after successful landing. In the evening Gagarin and Titov try on their individual suits and Alekseyev checks the parachute systems. The cosmonauts return to the hotel at 11 pm.
At Area 2 the cosmonauts conduct three hours of training on manual landing, and activities after landing. All three accomplish the manual landing well. Then they have three hours of badminton for physical conditioning. Both Gagarin and Titov like the game, and they are filmed for posterity. In the evening Rudnev discusses adding a night shift in order to achieve launch on 11 to 12 April. Afterwards Vershinin is briefed, and told all is normal, heading for an 11/12 April launch. Vershinin replies that the Americans are planning to launch their first man into space on 28 April. Kamanin is confident, there will be no difficulty in beating them. He notes the Americans launched a Mercury capsule on 24 March, but there was an abort and the capsule sank in the Atlantic. In the evening the movies are 'Careful, Babushka' and 'Vostok-1'. Kamanin finds the film on the mission good. General Moskalenko calls - he wants a meeting with the cosmonauts on launch day. Kamanin is not opposed, but he needs to know a specific time - it will be a busy morning before the launch
Rudnev chairs the meeting, in which Kamanin recommends that Gagarin pilot the first manned spaceflight, with Titov as backup. A discussion follows on whether to have a representative from the FAI at the launch in order to obtain registration of the world record. Marshal Moskalenko and Keldysh are opposed - they don't want anyone from outside at the secret cosmodrome. It is decided to enclose the code to unlock the controls of the spacecraft in a special packet. Gagarin will have to break it open in order to get the code that will allow him to override the automatic system and orient the spacecraft manually for re-entry. An emergency ejection during ascent to orbit is discussed. It is decided that only Korolev or Kamanin will be allowed to manually command an ejection in the first 40 seconds of flight. After that, the process will be automatic. There is embarrassment when Moskalenko confronts Yazdovskiy: 'so why are you here, when you're a veterinarian and only handle dogs?' Kamanin has to explain that Yazdovskiy is actually a medical doctor. After the meeting, Kamanin reviews Titov's training in the spacecraft, which has gone well.
It is a pleasant spring day at Area 10. The cosmonauts play sports, games, and chess. Rudnev and Moskalaneko think the launch will not realistically happen until 14-15 April. Kamanin informs Gagarin and Titov of the selection of Gagarin to be the first man in space.
Kamanin plays badminton with Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov, winning 16 to 5. At 12:00 a meeting is held with the cosmonauts at the Syr Darya River. Rudnev, Moskalenko, and Korolev informally discuss plans with Gagarin, Titov, Nelyubov, Popovich, Nikolayev, and Bykovsky. Korolev addresses the group, saying that it is only four years since the Soviet Union put the first satellite into orbit, and here they are about to put a man into space. The six cosmonauts here are all ready and qualified for the first flight. Although Gagarin has been selected for this flight, the others will follow soon - in this year production of ten Vostok spacecraft will be completed, and in future years it will be replaced by the two or three-place Sever spacecraft. The place of these cosmonauts here does not indicate the completion of our work, says Korolev, but rather the beginning of a long line of Soviet spacecraft. Korolev predicts that the flight will be completed safely, and he wishes Yuri Alekseyevich success. Kamanin and Moskalenko follow with their speeches. In the evening the final State Commission meeting is held. Launch is set for 12 April and the selection of Gagarin for the flight is ratified. The proceedings are recorded for posterity on film and tape.
The booster is rolled out to the pad at 05:00. At 10:00 the cosmonauts meet with Feoktistov for a last review of the flight plan. Launch is set of 09:07 the next day, followed by shutdown and jettison of the lateral boosters of the first stage at 09:09, and orbital insertion at 09:18. The spacecraft will orient itself toward the sun for retrofire at 09:50. At 10:15 the first command sequence will be uploaded to the spacecraft, followed by the second at 10:18 and the third at 10:25. Retrofire of the TDU engine will commence at 10:25:47. The service module will separate from the capsule at 10:36 as the capsule begins re-entry. The capsule's parachute will deploy at 10:43:43 and at 10:44:12 the cosmonaut's ejection seat will fire. While the cosmonauts go through this, the booster has been brought upright on the pad, the service towers raised, and all umbilical connections made. Korolev, Yazdovskiy, and the others make a final inspection at the pad prior to the commencement of the countdown. At 13:00 Gagarin meets a group of soldiers, NCO's, and officers. After this Kamanin and the cosmonauts go to the cottage formerly occupied by Marshal Nedelin, where they will spend the last night before launch. They eat 'space food' out of 160 g toothpaste-type tubes for lunch - two servings of meat puree and one of chocolate sauce. Gagarin's blood pressure is measured as 115/60, pulse 64, body temperature 36.8 deg C. He then subjects to placement of the biosensors he will wear during the flight, and baseline measurements are taken for an hour and twenty minutes. He is very calm through all this. At 21:30 Korolev comes to the cottage, says good night to the cosmonauts, then goes back out to check on launch preparations. Gagarin and Titov go to bed after this. Kamanin stays up a while in the next room, listening to them talk to one another in the dark.
First manned spaceflight, one orbit of the earth. Three press releases were prepared, one for success, two for failures. It was only known ten minutes after burnout, 25 minutes after launch, if a stable orbit had been achieved.
The payload included life-support equipment and radio and television to relay information on the condition of the pilot. The flight was automated; Gagarin's controls were locked to prevent him from taking control of the ship. The combination to unlock the controls was available in a sealed envelope in case it became necessary to take control in an emergency. After retrofire, the service module remained attached to the Sharik reentry sphere by a wire bundle. The joined craft went through wild gyrations at the beginning of re-entry, before the wires burned through. The Sharik, as it was designed to do, then naturally reached aerodynamic equilibrium with the heat shield positioned correctly.
Gagarin ejected after re-entry and descended under his own parachute, as was planned. However for many years the Soviet Union denied this, because the flight would not have been recognized for various FAI world records unless the pilot had accompanied his craft to a landing. Recovered April 12, 1961 8:05 GMT. Landed Southwest of Engels Smelovka, Saratov. Additional Details: here....
The commission meets from 09:30 to 12:00, making the official interview of Gagarin on his flight. There are unending questions. Afterwards Gagarin fields more questions by phone from the press. In the second half of the day he is readied for the return to Moscow. He has to make a half-hour speech to Khrushchev, but he hurries through the prepared text. Two or three trainers had noted this impatience of his, but Kamanin had already decided before the flight that Gagarin had the makings of a good orator. In the evening Brezhnev calls twice, and Vershinin several more times, coordinating things for Gagarin's return to Moscow. Bad weather is predicted for the next day and it is decided that Gagarin's airplane will arrive at Vnukovo. Gagarin is to exit the aircraft and walk alone to the reviewing stand. For this performance he is measured for a new uniform and great coat. He rehearses the speech twice, with Kamanin playing the part of Khrushchev in posing impromptu questions.
Everyone is up at the dacha on the Volga at 06:00 and are ready to leave shortly thereafter. Now the weather in Moscow is expected to be fine. At 10:40 an Il-18 takes off for Moscow with Gagarin's party. This consists of Gagarin, Agaltsov, Rytov, Yazdovskiy, several correspondents, and some film operators. 50 km from Moscow seven fighters intercept the transport and form up as an escort, two off each wing, and three trailing. Gagarin calls them on the radio 'Brother fighter pilots - I send you greetings - Yuri Gagarin!' The aircraft formation flies down Lenin Prospekt, Red Square, and then up Gorkiy Street to Vnukovo. There are masses of people everywhere below. At exactly 15:00 the aircraft shuts down its engines 100 m from the reviewing stands. Yuri exits the aircraft and steps into history....
He checks into the Central Aviation Hospital for five to six days of intensive physical tests and observation. Denisovo and Borzenko from Pravda interview him during this period for the book that is to be issued. Kamanin has been named as the editor for the work.
Between 27 May and 7 August Gagarin and Kamanin travel to Czechoslovakia, Finland, England, Iceland, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Hungary. In July they are at Paris at the FAI, where the records supporting the record flights of Shepard and Gagarin are examined. Kamanin has no time to write up the materials from the tour. Both he and Gagarin are out of the country during preparations for and the actual flight of Titov aboard Vostok 2.
Gagarin is found at 23:50 at night on the lawn outside his resort hotel in the Crimea, with a big gash in his face and bleeding profusely. 'He's dying' a bystander declares. A doctor is called from the Black Sea fleet, who arrives only four hours later and then does emergency on-the-spot surgery. A tawdry story comes out. Gagarin had slept briefly, then assisted his daughter to bathe at 22:00 and put her to bed. Then he went down to the first floor, where the cosmonauts' wives were playing cards, and his wife was playing chess. Yuri said he was sick of chess, didn't want to play cards, and put on a record. At 23:47 Yuri told his wife Valya, who was still playing cards, 'enough of games, let's go to bed'. Two or three minutes later Valya had finished her hand, and said 'Where's Yuri?' Someone said he had gone down the corridor to the right and went into one of the bedrooms. She found the door locked, and only after pounding on the door, a 27-year old nurse, Anya, opened up. 'Where's Yuri?' Valya demanded, and Anya told her 'Your husband jumped from balcony'. Gagarin had leapt the 2 m to an asphalt surface, but caught his foot in the grape vines against the wall, pitched forward, and hit his face on a cement curb. The nurse said Yuri had entered the room, locked the door, and said 'hey, would you like to get it on?' and started kissing her. - then the pounding on the door came and Gagarin jumped out of the building.
Gagarin needs ten days of healing before he can make a public appearance - and he's scheduled to be at the Party Congress on 17 October. His participation is cancelled. He swears to Kamanin that he will mend his ways and follow the true path in the future.
Titov attends in place of Gagarin. Kamanin's cover story is that Gagarin is in the hospital, suffering from exhaustion, and that he will confined to bed until 25 October. Everyone, from Khrushchev on down, is unhappy with this. Kamanin's enemies are using the situation to criticize VVS participation in the space program in general, and Kamanin personally. Without Gagarin, Titov is not seated in the Presidium, and the VVS loses an important lever of influence at the meeting.
Gagarin and Titov are criticised for their high living and consorting with loose women and prostitutes while in the Crimea and on the road. Gagarin is also brought to task for the ridiculous story he made up as to why his wife found him in the nurse's bedroom. Gagarin receives his FAI Medal at a public ceremony. The press asks where he got the scar on his face. He tells them that he was hit by a stone while playing with his daughter.
He has visited Indonesia and Burma. Tomorrow Gagarin leaves on a tour of Africa. There has been an 'incident' between Titov and his chauffeur Pomerantesva. She was born in 1918, has a child and is a good party member. Titov wanted her to drink with him at 2 am in the morning. It is obvious that the role of cosmonauts is much greater than planned - more academic training is needed. Therefore Kamanin decides to split the cosmonauts into two groups. One group will train for space in 1962 while the other goes to university. The groups will switch in the fall of 1963.
Glenn is in Washington, and meets the Secretary General of the United Nations, who mentions a plan of the Soviet ambassador to the UN. Gagarin and Titov might visit New York to address the United Nations on 19 March. This would provide an opportunity for the cosmonauts and US astronauts to meet.
Due to technical problems and the launch failure of a Zenit spy satellite, the launch of the dual Vostoks is pushed back to April. Therefore a trip to New York by the cosmonauts in March will not be possible. In any case the Presidium has decided against allowing them to address the United Nations.
Rafikov is dismissed effective immediately. He says he is sorry, but believes that blame should be shared collectively. He says the escapades of Gagarin and Titov encouraged him and Anikeyev to do the same. He says that his wife and five-year-old son want to stay with him. His pleas are to no avail. Meanwhile the cosmonauts still support limiting the next flights in space to two days, but Korolev is training Nikolayev and Popovich for three days anyway.
A briefing by engineer V A Smirnov predicts that the Americans will make a 17-18 revolution flight of the earth by the end of 1962. Kamanin disagrees, believing they will not achieve this until the second half of 1963. Another Zenit-2 spy satellite has failed to achieve orbit. The first had failed due to a third stage problem, and now the third attempt failed due to a first stage problem. It blew up 300 m from the pad, and did enough damage to put the launch complex out of operation for a month. Therefore the Vostok 3/4 launches cannot now take place until the end of July at the earliest.
Kamanin has continued arguments over the reorganisation of VVS space units and the role of IAKM. Korolev has never supported a leading role for the VVS or Kamanin in the Soviet space program. He is complaining about the 'offences' of the VVS, Kamanin, and the cosmonauts. Korolev cites Gagarin's trauma and Titov's motor accidents. He believes cosmonauts should be selected only from OKB-1 engineers. He also believes the cosmonauts are wasting too much time on publicity tours. Vershinin and Keldysh are hearing all of these complaints.
Smirnov, Rudenko, Gagarin attend. Go-ahead is given for launch on 10/11 August. Nikolayev wants to spend one hour in his spacecraft before launch, but Korolev is against this, not wanting the spacecraft disturbed after it has passed all of its tests. Finally a compromise is reached, whereby Nikolayev will get his hour, but without wearing his spacesuit.
Kamanin discusses with Rudenko the need for construction and flight of ten additional Vostok spacecraft. Korolev still plans to have the first Soyuz spacecraft completed and flying by May 1963, but Kamanin finds this completely unrealistic. The satellite is still only on paper; he doesn't believe it will fly until 1964. If the Vostoks are not built, Kamanin believes the Americans will surpass the Russians in manned spaceflight in 1963-1964. From 13:00 to 14:00 Nikolayev spends an hour in his spacesuit in the ejection seat. Kamanin finds many mistakes in the design of the ejection seat. There is no room for error in disconnect of the ECS, in release of the seat, and so on. At 17:00 the State Commission holds a rally to fete Gagarin and Titov in the square in front of headquarters. Kamanin finds the event very warm but poorly organised. At 19:00 Smirnov chairs the meeting of the State Commission in the conference hall of the MIK. Korolev declares the spacecraft and launch vehicle ready; Kamanin declares the cosmonauts ready. Nikolayev is formally named the commanding officer of Vostok 3, and Popovich of Vostok 4. Rudenko gets Popovich's name wrong - his second serious mistake. He had earlier called the meeting for the wrong time.
Joint flight with Vostok 4. The first such flight, where Vostok capsules were launched one day apart, coming within a few kilometers of each other at the orbital insertion of the second spacecraft. The flight was supposed to occur in March, but following various delays, one of the two Vostok pads was damaged in the explosion of the booster of the third Zenit-2 reconnsat in May. Repairs were not completed until August. Vostok 3 studied man's ability to function under conditions of weightlessness; conducted scientific observations; furthered improvement of space ship systems, communications, guidance and landing. Immediately at orbital insertion of Vostok 4, the spacecraft were less than 5 km apart. Popovich made radio contact with Cosmonaut Nikolayev. Nikolayev reported shortly thereafter that he had sighted Vostok 4. Since the Vostok had no maneuvering capability, they could not rendezvous or dock, and quickly drifted apart. The launches did allow Korolev to offer something new and different, and gave the launch and ground control crews practice in launching and handling more than one manned spacecraft at a time. The cosmonaut took colour motion pictures of the earth and the cabin interior. Additional Details: here....
Recovered August 15, 1962 6:59 GMT. Landed 48:09 N 71:51 E. By 07:00 the temperature aboard Vostok 4 is down to 10 deg C, and the humidity at 35%. Popovich is ready to continue for a fourth day, but he admits the cold is getting to him. Keldysh and Rudenko now support returning Vostok 4 to earth on the 49th orbit, but Smirnov still wants to go for the extra day. Then Popovich radios 'I observe thunderstorms (groza). Groza is the pre-agreed code word to indicate that the cosmonaut is vomiting. It is believed he is declaring an emergency and requesting an immediate landing. The State Commission meets again and has to decide within 40 minutes whether to begin setting the spacecraft up for retrofire. But then when Korolev and Smirnov ask the cosmonaut to verify, he explains "I am excellent, I was observing meteorological thunderstorms and lightning". However Gagarin and Kamanin are suspicious of the explanation - they believe Popovich had an attack of nausea, panicked, made the emergency radio transmission, but then felt better and didn't want to admit to his weakness when confronted by the leadership. However it is now too late. He is set to return at nearly the same time as Nikolayev on Vostok 3. Both spacecraft land successfully six minutes apart a short distance from each other. However flight plans for the State Commission are wrecked due to bad weather at nearby airfields.
The cosmonauts continue their post-flight medical examinations, but everyone is suffering from hangovers from the celebration the night before. There was a stupid incident, with some of the leaders blaming Nikolayev of bad behaviour. Most of the commission leaves in the evening. In the afternoon the new heroes of the cosmos - Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, and Popovich - are taken boating, to the acclaim of crowds on the shore.
The big question regards Gagarin. Shall the 'Columbus of the Cosmos' be allowed to risk his life on another spaceflight? Most of the Soviet leadership are against it, but Gagarin himself wants to train and fly again. Later in the day the cosmonauts have an idiotic argument with IAKM on high-G centrifuge runs for female cosmonauts. This is the first cosmonaut revolt against the policies and practices of IAKM.
At 8 am the State Commission meets and approves a five-hour countdown to launch of Vostok 5 at 14:00. The cosmonaut and his backup have slept well and are at medical at 9:00 for the pre-flight physical examination and donning of their space suits. At T minus 2 hours and fifteen minutes they ride the bus to the pad. A few minutes after Bykovskiy is inserted into the capsule, problems with the UHF communications channels are encountered - three of the six channels seem to be inoperable. Gagarin and Odintsov are consulted on how it will be for the cosmonaut to fly with just three channels operable - is it a Go or No-Go? Go! Next a problem develops with the ejection seat. After the hatch is sealed, a technician cannot find one of the covers that should have been removed from the ejection seat mechanism. It is necessary to unbolt the hatch and check - the seat will not eject if the cover has been left in place. At T minus 15 minutes Gagarin, Korolev, Kirillov, and Kamanin go into the bunker adjacent to the rocket.
A new problem arises -- the 'Go' light for the Block-E third stage won't illuminate on the control room console. It can't be determined if it is a failure of the stage or an instrumentation failure. It will take two to five hours to bring up the service tower and check out the stage. But if the rocket is left fuelled that long, regulations say it must be removed from the pad and sent back to the factory for refurbishment. In that case there can be no launch until August. Krylov and the State Commission would rather defer the launch to August. The last possible launch time is 17:00 in order to have correct lighting conditions for retrofire and at emergency landing zones. But Korolev, Tyulin, Kirillov, and Pilyugin have faith in their rocket, decide that the problem must be instrumentation, and recycle the count for a 17:00 launch.
The launch goes ahead perfectly at 17:00 - even all six UHF communications channels function perfectly. On orbit 4 Bykovskiy talks to Khrushchev from orbit and good television images are received from the capsule. Bykovskiy reports he can see the stars but not the solar corona. His orbit is good for eleven days.
Bykovskiy slept well, his pulse was 54. The ground station could observe him via television - he made no motion while sleeping. On orbit 23 the cosmonaut was to communicate with earth, but no transmissions were received. Gagarin asks him why, and Bykovskiy simply replies that he had nothing to say and had already had a communications session with Zarya-1. But this was not true, they also reported no transmissions. At 07:00 he is asleep again, pulse 48-51. An hour later Korolev calls and discusses the impending launch of Vostok 6, 11 hours later.
At 12:15 Tereshkova is on the pad. Her pulse skyrockets to 140 aboard the elevator to the top of the rocket. 10 to 15 minutes later she is in the capsule and testing radio communications with ground control. There are no problems with the spacecraft or launch vehicle during the countdown - everything goes perfectly, just as it did on 12 April 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Tereshkova handles the launch and ascent to orbit much better than Popovich or Nikolayev according to her biomedical readings and callouts. Kamanin feels reassured that it was no mistake to select her for the flight.
The launch of the first woman into space creates a newspaper sensation throughout the world. Direct orbit-to-orbit communications between Tereshkova and Bykovskiy are excellent. She talks to Khrushchev and the Soviet leadership soon thereafter. This was truly a great victory for Communism!
Gagarin is in the hospital to have his inflamed tonsils removed. A brainstorming session is held with the flown cosmonauts to identify problems encountered in flight and necessary improvements to training and flight operations to prevent them from reoccurring. The Military Soviet meets but the issue of Odintsev is not taken up -- his defenders in the hierarchy manage to suppress discussion of his removal.
Another meeting is held with Korolev on future manned space flight plans. The same plans are presented as have been discussed for over a year - one animal flight, three manned flights for 10 days / to 1000 km. This issue must be resolved. Soyuz will not fly before 1965 - therefore Vostok must be flown or there will no Soviet manned spaceflights in 1964. In reality Soyuz is likely to be delayed, and 6 to 8 Vostoks are needed, not just 4. Equipment to be tested on the flights included soft landing equipment, a back-up retrofire engine, long-range communications systems, and scientific experiments. The physicians are too conservative - zero-G is obviously not as big an issue as thought. There should be nothing to prevent flight of non-pilot passengers. Korolev points out that if the cosmonaut is consumed by fear, or if any serious problem arises, as long as you can survive for an hour an emergency return to earth can be made. Within an hour the passenger will be in Cuba or Vladivostok. Kamanin would like Gagarin to be appointed next head of the cosmonaut centre, but this is opposed by Rudnev and Vershinin. Tereshkova has talked to Khrushchev - he's now supporting award of a Hero of the Soviet Union medal to Nikitin.
Following an overview of the planned trip of Bykovsky and Gagarin to Sweden and Norway on 1-15 March, American military space plans are reviewed. There are many fantastic projects, over a wide and well-financed front. Currently reconnaissance satellites are flying, to be followed by inspection, and then anti-satellite satellites in 3 to 5 years. After that manned military space stations are planned, manoeuvrable manned spacecraft, and the establishment of scientific and military bases on the moon. Despite this big US program, the Soviet military leadership shows no interest in Russian exploitation of space for military purposes.
Kamanin meets with Nikolayev, who briefs him on his goodwill tour of Soviet cities. Kamanin shows him a 200-rouble fine art book on the first space missions, of which he has received only six copies to distribute. Nikolayev would like one, but Kamanin says it is reserved for Tereshkova. Gagarin later briefs Kamanin on his tour of Western Europe. Gagarin is interested in commanding the Voskhod 1 mission, but Kamanin believes it is too risky. However the excuse he gives to Gagarin is that none of the flown cosmonauts are flight-ready due to constant publicity tours. Given only three months to prepare for the flight, the commander will have to be one of the unflown cosmonauts current in training. Later Kamanin formulates a position for the General Staff on the Voskhod flights. The VVS should promise full support for the Party's resolution, while pointing out the risks and the unreliability of the Voskhod design. Kamanin is told the support will be transmitted, but the qualifiers will not. Kamanin fumes that Khrushchev has given the go-ahead to proceed without being informed at all of the grave risks.
Kamanin has decided to train two groups in parallel: flown cosmonauts (Titov, Bykovsky, and Popovich), and passenger-cosmonauts. Gagarin and Nikolayev oppose plans to fly non-military personnel in space. Kamanin observes with disgust that Khrushchev is handing out medals meant for true Soviet heroes to himself and foreign leaders such as Janos Kadar and Fidel Castro. He observes that Khrushchev will turn 70 on April 17, and no longer enjoys support from the military or other sectors of the state. Kamanin recites what he sees as Khrushchev's mistakes: his denunciation of Stalin, his ruining of relations with other Communist states such as Yugoslavia, Albania, and China; and he has ruined the Soviet domestic economy, with basic foodstuffs suffering in quality and quantity.
Since 14 August most of the cosmonauts have been out of town. Gagarin is in Leningrad, Titov and Bykovsky in Kiev, Popovich in Lipetsk (being trained on the MiG-21), the Voskhod crews in Arkhangelsk. Only Tereshkova and Nikolayev remain in Moscow. Then comes the news that Popovich has injured his leg in a fall on some stairs. The incident came after Popovich picked up two 15-year old girls in his Volga.
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 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.
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." Additional Details: here....
The world's first recovery of an orbital spacecraft with its crew aboard on land was made possible by rocket package suspended above capsule in parachute lines, which ignited just prior to impact in order to cushion landing. The trio landed after 16 orbits of the earth, 24 hours and 17 min after they had left, on October 13, 1964 07:47 GMT. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin receives a phone call from Serbin in the Central Committee, demanding that all nine flown cosmonauts be present at the unveiling of a space obelisk in Moscow the next day, and be on the podium at Red Square on 7 November. This is impossible - the cosmonauts are dispersed on vacation, cure, or public relations missions. Gagarin, Nikolayev, Popovich, and Tereshkova are in Sochi, and after discussion, it seems they will be able to get back by the next day. But Titov and Bykovsky are in Odessa, and it will take them three days to get back. The VVS leadership is contacted to arrange special flights, otherwise all nine could only be gathered by 9-10 November.
Kamanin receives the decree creating the new TsUKOS military organisation that will direct Soviet spaceflight. He is sure such a resolution would never have passed had Biryuzov not been killed in the plane crash. The VVS retains only its existing role of cosmonaut training.
Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, Popovich, Tereshkova, and Bykovsky have all managed to make it to Moscow by plane, and they meet at TsPK at 13:00. Kamanin takes the unique opportunity of having them all together to discuss plans for their higher engineering education at the Zhukovskiy Academy, plans for construction of new quarters at the TsPK, and an overview of planned future missions based on recent resolutions. At 14:30 the group departs in four Volga automobiles for Moscow. The unveiling ceremony is at 16:00. Brezhnev, Kosygin, Mikoyan, and other bigwigs are there as well.
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.
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.
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....
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.
Gagarin and the rest of the male cosmonauts, as many as other VVS officers, are opposed to Kamanin's plan for a female Voskhod flight. The first cosmonaut group are also opposed to appointment of Beregovoi and Shatalov to flight crews. Tereshkova has lost 5 kg and looks ill, but all the doctors say she is healthy.
Kamanin calls Korolev, finds he is suffering from very low blood pressure (100/60). Kamanin suggests that candidates for the commander position in the first two Soyuz missions would be Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky, or Komarov. Korolev agrees basically, but says that he sees Bykovsky and Nikolayev as candidates for the first manned lunar flyby shots. Kamanin suggests Artyukhin and Demin for the engineer-cosmonaut role on the first Soyuz flights, but Korolev disagrees, saying Feoktistov has to be aboard. However Korolev agrees with Kamanin's selection for the next Voskhod flight - Volynov/Katys as prime crew, Beregovoi/Demin as backups. Later Kamanin corresponds with Stroev over modification of an Mi-4 helicopter as a lunar lander simulator.
Kamanin meets with Korolev at 15:00 to discuss crew plans. As Soyuz pilot candidates, Kamanin proposes Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky, Komarov, Kolodin, Artyukhin, and Matinchenko. Korolev counters by proposing supplemental training of a supplemental group of engineer-cosmonauts from the ranks of OKB-1. He calls Anokhin, his lead test pilot, informs Korolev that there are 100 engineers working at the bureau that are potential cosmonauts candidates, of which perhaps 25 would complete the selection process. Kamanin agrees to assist OKB-1 in flight training of these engineer-cosmonauts. Kamanin again proposes Volynov and Katys as prime crew for the Voskhod 3 12-15 day flight. Korolev reveals that, even though Kamanin will have the crew ready by October, the spacecraft for the flight may not yet even be ready by November - Kamanin thinks January 1966 is more realistic. The discussion turns to the female EVA flight - Ponomaryova as pilot, Solovyova as spacewalker. It is decided that a group of 6 to 8 cosmonauts will begin dedicated training in September for lunar flyby and landing missions. Korolev advises Kamanin that metal fabrication of the N1 superbooster first article will be completed by the end of 1965. The booster will have a payload to low earth orbit of 90 tonnes, and later versions with uprated engines will reach 130 tonnes payload. Korolev foresees the payload for the first N1 tests being a handful of Soyuz spacecraft.
A major programme review is held on plans for Voskhod s/n 5, 6, and 7. Tsybin insists that to conduct all of the experiments requested by the Ministry of Defence will take ten spacecraft and missions, but only five have been authorised. Spacecraft s/n 5 will fly with dogs, on a biosat mission. Spacecraft s/n 6 and 7 are being completed for 15-day flights with two crew, outfitted for artificial gravity experiments and medical and military research. The readiness of the military experiments is very poor, due to the fact that in the past Malinovskiy over and over again prohibited any work on military uses of space, at least until the ideal military platform was developed. It was only on Keldysh's initiative that any preliminary work had been done at all. Kamanin replies to Tsybin that it was not the business of OKB-1 to develop military experiments; this was the concern of the Military of Defence. Yet, Kamanin admits to himself, there is no single organisation within the Ministry that is supervising this work. Later Kamanin takes Gagarin to a meeting with Vershinin and Marshal Grechko. The Marshal is unimpressed with Gagarin's understanding of the issues involved in the issue of whether the VVS or RVSN should handle manned spaceflight. Kamanin resolves not to take cosmonauts to such high-level meetings in the future. Grechko does understand finally how poorly Malinovskiy and his deputies have handled military spaceflight. But Malinovskiy, and his supporters, Marshal Rudenko, and Colonel-General Ponomaryov, will not give up in their effort to prevent the VVS from becoming the responsible organisation for military spaceflight.
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.
Brezhnev has not yet had even one hour to glance at Gagarin's letter. Kamanin and the cosmonauts are frustrated - the country has the means - the rockets, the spacecraft designs - to be beating the Americans, but nothing is done due to zero planning, poor organisation and management. Korolev still talks about flying a Voskhod in November, but neither the equipment for the artificial gravity experiment or the 3KD spacecraft for the EVA have been completed. Kamanin hears from Tsybin that Korolev is considering abandoning the Voskhod flights completely so that OKB-1 can concentrate on completing development of the Soyuz...
Tsybin has learned through his Ministry of Defence contacts of Gagarin's letter to Brezhnev. He hears that they have criticized the space policy of the Minister of Defence and proposed that the VVS manage Soviet manned spaceflight. The letter also reportedly requests production of a new series of Voskhods to fill in the manned spaceflight gap created by delays in the Soyuz program. Korolev is remarkably unperturbed that he had not heard of the letter, and that Gagarin never said anything to him about it.
Brezhnev has finally read Gagarin's letter, and forwarded it to Smirnov for a full report. Smirnov in turn has asked the commanders of the military branches to convene a soviet to address the issues raised in the letter. Marshal Sudets meets with cosmonauts Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, Komarov, Leonov, as well as Kamanin and Kuznetsov. There is a consensus that a single military branch should handle space - either VSS, PVO, or RVSN - but many are opposed to that branch being the VVS. The consensus is that the mission should be given to the PVO.
Marshal Grechko convenes the Soviet to consider the issues raised by Gagarin's letter. Representatives from the PVO, VVS, RVSN, and the NTK attend. Problems in the space program and the loss of the lead in the space race to the Americans are blamed on the Academy of Sciences and the design bureaux and factories - none dare risk blaming poor management and support by the Ministry of Defence. The issues seen are:
There is no high-level support for moving space activities away from what Kamanin calls 'the artillery people' - it is known that Ustinov has made his career in building up the RVSN, and he is not about to criticise them.
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.
After a meeting with Kamanin, Korolev tells Chertok in confidence that Gagarin is training for a flight on a Soyuz mission. Chertok responds that it will take him at least a year to complete training, but that doesn't matter, since Mnatsakanian's Igla docking system will not be ready than any earlier than that. Korolev explodes on hearing this. "I allowed all work on Voskhod stopped so that the staff can be completely dedicated to Soyuz. I will not allow the Soyuz schedule to slip a day further". Turkov had been completing further Voskhods only on direct orders from the VPK and on the insistence of the VVS. Aside from military experiments, further Voskhod flights were meant to take back the space endurance record from the Americans. Korolev has derailed those plans without openly telling anyone in order to get the Soyuz flying.
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.
The urn with Korolev's ashes is placed in the Kremlin Wall by an honor guard of cosmonauts and the highest leaders of the state. Kamanin knows that the like of Korolev will not be seen again. There are dozens of Chief Designers, but none with the genius, talent, and drive of Korolev. Kamanin worries for the future in the space race with the Americans. Even in life, Korolev was never able to achieve more than one or two spaceflights per year. Now, in 1966, they are supposed to achieve four times that flight rate without him.
Kamanin, Gagarin, Komarov, and other VVS staff attend the first program review held since Korolev's death. Mishin reviews spacecraft build status. Voskhod s/n 5 is to be shipped to Tyuratam on 1 February and launched in the first half of February. This is the spacecraft fitted for the 30-day unmanned biosat mission with dogs. Kamanin had argued with Korolev over the last year that this flight was unnecessary, but Korolev did not want to expose the cosmonauts to the risk of a long-duration spaceflight with a heavily modified spacecraft without an unmanned precursor flight. The manned flight of Voskhod s/n 6 on an 18-day mission can only begin after the landing of s/n 5, e.g. launch in the period 10-20 March.
Smirnov again questions the chief designers about the reliability of the parachute systems developed by Tkachev. The VVS remains troubled as to the reliability of these systems. Recently the system has been tested at Fedosiya to increase its rating to 2900 to 3200 kg for use on Voskhod-3. Three parachutes in these tests suffered rips during deployment. The Voskhod-3 capsule will weigh 3000 kg. Tkachev says he will guarantee its safety, but VVS and LII specialists do not share this optimism. Leonov, Gagarin, and various cosmonauts ask Kamanin to stop further showings of the new film comedy "30-3", which they say denigrates Soviet cosmonauts. However a showing to the leadership is enjoyed by all, and they see no grounds for surpressing it.
Kamanin spent six hours the previous Saturday reviewing the development plan over the next 24-30 months of the Soviet manned lunar landing with Gagarin, Nikolayev, and Komarov. Today is the third day of the duration test of the Voskhod-3 ECS at IMBP. It is showing unstable temperature control; the cabin is vacillating between 25 and 15 deg C. After review by the engineers and Voronin, it is decided to continue with the run.
Tyulin and Mozzhorin review with Kamanin crewing plans. Even though the missions of Voskhod 4 and 5 are not yet clear, Tyulin wants to settle on Beregovoi and Katys for Voskhod 4, and Ponomaryova and Solovyova for Voskhod 5. Since October 1965 six crews have been in training for Soyuz flights: Gagarin -Voronov, Nikolayev-Gorbatko, Bykovsky-Matinchenko, Komarov-Kolodin, Zaikin-Khrunov, and Popovich-Artyukhin. But these are just nominal groupings, and firm crew assignments by mission have not yet been made.
The Luna 10 robot orbiter has successfully entered moon orbit, conducted two radio communications sessions, including broadcast back to the earth of the "International", the Socialist hymn, to the 23rd Party Congress. Bushuev from OKB-1 is seeking cosmonaut representatives for the commission that will inspect the mock-up of the L1 circumlunar spacecraft. Kamanin nominates Gagarin, Komarov, Nikitin, Frolov, Smirnov, and others. Kamanin informs OKB-1 that he has obtained the support of the PVO and RVSN for the completion and flight of Voskhod s/n 7, 8, and 9. A letter to Smirnov asking for those fights to be conducted will be drafted.
Gagarin, Gorbatko, Nikolayev, Popovich, and their wives went out with delegates to the 23 Party Congress from Kiev. Afterwards an argument broke out between Popovich and his wife when she caught him in an embrace with Gorbatko's wife. Popovich struck his wife in the presence of the others, and her brother punched Popovich in response, giving him a black eye.
The simulators and partial-task trainers continue very much behind schedule. There is talk of moving responsibility for them from Darevskiy's bureau to OKB-1. Popovich's fitness for future flight and command assignments is questionable. Nevertheless, he will join Titov, Leonov, Volynov, Shonin, Zaikin, Gagarin, and Solovyova at the Zhukovskiy Academy, from which they will be expected to graduate with advanced degrees in engineering in October 1967. Nikolayev, Bykovsky, and Gorbatko will finish one or two years later, since they will be preoccupied with flight assignments on the 7K-OK.
The L1 inspection has not gone well. The cosmonauts find that the spacecraft has the same safety problems as Voskhod: no spacesuits, no reserve parachute for the spacecraft, no signal sent when the parachute deploys (the UHF beacon only begins emitting 10 seconds after landing). Supposedly this unsafe and poorly designed spacecraft is supposed to take cosmonauts around the moon by November 1967. Kamanin finds this incredible.
Kamanin receives the order to prepare Volynov and Shatalov and their crews for a 20-27 May launch date. The commanders are understandably upset about the constant postponements. Later the continuing transgressions of Popovich and Titov are discussed with Gagarin and Nikolayev. Are they really fit to be detachment commanders?
Gagarin and Leonov visit Kamanin, who is on vacation at his dacha. They tell him of manoeuvres by Tyulin, Burnazyan, and Mishin in his absence. A VPK resolution will name crews for Soyuz missions that will consist of "invalid" engineers from OKB-1 (Anokhin, Frolov, Makarov, Volkov) instead of trained, flown cosmonauts (Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky).
Kamanin is back from leave and orients himself. VVS General Rudenko has been visited by Mishin, Tsybin, and Tyulin. They want to replace Kamanin's crews for the first Soyuz mission in September-October with a crew made up of OKB-1 engineers: Dolgopolov, Yeliseyev, and Volkov as the prime crew, Anokhin, Makarov, and Grechko as back-ups. Kamanin believes this absurd proposal, made only three months before the planned flight date, shows a complete lack of understanding on the part of OKB-1 management of the training and fitness required for spaceflight. Kamanin has had eight cosmonauts (Komarov, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Bykovsky, Voronov, Kolodin, Gagarin, and Nikolayev) training for this flight since September 1965. Yet Mishin and Tyulin have been shopping this absurd proposal to Smirnov, Ustinov, and Malinovskiy, who do not know enough to reject it.
Brezhnev has finally agreed to meet with Gagarin, Leonov, and Kamanin on 28 or 29 July. Gagarin will be in Czechoslovakia on 25 July, and Leonov in Hungary; they'll have to be back by the 27th to prepare for the meeting. Kamanin holds no great hope for the outcome - the cosmonauts' desire to reorganize and reprioritise Soviet spaceflight will meet powerful opposition from Ustinov, Smirnov, and Malinovskiy.
Mishin, Rudenko, and others have met with Beregovoi and support his selection as commander for the first Soyuz mission. Kamanin does not believe he is fit for the assignment, due to his age, his height and weight (that are the limit of the acceptable for the Soyuz). Gagarin reports that during a visit to OKB-1 the day before, he discovered that they were still going all out to prepare their own crews and train their own cosmonauts for Soyuz flights. Kamanin reassures him that the full power of the VVS, the General Staff, and the Ministry of Defence is behind the position that only VVS pilots will command the missions. Mishin is gloating over the latest spacesuit tests. Khrunov tried exiting from the Soyuz hatch in the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft. Using his full dexterity and strength, he had more success than in earlier tests. But Kamanin notes that designing a spacecraft hatch only 10 mm wider than the cosmonaut is hardly the basis for practical spaceflight or training. Later Kamanin plays tennis with Volynov and Shonin. Their Voskhod 3 flight is still not officially cancelled. They have been fully trained for the flight for months now, but no go-ahead is given. On Saturday, Tsybin presents to the General Staff OKB-1's concept for training of engineer cosmonauts. Tyulin, Burnazyan, and Keldysh have approved the plan, except they have substituted VVS engineer cosmonauts for those from OKB-1 for the first Soyuz flights. So this is the result of months of controversy - a position that there is no fundamental opposition to cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1. Kamanin sees the absolute need for his draft letter to be sent from the four Marshals (Malinovskiy, Zakharov, Krylov, and Vershinin) to the Central Committee. Mishin continues to "assist" the situation - it has been two weeks since he promised to submit the names and documentation for his candidates to the VVS, and he has done nothing.
Mishin sends a letter to Kamanin, linking acceptance of his eight cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1 to continuation of sea recovery tests of the Soyuz capsule at Fedosiya. Kamanin's early hopes for Mishin have been dashed - not only is he no Korolev, but his erratic management style and constant attempts to work outside of accepted channels and methods, are ruining the space program. Later Gagarin briefs Kamanin on the impossibility of meeting Brezhnev, who has flown south for vacation without reacting to Gagarin's letter. Most likely, the letter will be referred to Ustinov, who will pass it to Smirnov, with instructions to suppress this "revolt of the military". Gagarin requests permission to resume flight and parachute training in preparation for a space mission assignment. Kamanin agrees to allow him to begin three months before the mission to space. This will be no earlier than 1967, as Gagarin will not be assigned to the first Soyuz flights.
Kamanin decides to smooth over matters with OKB-1. He calls Mishin, and then Tsybin, and agrees to begin processing of Anokhin, Yeliseyev, Volkov, and Kubasov as soon as he receives their personnel files and security clearances. Mishin promises to deliver the Soyuz mock-up of the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft soon - it slid from 20 July, then from 7 August.
At a meeting at LII MAP Zazakov, Litvinov, Mishin, Tsybin, Bushuev, Severin, Alekseyev, and Komarov spar over the hatch and spacesuit problem. Severin only agrees to modifying the ECS under immense pressure, but the modified suit will not be ready until November. Severin could not get Mishin to agree to an increased hatch diameter from Soyuz s/n 8 - Mishin will only "study the problem". An arrangement of the ECS around the waist of the cosmonaut is finally agreed. Mishin and Litvinov categorically rejected any modification of the hatch in the first production run of Soyuz.
In turn, Factory 918 insisted on a final decision on Soyuz crews. They cannot build 16 of the custom-built spacesuits for all possible candidates for the flights (8 from VVS and 8 from OKB-1). It was therefore agreed that the commanders of the first two missions would be Komarov and Bykovsky, with Nikolayev and Gagarin as their backups. It was finally decided to assume that the other crew members would be either Khrunov and Gorbatko from the VVS, or Anokhin and Yeliseyev from OKB-1.
Soyuz s/n 1 and 2 will be flown unpiloted by October 1966 Manned flights aboard Soyuz s/n 3, 4, 5, 6 will not take place until the first quarter of 1967. Later Mishin tours the cosmonaut training centre - the first time in his life he has visited the place. Mishin admires the new construction from Demin's balcony on the 11th floor of cosmonaut dormitory, then goes to Tereshkova's apartment on the seventh floor, and then Gagarin's apartment. Mishin insists on drinking a toast of cognac on each visit. Tyulin reveals this is a peace mission - they want to normalize relations and get on with cosmonaut training. At Fedosiya the auxiliary parachute of a Soyuz capsule failed to open during a drop test. Kamanin believes that the Soyuz parachute system is even worse than that of Vostok. His overall impression of the Soyuz is poor: the entire spacecraft looks unimpressive. The small dimensions of hatch, antiquated communication equipment, and inadequate emergency recovery systems are only the most noticeable of many discrepancies. If the automatic docking system does not function, then the entire Soviet space program will collapse in failure.
Mishin invites Kamanin and his cosmonauts to the 20th Anniversary Party of OKB-1. Kamanin is so alienated he refuses to go, and sends only Nikolayev and Bykovsky as cosmonaut representatives. OKB-1 has wasted three months arguing about Soyuz crewing, and essential work to prepare for the flights has either not been done or kept from the VVS. No list of scientific experiments and procedures for the flights, adequate trainers, or information that would allow preparation of flight plans and log books has been provided. A minimum of four months will be required to prepare for flight after all these materials are delivered. Gagarin reports on the farce in sea recovery training at Fedosiya. It took eight days instead of the three planned to train 16 cosmonauts. Only after the VVS cosmonauts had left did Mishin sent 8 OKB-1 cosmonaut candidates, who were prohibited from training together with the VVS cosmonauts.
In the period 1966 to 1968 there were five simultaneous Soviet manned space projects (Soyuz 7K-OK orbital; Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar; Soyuz VI military; L3 manned lunar landing; Almaz space station). Cosmonaut assignments were in constant flux, resulting in many claims in later years that 'I was being trained for the first moon flight'. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin organises the cosmonauts into the following training groups:
Rudenko agrees with Kamanin's plan, except he urges him to assign more cosmonauts to the Soyuz 7K-OK group, and include OKB-1 cosmonauts in the 7K-OK, L1, and L3 groups, and Academy of Science cosmonauts in the L1 and L3 groups.
These cosmonaut assignments were in constant flux, and many cosmonauts were assigned to train for more than one program - resulting in multiple claims in later years that 'I was being trained for the first moon flight'.
Mishin claims he will be ready to fly two piloted 7K-OK spacecraft in the second-half of December 1966. No one but Mishin believes this is possible. The tests of many subsystems are not finished, with the parachutes and ECS far from completion of qualification tests. However in order not to give Mishin any excuses, Kamanin orders Gagarin to cancel all cosmonaut leave for the rest of the year, and to accelerate training to be ready for Soyuz flights by 1 December.
Ustinov calls Gagarin, Komarov, and Leonov to his office to discuss their long-unanswered letter to Brezhnev. He asks about cosmonaut training for Soyuz flights, and surprisingly, Voskhod 3 (long buried by Mishin, though no resolution or decision ever cancelled the mission). He urges the cosmonauts to stop quarrelling and work more closely with OKB-1. Kamanin judges from the report of this strange conversation that Ustinov has a completely distorted view of affairs, as a result of falsehoods fed to him by Mishin and Smirnov. Shortly after this debriefing General Kuznetsov calls with the surprising news that Mishin has issued orders for work to resume in preparing Voskhod 3 for flight. But this is the last that is ever heard of the Voskhod 3 mission...
First snow of the winter in Moscow. The training of Soyuz crews has to be completed within 40 days, but there is still no assurance the trainers will be ready by 15 November. Komarov will command the active spacecraft, and Bykovsky the passive. Gagarin and Nikolayev are their back-ups. The 20 December flight date can only be met if Khrunov and Gorbatko serve as flight engineers. Training of Kubasov, Volkov and Yeliseyev in 40 days is impossible. Yet there is still no agreement on the crew composition.
Rudenko and Kamanin meet with Mishin at Area 31 (18-20 kilometers east of Area 2). Launch preparations are reviewed, and Mishin satisfies them that the two Soyuz will be launched on 26-27 November. The State Commission will meet officially tomorrow at 16:00. For today, they tour the N1 horizontal assembly building at Area 13. Korolev planned the N1 as early as 1960-1961. It will have a takeoff mass of 2700-3000 tonnes and will be able to orbit 90-110 tonnes. The first stage of rocket has 30 engines, and the booster's overall height is114 m. The construction of the assembly plant, considered a branch of the Kuibyshev factory, began in 1963 but is still not finished. Two factory shops are in use, and the adjacent main assembly hall is truly impressive - more than 100 m in length, 60 m high, and 200 wide. Work on assembly of the ground test version of the rocket is underway. Assembly will be completed in 1967, and it will be used to test the systems for transport to the pad, erection of the booster, servicing, and launch preparations. The booster is to be ready for manned lunar launches in 1968. The construction site of the N1 launch pads occupies more than one square kilometre. Two pads are located 500 meter from each other. Between and around them is a mutli-storied underground city with hundreds of rooms and special equipment installations.
Only late in the night Rudenko and Mishin finally agree that the crews for the first manned Soyuz flights will be: Basic crews: Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Yeliseyev; Back-up crews: Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, Kubasov. Meanwhile poor weather in Moscow is delaying zero-G training for the flight. In the last week only one weightless flight on the Tu-104 was possible - and a minimum of 24 flights need to be flown before the launch. It was therefore decided to ferry one Tu-104 to Tyuratam and train the cosmonauts here - it made its first flight today.
The weather continues to deteriorate, and Kamanin considers moving the Tu-104 and cosmonauts to Krasnovodsk in order to get the 24 necessary zero-G flights before launch. At 11:00 the State Commission meets at Area 31. Present are Kerimov, Mishin, Rudenko, Kamanin, Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Yeliseyev, Anokhin and others. Mishin describes the status of preparations of Soyuz s/n 1, 2, 3, 4 for launch. He notes that the L1 and L3 lunar spacecraft are derived from the 7K-OK, and that these flights will prove the spacecraft technology as well as the rendezvous and docking techniques necessary for subsequent manned lunar missions. Feoktistov and the OKB-1 engineers say a launch cannot occur before 15 January, but Mishin insists on 25 December. That will leave only 20 days for cosmonaut training for the mission, including the spacewalk to 10 m away from the docked spacecraft. Faced with the necessity for the crews to train together as a team prior to flight, Mishin at long last officially agrees to the crew composition for the flights: Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev as prime crews, with Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov as back-ups. However a new obstacle appears. KGB Colonel Dushin reports that Yeliseyev goes by his mother's surname. His father, Stanislav Adamovich Kureytis , was a Lithuanian sentenced to five years in 1935 for anti-Soviet agitation. He currently works in Moscow as Chief of the laboratory of the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Shoe Industry. Furthermore Yeliseyev had a daughter in 1960, but subsequently annulled the marriage in 1966.
Later Feoktistov works with the crews on spacecraft s/n 1 to determine the feasibility of the 10-m EVA. The cosmonauts suggest a telescoping pole rather than a line be used to enable the cosmonaut to be in position to film the joined spacecraft. Bushuyev is tasked with developing the new hardware.
Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, Kolodin and Belousov arrive at Tyuratam for Tu-104 zero-G training, while the prime crews successfully arrive at Moscow for simulator training. The State Commission meets. After extensive detailed reports, Mishin certifies that the boosters and spacecraft at 09:00 on 26 November. S/N 2 would be launched first, on 28 November at 14:00, followed by s/n 2 24 hours later. The go-ahead is given for launch. In zero-G tests, the reserve cosmonauts find it is necessary to grip the handrail from above with both hands to move easily with the ECS strapped to the leg. The previously approved method, with one hand on top, the other below the handrail, was only good with the ECS configured as a backpack. The hardest part of the EVA will be getting on the spacesuits beforehand, especially in achieving a seal between the gloves and the suit
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.
The search for the wreckage of Cosmos 133 continues without success. Mishin and Kerimov agree with Kamanin's opinion that if a cosmonaut had been aboard instead of a mannequin, the mission could have been successful. Kamanin has temporarily removed Gagarin from flight status after he missed a Tu-104 flight debriefing, then a 22:30 curfew, and did not show up at the Cosmonaut Dormitory at Tyuratam until 14:00 the next day. While on his escapade he also was found to have driven an automobile while intoxicated.
Rudenko, Mishin, Kerimov and Kamanin agree on crews for upcoming flights. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev are assigned to Soyuz s/n 3 and 4; Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov to Soyuz s/n 5 and 6, with Beregovoi, Shatalov, Volkov, and Makarov trained as back-ups. For Soyuz s/n 7, which will conduct space welding experiments with the Vulkan furnace, the commander will be either Komarov, Bykovsky, Gagarin, Nikolayev, Beregovoi, or Shatalov. The other two crewmembers will be either Lankin and Fartushniy from the Paton Institute, VVS cosmonaut Kolodin, or an engineer from OKB-1.
Crews for the L1 must be named in order to complete the five-month training program in time. Eight L1's are being completed to the manned configuration, but Mishin believes it is necessary to plan for only six manned missions. It is decided to train nine crews. Spacecraft commanders will be Komarov, Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Gagarin, Leonov, Khrunov, Volynov, Beregovoi, and Shatalov. Flight engineers will be Yeliseyev, Kubasov, Makarov, Volkov, and Grechko. Komarov, Bykovsky or Nikolayev will command the first circumlunar flight. Mishin promises to name the OKB-1 candidates for that flight by 8 December. Mishin and Kerimov agree that training of cosmonaut- researchers from the Academy of Sciences may begin, although both Mishin and Rudenko expressed doubts about cosmonaut candidate Yershov.
The failures of Cosmos 133 have been narrowed to entangled thrust vector vanes in the main engines and a single defective approach and orientation thruster. It is agreed to set the unmanned launch of Soyuz s/n 1 for 18 December as a final functional check of all systems. If this is successful, the date will then be set for the manned launch of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4. Flight control will be conducted from Yevpatoria.
Kamanin meets with key personnel of the TsPK and explains the reasons for the Soyuz incident, noting inadequate understanding of the abort systems. Kamanin orders improved medical examination of cosmonauts immediately after flight at the recovery site. Gagarin and Nikolayev request that the Soyuz crews now be allowed to take leave. Reports in the American press show that their experts have correctly interpreted the true nature of Cosmos 133 as a manned precursor mission. The American press alleges that there were two other explosions of the spacecraft in the USSR during September and October.
The Soyuz 1/2 crews had planned to depart for Baikonur on 30 March, but Mishin wants to push this forward to the night of 17/18 March. This disrupts all of Kamanin's training plans and shows the poor planning and work of Mishin and his followers. A Soyuz state commission is held. Kamanin doesn't trust Mishin. The spacecraft is unreliable and incompletely tested. But it is decided all the conditions exist for a launch of the mission on 20-25 April. The question of Gagarin flying on the mission is brought up. The Communist Party says he is too valuable to risk on further spaceflights. Kamanin is against making him a living 'museum exhibit'. Smirnov agrees to raise the matter with the Politburo.
Kerimov argued with Mishin that without any logical reason his demand that the cosmonauts go to the cosmodrome for training has disrupted their preparation schedule. Later Kamanin met with Gagarin, Leonov, Volynov, and Makarov, all selected as pilots for L1 lunar flybys. The L1 flight scenario was still open. Variant 1 would involve launch of two spacecraft, with transfer of one to two crew to the translunar spacecraft in earth orbit. Variant 2 would be a direct flight to the moon. Additional Details: here....
Space disaster that put back Soviet lunar program 18 months. Soyuz 1 as active spacecraft was launched first. Soyuz 2, with a 3 man crew would launch the following day, with 2 cosmonauts spacewalking to Soyuz 1. However immediately after orbital insertion Komarov's problems started. One of the solar panels failed to deploy, staying wrapped around the service module. Although only receiving half of the planned solar power, an attempt was made to manoeuvre the spacecraft. This failed because of interference of the reaction control system exhaust with the ion flow sensors that were one of the Soyuz' main methods of orientation. Additional Details: here....
Ustinov convened the commission at noon. The work was to be completed by 15 May, and the final report issued by 25 May. The members of the commission would be Ustinov, Smirnov, Serbin, Afanasyev, the Chief Designers, and Gagarin. 22 members would work in seven subcommittees that would:
Gagarin and Leonov meet with Kamanin. They discuss the complete inadequacy of Mishin - his excitability, poor knowledge of the Soyuz spacecraft and the details of its operation, his lack of cooperation in working with the cosmonauts in flight and training activities. They urge that these facts be documented in the Komarov crash commission report. Problems are discussed with getting an additional Tu-104 for zero-G/one sixth-G training. Three are needed, and only two have been made available. Even these two can only be used for 23 flights up to 10 August, after which they must be sent away for ejection seat modifications.
Afanasyev, Kerimov, and Tyulin object to Kamanin's conclusion that problems exist with the automated landing system and that a manual backup is needed. They want to find fault only with the parachute. The findings of VVS LII, and TsAGI are discussed. Later Kamanin has an unpleasant conversation with Gagarin. He wants to remove control of the manned flight control centre away from the MOM. Kamanin believes this is contrary to the interests of the Ministry of Defence.
The Soviet leadership has decided Gagarin is too important a propaganda asset to take any risks with his life. He is removed from the list of cosmonauts to be selected for space flights, and will be allowed to fly aircraft only with an instructor aboard. This ruling overrules a promise made by Kamanin to Gagarin that he would be put back on the flight rosterthat after he obtained his engineering diploma from the Zhukovskiy Academy on 1 May 1968. A vote is taken of the cosmonaut selection commission on Feoktistov's fitness for duty. The vote is 4:4, but then a quorum of at least 12 commission members is demanded. Feoktistov passes 9:8 in the final vote.
Attending are Kuznetsov, Gagarin, Khlebnikov. There are three training groups: Soyuz, L1, and L3. Mishin and the MOM are holding up further training of cosmonauts until the VVS agrees to accept Mishin's candidates from TsKBEM. In any case, Mishin's attitude is that 'automation in space is everything. Humans in space are only supposed to monitor the operation of automated systems'. L3 cosmonauts selected by the VVS are: Leonov, Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Popovich, Voronov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Artyukhin, Kubasov, Makarov, and Rukavishnikov. The official requirements: balanced composition of a crew according to mass requirements (no more than 70 kg weight per cosmonaut), and the ability to monitor fully automated function of the L3. According to official documents, the crew's primary function is to guide the flight, but now Mishin intends that their primary role will be as subjects of psychological and physical observations to establish the adaptation of the human organism to space flight).
Kamanin attends an Almaz program review with Pashkov, Afanasyev, and Chelomei. The resolution of June 1967 required space trials to begin in 1968, and entry of the system into military service in 1969. But this schedule was flawed from the beginning. The project plan required design, qualification, and delivery of completely new complex systems from ten different ministries. The Ministry of Radio Equipment was to deliver 66 items, but the ministry refused, saying they could handle two at most. Similar responses were received from other ministries. The result is that six months into the program, the first flight schedule has already slid 24 months, to 1970. The VVS has been dealing with Chelomei for two years, and find him much better to work with than Mishin. Chelomei's deputies are highly cultured men, pleasant to work with (unlike Mishin and his circle). The VVS is to handle the following on the Almaz program:
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...
Gagarin wants better organisation of the TsPK for the L1 circumlunar manned flights, including: better training in manual navigation in case of failure of automated systems; improved training in survival of 20 G re-entries if the automated SUS capsule guidance system fails. The cosmonauts review material for the Seventh International UFO Conference in Mainz (!).
Russian pilot cosmonaut 1960-1968. First person in space. Due to his fame, the Soviet leadership did not want to risk him on another flight, but later relented. Died in MiG trainer crash while requalifying for flight status. 1 spaceflight, 1.8 hours in space. Flew to orbit on Vostok 1 (1961). Gagarin was flying together with instructor pilot Sergin on a flight in a UTI MiG-15 trainer. Gagarin was being requalified as a jet pilot after being denied flight status by the leadership for a long time. At that time the mean flight hours between fatal accidents hours for Soviet jet fighters were: MiG-15, 18,440 hours; MiG-17, 11,460 hours; MiG-19, 4,475 hours; MiG-21, 4,422 hours; Su-7, 2,245 hours; Su-11, 2,100 hours. Gagarin's UTI MiG-15 s/n 612739 was built at the Vodokhod factory in Czechoslovakia and delivered on 19 March 1956. It had a 2100 hour airframe life, and had flown 1113 hours. It had two overhauls to date: one on 13 July 1962, after 13,834 'mil' hours, and the second on 30 March 1967, after 36,986 'mil' hours. It should have had a 500 hour life after the second overhaul, had flown only 62 hours since then, and had 438 hours left.
No cosmonauts will be sent to witness the next series of unmanned Soyuz flights beginning on 14 April. All cosmonaut staff efforts are concentrated on the Gagarin crash investigation. Kamanin notes the flight of Apollo 6. According to his information the first manned Apollo flight will take place in May-October 1968, and the first American moon landing by the end of 1969.
It is decided that the TsPK will be named for Gagarin. Meanwhile 400 soldiers and 50 officers have combed the Gagarin crash site, recovering pieces of the aircraft. Gagarin's widow will receive a one-time payment of 5000 roubles, plus 200 roubles/month pension, plus 100 roubles/month for Gagarin's daughter. This is in addition to base amounts of 150/month for the widow and 75/month for the daughter.
Nikolayev, Leonov, Popovich, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Zaikin, Volynov, and Shonin all receive their diplomas from the Zhukovskiy Test Pilot Engineering Academy. Khrunov graduates with honours. All of them began training for a lunar landing on January 8. Titov and Gagarin will complete their studies for the diploma in May. Ponomareva and Solovyova willl graduate in the second half of 1968, leaving only Tereshkova, Kuznetsova, and Yerkina. Tereshkova has had her appendix removed in surgery at the Vishevskiy Centre. The surgery went well.
After two days of snow, family, and rest at this dacha, Kamanin is called to a General Staff meeting - the issue - how to answer the Americans? Attending are Generals Kutakhov, Moroz, Ponomarev, Kustanin, Yoffe, Frolov, Kartakhov, and others. It is agreed that the only proper answer is a Soviet lunar landing - but that is two to three years away. The 1964 resolution authorising the lunar program required a lunar flyby to be conducted by 1967 and a landing by 1968. But Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, and Pashkov hindered the attainment of this order. They were always requiring meetings, analyses, reports. The result - now many volumes of reports, but no action. The VPK proposes to land a Ye-8-5 robot on the moon and return lunar soil to earth in a 50 cm diameter, 38 kg capsule. The capsule will descend under a parachute and transmit on two VHF beacons in order to be located. But this still does not exist in metal, just in mock-up form. Considered logically, it could not be available earlier than the second half of 1969. The existing schedule for it to fly in the first half of the year is illogical and unachievable. Kamanin looks back with bitterness on the year of 1968 -- they have lost the moon race, they have lost Gagarin. His only consolation is his family.
Kamanin and four cosmonauts return to Moscow from Tyuratam aboard an Il-18. It has been nearly nine years since Gagarin's flight, and now America looks like the winner of the space race, with the successful flight of Apollo 8 around the moon. Kamanin attributes the loss to the mistakes made by Ustinov and Smirnov in the erratic management of the Soviet program, coupled with the insistence of Korolev and Mishin to develop completely automated spacecraft that do not require intervention by the cosmonaut.
The Americans were able to pull equal in the race during their Gemini programme, then ahead with Apollo. The Soviet Union is now four to five years behind. Kamanin's accounting: