Born: 1904-10-07. Died: 1990-01-01.
The projection is made that the US will surpass the USSR in space in 1963-1964. Kennedy's 1961 speech announcing the Apollo project to land on the moon was passed to Vershinin for comment, but no reply was ever received. Rudenko, Vershinin, and especially Malinovskiy see no role for piloted space flight, let alone flights to the moon. America, with its superior electronics capability, is still proceeding with development of manned spacecraft that require the active piloting of the astronaut. Why then, Kamanin fumes, is the USSR trying to develop completely automated manned spacecraft? Military space is being run in the USSR by men who know nothing of it, he notes. Rudenko is ill, and not even at the conference.
Smirnov, Rudenko, Gagarin attend. Go-ahead is given for launch on 10/11 August. Nikolayev wants to spend one hour in his spacecraft before launch, but Korolev is against this, not wanting the spacecraft disturbed after it has passed all of its tests. Finally a compromise is reached, whereby Nikolayev will get his hour, but without wearing his spacesuit.
Kamanin discusses with Rudenko the need for construction and flight of ten additional Vostok spacecraft. Korolev still plans to have the first Soyuz spacecraft completed and flying by May 1963, but Kamanin finds this completely unrealistic. The satellite is still only on paper; he doesn't believe it will fly until 1964. If the Vostoks are not built, Kamanin believes the Americans will surpass the Russians in manned spaceflight in 1963-1964. From 13:00 to 14:00 Nikolayev spends an hour in his spacesuit in the ejection seat. Kamanin finds many mistakes in the design of the ejection seat. There is no room for error in disconnect of the ECS, in release of the seat, and so on. At 17:00 the State Commission holds a rally to fete Gagarin and Titov in the square in front of headquarters. Kamanin finds the event very warm but poorly organised. At 19:00 Smirnov chairs the meeting of the State Commission in the conference hall of the MIK. Korolev declares the spacecraft and launch vehicle ready; Kamanin declares the cosmonauts ready. Nikolayev is formally named the commanding officer of Vostok 3, and Popovich of Vostok 4. Rudenko gets Popovich's name wrong - his second serious mistake. He had earlier called the meeting for the wrong time.
Recovered August 15, 1962 6:59 GMT. Landed 48:09 N 71:51 E. By 07:00 the temperature aboard Vostok 4 is down to 10 deg C, and the humidity at 35%. Popovich is ready to continue for a fourth day, but he admits the cold is getting to him. Keldysh and Rudenko now support returning Vostok 4 to earth on the 49th orbit, but Smirnov still wants to go for the extra day. Then Popovich radios 'I observe thunderstorms (groza). Groza is the pre-agreed code word to indicate that the cosmonaut is vomiting. It is believed he is declaring an emergency and requesting an immediate landing. The State Commission meets again and has to decide within 40 minutes whether to begin setting the spacecraft up for retrofire. But then when Korolev and Smirnov ask the cosmonaut to verify, he explains "I am excellent, I was observing meteorological thunderstorms and lightning". However Gagarin and Kamanin are suspicious of the explanation - they believe Popovich had an attack of nausea, panicked, made the emergency radio transmission, but then felt better and didn't want to admit to his weakness when confronted by the leadership. However it is now too late. He is set to return at nearly the same time as Nikolayev on Vostok 3. Both spacecraft land successfully six minutes apart a short distance from each other. However flight plans for the State Commission are wrecked due to bad weather at nearby airfields.
Korolev reports still problems with components of the electrical system from the Kharkov factory -- the same problems that existed in 1962. The cosmonauts will go to Tyuratam on 27/28 May, with launch planned for 3/5 June. Bykovskiy is named prime for Vostok 5, with Volynov his backup. Tereshkova is named prime for Vostok 6, with Solovyova and Ponomaryeva both as her backups. This selection is however made despite strong support for Ponomaryeva as prime by Keldysh and Rudenko.
He tangled in the air with another member of a group jump, Aleksei Novikov. Both were killed. The Vostok 5 and 6 launch vehicles and spacecraft are both in the MIK assembly wall. Work began on them two weeks ago. Nevertheless Korolev is not happy with the results. He wants the tests run over from the start. Round-the-clock work begins from this day. The bad weather and the news of Nikitin's death produce an atmosphere of gloom. Nikitin's funeral is scheduled for 30 May. Therefore the cosmonauts have delayed their departure in order to attend the funeral and will not arrive at Tyuratam until 31 May. Kamanin was very worried about the effect of Nikitin's death on the female cosmonauts' nerves. The final decree set the launch dates as 2/3 June, with landing on 7/8 June. Kamanin gets into a heated argument with Rudenko, who wants to fly all of the cosmonauts to Tyuratam on a single aircraft. He doesn't see what the big deal is -- after all, state ministers fly together all the time.
Sunday before the launch. Rudenko goes to the Syr Darya for a swim. The cosmonauts play volleyball, then receive instruction from Rauschenbach on manual orientation of the spacecraft for re-entry. Then everyone goes to the beach for swimming and chess. Good river bass are cooked for dinner. In the evening, the film The Magnificent Seven is screened. Kamanin finds it violent but involving - the two hours go by in no time.
In a two hour meeting with Rudenko, Kamanin attempts to convince him of the need for specialised cosmonaut training (qualifying as spacecraft commander, pilot, navigator, engineer, etc.) for future multi-crew spacecraft. Kamanin points out that in five to seven years they will be routinely flying 2 or 3 place spacecraft and need to start differentiating training now in order to be ready in time. However Rudenko remains unconvinced. Meanwhile Bykovskiy and Tereshkova are at the cosmonaut training centre, completing their flight reports. Kamanin faces difficulties in booking a hotel for the entire cosmonaut group in the Crimea in August --- he can't find any place with fifty vacancies, and concludes he'll have to split the group up. Pressure is coming from the Foreign Ministry for Tereshkova to make an early trip to Brazil, but she is already booked for two or three tours of friendly socialist countries beginning on 30 August and any additional trips can only be made after those are completed.
Rudenko meets Odintsev but does not give him the word of his removal directly. The decision will wreck Odintsev's career - his next assignment would have been command of an Air Army. Odintsev fretted over the number of stars on his uniform and fawned over academics -- he never looked after his own people, which would have prevented things coming to this.
News reaches Moscow that Kennedy has been assassinated. Kamanin talks with Rudenko, who is not interested in Kamanin's plans for a wider VVS role in space. Rudenko believes Korolev's promises that Soyuz will start test flights in 1964 and that no further Vostok flights are necessary. Kamanin pleads that without such flights the American Gemini program will fly unopposed and give the Americans a decisive lead in the space race. The Soviet Union could launch a modified Vostok - a three place spacecraft - to upstage Gemini but the decision has to made now. Rudenko is unmoved.
Kamanin meets with 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.
Rudenko proposes that three very experienced officers be recruited as cosmonauts, given one spaceflight each, then be appointed to manage cosmonaut training. This will provide qualified managers, which cannot be recruited from among the ranks of the cosmonauts themselves. To this end Beregovoi, Sidorenko, and Katys are interviewed. Rudenko wants Beregovoi to fly first. Kamanin agrees with the general concept, but not with giving Beregovoi the next flight. Volynov, Komarov, and Leonov have been waiting for a flight after completing two years of training, and should fly next.
Rudenko raises objections to the crew selections. Kamanin suggests the most qualified and fit crew would be Volynov, Komarov, and Lazarev. Marshal Rudenko informs the crew must consist of a commander, a physician, and an engineer. Furthermore yet another commission has been convened to clear Feoktistov for flight. Kamanin is infuriated - after a selection process, beginning with 150 candidates from VVS alone, the leadership is hand-selecting the crew in defiance of the fair and rational selection process.
Kamanin arrives at the cosmodrome, only to find the launch of the manned Voskhod delayed to October. The launch of a Zenit-4 spy satellite, that uses the same launch vehicle as planned for Voskhod, has aborted on the pad after the Block A strap-on failed to ignite. This is the first block A failure in over 100 R-7 launches. That evening Kamanin views a launch of an R-36 heavy ICBM. Marshall Krylov reveals it will have a range of 14,000 km with a CEP of under 1 km with a 40 megaton warhead - one missile is sufficient to wipe out a city like New York. Rudenko believes that the victor in any nuclear war will be the one who pushes the button first. Krylov disagrees, saying that if the Americans would launch an attack on Soviet missile forces, the Soviet Union would launch its missiles on a counter-strike before the American missiles arrive - total and senseless destruction. Rudenko believes that Rudenko is more correct, since in the real-world responses will not conform to theoretical possibilities of instant reaction.
Later the state commission meets to consider the launch of the first Voskhod. The unpleasantness at the landing trials in the Crimea reveal only the inadequacy of the design of the test capsules, and do not reflect the flight system, says Korolev. He certifies the reliability of the Voskhod for flight. The commission decides to set the launch of the next Zenit-4 reconnaissance satellite for 14 September; that of the Voskhod with mannequins on 18-20 September; the definitive landing system trial at Fedosiya on 23 September; and if that is successful, launch of a manned Voskhod by the end of September.
The State Commission meets at Baikonur. Chertok advises that the failure of the parachute hatch to jettison in the trials in Fedosiya was due to a serious defect in the schematics of the electrical layout and will not occur again. Korolev declares he is ready to certify Voskhod ready for the final drop test at Fedosiya but would prefer to delay the launch of the spacecraft with mannequins until after the Fedosiya test. The state commission finally agrees to reschedule the launch from 28-30 September, subject to a successful test at Fedosiya on 24-25 September.
Aftrwards Tyulin calls Korolev, Mrykin, Kerimov, Rudenko, and Kamanin aside. He tells them the Communist Party and Soviet Ministers have now taken a personal interest in the crew selection for Voskhod. Korolev and Kamanin bitterly debate their competing preferred crews.
Unmanned test of Voskhod spacecraft. At 07:00 the State Commission meets at Area 2. All Chief Designers, Commanders, and Section report that all is ready for flight. The commission gives the order to proceed with the launch. Weather at the pad is 7 balls, 8-10 m/s wind with gusts to 15 m/s, temperature 9 to 12 deg C. Weather in the recovery zones is reported as winds up to 15 m/s. Weather in the recovery zone is not clear, but that is not considered an impediment, and in fact Kamanin would like to see how the landing system functions in bad conditions. Kamanin visits the pad at T-30 seconds; at T-20 seconds, the veranda at IP-1 has over 50 viewers of the launch, including 15 cosmonaut candidates and the 7 Voskhod cosmonauts. Kamanin is relegated to the IP-1 veranda this time, with Rudenko, Kirillov, and Tyulin the bunker adjacent to the pad. Korolev stays with the booster until T-5 minutes, then enters the bunker. The booster ignites precisely at 10:00; the strap-ons burn out and are jettisoned at T+120 seconds; the core burns out and the final stage ignites at T+290 seconds; and at T+523 seconds spacecraft 3KV number 2 is placed in orbit as the final stage shuts down. The spacecraft separates and all systems look normal.
Recovered October 7, 1964 7:28 GMT. Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space.
At 10:00 Korolev, Tyulin, Rudenko, Tkachev, and other leaders examine the capsule. The condition of the parachute, and capsule exterior and interior show how well the soft landing system functioned. Then they examine the Voskhod s/n 3 which will be sued for the manned flight. The crew of Komarov, Yegorov, and Feoktistov take their place in the cabin, and Korolev and Kamanin examine the cramped accommodations and ask Komarov questions to verify his understanding of the ship's controls. For an hour from 16:00 the crew is interviewed by news correspondents. After the interview, the crew plays tennis for the benefit of photographers. Afterwards post-flight examinations are discussed. A suggestion that the crew spends three nights in a hospital after the flight is rejected. Instead they will spend three nights in the cosmonaut's quarters at Baikonur, under medical observation. Finally, the State Commission meets to verify the crew selection. The session is filmed and recorded for later use by the press.
The U.S.S.R. launched the world's first multi-manned spacecraft, Voskhod I, the first to carry a scientist and a physician into space. The crew were Col. Vladimir Komarov, pilot; Konstantin Feoktistov, scientist; and Boris Yegorov, physician. Potentially dangerous modification of Vostok to upstage American Gemini flights; no spacesuits, ejection seats, or escape tower. One concession was backup solid retrorocket package mounted on nose of spacecraft. Seats mounted perpendicular to Vostok ejection seat position, so crew had to crane their necks to read instruments, still mounted in their original orientation. Tested the new multi-seat space ship; investigated the in-flight work potential and co-operation of a group of cosmonauts consisting of specialists in different branches of science and technology; conducted scientific physico-technical and medico-biological research. The mission featured television pictures of the crew from space.
Coming before the two-man Gemini flights, Voskhod 1 had a significant worldwide impact. In the United States, the "space race" was again running under the green flag. NASA Administrator James E. Webb, commenting on the spectacular, called it a "significant space accomplishment." It was, he said, "a clear indication that the Russians are continuing a large space program for the achievement of national power and prestige." Additional Details: here....
The world's first recovery of an orbital spacecraft with its crew aboard on land was made possible by rocket package suspended above capsule in parachute lines, which ignited just prior to impact in order to cushion landing. The trio landed after 16 orbits of the earth, 24 hours and 17 min after they had left, on October 13, 1964 07:47 GMT. Additional Details: here....
Only on this day does Kamanin receive a copy of Korolev's "Preliminary Plan for Voskhod spacecraft (3KV and 3KD) series in 1965", issued in February. His plan is:
Kamanin is preparing the final press packet, with the cosmonaut biographies, which will be delivered to TASS but only released by them after confirmation that the spacecraft is in orbit. Later Kamanin and forty other guests, including hero-cosmonauts and future hero-cosmonauts, throw a party for Tereshkova's 28th birthday. There is tension in the room as the cosmonauts eye each other as competitors for the flights after Voskhod-2. Volynov is the leading candidate to command the next flight, and has already been a back-up four times, but Marshal Rudenko keeps blocking his selection for flight (Volynov is a Jew). Rudenko is pushing Beregovoi for the next flight, and everyone in the room knows it...
At 13:00 the State Commission meets at the launch pad. All work is complete, and the approval to launch the E-6 robot probe to the moon is given. Keldysh takes the opportunity to confront Rudenko by asking him, who will manage the manned flights to the moon - the VVS or the Rocket Forces? Kerimov replies that this is a function of the VVS. Ishilinskiy, Kamanin, and Kerimov hope very much to be the first commander of a spaceport on the moon... The Lunik is launched successfully into earth parking orbit, but the fourth stage fails to ignite when the moment comes to launch it towards the moon. This is the sixth Lunik not to make it anywhere near its objective; together with the 100% failure rate of the planetary probes, there have been 10 failures. Kamanin believes this points to the absolute necessity of the crew being in control at all times during a manned lunar flight, as opposed to Korolev's insistent reliance on fully automatic systems. Korolev is greatly disturbed by this latest failure, and appoints Chertok to head the investigation.
Korolev, Rudenko, Kamanin, Kuznetsov, Gagarin, Komarov, and Tselikin give the crew their final briefing. Communications protocols are worked out. Korolev tells the crew he is satisfied that they are ready for flight, but tells them not to take unnecessary risks or heroics. The main thing is that they return safely to earth.
With the rocket erected on the pad, a meeting is held several hundred meters away between the chief designers, Keldysh, Rudenko, and 600 to 700 workers. Afterwards Korolev and Tyulin call Moscow, and certify to Smirnov, Ustinov, Kosygin, and Brezhnev that all is ready for the flight.
At 07:30 the state commission meets at the pad and gives the go-ahead. At 8:30 Korolev, Tyulin, Rudenko, and Kamanin observed the cosmonauts donning their suits. At 09:20 they met the cosmonauts again at the pad. After handshakes, the crew went up the elevator, the calm Belyayev being loaded first in the capsule, followed by excited Leonov. Korolev, Gagarin, and the others left the pad for the bunker 10 minutes before the launch. The launch went well, although the suspense in the first 44 seconds of flight (when crew abort was not possible) was unbearable. The final stage shut down at T+526 seconds, and the crew was in orbit. Even though he doesn't smoke, Korolev has a cigarette at T+530 seconds, once he knows the crew is safe in orbit.
The party then moved to the KP command point, where over the next four hours they watched the first man - a Soviet man, Alexei Leonov - enter free space. All operations - airlock deployment, airlock pressurisation, opening the hatch from the spacecraft, entering the airlock, the inner hatch closing, depressurisation of he airlock, opening of the outer hatch, Leonov's exit into space - went well. Television images showed him somersaulting in space, moving 3 to 5 m from the capsule with the earth in the background. There was some worry when the capsule began revolving at 20 degrees per second during the spacewalk, and the high concentration of oxygen (45%) in the cabin. The rotation is stopped, but after consulting with the crew, and considering the large oxygen reserves available, it is decided not to worry about the high oxygen level in the cabin. Kamanin goes to bed at 12:00, overjoyed by the success of the day's events.
First spacewalk, with a two man crew of Colonel Pavel Belyayev and Lt. Colonel Aleksey Leonov. During Voskhod 2's second orbit, Leonov stepped from the vehicle and performed mankind's first "walk in space." After 10 min of extravehicular activity, he returned safely to the spacecraft through an inflatable airlock.
This mission was originally named 'Vykhod ('Exit/Advance'). It almost ended in disaster when Leonov was unable to reenter the airlock due to stiffness of the inflated spacesuit. He had to bleed air from the suit in order to get into the airlock. After Leonov finally managed to get back into the spacecraft cabin, the primary hatch would not seal completely. The environmental control system compensated by flooding the cabin with oxygen, creating a serious fire hazard in a craft only qualified for sea level nitrogen-oxygen gas mixes (Cosmonaut Bondarenko had burned to death in a ground accident in such circumstances, preceding the Apollo 204 disaster by many years). Additional Details: here....
The crew spent the night in the forest. Only at dawn can a helicopter fly over the landing point again. He reports he sees the two crew, one felling wood, the other building a bonfire. During the night, neither the two crew from the helicopter that landed 5 km away or the searchers from the PVO regiment were able to find the crew in the dense forest. Finally at 07:30 a Colonel Sibiryakov, physician Tumanov, and a technician are lowered from a Mi-4 helicopter to a point 1500 meters from the capsule. Several others are lowered to begin chopping down trees to create a clearing where the helicopter can land. Sibiyakov's party depart at 08:30, skiing toward the capsule, finally reaching the crew after three hours of arduous travel at 11:30. The crew is in fine condition - helicopters had dropped supplies and warm underwear the night before.
The recovery forces want to have a helicopter pick up the cosmonauts from the landing site, meaning hoisting them from a hover at an altitude of 5 to 6 m. Rudenko vetoes this idea due to the poor visibility, insisting they must be evacuated in snowmobiles. When he is told this is impossible, he becomes adamant that they must wait for conditions to improve. This is ridiculous. Kamanin believes there will be hell to pay if the cosmonauts have to spend a second night in the forest at a landing point only 70-80 km from the capital of the oblast.
Kamanin visits Korolev and tells him that in an upcoming meeting between the cosmonauts and Brezhnev and Kosygin, they are going to push for the VVS to be given a leading role in the exploration of space, including the necessity to improve the cosmonaut training centre with 8 to 10 simulators for Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft, and development within the VVS of competence in space technology. Korolev is not opposed to this, but says he doubts the VVS leadership will support acquiring the new mission. Kamanin then indicates to Korolev his proposed crews for the upcoming Voskhod missions: Volynov-Katys, Beregovoi-Demin, Shatalov-Artyukhin. Kamanin hopes that Korolev will support Volynov as the prime candidate against Marshall Rudenko's favouring of Beregovoi. Kamanin then raises the delicate issue of Korolev's unfavourable opinion of Tereshkova. After her flight, Korolev angrily said: "I never want to have anything to do with these women again". Kamanin does not believe his remarks were meant seriously, and broaches the subject of training Soloyova and Ponomaryova for a female version of Leonov's spacewalk flight. Korolev says he will seriously consider the suggestion.
Kamanin meets with Marshall Rudenko to present his cosmonaut crew plans. For the experimental gravity flight he proposes Volynov-Katys (prime crew), Beregovoi-Demin, and Shatalov-Artyukhin (back-up crew). Rudenko wants Beregovoi's as the first crew, but Kamanin, sensing the Marshall is unsure in his position, pushes for Volynov. He then presents his plan for the next Voskhod EVA mission: Solovyova and Ponomaryova as the female prime crew, Khrunov and Gorbatko, and Zaikin as the male back-up crew. Kamanin says he already has Korolev, Keldysh, and Vershinin behind this plan. But Rudenko says he will decide this later - he has to take his daughter to the hospital.
A major programme review is held on plans for Voskhod s/n 5, 6, and 7. Tsybin insists that to conduct all of the experiments requested by the Ministry of Defence will take ten spacecraft and missions, but only five have been authorised. Spacecraft s/n 5 will fly with dogs, on a biosat mission. Spacecraft s/n 6 and 7 are being completed for 15-day flights with two crew, outfitted for artificial gravity experiments and medical and military research. The readiness of the military experiments is very poor, due to the fact that in the past Malinovskiy over and over again prohibited any work on military uses of space, at least until the ideal military platform was developed. It was only on Keldysh's initiative that any preliminary work had been done at all. Kamanin replies to Tsybin that it was not the business of OKB-1 to develop military experiments; this was the concern of the Military of Defence. Yet, Kamanin admits to himself, there is no single organisation within the Ministry that is supervising this work. Later Kamanin takes Gagarin to a meeting with Vershinin and Marshal Grechko. The Marshal is unimpressed with Gagarin's understanding of the issues involved in the issue of whether the VVS or RVSN should handle manned spaceflight. Kamanin resolves not to take cosmonauts to such high-level meetings in the future. Grechko does understand finally how poorly Malinovskiy and his deputies have handled military spaceflight. But Malinovskiy, and his supporters, Marshal Rudenko, and Colonel-General Ponomaryov, will not give up in their effort to prevent the VVS from becoming the responsible organisation for military spaceflight.
The argument continues over IMBP running qualification tests instead of IAKM. This will cause a 5 to 7 day delay in qualifying the system for flight. Vershinin and Rudenko later clear Kamanin's recommendation for the Voskhod 3 crew for the new 20-day fight plan: Volynov as commander, Khrunov or Gorbatko as pilot, Beregovoi and Shatalov as back-ups.
Kamanin is back from leave and orients himself. VVS General Rudenko has been visited by Mishin, Tsybin, and Tyulin. They want to replace Kamanin's crews for the first Soyuz mission in September-October with a crew made up of OKB-1 engineers: Dolgopolov, Yeliseyev, and Volkov as the prime crew, Anokhin, Makarov, and Grechko as back-ups. Kamanin believes this absurd proposal, made only three months before the planned flight date, shows a complete lack of understanding on the part of OKB-1 management of the training and fitness required for spaceflight. Kamanin has had eight cosmonauts (Komarov, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Bykovsky, Voronov, Kolodin, Gagarin, and Nikolayev) training for this flight since September 1965. Yet Mishin and Tyulin have been shopping this absurd proposal to Smirnov, Ustinov, and Malinovskiy, who do not know enough to reject it.
In the previous days Kamanin has been preparing Vershinin and Rudenko for the struggle to ensure the Ministry of Defence's interests in space are preserved and defended. Malinovskiy, Smirnov, and Ustinov must be convinced of the righteousness of the VVS position on space crew preparation and training. At the beginning of 1966, Kamanin thought 1966 would be the year Russia would leap ahead again in the space race. At that time four manned Voskhod and four manned Soyuz flights were expected. Now the year is half over, and it is clear that the only remaining Voskhod flight will not go ahead, and it will be luck if even two Soyuz missions are flown. Instead of a year of triumph, 1966 will see the USA pulling far ahead in the space race. This is the fault of the incredibly poor management of the Soviet space program by Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Malinovskiy -- but even more fundamentally due to the inept management of OKB-1 and TsUKOS. The Voskhod program was delayed, then destroyed by OKB-1's insistence on inclusion of their poorly thought-out and developed experiment in artificial gravity. VVS was always opposed to this experiment, yet OKB-1 dragged the program out for years trying to perfect it. Flights of the Soyuz spacecraft could already have occurred in 1962-1963, had Korolev not ignored VVS recommendations and insisted on perfecting a fully automatic rendezvous and docking system. Development of this system delayed the Soyuz project a minimum of three years.
Kamanin has prepared a draft letter from the Minister of Defence to the Central Committee decrying the lead of the United States in military space research and manned spaceflight. But the letter has not been forwarded. Rudenko has sought a meeting with Smirnov on the attempt by MOM and OKB-1 to take over all manned spaceflight functions, but Kamanin does not believe that he or Vershinin have Smirnov's ear.
Mishin, Rudenko, and others have met with Beregovoi and support his selection as commander for the first Soyuz mission. Kamanin does not believe he is fit for the assignment, due to his age, his height and weight (that are the limit of the acceptable for the Soyuz). Gagarin reports that during a visit to OKB-1 the day before, he discovered that they were still going all out to prepare their own crews and train their own cosmonauts for Soyuz flights. Kamanin reassures him that the full power of the VVS, the General Staff, and the Ministry of Defence is behind the position that only VVS pilots will command the missions. Mishin is gloating over the latest spacesuit tests. Khrunov tried exiting from the Soyuz hatch in the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft. Using his full dexterity and strength, he had more success than in earlier tests. But Kamanin notes that designing a spacecraft hatch only 10 mm wider than the cosmonaut is hardly the basis for practical spaceflight or training. Later Kamanin plays tennis with Volynov and Shonin. Their Voskhod 3 flight is still not officially cancelled. They have been fully trained for the flight for months now, but no go-ahead is given. On Saturday, Tsybin presents to the General Staff OKB-1's concept for training of engineer cosmonauts. Tyulin, Burnazyan, and Keldysh have approved the plan, except they have substituted VVS engineer cosmonauts for those from OKB-1 for the first Soyuz flights. So this is the result of months of controversy - a position that there is no fundamental opposition to cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1. Kamanin sees the absolute need for his draft letter to be sent from the four Marshals (Malinovskiy, Zakharov, Krylov, and Vershinin) to the Central Committee. Mishin continues to "assist" the situation - it has been two weeks since he promised to submit the names and documentation for his candidates to the VVS, and he has done nothing.
As expected, Gagarin's letter to Brezhnev was referred to Ustinov, then to Smirnov, who has now referred it to Afanasyev and Malinovskiy with the instructions that they are "to present a mutually agreed solution". Malinovskiy referred it in turn to his four marshals, and Rudenko immediately makes an error by conceding that TsPK will accept OKB-1 cosmonaut candidates for training aboard Soyuz.
While Gemini 11 orbits above, the Soviet leadership argues about fundamental organisational details. Pashkov leads a meeting of the VPK, with Litvinov, Kerimov, Pravetskiy, Tregub, Tsarev, Bogdanov; Rudenko, and Moroz present. After prolonged debate, it is decided that Kiyasov, Kerimov and Kamanin will prepare a letter to the Central Committee. The TsPK Cosmonaut Training Centre will remain the only such centre in the country. However the VVS will agree to some modifications in existing selection and training arrangements. The Ministry of Public Health will be excluded from participation in selection and training of cosmonauts.
Kamanin is at Tyuratam for the first Soyuz launch. He and Rudenko are accommodated in the new hotel at Area 2. It has all conveniences - a local telephone, radio and television with Moscow programs, even a promise to install an HF telephone that will allow secure communications with Moscow. Also there for the launch are Kerimov, Kirillov, Kuznetsov, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, amd Yeliseyev. Rudenko reports that he has been chewed out by Marshal Zakharov. Zakharov told him "What are you and Kamanin doing, blocking OKB-1 candidates from flight? If Mishin wants to send his people to the Moon, let him do it and do not interefere!"
Rudenko and Kamanin meet with Mishin at Area 31 (18-20 kilometers east of Area 2). Launch preparations are reviewed, and Mishin satisfies them that the two Soyuz will be launched on 26-27 November. The State Commission will meet officially tomorrow at 16:00. For today, they tour the N1 horizontal assembly building at Area 13. Korolev planned the N1 as early as 1960-1961. It will have a takeoff mass of 2700-3000 tonnes and will be able to orbit 90-110 tonnes. The first stage of rocket has 30 engines, and the booster's overall height is114 m. The construction of the assembly plant, considered a branch of the Kuibyshev factory, began in 1963 but is still not finished. Two factory shops are in use, and the adjacent main assembly hall is truly impressive - more than 100 m in length, 60 m high, and 200 wide. Work on assembly of the ground test version of the rocket is underway. Assembly will be completed in 1967, and it will be used to test the systems for transport to the pad, erection of the booster, servicing, and launch preparations. The booster is to be ready for manned lunar launches in 1968. The construction site of the N1 launch pads occupies more than one square kilometre. Two pads are located 500 meter from each other. Between and around them is a mutli-storied underground city with hundreds of rooms and special equipment installations.
Only late in the night Rudenko and Mishin finally agree that the crews for the first manned Soyuz flights will be: Basic crews: Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Yeliseyev; Back-up crews: Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, Kubasov. Meanwhile poor weather in Moscow is delaying zero-G training for the flight. In the last week only one weightless flight on the Tu-104 was possible - and a minimum of 24 flights need to be flown before the launch. It was therefore decided to ferry one Tu-104 to Tyuratam and train the cosmonauts here - it made its first flight today.
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.
Feoktistov briefs the State Commission on the flight plan for the upcoming mission at 10:00. Each spacecraft will be in space for four days, and will demonstrate orbital manoeuvre, rendezvous and automatic spacecraft docking. If the passive vehicle can be placed in orbit within 20 kilometres of the previously launched active spacecraft, then docking can be accomplished on the first or second orbit of passive vehicle. If they are more than 20 kilometres apart, then 24 hours will be needed to manoeuvre the spacecraft to a rendezvous. Kamanin and Rudenko take a zero-G flight aboard the Tu-104 (Pravetskiy was bumped at the airfield "due to space limitations"). The Tu-104 needs good visibility of the horizon in order to fly the zero-G parabola. The aircraft is accelerated to maximum speed and then pulls up into a sharp climb (going from 7,000 to 10,000 m). At the end of the climb 20-25 seconds of weightlessness is available for training the cosmonauts. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov and Yeliseyev are aboard today. Khrunov practiced moving from the BO living module of the passive vehicle to that of the active spacecraft. Yeliseyev practiced exiting and entering the BO hatches with his bulky spacesuit and 50- kilogram ECS system strapped to his leg.
Mishin receives an encrypted telegram from Okhapkin and Tsybin. They propose that one of the cosmonauts on the first mission will back away from the docked spacecraft on a 10-m long safety line and film the other cosmonaut moving from one spacecraft to the other. Kamanin believes only Khrunov (with more than 50 Tu-104 weightless flights), has enough training to accomplish the task. After a sauna with Rudenko and an attempt to watch a film (aborted due to projector failure), Kamanin takes a walk in a drizzly, evocative night. He visits the cottages used by Korolev and the cosmonauts for the first missions. A light burns in Korolev's cottage - Mishin is working late. Kamanin recalls his many confrontations with Korolev, but also remembers how well he managed people compared to Mishin. Even if he had already decided personally what to do, he took the time to listen to other opinions and everyone felt their views had been considered.
The weather continues to deteriorate, and Kamanin considers moving the Tu-104 and cosmonauts to Krasnovodsk in order to get the 24 necessary zero-G flights before launch. At 11:00 the State Commission meets at Area 31. Present are Kerimov, Mishin, Rudenko, Kamanin, Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, Yeliseyev, Anokhin and others. Mishin describes the status of preparations of Soyuz s/n 1, 2, 3, 4 for launch. He notes that the L1 and L3 lunar spacecraft are derived from the 7K-OK, and that these flights will prove the spacecraft technology as well as the rendezvous and docking techniques necessary for subsequent manned lunar missions. Feoktistov and the OKB-1 engineers say a launch cannot occur before 15 January, but Mishin insists on 25 December. That will leave only 20 days for cosmonaut training for the mission, including the spacewalk to 10 m away from the docked spacecraft. Faced with the necessity for the crews to train together as a team prior to flight, Mishin at long last officially agrees to the crew composition for the flights: Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev as prime crews, with Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov as back-ups. However a new obstacle appears. KGB Colonel Dushin reports that Yeliseyev goes by his mother's surname. His father, Stanislav Adamovich Kureytis , was a Lithuanian sentenced to five years in 1935 for anti-Soviet agitation. He currently works in Moscow as Chief of the laboratory of the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Shoe Industry. Furthermore Yeliseyev had a daughter in 1960, but subsequently annulled the marriage in 1966.
Later Feoktistov works with the crews on spacecraft s/n 1 to determine the feasibility of the 10-m EVA. The cosmonauts suggest a telescoping pole rather than a line be used to enable the cosmonaut to be in position to film the joined spacecraft. Bushuyev is tasked with developing the new hardware.
Faced with the possibility Yeliseyev will be bumped from the crew, Mishin requests accelerated training of Kubasov as a substitute. Kamanin asks the KGB for a definitive ruling on Yeliseyev's fitness. It will only be possible to meet a 25-29 December manned flight date by curtailing certain tests and supplementing the existing preparation and test staff with about 100 military staff from the Tyuratam range and 50 additional industrial technicians. Rudenko and Mishin have backed away from the agreement on the "final" crew compositions. Now they propose to assign as second cosmonauts the best two of Khrunov, Yeliseyev, and Kubasov. Kamanin adamantly opposes this latest deviation to plan.
The boosters were rolled out to the pads over eight hours late, at 17:30. There were delays in integrating the spacecraft in its fairing with the rocket, due to the much greater length of the Soyuz fairing and SAS abort tower (making the whole vehicle 46 m long). There was even concern that the assembled rocket would topple over in its horizontal carriage due to the forward centre of gravity. Mishin is getting out of control - publicly screaming at his staff. He demeans the competence of the cosmonauts and extols the quality of his own engineer-cosmonauts in front of the leadership. He yet again insists on crew changes. Kamanin discusses Mishin's public hysterics and tantrums with Rudenko. Rudenko agrees that the man is unstable and unsuitable, but says that he has powerful forces behind him on the Central Committee and Council of Ministers. No one except Vershinin dares oppose him. Rudenko's only course is to let the State Commission and government decide who will fly.
Four years behind Korolev's original promised schedule, the countdown is underway for the first Soyuz spacecraft. A new closed circuit television system allows the rocket to be observed from several angles during the final minutes. Mishin, as per tradition, personally stays with the rocket until the last moment. Rudenko, Kerimov, and Kamanin observe the launch from the bunker, while Gagarin, Nikolayev, Belyayev and Yegorov observe from the observation post. The launch is perfect, within 0.2 seconds of the 16:00 launch time. The separation of the first stage strap-ons can be seen with the naked eye in the clear sky. The spacecraft is given the cover designation Cosmos 133 after launch. By 22:00 the spacecraft is in deep trouble. For unknown reasons the spacecraft consumed its entire load of propellant for the DPO approach and orientation thrusters within a 15-minute period, leaving the spacecraft in a 2 rpm spin. At the insertion orbital perigee of 179 kilometres, the spacecraft will have a life of only 39 orbits. It is decided to attempt to stop the spin on the 13th orbit using other thrusters and the ion flow sensors to determine attitude. Then the re-entry sequence will be commanded on the 16th orbit, with the spacecraft to use solar sensors to orient itself for retrofire on the 17th orbit.
Rudenko, Mishin, Kerimov and Kamanin agree on crews for upcoming flights. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev are assigned to Soyuz s/n 3 and 4; Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov to Soyuz s/n 5 and 6, with Beregovoi, Shatalov, Volkov, and Makarov trained as back-ups. For Soyuz s/n 7, which will conduct space welding experiments with the Vulkan furnace, the commander will be either Komarov, Bykovsky, Gagarin, Nikolayev, Beregovoi, or Shatalov. The other two crewmembers will be either Lankin and Fartushniy from the Paton Institute, VVS cosmonaut Kolodin, or an engineer from OKB-1.
Crews for the L1 must be named in order to complete the five-month training program in time. Eight L1's are being completed to the manned configuration, but Mishin believes it is necessary to plan for only six manned missions. It is decided to train nine crews. Spacecraft commanders will be Komarov, Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Gagarin, Leonov, Khrunov, Volynov, Beregovoi, and Shatalov. Flight engineers will be Yeliseyev, Kubasov, Makarov, Volkov, and Grechko. Komarov, Bykovsky or Nikolayev will command the first circumlunar flight. Mishin promises to name the OKB-1 candidates for that flight by 8 December. Mishin and Kerimov agree that training of cosmonaut- researchers from the Academy of Sciences may begin, although both Mishin and Rudenko expressed doubts about cosmonaut candidate Yershov.
The failures of Cosmos 133 have been narrowed to entangled thrust vector vanes in the main engines and a single defective approach and orientation thruster. It is agreed to set the unmanned launch of Soyuz s/n 1 for 18 December as a final functional check of all systems. If this is successful, the date will then be set for the manned launch of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4. Flight control will be conducted from Yevpatoria.
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.
At Tyuratam, the staff views American films on the Gemini program. Kamanin notes the use of manual methods for rendezvous and docking, and the use of an umbilical cord to supply oxygen to the spacewalker as opposed to an autonomous backpack. Despite over a hundred training sessions, American astronauts have experienced pulse rates of over 160 per minute, immense fatigue and overwhelming perspiration on their spacewalks. Three of their four EVA's were curtailed because of these and other unforeseen complications. This clearly indicates how Mishin, Smirnov, Kerimov, Tyulin, and Rudenko have underestimated the danger and difficulty of this work. The booster for Soyuz s/n 1 has been erected at Area 31 and the missile crews have gone home for the weekend. Kamanin credits Mishin for being ahead of schedule for the first time ever - he believes he can launch on 14 December.
Due to failure of a star tracker a guided lifting re-entry of 3-4 G was not accomplished. A ballistic re-entry of 7-8 G however resulted in a successful soft landing in the target zone. Rudenko's recovery crews demonstrated a lack of training. Ustinov and Mishin were anxious to release a proclamation of total mission success, but they needed confirmation that the soft landing rockets had functioned correctly. It was only after 2.5 hours that the recovery teams arrived aboard an Mi-6 helicopter that the correct function of the landing system is verified and the leadership notified.