|Soyuz: Was the Design Stolen? There was something awfully familiar looking about the Soyuz spacecraft, the most successful in history....|
|L1: The Podsadka Problem What was the secret configuration of the L1 spacecraft?|
|L1 Launch Windows The simple constraint on L1 launch dates.|
|Soyuz A-1 Planned Soyuz circumlunar mission. Soyuz would dock with a refueled rocket stage and be accelerated on a loop around the moon. Cancelled in mid-1964 due to delays in Soyuz and decision to race Americans to moon landing.|
|Soyuz A-2 The planned second manned Soyuz circumlunar mission in 1965 would have been commanded by Bykovsky. The cosmonauts trained docking with the 9K and 11K rocket stages for months before the mission concept was dumped in August 1964.|
|Soyuz A-3 Planned manned circumlunar flight with a female cosmonaut. Popovich was to have been accompanied by female cosmonaut Ponomaryova in what would have been the first mixed crew flight to the moon in 1965. The program was cancelled in August 1964.|
|Soyuz A-4 Planned fourth Soyuz circumlunar mission. Cancelled August 1964.|
|Soyuz 1 Space disaster that put back Soviet lunar program 18 months. Soyuz 1 was to dock with Soyuz 2 and transfer crew. Instead Soyuz 1 solar panel didn't deploy; manual reentry; tangled parachute lines; astronaut killed on impact with earth.|
|Soyuz 2A Soyuz 2 was planned to launch the day after Soyuz 1, to dock with it and transfer crew. Instead Soyuz 1 solar panel didn't deploy; manual reentry; tangled parachute lines; death of cosmonaut. Soyuz 2 cancelled.|
|Soyuz s/n 3/4 Prior to the Soyuz 1 disaster, planned second dual Soyuz manned docking mission. Crew Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev.|
|Soyuz s/n 5/6 Prior to the Soyuz 1 disaster, planned third dual Soyuz manned docking mission.|
|Soyuz s/n 7 Prior to Soyuz 1 disaster, planned solo Soyuz mission to test Vulkan space welding device. Commander was to be either Komarov, Bykovsky, Gagarin, Nikolayev, Beregovoi, or Shatalov. The other two crewmembers were to be either Lankin and Fartushny from the Paton Institute, VVS cosmonaut Kolodin, or an engineer from OKB-1.|
|Soyuz 3 Second manned Soyuz flight. Rendezvoused with the unmanned Soyuz 2 but failed to dock, blamed on manual control by cosmonaut who repeatedly overrode automatic systems, and used nearly all of his orientation fuel in his first attempt to dock.|
|Soyuz 4 First Russian docking. Mission successfully completed the simulated lunar orbit docking and crew transfer mission attempted by Soyuz 1 in April 1967. Two crew from Soyuz 5 returned in Soyuz 4.|
|Soyuz 5 Two crew transferred to and returned in Soyuz 4. Remaining astronaut barely survived nose-first reentry of Soyuz 5, still attached to its service module.|
|Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1 Planned first manned circumnavigation of the moon. It was decided after the American Apollo 8 lunar orbital flight in December 1968 to cancel any 'second place' Soviet manned circumlunar flights.|
|Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 2 Planned second Soviet circumlunar flight. Cancelled after the success of the American Apollo 8.|
|Soyuz sn 14 As of February 1969 Soyuz s/n 14 was set for a solo seven day mission in April-May 1969. The spacecraft and crew were reassigned to the three-spacecraft Soyuz 6/7/8 mission and flew as Soyuz 6.|
|Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 3 Planned third and final Russian circumlunar flight. Cancelled after the success of the American Apollo 8 in December 1968.|
|Soyuz s/n 15+16 As of February 1969 Soyuz s/n 15 and 16 were set for a mission with a total of 5 cosmonauts aboard in August-September 1969. They would have remained docked together for three days.|
|Soyuz 6 First simultaneous flight of three manned spacecraft. First vacuum welding in space. Rendezvous electronics failed in all three craft, scrubbing three-way spacecraft rendezvous mission.|
|Soyuz 7 First simultaneous flight of three manned spacecraft. The spacecraft was to have docked with Soyuz 8 and exchanged one crew member from each spacecraft while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However rendezvous electronics failed in all three craft.|
|Soyuz 8 First simultaneous flight of three manned spacecraft. The spacecraft was to have docked with Soyuz 7 and exchanged one crew member from each spacecraft while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However rendezvous electronics failed in all three craft.|
|Soyuz 9 Record flight duration. Head-over-heels rotation of Soyuz to conserve fuel and lack of exercise resulted in terrible condition of astronauts on return. The Soviets almost reconsidered their space station plans as a result.|
|Zond 5 capsule|
Zond 5 capsule after circumlunar flight.
Credit: RKK Energia
Proton 8K82K / 11S824 Block D launch vehicle - cutaway drawing showing arrangement of N2O4 oxidiser tanks (green) and UDMH fuel tanks (orange) in Proton, and Liquid oxygen (blue) and kerosene (pink) tanks in the Block D stage. The Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft was mounted directly above the Block D liquid oxygen tank. For the Soyuz circumlunar flights a launch escape tower was fitted that pulled the capsule away in an emergency.
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Proton w/ LK|
Proton 8K82K Block D launch vehicle with Soyuz 7K-L1 manned circumlunar spacecraft.
Chelomei LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft. The 2.8 m diameter Apollo-type re-entry capsule was mounted atop a cylindrical service module, which provided power and boosted the spacecraft on a translunar trajectory. The large solar panels would have provided considerably more power than Korolev's competing Soyuz 7K-L1 configuration.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Comparison of Chelomei manned spacecraft. Left to right: Chelomei LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft with UR-500K third stage. Chelomei LK-3 lunar landing spacecraft. Chelomei TKS space station resupply tug. Competing Korolev Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar spacecraft with Block D translunar injection stage and UR-500K third stage.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Proton 8K82K launch vehicle in its original form, with Chelomei's manned LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft as the payload.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Chelomei LK-1 manned circumlunar spacecraft
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Zond 5 turtles.|
Credit: RKK Energia
|Zond rounding Moon|
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: © Mark Wade
The Soyuz 7K-L1 rocket engine as developed for the circumlunar flights. This deleted the backup engine (presumably the reaction control system thrusters were powerful enough to accomplish mid-course corrections if the main engine failed).
Credit: © Mark Wade
Drawing of the L1 spacecraft at the Kaluga Museum. Note the hatch clearly shown in the side of the re-entry capsule and the very large inverted cone at the top - much larger than shown in other drawings. Is this a 'posadka' L1?
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Gas dynamic tunnel|
Gas dynamic tunnel tests
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Panel Soyuz 7K-L1|
Control panel of the circumlunar version of Soyuz, based on photographs inadvertently released in the 1970's.
Credit: © Mark Wade
L1 manned circumlunar spacecraft, consisting of 11S824 Block D translunar injection stage and Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft.
Credit: © Mark Wade
The first design sketched out was known as Sever (North). The reentry capsule had the same configuration as the ultimate Soyuz design but was 50% larger. By summer 1959 Feoktistov had reduced the size to that of the later Soyuz, while retaining the three-man crew size.
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.
Vostok-Zh studies conducted for multiple dockings of rocket blocks and payloads in orbit for circumlunar missions, using Vostok rocket. Vostok-Zh spacecraft used to for manual dockings only. Manned reentry vehicle from circumlunar distance is Sever/Soyuz design. Korolev's reaction to Chelomei's exclusive assignment by Khrushchev to circumlunar mission.
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....
Kamanin meets with Rudenko, to discuss selection of three crews for Vostok and three crews for Soyuz flights in 1964. Ioffe reports that the Soyuz docking simulator will be completed by 25 December. Tereshkova, Nikolayev, and Bykovsky are in Indonesia on a public relations tour, to be followed by Burma.
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.
No significant decisions are made. Discussion of the 3 December 1963 resolution to start development of the 7K Soyuz spacecraft. Although the resolution foresees completion of the first spacecraft during 1964, and first flights in 1965-1966, there is not one word on training of cosmonauts for such missions. Scientific versions, for manned flight to the moon and planets, as well as military variants, are foreseen.
Kamanin is to put together a cosmonaut training plan for additional Vostok and new Soyuz flights by 1 February. Due to a lack of completed spacecraft, the next Vostok flight will not be possible until June 1964 at the earliest. The travel plans for the cosmonauts during the first half of 1964 are also to be drawn up. Tereshkova, Nikolayev, and Bykovsky are to tour India, Indonesia, Burma, Nepal, and Sri Lanka later in the year. Tereshkova will go to Ghana and Lebanon on 20 January, then to England on 31 January.
The General Staff of the VVS considers future cosmonaut assignments. The acceptance of Beregovoi into the active cosmonaut corps is hotly contested. He has passed all the tests, but is 43 years old, and the official maximum age for a cosmonaut is 35. Finally it is decided that on 25 January six cosmonauts will begin training for Vostok flights (Volynov, Khrunov, Belyayev, Leonov, Komarov, and Beregovoi). On 1 February four crews will begin training for Soyuz flights: Crew 1: Nikolayev, Shonin, Demin, Kugno; Crew 2: Bykovsky, Zaikin, Artyukhin, Gulyayev; Crew 3: Popovich, Gorbatko, Ponomaryova, Kolodin; Crew 4: Titov, Shatalov, Solovyova, Zholobov.
The cosmonauts are resisting the VVS leadership's changes to training plans, particularly the pushing of Beregovoi and the downgrading of Volynov's assignment. Kamanin vows to vigorously fight flying Beregovoi until he has completed the full course of cosmonaut training and has proven himself worthy of a flight assignment.
Korolev is supporting establishment of a new institute, the IMBP, for study of biological reactions to spaceflight. He plans to complete 8 additional Vostok capsules, of which two or three will be used for unmanned life sciences missions. There is continued controversy over the next few days about the acceleration of Beregovoi's training to qualify him for an early spaceflight, and Volynov's movement from the Vostok to Soyuz training groups.
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.
Popovich has left on a tour of Australia, and Tereshkova is in England. The propaganda front of the Soviet space program is going well. But Kamanin is disquieted by the American testing of the Saturn I rocket. Its 17 tonne payload is more than double that of any Soviet booster. Greater efforts are needed, instead he is wasting his time editing Tereshkova's new book...
Concepts for trainers for lunar landings and fly-bys are discussed. The five flown cosmonauts sit for entrance examinations to the Zhukovskiy Institute. Kamanin is irritated that of the five, only Bykovsky seems really bright and alert. Tereshkova is still studying for the examination.
The cosmonauts meet with engineers at TsNII-30 in Noginsk to review plans for docking trainers for the new Soyuz spacecraft. The trainers were supposed to be completed by now, but they are being held up for television and optical equipment to be delivered from Leningrad and Sverdlovsk. The mock-up of the 7K manned spacecraft trainer is immobile; it can only be turned around its centre of mass. The 1/30 scale of the 9K and 11K propulsion spacecraft with which the 7K will dock are free to rotate in all 3 axes. The cosmonauts in the 7K mock-up will see the 9K or 11K via the television screen aboard the spacecraft or in the Soyuz spacecraft in what the engineers promise will be a life-like appearance. They will practice approach and docking from a simulated distance of 300 m at a typical approach rate of 2 m/s. At the scale of the installation, this will equate to 10 cm/s. After the trainer review General Ioffe briefed the cosmonauts on plans for an electronic digital computer, with a mass of 40 kg, which was being developed for use in spacecraft navigation. Kamanin sees that very close collaboration will be needed between TsNII-30, TsPK, and GKNII VVS to complete trainer development on an accelerated schedule.
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.
Benderov has been washed out of training after haemorrhaging excessively during centrifuge training, and Polyakov after reacting poorly to the barometric chamber. This leaves only seven cosmonauts in training for the first mission: Volynov, Katys, Komarov, Yegorov, Sorokin, Lazarev, and Feoktistov. The first six are qualified for flight, but Feoktistiov cannot be admitted for parachute or flight training; his visual acuity is only 0.3. Later the cosmonaut party collective meets to take up the problem of Titov. He has made many errors: he drives and flies too fast, he has bad marital relations. But he is known not only to the entire country, but to the whole world. To disgrace him would not reflect only on him, but on all of the cosmonauts and the Soviet Union. Therefore it is finally decided not to take any public action, but to switch him and Beregovoi in the training order for the fourth Soyuz flight.
Later Finogenov, head of the VVS range at Vladimirovka, informs Kamanin that flight trials of the new combination parachute/soft landing system will be delayed at least two weeks after the failure of one of the parachute canopy rings in static test.
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....
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.
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.
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".
A corespondent from the APN agency calls Kamanin and wants to know if the official press should react to the claims of a Belgian professor that all of the Soviet cosmonauts have returned from space with serious psychological problems. Kamanin says there is nothing to it, but that the best course is to ignore the report and publish no official response. Kamanin looks forward to the missions planned in the new year: first the Vykhod, the first spacewalk, followed by a 10 to 12 day mission by a single cosmonaut, then later crews of first two, and then five to six in joined Soyuz spacecraft. In 1966 the first space docking is planned, followed by the first lunar flyby. Kamanin feels apprehensive, though. All manned flights have been completed to date without a serious problem, whereas Soviet unmanned spacecraft have been extremely unreliable and failed more often than not. He attributes this to the involvement of the VVS in the manned flights, whereas the RVSN rocket forces were responsible for the others. He worries that, with the ascendancy of Brezhnev and the death of Biryuzkov, that standards will drop in the future. Indeed, the RVSN has asked if Komarov could transfer officially from the VVS to the RVSN, a move that Kamanin vigorously opposes.
At least progress on improvements at TsPK are underway. One apartment building with 75 apartments for cosmonauts is already finished, and an 11 story building should be finished in 1965, as well as schools, nurseries, stores, and so on. Currently there are 17 active cosmonauts and 13 candidate cosmonauts in training. An additional 40 will have to be recruited in 1965 to support the ambitious space plans recently adopted.
Kamanin will organise the cosmonauts into two groups: the first group will be commanded by Nikolayev, and the latest group by Beregovoi. They will be assigned to support and train seven missions: military space (reconnaissance, interceptor, and combat spacecraft); space navigation; life support and rescue systems; communications and telemetry systems; scientific orbital stations; lunar fly-by; and lunar landing expeditions. All of this may be for nought, since Marshall Malinovskiy has said that heavy launch vehicles and lunar flights have no military utility and should be funded and handled by the Academy of Science.
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.
The demand for cosmonaut appearances is constant; over 90% of such requests have to be denied. Tereshkova and Nikolayev are especially in demand - France wants them for two or three days, and there are also requests from Mongolia, Finland, Norway, Greece, Iran, Rumania, USA, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and many others. As far as progress on cosmonaut trainers, General Ponomaryov, who has no interests in space, is hampering development efforts. So far his interference has delayed completion of the docking trainer by six months.
Titov and Kamanin visit LII to review the status of simulator construction. The engineers haven't had any time to even consider trainers for winged spacecraft. The Soyuz trainer will only be completed by July 1966, and the trainer for the new Voskhod configuration is still on paper only. Simulators for manned lunar or planetary flights have not even been discussed yet. It is clear that Kamanin is going to have to go up the chain of command to Dementiev and Smirnov to get resources allocated for the work to be accelerated.
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.
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 180 'On the Order of Work on the Soyuz Complex--approval of the schedule of work for Soyuz spacecraft' was issued. It set the following schedule for the new Soyuz 7K-OK version: two spacecraft to be completed in fourth quarter 1965, two in first quarter 1966, and three in second quarter 1966. Air-drop and sea trails of the 7K-OK spacecraft are to be completed in the third and fourth quarters 1965, and first automated docking of two unmanned Soyuz spacecraft in space in the first quarter of 1966. Korolev insists the automated docking system will be completely reliable, but Kamanin wishes that the potential of the cosmonauts to accomplish a manual rendezvous and docking had been considered in the design. With this decree the mission of the first Soyuz missions has been changed from a docking with unmanned Soyuz B and V tanker spacecraft, to docking of two Soyuz A-type spacecraft. It is also evident that although nothing is official, Korolev is confident he has killed off Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft, and that a Soyuz variant will be launched in its place.
Kamanin calls Korolev, finds he is suffering from very low blood pressure (100/60). Kamanin suggests that candidates for the commander position in the first two Soyuz missions would be Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky, or Komarov. Korolev agrees basically, but says that he sees Bykovsky and Nikolayev as candidates for the first manned lunar flyby shots. Kamanin suggests Artyukhin and Demin for the engineer-cosmonaut role on the first Soyuz flights, but Korolev disagrees, saying Feoktistov has to be aboard. However Korolev agrees with Kamanin's selection for the next Voskhod flight - Volynov/Katys as prime crew, Beregovoi/Demin as backups. Later Kamanin corresponds with Stroev over modification of an Mi-4 helicopter as a lunar lander simulator.
Kamanin 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.
Kamanin looks ahead to the very difficult tasks scheduled for 1966. There are to be 5 to 6 Soyuz flights, the first tests of the N1 heavy booster, the first docking in space. Preparations will have to intensify for the first manned flyby of the moon in 1967, following by the planned first Soviet moon landing in 1967-1969. Kamanin does not see how it can all be done on schedule, especially without a reorganization of the management of the Soviet space program.
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.
The Luna 10 robot orbiter has successfully entered moon orbit, conducted two radio communications sessions, including broadcast back to the earth of the "International", the Socialist hymn, to the 23rd Party Congress. Bushuev from OKB-1 is seeking cosmonaut representatives for the commission that will inspect the mock-up of the L1 circumlunar spacecraft. Kamanin nominates Gagarin, Komarov, Nikitin, Frolov, Smirnov, and others. Kamanin informs OKB-1 that he has obtained the support of the PVO and RVSN for the completion and flight of Voskhod s/n 7, 8, and 9. A letter to Smirnov asking for those fights to be conducted will be drafted.
The L1 inspection has not gone well. The cosmonauts find that the spacecraft has the same safety problems as Voskhod: no spacesuits, no reserve parachute for the spacecraft, no signal sent when the parachute deploys (the UHF beacon only begins emitting 10 seconds after landing). Supposedly this unsafe and poorly designed spacecraft is supposed to take cosmonauts around the moon by November 1967. Kamanin finds this incredible.
Kamanin is upset over the lack of resources he is given to plan and carry out manned spacecraft recovery for circumlunar missions, which may splash down in the ocean or land almost anywhere on earth. His staff dedicated to this are to be increased from 3 to 6, and he has another 8 dedicated to survival equipment. But he figures the Americans must have over 500 staff assigned to just this problem alone.
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.
VPK resolution number 101 dated 27 April 1966 finally hits Kamanin's desk. It issues the orders to industry for implementation of the Party resolution 655-268 of 3 August 1964. 14 7K-L1 spacecraft are to be completed: one in the third quarter of 1966, two in the fourth quarter, and the rest between January and September 1967. Final integration of the first spacecraft is to be completed in October 1966,and flight trials from December 1966 to March 1967. Detailed planning for completion of simulators and trainers for the L1, and for international recovery forces to recover spacecraft returning from the moon, are to be completed within two weeks to a month from the date of the resolution. Meanwhile Tyulin reports that the launch of Voskhod 3 in May is no longer possible, and likely will be delayed until July. It is clear to Kamanin that Smirnov has effectively killed off Voskhod 3 in order to concentrate on the Soyuz, L1, and L3 programs.
Kamanin discusses with VVS management the huge task of organizing recovery forces that can find and pick up a manned spacecraft returning from the moon anywhere on the earth. Receivers for the spacecraft's homing beacons have to be installed on a fleet of ocean-going vessels and recovery aircraft. This requirement has been known for six years, but nothing has been done yet.
Marshal Vershinin attends the meeting, where it is revealed that all systems in development - Chelomei's, Mishin's, Voronin's, Severin's, and others - are seriously behind schedule. The first unmanned circumlunar test of the L1 was to be made by 15 April 1967, but it seems unlikely it will even be completed by the end of 1967.
Kamanin is having a difficult time getting two additional Tu-104 aircraft for zero- and partial-gravity training and tests for the L1 and L3 lunar projects. The type is not in the VVS inventory, and he has to go through the Ministry of Civil Aviation to obtain and maintain the aircraft. There seems to be no acceptable bureaucratic method to do this. Vershinin has completed and forwarded to the Central Committee the VVS letter refuting the attempt by MOM to take over manned spaceflight.
Kamanin receives a document, signed by Mishin, Tyulin, Burnazyan and Keldysh, which declares that OKB-1 will be solely responsible for training of cosmonauts for L1 circumlunar missions. Only OKB-1 engineers and Academy of Science researchers will be considered for such missions, and no assistance is needed from VVS cosmonauts or its training centre.
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....
Kamanin organises the cosmonauts into the following training groups:
Rudenko agrees with Kamanin's plan, except he urges him to assign more cosmonauts to the Soyuz 7K-OK group, and include OKB-1 cosmonauts in the 7K-OK, L1, and L3 groups, and Academy of Science cosmonauts in the L1 and L3 groups.
These cosmonaut assignments were in constant flux, and many cosmonauts were assigned to train for more than one program - resulting in multiple claims in later years that 'I was being trained for the first moon flight'.
In the period 1966 to 1968 there were five simultaneous Soviet manned space projects (Soyuz 7K-OK orbital; Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar; Soyuz VI military; L3 manned lunar landing; Almaz space station). Cosmonaut assignments were in constant flux, resulting in many claims in later years that 'I was being trained for the first moon flight'. Additional Details: here....
A dummy 8K82K/Block D rocket was mounted at the launch site. The dummy was loaded with imitation propellants (kerosene as fuel and water/ethyl alcohol as oxidiser). The nitrogen tetroxide oxidiser had to be kept above -11 degrees C, and it was originally planned for a thermostatically-controlled electrical heating of the tank walls to achieve this. It was ultimately decided that the risk of explosion of such a system was too great, and the system was abandoned.
A government resolution has created a Council for the Problem of the Conquest of the Moon. The chairman will be Minister Afanasyev; the members, other ministers, deputy ministers, academicians, and the chief designers. The only member from the Defense Ministry will be lieutenant generals Karas and Sokolov. There are no VVS members, but Kamanin has already received a request that General Ioffe report to the council on VVS plans for search and recovery of unmanned lunar precursor spacecraft.
Kamanin is at Tyuratam for the first Soyuz launch. He and Rudenko are accommodated in the new hotel at Area 2. It has all conveniences - a local telephone, radio and television with Moscow programs, even a promise to install an HF telephone that will allow secure communications with Moscow. Also there for the launch are Kerimov, Kirillov, Kuznetsov, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, amd Yeliseyev. Rudenko reports that he has been chewed out by Marshal Zakharov. Zakharov told him "What are you and Kamanin doing, blocking OKB-1 candidates from flight? If Mishin wants to send his people to the Moon, let him do it and do not interefere!"
Rudenko has reached agreement with Mishin that L1 and L3 crews will also consist of a VVS pilot as commander, and an OKB-1 flight engineer. Kamanin is depressed. Despite the support six marshals (Malinovskiy, Grechko, Zakharov, Krylov, Vershinin and Rudenko), Mishin has won this argument with the support of Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, Pashkov, Keldysh, Afanasyev, and Petrovskiy. Later the State Commission meets, for the first time in a long time at Tyuratam. Kerimov chairs the session, with more than 100 attendees, including Mishin, Rudenko, Krylov, Pravetskiy, Kurushin, Ryazanskiy, Mnatsakanian, and Tkachev. All is certified ready,. Launch of the active spacecraft is set for 26 November, and the passive vehicle on 27 November.
The first flight rocket (serial number 22701) began assembly on 21 November 1966, with mechanical assembly completed by 29 November. Electrical connections and tests were completed by 4 December 1966. Due to New Year's holidays work did not resume until 28 January 1967. By 28 February the fully assembled booster / spacecraft unit was completed in the MIK, including the 7K-L1P boilerplate spacecraft.
The wreckage of Cosmos 133 has not been found. NII-4 has calculated, based on PVO tracking data that the re-entry capsule probably passed over Orsk at 70 to 100 kilometres altitude. The APO self-destruct system sensed the overshoot and exploded. The fragments would have fallen into the Pacific Ocean east of the Marianas Islands. Further searching is called off. Meanwhile, with only three months to go before the first flight of the L1 circumlunar spacecraft, the VPK has finally woken up to the total lack of preparation for location and recovery of the returning space capsule if it comes down outside of Soviet territory.
Mishin briefs the production plan for the L1 circumlunar spacecraft. Two spacecraft, s/n 1 and 2, have already been shipped to Tyuratam. These prototypes are not equipped with heat shields, and will be used to perfect orbital operation of the spacecraft without recovery of the capsule. L1 s/n 3 and 4 will be used for unmanned flights around the moon, with recovery on earth, in March to May 1967. The first manned flight around the moon is set for 25 June. All present, after examining the detailed production and training plans, object that they cannot be met. Mishin advises that Ustinov and Smirnov dictated the schedules and they are not subject to revision.
Grechko, Zakharov, Shtemenko, Ivashutin, Vershinin, Rudenko and with dozens of other generals view a film prepared by the GRU on the American Apollo program. It gives the viewers a clear idea of the immense scale of the American program, which dwarfs the resources the Soviets have devoted to their counterpart. Kamanin believes it clearly demonstrates why the Soviet Union is lagging in the space race and how illusory is the hope of ever regaining the lead.
The second attempt to launch a Soyuz spacecraft ends tragically. The State Commission had met at Area 31 at 11:00. Mishin reported complete readiness for launching, which was set for 16:00 local time. Fifteen minutes before launch the observers move to the observation post 300 metres from the pad. At the ignition command, a smaller-than-usual amount of flame and smoke appeared, and the rocket did not rise. Several seconds later orders to flood the pad with water were given. The fire subsided, and the rocket remained on the pad, steaming more than usual. Over a half hour later, the order to clear the area is given, and Kamanin goes to phone the airfield from the Cosmonaut Dormitory to cancel the planned takeoff of the aircraft that was to take the flight control team to Yevpatoriya. As Kamanin ascends the staircase to the dormitory's second floor, he hears a muffled explosion, runs outside, and sees a large parachute descending 600 to 700 m beyond the MIK assembly building. He understands immediately that the booster has exploded and the capsule has been hurled away from the pad by the SAS escape tower. From the third floor of the dormitory the burning rocket could be seen on the pad. Kamanin orders everyone away from the windows before the first stage blows, and two seconds later there is a flash, and a series of powerful explosions blow out all the windows and shower everyone with plaster from the ceiling. The dormitory was 700 m from the pad, but buildings even a kilometre from the pad were damaged. Telephone communications with the bunker and pad were cut, and the fate of Mishin, Kerimov, and Kirillov, and others near the pad was unknown. It is clear further Soyuz flights will be delayed by several months, especially due to the need to repair the pad for the two-spacecraft mission. In fact, the entire Soviet lunar flight schedule is questionable now.
Tyulin chairs the meeting. Mishin, Chelomei and Barmin brief the status of the spacecraft, booster, and launch site. There is much to be done in order to fly cosmonauts around the moon by 7 November 1967 - the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. The first manned flight around the moon is planned for 26 June 1967. To achieve this, four flights of the L1 without a crew have to be completed first. The UR-500K booster should be capable of launching the L1 on a direct flight around the Moon and back to the earth. But since the UR-500K has not yet flown, and its 19-tonne low earth payload has not bee verified, Mishin plans to follow the podsadka scenario. The UR-500K will place in low earth orbit an L1 without a crew, and then a Soyuz booster will place a manned Soyuz 7K-OK Soyuz in orbit. The Soyuz crew will rendezvous and dock with the L1, and the crew for the circumlunar mission will spacewalk through open space from the 7K-OK into the L1. The spacecraft will then separate. The 7K-OK returns to earth, while the L1 is boosted on a circumlunar trajectory. After 4 to 6 launches of the UR-500K to verify its reliability and payload margins, it should be possible to make the direct flight to the moon on subsequent versions. For the time being it is necessary to develop both versions in parallel.
Kamanin accompanies 17 generals and other officers of the VVS in a tour of Chelomei's OKB-52. Chelomei spends five hours personally acquainting the visitors with his bureau's space technology capabilities. It was the first in-depth meeting Kamanin and Vershinin have had with Chelomei, despite meeting with him occasionally since 1961. They have mainly interacted with Korolev and now Mishin. Additional Details: here....
Mishin, Chelomei and Barmin report that the spacecraft, booster, and launch facilities are ready. The first unmanned launch of the L1 is set for the end of January, with the arrival of the members of state commission at Tyuratam on 10-12 January.
The commission then considers reports on improvements needed for command, control, and recovery of manned lunar spacecraft. General Spitsa and Chief Designer Ryazanskiy list needed improvements to tracking and communications stations. These will cost more than 100 million roubles, including 50 million to equipment tracking ships. Tracking stations at Yevpatoria and Ussuriysk will require extensive new equipment for control of lunar spacecraft. Officers from TsNII-30 report on enhancements required for search and recovery forces. Due to the worldwide requirement, this can no longer be handled by the VVS alone - naval, long-range aviation, and communications forces need to be involved. Returning lunar ships will be targeted for landing on Soviet territory, but there is a great probability in the event of guidance problems of a splashdown in the Indian Ocean or a landing in Iran, Pakistan, or India. The VVS only has very limited capability for sea search and rescue. On 21 December Marshal Zakharov split manned spacecraft recovery responsibility between the VVS and VMF. To enable search and recovery of spacecraft at sea or on land outside of Soviet territory will require 12,000 to 15,000 personnel and dozens of ships, aircraft, and helicopters. A new net of ground-based radio stations and direction finders will also be needed. This will cost hundreds of millions of roubles to implement. The cost must be borne - it is clearly unacceptable that a Soviet crew fly to the moon and back, only to perish on return to earth due to inadequate recovery forces. A special subcommittee under Marshal Rudenko is named to handle the matter. Kamanin reports on training plans for lunar spacecraft. Crew training will have to begin in January 1967 for crews to complete the five-month syllabus in time for the planned flight dates. L1 commanders must be pilots with prior spaceflight experience. The second cosmonaut need not have flown before. Training of L1 and 7K-LOK crews must be carried out in parallel and separately in order to meet schedules. Mishin, the Ministry of Public Health, and Kamanin should name the crews for thee flights within five days in order to make schedule.
Crews are in training for Voskhod, Soyuz, Lunar L-1, Almaz, and 7K-VI missions. There will be 100 cosmonauts in training by February. Meanwhile the Americans have conducted 10 manned flights since the last Soviet manned flight in March 1965. The cosmonauts want Kamanin to be training 8 crews for L-1 translunar flights, but he only has 4 in training. He doesn't think it is worth to train more, since if one successful L-1 flight is conducted before the 50th Anniversary of the Soviet Union in November 1957, all subsequent flights will be cancelled. Additional Details: here....
The following is the schedule set be decree for the L1 and L3 projects:
Serial # Mission Date 2P Develop Block D stage Feb or Mar 67 3P same Mar 67 4L Unmanned lunar flyby May 67 5L Unmanned lunar flyby Jun 67 6L Manned lunar flyby Jun or Jul 67 7L&8L Manned lunar flybys Aug 67 9L&10L Manned lunar flybys Sep 67 11L&12L Manned lunar flybys Oct 67 13L Reserve spacecraft N1-3L Serial # Mission Date 3L Develop LV & Blocks G&D Sep 67 4L Reserve 5L LOK/LK unmanned Dec 67 6L LOK/LK unmanned Feb 68 7L Manned LOK/unmanned LK Apr 68 8L Manned LOK/unmanned LK Jun 68 9L Piloted LOK/unmanned LK with LK landing on moon Aug 68 10L First men land on moon Sep 68 11L Reserve 12L ReserveKamanin's personal opinion of this schedule - manned L1 flights may occur before the end of 1967, but there will be no lunar landing until 1969.
Protoype Soyuz 7K-L1P launched by Proton into planned highly elliptical earth orbit. The first flight four-stage Proton rocket began assembly on 21 November 1966, with mechanical assembly completed by 29 November. Electrical connections and tests were completed by 4 December 1966. Due to New Year's holidays work did not resume until 28 January 1967. By 28 February the fully assembled booster / spacecraft unit was completed in the MIK, including the 7K-L1P boilerplate spacecraft. The launch tower was added on 2 March 1967 and the system was declared ready for launch. A serious potential problem during preparations was the discovery that fuel gases could lead to pump cavitation at the turbine exits. Tests on the ground showed that the problem was not the fuel itself, but in the monitoring equipment. The launch vehicle and Block D stage functioned correctly and put the spacecraft into a translunar trajectory. The spacecraft was not aimed at the moon, did not have a heat shield for reentry, and no recovery was planned or attempted. A successful launch that created false confidence just before the string of failures that would follow.
UR-500K/L1 project will consist of three phases. Phase I will be dedicated to development of the Block D translunar stage, using prototype, incomplete L1 spacecraft. Phase II will conduct lunar flybys with complete but unmanned L1 spacecraft. Phase III will fly Soviet cosmonauts around the moon. The N1/L3 project will consist of five phases. Phase I will use the N1 and the 7K-L1A spacecraft. This will be used primarily to test out the Block G translunar and Block D lunar orbit insertion stages, but will also conduct lunar flybys, returning photographs of the lunar surface to the earth. Phase II will use N1's to fly L3 spacecraft with an unpiloted LOK lunar orbiter and an unpiloted LK lunar lander. Phase III, the first manned missions, will use N1's to fly L3 spacecraft with a piloted LOK lunar orbiter and an unpiloted LK lunar lander. Phase IV will fly a piloted LOK lunar orbiter and an unpiloted LK lunar lander, that will be landed on the lunar surface. In Phase V N1-L3 number 10L is to launch the first manned landing on the moon in September 1968. N1-L3 numbers 11L and 12L were back-ups, in the event any of the planned earlier missions failed. Additional Details: here....
Kerimov argued with Mishin that without any logical reason his demand that the cosmonauts go to the cosmodrome for training has disrupted their preparation schedule. Later Kamanin met with Gagarin, Leonov, Volynov, and Makarov, all selected as pilots for L1 lunar flybys. The L1 flight scenario was still open. Variant 1 would involve launch of two spacecraft, with transfer of one to two crew to the translunar spacecraft in earth orbit. Variant 2 would be a direct flight to the moon. Additional Details: here....
A State Commission is held on the impending L1 translunar flights. A major issue is the L1 tracking/recovery radio beacon and the Zarya-3 deep space communications system. Launches of prototype L1P spacecraft are planned for April and May, with the first all-up L1 in June. All commission members are confident a Soviet man will the first around the moon by the end of the year. The State Commission also considers the pending Soyuz 1 / Soyuz 2 flight.
Protoype Soyuz 7K-L1 manned circumlunar spacecraft. There are high winds for the L1 launch, 15-17 m/s. The official limit is 20 m/s, but Chelomei wants to scrub the launch if winds go over 15 m/s. Nevertheless the launch proceeds in 17-18 m/s winds and the L1 reached earth orbit. However the Block D translunar injection stage failed to fire (ullage rockets, which had to fire to settle propellants in tanks before main engine fired, were jettisoned prematurely). The failure is blamed on Mishin and has Tsybin seething in anger. Mishin is disorganised and has made many mistakes. Spacecraft burned up two days later when orbit decayed. Later in the day comes the news the RTS has to be replaced on one of the Soyuz 1/2 spacecraft. This will have a 3 to 4 day schedule impact, and push the launch back to 15-20 April. The crews arrive the same day for the upcoming Soyuz launch.
The cosmonauts began work at 10:30 in the morning, and didn't complete work until 23:30 at night. They spent 16 hours working on Cosmonaut's Day, due to the criminally chaotic performance of TsKBEM. The cosmonauts have to train simultaneously for the Soyuz and L1 missions. Kamanin warns Kerimov about the unacceptable situation. Grechko arrives to head the state commission. The launch of Soyuz 1 is set for 24-25 April - there will be only eight days to fix all of the problems. The energy and optimism of Korolev is sorely missed. Mishin was a poor deputy, and a worse leader - his constant mistakes and stupidity delay work and aggravate people. The cosmonauts have to keep in shape by playing tennis, but there is only one court at Tyuratam - a second court is to be built eventually (!)
Review of progress on the L1 trainer MN-17, consisting of the SA and NO of the spacecraft It was built by the Factory Brigade headed by Darevskiy and was finished three to four weeks ago. But there is still the question of the cosmonauts conducting autonomous navigation. Tyulin and Mishin promised a solution long ago, but nothing has been delivered to date.
Gagarin and Leonov meet with Kamanin. They discuss the complete inadequacy of Mishin - his excitability, poor knowledge of the Soyuz spacecraft and the details of its operation, his lack of cooperation in working with the cosmonauts in flight and training activities. They urge that these facts be documented in the Komarov crash commission report. Problems are discussed with getting an additional Tu-104 for zero-G/one sixth-G training. Three are needed, and only two have been made available. Even these two can only be used for 23 flights up to 10 August, after which they must be sent away for ejection seat modifications.
Tyulin calls Kamanin. He reports that all of the Chief Designers are in favour of direct L1 flight to the moon instead of the earth orbit rendezvous method. However the Central Committee wants to see four consecutive successful unmanned flights, rather than two, before a manned L1 flight can be made.
In the first drop, the reserve parachute didn't open. In the second test, it did inflate, but only after a delay of twenty seconds. TsAGI studies show the drogue chute is creating an area of turbulence in the wake of the capsule, and the reserve chute is deploying right into that zone of chaotic air, preventing it from inflating. Tests on the parachute show that while it was designed to deploy with 1.8 tonnes of drag force from the drogue chute, it actually requires 3-4 tonnes of force to pull the packed parachute out of the container and allow parachute deployment. The parachute fails at 8 tonne load. The Soyuz parachute system is supposed to have a reliability of 95% ... and this essential problem was unknown...
The drop of the Soyuz 1 mock-up at Fedosiya was cancelled due to the great likelihood of loss of the spacecraft and the low likelihood of obtaining any new data as a result. The LII assessment of the parachute system has been completed:
The conclusions of the LII study are found to be sound, but it would take months or even years to implement such an extensive spacecraft redesign. Mishin is still under orders to fly a manned mission around the moon by the 50th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution in October.
Afanasyev, Kerimov, and Tyulin object to Kamanin's conclusion that problems exist with the automated landing system and that a manual backup is needed. They want to find fault only with the parachute. The findings of VVS LII, and TsAGI are discussed. Later Kamanin has an unpleasant conversation with Gagarin. He wants to remove control of the manned flight control centre away from the MOM. Kamanin believes this is contrary to the interests of the Ministry of Defence.
Tkachev, chief designer of parachute systems, rejects the findings of the Soyuz 1 state commission. His objections are overruled. The final decision is to adopt the conclusions of the commission in their entirety. Two unmanned Soyuz flights will take place in August, followed by manned flight in September. However the manned flights will go ahead only if the unmanned flights are entirely 'clean' - without any deviations. Beregovoi and Volynov are to head the first two crews.
Mishin is seen as jeopardising Soviet manned lunar plans. He has no understanding of the necessity of providing proper training simulators to prepare the cosmonauts for flight. He is coarse, rude, doesn't listen to critics, and ignores the comments of those who will have to fly aboard his spacecraft. The cosmonauts agree they should request a meeting with Brezhnev and tell him flat out - there will be no moon landing as long as Mishin is in charge. Additional Details: here....
The Soyuz simulator has not been functional for three months -- entirely the fault of Mishin and Tsybin. The L1 trainer has not been finished, and the autonomous navigation system has not completed development. There are two prototype electronic computers at TsKBEM, but they are not complete and don't work. The first L1 spacecraft was to fly in May, but it is now clear it won't be ready until September at the earliest. There will be no manned lunar flyby for the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution as was ordered by the Party. Additional Details: here....
The Soviet leadership has decided Gagarin is too important a propaganda asset to take any risks with his life. He is removed from the list of cosmonauts to be selected for space flights, and will be allowed to fly aircraft only with an instructor aboard. This ruling overrules a promise made by Kamanin to Gagarin that he would be put back on the flight rosterthat after he obtained his engineering diploma from the Zhukovskiy Academy on 1 May 1968. A vote is taken of the cosmonaut selection commission on Feoktistov's fitness for duty. The vote is 4:4, but then a quorum of at least 12 commission members is demanded. Feoktistov passes 9:8 in the final vote.
The cosmonauts are training at Area 113, and the launch will be from Area 81. The State Commission meets from 15:00 to 18:30. So far there have been six successful Proton flights and only one failure. The Proton assembly was completed in 71 working days. UR-500 s/n 7 for this launch had 138 systems requiring rework at the launch site and 120 discrepancies (an increase: Proton number 5 for the first L1 launch had 208 reworks/223 discrepancies, while Proton number 6 for the first L1 launch was down to 70 reworks/194 defects). The L1 spacecraft had 15 notable defects on delivery, but this had increased to 100 by the time of the commission. Therefore Mishin should not be certifying readiness for launch. Manned flight to the moon requires a total mission probability of 0.99 to 0.9999, and Mishin puts the current Proton/L1 system reliability at only 0.6. It certainly has to be better- this is an 'all-up mission'. It will be the world's first re-entry at parabolic velocity. On return from the moon the spacecraft has to hit a re-entry corridor only 30 km across. The range of possible touchdown points extends along a 400 km wide corridor stretching from the equator to the North Pole, and extending over the Indian Ocean, India, Central Asia, and Siberia.
Proton s/n 229 and L1 s/n 4L are ready for launch. There remain communications problems, including the 3-channel telemetry and the SAS abort system. Launch is set for 28 September, landing after return from the moon on 4 October at 19:52, 200 to 300 km north of Dzhezkazgan. At Area 31 there is a problem with the solar cells on the Soyuz. They have to be replaced, which means acceptance tests will have to start all over. At Fedosiya parachute trials are still experiencing delays.
First attempted circumlunar flight. The UR-500K failed, crashing 50 to 60 km from the launch pad. The L1 radio beacon was detected 65 km north of the Baikonur aerodrome by an Il-14 search aircraft. An Mi-6 helicopter recovered the capsule and had it back to the cosmodrome by 13:30. Mishin's record: of seven launches of the Soyuz and L1, only one has been successful. Film of the launch shows that one engine of the first stage failed. Mishin still wants to launch the next L1 by 28 October. The other chief designers oppose the move. Barmin says at least five months are needed to diagnose the cause of the failures and makes fixes to ensure they don't happen again. Nevertheless the leadership sides with Mishin, and Barmin is ordered to prepare the left Proton pad for a launch within 30 to 40 days.
They need to complete 70 drops, which normally would take five to six months. Mishin still insists that they be completed by 1 November. Three tests are made in one day, a record, including the drop of a Soyuz mock-up at 17:55 from an An-12. The parachute deployed correctly, but the soft landing system fired at 2000 m instead of 1.2 m. The spacecraft hit the ground on its side at 8 m/s. Because of the angle of impact the crew seat shock absorbers couldn't function. If any cosmonauts had been aboard, they would have suffered serious trauma.
In Moscow, Mishin heads a meeting of all the Chief Designers (including Chelomei, Mishin, and Glushko). Glushko says that the last UR-500K failure was due to errors made during manufacture of an engine in 1965 at Factory 19 at Perm. Ustinov notes that the failure has cost the state 100 million roubles and has delayed the program two to three months. He brutally attacks Dementiev, Minister of Aviation Industry, for the poor work of his factories on the space program. Another issue is continued delays in the Salyut computer for the L1. Ustinov orders an alternate technical solution to be developed in parallel with the digital computer development. The next Soyuz flight is set for the end of December, the next L1 attempt for 21-22 November.
The meeting is headed by Afanasyev. The first N1 will have a payload of only 76 tonnes, versus the 95 tonnes required for the L3 lunar landing complex. In order to land two cosmonauts on the moon, as the Americans are planning, a 105 tonne low earth orbit payload would be needed. This would require new engines in the first and second stages. Kuznetsov says that his 153 tonne engine could be uprated to 170 tonnes without any basic changes. Lox/LH2 engines would be needed for the upper stages. Keldysh questions the safety of the current plan of landing only one cosmonaut on the moon. Mishin replies that putting two cosmonauts on the moon simply is not possible with the N1. Chelomei raises a question - How is it possible that the Americans have built he Saturn V, which can put 130 tonnes in low earth orbit, in order to land two men on the moon, and Mishin says he can do the same mission with 105 tonnes? Mishin claims that this is due to the lighter design and construction of the L3. The following decisions are made:
A further test of the Soyuz landing system went all right, if you don't consider the fact that the 'Tor' altimeter triggered the braking system 3.3 seconds early. One certainly couldn't say, as a result of only these two successful tests, that the system was reliable. The system uses a gamma altimeter, with redundant verification using pulses from HF and UHF antennae. The system has been approved for unmanned flights, but needs additional tests before it can be certified for manned flights. Kholdokov wants the VVS to take over not just trials, but all further development of the landing system, since Mishin and Tkachev are unable to deliver a reliable product. But such a decision can only be taken jointly by the VVS and RVSN.
There have been many improvements and additional qualification tests conducted since the Soyuz 1 crash, notably to the parachute system. MAP, TsAGI, LII, and the VVS want the L1 to have a reserve parachute as well, but Mishin rejects the recommendation -- it would cost 200 kg extra mass, and there are absolutely no reserves in the L1.
First Mishin was pushing the 60-year-old Anokhin for spaceflight, now the invalid Feoktistov. Feoktistiov suffers from gastrointestinal ulcers. Tyulin and Kerimov are of one voice in the matter - this is not even a question that can be raised - sick is sick, period. The L1 and L3 crews will have to endure eight to ten days of orbital flight. They can only be between 170 and 175 cm tall, and can have a maximum weight of 70 kg. Mishin insists that he doesn't even need military pilots for the L1 and L3, and therefore doesn't need to decide crew compositions until the middle of 1968, and then only 'his' engineer cosmonauts from TsKBEM should be considered. The Marshal interrupts Mishin, angrily reminding him that the space program is a national enterprise, not something being accomplished by 'your' spacecraft or 'your' cosmonauts. A three hour-long bitter debate ensues, with no resolution on crew selections. The final conclusions are only that the crews will consist of one pilot, and one engineer, and that Feoktistov will never be allowed to go into space.
Problems on the mission included excessive firing of the manoeuvring engine during rendezvous and docking, and failure of the stellar navigation systems. The systems still need work before a man's life can be risked. It is decided to conduct another unmanned dual docking mission in March-April 1968; with a manned flight in May-June 1968. As for the L1, the simulator was still 'raw' and had many problems. Four to six successful unmanned flights are needed to prove the L1 before a manned flight can be made.
The launch takes place at 00:07 local time (22:07 on 22 November Moscow time). Glushko, Chelomei, and Kamanin observe the launch from an observation point in -5 deg C weather. Three to four seconds after second stage ignition, the SAS pulls the spacecraft away from the booster. Telemetry shows that engine number 4 of stage 2 never ignited, and after 3.9 seconds the remaining three engines were shut dwon by the SBN (Booster Safety System) and the SAS abort tower fired. The capsule's radio beacon was detected and the spacecraft was found 80 km southwest of Dzhezkazgan, 285 km down range. The Proton problems are maddening. Over 100 rocket launches have used engines from this factory, with no previous failure. Of ten of the last launches under Mishin's direction (6 Soyuz and 4 L1) only two have went well - an 80% failure rate! Mishin is totally without luck. Kamanin and Leonov take an An-12 to see the L1 at its landing point. Leonov wants to see proof that the cosmonauts would be saved in any conditions. The capsule landed in -17 deg C and 12 m/s winds. The parachute pulled the capsule along the ground for 550 m, and the soft landing rockets fired somewhere above the 1.2 m design height. After safing of the APO self-destruct package, the capsule is lifted to an airfield by a Mi-4. The L1-5S designation seems to indicate this was a test of the podsadka L1. (Mishin Diaries 2-90)
He is shown the Volga and L1 trainers, takes a seat in the trainer, and is given a simulated space flight. At the air base he reviews the aircraft and the TBK-60 altitude chamber. Throughout the tour, Mishin constantly wore a soft expression and used coarse language. Afanasyev was briefed on and recognised problems with development and delivery of the Salyut digital computer needed for the L1 guidance system. But he was not told that cooperation had broken down totally on the L3 simulator development and crew selection.
The 'big' Soviet of Chief Designers meets and the three-launch landing concept developed a month earlier is presented in detail. Pilyugin pointed out that this was a typical contradiction. Mishin had just made a presentation to the expert commission justifying that the one-launch scheme was safe and reliable. Now they wanted to put forward a new scheme because the one-launch scheme was unsafe and unfeasible. Additional Details: here....
The parachute failed to inflate after the capsule separated from the escape tower. The recovery apparatus on both the Soyuz and L1 versions of the capsule continue to perform badly. The soft landing engines have ignited at altitudes of 2000 to 4000 m instead of the 1.2 m required for a soft landing. On the first UR-500K abort the SAS functioned, but the parachute failed to separate after landing, dragging the capsule for 600 m across the steppes. On the second UR-500K abort, there was a premature opening of the parachute, and reaction control system venting led to burn-through of some of the parachute lines.
Kamanin, Gagarin, Titov, Popovich, Belyayev, and Leonov meet with Marshal Yakabovskiy. They inform him that Mishin is blocking further development of the 7K-VI military manned spacecraft and also trying to kill Chelomei's Almaz military space station. They get nowhere. The Marshal says that while he doesn't understand much about space himself, Ustinov had assured him that Mishin and Afanasyev were taking all measures necessary to correct the necessary material...
VVS Party Conference. It is clear to Kamanin that there is no support from the Air Force for manned spaceflight. Kamanin only heard yesterday that Babakin is working on an automatic soil sample return spacecraft. He will need a minimum of two to three years to complete it. Kamanin complained that it would interfere with plans for the L1 program. An uninterrupted series of flights will be needed to complete the L1 spacecraft qualification, and the Ye-8, using the same booster, could be an interference in achieving that goal.
The final medical report rejects Feoktistov's fitness to be a cosmonaut. Mishin accepts the findings of the report, but in classic manner ignores it and advocates Feoktistov be appointed as commander of the active spacecraft in the first Soyuz docking mission after return to flight. Kamanin is livid. Feoktistov has had years of training for EVA, but he has not had one day of training as a spacecraft commander, and now he wants him to command a mission due to launch in only two to three months! However agreement is finally reached on L1 commander assignments: Leonov, Bykovskiy, Popovich, Voloshin. Agreement is not reached on the second (civilian) crew member position for the flights. According to Mishin, the Soyuz and L1 flights planned from March 1 to the end of 1968 will require 16 to 18 crew members total.
Failed launch of an E-6LS radio-equipped version of the E-6 used to test tracking and communications networks for the Soviet manned lunar program. Suggestions for the abnormal consumption included the seizing up of a pintle valve for controlling fuel supply into the regulator or the seizing up of the fuel inlet control. The upper stages broke up in the atmosphere.
It is currently organised in three cosmonaut detachments: Nikolayev commands the first detachment, which is training for L3, L1, and Soyuz fiights. Popovich commands the second, training for Almaz and 7K-VI military space missions. Nikeryasov commands the third, which is the 'observer' detachment.
Kamanin states his belief that the L1 will not be ready for manned flight for 2 to 3 years, and will need 8 unmanned flight tests before it can be man-rated. Others disagree, and the final decision is that four unmanned flights without significant failure will be required before the spacecraft is man-rated.
The booster failure on the previous launch was found to be due to premature fuel injection during engine start, causing initial chamber temperatures to rise 200 degrees above normal. Glushko and Konopatov both guarantee their engines for the next launch. The next L1 flight will use the 'Kruga' landing predictor. This will predict the landing point to within a 150 x 150 km area two to three hours before re-entry. Landing points on the three previous flights would have been 2000 km from Madagascar and India, Novosibirsk, and the North Pole... Mishin plans the next dual Soyuz flight for 5-10 April. Kamanin protests that the parachute and sea trials of the redesigned capsule are not yet complete. Mishin, as usual, dismisses his concerns.
For this L1 launch Chelomei wants to film separation of the first and second stages of the Proton rocket at 126 seconds into the flight - altitude 41 km, distance downrange 47 km. To do this two An-12 and one Tu-124 with long focal-length cameras will orbit 35 to 40 km from base. The discussion turns to how to recover the L1 if it lands in the ice-bound Aral Sea. The circle of possible landing points has a radius of 500 km from a point west of Karaganda. For political reasons it is not possible to deploy recovery forces to areas of Iran and India that are within this circle.
What at first seemed to be a success, very much needed by the L1 program, ended in failure. The Proton booster lifted off in 18 m/s winds, -3 deg C temperatures, and into very low clouds - it disappeared from view at only 150 m altitude. Aircraft at 9, 10, and 11 km altitude reported the cloud deck topped 8300 m, with 1.5 to 2.0 km visibility. The spacecraft was successfully launched into a 330,000 km apogee orbit 180 degrees away from the moon. On reentry, the guidance system failed, and the planned double skip maneuver to bring the descent module to a landing in the Soviet Union was not possible. Ustinov had ordered the self-destruct package to be armed and the capsule blew up 12 km above the Gulf of Guinea. Kamanin disagreed strongly with this decision; the spacecraft could have still been recovered in the secondary area by Soviet naval vessels after a 20 G reentry. The decsion was made to recover the spacecraft in the future whenever possible.
Officially: Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Study of remote regions of circumterrestrial space, development of new on-board systems and units of space stations.
At 07:35 the first midcourse manoeuvre for Zond 4, then 225,000 km from earth, was cancelled due to an orientation system problem. The sun tracker worked, but the star tracker could not acquire Sirius. The first and second midcourse manoeuvres are not strictly necessary. However if the third midcourse fails, when the spacecraft is 167,000 km from earth on the return leg, the spacecraft will miss the atmosphere and head back out into space. A meeting is held on cosmonaut training. The simulators are still not adequate. Feoktistov is still demanding that he be trained for the first Soyuz docking mission.
The L1 reaches its apogee. The time comes to attempt the third midcourse manoeuvre. There are three attempts to orient the spacecraft. The first was at the minimum sensitivity setting for the star tracker, the second at the maximum setting, and the third using a high-density filter. Sirius is finally acquired the third time. The spacecraft is oriented and makes a 15 second burn with a 9.129 m/s delta-V (versus 9.202 m/s planned). This is good enough to assure the spacecraft will hit the re-entry corridor without a further correction.
It is estimated that Zond 4 will fly 45.8 km below the initial re-entry corridor at an altitude of 145 km, after which it will ricochet back out into space and proceed to a final re-entry and landing on Soviet territory. It is calculated it will land on 7 March at 21:56, 13 minutes later than the originally estimated time.
The L1's SUS guidance system failed on re-entry. It hit the atmosphere precisely at the calculated time, but wasn't guided to generate lift and fly out of the atmosphere again. A ballistic re-entry would mean no recovery on Soviet soil, so the APO destruct system automatically blew up the capsule at 10 to 15 km altitude, 180-200 km off the African coast at Guinea.
Mishin certified to MAP on 5 March that the Soyuz parachute system development is complete, but Tkachayev has dissented, saying that the system was unreliable and overweight (this from the same chief designer that certified the previous design as having an 0.999 reliability!). The parachute trials will not be finished until May - meaning there will be no manned Soyuz launch in April. This problem is holding up the L1, L3, and Almaz projects as well.
Gagarin wants better organisation of the TsPK for the L1 circumlunar manned flights, including: better training in manual navigation in case of failure of automated systems; improved training in survival of 20 G re-entries if the automated SUS capsule guidance system fails. The cosmonauts review material for the Seventh International UFO Conference in Mainz (!).
Hours are spent arguing over flying Feoktistov as a cosmonaut. Finally the matter is referred to the VPK. Kamanin briefs Ustinov's deputy on his position against Feoktistov. The L1 is reviewed. The star sensor only operated on Zond-4 on the fourth day of flight. However when it worked, it provided a 2 km positional accuracy at re-entry versus the 10 km required. The next L1 is to be launched on 23 April. If that date cannot be met, it will be launched on 25-30 April on a deep-space trajectory (not aimed at the moon).
Russian pilot cosmonaut 1960-1968. First person in space. Due to his fame, the Soviet leadership did not want to risk him on another flight, but later relented. Died in MiG trainer crash while requalifying for flight status. 1 spaceflight, 1.8 hours in space. Flew to orbit on Vostok 1 (1961). Gagarin was flying together with instructor pilot Sergin on a flight in a UTI MiG-15 trainer. Gagarin was being requalified as a jet pilot after being denied flight status by the leadership for a long time. At that time the mean flight hours between fatal accidents hours for Soviet jet fighters were: MiG-15, 18,440 hours; MiG-17, 11,460 hours; MiG-19, 4,475 hours; MiG-21, 4,422 hours; Su-7, 2,245 hours; Su-11, 2,100 hours. Gagarin's UTI MiG-15 s/n 612739 was built at the Vodokhod factory in Czechoslovakia and delivered on 19 March 1956. It had a 2100 hour airframe life, and had flown 1113 hours. It had two overhauls to date: one on 13 July 1962, after 13,834 'mil' hours, and the second on 30 March 1967, after 36,986 'mil' hours. It should have had a 500 hour life after the second overhaul, had flown only 62 hours since then, and had 438 hours left.
This was a reserve day in the L1 countdown, in case of problems in preparation. However all is on schedule for the launch. The same cannot be said for the N1. There are many delays. Mishin promised the first N1 rollout in the first half of March, but it is still in the assembly building, with no end in sight of preparations. The weather at the cosmodrome is -5 deg at night, clear pleasant days. The Hotel Kosmonavt was finished on 15 April. Although it has all of its furniture, it was not completely painted before the furniture was moved in!
However the Commission did not agree to disarm the APO destruct system aboard the capsule. They don't want any chance of 'Soviet electronic secrets' falling into the hands of the Americans. Kamanin disagrees - he thinks they should conduct one fully ballistic re-entry and landing of an L1 to see if the landing system would function and the crew would survive. What's the point of deploying recovery ships to the Indian Ocean if they are only going to blow up the capsule anyway if the SUS fails and it reverts to ballistic mode? Mishin's answer: 'I was always against having those forces in the Indian Ocean!' Yet he had demanded those 7 to 9 recovery ships in February!
L1 launch attempt, lift-off at 02:00 local time. The spacecraft was to separate at 589 seconds into the flight. Instead at 260 seconds, a short circuit in the malfunction detection system incorrectly indicated a launch vehicle failure. This in turn triggered the SAS abort system. The SAS shut down the good stage and separated the spacecraft from the booster. The capsule landed safely 520 km downrange from the launch site. This was the third such abort, which if nothing else proved the reliability of the SAS - all of the spacecraft landed safely.
The cosmonauts and VVS staff will watch the Proton launch from Area 130. Kamanin observes from Area 81, near the pads. It is a warm, starry night and the booster heads toward space on pillars of fire. Up until T+260 seconds all proceeds normally, then the stage 2 shuts down 79 seconds into its burn. At 02:50 it is reported that the capsule separated successfully from the inert booster and has landed 520 km from the launch pad, 110 km east of Dzhezkazgan. Two Il-14 search aircraft and one Mi-4 helicopter fly over the recovery zone, but no signal is received from the capsule. Mishin immediately blames Chelomei's TsKBEM for the booster failure -- later it is shown that Mishin's L1 spacecraft sent an erroneous abort command to the rocket, which then shut down it engines! The capsule is sighted after dawn and picked up by a Mi-6 helicopter and delivered to Dzhezkazgan airfield at 15:00. It is then taken to Moscow for examination. The SAS abort and capsule landing systems have certainly been proven reliable! They have worked perfectly on the last three launches!
Kamanin meets with Yuryshev, Deputy Chief of NTK/General Staff, and Maksimov, Deputy Chief of TsKIK, to review military spacecraft. Such spacecraft can be placed in two general categories: Category 1 would be manoeuvrable spacecraft that use active gliding to be guided to a landing point. This technology was currently being developed in the Soyuz and L1 projects. Category 2 would be an orbital aircraft which would be launched from a winged, recoverable, aircraft first stage booster. Less work has been accomplished on such spacecraft. The Mikoyan and Tupolev bureaux have been authorised to begin design and development, but this was still in its earliest stages. But Kamanin believes the second approach has the greatest future potential, and should be pursued more vigorously.
Tereshkova is fighting against her appointment to the Committee of Soviet Women with the requirement for constant tours, appearances, committee sessions, and so on. He has gone to see Suslov about it. Meanwhile the Communist Central Committee and the Soviet Ministers are having a fight over the dates for the planned cosmonaut tour of Africa (the secret objective is to give the cosmonauts training in recognition of southern hemisphere constellations in preparation for lunar missions). Leonov is involved in sending mixed signals to the leadership.
Leonov is raked over the coals concerning his latest accident. In the first place, he had no permission to even be meeting with the Italians. In the second place, he was supposed to be chauffeured when in Moscow, not driving himself. In the third place, he was in training for an L1 lunar mission, and was supposed to be in bed by 23:00, instead of gallivanting around Moscow at all hours of the night.
The State Commission determines the cause of the Proton booster shutdown in April was a short in the L1 abort system. This sent an incorrect abort signal to the launch vehicle, triggering it to shut down its engines. The next L1 launch is set for 19 July, followed by one launch per month thereafter. After 3 or 4 successful unmanned circumlunar missions, the spacecraft will be cleared for a manned lunar flyby.
State commission sets November as date for manned circumlunar flight. The next L1 flight was set for July, with flights to continue at monthly intervals at each translunar launch window. 3 or 4 unmanned flights had to be successful before a manned flight would be attempted.
The information led NASA to decide to send Apollo 8 on a risky lunar orbital mission at the end of December 1968. Interestingly enough the CIA warning to NASA came within days of the L1 State Commission's meeting and decision to press for a November circumlunar flight.
During launch preparations with the fuelled Proton / L1, there was an explosion, killing three technicians. Their death alone indicates the area around the pad was unsafe at the time. The Block D oxidiser tank of the L1 exploded - the first such failure in 30 uses. The rocket and spacecraft were relatively undamaged. The third stage of the Proton had some external damage due to exposure to the Block D's fuel, but it can be cleaned. The real question is how to remove the L1 spacecraft on the pad. A helicopter could hoist the spacecraft away, but the available Mi-6 or V-10 helos can lift only 8 to 10 tonnes, and the L1 weighs 14 tonnes. A V-10 crew is sent to investigate the possibilities anyway. Some engineers suggest just firing the BPO abort tower and lifting the capsule away from the stack! Emergency political and military meetings are held at the cosmodrome to discuss the impending invasion of Czechoslovakia.
200 aircraft and helicopters are ready for the L1 launch, as well as eight ships in the Indian Ocean. The latter are spaced at 300 km intervals in an area 2500 km long x 400 km wide along the re-entry trajectory. There are Ka-25 helicopters aboard only three of the ships. For manned flights, a minimum of nine ships, all equipped with helicopters, plus a long range Tu-95 search aircraft will be required. But this has been recommended 20 times by Kamanin, and rejected 20 times by the Ministry of Defence. Later the L1 State Commission meets in the new three-story building at Area 81. Launch is set for 15 September at 00:42:10.6, which will mean a night landing at 19:00 on 21 September. The capsule has no visual lights or beacons, which will make it very hard to locate. But Mishin is adamant he cannot change the landing time.
First successful circumlunar flight with recovery. Test flight of manned spacecraft; launched from an earth parking orbit to make a lunar flyby and return to earth. On September 18, 1968, the spacecraft flew around the moon at an altitude of 1950 km. High quality photographs of the earth were taken at a distance of 90,000 km. A biological payload of turtles, wine flies, meal worms, plants, seeds, bacteria, and other living matter was included in the flight. Before re-entry the gyroscopic platform went off line due to ground operator failure. However this time the self destruct command was not given. After a ballistic 20G re-entry the capsule splashed down in the Indian Ocean at 32:63 S, 65:55 E on September 21, 1968 16:08 GMT. Soviet naval vessels were 100 km from the landing location and recovered the spacecraft the next day, shipping it via Bombay back to Soviet Union. Additional Details: here....
It is decided to orient Zond 5 using the earth sensor. This is not as accurate as the star tracker, but it is good enough to ensure the spacecraft can be put on a course that will take it back to earth. However it is not accurate enough to allow a a lifting re-entry with a double skip manoeuvre and landing in the Soviet Union. It means the spacecraft must follow a high-G ballistic re-entry and land in the Indian Ocean. Afanasyev is personally supervising the midcourse orientation and engine burn.
The Zond 5 situation remains the same. The star trackers quit working, and the use of the back-up systems has not been completely successful. However the spacecraft is on course for a ballistic re-entry. At Area 112 Afanasyev heads the State Commission for the N1-L3 first launch. There are problems with the launch complex. The main electrical cable to the launch complex was accidentally bulldozed. The back-up cables were buried only 30 cm from the main line and both were destroyed. The cables were poorly marked. It will take 50 days to repair the damage. This will delay first launch until the second half of November 1968, and the second launch to February 1969. Most likely the first launch cannot take place until next year.
Tereshkova is having political problems. Titov is to go to Mexico, although he still is making errors of judgement which make it questionable whether he can be trusted on foreign tours. Beregovoi is to complete his cosmonaut examinations on 27 September, and then will be certified for flight.
At the Fedosiya test range a Soyuz parachute test failed when the parachute hatch wouldn't jettison. This was due to an incorrectly inserted safing pin - it was not a spacecraft problem. So the Soyuz was still cleared for manned flight. Aboard Zond 5, the star tracker has completely failed. So the spacecraft will have to make a ballistic re-entry with splashdown in the Indian Ocean planned at 31 deg 58' S, 65 deg 21' E.
At 17:00 communications with Zond 5 are lost as it re-enters over the South Pole. It has to re-enter at an angle of 5 to 6 degrees to the horizontal. One degree too high, and it will skip off the atmosphere and be lost into space; one degree too low and the G-forces will increase from 10-16 to 30-40 - which are not only enough to kill the crew, but to destroy the spacecraft. The safe entry corridor is only 13 km across and it has to be hit at 11 km/sec. - like hitting a kopek with a rifle at 600 m range. The re-entry schedule:
Meeting of VVS, Mishin, and other designers at Fedosiya to review trials of the improved Soyuz parachute system. The Soyuz is cleared for manned flights. Mishin tells Leonov he will not support him in his bid to make the first lunar flight. Kamanin tells Leonov that of the three crews - Leonov-Voronov, Bykovsky-Rukavishnikov, Popovich-Makarov - the Bykovsky crew is favoured.
The results will establish the order in which they will fly as Soyuz commanders. A 25-person board, consisting of spacecraft designers and cosmonauts, conduct the oral examinations. Each cosmonaut must answer five mandatory essay questions and select two two-part questions. All three are certified for flight and have a complete mastery of the Soyuz systems.
Mishin and Kamanin meet and decide on L1 crews: Leonov-Makarov (with Kuklin as back-up); Bykovsky-Rukavishnikov (Klimuk back-up); and Popovich-Sevastyanov (Voloshin back-up). But that evening Leonov has yet another automobile accident. He hit a bus with his Volga at kilometre 24 near Shchelkovsky. This was his second accident in four months. Kamanin decides to prohibit him from driving automobiles for six months.
The L1 cosmonauts are doing training in autonomous navigation, zero-G training, and TBK-60 simulator training. Due to the continuing L1 failures, there would probably be no manned L1 flight until April-May 1969. As for Soyuz, a 0+1 (docking of one unmanned spacecraft and a manned spacecraft with a single cosmonaut aboard) is planned for 25 October, to be followed by a 1+3 mission with a crew transfer by December at the earliest - possibly not until February-March of the following year. Kamanin reassured Beregovoi that he will indeed fly following his excellent exam results -- but Beregovoi still has doubts. Later Kamanin confronts Leonov over his driving. Leonov has had three auto accidents in four months - simply too much. If he is such a bad driver on earth, how will be in space? Kamanin tells him to take two to three days off work and seriously consider his attitude and position. Next there are commissions to attend in charge of selecting monument designs for Gagarin memorials. There are to be obelisks at the Gagarin crash site, at the Vostok 1 landing site, and in Star City. These commissions are taking up a lot of the cosmonauts' time. Kuznetsov meets with Kamanin and tells him that cosmonauts Belyayev and Nikolayev rated Beregovoi poorly in the exam, giving him only a 5 and citing errors in his logic.
Tyulin is still complaining that the VVS never signed the L1 design specification. But the crews are ready for flight. The flight of Apollo 8 to the moon is announced. Kamanin considers this an adventure with no chance of success. After all, there have been only two Saturn V launches, the last one a partial failure. The US has never flown a crew to escape velocity or lunar distance. The whole thing is a risky, unsafe adventure.
The post-flight debriefing of Beregovoi reveals that the automated docking sequence from 11,000 to 200 m range from the Soyuz 2 target was normal. At 200 m Beregovoi took over manual control of the spacecraft. At a range of 30 to 40 m he observed the running lights on Soyuz 2 were inverted. He stopped his approach and waited until the spacecraft moved into daylight. By that time the spacecraft were still 30 to 40 m away, but had drifted so that he was 30 degrees off-angle from Soyuz 2. It was in attempting to bring the spacecraft back on axis that he used 30 kg of propellant. He then gave up and hand-flew the spacecraft around Soyuz 2 to take photographs. On the first day of his flight he constantly felt like he was hanging upside-down. This feeling only disappeared on the last day of the flight.
Test flight of manned circumlunar spacecraft. Successfully launched towards the moon with a scientific payload including cosmic-ray and micrometeoroid detectors, photography equipment, and a biological specimens. A midcourse correction on 12 November resulted in a loop around the moon at an altitude of 2,420 km on 14 November. Zond 6 took spectacular photos of the moon's limb with the earth in the background. Photographs were also taken of the lunar near and far side with panchromatic film from distances of approximately 11,000 km and 3300 km. Each photo was 12.70 by 17.78 cm. Some of the views allowed for stereo pictures. On the return leg a gasket failed, leading to cabin depressurisation, which would have been fatal to a human crew. The 7K-L1 then made the first successful double skip trajectory, dipping into the earth's atmosphere over Antarctica, slowing from 11 km/sec to suborbital velocity, then skipping back out into space before making a final re-entry onto Soviet territory. The landing point was only 16 km from the pad from which it had been launched toward the moon. After the re-entry the main parachute ejected prematurely, ripping the main canopy, leading to the capsule being destroyed on impact with the ground. One negative was recovered from the camera container and a small victory obtained over the Americans. But the criteria for a manned flight had obviously not been met and Mishin's only hope to beet the Americans was a failure or delay in the Apollo 8 flight set for December. The next Zond test was set for January. Additional Details: here....
Two Volga automobiles and two buses take the State Commission from the Hotel Kosmonavt to Area 81. The L1 launch into parking orbit is good (parameters 88.23 minutes period vs 88.3 planned; inclination 51.24 deg vs 51.5 deg planned; perigee 188.5 km vs 192 km planned; apogee 207 km vs 218 km planned). Translunar injection proceeds normally, but afterwards the high gain antenna doesn't deploy. As a result, there is no telemetry from the astro-navigation system. Kamanin rages, 100 million roubles in launch costs, ruined by one defect. The star sensors 100K and 101K will be tested tomorrow. However without course corrections the spacecraft will miss the earth by 1050 km on return. When the midcourse correction is attempted, the 101K sensor fails, but the 100K functions, and acquires Sirius. This is enough to orient the spacecraft, and 40 minutes later an 8.5 second engine burn is made to put the spacecraft on course.
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.
The L1 went behind the moon at 05:49:37, and emerges at 06:21:11. At the time of the next orientation session it is 390,000 km from the earth and moving at 0.6 km/s. All orientations have been made on Sirius so far. Two more are needed: one for the midcourse correction, and then the second for the guided re-entry. The 100K sensor has proven itself despite Kamanin's doubts. Mishin's grumbly voice was grating on everyone, and finally he was put to bed. Kamanin despairs that the Soviet space program is dependent on this poorly organised, capricious, shortsighted man. Discussions are held with Moscow. If Apollo 8 succeeds, the next L1 test in January and the manned flight in April are probably not worth the risk. Some of the scientists want to discuss the inclusion of new medical experiments on pending manned spaceflights, but Kamanin is opposed to it. He does not want anything interfering with the primary mission. What to name the manned L1 spacecraft is discussed. Leonov wants to call it Rodina, Sevastyanov Ural, and Kamanin - 'Academician Korolev'.
Overnight a serious situation has developed. The hydrogen peroxide temperature aboard the L1 capsule has fallen from +20 deg C to -2 deg C. By the following morning it was down to -5 deg C. At such temperatures it will disassociate into oxygen and water, and the capsule's orientation thrusters will not be able to function for re-entry. A colour television camera was supposed to have been included in the cabin. If it was there it could be turned on and warm the capsule, but Mishin had insisted to the State Commission that it be deleted. The spacecraft could be oriented so that the sun would shine directly over the peroxide tank and warm it, but this might damage the 100K star sensor, which was mounted right next to it. A proposal is made that an attempt is made to orient the spacecraft using the ONA gyroscope package as flywheels, but Mishin and his deputies don't want to try anything. Mishin suddenly says that the next L1 will not be ready until February or later (before the date was January). This was seen by Kamanin as a typical 180-degree turn for him. Mishin looks bad - probably he's been drinking again. Kamanin sees no solution but a complete reorganisation of the space program, moving the manned program to the VVS.
Mishin is comatose, pulse 88, blood pressure 160 over 90. The doctors want to put him in the hospital, but he stays. The side of the L1 where the tanks were mounted finally comes into the sun, and the temperature rises to -1 deg C, a safer temperature than before. But now there is a new problem -- the cabin pressure fell from 718 mm at 05:13 to 610 mm by 05:20. By 08:30 it was down to 350 mm - essentially a situation of a depressurised cabin as far as the landing instruments are concerned. By 18:00 the temperature and pressure in the capsule have stabilised and Mishin is in the hospital. Meanwhile Kosygin is visiting the TsPK.
The hydrogen peroxide temperature has risen to +1 deg C, and the cabin pressure is at 380 mm. The eighth stellar orientation and midcourse manoeuvre was made successful - the 100K sensor has rehabilitated itself. The 3.3-second burn moved the perigee by 25 km, and the spacecraft is expected to hit the center of the re-entry corridor - 49 km altitude plus/minus 7 km. But the State Commission has decided to arm the APO destruct system to destroy the spacecraft if it deviates from its ballistic trajectory.
By 20:00 the cabin pressure was down to 180 mm, and then reached 25 mm at re-entry. At 16:00 the spacecraft confirmed that all landing commands had been received successfully. At 16:20 it confirmed correct orientation for re-entry. The tracking vessel Komarov tracked the capsule in its first dip into the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean. The tracking ship crew estimated the capsule would miss the landing point by 1800 km. However Zond 6 successfully completed the double-skip re-entry. It was picked up by PVO radars 300 km from the border of Afghanistan, and tracked to 100 to 150 km north of the cosmodrome. Radio communications and the radar transponder aboard the capsule were inoperative, and the precise landing point could not be determined. The parachute should have deployed at 17:19 and Kiev and Baku received a brief 1 to 2 second radio burst from the capsule, but nothing thereafter. A search begins for the capsule using 50 aircraft and 12 helicopters. Finally at 06:35 the next morning an Mi-4 sees the parachute 38 km southeast of Novokazalinsk, 70 km from Baikonur. The spacecraft is found 3 km away at 12:00.
Titov still would prefer to be a test pilot, not a cosmonaut. The Soyuz group is scheduled to complete their training and to depart for the cosmodrome on 20 December for final preparations. Leonov's L1 group is to complete their training on 20 January 1969, then depart to the cosmodrome for a flight to the moon in February.
Kamanin attends an Yastreb spacesuit review with VVS doctors. The suit removes 200 cal/hour, but when the cosmonaut is exerting himself, he will generate 3 to 4 times more than this. So the cabin is chilled to 18 deg C prior to the EVA, and there will be lots of pauses during preparations to exit the spacecraft. The L1 cosmonaut-engineers at the meeting have little zero-G experience, and need to get a lot more. The new oxygen generating system for the L1 is still not complete. It will be 6 to 8 kg lighter than the old system (using calcium instead of the old material). Mishin insists that the new system should be completed and installed. Ground qualification testing will be completed on 1 January, but the system will not be flight-proven - Kamanin believes it needs test on low earth orbit missions before being adopted for lunar flights. Beregovoi's experience on Soyuz 3 is reviewed. He needed more time to adapt to zero-G before being required to attempt a docking. He had the impression he was upside-down and had intestinal tract problems.
The primary issue in the next 3 to 4 months will be how to answer the impending American Apollo 8 flight. The Soviet Union needs to fly a manned L1 in the 8 to 12 December lunar launch window. But the spacecraft is still considered too unsafe for manned flight. The Apollo 8 mission is risky, but the US can't fly the Apollo spacecraft to the moon unmanned...
Beregovoi is to be named commander of the Gagarin Centre. Gagarin himself was being prepared for the job, but his death in a plane crash ended that plan. The other cosmonauts are not ready for command. The centre desperately needs the two planned L3 trainers: the TBK-150 and Volchuk. Kamanin has been jerked around for four months on the issue. Even if the simulators were delivered, he would still need 2 million roubles and an additional 30 to 40 staff to install and operate them.
In a four-hour meeting, a number of issues are dealt with. First point was military control of the KIK control centre for lunar missions. A civilian mission control centre is requested. Next, the issue of recovery of L1 and L3 capsules in the Indian Ocean. The re-entry corridor within which landings might occur is 6000 km long and 100 km wide, stretching from Antarctica to India. To cover it will require 20 naval vessels, each with a helicopter, and 10 An-22 or Tu-95 long-range maritime reconnaissance and relay aircraft. Total cost: 600 million roubles. As Kamanin sees it, all this is due to Mishin's inability to design spacecraft capable of precision landing that also incorporates the landing and recovery aids requested by the VVS. Kamanin notes in his diary violent criticism of Mishin's disregard for the safety of the cosmonaut crews, development of crew-associated items at the last minute, unrealistic schedules and expectations, etc. etc. Severin reports that the lunar space suit he is designing will support the cosmonaut for three days, during walks extending 5 km. To do this requires a bulky suit weighing 100 kg. Kamanin disagrees, saying what is needed is to develop a simple and safe approach for the first landing, with a minimum programme for the cosmonaut - not the fantastic schemes of Mishin.
Apollo 8 has been launched. Kamanin recalls that he first saw a model of the Saturn V during his visit to Washington DC with Titov in 1962. At that time the Soviet Union planned to fly the N1 in four years, but the only manned spacecraft on the drawing boards after Voskhod was the Sever. Khrushchev didn't give a go-ahead for the lunar program until 1964. In the gap between Voskhod and Soyuz flights, when the American Gemini program seized the lead, the USSR could have achieved a record by flying Volynov for 18 days in Voskhod 3. But this was cancelled at the last minute by the leadership because the Voskhod had 'no development potential'. Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov were responsible for this decision, which put the USSR permanently behind in the space race.
The Soyuz 4 and 5 crews arrive at Tyuratam aboard an An-24. They work with their spacesuits at Area 31 until 23:00. On the bus back to the sleeping quarters Kamanin tells them of Ustinov's 'recommendation' that they do an automatic docking. They are against it, argue for a manual docking. If allowing enough time for the crew of the active spacecraft to adapt to zero-G is the issue, they propose switching the launch order of the active and passive spacecraft. This alternative is ruled out - it is too late and risky to modify the flight programs. Shatalov bursts out - 'Here we are debating this for the tenth time, while he Americans are orbiting the moon'. They call for the bus to stop. They exit out into the icy clear night and look at the moon. Thoughts came of the nine comrades who had died trying to put the USSR first to the moon, all to no avail.
The L3 spacecraft still does not even exist in mock-up form. All of the leadership are responsible for this farce - Malinovskiy, Smirnov, Ustinov, Brezhnev. There is no single manager of the space program. The VPK and Central Committee operate on rumours. The Interagency Soviet headed by Keldysh was supposed to coordinate space activities, but in fact has not functioned in the last four to five years. There is no single military space organisation in the Ministry of Defence. Piloted flight tests are being run by former artillery officers in the RSVN. Various organizations of MAP and VVS coordinate ground and flight tests poorly. These are the reasons for the failure of the Soviet Union in space. Today in the Central Committee Ustinov asked - 'how to answer Apollo 8?' Ustinov relies on Keldysh, Keldysh supports Mishin, and Mishin is unfit for his duties. But Mishin is not even there! The program they come up with: In January 1969, 2 Venera probes will be launched, two manned Soyuz missions, and L1 s/n 13 will be sent around the moon. In February the first N1 will be launched. By the end of March the first Ye-8 robot will land on the moon and return lunar soil to the earth. This meeting is followed by a session of the VPK at 16:00. The crews are named for the Soyuz 4 and 5 flights.
The training for the Soyuz 4 and 5 flights was completed last night. Today the crews undergo medical tests and start preparation of their flight logs/flight plans. On the return flight to Moscow Shatalov, Beregovoi, Severin, Kamanin, and Mnatsakanian get into a heated argument. The cosmonauts attack Mnatsakanian's Igla automated docking system. It limits docking manoeuvres to periods when the spacecraft are flying over the Soviet Union due to the requirement for ground stations to receive live television. The Americans worked only on the Apollo spacecraft for the last two to three years, while the Soviets have divided their efforts on no less than five spacecraft types: the L1, L3, Soyuz, Soyuz VI, and Almaz. This is all Mishin's fault...
The General Staff considers the impending Soyuz 4 and 5 flights. Vershinin asks - what is the likelihood of Apollo 8 being successful? Kamanin tells him it is very good now; the final midcourse correction was made successfully. A State Commission convenes to consider the Zond 6 failure. Mishin and Tyulin do not attend - they send Bushuyev to represent them. It has been found that 70 km from the cosmodrome, as the spacecraft deployed its parachute, the parachute lines were pyrotechnically severed at 3 km altitude and the capsule crashed into the plain. This in turn was found to be due to an ONA landing antenna failure; and this in turn caused by the SUS going down to temperatures of -5 deg C during the flight and the depressurisation of the cabin. The hydrogen peroxide, due to the low temperature, put the spcecraft at a 45 degree attitude instead of the 18 degree maximum (?). There are five L1's left. Number 13 is at Tyuratam begin prepared for an unmanned flight due for launch on 20 or 21 January, number 11 is being readied for a March 1969 manned launch, to be followed by numbers 14, 15, and 16 in April, May, June. At 19:15 the successful splashdown of Apollo 8 is reported. The race to be first around the moon is over.
A State Commission investigating the crash of Zond 6 determined that the coronal discharge effect which caused the parachute to jettison would only occur at the 25 mm capsule pressure. If the capsule had been completely depressurised to a high vacuum, the accident would not have occurred. A discussion was conducted on when to conduct the next L1 test. The next capsule in line was s/n 13 - an unlucky omen. It was even proposed not to fly the capsule with such an unlucky number. That evening, the Soviet engineers could watch live video from the moon from aboard Apollo 8 via Eurovision from Western Europe. They had in any case lost the race to fly a man around the moon. The flight of further L1's, and sending a Soviet man on a lunar flyby, seemed a moot point.
Two to three days rest for the demoralised cadres is declared, before renewing anew the assault on the cosmos in January. Kamanin muses that some day Communism will be on all of the planets of the solar system, and men will travel in fully automated spacecraft. But full automation is the wrong approach now.
Meeting of the VPK Military-Industrial Commission to discuss how to beat the Americans to the lunar landing Ustinov called the meeting to order. Mishin was 'sick' again -- Okhapkin represented TsKBEM and gave a summary of the programme to that date:
Keldysh proposed that further work on the L1 be abandoned, and Proton boosters instead be used to launch the Ye-8-5 lunar soil return robot spacecraft being developed by Babakin. Babakin had been accelerating this programme since the beginning of 1968 with the support of Keldysh, even though it would only return around 100 g of lunar soil, versus the tens of kilograms the Apollo manned flights would return. However it now offered an interesting possibility - he proposed obtaining lunar soil and returning it to earth before an American manned landing. The government's organs of mass communication would say that the Soviet Union's lunar program only consisted of robot probes, emphasising that his was much safer and that Russia would never risk it's citizen's lives for mere political sensation. Additional Details: here....
The State Commission for the first N1 launch, headed by Afanasyev, convenes at Area 12 of Baikonur. All of the Chief Designers and top generals of the VVS are in attendance. Many defects are identified in the review, but there seem to be no show-stoppers. Payload integration with the booster is to begin 13 January and launch by 18 February. Then Baikonur commander General Kurushin drops a bombshell - he declares he is not prepared to attempt to launch this 'unready' rocket. Much argument and discussion ensues. Finally Afanasyev asks that the issues raised be reviewed, in preparation for the next commission meeting on 11 January.
Launch failure - but the abort system again functioned perfectly, taking the capsule to a safe landing (in Mongolia!). At 501 seconds into the flight one of the four engines of the second stage shut down, and remained shut down for 25 seconds. The ever-reliable SAS abort system detected the failure, and separated the capsule from the failed booster. Yet again a successful capsule recovery after a booster failure. Additional Details: here....
Plans for purchase of ten Soyuz spacecraft for the VVS are discussed. They next turn to Volynov's problems during the Soyuz 5 re-entry. The fault can be attributed entirely to the modular design of the spacecraft, requiring that two modules be jettisoned before re-entry. Vershinin declares that what was needed was a true KLA space flight craft, which would be winged, set toward orbit by aircraft-type booster stages, and could be recovered at a conventional air base borne on wings or rotor blades. Additional Details: here....
Planned first manned circumnavigation of the moon. Soviet plans to beat America around the moon were upstaged by the sudden decision to fly Apollo 8 into lunar orbit over Christmas 1968. It was decided after the American success to cancel any 'second place' Soviet manned circumlunar flights.
A 50 minute presentation is given on space plans. Russia plans to fly no less than six different types of manned spacecraft in 1969-1970 - the Soyuz, L1, L3, Almaz, Soyuz VI, and Spiral. This will result in a decisive answer to the American Apollo programme within two to three years. No N1 launch with the complete L3 lunar landing spacecraft is planned until 1970. Approval is sought for the VVS to buy 10 Soyuz spacecraft for continued manned military flights in low earth orbit. Otherwise between the second half of 1970 and during all of 1971 there will be no spacecraft available for manned flights Additional Details: here....
Kamanin makes a speech to the VVS Soviet, setting forth again plans for military research in space. His presentation shows how far the USSR is behind the Americans, and the need to regain the lead. He again proposes 10 to 12 military Soyuz flights beginning in the first quarter 1970. This will fill the gap until Soyuz VI and Almaz will begin flying in 1972. Kutakhov is categorically against these Soyuz flights but, under pressure from others, still agrees to form a commission to study the matter. Reference is made to a Ministry of Defence decree of 7 January 1969.
Keldysh first revealed the new 'party line' at a press conference on the semi-successful Venera 5 landing on Venus. When asked about Soviet lunar plans, he revealed that Russia would only use robot probes, that it wouldn't risk men's lives in such an endeavour. At the same time Babakin was hard at work finishing the first Ye-8-5 robot lunar soil return spacecraft, to be launched before Apollo 11.
Despite having no stand testing of the N1 first stage, Mishin still expected the first Soviet lunar landing to take place by the end of 1970. He began pushing Kamanin to assign L3 flight crews for the missions. Mishin's staff did not believe he had the necessary discipline to pull it off, but supported him out of solidarity. Mishin accepted the resolution to use 5L to conduct a lunar flyby. The payload consisted of the L3-S. This spacecraft used the new unified guidance system developed for the LOK by NIIAP, replacing the 7K-L1 guidance system, and functional rocket stages G and D, plus the payload bay of the LK. The only functional spacecraft system was the SAS abort tower. Although unthinkable in Korolev's time, lunar launch window constraints meant the launch had to be made at precisely 23:18 on 3 June 1969.
The VPK Military-Industrial Commission issues a decree on the schedule for the rest of 1969. There are to be five launches of Ye-8-5 lunar soil return robots, on 14 June, 13 and 28 July, 25 August, and 25 September. There are to be two launches of Ye-8 Lunokhod robot rovers on 22 October and 21 November. Further manned L1 flights are cancelled. There are no plans made for the L3 since the N1 is not ready.
Another attempt to launch a Ye-8-5 to return lunar soil to the earth, 'scooping', the Americans' impending Apollo 11 mission. Yet another UR-500K launch failure. This time the UR-500K booster functioned perfectly, but the Block D upper stage did not fire, and the payload did not even attain earth orbit. Every UR-500K launch is costing the Soviet state 100 million roubles. This failure pretty much ended the chances for the Russians to trump the American moon landing. Tass yesterday began running stories to prepare the masses for the upcoming Apollo 11 triumph. The party line is that the Soviet Union is not about to risks the lives of its cosmonauts on flights to the moon, when automated probes can safely retrieve soil from the moon for study on earth. Additional Details: here....
Circumlunar flight; successfully recovered in USSR August 13, 1969. Only completely successful L1 flight that could have returned cosmonauts alive or uninjured to earth. Official mission was further studies of the moon and circumlunar space, to obtain colour photography of the earth and the moon from varying distances, and to flight test the spacecraft systems. Earth photos were obtained on August 9, 1969. On August 11, 1969, the spacecraft flew past the moon at a distance of 1984.6 km and conducted two picture taking sessions. Successfully accomplished double-dip re-entry and landed 50 km from aim point near Kustani in the USSR.
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:
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.
VPK Deputy Chairman Tyulin headed a state commission on the L1 programme. Mishin pushed for a manned L1 circumlunar flight in 1970. This meeting was only five days before a Ye-8-5 robot spacecraft was to have returned lunar soil from the earth. The Block D stage failed in earth orbit, and the flight was given the cover name Cosmos 300. This indicated the L1 system still did not have the necessary reliability for manned flight. Furthermore, politically, Brezhnev and the Politburo did not want to see a Khrushchev-originated project like the L1 succeed.
They want to fly Zond 8 unpiloted in December 1969, to be followed by a two-man L1 lunar flyby in April 1970. This would look bad compared to the Apollo moon landings, but there was no other manned space mission they could offer the leadership in 1970. Of the 15 L1 spacecraft built, only three remain.
Yuri Semenov proved his management abilities in the successful unmanned launches and recoveries of Zond 7 and 8 on circumlunar missions. At the final state commission on the L1 program, VPK Deputy Chairman Tyulin said that if had been in charge instead of Mishin, the N1 would have succeeded. Semenov proved himself skilful in coordinating the work of four major, often hostile organizations -- TskBEM, NIIAP, TsKBM, and ZIKh. This would lead to his assignment to head the DOS/Salyut space station programme, and ultimately, head RKK Energia.
Kamanin is asked to assist in preparation of the next five-year plan for spaceflight (1971-1975). He muses that nothing that was to be accomplished in the last five-year plan was achieved, so what is he supposed to put in the new one? 1966-1971 was supposed to have seen Soviet manned flybys and landings on the moon; a cosmonaut contingent increased to 140 and cadres in training for military missions on the Soyuz VI and Almaz. None of this was achieved, and the cosmonaut corps actually only numbers 97.
Final circumlunar flight; successfully recovered October 26, 1970. The announced objectives were investigations of the moon and circumlunar space and testing of onboard systems. The spacecraft obtained photographs of the earth on October 21 from a distance of 64,480 km. The spacecraft transmitted flight images of the earth for three days. Zond 8 flew past the moon on October 24, 1970, at a distance of 1,110.4 km and obtained both black and white and colour photographs of the lunar surface. Scientific measurements were also obtained during the flight. The spacecraft used a new variant of the double-dip re-entry, coming in over the north pole, bouncing off the atmosphere, being tracked by Soviet radar stations as it soared south over the Soviet Union, then making a final precision re-entry followed by splashdown at the recovery point in the Indian Ocean.
Kamanin meets with Chelomei. Chelomei discusses his 'war' with Korolev and Mishin. Korolev interfered with, and then finally took the manned lunar flyby project from Chelomei. Now Mishin is doing the same thing with Almaz. Chelomei had already invested five years in development of Almaz, and was on the way to producing a good space station. Then Mishin pushes him out of the way and seizes his production line to build the DOS-7K. DOS#1 is actually Almaz#5, nothing more than a bad copy of Chelomei's station. Serbin and Smirnov do not trust Mishin, which is why they have only authorised him to build four DOS stations. Serbin, Smirnov, and Afanasyev have visited Chelomei, and told him to accelerate work on the Almaz, using three shifts 24 hours a day.
Kamanin notes the second hijacking in Turkey of a Soviet airliner in the last two weeks.
Zond 8 is recovered only 15 minutes after splashdown by the vessel Taman. Of five Zonds recovered, this was the only one to fly over the north pole. The remainder re-entered over the south pole. The reason for this was the need to fly over tracking stations on Soviet territory in order to get trajectory updates that allowed a precise landing after the second plunge into the atmosphere. This was the reason Mishin now wants a water landing for the L3. The dilemma is that after a first dip into the atmosphere over the North Pole, tracking for a precision landing is possible, but then the spacecraft cannot land on Soviet territory. Re-entering first over the South Pole means that no trajectory updates are available, but then the spacecraft can land only imprecisely somewhere on Soviet territory.
15 L1's were completed, of which only five ever returned to earth. With this successful final recovery, the programme is cancelled. The main cause of the project's failure was the unreliability of the UR-500K rocket.