AKA: 11F91;7K-L1;Zond 4-8. Status: Operational 1967. First Launch: 1967-03-10. Last Launch: 1970-10-20. Number: 12 . Thrust: 4.17 kN (937 lbf). Gross mass: 5,680 kg (12,520 lb). Unfuelled mass: 4,980 kg (10,970 lb). Specific impulse: 276 s. Height: 4.88 m (16.01 ft).
With a complex genesis, the spacecraft was flown as a replacement for Chelomei's LK-1. The 7K-L1 never actually demonstrated that it could safely take a cosmonaut around the moon and return him to earth until August 1969, a month after the successful American Apollo 11 landing on the moon. By then any thoughts of a manned flight had been abandoned as too little and too late. The Soviet disinformation organs began disseminating the myth that the USSR had never been in the moon race at all. The project was cancelled in 1970.
In comparison with the 7K-OK from which it was derived, the forward living module was deleted, as was the reserve parachute (in order to add an exit hatch in the side of the re-entry capsule). Special on-board systems were added for interplanetary navigation. The SAS launch escape system, more powerful than that for the earth orbital version of Soyuz, could pull the spacecraft away from a failing Proton booster up to the point of second stage ignition. A Spacecraft Support Cone (OK) was mounted on the forward hatch of the Soyuz capsule to provide a point of attachment for the SAS. This was jettisoned before Block D ignition for translunar injection.
Korolev had originally designed the Soyuz A-B-V (7K-9K-11K) spacecraft for the circumlunar mission, using earth orbit rendezvous to assemble the spacecraft and its translunar injection stage. This began development in 1964, but instead Chelomei's LK-1 single-manned spacecraft was selected on 3 August 1964 for that mission. The LK-1 was to be placed on a translunar trajectory in a single launch of Chelomei's UR-500K rocket.
On 14 October 1964 Khrushchev was ousted from power, and Chelomei lost his patron. At the same time, at the end of 1964, Korolev reanimated his Soyuz project - not overtly the circumlunar version, but the 7K-OK orbital spacecraft. Korolev's stated purpose was for two of these spacecraft to demonstrate rendezvous and docking in earth orbit. But this was not exactly what he really intended.
On 25 October 1965, less than three months before his death, Korolev regained the project for manned circumlunar flight. He would use a derivative of the 7K-OK, the 7K-L1, in place of Chelomei's LK-1. This would still be launched by Chelomei's large UR-500K rocket, but with a Block D translunar injection stage taken from Korolev's N1. Originally Korolev considered that the 7K-L1, for either safety or mass reasons, could not be boosted directly by the UR-500K toward the moon. Therefore he envisioned launch of the unmanned 7K-L1 into low earth orbit, followed by launch and docking of a 7K-OK with the 7K-L1. The crew would then transfer to the L1, which would then be boosted toward the moon.
After the death of Korolev OKB-1 was taken over by Vasiliy Pavlovich Mishin. It was decided that the Soyuz 7K-L1 could be lightened enough to be launched toward the moon safely by the UR-500K/Block D combination without an additional ferry flight of the 7K-LOK. This became the final baseline for the mission.
The L-1 was officially developed according to the decrees of 3 August 1964 and 25 October 1965. It consisted of the 11S824 Block D rocket stage and the 11F91 7K-L1 spacecraft, and the Block L-1 SAS (launch escape system). The L1 had a total mass of 27.5 metric tons at ignition of the Block D stage, which occurred at suborbital velocity. The Block D burned for 160 seconds the first time, placing the complex into an earth parking orbit. At translunar injection, total mass was 18.2 metric tons.
The Block D was derived from the N1-L3 moon landing braking stage. The spherical liquid oxygen oxidizer tank was of titanium and was enclosed by thermal insulation blankets. The toroidal fuel tank was also of titanium. The 11D58 engine had a thrust of 8.5 metric tons and a specific impulse of 349 seconds. It was derived from the 8D726 rocket engine of the 8K713 GR-1 Global Rocket, which itself was derive from the S1.5400 Block L of the 8K78 Monlniya launch vehicle.
The 7K-L1 was a modified Soyuz 7K-OK. The forward living module was deleted, as was the reserve parachute (in order to add an exit hatch in the side of the re-entry capsule). Special on-board systems were added for interplanetary navigation. The SAS launch escape system, more powerful than that for the earth orbital version of Soyuz, could pull the spacecraft away from the failing booster up to the point of second stage ignition. A Spacecraft Support Cone (OK) was mounted on the forward hatch of the Soyuz capsule to provide a point of attachment for the SAS. This was jettisoned before Block D ignition.
In February 1967 the government approved an integrated L1/L3 project plans indicating a first manned L1 circumlunar mission as early as June 1967. First tests would use 7K-L1P prototypes. These had only a boilerplate descent module and were not capable of re-entry and recovery. These would be followed by unmanned circumlunar test flights. These had descent modules equipped with photography equipment, radiation measuring instruments, and biological specimens for return to earth. Only after the design was proven in two successive unmanned missions would a crew be risked.
On March 10 1967, Cosmos 146 was launched in the first flight test of hardware for the project. A Proton launched the Soyuz 7K-L1P into the planned highly elliptical earth orbit. The Block D stage functioned correctly in its first test, putting the spacecraft into a translunar trajectory. The spacecraft was not aimed at the moon and no recovery was planned or possible. This successful launch created a false confidence just before the string of failures that would follow. On April 8 Cosmos 154 reached earth orbit but 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 spacecraft burned up two days later when its orbit decayed.
As noted in the chronology that follows, the 7K-L1 never actually demonstrated that it could safely take a cosmonaut around the moon and return him to earth until August 1969, a month after the successful American Apollo 11 landing on the moon. By then any thoughts of a manned flight had been abandoned as too little and too late. The Soviet disinformation organs began disseminating the myth that the USSR had never been in the moon race at all. The project was cancelled in 1970.
Crew Size: 2. Orbital Storage: 7.00 days. Habitable Volume: 4.00 m3. Spacecraft delta v: 200 m/s (650 ft/sec). Electric System: 0.80 average kW.
Official drawings of the unmanned early L1 version (without forward SOK, loaded with instruments in capsule, old-fashioned rumpled Soyuz-type solar panels) and the later L1 version (SOK consists of SAS electronics on light lattice structure, rigid solar panels first seen in Soyuz ASTP).
|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 instrument module|
The service module of the Soyuz 7K-L1 / Zond manned circumlunar spacecraft.
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
The lunar LOK engine installation. The single main engine is flanked by four canted nozzles for yaw/pitch control.
Credit: © Mark Wade
|L1 instrument module|
Close-up of the service module of the Soyuz 7K-L1 / Zond manned circumlunar spacecraft.
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
|Proton w/ LK|
Proton 8K82K Block D launch vehicle with Soyuz 7K-L1 manned circumlunar spacecraft.
|L1 lunar craft|
L1 lunar craft in assembly. Note the very extensive equipment boxes above the capsule, and the clear hatch providing entry into the side of the capsule. Is this a 'podsadka' L1?
Credit: RKK Energia
Concept of L1 Podsadka, using Soyuz Igla docking system for crew transfer to hatch in side of L1 capsule.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Cross section of L1 spacecraft with Block D stage - after a portrayal in an official RKK History.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Comparison of L1 drawings, the first displayed in the Kaluga Museum, the second from the RKK Energia history. Differences are notable in the forward SOK, solar panels, external sensors on the PAO.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Concept of L1 Podsadka, after the concept of Vick for a curved inflatable airlock and free-space crew transfer.
Credit: © Mark Wade
L1 manned circumlunar spacecraft, consisting of 11S824 Block D translunar injection stage and Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: Manufacturer Image
Credit: Manufacturer Image
Credit: Manufacturer Image
Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: © Mark Wade
|Zond rounding Moon|
Credit: © Mark Wade
Kamanin calls Korolev, finds he is suffering from very low blood pressure (100/60). Kamanin suggests that candidates for the commander position in the first two Soyuz missions would be Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky, or Komarov. Korolev agrees basically, but says that he sees Bykovsky and Nikolayev as candidates for the first manned lunar flyby shots. Kamanin suggests Artyukhin and Demin for the engineer-cosmonaut role on the first Soyuz flights, but Korolev disagrees, saying Feoktistov has to be aboard. However Korolev agrees with Kamanin's selection for the next Voskhod flight - Volynov/Katys as prime crew, Beregovoi/Demin as backups. Later Kamanin corresponds with Stroev over modification of an Mi-4 helicopter as a lunar lander simulator.
Kamanin meets with Korolev at 15:00 to discuss crew plans. As Soyuz pilot candidates, Kamanin proposes Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky, Komarov, Kolodin, Artyukhin, and Matinchenko. Korolev counters by proposing supplemental training of a supplemental group of engineer-cosmonauts from the ranks of OKB-1. He calls Anokhin, his lead test pilot, informs Korolev that there are 100 engineers working at the bureau that are potential cosmonauts candidates, of which perhaps 25 would complete the selection process. Kamanin agrees to assist OKB-1 in flight training of these engineer-cosmonauts. Kamanin again proposes Volynov and Katys as prime crew for the Voskhod 3 12-15 day flight. Korolev reveals that, even though Kamanin will have the crew ready by October, the spacecraft for the flight may not yet even be ready by November - Kamanin thinks January 1966 is more realistic. The discussion turns to the female EVA flight - Ponomaryova as pilot, Solovyova as spacewalker. It is decided that a group of 6 to 8 cosmonauts will begin dedicated training in September for lunar flyby and landing missions. Korolev advises Kamanin that metal fabrication of the N1 superbooster first article will be completed by the end of 1965. The booster will have a payload to low earth orbit of 90 tonnes, and later versions with uprated engines will reach 130 tonnes payload. Korolev foresees the payload for the first N1 tests being a handful of Soyuz spacecraft.
Korolev conceived of podsadka over a month before before the UR-500K-L1 was authorized.Initial calculations by OKB-1 showed that the developmental L1 would have a dry mass of 4641 kg, or 4847 kg after delivery of cosmonauts via podsadka. On the other hand, Kolyako in Division 2 estimated the translunar payload of the Block D as ~ 5000 kg in the single launch scenario, or ~ 5300 kg in the podsadka scenario.
Korolev made the decision on 16 Sept 1965 that the L1 would be a single-design spacecraft, capable of being used in either the direct flight or podsadka schemes. At some point thereafter, it seems the version for podsadka was designated L1s (perhaps for L1 stykoviy, L1-docking). (Mishin Diaries 1-178)
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Concentration of Forces of Industrial Design Organisations for the Creation of Rocket-Space Complex Means for Circling the Moon--work on the UR-500K-L1 program' was issued. As a result of a presentation to the Military Industrial Commission, Afanasyev backed Korolev in wresting control of the manned circumlunar project from Chelomei. The Chelomei LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft was cancelled. In its place, Korolev would use a derivative of the Soyuz 7K-OK, the 7K-L1, launched by Chelomei's UR-500K, but with a Block D translunar injection stage from the N1. He envisioned launch of the unmanned 7K-L1 into low earth orbit, followed by launch and docking of a 7K-OK with the 7K-L1. The crew would then transfer to the L1, which would then be boosted toward the moon. This was the original reason for the development of the 7K-OK.
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 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.
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.
Decree 'On renaming OKB-1 as TsKBEM and OKB-52 as TsKBM' was issued. In 1966 Afanasyev reorganised the military industrial complex. OKB-1 was redesignated TsKBEM. Sergei Osipovich Opakhin was made First Deputy within the new organization.
However within TsKBEM there were no relative priorities for the projects competing for resources. The R-9 and RT-2 ICBM's, the orbital, circumlunar, and lunar orbiter versions of Soyuz, the LK lunar lander, the N1 booster -- all were 'equal'. It seemed folly to be pursuing the orbital ferry version of the Soyuz when no space station had to be funded. But it was felt flying the spacecraft would solve reliability questions about the design, so it was pursued in parallel with the L1 and L3 versions.
Acting director Mishin held a brainstorming session with this top managers to address "...our inconsistent lunar program". He noted then-current contradictory approaches: 1. Return to a two-launch scheme (podsadka, as baseline); 2. Keep with direct landing; 3. Use a Block D with storable propellants; 4. Use the 7K-OK as the designated return spacecraft. He noted that the L1 program was a diversion for the bureau to the core objective of landing a cosmonaut on the moon (the L3 program). Among the advantages of continuing with the L1, he noted that it "Utilizes the 7K-OK" - evidently there was no purpose for the spacecraft beyond the L1 mission in the podsadka scenario. He asks for frank opinions from his managers. V Rauschenbach noted that they "..have to do the L-1 … and therefore we will have to use a 2-launch scheme based on the L1-S". BE Chertok: discussed the rendezvous and docking systems for the various spacecraft: L1-S - "Igla"; LOK - "Kontakt" (since "Igla" cannot be used on the LOK (due to mass considerations); or a new system for the LOK. (Mishin Diaries 1-226) Here we have an indication that the L1 podsadka version did use the Igla system, which makes complete sense, since the Soyuz 7K-OK missions conducted dress rehearsals for podsadka using this system to rendezvous and dock two 7K-OK spacecraft in earth orbit.
Ministry of Defense directive laid out the production rate for both the L1, Block D, and 7K-OK for the podsadka program. Ministry of Defense directive (Mishin Diaries 1-234) laid out the production rate for both the L1, Block D, and 7K-OK for the podsadka program:
7K-L1: one unit per month beginning 15 Sept 66
7K-OK for podsadka delivery of crews to L1: 1 unit per month beginning Oct 66
Block D deliveries: 1 unit 15 Sept; 1 unit 15 Oct; 1 further unit in October; and 1 unit per month thereafter.(Mishin Diaries 1-234)
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.
A VPK Military-Industrial Commission resolution on the L1 program plan was issued and included the total accelerated program for build of 14 L1 and 6 7K-OK podsadka spacecraft. The schedule:
1 unit 3rd quarter 66
4 units 4th quarter 66
3 units 1st quarter 67
3 units 2nd quarter 67
3 units 3rd quarter 67
7K-OK for delivery of crews to L1:
3 units 4th quarter 66
3 units 1st quarter 67. (Mishin Diaries 1-234)
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.
No 1 - August - Proton-2 (this may refer to the Proton / Block D full-mass mockup that was tested in October 1966 but then abandoned for safety reasons).
2-4: Flyby of the moon with the unpiloted version:
No 2 - October
No 3 - November
No 4 - December
No 5 - No 9: 7K-L1 flyby of the moon at intervals of one month with crew delivery by 7K-OK
No 10 - No 14: Direct flyby of the moon at one month intervals.
This indicates that podsadka was the baseline approach for early missions, for both safety and launch mass considerations. Only the last five missions would be direct flights. It was probably anticipated that by then the Proton booster would be reliable enough and that improvements to the Block D and the weight reduction on the L1 would make the single-launch approach feasible. (Mishin Diaries 1-266)
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.
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.
As a result of the review two days earlier (Mishin Diaries 1-266), a revised L1 flight schedule is released. No 1P - For 1M1 (N1 functional mockup) - 15 September
No 2P - 15 October & No 3P - October: Orbital flights with 2x (indecipherable) (1P, 2P and 3P were prototype L1's without heat shields and recovery possibilities).
Number 4 and 5: 2 units:Direct unpiloted flight with return to earth (November-December)
Numbers 6 to 10: 5 units: Flyby of the moon; 7K-L1 with crew transfer from 7K-OK (January to May 1967)
Numbers 11 to 14 (15): 4 units: Direct flyby of the moon by 7K-L1 (June-September) - launches every 1 to 1.5 months until completion (Mishin Diaries 1-266)
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 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....
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....
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'.
Volkov, Grechko and Kubasov believe they can complete cosmonaut training in two months. Of course they know space technology, but Kamanin informs them that, with intensive training, they might be ready in one or two years. Popovich is assigned as leader of the Soyuz VI military spacecraft training group, and Belyayev as head of the Almaz military orbital station training group. Kaminin tells Severin to complete spaceuits for Khrunov and Gorbatko, but to ignore Mishin's orders to prepare suits for Anokhin and Yeliseyev. Anokhin has already been rejected due to his age and health, and Yeliseyev is still being tested. Kamanin reviews draft test programs for the UR-500K/L1 and N1-L3. He lines out statements inserted by Pravetskiy on joint training of cosmonauts by the MOM, Ministry of Public Health and VVS.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Soviet of Chief Designers met with the Civil Chief Designer UR500K-L1 and recommended that podsadka be dropped and direct flight become the baseline. This was evidently to make possible the objective of a Soviet man around the moon before 4 October 1967. The reasons given were:
a) The successful flights of the UR-500K and Block D on the L1 2P and 3P and the further 4 separate UR-500 launches provided confidence in the launch vehicle's reliability.
b) The main delays with L1 development will be in relation to development by BTsVM of the Argon-11 digital computer for its control system.
c) The failure of 7K-OK number 4 (Soyuz 1) indicated a delay in development of docking in earth orbit.
It was recommended that the 7K-L1 launch sequence be revised to two missions per month as follows:
- 4L - "Zond" unmanned 17 - 29 June 1966
- 5L - unmanned, circumlunar, 27 June - 5 July
- 6L - "Zond", unmanned, 12 - 17 July
- 7L - unmanned, circumlunar, 25 July - 3 August
Followed by manned launches according to astronomical constraints (which would mean 23 August, 21 September, 19 October). (Mishin Diaries 2-22)
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 Diaries 2-2)..
VII VIII IX X XI XII
7K-OK 2 2 2 2 -
7K-L1 1 1 2 1 1 -
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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....
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....
Mishin meeting with his guidance expert, NA Pilyugin, to consider the possibility of 2 launch schemes: with Ye-8 and without Ye-8 OV. All possibilities to improve the accuracy of the landing without the Ye-8 were to be examined. The first N1 missions would rehearse the two-launch scenario, with the Ye-8 being launched by a UR-500K and an L3S (orbital version of the L1S) standing in for the LOK (no LK being available yet).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.