Status: Deceased; Active 1960-1967. Born: 1927-03-16. Died: 1967-04-24. Spaceflights: 2 . Total time in space: 2.13 days. Birth Place: Moscow.
In honor of his life and work a lunar crater, the asteroid 1836 and the military pilot school in Yeisk were named after him. Died in Near Novoorsk, Russian SFSR.
|Soyuz 1 training.|
Gagarin and Komarov during Soyuz 1 training.
Credit: RKK Energia
Komarov before Soyuz 1
Credit: RKK Energia
Russian pilot cosmonaut 1960-1967. First person to die during spaceflight when the parachute lines of Soyuz 1 tangled and it crashed to earth. Cosmonaut training March 1960 - 3 April 1961. Call sign: Rubin (Ruby). 2 spaceflights, 2.1 days in space. Flew to orbit on Voskhod (1964), Soyuz 1.
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 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.
The only cosmonauts staying at TsPK are Komarov, Shonin, Volynov, and the five female cosmonauts. Kamanin believes the Soviet Union had every possibility of making several multi-day spaceflights in 1962, up to 8-10 days, but that this is no longer possible due to delays caused by repeated booster failures and poor leadership.
Joint flight with Vostok 3. Acquisition of experimental data on the possibility of establishing a direct link between two space ships; coordination of astronauts' operations; study of the effects of identical spaceflight conditions on the human organism. The launch of Popovich proceeds exactly on schedule, the spacecraft launching with 0.5 seconds of the planned time, entering orbit just a few kilometers away from Nikolayev in Vostok 3. Popovich had problems with his life support system, resulting in the cabin temperature dropping to 10 degrees Centigrade and the humidity to 35%. The cosmonaut still managed to conduct experiments, including taking colour motion pictures of the terminator between night and day and the cabin interior.
Despite the conditions, Popovich felt able to go for the full four days scheduled. But before the mission, Popovich had been briefed to tell ground control that he was 'observing thunderstorms' if he felt the motion sickness that had plagued Titov and needed to return on the next opportunity. Unfortunately he actually did report seeing thunderstorms over the Gulf of Mexico, and ground control took this as a request for an early return. He was ordered down a day early, landing within a few mintutes of Nikolayev. Only on the ground was it discovered that he was willing to go the full duration, and that ground control had thought he had given the code.
Victory Day Holiday in the Soviet Union. The cosmonauts toured Glushko's engine factory. Glushko has 11,000 employees at four locations. The resentment between Glushko and Korolev, going back to their time in the Gulag, is apparent. Korolev calls during the tour but Glushko does not return his call. Later Alekseyev contacts Kamanin and proposes that Komarov be the back-up cosmonaut for Vostok 5 rather than Khrunov - because he hasn't finished the suit yet for Khrunov!
Rudenko proposes that three very experienced officers be recruited as cosmonauts, given one spaceflight each, then be appointed to manage cosmonaut training. This will provide qualified managers, which cannot be recruited from among the ranks of the cosmonauts themselves. To this end Beregovoi, Sidorenko, and Katys are interviewed. Rudenko wants Beregovoi to fly first. Kamanin agrees with the general concept, but not with giving Beregovoi the next flight. Volynov, Komarov, and Leonov have been waiting for a flight after completing two years of training, and should fly next.
The General Staff of the VVS considers future cosmonaut assignments. The acceptance of Beregovoi into the active cosmonaut corps is hotly contested. He has passed all the tests, but is 43 years old, and the official maximum age for a cosmonaut is 35. Finally it is decided that on 25 January six cosmonauts will begin training for Vostok flights (Volynov, Khrunov, Belyayev, Leonov, Komarov, and Beregovoi). On 1 February four crews will begin training for Soyuz flights: Crew 1: Nikolayev, Shonin, Demin, Kugno; Crew 2: Bykovsky, Zaikin, Artyukhin, Gulyayev; Crew 3: Popovich, Gorbatko, Ponomaryova, Kolodin; Crew 4: Titov, Shatalov, Solovyova, Zholobov.
Komarov has declared that nine cosmonauts are spaceflight-ready: Bykovsky, Popovich, Titov, Volynov, Leonov, Khrunov, Belyayev, Komarov, and Demin. One of these will command Voskhod, the other two seats will be occupied by a physician and an engineer or news correspondent. Kamanin is given only two to three months to prepare the passengers for spaceflight - something he reiterates is a dangerous adventure.
A meeting of Generals Kholodkov (VVS) and Yuryshev (General Staff) reviews military space plans - launch centres, anti-satellite forces, command and control systems. Kamanin looks forward to the VVS taking control of military cosmonautics. Later a meeting with Korolev and Bushuyev reviews Voskhod crew plans. It is agreed that the commanders will be selected from among the four flight-ready unflown cosmonauts (Volynov, Komarov, Leonov, Khrunov). Korolev describes in detail for the first time the inflatable airlock that is to be fitted to four Voskhods to allow one cosmonaut to exit into space. Korolev believes it will be possible to use the existing Vostok spacesuit for this operation, but Kamanin severely doubts this.
Benderov has been washed out of training after haemorrhaging excessively during centrifuge training, and Polyakov after reacting poorly to the barometric chamber. This leaves only seven cosmonauts in training for the first mission: Volynov, Katys, Komarov, Yegorov, Sorokin, Lazarev, and Feoktistov. The first six are qualified for flight, but Feoktistiov cannot be admitted for parachute or flight training; his visual acuity is only 0.3. Later the cosmonaut party collective meets to take up the problem of Titov. He has made many errors: he drives and flies too fast, he has bad marital relations. But he is known not only to the entire country, but to the whole world. To disgrace him would not reflect only on him, but on all of the cosmonauts and the Soviet Union. Therefore it is finally decided not to take any public action, but to switch him and Beregovoi in the training order for the fourth Soyuz flight.
Later Finogenov, head of the VVS range at Vladimirovka, informs Kamanin that flight trials of the new combination parachute/soft landing system will be delayed at least two weeks after the failure of one of the parachute canopy rings in static test.
Kamanin select Volynov, Katys, and Yegorov as the prime crew for the Voskhod flight. Komarov, Feoktistov, and Sorokin will be the backup crew. Lazarev will serve as reserve for both crew physician position. The VVS leadership approves the selection. For the first space walk (the flight designated Vykhod at the time), Belyayev, Leonov, Khrunov, and Gorbatko are in training. All want to be first, but Kamanin finds Leonov and Khrunov to have the best analytical minds, to be able to get themselves out of a jam if something goes wrong. He selects Belyayev and Gorbatko to be trained as spacecraft commanders for the missions.
The readiness of two crews is certified (the prime crew of Volynov, Katys, and Yegorov and backup crew of Komarov, Feoktistov, and Sorokin). Korolev presses for Feoktistov to be included in the prime crew, citing his unequalled technical knowledge of the spacecraft. Kamanin and the VVS doctors oppose this, citing his poor medical condition which makes him uncertifiable for flight. A very heated discussion ensues, with the final decision to continue training all seven cosmonauts, with the first candidates for flight being Volynov, Katys, and Yegorov, with Komarov, Lazarev, and Sorokin being reserve cosmonauts. The question of Feoktistov's flight certification will be taken up by a special panel of physicians.
Rudenko raises objections to the crew selections. Kamanin suggests the most qualified and fit crew would be Volynov, Komarov, and Lazarev. Marshal Rudenko informs the crew must consist of a commander, a physician, and an engineer. Furthermore yet another commission has been convened to clear Feoktistov for flight. Kamanin is infuriated - after a selection process, beginning with 150 candidates from VVS alone, the leadership is hand-selecting the crew in defiance of the fair and rational selection process.
Kamanin reviews the Voskhod abort system with Korolev. Up to T+27 seconds, there is no possibility of saving the crew in the event of a booster failure; from T+27 seconds to T+44 seconds, escape would be difficult, but is possible; and from T+44 seconds to T+501 seconds abort should be possible, with the capsule landing on Soviet territory. Afterwards, Korolev speaks with Kamanin secretly and privately. Korolev reveals that he has discussed a greater VVS role in space with Marshal Krylov, but that Krylov is adamantly opposed to the VVS assuming such a mission. Korolev is seeking a resolution from the Communist Party that will authorise him to develop a manned lunar flyby and landing system using his N1 booster. He believes that Chelomei's UR-500 booster will not have sufficient payload to mount a manned flyby - a docking in low earth orbit will be required. But Chelomei has rejected the use of docking, and is even designing his UR-700 to allow a lunar landing without the use of docking.
Finally Korolev gets to the purpose of the secret meeting. He wants Feoktistov to be aboard Voskhod 1, despite the opinion of Kamanin and the physicians. Kamanin reiterates that the most qualified crew would be Komarov, Volynov, and Lazarev; and if he gives in on Feoktistov, then Komarov, Feoktistov, Lazarev. But Korolev is opposed to Lazarev, and insists that the crew should be Komarov, Feoktistov, and Yegorov. From Kamanin's point of view this is flying a space mission with two invalids aboard. Lazarev is a qualified and fit flight surgeon, a qualified pilot as well as a physician with 15 years of research experience in aviation medicine. Korolev is adamant that the two passengers should be civilian, not military. No agreement is possible.
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.
At 15:30 the Voskhod cosmonauts arrive aboard an An-10 at Baikonur and are greeted by Korolev and others. Although they have not been told officially, Kamanin is sure that Volynov and Katys have heard that the State Commission finally selected Komarov, Feoktistov, and Yegorov for the flight. In the evening Kamanin plays tennis with the flight crew and is surprised - Yegorov and Feoktistov play well, and Komarov played poorly.
At 10:00 Korolev, Tyulin, Rudenko, Tkachev, and other leaders examine the capsule. The condition of the parachute, and capsule exterior and interior show how well the soft landing system functioned. Then they examine the Voskhod s/n 3 which will be sued for the manned flight. The crew of Komarov, Yegorov, and Feoktistov take their place in the cabin, and Korolev and Kamanin examine the cramped accommodations and ask Komarov questions to verify his understanding of the ship's controls. For an hour from 16:00 the crew is interviewed by news correspondents. After the interview, the crew plays tennis for the benefit of photographers. Afterwards post-flight examinations are discussed. A suggestion that the crew spends three nights in a hospital after the flight is rejected. Instead they will spend three nights in the cosmonaut's quarters at Baikonur, under medical observation. Finally, the State Commission meets to verify the crew selection. The session is filmed and recorded for later use by the press.
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....
The Voskhod 1 crew memorise and rehearse the speeches they will deliver to the leadership and masses on their return to Moscow. Later Kamanin plays tennis with the crew. Kamanin believes that Malinovskiy has finally become more supportive of Soviet manned spaceflight, which can be seen as a reflection of the country's military potential. Unwavering support will be needed to fulfil the recently approved space plan, which foresees manned docking operations in orbit, a manned flyby of the moon, a manned lunar landing, and missions of 20 to 30 days in earth orbit.
The crew arrives at Vnukovo Airfield at 12:30 aboard an Il-18. The crew walks up to the reviewing stand and Komarov makes the standard report to the Communist Party and Soviet Ministers. At 14:00 there is a meeting at Red Square, and at 17:00 an audience at the Kremlin. The next day will be the customary meeting with Korolev and the workers of OKB-1, and the day after, the press conference, and on 22 October the meeting with the staff at the Cosmonaut Training Centre. The celebrations provide the first opportunity for Brezhnev to present himself in public in the role previously held by Khrushchev. The celebrations are somewhat dampened by new that an Il-18 crashed near Belgrade, killing all 17 occupants of a military delegation, including Marshal Biryuzov. This was the same aircraft and same crew that had flown the cosmonauts from Kustanin to Tyuratam....
The traditional meeting with the crew is followed by a smaller group in Korolev's office. Numerous toasts are drunk to the crew, to future victories in space, and... "on to the moon". From 18:00 to 20:00 the cosmonauts are prepared by Keldysh, Tyulin, Pashkov, Skuridin, Mozzhorin, Rumyanets, and others in allowable answers for the next day's press conference. Kamanin wants the crew to be free to answer questions about the physical characteristics of the booster and spacecraft (thrust, weight, dimensions, and so on) but Keldysh and Tyulin prohibit it strongly.
The Voskhod 1 crew have completed their post-flight debriefings and final report. Plans for 1965 are laid out. The Vykhod spacewalk flight will be made in the first quarter of 1965. Of the five Voskhod spacecraft, that are to be completed in the first quarter of 1965, the following program is laid out: two will be devoted to flights of a single cosmonaut, without a spacesuit, on endurance missions of 12 to 15 days. Two will be used for scientific research missions. One will be used to repeat the spacewalk of the Vykhod mission.
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.
A corespondent from the APN agency calls Kamanin and wants to know if the official press should react to the claims of a Belgian professor that all of the Soviet cosmonauts have returned from space with serious psychological problems. Kamanin says there is nothing to it, but that the best course is to ignore the report and publish no official response. Kamanin looks forward to the missions planned in the new year: first the Vykhod, the first spacewalk, followed by a 10 to 12 day mission by a single cosmonaut, then later crews of first two, and then five to six in joined Soyuz spacecraft. In 1966 the first space docking is planned, followed by the first lunar flyby. Kamanin feels apprehensive, though. All manned flights have been completed to date without a serious problem, whereas Soviet unmanned spacecraft have been extremely unreliable and failed more often than not. He attributes this to the involvement of the VVS in the manned flights, whereas the RVSN rocket forces were responsible for the others. He worries that, with the ascendancy of Brezhnev and the death of Biryuzkov, that standards will drop in the future. Indeed, the RVSN has asked if Komarov could transfer officially from the VVS to the RVSN, a move that Kamanin vigorously opposes.
At least progress on improvements at TsPK are underway. One apartment building with 75 apartments for cosmonauts is already finished, and an 11 story building should be finished in 1965, as well as schools, nurseries, stores, and so on. Currently there are 17 active cosmonauts and 13 candidate cosmonauts in training. An additional 40 will have to be recruited in 1965 to support the ambitious space plans recently adopted.
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.
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.
Belyayev and Leonov are going to an IAF congress in Greece, where they will unofficially meet Wernher von Braun and several US astronauts. Komarov is touring West Germany. Factory 918 is refusing to fabricate space suits for the female crew for the planned Voskhod EVA flight. They are categorically against the concept. It is necessary to obtain a specific order instructing them to fabricate the suits.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Tyulin heads a meeting that brings the Soyuz crewing dispute into the open. The opposing crews are represented as follows:
Kamanin is furious. Mishin and Tyulin think an engineer can be trained to be a spacecraft commander in three months, without passing a flight physical, without being a qualifed pilot, without screening and training on the centrifuge or zero-G aircraft, and without parachute training. They put no value in six years of VVS experience in cosmonaut training. They give no weight to the years of general training, spaceflight experience, and ten months of Soyuz-specific training his candidates have already had. He notes that the United States trains crews for a minimum of one to two years before a flight. Kamanin says this decision will not stand.
Kamanin and VVS officers spend more than two hours in a heated exchange with Mishin and his staff at OKB-1. Mishin is attacked for delays in completion of Soyuz; his demand that OKB-1 cosmonauts be trained in VVS zero-G aircraft without any agreement on this having been reached; the lack of work on spacesuits for the Soyuz flights by Severin; and above all his "illegal" training of his own cosmonauts. Mishin responds with wild attacks against the competence of Kamanin's cosmonauts, saying that his engineers could better guide a spacecraft to a docking than Kamanin's pilots. Finally things cool down, and Mishin agrees to submit to Kamanin a list of OKB-1 candidates for cosmonaut training within two to three days. Kamanin agrees to consider how they may be prepared for flight on a two-month schedule.
Later Kamanin's group visits Darevskiy at MAP and reviews the status of Soyuz trainer completion. He promises to have them completed by the end of August. Finally Kamanin confronts Komarov over statements he made in Japan. Komarov admits telling the world press that the Soviet Union will, at the scheduled time, fly an automated spacecraft around the moon and return it to earth, to be followed by a dog flight, then a manned circumlunar flight. Kamanin has already had the Central Committee and Soviet Ministers calling him about this unauthorised disclosure.
Training of the new cosmonaut cadre is reviewed. English language courses are proving to be a particular problem. There have been some potential washouts - Sharafutdinov has done poorly in astronomy, Shcheglov suffered an injury at the beach, Skvortsov damaged his landing gear on a MiG-21 flight.
At 15:00 a major review is conducted, with Komarov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Kamanin, and other VVS officer meeting with OKB-1 leaders Mishin, Tsybin, Severin, Alekseyev, Anokhin, and other engineers. Film is shown of the difficulties in the zero-G aircraft of cosmonauts attempting to exit from the 660 mm diameter hatch. In four sets of ten attempts, the cosmonaut was only to get out of the hatch half the time, and then only with acrobatic contortions - the inflated suit has a diameter of 650 mm, only 10 mm less than the hatch. Mishin finally concedes the point. But installation of the hatch in Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 is not possible - the spacecraft are essentially complete, and to add the hatch would delay their flight 6 to 8 months. Then Mishin makes the astounding assertion that Gorbatko and Khrunov are not adequately trained to be engineer-cosmonauts, and without this he will not allow them into space. He suggests OKB-1 engineers Anokhin and Yeliseyev instead. After outraged response, Severin finally sinks this suggestion by pointing out that no space suit has been prepared for Anokhin, and that it will take two to three months to make one. Kamanin is astounded that Mishin has pushed Anokhin all the way up to Smirnov and the VPK without even knowing he could not possibly fly due to this restriction. It again points out their poor management. Finally Mishin agrees that spacecraft s/n 5 and 6 and on will have 720 mm hatches. The ECS for the suits for those missions will have to be changed from a backpack configuration, with the equipment rearranged around the waist of the cosmonaut. The crews for the flight will be an experienced VVS pilot cosmonaut as commander, and (Kamanin realizes he may have to concede) a VVS engineer as flight engineer cosmonaut. They will have to complete training by 1 October 1966.
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.
Nikolayev, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Kolodin, and Voronov complete two parachute jumps each, with landing at sea. Training in sea-recovery by helicopter, with the cosmonauts in spacesuits, will be completed over the next two days. Smirnov is ready to sign a letter from Afanasyev, Burnazyan and Keldysh creating a new civilian cosmonaut training centre under the Ministry of Medium Machine Building, separate from the VVS centre. The letter is not coordinated with the Defence Ministry, and contradicts the letter sent by the four marshals to the Central Committee. Kamanin prepares a vigorous refutation of the letter's position. The physicians' board on OKB-1 candidates has only cleared Yeliseyev for flight - they could not agree on Volkov, Kubasov, and Grechko. OKB-1 only submitted four candidates for review, not the eight promised.
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'.
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....
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.
In a test of the reserve parachute at Fedosiya, the Soyuz capsule was dropped from the aircraft at 10,500 m. The drogue chute deployed normally, as did the main parachute. They were then jettisoned and the reserve parachute deployed normally. However descent on both main and auxiliary chutes occurs only with noticeable pulsations of their cupolas, with the capsule revolving at one RPM. In this case it finally led to failure of the lines of the reserve chute at 1500 m, after which it crashed to earth. Contributing to the problem was the jettison of the remaining hydrogen peroxide reaction control system fuel from the capsule during the descent. It is normally expected that 30 kg of the 70 kg load of propellant will remain after re-entry. When this was vented, it burned the parachute lines. Each line will normally carry a load of 450 kg, but after being burnt by the peroxide, they can be torn apart by hand. Meanwhile there is still no agreement on crew composition. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov and Gorbatko can be ready for flight by10 December. However the VPK representatives, Tyulin and Mishin insist that their OKB-1 candidates be flown in stead of Khrunov and Gorbatko.
Kamanin is at Tyuratam for the first Soyuz launch. He and Rudenko are accommodated in the new hotel at Area 2. It has all conveniences - a local telephone, radio and television with Moscow programs, even a promise to install an HF telephone that will allow secure communications with Moscow. Also there for the launch are Kerimov, Kirillov, Kuznetsov, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, amd Yeliseyev. Rudenko reports that he has been chewed out by Marshal Zakharov. Zakharov told him "What are you and Kamanin doing, blocking OKB-1 candidates from flight? If Mishin wants to send his people to the Moon, let him do it and do not interefere!"
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.
Feoktistov briefs the State Commission on the flight plan for the upcoming mission at 10:00. Each spacecraft will be in space for four days, and will demonstrate orbital manoeuvre, rendezvous and automatic spacecraft docking. If the passive vehicle can be placed in orbit within 20 kilometres of the previously launched active spacecraft, then docking can be accomplished on the first or second orbit of passive vehicle. If they are more than 20 kilometres apart, then 24 hours will be needed to manoeuvre the spacecraft to a rendezvous. Kamanin and Rudenko take a zero-G flight aboard the Tu-104 (Pravetskiy was bumped at the airfield "due to space limitations"). The Tu-104 needs good visibility of the horizon in order to fly the zero-G parabola. The aircraft is accelerated to maximum speed and then pulls up into a sharp climb (going from 7,000 to 10,000 m). At the end of the climb 20-25 seconds of weightlessness is available for training the cosmonauts. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov and Yeliseyev are aboard today. Khrunov practiced moving from the BO living module of the passive vehicle to that of the active spacecraft. Yeliseyev practiced exiting and entering the BO hatches with his bulky spacesuit and 50- kilogram ECS system strapped to his leg.
Mishin receives an encrypted telegram from Okhapkin and Tsybin. They propose that one of the cosmonauts on the first mission will back away from the docked spacecraft on a 10-m long safety line and film the other cosmonaut moving from one spacecraft to the other. Kamanin believes only Khrunov (with more than 50 Tu-104 weightless flights), has enough training to accomplish the task. After a sauna with Rudenko and an attempt to watch a film (aborted due to projector failure), Kamanin takes a walk in a drizzly, evocative night. He visits the cottages used by Korolev and the cosmonauts for the first missions. A light burns in Korolev's cottage - Mishin is working late. Kamanin recalls his many confrontations with Korolev, but also remembers how well he managed people compared to Mishin. Even if he had already decided personally what to do, he took the time to listen to other opinions and everyone felt their views had been considered.
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.
Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev have completed zero-G training in the Tu-104 at Tyuratam, and need to get back to Moscow to complete simulator training. But continued bad weather at Moscow means that they will have to be flown by Il-14 to Gorkiy, and then get to Moscow by train. Kamanin notes reports on NASA's reorganised flight program for the Apollo program. Under the new schedule, the first attempt at a manned lunar landing will be possible in the first half of 1968. The first manned flight of the Apollo CSM has slipped from December 1966 to the first quarter of 1967. This makes it possible that the Soviets can make 3 to 5 manned spaceflights before the first Apollo flight - the flights of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 in December 1966, Voskhod 3 in January 1967, and Soyuz s/n 3 and 4 in February 1967.
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.
Ustinov reviews the cosmonauts. Kamanin urges that a manual docking be allowed on the Soyuz 1/2 mission - he had argued the same point with Korolev before his death. Komarov say he can accomplish a manual docking from 350 km range (once the Igla automatic system has brought him there from 23 km range). There follows a discussion of an all-female flight. Four female cosmonauts would be assigned to the mission, and Kamanin would need 5 to 6 months to complete there training. The mission is designated 'Voskhod-6'.
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....
Russian pilot cosmonaut 1960-1967. First person to die during spaceflight when the parachute lines of Soyuz 1 tangled and it crashed to earth. Cosmonaut training March 1960 - 3 April 1961. Call sign: Rubin (Ruby). 2 spaceflights, 2.1 days in space. Flew to orbit on Voskhod (1964), Soyuz 1.
The decision was made to bring Komarov back due to an undeployed solar panel which reduced electrical power and blocked orientation sensors. Re-entry was successful and the drag chute deployed. However due to a flaw during manufacture, the parachute compartment housing was too rough and the main parachute would not deploy. Komarov released the reserve chute, but it became tangled with the drag chute. The descent module crashed into a field near Orenburg at 03:24 GMT. Additional Details: here....
Over 10,000 people come out to the steppe, some driving hundreds of kilometres for the event. Kamanin discharges Matinchenko from the cosmonaut corps. He was in two bad automobile accidents on 19 and 21 April. In one of the accidents a six-year-old child was killed.