Credit: © Mark Wade
Born: 1907-01-12. Died: 1966-01-14. Birth Place: Zhitomir.
Korolev created the first Soviet rockets and spacecraft. He was portrayed for years as a legendary, iconographic figure that single-handedly was responsible for the early Soviet victories in the space race. He was singularly responsible for creating the first long range ballistic missiles, the first space launchers, the first artificial satellite, and putting the first man in space. His premature death led to his name and accomplishments being made public, while those of other chief designers of rockets and satellites remained secret. This resulted in an exaggerated perception that he occupied a uniquely central position in rocketry and spaceflight. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union the lives and roles of other important figures in Soviet became known in great detail. In the process a more balanced view of Korolev became possible.
Korolev's story was inextricably bound up in the deep passions and resentments of the three titans of Soviet space rocketry - Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, Vladimir Nikolayev Chelomei, and Valentin Petrovich Glushko. Each had his own patrons in the Kremlin hierarchy and Politburo. Each had been deeply scarred and mishandled by the Soviet system. Each was very sure that his technical and management approach was superior. The depth of their passions in their struggle for ascendancy can scarcely be imagined.
Korolev was born to a Russian literature teacher in the town of Zhitomir in the Ukraine. He was fascinated with aircraft at an early age and became a pilot. At the age of 17 he had designed his first glider, the K-5. After attending the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, he went on to the Moscow Higher Technical University (MVTU). There he was involved in design and construction of an increasingly ambitious series of gliders, culminating in the SK-4, designed for record duration flights in the stratosphere. He became interested in the possibilities of rocket-propelled aircraft and in September 1931, together with Tsander, founded the Moscow rocketry organization GIRD (Group for Investigation of Reactive Motion).
Similar efforts were underway abroad. In America the secretive Robert Goddard had already flown his first liquid propellant rockets. In Germany the VfR (Verein fuer Raumschiffahrt - Society for Spaceship Travel) was testing liquid fuelled rockets of increasing size. The VfR collapsed in 1933 as its members chose to leave the country or begin work for the Nazi government. The members that remained finally developed the A-4 (V-2) missile, the basis for all liquid fuel rockets to follow. In America the potential of his Goddard's work was unrecognized. He finally had to close up his New Mexico test range and develop small auxiliary rockets for the Navy.
In Russia, GIRD was launching the Soviet Union's first liquid-propelled rockets, the GIRD-9 and GIRD-10. GIRD lasted only two years before the military, seeing the potential of rockets, replaced it with the RNII (Reaction Propulsion Scientific Research Institute). Glushko was brought from Leningrad to head rocket engine design at RNII, while Korolev was in charge of airframes. They developed a series of rocket-propelled missiles and gliders during the 1930's, culminating in Korolev's RP-318, Russia's first rocket propelled manned aircraft, powered by Glushko's ORM-65 rocket engine.
Before the aircraft could make a rocket propelled flight, Korolev and Glushko were thrown into the Soviet prison system in 1938 during the peak of Stalin's insane purges. Glushko was arrested on March 23. Korolev, denounced by Glushko, was arrested on June 7 and sentenced to ten years hard labor on 27 September. He spent On 10 July 1940 he was sentenced to work in the Kolyma gold mines, a virtual death sentence to the most dreaded part of the Gulag. However Stalin had recognized the importance of aeronautical engineers in preparing for the impending war with Hitler. A system of sharashkas (prison design bureaus) was set up to exploit jailed talent. Korolev was saved by the intervention of senior aircraft designer Sergei Tupolev, himself a prisoner, who requested his services in the TsKB-39 sharashka. In September 1940, his health already ruined, he was transferred to work at Tupolev's bureau in Moscow. Korolev was not allowed to work on rockets except at night on his own time. His RP-318 had flown on 28 February 1940, without his involvement.
In 1942, after Tupolev's team was evacuated to Omsk, Korolev was transferred to TsKB-16 in Kazan where he served as Deputy Director for Flight Testing (although still officially a prisoner). Here he was able to return to development of rockets for aircraft and missile propulsion. In November 1944 Korolev was given charge of a team of 60 engineers and required to provide a draft project for a Soviet counterpart to the V-2 within three days. The resulting two-stage design used Lox/Alcohol propellants and an autopilot for guidance. These designs evolved into the more refined D-1 and D-2 rockets with a 75 km range.
With the war over, the immense progress that the Von Braun team had made in rocketry became apparent. Provided nearly unlimited funds, the Germans had developed the 300 km range V-2 missile, which was a decade ahead of the Soviet designs. The Russian engineers that first inspected the recovered remains of a V-2 called it ‘that which cannot be'.
Stalin, fascinated with the technology, was quite annoyed that the Peenemuende team had gone over to the Americans and that American intelligence had managed to loot most of the V-2 factories and rockets, even in the Russian zone. Russian teams were sent seize available equipment and information as early as April 1945. Korolev was released from the Kazan sharashka and was in Germany from August 1945. At first he merely accompanying the team that salvaged what was left. He was present (under guard, outside the fence, while Glushko was part of the official delegation inside) at the British 'Operation Backfire' launch of a V-2 from Altenwaide on 15 October 1945. He interviewed dozens of V-2 engineers and technicians still in Germany.
On May 13, 1946 Stalin signed the decree beginning development of Soviet ballistic missiles. The Minister of Armaments, Dmitri Fedorovich Ustinov, was put in charge. In August 1946, the Scientific Research Institute NII-88 was established to copy the V-2 missile. Although not fully rehabilitated, Korolev's piercing personality and organizational abilities had clearly been impressive, and Ustinov personally appointed him Chief Constructor NII-88. Glushko was named head of GDL-OKB to design engines for Korolev's rockets. Following Korolev's selection, 234 German employees of the Mittelwerke V-2 factory were rounded up on the night of 22-23 October 1946 and sent to relatively good living conditions at Gordodomlya on Lake Seleger, between Moscow and Leningrad. Thus the jailed became the jailer. However until he had proved himself a master of rocket technology, Korolev would be forced to have his rocket designs considered in competition with those of Groettrup's German team.
The first task was to put the V-2 into production in Russia. This was a huge undertaking -- Russian manufacturing technology was equivalent to that of Germany at the beginning of the 1930's. Before this was even underway, a competition was held for design of an improved V-2. This R-2 was designed by Korolev in 1947-1948 in competition with Groettrup's G-1. When the State Commission evaluated the designs in December 1948, the G-1 was found the superior design. Korolev fought the decision for a long time, updating his R-2 design to include some of the G-1's features. Finally the decision was reversed and Korolev's design was accepted for test. State trials flights were conducted from 21 September 1949 to July 1951.
The next competition was for a quantum leap to a 3000 km range ballistic missile. The NTS (Scientific-Technical Soviet) of NII-88 met in plenary session on 7 December 1949 and subjected Korolev's R-3 design to withering criticism. In general they preferred Groettrup's G-4/R-14 design to the same requirement. This assumed fewer technical advances in engine design but greater improvements in mass fraction reduction. After heated discussion, the Soviet approved further development of technology for the R-3, but not the missile itself.
With this decision Korolev finally caved in and adopted the German aerodynamic and engine solutions with fervor in his next designs. He put the R-3 on a slow track to oblivion. Following years of trade studies, approval came for development of an intercontinental rocket with a range of 7,000 km on 13 February 1953. Korolev used a modification of the German concept for an ICBM. What started out as Groettrup's 'cluster of G-4's' (G-5 / R-15) became the R-7 when Korolev conceived of a lengthened core sustainer stage. This would allow all engines to be ignited on the pad, eliminating the problems of air start in Groettrup's design.
The German team was aware of none of this. Members of the team began to be repatriated on 3 April 1951. By October 1951 they were completely isolated and work basically stopped. The last member of the group returned to Germany on 22 November 1953. Groettrup made it to West Germany and was debriefed by the CIA in 1957, but provided some deliberately false information and downplayed the importance of the German work in order to avoid Russian retribution. The full story did not come out until the end of the century.
In order to concentrate on development of the R-7, further IRBM development was spun off to a new design bureau in Dnepropetrovsk headed by Korolev's assistant, Mikhail Kuzmich Yangel. This was the first of several design bureaus that would be spun off from Korolev's OKB-1 bureau once a new technology had been perfected.
The R-7 faced enormous development problems. Glushko's RD-105/RD-106 rocket motors had seemingly insoluble combustion chamber instability problems. The weight of the thermonuclear warhead to be carried was increased from the 3 metric tons to 5.5 metric tons. The entire vehicle had to be scaled up proportionately, and this meant that Glushko's troublesome single-chamber engines had to be replaced by the RD-107/-108 design, a cluster of four nozzles sharing common fuel pumps. This could assure stable combustion, but greatly increased the complexity of the booster, with a total of twenty main engines and sixteen vernier engines firing at lift-off, as opposed to five engines for the RD-105/106 approach. Korolev already had reason to be dissatisfied with Glushko's performance.
Korolev's enormous drive and personal attention to detail overcame all obstacles. The R-7 was first successfully launched on 21 August 1957 and then orbited the first artificial earth satellite on 4 October 1957. The first operational satellite for the launcher was to have been the Zenit military photoreconnaissance satellite. Korolev, flushed after the success of Sputnik, instead advocated that manned spaceflight should have first priority. After bitter disputes, a compromise solution was reached. Korolev was authorized to proceed with development of a spacecraft to achieve manned flights at the earliest possible date. However the design would be such that the same spacecraft could be used to fulfill the military's unmanned photoreconnaissance satellite requirement. In November 1958 the Council of Chief designers approved the Vostok manned space program, in combination with the Zenit spy satellite program. The Vostok would put the first human being into space on 12 April 1961.
The next quantum leap was a launcher designed expressly for Soviet conquest of the planets. When the time came for the 75 metric ton payload N1 rocket in the late 1950's, Korolev again turned to German work. The N1 was the direct aerodynamic descendent of the Groettrup G-2 and G-4. It incorporated all of the essential features of Groettrup's designs - the 85-degree slope cone, topped by a cylindrical fore body and a sharply spiked nose, and the use of upper stages of the conical vehicle as smaller launch vehicles (the N11 and N111 in the case of the N1). It was only the limitations of Soviet manufacturing technology that forced Korolev to adopt the spherical tank design of the N1 in place of the integral common-bulkhead tanks of the Groettrup vehicles.
As development and production of rockets and spacecraft became an increasing part of the Soviet industry, other chief designers set their sights on getting a piece of the pie. Chelomei was the country's leading designer of cruise missiles. It was apparent that the ballistic missile, for which no defense could be developed for decades, would win out over the cruise missile as a weapon system. Chelomei was also anxious to be involved in the much more exciting area of space flight. When Korolev's R-7 experienced a long string of launch failures in the summer of 1957, Chelomei was quick to criticize Korolev and ask to be put in charge of the development. But the decisive event in getting a piece of the space action was Chelomei's hiring of Nikita Khrushchev's son, Sergei. This gave Chelomei sudden and immediate access to the highest possible patron in the hierarchy. He was rewarded with his own design bureau, OKB-52, in 1959. OKB-52 was immediately assigned several development projects in the explosion of military space and missile projects following the U-2 shoot down, the resulting collapse of the Geneva talks with Eisenhower, and Kennedy's accession to the presidency in the United States.
Kennedy had been partly elected on the basis of claims of a 'missile gap' with the Soviet Union. Russia's succession of Sputnik and Luna launches, combined with the bellicose claims of Khrushchev, created the public impression that Russia was far ahead of the United States in the fielding of unstoppable ICBM's and space weapons. In fact, Korolev's R-7, with its enormous launch pads, complex assembly and launching procedures, cryogenic liquid oxygen oxidizer, and radio-controlled guidance was a totally impractical weapon. The warhead ended up being overweight, giving it a range of only 6,800 km, barely enough to reach the northern United States. As a result, it would be deployed as a weapon at only eight launch pads at Tyuratam and Plesetsk, in the north of the country. More practical successors, Yangel's R-16 and Korolev's R-9, would not be available for years. The Eisenhower administration, thanks to the U-2 overflights, knew that the 'missile gap' did not exist, but in that curious logic that pertains to intelligence matters, would not tell the US public that it knew that the Soviet missile threat was virtually non-existent.
Nevertheless, having been elected on the basis of the existence of such a threat, and having selected the former general manager of General Motors, Robert McNamara, as his Secretary of Defence, Kennedy felt impelled to plunge into a massive program of ICBM construction. Evidently unable to think in terms of smaller numbers due to his motor industry background , McNamara chose the nice round figure of 1,000 ICBM's as a goal. The existing Atlas and Titan designs were too expensive to operate in such large numbers. Therefore the Minuteman program, already begun under Eisenhower, was expanded to provide a low-maintenance solid-fuelled missile that could be produced and cheaply operated in vast quantities.
The Russians, shocked into being drawn into an expensive arms race involving a thousand missiles as opposed to a few hundred, began development of equivalents. Korolev was tasked to build a solid-fuelled counterpart of the Minuteman, the RT-2. This new technology weapon encountered technical problems and was never fielded in any significant numbers. Khrushchev asked Chelomei to build a less risky, small liquid fuelled missile, the UR-100. This became the Soviet equivalent to the Minuteman, being built in the thousands and making Chelomei the leading rocket manufacturer in Russia. Yangel was to continue development of his R-16 into the R-36 'city-buster' missiles, which the Pentagon held up as an enormous threat during the three decades to come (although they never felt impelled to duplicate it by simply deploying more of the equivalent Titan 2).
Chelomei's ascendancy coincided with a huge technical dispute between Korolev on the one hand and Glushko on the other. Glushko had decided to quit developing rocket engines using cryogenic liquid oxygen. The use of hypergolic (self-igniting), storable oxidizer and fuel combinations had enormous operational advantages. The propellants could be put in the missile's tanks and stored for long periods. Such rockets, once fuelled, were available at any time for launch. Rockets using cryogenic liquids had to be loaded just before the launch, since the liquid oxygen quickly boiled off at normal temperatures. If a launch was delayed for more than a couple of hours, launchers using cryogenic liquids had to be defueled, and refueled again for the next attempt, leading typically to a one day recycle time before the next launch could be attempted. The drawback of the storable propellants was that they were typically very toxic and dangerously corrosive. They had to be handled very carefully in special chemical protection gear. In the case of spills, accidents, or booster explosions, a dangerous cloud of toxic gas was created and the surrounding area contaminated.
Glushko (and Chelomei, Yangel, and Makeyev) felt that the operational advantages of storable propellants outweighed the safety issues. Korolev did not, and insisted in using liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants even in missile applications. The rift was complete during development of Korolev's R-9 ICBM. Glushko only provided engines to Korolev's specifications under direct orders from the Soviet leadership. Korolev turned to Nikolai Kuznetsov's bureau, whose previous experience had been in turboprop engines, to develop engines for the later R-9 versions and the new N1 space launcher. The Soviet military sided with Glushko - it only deployed 54 of Korolev's R-9 missiles, as against 380 of Yangel's R-16 and 800 of Chelomei's UR-100 (and it should be noted, the Americans selected toxic storable propellants for their Titan 2 rocket, the French for the Ariane, and the Chinese for the Long March).
None of this gained Korolev any friends in the military. They had contributed huge sums to his R-5, R-7 and R-9 programs and he had not produced any weapons of military usefulness. Their Zenit military reconnaissance satellite, begun in 1956, was deferred after Korolev's intervention, in favor of the Vostok manned spaceflight program. He was using missiles developed with their money for the purpose of exploring outer space. While it certainly provided positive propaganda for the Communist system, it was not contributing to the security of the Soviet state.
Each chief designer therefore became identified with powerful patrons in the cliques of the Kremlin hierarchy. Korolev, and his deputy Mishin, had in their employ Yuri Semenov, the son-in-law of Politburo ideology chief Andrei Kirilenko. Glushko and Yangel, by virtue of their production of the missiles that the military actually wanted, earned the patronage of Dmitri Ustinov. Chelomei had his direct conduit to Khrushchev.
In his pursuit of his dream of manned conquest of space, Korolev divested himself of all peripheral activities. He had already passed tactical and sea-launched missiles to Makeyev, storable propellant long range missiles to Yangel, and communications and navigations satellites to Reshetnev. Korolev finally obtained approval for a Soviet manned lunar lading program in August 1964. In order to concentrate on achieving a moon landing, the remaining ‘peripheral' work of OKB-1 were spun off to others: solid propellant rockets to Nadiradze; military satellites to Kozlov in Samara; lunar and planetary probes to Babakin at Lavochkin. The overthrow of Khrushchev two months later put Chelomei out of favor and allowed Korolev to gather into his hands all manned space projects.
Korolev, despite a lack of enthusiasm in the Soviet hierarchy and a budget a fraction of the Americans, continued to engineer space triumphs. In 1964 and 1965 modifications of the Vostok were used to orbit the first multi-crew spacecraft and for the first space walk. But it was nearly the last hurrah. In 1965 the Americans began their Gemini manned space flights and began to dismantle the Soviet lead in space. Korolev's own projects were approved but required a continuous battle for resources against the higher-priority ballistic missile programs.
Korolev was diagnosed with cancer some time in 1965 but kept it a secret from his colleagues. In January 1966 he checked into a Moscow hospital. The Minister of Health himself elected to conduct the colon surgery – not his area of expertise. It all went horribly wrong, and Korolev died on the operating table. His untimely death at 59 was a huge blow to the Soviet space program. His successor, Mishin, did not have the necessary talents and standing to push Korolev's moon project through to a successful conclusion. Just two weeks after Korolev's death his Luna 9 probe soft-landed on the moon and sent back the first close-up views of the surface. It was the last significant Soviet space first.
Korolev's talents were immense vision, enthusiasm and energy that motivated his co-workers and subordinates. His personal attention to detail ensured that critical equipment was of the highest quality and that manned space flights were safely conducted. He had to be enormously persistent and convinced of the rightness of his views to push his projects forward against immense opposition and competition.
But these qualities became less appropriate as the projects increased in number and scope. Korolev's refusal to compromise on technical issues resulted in alienation of other chief designers, most notably Glushko, forcing him to lose years of time developing new sources of rocket engines. The Americans required the resources and expertise of four major contractors to develop the Saturn V booster and the Apollo spacecraft. Korolev was attempting to do the same within a single industrial enterprise. He left his successor, Mishin, with a seemingly impossible task. Then again, had he lived a few more years in good health, perhaps he could have beat the Americans to the moon…and gone on to Mars, one improvised step at a time…
|Korolev bureau Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines, Kaliningrad, Russia.|
Gagarin with Korolev before flight.
Credit: RKK Energia
|Vostok 1 - Korolev|
Korolev during Vostok 1 flight.
Credit: RKK Energia
Female cosmonauts with Korolev.
Credit: RKK Energia
Architects of the Soviet nuclear deterrent.
Credit: RKK Energia
Korolev was given charge of a team of 60 engineers and required to provide a draft project in three days. The resulting two-stage design used Lox/Alcohol propellants and an autopilot for guidance. These designs evolved into the more refined D-1 and D-2 before being overtaken by the post-war availability of V-2 technology.
The G-1 was Groettrup's first design after the German engineering team had been moved to Russia. The first group of 234 specialists was given the task of designing a 600 km range rocket (the G-1/R-10). Work had begun on this already in Germany but the initial challenge in Russia was that the technical documentation was somehow still 'in transit' from the Zentralwerke. The other obstacle was Russian manufacturing technology, which was equivalent to that of Germany at the beginning of the 1930's. The Germans worked at two locations, NII-88 (Korolev OKB) and Gorodmlya Island to complete the design of the G-1. Other groups of Germans worked at Factory 88 (R-1 production) and Factory 456 (Glushko OKB / engine production).
The team defended the G-1 draft project on 28 December 1948. The State Commission found the G-1 to be superior to Korolev's R-2 design in many respects. However the Russian designers managed to convince the government to put the R-2 rather than the G-1 into production by arguing that the manufacturing technology of the G-1 could not be mastered immediately by Soviet Union. Several of the design concepts (integrated propellant tanks, radio-controlled cut-off, forward liquid oxygen tank) were however used by the Russians in their R-2 and R-5 rockets.
The NTS (Scientific-Technical Soviet) of NII-88 met in plenary session and subjected Korolev's proposal to withering criticism. The G-4 was found to be superior. After heated discussion, the Soviet approved further development of technology for the R-3, but not the missile itself. The decisions were: an R-3A technology demonstrator would be built and flown under Project N-1 (probably to prove G-4 concepts). Under Project N-2 both the RD-110 and D-2 engines would proceed into development test in order to prove Lox/Kerosene propellant technology. Packet rocket and lightweight structure research for use in an ICBM would continue under project N-3 / T-1. Winged intercontinental cruise missile studies would continue under project N-3 / T-2. Neither the G-4 or R-3 ended up in production, but the design concepts of the G-4 led directly to Korolev's R-7 ICBM (essentially a cluster of G-4's or R-3A's) and the N1 superbooster. Work on the G-4 continued through 1952.
In 1951 to 1953 Korolev's design bureau had prepared an experimental trisonic ramjet design, the EKR.The expert commission ifelt that there were still many technical problems to be solved, most of which were better handled by an aircraft designer rather than Korolev. Further, Korolev had to place the highest priority on development of the R-7 ICBM. Therefore a final government decree on 20 May 1954 authorised the Lavochkin and Myasishchev aircraft design bureaux to proceed in parallel with full-scale development of trisonic intercontinental cruise missiles.
Khrushchev desired to decentralise the missile industry, since a single nuclear bomb on Moscow would wipe out Korolev's factories. Ustinov was requested to draw up a plan for two additional completely independent missile design bureaux, one in the south of the Soviet Union, the other in the Urals. It was also envisioned a third bureau would be built in the east, in Siberia, but this was never done. This effort cost tens of billions of roubles. While the managers and lead technical staff would be taken from Korolev's bureau, the working engineers, technicians, and workers for the bureau and associated factories would be recruited locally at each site. This would avoid the additional expense of building extra housing. Korolev fought to keep control, wanting to make the new bureaux just branches of his own, but Khrushchev was adamant that only completely autonomous organisations would be acceptable. Yangel was easily selected for the southern bureau, and the young Makeyev was a more contentious selection for the Ural bureau.
Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 957-409 'On transfer of intercontinental cruise missile work to the Ministry of Aviation Industry' was issued. Korolev had to place the highest priority on development of the R-7 ICBM. Therefore the final government decree authorised the Lavochkin and Myasishchev aircraft design bureaux to proceed in parallel with full-scale development of trisonic intercontinental cruise missiles. Both missiles would use ramjet engines by Bondaryuk, astronavigation systems by R Chachikyan, inertial navigation systems by G Tolstoysov, and aerodynamics developed by TsAGI (Central Hydrodynamics Institute). Lavochkin's Burya would use rocket booster engines built by Glushko, while Myasishchev's Buran would use Isayev engines. Both missiles were to deliver a nuclear warhead over an 8,500 km range. But the warhead design specified for the Lavochkin missile had a total mass of 2,100 kg, while that for the Myasishchev missile weighed 3,500 kg.
This first serious examination in the Soviet Union of manned flight to Mars was initiated by M Tikhonravov's section of Korolev's OKB-1. The Martian Piloted Complex (MPK), would be assembled in low earth orbit. Using conventional liquid propellants, it would fly a Hohmann trajectory, enter Martian orbit, and a landing craft would descend to the surface. After just over a year of surface exploration, the crew would return to earth. It was calculated that the initial mass of the MPK would be 1,630 tonnes, and a re-entry vehicle of only 15 tonnes could be returned to earth at the end of the 30 month mission. At the planned N1 payload mass of 75 to 85 tonnes, it would take 20 to 25 N1 launches to assemble the MPK.
Khrushchev, Molotov, Bulganin, and other leaders are given a tour of Korolev's OKB-1 in Kaliningrad. They are shown the R-1, R-2 and R-5 missiles as well as a mock-up of the R-7 and are awed. Ustinov reports that only five warheads would be needed to destroy Britain, and seven to nine for France. The need for the R-12 was discussed - the longer range was essential so that the missiles could be based farther from NATO's borders (the experience of the German invasion and quick destruction of forward-based units and equipment was on everyone's minds).
At the urging of S P Korolev, OKB-1 Section 12, led by M V Melnikov, started development of an ion engine. By 1959 it would be proposed that clusters of the 7.5 kgf thrust ion engine could take the TMK-E manned Mars spacecraft on a low acceleration spiralling trajectory away from the Earth until it finally reached escape velocity and headed toward Mars. But to power even such a limited engine solar panels with a total area of 36,000 square meters would be required - clearly beyond 1959 technology. Feoktistov's solution was to turn to the use of a nuclear reactor to power the ion engine.
In the spring of 1957 Korolev organised project section 9, with Tikhonravov at its chief, to design new spacecraft. By April they had completed a research plan to build a piloted spacecraft and an unmanned lunar probe, using the R-7 as the basis for the launch vehicle.
Decision to move directly to early manned flights in orbit. Korolev, after a review with engineers, determines that planned three stage versions of the R-7 ICBM could launch a manned orbital spacecraft. Korolev advocates pursuit of manned spaceflight at the expense of the military's Zenit reconnsat program, putting him in opposition to Ustinov.
Competing manned projects. Korolev OKB-1 proposed Vostok ballistic capsule as quickest way to put a man in space while meeting Zenit project's reconnsat requirements. Under project VKA-23 (Vodushno Kosmicheskiye Apparat) Myasishchev OKB-23 proposed two designs, a faceted craft with a single tail, and a dual tail contoured version. Tsybin OKB-256 proposed seven man winged craft with variable wing dihedral. Contracts awarded to all three OKB's to proceed with construction of protoypes. R-7 booster to be used for suborbital launches.
Khrushchev independently conceived of the idea of storing and launching ballistic missiles from subterranean silos. He called Korolev to his dacha in the Crimea. Korolev told him his idea was not feasible. He then called Barmin and Yangel. Barmin said he would study the idea. Yangel remained silent. Some time later Khrushchev's son saw a drawing of the same concept in a US aerospace magazine. He informed his father, who ordered immediate crash development of the first generation of Soviet missile silos.
Council of Chief Designers Decree 'On course of work on the piloted spaceship' was issued. Council of Chief designers approved the Vostok manned space program, in combination with Zenit spy satellite program Korolev was authorised to proceed with development of a spacecraft to achieve manned flights at the earliest possible date. However the design would be such that the same spacecraft could be used to fulfil the military's unmanned photo reconnaissance satellite requirement. The military resisted, but Korolev won. This was formalised in a decree of 25 May 1959.
Tsybin's design was called the gliding spacecraft (PKA). The draft project, undertaken in co-operation with Korolev's OKB-1, was signed by Tsybin on 17 May 1959.The piloted PKA would be inserted into a 300 km altitude orbit by a Vostok launch vehicle. After 24 to 27 hours of flight the spacecraft would brake from orbit, gliding through the dense layers of the earth's atmosphere. At the beginning of the descent, in the zone of most intense heating, the spacecraft would take advantage of a hull of original shape (called 'Lapotok' by Korolev after the Russian wooden shoes that it resembled). After braking to 500 to 600 m/s at an altitude of 20 km, the PKA would glide to a runway landing on deployable wings, which would move to a horizontal position from a stowed vertical position over the back of the spacecraft. Control of the PKA in flight was by rocket jets or aerodynamic surfaces, depending on the phase of flight.
Korolev believed it would be truly possible with backing from the very top to have a large rocket in the USSR in a very short span of time. Unfortunately at the meeting Korolev made a slip of the tongue he would always regret, admitting that his plan had not been agreed among all of the Chief Designers. This resulted in Khrushchev throwing the matter back for a consensus plan.
Korolev wrote to the Ministry of Defence, trying to obtain support for a military orbital station (OS). The station would have a crew of 3 to 5, orbited at 350 to 400 km altitude. The station would conduct military reconnaissance, control other spacecraft in orbit, and undertake basic space research. The N-I version of the station would have a mass of 25 to 30 tonnes and the N-II version 60 to 70 tonnes. Korolev pointed out that his design bureau had already completed a draft project, in which 14 work brigades had participated.
Decree 715-296 'On the Production of Various Launch Vehicles, Satellites, Spacecraft for the Military Space Forces in 1960-1967' authorised design of a range of spacecraft and launch vehicles by Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei. The decree included the N1 (development of launch vehicles of up to 2,000 tonnes liftoff mass and 80 tonne payload, using conventional chemical propellants) and nuclear reactors for space power and propulsion.
Rudnev chaired the meeting, which first heard the failure analysis for the failed Mars launches on 10 and 14 October and the R-16 catastrophe on 24 October. All of these had been accelerated to coincide with Khrushchev's visit to the United Nations in New York, in Kamanin's view a criminal rush that led to the death of 74 officers and men in the R-16 explosion. Future plans were then reviewed. Launches of probes toward Venus were planned for 20-23 January, 28-30 January, and 8-10 February. Four Vostok manned spacecraft were completed, with first launch scheduled for 5 February and the second for 15-20 February.
Korolev plans three launches between 20 January and 14 February, but clearly his teams are not ready to accomplish this. There was insufficient testing of the Object V Venera spacecraft before it was shipped from OKB-1 to the cosmodrome. OKB-1 is trying to finish Object V on site, at the same time preparing the next Vostok 3KA and an R-9 ICBM for launch. Object V is not ready, the ability of its systems to function at long ranges and periods of time on the voyage to Venus are suspect. In Kamanin's opinion, it is diverting the crews from the higher priority manned and military projects.
The escape stage entered parking orbit but the main engine cut off just 0.8 s after ignition due to cavitation in the oxidiser pump and pump failure.. The payload attached together with escape stage remained in Earth orbit.
The booster launched into a beautiful clear sky, and it could be followed by the naked eye for four minutes after launch. The third stage reached earth parking orbit, but the fourth stage didn't ignite. It was at first believed a radio antenna did not deploy from the interior of the stage, and it did not receive the ignition commands. Therefore the Soviet Union has successfully orbited a record eight-tonne 'Big Zero' into orbit. The State Commission meets two hours after the launch, and argues whether to make the launch public or not, and how to announce it. Glushko proposes the following language for a public announcement: 'with the objective of developing larger spacecraft, a payload was successfully orbited which provided on the first revolution the necessary telemetry'. Korolev and the others want to minimize any statement, to prevent speculation that it was a reconnaissance satellite or a failed manned launch. Kamanin's conclusion - the rocket didn't reach Venus, but it did demonstrated a new rocket that could deliver an 8 tonne thermonuclear warhead anywhere on the planet. The commission heads back to Moscow.
Kamanin describes Korolev. He is unable to make a decision about the man's true nature. Everyone is excited about the new seven-year plan, approved on 23 January 1960 in decree 711-296, which authorises design work to start on the N1 superbooster. In the immediate future, Vostok 3KA flights are planned every 8 to 10 days beginning 22 February until the first manned flight is achieved. The first flights will use mannequins to test the cosmonaut ejection seat. A manned flight will be attempted after two consecutive successful mannequin flights.
In the West, the failed Venera 4 launch is being analysed as an attempted manned flight. Some Italians claim to have picked up voices on radio from the satellite. Kamanin describes all of this as unfounded speculation -- the Soviet Union will not risk a man's life until two fully successful mannequin flights demonstrate safe recovery.
Venera 1 was the first spacecraft to fly by Venus. The 6424 kg assembly was launched first into a 229 x 282 km parking orbit, then boosted toward Venus by the restartable Molniya upper stage. On 19 February, 7 days after launch, at a distance of about two million km from Earth, contact with the spacecraft was lost. On May 19 and 20, 1961, Venera 1 passed within 100,000 km of Venus and entered a heliocentric orbit. This failure resulted in only the following objectives being met: checking of methods of setting space objects on an interplanetary course; checking of extra-long-range communications with and control of the space station; more accurate calculation of the dimension of the solar system; a number of physical investigations in space. Additional Details: here....
Korolev says the Venera flight continues normally. He and Keldysh will fly to Yevpatoriya tomorrow to review long-range communications with the spacecraft. After the launch he and Keldysh talked to Khrushchev, who was very happy with the success. Meanwhile, the Vostok for the next flight attempt has arrived at Tyuratam. Launch is set for 24-25 February.
Korolev gives a briefing to Vershinin and other military leaders at OKB-1 laying out his proposed plans for space in the next two to three years. He pushes for VVS to purchase 10 to 15 Vostok-1 or Vostok-3A spacecraft for a sustained manned flight series. The next Vostok flight is now delayed to 27-28 February. He reviews the two Vostok-1 flights to date. The first successfully orbited and recovered the dogs Strelka and Belka, the second failed to reach orbit, but the capsule successfully landed 3500 km downrange near Yakut in the Tura region, after reaching an altitude of 214 km. The dogs survived a 20-G re-entry and hard landing in the capsule.
Korolev, Yazdovskiy, Gallay, Feoktistov, Makarov, and Alekseyev spend over three hours editing the 'Instructions to Cosmonauts'. This is the first flight manual in the world for a piloted spacecraft, including instructions for all phases of flight and emergency situations. Korolev, Keldysh, Bushuyev, and Voskresenskiy want the instructions to be simply 'put on suit, check communications, observe functioning of the spacecraft'. Korolev is motivated by his belief that on this single-orbit flight everything should occur automatically. Kamanin, Yazdovskiy, Gallay, and Smirnov are categorically against such a passive role for the cosmonaut. They argue that the cosmonauts know the equipment and must be capable of manually flying the spacecraft after releasing the electronic logical lock. They need to observe the instruments, report on their status by radio, and make journal entries. The emotions of the cosmonaut during high-G's and zero-G must be understood in order to fully prepare the cosmonauts that will follow. After long debate, Korolev and Keldysh give in. The agreed first edition of the flight manual is signed by Korolev and Kamanin. The next Vostok 3KA launch is set for 9 March.
Korolev, Alekseyev, Yazdovskiy, and other engineers lay out the plan for the preparation of the cosmonaut on launch day. The cosmonaut will be put in Nedelin's cottage at Baikonur Area 2 the night before the launch, be awakened five hours before launch, and undergo a physical examination. Kamanin and Korolev will be in the bunker at the launch pad for at least the next two launches. After the launch, Kamanin is to fly to the recovery zone to be present for the landing of the spacecraft.
Keldysh, Korolev, Sokolov, Glushko, Bogomolov hear testimony from Kosberg on the causes of the RO-7 engine failure on the 22 December 1960 launch, that resulted in the suborbital flight of the Vostok capsule with a landing in Tura. The causes are not completely understood, but the bottom line is that a fuel line must have leaked. Further testimony is offered on the booster trajectory, landing time at various points along the trajectory, tracking station readiness, communications lessons, and recovery efforts. The communications are clearly unreliable. The radius of the HF radio is 5000 km, and 1500 km for UHF. TsP Moscow and PU Tyuratam, plus Novosibirsk, Kolpachev, Khabarovsk, and Yelizov (Kamchatka) all have HF and UHF transceivers. But due to practical reception problems, only UHF communications were available at Tyuratam, Kolpachev, and Yelizov, and only HF at Novosibirsk and Khabarovsk. It is recommended that each IP tracking station should have a Chief Communications Officer, a cosmonaut to act as capsule communicator, a physician, and a representative from the Ministry of Communications to assure action on problems.
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.
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.
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 capsule was recovered 45 km southeast of Votinsk. The mannequin was ejected successfully from the aircraft, the dog Zvezdochka was fine, and was displayed to journalists all day. Therefore all is ready for a manned flight. The cosmonauts agree: 'Everything is finished, we can fly'. All is ready for a one-orbit flight with recovery in the USSR, but Kamanin still worries about the lack of any realistic plan in emergency situations. The environmental control system has still not completed endurance tests, and won't be able to keep the cosmonaut alive for the ten to twelve days it would take the spacecraft to decay from orbit if the retrorocket fails. Trials with the hot mock-up of the ECS in the capsule have still not been successful. Furthermore, a recovery at sea is not practical.
The pace quickens leading to the first human spaceflight. Kamanin coordinates matters with Korolev and Voronin, and then discusses the ECS problems and cosmonaut landing issues with Dementiev. Plans are made for a meeting with Ustinov and Kozlov. In the evening a meeting of the General Staff is held. Decisions made: 1) Announce the name of the cosmonaut as soon as he is in orbit; 2) improve VVS support (aircraft, helicopters) needed to pick up the cosmonaut immediately after landing; 3) issue a formal letter to Moskalenko on rules for filming of the cosmonaut at the launch site; 4) organise an examination of the 11 cosmonauts not in the group of six now being prepared for flights.
The meeting is held at G T Voronin's OKB-124 at the 'Daks' factory. All of the program bigwigs are there (Korolev, Keldysh, etc). The big issue is the problem with the oxygen regenerator. On the 10 day trial 4 litres of lithium chloride were consumed, but the test was unsuccessful. A new solution of chlorine-lithium is proposed. But this is dangerous - the doctors are worried that if it gets into the cosmonauts body, it will poison him. A sharp discussion ensues, but the final decision is to try a five day trial with lithium chloride. At 12:00 the commission proceeds to Dementiev's GKAT. The tests of the Vostok recovery system are reviewed. There were to have been two to four ejection seat tests from Il-28 bombers, tests, plus tests at sea at Fedosiya of the NAZ ejection seat and the characteristics of the parachute underwater. The discussion turns again to the five-day ECS cabin test. It is decided to keep the faulty gas analyser, but not to connect it to the telemetry - the readings will be read with a television camera instead. There is a clear political aspect in the argument between the VVS design bureau and the institute over the performance of the ECS system. Lieutenant-General Kolkov orders yet another examination of the cosmonauts.
The VVS leadership has been diverted for the last three days in meetings of the General Staff of the Warsaw Pact. At 09:00 Kamanin takes a break to prepare two letters. One goes to the Ministry of Defence, certifying readiness for the launch of Vostok 1 on 10-20 April; the other goes to Zakharov on the General Staff, turning over all in-flight photographs to the VVS. Vershsinin pages through Kamanin's photo album of earth photographs taken during the unmanned Vostok test flights. They show the precise orbital orientation of the spacecraft. He says he will show these to Grechko and Malinovskiy, trying to convince them of the usefulness of manned spaceflight. Kamain calls Korolev and advises him that Voronin is ready. Korolev says that he plans to put wood wool into the cabin to absorb any excess lithium chloride.
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.
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.
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....
Kamanin, Yazdovskiy, Bushuyev, and Feoktistov fly to Sochi. Korolev arrives on the next flight, and discussions begin on plans for the second Soviet manned spaceflight. Korolev wants a one-day/16-orbit flight, but Kamanin thinks this is too daring and wants a 3 to 4 orbit flight. Korolev rejects this, saying recovery on orbits 2 to 7 is not possible since the solar orientation sensor would not function (retrofire would have to take place in the earth's shadow). But Kamanin believes one day is too big a leap since the effects of sustained zero-G are not known. He finally agrees to a one-day flight, but with the proviso that a manually-oriented retrofire can be an option on orbits 2 to 7 if the cosmonaut is feeling unwell. Korolev reports that the new Sever spacecraft should be ready for flight by the third quarter of 1962. OKB-1 is working hard on the finding solutions to the problems of manoeuvring, rendezvous, and docking in orbit. Kamanin tells Korolev that it would be difficult to recruit and train three-man crews in time to support such an aggressive schedule.
Chelomei is informally asked by Khruschev to begin design of a booster and spacecraft for a manned circumlunar mission (UR-500 Proton and LK-1). There is no authorization for a lunar landing program, although Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei all begin booster designs.
Korolev proposes to Kamanin the launch of three manned Vostok spacecraft at one-day intervals: the first on a three-day flight, and the second and third on two- or three-day flights. Three Soviet manned spacecraft would be in orbit at once. Kamanin has no problem in principle, but does not believe any such flight could take place until 1962, rather than the November 1961 schedule proposed by Korolev. Kamanin goes so far as to write a letter from the VVS saying they would not agree to such a schedule. Due to problems on Titov's one-day flight, Kamanin believed the next flight should not exceed two days, which implied a maximum of only two spacecraft could be in space at one time. Korolev is furious -- and his relationship with the VVS and Kamanin are poor thereafter.
From 1960 to 1961 Korolev's design bureau worked on the single stage 8K79 military rocket. The 25 tonne missile could hurl an 800 kg warhead over a 2300 km range. A competing missile was selected for the requirement. Korolev's MR was based on stages already designed for the 8K74 and 8K77 missiles. The three-stage space launch version of the rocket would have a total mass of 101 tonnes; an ICBM version would be composed of just the first and second stages, and an IRBM version from the first stage alone.
Design of the manned Mars flyby spacecraft had involved nearly all sections of Korolev's OKB-1. Those who worked on the TMK included A I Dylnev, A K Algypov, A A Kochkin, A A Dashkov, V N Kubasov, V E Bugrov, and N N Protacov. Kubasov would be selected as a cosmonaut in 1966.
Korolev says he will need 28 pilot-cosmonauts and 22 specialist cosmonauts (engineers, scientists, etc) in the period 1962-1964. This is to include five women. Kamanin had already brought up the concept of a female spaceflight to Vershinin, Korolev, and Keldysh immediately after Gagarin's flight. He believed it was their patriotic duty to beat the Americans in putting a woman in space, and he wanted to find a female cosmonaut who would be a dedicated Communist agitator in the same class as Gagarin or Titov.
OKB-52 began to collaborate with V P Glushko's OKB-456 in developing an appropriate engine. Glushko had completed a storable liquid engine design of 150 tonnes for use in Korolev's N1. However Korolev refused to accept this design, due to his refusal to use toxic propellants in his rockets and his belief that such propellants could never deliver the required specific impulse.
OKB-52 began to collaborate with V P Glushko's OKB-456 in developing a high thrust storable propellant engine for the UR-500 Proton launch vehicle. Glushko had completed a storable liquid engine design of 150 tonnes for use in Korolev's N1. However Korolev refused to accept this design, due to his categorical refusal to use toxic propellants in his rockets and his belief that such propellants could never deliver the required specific impulse. Korolev insisted on development of an oxygen-kerosene engine; Glushko categorically refused to do so. As a result, the two leading Soviet rocket designers irrevocably split. Korolev had to turn for development of his N1 engines to the aviation engine design OKB of N D Kuznetsov.
The N1 draft project of 1962 spoke of 'establishment of a lunar base and regular traffic between the earth and the moon'. Korolev raised the matter informally at tea with Chief Designer of rocket complexes Vladimir Pavlovich Barmin, head of GSKB SpetsMash (State Union Design Bureau of Special Machine-Building). 'You just design the base', Korolev assured him, 'and I'll figure out how to get it there'. Under the DLB studies SpetsMash defined purposes of the base, the principles of its construction, phases of its deployment and composition of its scientific and support equipment. The enthusiasts that worked on the project at Zvezda were naturally known as 'lunatics'.
Korolev has issued a letter requested eight new Vostok 3A spacecraft to be built in 1962-1963. He recommends that they should be finished as the 1100 to 1300 kg heavier 'Vostok-2', to be boosted by the 11A57 rocket, developed originally for the Zenit-4 spy satellite. These Vostok-2's will be used for docking experiments, to form EO Experimental Orbital stations, and to develop spacecraft systems for flight to the moon. The VVS fully supports these plans. One of the docking spacecraft will be piloted, the other unpiloted.
The Soviet leadership attends a secret exhibition of Soviet rocket technology in a sporting hall at Pitsunda, on the Black Sea. The Chief Designers offer competing designs. It is decided that the R-16, R-9, UR-200, UR-500, and N1 will go forward. Yangel's R-56 is rejected. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin's plan for a limitation of two days has been blocked by Korolev. Korolev sees Kamanin as a brake on his adventures. Kamanin is also ordered to have the female cosmonauts selected by 1 March, and ready for flight by the end of August. Nine women have passed the hospital tests; from these four or five will be selected for cosmonaut training, and one of these will become the first woman in space.
Korolev approved the technical project 'Complex docking of spacecraft in earth orbit - Soyuz'. The Soyuz would first be tested using multiple launches of an R-7 derived rocket. In this concept a large spacecraft was assembled in earth orbit by a Vostok-Zh (or Vostok-7) manoeuvrable manned satellite, piloted by a 'cosmonaut assemblyman'. Following completion of assembly, the Vostok would return to earth. The assembled circumlunar craft would put the L1, with a crew of one to three, on a circumlunar trajectory. The Vostok-Zh could be used on another mission to assemble a 15 tonne OS orbital station with the mission of observing the earth.
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.
Smirnov approves Korolev's flight plan. Vostok 3 is to fly three days; Vostok 4, launched a day later, for two days; they will land simultaneously. Kamanin feels the rush is crazy. For seven to eight months there was no authority from the leadership to fly. Then, suddenly, after Glenn's flight, come orders to launch into space within ten days.
Korolev's fantastic 'Orbitalniy Poyas' (OP -Orbital Belt) scheme anticipated Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative by 25 years. Two to three large N-I launched military manned stations would control a constellation of strategic assets. Geosynchronous nuclear-powered satellites would provide secure communications. Piloted reconnaissance spacecraft would surprise the enemy, observing military preparations without warning. The orbital stations would provide continuous observations of the territory of the imperialist block.
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.
The Molniya 8K78L was designed by Korolev's design bureau for launching a manned spacecraft on a flyby of the Moon and return to earth. To achieve this it would have used Lox/LH2 engines in the third and fourth stages. Such technology was years away in the Soviet Union and the project was not pursued further.
Kamanin learns that Ponomaryova and Kuznetsova spent all night in TItov's apartment at TsPK. 'Dumb girls' he intones. Kamanin travels in a Lvov bus from Area 10 to Area 2, a distance of 40 km. Driving a Volga automobile, the stretch can now be done in only thirty minutes on the newly paved road. Korolev and his engineers are hard at work. Spacecraft number 5 is already in final tests, with Spacecraft 6 one to two days behind it in the processing flow. The launches will be observed by all of the female cosmonauts and 4 to 8 of the new engineer-cosmonauts.
Kamanin is at the Syr Darya River at 06:50, and arrives at Area 2 at 09:00. Suit communications tests are underway. From 11:00 to 13:00 there is a discussion on how the cosmonauts will observe the third stage of their booster, and how the spacecraft will be oriented. To stay pointed, they will need to put the spacecraft in a very slow maneuver of 0.06 deg/sec, or one revolution in 1.8 hours. Once they have achieved this, they have to put the spacecraft in a roll of 0.5 deg/sec, or one revolution in 12 minutes, in order to maintain the spacecraft's thermal balance due to solar heating. Kamanin does not understand why this is necessary - the Cosmos 4 spy satellite, of the same design, spent all four days of its mission in stabilised flight, using infrared horizon trackers, and maintained a stable internal temperature of 17 deg C. Korolev mentions that Cosmos 4 could distinguish types of aircraft on airfields, and the form and tonnage of ships at sea.
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.
At the MIK Popovich finally trains in his suit in the seat 'as planned'. At 11:30 Smirnov, Korolev, and Keldysh inspect the new space food prepared for the flight, then meet with the cosmonauts. The Soyuz spacecraft is discussed - the cosmonauts want to have a mock-up commission. Afterwards the pilots conduct more training in their flight suits. At 21:00 Vostok 3 is rolled out from Area 10 to the pad. There was a two hour delay due to the need to reinspect the fasteners on the ejection seat - use of unauthorised substitutes was detected on other seats.
At 12:00 the first press conference was held with reporters from Tass, Pravda, Izvestia, and Krasnaya Zvezda. At 13:15 the launch team holds a meeting at the pad, confirming all is ready. Afterwards Korolev, Smirnov, and the cosmonauts went up in the lift to the capsule. Nikolayev sat in the spacecraft while Korolev quizzed him for thirty minutes on changes made to standard configuration. Then they go to the 'Gagarin' cottage (actually that of Marshal Nedelin) for the night. From 17:00 to 19:00 Feoktistov briefs the cosmonauts on the final flight and contingency plans. Korolev comes in, and discusses the future Soyuz spacecraft, and his planned 16 tonne and 75 tonne manned spacecraft. Then Korolev goes out to the pad again to check on the booster. Kamanin notes that Korolev seems to be made of granite - aside from the Zenit-2 and Vostok launches, Korolev is preparing for three launches of probes to Venus in September, and more probes to Mars and the moon in October. Korolev yens to be allowed to travel abroad, at least to Czechoslovakia. But the State will not allow even this, let alone revealing his central role in their space program. At 22:00 it is agreed that the flight could be prolonged to a fourth day if the spacecraft and cosmonaut were holding up. There were some problems in the three-day test of the Tral telemetry system, but only actual use will show if the problem exists in operational conditions.
A meeting of the state commission is held at 07:00 to decide whether to prolong Nikolayev's flight to a fourth day. It is finally agreed that they will bring both spacecraft down on 15 August, with Nikolayev re-entering on his 65th orbit and Popovich on his 49th. Kamanin advises Nikolayev via the Yelizovo tracking station: "Go for a fourth day / 65 orbits". But this will ruin plans for a three-day comprehensive post-landing medical examination, since Nikolayev and Popovich have to be in Moscow on Friday, the 18th, for the preplanned celebrations at the Kremlin.
The State Commission met again at 17:00, to decide whether to extend Popovich to a fourth day as well. Smirnov and Korolev have already discussed this with Khrushchev. It all right with them, and there are no technical reasons not to. But Popovich is much more active than Nikolayev, since he wasn't expecting a four day flight, and he has not conserved his resources as Nikolayev has. At 12:00 the spacecraft temperature was down to 11 deg C, with low humidity. Kamanin objects violently, and finally it is decided to ask the cosmonaut directly if he feels able to go for the extra day. Popovich, when contacted, immediately declares himself ready to go for an extra day and a 65 orbit mission. It is decided to study expected landing conditions for an extended mission and the physical condition of the cosmonaut before making a final decision.
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.
At Baikonur for the launch of a Venera probe, the Soviet space leadership discussed future plans. The female cosmonaut training group was there for their first rocket launch. The next Vostok would carry the first woman into space; Ponomaryova, Solovyova, and Tereshkova were the leading candidates. Flight plans were discussed at a meeting in the evening between Kamanin and Leonid Smirnov. It would be possible to make the flight by the end of 1962, but March-April 1963 was more likely, depending on the final report on the Vostok 3/4 flights. The work force would be fully occupied in August-October in launching probes to Venus and Mars, also probably delaying any Vostok flight until the following spring. The next flight would probably be part of a group flight of two or three spacecraft, piloted by both men and women. The female flights would be limited to three days, while the male flights would last for 7 to 8 days. Additional Details: here....
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 1021-436 'On start of work on the N1 and GR-1' was issued. Following a review of the N1 project by an Academy of Sciences expert commission headed by Keldysh in July, this decree provided a detailed plan leading to a first launch by the end of 1965. Planning and drawing release for the GR-1 were completed by this date and the decree ordered test flights to begin in the third quarter of 1963. However development problems with the NK-9 engine resulted in continual delays. Finally in 1964 Korolev's GR-1 was cancelled and Yangel's R-36 was selected for the mission. This would deprive Korolev of a vital test-bed for flight test of the N1 engines.
Work on the OS-1 began following a meeting between Khrushchev and chief designers at Pitsunda. Korolev was authorized to proceed immediately to upgrade the three stage N vehicle to a maximum 75 tonne payload in order to launch the station. By 1965 the mockup of the huge station had been completed.
Meeting of the Interdepartmental Soviet of the Academy of Sciences reviews space exploration plans. In the next two years, 5-6 Luna probes will be sent to the moon, including soft landers with a mass of 100 kg, and orbiters to map the surface. There will be flybys and landings of Mars and Venus. Two Zond spacecraft will study the space environment out to 20 million kilometres from the earth. In earth orbit, 10 Zenit spy satellites, 10 to 12 Vostok manned spacecraft, 4 to 6 Soyuz spacecraft, and 10 to 12 Kosmos satellites will be launched. The Kosmos will fly missions in meteorology, communications, television transmission, and heliographic, and geological studies. Kamanin finds this a good program, but it nearly all relies on a single launch pad and one-time transmission of data from a few satellites. The military plan is not reviewed; it must go through the VPK Military-Industrial Commission first. An Expert Commission is to be formed on the Soyuz spacecraft. Smirnov and Korolev have dictated a letter to Ustinov asking that eight more Vostoks be built. On the other hand, some on the general staff want 60 cosmonauts trained in the next two to three years, to support 8 to 10 flights of single-place spacecraft and 7 to 8 flights of multiplace spacecraft.
Smirnov insisted on the following after reviewing Korolev's design: 1) there must be a space suit for every crew member; 2) the spacecraft must be able to use lift during re-entry to change its landing point; 3) the spacecraft must have ejection seats. Korolev and his assistants categorically rejected these demands. Smirnov was only insisting on the availability of suits, not that they be worn at all times; and only on small lifting surfaces to give the capsule more manoeuvrability during re-entry. But Korolev rejected even this. Later the commission went to Chelomei's bureau to see his Raketoplan manned spaceplane design. But this was not even laid out on paper yet, with the draft project not scheduled to be completed until the end of February. Chelomei has already been working on this for two years. In January 1961 he gave a presentation to the General Staff and made big promises in regard to this spacecraft - but nothing has been completed. The only spacecraft that will be realistically available in the next three to five years is Korolev's - anything else would only be purely experimental.
The primary objective of the design is to achieve docking to two spacecraft in earth orbit. Secondary objectives are the operation of scientific and military equipment from the spacecraft. Three different spacecraft, all launched by an R-7 derived booster, are required to achieve this:
The system will conduct fuellings and dockings in a 250 km altitude parking orbit, and be boosted up to 400,000 km altitude on lunar flyby missions. The system will be ready in three years. Military variants proposed are the Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R. Each spacecraft will have 400 kg of automatic rendezvous and docking equipment. Manual docking will be possible once the spacecraft are within 300 m of each other.
Korolev still insists on an unguided landing and categorically rejects the use of wings. A parachute will deploy and slow the capsule to 10 m/s. Then a retrorocket will fire just before impact with the earth to provide a zero-velocity soft landing. Korolev still insists that spacesuits will not be carried for the crew. First test flight of the 7K, without docking, could not occur until the second half of 1964.
Final design approval for Soyuz A spacecraft for earth orbit and circumlunar flight using orbital rendezvous, docking, and refuelling technques. Except for change of orbital module from cylindrical to spherical design, and changes to rendezvous radar tower arrangement, this design was essentially identical to the Soyuz 7K-OK that flew three years later. Additional Details: here....
The expert commission report on Soyuz is reviewed by the Chief Designers from 10:00 to 14:00. The primary objective of the Soyuz project is to develop the technology for docking in orbit. This will allow the spacecraft to make flights of many months duration and allow manned flyby of the moon. Using docking of 70 tonne components launched by the N1 booster will allow manned flight to the Moon, Venus, and Mars. Keldysh, Chelomei and Glushko all support the main objective of Soyuz, to obtain and perfect docking technology. But Chelomei and Glushko warn of the unknowns of the project. Korolev agrees with the assessment that not all the components of the system - the 7K, 9K, and 11K spacecraft - will fly by the end of 1964. But he does argue that the first 7K will fly in 1964, and the first manned 7K flight will come in 1965.
In a meeting between the VVS and OKB-1 engineers, Korolev and Keldysh push for acceptance by the military and use of Vostok as the first 'space trainer'. Cosmonauts would train for spaceflight on Vostok missions before being assigned to operational flights aboard Soyuz.. This was consistent with aircraft practice (e.g. where the first effective jet fighter, the MiG-15, was converted to the MiG-15UTI and became the standard jet trainer for the VVS). It also envisioned a future where operational Vostok and Soyuz spacecraft would be mass-produced by the military and flown as regularly as fighter aircraft.
At the end of 1961 the Glushko and Bondaryuk bureaux completed their draft projects on nuclear thermal engines for space vehicle upper stages. It was decided to continue work on development of an engine in the 30 to 40 tonne thrust range. In the following year Korolev was asked to study application of such engines, followed by a specific demand in May 1963 from the Scientific-Technical Soviet for specific recommendations. For a Mars expedition, it was calculated that the AF engine would deliver 40% more payload than a chemical stage, and the V would deliver 50% more. But Korolev's study also effectively killed the program by noting that his favoured solution, a nuclear electric ion engine, would deliver 70% more payload than the Lox/LH2 stage. Further investigation of nuclear thermal stages for the N1 does not seem to be pursued. Bondaryuk and Glushko turned to Chelomei and his competing UR-700 rocket for future application of such stages.
Only today is Kamanin informed that a dual flight has been decreed within the next 3 to 6 weeks. The women are ready, but Bykovskiy and Volynov need a few parachute jumps and training in the hot mock-up. Leonov and Khrunov need additional centrifuge training as well. Bykovskiy and Volynov should be ready by 30 May, and Leonov and Khrunov by 15 June. Therefore earliest possible launch date is 5 to 15 June. Alekseyev's bureau is as always the pacing factor. He can adapt one of the female ejection seats for Bykovskiy, but not for Volynov. The space suit for Leonov will only be completed by 30 May. Kamanin talks to Korolev about dumping Alekseyev's bureau in the future. Cosmonaut parachute trainer Nikitin agrees that Bykovskiy can complete his parachute qualification at Fedosiya on 9-10 May. Further bad behaviour by Titov is reported during a trip to Kiev. He insulted an officer ('I am Titov, who are you?') and then had general's wives intervene on his behalf to get him out of trouble.
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!
Korolev reports still problems with components of the electrical system from the Kharkov factory -- the same problems that existed in 1962. The cosmonauts will go to Tyuratam on 27/28 May, with launch planned for 3/5 June. Bykovskiy is named prime for Vostok 5, with Volynov his backup. Tereshkova is named prime for Vostok 6, with Solovyova and Ponomaryeva both as her backups. This selection is however made despite strong support for Ponomaryeva as prime by Keldysh and Rudenko.
The VVS wants to send 55 staff to Tyuratam for the launches, but Korolev wants no more than 25. This is just possible - 11 cosmonauts, 8 engineers, and vital support staff only. Bykovskiy was to start a two day run in the hot mock-up, but it was called off due to defects with his suits - the biosensors were wired to his helmet microphone! The suit seems not even to have been tested before delivery. Alekseyev was supposed to have it ready by 9 May, now it will only be ready for use by 14 May. Gordon Cooper is scheduled for a 34 hour Mercury flight tomorrow....
He tangled in the air with another member of a group jump, Aleksei Novikov. Both were killed. The Vostok 5 and 6 launch vehicles and spacecraft are both in the MIK assembly wall. Work began on them two weeks ago. Nevertheless Korolev is not happy with the results. He wants the tests run over from the start. Round-the-clock work begins from this day. The bad weather and the news of Nikitin's death produce an atmosphere of gloom. Nikitin's funeral is scheduled for 30 May. Therefore the cosmonauts have delayed their departure in order to attend the funeral and will not arrive at Tyuratam until 31 May. Kamanin was very worried about the effect of Nikitin's death on the female cosmonauts' nerves. The final decree set the launch dates as 2/3 June, with landing on 7/8 June. Kamanin gets into a heated argument with Rudenko, who wants to fly all of the cosmonauts to Tyuratam on a single aircraft. He doesn't see what the big deal is -- after all, state ministers fly together all the time.
At 9 am Tereshkova, Solovyova, and Ponomaryova practice donning and doffing their space suits. Bykovskiy and Volynov prepare their ship's logs. Korolev discusses plans for tests of the cosmonaut's ability to discern objects from space. Colonel Kirillov completes preparation of the spacecraft for flight.
The launch of Vostok 5 is set for 11 June. Final training and consultations are under way. Korolev is not happy with the condition of the spacecraft. At 22:30 in the evening the launch is scrubbed when Keldysh calls from Moscow and advises excessive solar flare activity is expected. Keldysh will review the data tomorrow and advise if it really poses a danger to the cosmonauts.
The cosmonauts spend the day on the beach. Tereshkova sits a long time with Korolev on the balcony on the second floor of the house on the river. He interviews here thoroughly to make sure she is ready for the flight. The State Commission meets at 17:00. The expected solar flare did not occur, but the Crimean Observatory claims the risk will remain high. The decision is made to defer the launches to 14/15 June.
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!
Joint flight with Vostok 5. First woman in space, and the only Russian woman to go into space until Svetlana Savitskaya 19 years later. On its first orbit, Vostok 6 came within about five km of Vostok 5, the closest distance achieved during the flight, and established radio contact. Flight objectives included: Comparative analysis of the effect of various space-flight factors on the male and female organisms; medico-biological research; further elaboration and improvement of spaceship systems under conditions of joint flight. It was Korolev's idea just after Gagarin's flight to put a woman into space as yet another novelty. Khrushchev made the final crew selection. Korolev was unhappy with Tereshkova's performance in orbit and she was not permitted to take manual control of the spacecraft as had been planned.
In the morning Tereshkova manually oriented the spacecraft for re-entry easily and held the position for 15 minutes. She was very happy with the result. At 9:00 the state commission took their places in the command post. At 9:34:40 the retrofire command was sent to Vostok 6. After a few seconds, telemetry was received indicating that the engine burn was proceeding normally. The nerves of the commission members finally settled down, but Tereshkova did not call out each event as required. No report of successful solar orientation was received, no report of retrofire, and no report of jettison of the service module. Things remained very tense in the command post - no communications were received from the capsule at all. Knowledge that the spacecraft was returning normally were only received via telemetry, including the signal that the parachute opened correctly from above the landing site. Both spacecraft landed two degrees of latitude north of the aim point. It was calculated that this could have occurred by duplicate landing commands having been sent, but such a failure could not be duplicated in post-flight tests of ground equipment.
Many errors occurred in the entire landing sequences, including actions of the VVS recovery forces. The conditions of the cosmonauts were only reported several hours after their landings. Big crowds gathered at both landing sites. Bykovskiy spent the night in Kustan, then left on 20 June aboard an Il-14 for Kuibyshev. Tereshkova spent her first night in Karaganda, then flew in an Il-8 to Kuibyshev. Many congratulatory phone calls were received from the Soviet leadership. Korolev declared he had no longer had the time to personally direct Vostok flights and wanted to hand the spacecraft over to the military for operational use. He could then concentrate on development of the Soyuz and Lunik spacecraft.
Korolev, Tyulin, and Rudenko left Tyuratam aboard an An-12, followed by 60 others (cosmonauts, officers, engineers) aboard an An-10. General Goreglyad requests that 'extraneous' staff remain in Kuibyshev, while the rest will proceed on to Moscow with Bykovskiy and Tereshkova. The aircraft arrive at 11:30 in Kuibyshev, then go to the debriefing building on the Volga river. There the debriefing of the two cosmonauts began at 13:00. After the debriefings, in the evening, Korolev took the cosmonauts for a trip on the Volga. Kamanin was infuriated - partying would ruin the post-flight medical tracking.
The cosmonauts are prepared by Keldysh, Tyulin, and Korolev for their first big press conference. Yazdovskiy has inserted a paragraph in the official press release about Tereshkova's poor emotional state while in space. He claims she experienced overwhelming emotions, tiredness, and a sharply reduced ability to work and complete all of her assigned tasks. Kamanin takes him aside and asks him not to exaggerate her difficulties during the flight. She only had tasks assigned for the first day. When the flight was extended for a second, and then a third day, there was essentially nothing for her to do. The ground command did nothing to support her during those additional days. She certainly was never tired, never objected, but rather did all she could to complete fully the flight program.
The returned cosmonauts have the traditional meeting with Korolev at the design bureau and hand over their flight logs. The new cosmonaut group is presented as well. Korolev is in a good mood, and makes an especially long-winded speech. Tereshkova has to leave early, at 12:00, to attend yet another press conference and a woman's congress. These activities kept her going until 22:00 in the evening - a gruelling schedule indicative of what was to come.
Kamanin discusses future cosmonaut book plans with writer Riabchikov. He is interrupted by a call from Korolev. Korolev wants Tereshkova and Bykovskiy in his office the following morning at 10 am sharp and he wants a full explanation for Tereshkova's poor self- samochuviniy on orbits 32 and 42, about her pvote, her poor appetite during the flight, and her failure to complete some assigned tasks. He blames Kamanin for providing her with inadequate training prior to the flight -- which Kamanin finds a joke since he had never received any support in the past from Korolev for his requests for more and better training of the cosmonauts in high-G and zero-G situations. Korolev had also never listened to any of Kamanin's complaints about the need to improve the living conditions for the cosmonaut on the Vostok spacecraft.
Keldysh, Korolev, Voronin, and Kamanin attend a conference on space cabin ecology. Presentations are made by IAKM, OKB-124, the Biology Institute, and the Physiology Institute. In two to three years the USSR expects to orbit spacecraft of 78 to 80 tonnes, which will be assembled in earth orbit to produce larger spacecraft. These will not only fly around the moon, but also be used to fly to Venus, Mars, and other planets. Although it will take years, many technical problems have to be solved before such a spacecraft can be built. How to shield the crew from radiation? How best to regenerate the air? How to recycle the water? Can the crew survive for long flights in zero-G, or must some form of artificial gravity be provided? If so, what is the best method? How can the psychological health of the crew best be maintained on long flights?
It is reported that a lot of test stand work has been completed and is underway on closed ecological systems for recycling the air and water. One kilogram of chlorella algae can produce 27 kg of oxygen per day. Since each man will require 25 kg of oxygen per day, 2 kg of chlorella per crew member will be adequate. Therefore the problem of recycling the cabin atmosphere is considered already solved.
Food requirements per crew member are 2.5 to 3.0 kg/day, or about one tonne per year. It is expected that in two to three years development will be complete of a system that will recycle 80% of the food. A 150 kg device will produce 400 to 600 g of food per day, or 100 to 200 kg per year.
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.
It is clear that there may be no Soviet manned flights in 1963, and certainly not in the spring. It is possible the unmanned biosat Vostok will be flown in the second half of 1963. Korolev's plate is full with other work -- Soyuz development, several Zenit reconnaissance satellite launches, lots of Luniks. Meanwhile Kamanin is completely occupied with cosmonaut tours and publicity. Over 200,000 cosmonaut fan letters have been received -- they can't handle them all, a special unit will have to be created just to handle the mail. The KGB has assigned Yevgeniya Pavlovna Kassirova to accompany Tereshkova on her travels. She is a good choice, has foreign travel experience and excellent English.
Kamanin picks up a new Volga automobile. It cost him 5513 roubles, but one door doesn't fit and the trunk is scarred with excess hardened resin. Sukarno has asked for Tereshkova and Bykovskiy to visit Indonesia for two weeks in August, but this is impossible.
In a three hour meeting Korolev goes over his future flight plans for Vostok. The first flight will be unmanned, with a biological payload, in February or March 1964. The flight is to last 10 or 11 days and take the specimens up to 600 to 1000 km altitude, into the lower reaches of the Van Allen radiation belts. This will be followed by three cosmonaut flights of ten days with significant military and scientific experiments. A new ground control system will be installed and tested to handle all in-flight emergencies. A new autonomous on-board navigation system will be flight tested. Korolev wants the military to take over conduct of future Vostok flights - they are taking up to much of his time and nerves. He has told this repeated to Khrushchev and Brezhnev without result. Meanwhile Kamanin lobbies within the military hierarchy for the removal of Odintsev. It is decided that the matter will be taken up at the next meeting of the Military Soviet.
News reaches Moscow that Kennedy has been assassinated. Kamanin talks with Rudenko, who is not interested in Kamanin's plans for a wider VVS role in space. Rudenko believes Korolev's promises that Soyuz will start test flights in 1964 and that no further Vostok flights are necessary. Kamanin pleads that without such flights the American Gemini program will fly unopposed and give the Americans a decisive lead in the space race. The Soviet Union could launch a modified Vostok - a three place spacecraft - to upstage Gemini but the decision has to made now. Rudenko is unmoved.
Kamanin meets with Korolev at OKB-1. Korolev is opposed to the VVS getting out of manned space flight. The Air Force already has a good laboratory infrastructure to support such space flights. More to the point Korolev feels more at home working with pilots and is sick and tired of dealing with the artillery officers that run the rocket forces. He's been stuck with them for twenty years and its a constant stress. A resolution was issued for development of the Soyuz on 1 December. However Korolev needs 80 million roubles to build and fly four Soyuz spacecraft in 1964, but has only been allocated 30 million.
The cosmonaut weds at the TsPK cosmonaut centre, and 80 guests attend. Of the female cosmonauts, only Ponomaryova is not yet married. However the next female flight will be made no earlier than 1965-1966. Tereshkova looks tired after her tour to Southeast Asia - and she's supposed to go to Ghana on 10 January! Korolev claims that the Soyuz schedule, as laid out in the resolution of 4 December 1963, is still realistic. He will have the first Soyuz flight in August 1964 and the second and third in September 1964. Ivanovskiy doesn't believe it will be possible to make any flights until 1965. Korolev and Tsybin disccuss Shcherbakov's design for a rocket-propelled high-altitude glider. This concept was supported by the VVS, but Dementiev was against it and it was killed in the bureaucracy.
Kamanin prepares schedules for Tereshkova's visit to England on 4-10 February. Leonov's Vostok training group travels to Kirzhach to complete parachute training. Kamanin tries to pressure Korolev, Zverev, and Ivanovskiy to accelerate work on further Vostok flights.
The cosmonauts visit Korolev at OKB-1 for the first viewing of the mock-up of the Soyuz spacecraft. Korolev announces that single-place Vostoks will fly no more, and that instead four of the spacecraft will be completed during 1964 to take three crew members. This decision has been taken since it was now certain that Soyuz will not be ready to fly in 1964, and the impending first flights of American Gemini and Apollo spacecraft will give the USA a lead in manned spaceflight before Soyuz missions can be flown.
Kamanin is disturbed by the decision. He recalls that in 1961 flight of the Vostok with two or three crew was discussed, with flights to occur in 1962-1963. But at that time Korolev cancelled the plans, saying the Soyuz would be used for such missions. Now Soyuz will not fly until 1965, and he has changed his tune. Furthermore, the modified Vostok is inherently risky, with no way to save the crew in case of a launch vehicle malfunction in the first 40 seconds of flight. Unlike Vostok, the three crew will not have individual ejection seats or parachutes to give them a chance of escape in the event of an abort. The crew will be subject to 10 to 25 G's during an abort. There is no assurance the environmental control system can be modified to handle three crew. It all seems very unsafe, and Kamanin believes the six consecutive successful Vostok flights have given Korolev's engineers a false sense of the safety of the Vostok system. Kamanin is perplexed. How does he plan to convert a single-place spacecraft to a three-place spacecraft in a few months? Korolev has no clear answers, but asks for the cosmonauts' support of the scheme.
VVS officers meet to plan training for the Voskhod 1 crew. It is agreed that a passenger-cosmonaut can be trained within three months. That means, in order to be ready for an August mission, the candidates for the scientist- and physician-cosmonaut seats will have to be identified, screened, and selected by 30 April. It is estimated that 30 physician and 30 scientist candidates will have to be submitted to the medical commission in order for the necessary six finalists to get through the screening. Kamanin privately believes this is all an insanely dangerous adventure. Smirnov, Keldysh, and Korolev have gone off the rails in their desire to make sure that the Americans do not seize and space 'firsts' once the Gemini flights begin.
Kamanin works out with the other ministries the criteria for the Voskhod crew. The commander will be a trained unflown cosmonaut. The others have to be civilians. The VVS will be responsible for training the passengers on a three-month schedule. Candidates will be considered from OKB-1, the Academy of Science, the IAKM (Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine) and the DOSAAF civilian flying organisation. After General staff review, it is decided the commander will be a flown cosmonaut (Titov, Bykovsky, or Popovich): that Korolev will submit six engineer-cosmonaut candidates from within OKB-1; that Korolev will co-ordinate submittal of a small group of physician-cosmonaut candidates; and that Keldysh will submit scientists from the Academy.
Korolev is categorically against assigning a flown cosmonaut to the Voskhod mission. He also makes light of the training requirements for the passenger-cosmonauts. He is wreaking havoc with Kamanin's crew plans with his positions, and creating unrest among the cosmonaut corps.
Kamanin receives the directive issued by Biryuzov to implement the Voskhod Party resolutions. Four spacecraft will be completed, two in a three-man configuration, to be flown in the second half of 1964, and two in a configuration that will provide an airlock and allow one cosmonaut to exit into open space. Less than a year is allowed to develop the new spacecraft version for the spacewalk, as well as develop the space suit. This will be a crash priority program, and allow Korolev no resources to complete and launch five Vostok spacecraft on manned and life sciences missions beginning in May.
50 candidates from VVS institutes, Minzdrav, and the Academy of Science have been screened, and 36 were immediately ruled out, leaving 14 for medical screening. As for OKB-1 candidates, Korolev had not yet submitted a single name, and time for training is running out quickly.
Korolev meets with the cosmonauts, VVS, and RVSN staff to discuss concerns as to the safety of Voskhod. As for flying without spacesuits, Korolev points out than in 14 Zenit-2/Zenit-4 and 10 Vostok flights there has not been a single instance of loss of cabin pressure. He conveniently omits stating that the suit used on the Vostok missions allowed the cosmonaut 4 to 6 hours of oxygen supply to return to earth in case of cabin depressurisation; but on Voskhod the crew will perish. As for individual crew parachutes, he believes they are useless since the crew would not get a chance to use them in an emergency anyway. Korolev sold Khrushchev on the mission by characterising Voskhod as a modification of the reliable Vostok spacecraft. However, he did inform Khrushchev that the risk of loss of the crew on a Voskhod flight was greater than on a Vostok flight. However it was decided this risk was worth taking in exchange for the great political effect of having the first multi-man crew in space.
While Kamanin is away arranging screening of Voskhod candidates, Korolev meets with the VVS General Staff. He tells them he wants to have four Voskhods completed by the anniversary of the October Resolution for the first spacewalk. He dreams of a manned lunar flyby by either docking Soyuz A-B-V modules in orbit, or in a single N1 launch (no metal has even yet been cut for the N1 at Kuibyshev). In order to further develop EVA techniques he wants to convert a further five Vostoks into the Voskhod configuration. Meanwhile Kamanin agrees to a compression of the medical screening schedule from 20-25 days to 15-17 days. The physicians will reduce it no further than this.
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.
Korolev presents the Voskhod technical design to organisations outside of OKB-1. Over 27 VVS representatives, including 10 cosmonauts, attend. The two Vostok variants have been dubbed 3KV (3-crew version) and 3KD (2 crew version with airlock). Korolev will complete integration of the first 3KV article by 12 June (8 days from the briefing). The first two articles will be shipped to Baikonur on 15 June for final test. An unmanned test flight with mannequins will be made in July, with the first three-crew manned flight in August. This will be followed by the first 3KD flight in September, with the first spacewalk. The difficulty in preparing equipment and training crews on this schedule are immense; and the chances of complete success are low. But it is the only way the Soviet Union can maintain its leadership in space in the face of the impending Gemini and Apollo flight tests, and the delays in Soyuz. After the meeting, Kamanin decides to train two cosmonauts as Voskhod spacecraft commanders, and the other three as spacewalkers.
Work on the original N1-L3 had begun in 1963. This had been preceded by two years of working on a draft project for the LK lunar lander and its propulsion system. But there was no money for full scale development -- no code name from Gosplan against which to charge such work. It was annoying that Chelomei, Glushko, and Yangel were wasting resources on alternate designs at the same time. Additional Details: here....
Titov is reviewed by VVS officers. He is unrepentant and insists he did nothing wrong. Kamanin recites his sins - he has become remote from the cosmonaut collective, his is hanging out with riffraff such as writers and artists, he doesn't come home at night, he drinks too much, drives too fast, is undisciplined... the list goes on and on. He is going to be put under strict medical control and be closely supervised in the future. Afterwards Kamanin calls Korolev, who confirms that the first manned Voskhod will be impossible by the end of August, and there are so many technical issues that he has no idea when the first Vykhod flight will occur. Kamanin notes the Ranger 7 flight, and that the Americans are also catching up with the Soviet Union in the field of lunar and planetary probes....
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 655-268 'On Work on the Exploration of the Moon and Mastery of Space--piloted LK-1 circumlunar and L3 lunar landing projects and the Ye-6M lunar lander' was issued. Chelomei was to develop the three-stage UR-500K booster and LK-1 spacecraft for the manned lunar flyby. Korolev was to develop the totally different N1 booster and L3 spacecraft complex for the manned lunar landing. First launch of the N1 was to be by the first quarter 1966, with manned lunar landings in 1967 to 1968. Reprioritization led to work being stopped on Korolev's Zvezda 6-man orbiting weapons platform by mid-1965, after a huge mockup had been built.
Korolev felt that if he had the full support of the Communist Party, the military, and industry he could achieve this goal, and this decree ordered such support. The USSR would be first on the moon. But in truth the draft project behind the decree had not solved all of the technical problems, or provided a solution on how to achieve the required payload on either the booster or spacecraft side. New technology features required for success of the scheme included an advanced guidance system in the N1 third stage equipment bay, the enormous fuel tanks in the N1 first stage, and the Lox/LH2 fuel cells needed for the LOK lunar orbiter. But the real technical problem with the N1-L3 design was the total lack of any weight growth reserve. Even thought the systems had not even been developed yet, engineers were fighting over tens of grams in their weight allocations, let alone the kilograms normally at issue.
Development of Korolev's Soyuz A-B-V, a competing circumlunar project, was evidently still authorised, although it duplicated Chelomei's LK-1.
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.
Composition of the crew for Voskhod continues to be debated intensively. There has been talk of the medical unsuitability of Katys and Yegorov. Later Kamanin discusses progress with the Vykhod mission based on their work at Factory 918 and LII. Many technical details have to be worked out -- movement in open space, the space suit, airlock, communications, etc. The work is in two steps: first to solve simply doing spacewalk, and then how to control and manoeuvre the spacecraft when a cosmonaut is outside. Korolev seems to think that enthusiasm will solve all problems, but Kamanin is concerned of the demonstrated unreliability of Korolev's Luna, Mars, and Molniya unmanned spacecraft.
Katys insists that he knew nothing of his brother and sister living in Paris. His father had these children before 1910, when they left with their mother for Paris. His father did not marry Katys' mother until 1924. His father was arrested in 1931, when Katys was only 5 years old. Meanwhile Tyulin recommends that Kamanin delay his departure for Baikonur by 2 to 3 days. The launch vehicle for the first test mission hasn't been delivered yet. There are still problems with the landing system. In a test at Fedosiya on 29 August, the capsule was dropped from an aircraft with the parachute hatch already opened. Normally this would be ejected by a barometric switch at 7 to 8 km altitude. So the tests have not really proven the end-to-end function of the landing system. 2 to 3 months would be needed to correctly wring out the system, which is still showing many bugs. Instead Korolev now says that the first Voskhod flight will take place no earlier than 10-15 September, and the first manned flight has realistically moved into October. The 3KD Vykhod flight Korolev still plans by the end of the year, but Kamanin believes it cannot take place until 1965. Leonov reports that there are still a lot of problems and defects with the spacesuit being designed for the space walk. Finally two VVS officers have discovered there is a real problem with Voskhod internal temperatures post-landing. Since the crew compartment hatch will not be ejected as in Vostok, they estimate that temperatures will reach 40 deg C at 11 minutes after landing, peaking at 60 deg C 5 to 8 minutes after that. They recommend that the crew has to be able to open the external air vents manually - currently they only open automatically 11 minutes after landing.
A Voskhod capsule is finally dropped from 10 km altitude in order to test the parachute hatch ejection mechanism. The hatch fails to deploy, the parachute never opens, and the capsule crashes to earth. Korolev claims the test capsule's electrical scheme is not representative of the production capsule, and promises to ship a production representative capsule, which he guarantees will be reliable, to Fedosiya by 22 September.
Kamanin arrives at the cosmodrome, only to find the launch of the manned Voskhod delayed to October. The launch of a Zenit-4 spy satellite, that uses the same launch vehicle as planned for Voskhod, has aborted on the pad after the Block A strap-on failed to ignite. This is the first block A failure in over 100 R-7 launches. That evening Kamanin views a launch of an R-36 heavy ICBM. Marshall Krylov reveals it will have a range of 14,000 km with a CEP of under 1 km with a 40 megaton warhead - one missile is sufficient to wipe out a city like New York. Rudenko believes that the victor in any nuclear war will be the one who pushes the button first. Krylov disagrees, saying that if the Americans would launch an attack on Soviet missile forces, the Soviet Union would launch its missiles on a counter-strike before the American missiles arrive - total and senseless destruction. Rudenko believes that Rudenko is more correct, since in the real-world responses will not conform to theoretical possibilities of instant reaction.
Later the state commission meets to consider the launch of the first Voskhod. The unpleasantness at the landing trials in the Crimea reveal only the inadequacy of the design of the test capsules, and do not reflect the flight system, says Korolev. He certifies the reliability of the Voskhod for flight. The commission decides to set the launch of the next Zenit-4 reconnaissance satellite for 14 September; that of the Voskhod with mannequins on 18-20 September; the definitive landing system trial at Fedosiya on 23 September; and if that is successful, launch of a manned Voskhod by the end of September.
High resolution photo reconnaissance satellite; returned film capsule; also carried weather experiments. The Zenit-4 launches a day ahead of schedule. The booster rocket performs perfectly as Korolev and Kamanin watch from the veranda of the IP-1 tracking station. This confirms readiness of the same launch vehicle for the Voskhod launch.
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 inspects the cosmonaut's hotel. The 18-room 2-story building has been completed, but work hasn't even started on any of the sports facilities that were supposed to adjoin it. This is all that is completed after four years of work. Later the final abort instruction manual and mission control authority are hammered out between Korolev and Kamanin. Korolev wants to make sure he retains authority over the mission.
The State Commission meets at Baikonur. Chertok advises that the failure of the parachute hatch to jettison in the trials in Fedosiya was due to a serious defect in the schematics of the electrical layout and will not occur again. Korolev declares he is ready to certify Voskhod ready for the final drop test at Fedosiya but would prefer to delay the launch of the spacecraft with mannequins until after the Fedosiya test. The state commission finally agrees to reschedule the launch from 28-30 September, subject to a successful test at Fedosiya on 24-25 September.
Aftrwards Tyulin calls Korolev, Mrykin, Kerimov, Rudenko, and Kamanin aside. He tells them the Communist Party and Soviet Ministers have now taken a personal interest in the crew selection for Voskhod. Korolev and Kamanin bitterly debate their competing preferred crews.
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 meets Korolev at the MIK assembly building at 09:30. Korolev is preoccupied - his wife is in the Kremlin hospital, scheduled for surgery on 1 October. It is a dangerous diversion when all his powers and concentration need to be devoted to clearing the spacecraft for flight. There has been a problem in installing the second seat in the capsule; it won't clear the hatch by 3 mm. At 10:00 Kamanin reviews preparations of the Baikonur recovery forces for a launch abort. He secretly believes, in view of Voskhod's unreliability and unsafe nature, that all such preparations are mainly psychological and of little realistic effectiveness. At 17:00 the State Commission meets to assess launch readiness. Tyulin reveals that the Tral 1P telemetry system aboard Voskhod has failed. The diagnosis is clear, but it will take 6 to 7 days to get a replacement. The tracking ships in the Pacific and Indian Oceans have been there since August, based on Korolev's originally guaranteed launch date. They will run out of supplies by 5-10 October. Finally it is decided that the boosters and spacecraft for both Voskhod missions will be completed in parallel. The launch of the first spacecraft will be will be delayed to 6 October at 10:00 Moscow time. The manned Voskhod will launch no more than six days after the test with mannequins. The tracking ships will be ordered to stay at sea until 15 October. Korolev leaves for Moscow for two days to be with his wife. The second group of cosmonauts are at the cosmodrome to observe spacecraft and launch preparations; now their visit will have to be extended significantly.
Kamanin is disgusted. The countdown for Voskhod was planned out for 146 hours; now Bogomolov reveals that this is 40 hours too little for all tasks. Korolev suddenly announced on 29 September that he planned to launch the next two Voskhod spacecraft in November, although everyone knows this cannot be possible until March-April 1965 at the earliest. Kamanin cannot understand this constant unrealistic, unprofessional planning.
Work on completing the spacecraft is finally on schedule, but then it is found that there is a failure in the Signal device, which provides communications after the separation of the capsule from the equipment section after retrofire. Nevertheless it is decided to continue according to schedule and roll the booster and spacecraft out to the pad the next morning. Korolev has spent the day at Fedosiya, where the Voskhod landing system has finally completed a successful end-to-end test after being dropped from an aircraft at 10 km altitude.
Unmanned test of Voskhod spacecraft. At 07:00 the State Commission meets at Area 2. All Chief Designers, Commanders, and Section report that all is ready for flight. The commission gives the order to proceed with the launch. Weather at the pad is 7 balls, 8-10 m/s wind with gusts to 15 m/s, temperature 9 to 12 deg C. Weather in the recovery zones is reported as winds up to 15 m/s. Weather in the recovery zone is not clear, but that is not considered an impediment, and in fact Kamanin would like to see how the landing system functions in bad conditions. Kamanin visits the pad at T-30 seconds; at T-20 seconds, the veranda at IP-1 has over 50 viewers of the launch, including 15 cosmonaut candidates and the 7 Voskhod cosmonauts. Kamanin is relegated to the IP-1 veranda this time, with Rudenko, Kirillov, and Tyulin the bunker adjacent to the pad. Korolev stays with the booster until T-5 minutes, then enters the bunker. The booster ignites precisely at 10:00; the strap-ons burn out and are jettisoned at T+120 seconds; the core burns out and the final stage ignites at T+290 seconds; and at T+523 seconds spacecraft 3KV number 2 is placed in orbit as the final stage shuts down. The spacecraft separates and all systems look normal.
Recovered October 7, 1964 7:28 GMT. Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space.
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.
Kosberg testifies that the problem that led to the engine explosion on the test stand was due to the stand itself and would not occur with a flight engine. Korolev agrees, and recommends launch based on the successful flight record of the engine, the successful Cosmos 47 test mission, and the completion of two successful end-to-end drop tests of the soft landing system. The commission sets launch for 12 October at 10:30 Moscow time.
The landing commission meets at 09:00. Emergency landing arrangements for each orbit are examined. Weather at both launch and landing sites is predicted to be excellent - clear, 5 m/s wind. Komarov is given Communist relics to be taken into space and returned to earth - a portrait of Marx which had belonged to Lenin, a photo of Lenin holding a copy of Pravda, and a banner from the Paris Commune. At 16:00 the crew meets with the garrison of Area 2 and thanks the launch team for all of their hard work. Afterwards Korolev takes the crew to the capsule and gives final instructions. Around 18:00 there is an emergency meeting in Korolev's office. A defect in the transmitter of the Tral system was detected at 14:30, , and it is not possible to easily get at the equipment any more. There is a dispute as to how long it would take to change out the equipment - estimates range from 10 minutes to two hours. In any case, Korolev had not been informed, but the Soviet hierarchy has already learned of the problem. Korolev flies into a rage, something Kamanin has not seen in four years of working with Korolev. Korolev settles the matter by calling Ustinov on the VCh scrambler phone and personally certifying that the booster and spacecraft are ready for flight.
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....
Five aircraft are necessary to fly all of the VVS staff and engineering workers back to Moscow. Word has come through that Khrushchev has been removed from his posts, with Brezhnev now the First Secretary of the Communist Party and Kosygin now Premier of the Soviet Ministers. Kamanin's opinion was that Khrushchev was not in the same league as Lenin or Stalin, and that he would have only a minor place in history, but he is surprised by his sudden downfall. Tyulin believes that Korolev's promise to Khrushchev to fly Vykhod in November is now nullified, and that a more reasonable date of March-April 1965 can be set.
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.
Following the August decree that gave the circumlunar project to Chelomei and the lunar landing project to Korolev, further work on development of the UR-700 by Chelomei was cancelled. However development of the RD-270 engine was continued and Chelomei continued to do UR-700 design studies.
Korolev speaks privately to Chertok. Kozlov has told him it will be impossible to build an N1 with the 93 tonne payload capability until the fourth flight article. The L3 concept was still the same as in the August decree - 2 cosmonauts aboard the LOK orbiter, one aboard the LK lander. Korolev asks Chertok to take 800 kg out of the weight budget for the L3. Chertok informs him that they are already 500 kg over the August budget. This is still without all the unknowns of the automated lunar landing being solved. Additional Details: here....
After the triumph of the Voskhod-1 flight, Korolev gathers a group of his closest associates in his small office - Chertok, Bushuyev, Okhapkin, and Turkov. Firm plans do not exist yet for further manned spaceflights. Following the traditional Kremlin celebrations after the return of the Voskhod 1 crew, he has heard no more from the new political management. Khrushchev's old enthusiasm for space does not exist in the new leadership. Korolev is angry. "The Americans have unified their forces into a single thrust, and make no secret of their plans to dominate outer space. But we keep our plans secret even to ourselves. No one has agreed on our future space plans - the opinion of OKB-1 differs from that of the Minister of Defense, which differs from that of the VVS, which differs from that of the VPK. Some want us to build more Vostoks, others more Voskhods, while within this bureau our priority is to get on with the Soyuz. Brezhnev's only concern is to launch something soon, to show that space affairs will go better under his rule than Khruschev's." Korolev however does not think the new leadership will support continuation of Chelomei's parallel lunar project. Okhapkin speaks up. "Do not underestimate Chelomei. He is of the same design school as Tupolev and Myasishchev. If we give him the will and the means, his products will equal those of the Americans. Now is the right moment to combine forces with Chelomei".
Yangel had decided that the bitter fight between Chelomei and Korolev over control of manned programs was damaging the Soviet space effort. In any case he could see that the size of the projects had reached such a scale that it was impossible for one design bureau to handle all of the required elements. He proposed a collaborative effort: Yangel would design and build the launch vehicle; Korolev the manned spacecraft; and Chelomei the unmanned spacecraft. However the leadership was loath to change course with funds already invested in development of boosters and spacecraft by Chelomei and Korolev.
There were two camps on the N1-L3 control systems. One group was within OKB-1, and had developed the systems for the Vostok and Zenit spacecraft, under the personal oversight of Korolev. They stressed the maximum quality and reliability in their systems. The second group had worked with Pilyugin, and had designed the systems for the Mars, Venus, Luna E-6 probes, the R-9, RT-1, RT-2, and GR-1 missiles; and piloted spacecraft. Their design emphasis was on maximum usability and output. Pilyugin had been named chief designer of the control system for the N1-L3. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin would like to get going with the training of 40 additional cosmonauts from many disciplines in order to 'storm space'. Korolev is opposed. Kamanin is also trying to get new flights scheduled for his female cosmonauts. This is never mentioned in the planning of future flights. Korolev is opposed to sending any further women into space. Kamanin would like to see a two-woman Voskhod flight, or a woman making a spacewalk. Aside from Tereshkova, Ponomaryova and Solovyova are as qualified and talented as any of the male cosmonauts for such flights. Yerkina and Kuznetsova, although they have completed the course, are ruled out by weaknesses in technical areas or character, in Kamanin's opinion.
The 15 cosmonaut candidates have all 'graduated' from basic cosmonaut training. The highest scores were by Beregovoi, Shatalov, Gubarev, and Demin. Two days later they officially receive their cosmonaut rating, bringing the total contingent to 34, of which 9 have already been in space. With this contingent the Soviet Union will fly to the moon and man an orbital station. That is insufficient - Kamanin wants a 40-man second contingent. The new contingent will have to be absolutely healthy male specimens, no older than 32 years, under 175 cm in height and 75 kg in weight. Keldysh, Korolev, and Tyulin are against further female flights in space, despite Kamanin's insistence.
At Chkalovskiy Airfield, the Vykhod airlock experiments are repeated, this time to an altitude of 37 km. This time the tests, run at up to 37 km equivalent altitude, are successful. The cosmonaut's pulse reached 90-108 per minute during the effort to get into the lock and open it. In all the test took two hours, but Korolev was pleased with the results. But afterwards he differs with Kamanin in the need for a 16-m arm centrifuge to be used for cosmonaut training. It should mainly be used by industry, Korolev believes.
The first meeting of the State Commission for the Voskhod-2 flight is held. Korolev, Tsybin, Severin, and other testify to the readiness of the spacecraft and booster systems. It is decided to fly the pathfinder mannequin fight on 14-16 February, and the crewed flight on 25-27 February. Kamanin objects that the radio beacon system on Voskhod is less reliable than that on Vostok, as proven on the Voskhod-1 mission.
Belyayev and Leonov practice deploying and exiting the airlock at 37 km equivalent altitude in the TBK-60 chamber. The Vega system for keeping track of the spacewalking cosmonaut's life signs fails again. Kamanin is infuriated. Later he discusses future spaceflight plans with Korolev, who was supposed to deliver five Voskhods in 1965. Korolev says that three spacecraft will only be completed by October, and should only be available for flights at the end of the year. He wants to use one as a biosat in an unmanned flight of organisms for 30 days; a second for the flight of a cosmonaut pilot and physician for 15 days; and the third for flight of a cosmonaut and engineer to perform an artificial gravity experiment. Two further spacecraft will be finished to the Vykhod configuration in October 1965 for flights in March 1966. Nothing is official yet, and Kamanin urges that the necessary resolutions be passed as soon as possible so that training can begin. He thought before that there was little chance that Yegorov's back-ups, Lazarev and Sorokin would fly, but now he puts them back in training so they will be ready for this flight schedule. But Korolev remains opposed to flying either candidate.
Interdepartmental Scientific-Technical Council on Space Research (MNTS-KI) Decree 'On approval of the L3 draft project' was issued. The decree followed a review by a Keldysh-led Academy of Sciences state commission the previous December. The decree moved the first flight of the N1 to the end of 1966. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin and Korolev return to the cosmodrome. Korolev is furious with Bogomolov over the continuing Tral problems and with Bogomolov's outspokenness. Meanwhile the problem of what to do if the airlock loses pressure is discussed. No good solution is found; in such a case the cosmonaut would be unable to enter the capsule. Finally the problem of which tracking station will issue the signal for opening and closing the airlock is discussed. IP-7 at Klyuchi and IP-6 at Yelizovo are both possibilities. Korolev would like both to be able to do so, in order to have a backup. It occurs to Kamanin that these kinds of problems could easily be handled if the first Voskhod-2 had a crew aboard. As spacecraft become increasingly complex, it will eventually be necessary to fly space missions with crews aboard that are not publicly announced. He foresees a need for many such 'black' flights in the future to prove out new systems, to complete military operations, and to train crews.
In the evening all problems are finally solved and the Voskhod spacecraft declared ready for flight.
Barring any further discrepancies, the spacecraft will be mated to the launch vehicle and rolled out to the pad on 20 February. Launch will be 21-22 February. Voskhod-2 with a crew aboard won't launch until the first half of March. However Korolev is preparing the Ye-6 robot lunar soft lander for launch on 13 March, making it an end of March launch date more likely for Voskhod-2. Kamanin still questions the radio systems aboard Voskhod, and Korolev placates him by saying a new system will be developed for Voskhod-3.
Unsuccessful mission. Voskhod 2 test. Immediately after orbital insertion airlock and spacesuit inflated normally. Then two ground control stations sent commands to the spacecraft simultaneously. The combined signals accidentally set off the retrofire sequence, which some time later triggered the self destruct mechanism (designed to prevent the spacecraft from falling into enemy hands).
Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space. Additional Details: here....
Korolev is confined to his cottage with a high temperature. Meanwhile tapes and documentation are being flown in from Kamchatka, Moscow, and Kolpasheva, and experts are flying in from OKB-1. So far it has been discovered that IP-6 and IP-7 were simultaneously communicating with the spacecraft at the time the re-entry sequence began.
The tapes finally arrive from all concerned tracking stations by 11 am. Korolev is ill, and his deputies work in his place. At 16:00 the accident commission meets. They find that at precisely the same time, IP-6 and IP-7 transmitted command 42 (decompress airlock) to the spacecraft. In such a case, the command could have been received and interpreted by the spacecraft as a single command 5 (retrofire). IP-6 was supposed to have transmitted the command at this point in the mission, with IP-7 to retransmit them as a backup only on command from Moscow. However IP-7 thought at the time that they were responsible for sending commands to the spacecraft. Accordingly, the spacecraft itself has been fully exonerated.
However it is found that of the 45 commands that can be sent to the spacecraft, four of them, including the command of the re-entry sequence, are unprotected from this kind of error. In Kamanin's opinion, in the last five years, Mnatsakanian's bureau has done nothing to ensure security of commands to spacecraft or the exploitation of this major weakness by the United States.
It is decided that the launch of Voskhod-2 can go ahead in the second half of mine. However Korolev calls Kamanin and others to be briefed at his bedside. His temperature is down to 37 deg C, normal, but yesterday it was 40 deg C - diagnosis: "unknown cause". Korolev does not want to launch Voskhod-2 until a Zenit spy satellite has flown with its re-entry capsule fitted with the same airlock ring as Voskhod-2. This will prove that the re-entry capsule is stable during descent with the airlock ring, something that could not be demonstrated by Cosmos 57. Kamanin agrees that this will be proposed to the State Commission.
However they do not part without sharp words being exchanged over the quality of VVS doctors and military versus civilian cosmonauts. Korolev notes that due to the military's complete lack of interest in space, the only military cosmonaut that will ever be needed is Gagarin.... Kamanin is wounded but realises the truth of Korolev's words, attributing the issue to Malinovskiy, who has blocked all proposals for a military role in manned spaceflight, let alone a VVS role.
Former Lavochkin bureau, part of Chelomei, regained status of a separate design bureau with former Korolev deputy GN Babakin as its head. By the end of 1965 all materials on the E-6, Ye-8, and planetary probes were passed by Korolev to the Lavochkin Bureau, who took over responsibility for all future lunar and planetary unmanned probes.
Only on this day does Kamanin receive a copy of Korolev's "Preliminary Plan for Voskhod spacecraft (3KV and 3KD) series in 1965", issued in February. His plan is:
Kamanin is preparing the final press packet, with the cosmonaut biographies, which will be delivered to TASS but only released by them after confirmation that the spacecraft is in orbit. Later Kamanin and forty other guests, including hero-cosmonauts and future hero-cosmonauts, throw a party for Tereshkova's 28th birthday. There is tension in the room as the cosmonauts eye each other as competitors for the flights after Voskhod-2. Volynov is the leading candidate to command the next flight, and has already been a back-up four times, but Marshal Rudenko keeps blocking his selection for flight (Volynov is a Jew). Rudenko is pushing Beregovoi for the next flight, and everyone in the room knows it...
Kamanin and the cosmonauts land at the airfield at 11:45, but have to wait until 12:10 for the arrival of Tyulin and Korolev for the official greeting. Korolev is ill but pushing himself hard. A dispute breaks out about crew assignments. At the last minute some want Khrunov to substitute for Belyayev. Korolev is clearly disgusted by such reversals after the prime crew has been set for months.
At 13:00 the State Commission meets at the launch pad. All work is complete, and the approval to launch the E-6 robot probe to the moon is given. Keldysh takes the opportunity to confront Rudenko by asking him, who will manage the manned flights to the moon - the VVS or the Rocket Forces? Kerimov replies that this is a function of the VVS. Ishilinskiy, Kamanin, and Kerimov hope very much to be the first commander of a spaceport on the moon... The Lunik is launched successfully into earth parking orbit, but the fourth stage fails to ignite when the moment comes to launch it towards the moon. This is the sixth Lunik not to make it anywhere near its objective; together with the 100% failure rate of the planetary probes, there have been 10 failures. Kamanin believes this points to the absolute necessity of the crew being in control at all times during a manned lunar flight, as opposed to Korolev's insistent reliance on fully automatic systems. Korolev is greatly disturbed by this latest failure, and appoints Chertok to head the investigation.
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.
Korolev, Severin, Kuznetsov, and Kamanin certify the readiness of the booster and spacecraft, the airlock and spacesuit, the astronauts, and the recovery forces. Roll-out to the pad is set for the morning of 17 March, with launch on 18 or 19 March. In the evening the recovered Zenit-4 capsule arrives at Baikonur and is examined by the astronauts. The rate of rotation never exceeded 40 - 100 degrees/second, well within the tolerance of both the crew and the parachute deployment system.
With the rocket erected on the pad, a meeting is held several hundred meters away between the chief designers, Keldysh, Rudenko, and 600 to 700 workers. Afterwards Korolev and Tyulin call Moscow, and certify to Smirnov, Ustinov, Kosygin, and Brezhnev that all is ready for the flight.
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....
On re-entry the primary automatic retrorocket system failed. A manually controlled retrofire was accomplished one orbit later (evidently using the primary engine, not the backup solid rocket retropack on the nose of spacecraft). The service module failed to separate completely, leading to wild gyrations of the joined reentry sphere - service module before connecting wires burned through. Vostok 2 finally landed near Perm in the Ural mountains in heavy forest at 59:34 N 55:28 E on March 19, 1965 9:02 GMT. The crew spent two nights in deep woods, surrounded by wolves. Recovery crews had to chop down trees to clear landing zones for helicopter recovery of the crew, who had to ski to the clearing from the spacecraft. Only some days later could the capsule itself be removed. Additional Details: here....
By the next morning, two clearing suitable for helicopter operations have been cleared - a small zone 1.7 km from the capsule, and a larger zone 5 km from the capsule. At 6:50 the cosmonauts and their rescuers - seven in all - ski away from the capsule, reaching the small zone at 8:06. They are picked up there by an Mi-4 helicopter and flown to the large zone, arriving their 20 minutes later. From there a larger Mi-6 helicopter flies them at 9:50 to the airport at Perm. They were to depart aboard an An-10 from Perm at 11:00 for Tyuratam, but their departure is delayed by an hour as they talk on the telephone with Brezhnev. Afterwards toasts are raised at Area 10 at Baikonur by the Chief Designers and Keldysh. Korolev calls for them all to push together toward reaching the moon. The cosmonauts finally arrive at the cosmodrome at 17:30 and are driven through cheering crowds in Zvezdograd. In the hall of the hotel they give the first account of their mission.
Kamanin meets Korolev at 9:30; Korolev agrees with Kamanin that the truth of the difficulties encountered should be revealed at the press conference. The matter must be escalated to Brezhnev, since Keldysh and Smirnov are against this course. At 10:30 the leading engineers of OKB-1 meet with 11 of the cosmonauts. The results of the Voskhod-2 flight are reviewed.
Kamanin is trying to co-ordinate a visit to Kaluga by Belyayev and Leonov with Korolev, but Korolev is totally concentrating on getting a Luna E-6 to soft land on the moon. The Soviet Ministers are on his back as a result of the string of failures so far.
Kamanin visits Korolev and tells him that in an upcoming meeting between the cosmonauts and Brezhnev and Kosygin, they are going to push for the VVS to be given a leading role in the exploration of space, including the necessity to improve the cosmonaut training centre with 8 to 10 simulators for Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft, and development within the VVS of competence in space technology. Korolev is not opposed to this, but says he doubts the VVS leadership will support acquiring the new mission. Kamanin then indicates to Korolev his proposed crews for the upcoming Voskhod missions: Volynov-Katys, Beregovoi-Demin, Shatalov-Artyukhin. Kamanin hopes that Korolev will support Volynov as the prime candidate against Marshall Rudenko's favouring of Beregovoi. Kamanin then raises the delicate issue of Korolev's unfavourable opinion of Tereshkova. After her flight, Korolev angrily said: "I never want to have anything to do with these women again". Kamanin does not believe his remarks were meant seriously, and broaches the subject of training Soloyova and Ponomaryova for a female version of Leonov's spacewalk flight. Korolev says he will seriously consider the suggestion.
Kamanin meets with Marshall Rudenko to present his cosmonaut crew plans. For the experimental gravity flight he proposes Volynov-Katys (prime crew), Beregovoi-Demin, and Shatalov-Artyukhin (back-up crew). Rudenko wants Beregovoi's as the first crew, but Kamanin, sensing the Marshall is unsure in his position, pushes for Volynov. He then presents his plan for the next Voskhod EVA mission: Solovyova and Ponomaryova as the female prime crew, Khrunov and Gorbatko, and Zaikin as the male back-up crew. Kamanin says he already has Korolev, Keldysh, and Vershinin behind this plan. But Rudenko says he will decide this later - he has to take his daughter to the hospital.
Reviewing crewing plans again, Kamanin is shocked when Korolev says he questions Ponomaryova's selection for the flight. Korolev also says he is thinking of taking the physician off the planned later flight and replacing him and the long duration environmental control system with a second manoeuvring engine, so that the Voskhod can demonstrate manoeuvring in space.
A meeting between the cosmonauts and OKB-1 becomes heated on the question of the Voskhod design. Korolev and his specialists attempt to minimise the design approach that made manual re-entry for Voskhod-2 so difficult. In fact the state commission concluded that it was impossible to conduct a manual re-entry with the crew in their seats. Korolev agreed that later Voskhods will be equipped with instruments allowing manual re-entry with the astronauts seated, and apologised for the oversight.
With the cancellation of Chelomei's desultory R spaceplane development, the job is handed to 'the profis' - the fighter design bureaus of MiG and Sukhoi. Both would use an air breathing first stage (the XB-70 clone T-4 in Sukhoi's case, a huge new Tupolev hypersonic aircraft 'to be developed' in MiG's case). Second stage would be a conventional expendable rocket stage which would carry the relatively small Spiral spaceplane into orbit. Korolev had been doing some 'back door' work with MiG in competition to Chelomei's R project for some time (Began with 1962 Mikoyan study '50-50': Hypersonic first stage to Mach 5.5; rocket stage with one man), and immediately proposed tests from atop R-7 rockets as early as 1967. At the time all this was begun Dyna Soar was still an active US program.
Chertok argues for the necessity of adding one Soyuz to production and using it as an iron bird - a hot mock-up on which avionics and electrical systems can be integrated and tested. Gherman Semenov and Turkov convince Korolev that this cannot be done within the existing schedules.
Korolev discusses Chelomei's manned lunar flyby spacecraft with Kamanin. The Party ordered Chelomei to have 12 manned circumlunar spacecraft completed during 1966 and the first quarter of 1967. Chelomei has worked on the he project for many years, but his bureau has not yet decided on a single firm design for the spacecraft, let alone start construction.
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.
It is becoming clear that in order to ever get Soyuz into space it is necessary to clear all decks at OKB-1. After Voskhod-2 the Soviet manned space plans are in confusion. The Americans have flown Gemini 5, setting a new 8-day manned space endurance record - the first time the Americans are ahead in the space race. They rubbed salt into the Soviet wound by sending astronauts Cooper and Conrad on a triumphal world tour. This American success is very painful to Korolev, and contributes to his visibly deteriorating health. In the absence of any coherent instructions from the Soviet leadership, Korolev makes a final personal decision between the competing manned spacecraft priorities. Work on completing a new series of Voskhod spacecraft and conducting experiments with artificial gravity are unofficially dropped and development and construction of the new Soyuz spacecraft is accelerated. The decision is shared only with the OKB-1 shop managers. One of Korolev's "conspirators" lays on Chertok's table the resulting new Soyuz master schedule. The upper left of the drawing has the single word "Agreed" with Korolev's signature. The only other signatures are those of Gherman Semenov, Turkov and Topol - Korolev has ordered all other signature blocks removed. Chertok is enraged. The plan provides for the production of thirteen spacecraft articles for development and qualification tests by December 1965! These include articles for thermal chamber runs, aircraft drop tests, water recovery tests, SAS abort systems tests, static and vibration tests, docking system development rigs, mock-ups for zero-G EVA tests aboard the Tu-104 flying laboratory, and a full-scale mock-up to be delivered to Sergei Darevskiy for conversion to a simulator. Chertok is enraged because the plan does not include dedicating one spaceframe to use as an 'iron bird' hot mock-up on which the electrical and avionics systems can be integrated and tested. Instead two completed Soyuz spacecraft are to be delivered to OKB-1's KIS facility in December and a third in January 1966. These will have to be used for systems integrations tests there before being shipped to Tyuratam for spaceflights.
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.
Korolev conceived of podsadka over a month before before the UR-500K-L1 was authorized.Initial calculations by OKB-1 showed that the developmental L1 would have a dry mass of 4641 kg, or 4847 kg after delivery of cosmonauts via podsadka. On the other hand, Kolyako in Division 2 estimated the translunar payload of the Block D as ~ 5000 kg in the single launch scenario, or ~ 5300 kg in the podsadka scenario.
Korolev made the decision on 16 Sept 1965 that the L1 would be a single-design spacecraft, capable of being used in either the direct flight or podsadka schemes. At some point thereafter, it seems the version for podsadka was designated L1s (perhaps for L1 stykoviy, L1-docking). (Mishin Diaries 1-178)
The cosmonauts visit Lyapin's institute to view progress in developing a lunar rover. During the day Kamanin has a series of unpleasant conversations with Korolev. The military want the second Voskhod flight changed from a 15-day mission with a crew of two and a physician aboard to a 20-25 day mission, with a single pilot cosmonaut and a variety of military experiments. Korolev responds that there is no unity of support within the VVS for the mission or manned spaceflight; and that he can get along quite well without the VVS, and its cosmonaut training centre, and the VVS pilot-cosmonauts.
Tereshkova confides to Kamanin that Ponomaryova is not ready for her scheduled spaceflight. Kamanin does not believe it - he has heard it from no other cosmonauts, and he has spoken to Ponomaryova often over the years. Flight plans for 1965-1966 are reviewed. The pluses and minuses of each cosmonaut in advanced training for Voskhod flights is reviewed. The latest plan for the Voskhod-3 flight is for a 20-day flight with two cosmonauts (in an attempt to upstage the planned Gemini 7 14-day flight). This is followed by another tense phone call from Korolev, then Feoktistov complaining about inadequate VVS support for the Soyuz landing system trials at Fedosiya (no Mi-6 helicopter as promised; incorrect type of sounding rockets for atmospheric profiles; insufficient data processing capacity; inadequate motor transport). When Kamanin appeals to Finogenov on the matter, he is simply told that if "Korolev is unhappy with out facilities, let him conduct his trials elsewhere". Without the support of the VVS leadership, it is up to Kamanin to try to improve the situation using only his own cajoling and contacts.
Korolev is charging ahead with the plan to fly Voskhod 3 for 20 days. Kamanin is doubtful - the life support system is rated for only 12-15 days, and testing to certify it for 25 days cannot be done in time. Korolev is also planning for a 15 November launch (to fly before Gemini 7). Kamanin believes instead a series of three flights should be flown - first to 12-15 days, then to 20 days, then to 25 days. It is essential the military experiments are flown on these flights. Yegorov and Anokhin have been sent to negotiate a protocol to be signed by Kamanin that he will prepare a crew consisting of a spacecraft commander and scientist-astronaut for a 20 day flight in time to support a 15 November launch. Kamanin refuses to sign the document - it is absurd and impossible.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Concentration of Forces of Industrial Design Organisations for the Creation of Rocket-Space Complex Means for Circling the Moon--work on the UR-500K-L1 program' was issued. As a result of a presentation to the Military Industrial Commission, Afanasyev backed Korolev in wresting control of the manned circumlunar project from Chelomei. The Chelomei LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft was cancelled. In its place, Korolev would use a derivative of the Soyuz 7K-OK, the 7K-L1, launched by Chelomei's UR-500K, but with a Block D translunar injection stage from the N1. He envisioned launch of the unmanned 7K-L1 into low earth orbit, followed by launch and docking of a 7K-OK with the 7K-L1. The crew would then transfer to the L1, which would then be boosted toward the moon. This was the original reason for the development of the 7K-OK.
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 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...
Kamanin has his first face-to-face meeting with Korolev in 3 months - the longest delay in three years of working together. Their relationship is at low ebb. Despite having last talked about the next Voskhod flight by the end of November, Korolev now reveals that the spacecraft are still incomplete, and that he has abandoned plans to finish the last two (s/n 8 and 9), since these would overlap with planned Soyuz flights. By the first quarter of 1966 OKB-1 expects to be completing two Soyuz spacecraft per quarter, and by the end of 1966, one per month. Voskhod s/n 5, 6, and 7 will only be completed in January-February 1966. Korolev has decided to delete the artificial gravity experiment from s/n 6 and instead fly this spacecraft with two crew for a 20-day mission. The artificial gravity experiment will be moved to s/n 7. Completion of any of the Voskhods for spacewalks has been given up; future EVA experiments will be conducted from Soyuz spacecraft. Korolev says he has supported VVS leadership of manned spaceflight in conversations with Tyulin, Afanasyev, Pashkov, and Smirnov.
Kamanin meets the 22 new cosmonaut candidates. Some higher officers have questioned the need for so many cosmonauts in training - 32 are already available. But Kamanin sees plans for 40 to 50 manned spaceflights over the next 3 to 4 years. He expects to see some of these cosmonauts walking on the moon, and others on expeditions to other planets. Later Kamanin has to call Korolev after a dispute breaks out between Voronin and Babiychuk and Frolov. Voskhod 3 will not be cleared for flight because the trials of the long-duration environmental control system will not be undertaken at designer Voronin's institute. Furthermore it is still the position of the military that Voskhod 4 should conduct some military experiments.
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.
Gemini 7 has the space flight duration record, and Gemini 6 has achieved the first rendezvous in orbit. Yesterday Pashkov sent a letter to Smirnov, asking that new series of Voskhod spacecraft be ordered as insurance in case of further delays in development of the Soyuz spacecraft. Kamanin believes he sees panic setting in with the leadership. The next day Kamanin attempts to call Korolev, only to find he is out sick.
Smirnov calls the Military Industrial Commission and the Chief Designers together to consider Pashkov's letter and how to respond to the American Gemini successes. Korolev is ill and unable to attend. His deputies are unable to provide any firm schedule for completion and fight of Voskhod or Soyuz spacecraft. Soviet projections are that over the next year the Americans will fly manned missions of 20 to 30 days duration and conduct many military experiments from manned spacecraft. It is decided that a crash effort needs to be applied to Soyuz development. However no further Voskhods will be built beyond the five already being assembled, but those Voskhods will be dedicated to setting record duration flights of 15 to 30 days and conducting military experiments.
Gemini 7 has landed. The Americans achieved every manned spaceflight objective they had set for themselves in 1965, and made 50% more launches than the Soviet Union. On the other side, the Russians have only been able to fly Voskhod 2. Korolev promised that three Voskhod and two Soyuz spacecraft would be completed in 1965, and that two of each would fly before November 7. The year has ended, and not a single spacecraft has been delivered. Kamanin calls Korolev, who says that the unfinished Voskhods will not be completed, and that the four completed spacecraft will be used for long-duration flights. All of his bureau's energies will be concentrated on developing Soyuz spacecraft to perfect space docking and to perform lunar flyby missions.
The two have a difficult discussion over crewing for Voskhod 3. Korolev has found that Katys has been taken out of training for the mission. He does not agree with Kamanin's all-military pilot crew of Volynov and Gorbatko. Kamanin is tired of Korolev's caprices and his endless fighting with Glushko, Pilyugin, Voronin, Kosberg, and other chief designers. Korolev has had it with the military excluding civilians and civilian objectives from manned space.
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.
Tyulin and Mozzhorin review space simulators at TsPK. The 3KV and Volga trainers are examined. Tyulin believes the simulators need to be finished much earlier, to be used not just to train cosmonauts, but as tools for the spacecraft engineers to work together with the cosmonauts in establishing the cabin arrangement. This was already done on the 3KV trainer, to establish the new, more rational Voskhod cockpit layout. Tyulin reveals that the female Voskhod flight now has the support of the Central Committee and Soviet Ministers. He also reveals that MOM has promised to accelerate things so that four Voskhod and five Soyuz flights will be conducted in 1966. For 1967, 14 manned flights are planned, followed by 21 in 1968, 14 in 1969, and 20 in 1970. This adds up to 80 spaceflights, each with a crew of 2 to 3 aboard. Tyulin also supports the Kamanin position on other issues - the Voskhod ECS should be tested at the VVS' IAKM or Voronin's factory, not the IMBP. The artificial gravity experiment should be removed from Voskhod and replaced by military experiments. He promises to take up these matters with Korolev.
Korolev dies at age 59 during what was expected to be routine colon surgery in Moscow. The day began for Kamanin with firm plans finally in place for the next three Voskhod and first three Soyuz flights. Volynov and Shonin will be the crew for the first Voskhod flight, with Beregovoi and Shatalov as their back-ups. That will be followed by a female flight of 15-20 days, with the crew begin Ponomaryova and Solovyova, with their back-ups Sergeychik (nee Yerkina) and Pitskhelaura (nee Kuznetsova). Tereshkova will command the female training group. Training is to be completed by March 15. After this Kamanin goes to his dacha, only to be called by General Kuznetsov around 19:00, informing him that Korolev has died during surgery.
Kamanin does not minimise Korolev's key role in creating the Soviet space program, but believes the collectives can continue the program without him. In truth, Kamanin feels Korolev has made many errors of judgment in the last three years that have hurt the program. Mishin, Korolev's first deputy, will take over management of Korolev's projects. Kamanin feels that Mishin is a clever and cultured engineer, but he is no Korolev. Over the next three days the cosmonauts console Korolev's widow.
Korolev's surgery was done personally by Petrovskiy, the Minister of Health. Korolev was told the surgery would take only a few minutes, but after five hours on the operating table, his body could no longer endure the insult, and he passed away.
The VVS General Staff reviews a range of documents, authored by Korolev before his death, and supported by ministers Afanasyev and Petrovskiy. The schedules for the projects for flying around and landing on the moon are to be delayed from 1966-1967 to 1968-1969. A range of other space programs will similarly be delayed by 18 to 24 months. An institute for tests of space technology will be established at Chelomei's facility at Reutov. The IMBP will be made the lead organization for space medicine. Responsibility for space technology development will be moved from MOM to 10 other ministries. 100 million roubles have been allocated for the establishment of new research institutes. Kamanin is appalled, but Malinovskiy favours getting rid of the responsibility for these projects. The arguments over these changes - which reduce the VVS role in spaceflight - will be the subject of much of Kamanin's diary over the following weeks.
Korolev was always interested in application of artificial gravity for large space stations and interplanetary craft. After Korolev's death, the projects to develop tether experiments to be flown aboard Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft were closed by Mishin and not pursued further.
From 1963-1965 Ustinov was both head of the Soviet for the National Economy and the First Secretary of the Presidium of Soviet Ministers. He supported civilian space projects and instructed the military to co-operate in them. But after Khrushchev was ousted, Ustinov had less influence with the Ministry of Defence.
After the death of Korolev in January, a letter was sent to the Central Committee requesting that Mishin be appointed director of OKB-1. Ustinov tried to line up support for Mishin, but by the time of the first first Saturn IB orbital flight on 26 February 1966, no decision had been made. America was progressing on the path to the moon, but Russia was stalled. An alternate that had been considered was Sergei Okhapkin, another Deputy Chief Designer at TsKBEM. But Okhapkin knew only spacecraft, he had never developed complete launch-booster-spacecraft systems. By the time Mishin was appointed, it was clear that the race was lost. The American's planned their first Saturn V launch in September 1967 and their first manned flight in 1968. Mishin could not expect trials of the LK lunar lander until 1969 at the earliest. There were insufficient funds allocated, and the schedule had no allowance for test flight failures. Ustinov, Morozhin, and Keldysh pointed fingers as to who had presented such unrealistic schedules to the Politburo. Keldysh now supported unmanned robot lunar landers in development by Babakin. Even these would not land until 1970, allowing three years of flight trials to achieve reliability. Khrushchev, it seemed, was to blame for such enormous unaffordable projects. This in turn put Ustinov in danger, as Khrushchev's point man for space.
Bushuyev proposed a two launch variation on Korolev's single-launch scheme. The increased-payload version of the N1 with six additional engines was not planned to fly until vehicle 3L. 1L and 2L were to be technology articles for ground test with only the original 24 engine configuration. At that time the first Apollo test flight was planned by the end of 1966, and the US moon landing no later than 1969. The Soviets expected the first test of their LK lander in 1969, and concluded they could not expect to land a Soviet man on the moon until 1972. Additional Details: here....
Construction of the test facilities at Zagorsk for the N1 were directed by Tabakov's NII-229. First static test of the EU-15 test article of the N1's 1200 tonne thrust Block B second stage began on 23 June 1968. Test of the EU-16 Block V third stage began in early 1969, with three trials tests completed. But for the Block A first stage, only single engine tests were undertaken at Kuznetsov's OKB-236. Additional Details: here....
Glushko has a private conversation with Isayev at the N1 MIK during the Soyuz 3 launch preparations. Glushko revealed to Isayev that in 1961 he had offered Korolev a compromise - if Korolev would use the same 'packet' scheme for the N1 that he had used on the R-7, so that the individual engine modules could be individually tested on the ground before flight, Glushko would give up his insistence on the use of storable propellants. However, after checking with Mishin, Korolev would not compromise. Additional Details: here....
Tracking of the L1 shows it will hit the earth on return, but without a further midcourse correction the perigee will be 200 km instead of the 45 km required. Therefore another correction will be needed on the way back from the moon. Ustinov calls a meeting and asks 'How do we answer Apollo 8?'. The reply of Mishin and Tyulin is that 'we are not ready to answer Apollo 8. Apollo 8 is a high-risk adventure. The Americans have not accomplished any unmanned lunar flybys to demonstrate that their systems will function correctly; and of only two Saturn V flight tests to date, the second was a failure. We need to make the L1 program public to show the seriousness and completeness of Soviet readiness'. Ustinov orders the following plan be carried out in the next two months: in December, one unmanned L1 flight, and the first launch of the N1 with an L3 mock-up. In January 1969, a lunar flyby with two cosmonauts; a Lunokhod robot rover will be placed on the lunar surface; and a dual Soyuz manned flight with 1+3 crewmembers. Kamanin notes that the problem with the technical approach of Korolev and Mishin is that cosmonauts are seen only as observers and back-ups to automated systems. Therefore the whole manned space program is based on a false assumption. Because of this the Soviets have lost 2-3 years in the space race, which would have been saved if they had followed the Gemini/Apollo 'pilot in the loop' approach. Afterwards Mishin meets with the L1 cosmonaut group. He wants to get rid of the on-board flight plan and reduce the manual for operation of the spacecraft to one page. 'Don't want to bring bureaucracy aboard the spacecraft' he says. This completely absurd idea again demonstrates his belief in total reliance on automated systems.
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:
Glushko formally cancelled the N1 within the new NPO Energia on 13 August 1974 with the support of Ustinov, even though he had no decree of the VPK Military-Industrial Commission or the Central Committee authorising such an act. The N1-L3 itself was not officially closed down until the resolution of February 1976 starting work on the Energia/Buran boosters. By that time 6 billion roubles had been spent on the N1 over 17 years. Additional Details: here....
He solicited their support in the reorganization and new projects for the bureau. Glushko was sartorially perfect, and had an aristocratic air, never using the familiar forms of address in Russian. He only loosened up a little in the last years of his life. He was a nitpicker, correcting Russian syntax in documents. He was capable of clear logic but did not have the intuitive genius of Korolev (according to Barmin, while Korolev did not look after his appearance, he possessed a pure 'Russian' intelligence).