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Kuznetsov, Nikolai Fedorovich
Russian officer. Commander of the Cosmonaut Training Centre 1963-1972.

Born: 1916-12-26. Died: 2000-03-05.

Country: Russia. Bibliography: 474.

1916 December 26 - .
  • Birth of Nikolai Fedorovich Kuznetsov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Kuznetsov, Nikolai F. Russian officer. Commander of the Cosmonaut Training Centre 1963-1972..

1965 November 15 - .
  • Gagarin letter impact - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Brezhnev, Gagarin, Komarov, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Leonov, Nikolayev, Smirnov, Titov.

    Brezhnev has finally read Gagarin's letter, and forwarded it to Smirnov for a full report. Smirnov in turn has asked the commanders of the military branches to convene a soviet to address the issues raised in the letter. Marshal Sudets meets with cosmonauts Gagarin, Titov, Nikolayev, Komarov, Leonov, as well as Kamanin and Kuznetsov. There is a consensus that a single military branch should handle space - either VSS, PVO, or RVSN - but many are opposed to that branch being the VVS. The consensus is that the mission should be given to the PVO.

1966 January 14 - . Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Korolev's death - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Beregovoi, Korolev, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Kuznetsova, Mishin, Petrovskiy, Ponomaryova, Shatalov, Shonin, Solovyova, Tereshkova, Volynov, Yerkina. Program: Voskhod, Soyuz, Lunar L1. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK, Voskhod.

    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.

1966 October 12 - .
  • Voskhod 3 resurfaces - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Gagarin, Komarov, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Leonov, Mishin, Ustinov. Program: Voskhod. Flight: Voskhod 3. Spacecraft Bus: Vostok. Spacecraft: Voskhod.

    Ustinov calls Gagarin, Komarov, and Leonov to his office to discuss their long-unanswered letter to Brezhnev. He asks about cosmonaut training for Soyuz flights, and surprisingly, Voskhod 3 (long buried by Mishin, though no resolution or decision ever cancelled the mission). He urges the cosmonauts to stop quarrelling and work more closely with OKB-1. Kamanin judges from the report of this strange conversation that Ustinov has a completely distorted view of affairs, as a result of falsehoods fed to him by Mishin and Smirnov. Shortly after this debriefing General Kuznetsov calls with the surprising news that Mishin has issued orders for work to resume in preparing Voskhod 3 for flight. But this is the last that is ever heard of the Voskhod 3 mission...

1967 October 15 - .
  • Meeting on crew selections for the L3 program. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Artyukhin, Bykovsky, Gagarin, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Kubasov, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Leonov, Makarov, Mishin, Nikolayev, Popovich, Rukavishnikov, Voronov. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-LOK.

    Attending are Kuznetsov, Gagarin, Khlebnikov. There are three training groups: Soyuz, L1, and L3. Mishin and the MOM are holding up further training of cosmonauts until the VVS agrees to accept Mishin's candidates from TsKBEM. In any case, Mishin's attitude is that 'automation in space is everything. Humans in space are only supposed to monitor the operation of automated systems'. L3 cosmonauts selected by the VVS are: Leonov, Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Popovich, Voronov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Artyukhin, Kubasov, Makarov, and Rukavishnikov. The official requirements: balanced composition of a crew according to mass requirements (no more than 70 kg weight per cosmonaut), and the ability to monitor fully automated function of the L3. According to official documents, the crew's primary function is to guide the flight, but now Mishin intends that their primary role will be as subjects of psychological and physical observations to establish the adaptation of the human organism to space flight).

1968 May 11 - .
  • Cosmonaut jet trainers. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Belyayev, Bykovsky, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Leonov, Nikolayev, Popovich, Titov.

    Holidays - in the first ten days of May, the civilians work only two days, while the military must work four. Kamanin assigns cosmonauts to the State Commission that will select the design for the Gagarin memorial obelisk. He then reviews cosmonaut pilot aircraft type qualifications. Titov is current on the Su-7, MiG-21, and several other high-performance aircraft. Nikolayev and Leonov are still certified to fly two or three MiG fighter types. Belyayev, Bykovsky, Popovich, Kutachov, and the others are only current on the L-29 trainer. The L-29 is 20 times more reliable than the MiG-21 or Su-7, and the MiG-15 trainer is 4x to 5x more reliable than the high performance types. In general the cosmonauts are against plans to move the air regiment to TsPK from Chkalovsky air field due to greater air space restrictions over Moscow.

1968 May 12 - .
  • Belyayev is grounded due to stomach ulcers. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Belyayev, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F. He has also had a violent argument with Kuznetsov, who has termed him 'undisciplined'..

1968 July 3 - .
  • VPK confirms Soyuz flight plans. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Belyayev, Bykovsky, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Leonov, Nikolayev, Popovich, Titov. Program: Soyuz. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK.

    The VPK confirms the Soyuz flight plan - a 0+1 mission to be followed by a 1+3 mission with crew transfer. Chiefs of the cosmonaut detachments are confirmed and announced. Nikolayev will be Deputy Chief of TsPK; Bykovsky, Commander of the First Detachment of Cosmonauts; Titov, Commander of the Second Detachment, and Popovich, Deputy Commander of the Second Detachment. Kuznetsov, Belyayev, and Leonov are not happy with these appointments. The General Staff also approves creation of a fourth training detachment at TsPK, charged with flight, engineering, and experiment development - requiring an additional 200 staff.

1968 December 11 - .
  • Kuznetsov is being blamed for the Gagarin crash. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Gagarin, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F. First he wouldn't allow him to fly at all, then he let him go aloft without adequate retraining..

1968 December 21 - .
  • Soviets sure to lose moon race - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Kuznetsov, Nikolai F. Kamanin meets with Kuznetsov. The reasons for the Soviet Union lagging in the space race are rehashed - use of automated instead of piloted systems, etc..

1969 February 6 - .
  • Volynov grounded - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Grechko, Andrei, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Leonov. Program: Lunar L3.

    Meetings are held at the cosmonaut centre to plan for the big visit to the base by Marshal Grechko. N F Kuznetsov briefs plans for the centre with the general staff. Kamanin discusses the situation with Leonov. Leonov notes the saying from Lenin on a banner at the centre: "Know how to work!" Unfortunately, they have left out the second part: "Don't hurry!" Leonov states he is not assigning Volynov to any future flights.

1969 August 30 - .
  • Beregovoi vs Kuznetsov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Beregovoi, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Tereshkova. Beregovoi has been the first deputy of NII TsPK for four months, but in fact has only worked ten days in that time. General Kuznetsov won't let him get involved in detail work. Tereshkova went on a propaganda trip to Afghanistan yesterday..

1969 September 8 - .
1969 September 18 - .
  • Approval is given for proceeding with the Soyuz 6-7-8 flights - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei, Beregovoi, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Nikolayev, Smirnov. Program: Soyuz, Lunar L1, Lunar L3. Flight: Soyuz 6, Soyuz 7, Soyuz 8, Soyuz n 17, Soyuz n 18, Soyuz n 19, Soyuz n 20. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1.

    However the board makes a big fuss over Kamanin having trained only four back-up cosmonauts to support eight prime-crew cosmonauts. A follow-up meeting is held with Smirnov and Afanasyev at 19:15, where Kamanin's training is denounced as a big failure. Nevertheless at 22:00 the word comes from the Kremlin to proceed with the missions. Kamanin points out that simultaneously with this mission he had cosmonauts in training for Soyuz s/n 17, 18, 19, 20 (Kontakt missions) and L1 circumlunar fights. Kuznetsov, Beregovoi, and several other cosmonauts are also enraged with Kamanin for bumping Nikolyaev from the Soyuz 8 crew. Kamanin maintains that in the circumstances he only had enough training resources for 8 prime + 4 back-up crew, especially for a mission scenario that would not be flown again in the future.

1970 April 29 - .
  • Intrigues at Star City. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Beregovoi, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Leonov. Leonov is briefed for his trip to Japan. Meanwhile Kamanin has to fight off the intrigues of Kuznetsov against Beregovoi as deputy director of cosmonaut training..

1971 March 4 - .
  • N1/L3 Expert Commission - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Keldysh, Kuznetsov, Nikolai F, Mishin, Tereshkova. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Krechet, LK-700, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    Pushkin and Kuznetsov brief Kamanin on the results of the N1/L3 expert commission. They found that the N1/L3 is unreliable and that the design needs to be fundamentally re-examined. Therefore the Soviet Ministers and Central Committee passed a decree that the commission must determine by 1 May 1971 what to do with the lunar project. Kamanin's opinion: abandon the N1-L3, modify Chelomei's UR-700 design to replace it, and design a new lunar landing spacecraft for missions in 1974-1975. Mishin is afraid of such a solution. Kamanin believes that the commission, headed by Keldysh, will finally recommend continued development and flight of Mishin's bad booster and even worse spacecraft. It is true that the N1 design has been substantially reworked in the last 18 months, but Kamanin believes it to be fundamentally flawed and that nothing can make it reliable.

    After Mishin pushed his Indian Ocean recovery plan for the L3, the VVS insisted on sea trials of the capsule. These showed the cosmonauts had to get out within 30 to 35 minutes before the valves to the interior started leaking seawater. The L3 is also unsafe due to the EVA method of transfer to the LK of a single unassisted cosmonaut. The Krechet spacesuit is very bulky and unmanoeuvrable.

    Prague wanted Gagarin's widow for International Women's Day.since Tereshkkova couldn't go, but she wants no part of public appearances.

2000 March 5 - .
  • Death of Nikolai Fedorovich Kuznetsov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Kuznetsov, Nikolai F. Russian officer. Commander of the Cosmonaut Training Centre 1963-1972..

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