Born: 1918-09-27. Died: 1979-01-02.
A government resolution has created a Council for the Problem of the Conquest of the Moon. The chairman will be Minister Afanasyev; the members, other ministers, deputy ministers, academicians, and the chief designers. The only member from the Defense Ministry will be lieutenant generals Karas and Sokolov. There are no VVS members, but Kamanin has already received a request that General Ioffe report to the council on VVS plans for search and recovery of unmanned lunar precursor spacecraft.
Mishin is away on 'cure' for his drinking problem. A 'Podlipki Soviet' is held at TsKBEM. The issue is cancellation of Kozlov's 7K-VI military Soyuz. Bushuyev, Chertok, Okhapkin, Feoktistov are in favour of cancelling it. Opposed are Karas, Shcheulov, Kostonin, Gaidukov, and the various military representatives at the meeting. It was now six years since OKB-1 was required to put a military manned spacecraft into space - and, factually speaking, nothing has been done. Military experiments proposed for each manned flight by OKB-1 to date had been rejected on various grounds - no weight, no space aboard the spacecraft. Good progress has been made with Kozlov's VI and Chelomei's Almaz - now they've managed to kill the VI, and Mishin and Kerimov are constantly denigrating Almaz (saying it is too heavy, and unsuited for the purpose). The whole thing is a replay of the LK-1 situation. In 1963, a resolution was issued to send a Soviet man around the moon. Instead, after two years of development, Korolev managed to get Chelomei's LK-1 lunar spacecraft cancelled, and started all over with his own L1. Additional Details: here....
The members do not believe the three spacecraft and crews are ready for flight. They rate the availability of the actual spacecraft for training before the flight at 20 to 30%, while the trainers are being used at 200% of their rated capacity. The result is the cosmonauts can only train on the technical systems of the actual spacecraft after they have been delivered to the cosmodrome. The situation is even worse with the experimental equipment for the flights, which in some cases they do not see until they are at the cosmodrome. Unwilling to commit themselves, the commission bumps the decision whether to proceed up to the Politburo. Ustinov and Smirnov badly guide the whole space program, in Kamanin's view. The Politburo won't meet until 29 September -- he hopes the Russian bureaucracy can complete all the steps to approve the flights before the scheduled launch day!
Kamanin's 61st birthday begins with a communications session with Soyuz 8. Yells come from the spacecraft. What's wrong? the ground nervously inquires. They reply they are only celebrating the successful closing of the hatch, and the glowing 'SA hermetic' indication on the panel. This ends fears they had all during the flight of not being able to get the hatch closed with the broken wheel spoke. The 145 second long retrofire begins at 11:29. It looks OK on the telemetry, but Shatalov reports on UHF that the indication aboard the spacecraft was that there was a 4 second underburn. Nevertheless the landing proceeds normally, and there is a loud 'Ura!' at the command point once word of a safe crew recovery is received - the mission is completed. Soyuz 8 landed at 09:10 GMT. At 16:40 the teams head back toward Moscow aboard an Il-18. Kamanin discusses the necessity to complete an extra 8 to 10 Soyuz spacecraft. He is supported by Afanasyev and Kerimov, but Mishin and Karas are opposed now. Kamanin thinks it is insane how Soviet space progress is blocked by these kinds of politics.
Final Landing Commission meeting is held. The primary landing site is 50 km west of Karaganda. Visibility there is 10 km, winds 6-10 m/s. Mishin wants to land 50 km further wesst, near a city with passenger train service. It is finally agreed to land there, at 71 deg 31' E, but that will mean that an emergency ballistic re-entry (in the event of a guidance system failure) would bring the capsule down in the Aral Sea. That in turn means additional recovery forces, consisting of three amphibious vehicles, three helicopters, five naval cutters, and 15 scuba divers have to be alerted and prepared. The Politburo approves the landing, and the plan to fly the cosmonauts to Chkalovsky Airfield, followed by ten days in the hospital. Mishin and Kerimov discussed having the traditional cosmonaut greeting at Vnukovo Airport, but they'll have to forget such extravaganzas in the years to come, when only long-duration missions are planned. Meanwhile the crew is well, preparing for landing. They secure the BO living module, stow items in the SA re-entry vehicle that are to be returned to earth. There is a communications pass at 08:00 to 08:30. Afanasyev, Karas, Chertok, Bushuyev, Tsybin, and other members of the State Commission now arrive at Yevpatoriya.
It is obvious to Kamanin from the ECS conference that there are many mistakes in the organization of the Soviet space program. There is no single agency directing the program, like the American NASA. There is not only no five year plan for manned spaceflight, there is not even a plan for next year! Decisions on manned space are made erratically by unqualified members of the leadership. There is no single manager of military space projects. Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Karas at GUKOS are all pulling in different directions. Ustinov, Smirnov, and Keldysh don't give space more than 10% of their working time.
Kamanin has a meeting scheduled with Chelomei, but this is cancelled and he is called to another meeting with Mishin -- all to advance Mishin's agenda. Mishin complains that he doesn't know what the Almaz project is about. He claims Chelomei has spent half a billion roubles so far, and has nothing to show for it. Mishin, on the other hand, has two DOS stations ready to fly, done at a cost of only 80 million roubles. But Kamanin knows very well who has really wasted hundreds of millions of roubles - Mishin. Mishin produces his plans for DOS#3 and DOS#4 follow-on stations. These are to be copies of Almaz, delivered in 18 months. Mishin says he is building ten 7K-S for the spacecraft, despite the fact that Karas at GUKOS is not interested in manned spaceflight. Afterwards Kamanin tells Kutakhov to warn Chelomei that he must support the VVS' 7K-S and Spiral projects, if he wants VVS support for Almaz.
Dobrovolsky and Patsayev successfully complete the Svinets experiment, fixing the position of a rocket launched at night. The N1 launch has been delayed again. Karas reports that telemetry shows many problems with the rocket, even just sitting on the pad. Kamanin sees this lousy rocket as a heavy cross for Soviet cosmonautics to bear. As for Soyuz 11, the Landing Commission discusses moving the landing from the 3rd to 2nd revolution on 30 July. But then the crew will land in the dark, while for the 3rd revolution landing they will touch down 24 minutes before sunrise. It is decided to continue planning for the third revolution, in case the crew needs immediate medical assistance.
The cosmonauts have to be extremely careful in putting Salyut in storage mode. They go through the checklist together with the ground to make sure no errors are made. The Salyut station is much more comfortable than the Soyuz, but the mission has revealed it needs many improvements, including: a unit for ejecting liquids from the station; solar panels, and scientific instruments, that can be automatically pointed at the sun or their target and stabilised; an improved control section; better crew rest provisions. Only with such improvements will it be possible to make flights of two months or longer. And such flights will take ten years to work up to, not by the end of the year, as Mishin claims. Kamanin thinks it will be possible to prolong flights to 40 to 60 days in 1972, but that this will then be a long-standing record. Any longer would be equivalent to running 100 km but then collapsing and dying - the Soviet Union doesn't need those kind of records!
The bigwigs arrive from Moscow to be in on the landing. But Afanasyev, Keldysh, Mishin, and Karas all remain at the cosmodrome for the investigation into the N1 failure.