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Soyuz 7KT-OK
Part of Soyuz Family
Soyuz 7K-OKS
Soyuz 7K-OKS
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian manned spacecraft. This was a modification of Soyuz 7K-OK with a lightweight docking system and a crew transfer tunnel.

AKA: 7K-OKS. Status: Operational 1971. First Launch: 1971-04-22. Last Launch: 1971-06-06. Number: 2 . Thrust: 4.09 kN (919 lbf). Gross mass: 6,790 kg (14,960 lb). Unfuelled mass: 6,290 kg (13,860 lb). Specific impulse: 282 s. Height: 7.94 m (26.04 ft). Span: 9.80 m (32.10 ft).

This was evidently derived from work done by Kozlov for the Soyuz 7K-TK ferry craft. It flew only twice. The Soyuz 10 mission could not dock with the Salyut 1 station despite several attempts. Soyuz 11 was successful until return to earth. A valve between the descent and orbital modules jarred open when the OM separated. The DM cabin atmosphere vented into space, killing the three man crew, who flew without spacesuits. After this the Soyuz underwent a complete safety redesign to the Soyuz 7K-T configuration.

Crew Size: 3. Orbital Storage: 35 days. Habitable Volume: 9.00 m3. Spacecraft delta v: 210 m/s (680 ft/sec). Electric System: 0.50 average kW.

Family: Manned spacecraft, Space station orbit. Country: Russia. Engines: KTDU-35. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OKS SA, Soyuz 7K-OKS BO, Soyuz 7K-OKS PAO. Flights: Soyuz 10, Soyuz 11. Launch Vehicles: R-7, Soyuz 11A511. Propellants: Nitric acid/Hydrazine. Projects: Salyut. Launch Sites: Baikonur, Baikonur LC1. Agency: Korolev bureau, MOM. More at: 6905, 13133. Bibliography: 181, 185, 186, 187, 188, 2, 21, 283, 32, 33, 344, 36, 367, 376, 6, 60.

Photo Gallery

Soyuz ShroudsSoyuz Shrouds
Comparison of payload shroud and launch escape system development over the life of the Soyuz/Salyut/Mir program.
Credit: © Mark Wade

Soyuz 7K-OKSSoyuz 7K-OKS
Credit: © Mark Wade

Panel Soyuz 7K-OKPanel Soyuz 7K-OK
Control panel of the initial earth orbit version of Soyuz.
Credit: © Mark Wade

Soyuz escape rocketSoyuz escape rocket
Soyuz launch escape system
Credit: © Mark Wade

Soyuz 10Soyuz 10
Credit: Manufacturer Image

1967 September 11 - .
  • Kamanin reviews military space plans for the period 1968-1975. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Almaz. Spacecraft: Almaz OPS, Soyuz 7KT-OK, Soyuz VI, Spiral OS. The first military combat space units are to be formed - for operations with the 7K-VI and Almaz spacecraft, together with subsidiary Soyuz transport and training flights..

1967 September 13 - .
  • Kamanin continues work on the 8-year plan for military space. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Almaz. Spacecraft: Almaz OPS, Soyuz 7KT-OK, Soyuz VI, Spiral OS.

    The general staff's space plans are impressive - in 1968-1975 they foresee no less than 20 Almaz space stations, 50 military 7K-VI missions, 200 Soyuz training spacecraft flights and 400 Soyuz space transport flights. This is based on the assumption that the crew of the military space stations will have to be rotated every 15 days. That will require 48 transport spacecraft per year, implying not less than 30 ready crews with 3 cosmonauts in each crew (this in turn implies each each cosmonaut will fly a space mission 1.5 times per year). Since supplies will have to be delivered to the stations, that will require another 200 additional transport spacecraft launches. And all of this is aside from civilian Soyuz flights, L1, L3, and various other civilian spacecraft - implying a total of 1000 launches in the period. This will require 800 Soyuz-class launch vehicles, 100 Protons, and 10 to 12 N1 boosters. The inevitable conclusion for Kamanin is that most of the transport launches should be made by a reusable winged spacecraft, air-launched from an An-22 heavy transport. This is the goal of the Spiral project. By 1975 Kamanin sees a requirement for 400 active cosmonauts, organised in two to three aerospace brigades, supported by10 aviation regiments, and including the TsPK training centre -- altogether 20,000 to 25,000 men. 250 million roubles will be needed to build new aerodromes and facilities alone, all chargeable to the VVS. Total cost will run into tens of billions of roubles per year.

1969 December 6 - .
  • The DOS Conspiracy in the open - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei, Chelomei, Kuznetsov, Viktor, Mishin, Pilyugin, Ryazanskiy, Ustinov. Program: Almaz, Salyut. Spacecraft: Almaz OPS, Salyut 1, Soyuz 7K-S, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    Afanasyev met with the Chief Designers - Pilyugin, Ryazanskiy, V Kuznetsov, and Chelomei's Deputy, Eydis. Mishin was 'sick' and Chelomei had sent his deputy, as usual, to avoid having to meet Mishin. Afanasyev started with the demand that an Almaz flight take place within less than two years, before the end of the Eighth Five Year Plan. He asked Eydis to install an Igla passive docking system to permit docking with the station of the existing Soyuz 7K-OK as opposed to the planned 7K-S. If Chelomei's bureau could not meet this requirement, then the 'conspirator's' DOS project could be authorised in its place. Additional Details: here....

1970 February 18 - .
  • Kamanin opposes DOS - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Belyayev, Kozlov, Mishin, Smirnov, Ustinov. Program: Soyuz, Salyut, Almaz. Flight: Soyuz 10, Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Almaz OPS, Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK, Soyuz OB-VI, Soyuz VI.

    Kamanin recommends the death benefit to be awarded to Belyayev's family. There is to be a one-time payment of 2,000 roubles to his wife; 1,100 roubles to his daughter; 180 roubles/month pension to the wife; 75 roubles/month to the daughter; access to cosmonaut centre sanatoriums; and a seven-room apartment in Moscow.

    Kamanin also reviews the government decree on the DOS-7K space station program. The Ministry of Defence is against it - they want to continue with the Almaz and Soyuz VI projects already underway. DOS will bring both of these to a halt. This is a repeat of the situation in 1967. Kozlov was making good progress on the original Soyuz VI, when it was killed by Mishin. Now three years later Mishin's Soyuz VI is put on the back burner. The Soyuz 7K-OK is still the only manned program brought to completion. Kamanin blames all this on Ustinov and Smirnov's stupid political manoeuvring. The DOS decree has not one word on the training of cosmonauts for these space station missions...

1970 July 29 - .
  • DOS plans laid out at Monino Space Conference. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    The Fourth Military-Scientific VVS Space Conference at Monino. The VPK has finally approved completion of space stations DOS #1 and #2. They are designed to support 70 to 80 days of inhabited flight. They will be launched by a Proton UR-500K, then followed 8-10 days later by a Soyuz 7KS launched by an R-7. After thirty days aboard the station, the first crew will return. A few days later a second crew will be launched to man the station. The 7KS version of the Soyuz will have an internal hatch for transfer of the crew from the spacecraft to the station. There will be no solo Soyuz flight to test the crew's response to a 30-day mission before the first DOS flight. DOS#1 is scheduled for launch in February 1971, to coincide with the 24th Meeting of the Communist Party of the USSR. Kamanin knows it actually can't be any earlier than May 1971, but nevertheless the cosmonauts are required to train so that they will be ready by 1 February.

1971 January 27 - .
  • DOS training conflicts. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Beregovoi, Leonov, Mishin, Shatalov. Program: Salyut. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    Beregovoi, Leonov, and Shatalov go to TsKBEM to review the training plan for the DOS-7K station at the KIS (Experimental Control Station) facility. Mishin wants the crew of Soyuz s/n 32 to be working aboard the 'live' spacecraft on 3-4 February, but they need to be at the cosmodrome on those dates for training on the Svinets ICBM detector experiment. This conflicts with Mishin's schedule for availability of a 'live' Soyuz for training. Mishin still wants, completely unrealistically, to launch on the day of the 24th Party Conference.

1971 March 3 - .
  • Soviet of Chief Designers. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Glushko, Mishin. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 10, Soyuz 11, Soyuz 12 / DOS 1. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    DOS-7K #1 completed its factory testing on 3 March. Checkout at Baikonur is to be completed by 9 April, and launch is scheduled for 15 April. The first crew to the station will be launched aboard a Soyuz on 18-20 April. Remaining items to be cleared:

    • Vibration qualification test of the station test article are not complete. They will only begin on 5 March and will take two months using 3-shift work. Mishin wants the preliminary results on 20 March.
    • Four complete Igla systems are required. Five have been completed and are working satisfactorily.
    • The expiration date on the parachute installed in the Soyuz 10 capsule is 15 April. It will have to be repacked before the flight.
    • There were numerous failures in the first phase of environmental control system qualification tests. They have to be repaired before the second phase can even be started.
    • Mishin wants the first crew to stay on the station for 30 days, the second crew 45 days. Glushko and the doctors say this is a grave risk.

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

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

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

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

1971 April 22 - . 23:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511.
  • Soyuz 10 - . Call Sign: Granit (Granite ). Crew: Rukavishnikov, Shatalov, Yeliseyev. Backup Crew: Kolodin, Kubasov, Leonov. Support Crew: Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, Volkov. Payload: Soyuz 7K-OKS s/n 31. Mass: 6,800 kg (14,900 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Kolodin, Kubasov, Leonov, Patsayev, Rukavishnikov, Shatalov, Volkov, Yeliseyev. Agency: MOM. Program: Salyut. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Soyuz 10. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7KT-OK. Duration: 1.99 days. Decay Date: 1971-04-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 5172 . COSPAR: 1971-034A. Apogee: 258 km (160 mi). Perigee: 209 km (129 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 89.10 min.

    Intended first space station mission; soft docked with Salyut 1. Launch nearly scrubbed due to poor weather. Soyuz 10 approached to 180 m from Salyut 1 automatically. It was hand docked after faillure of the automatic system, but hard docking could not be achieved because of the angle of approach. Post-flight analysis indicated that the cosmonauts had no instrument to proivde the angle and range rate data necessary for a successful manual docking. Soyuz 10 was connected to the station for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the lack of hard dock, it is said that the crew were unable to enter the station due to a faulty hatch on their own spacecraft. When Shatalov tried to undock from the Salyut, the jammed hatch impeded the docking mechanism, preventing undocking. After several attempts he was unable to undock and land.

1971 April 24 - .
  • Landing of Soyuz 10 - . Return Crew: Rukavishnikov, Shatalov, Yeliseyev. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chertok, Mishin, Rukavishnikov, Shatalov, Yeliseyev. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 10. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    Only a night landing on Soviet territory was possible, which meant the spacecraft could not be oriented for retrofire. The landing commission started planning for an emergency landing in South America, Africa, or Australia. But Shatalov reported the gyroscopes and orientation sensors were functioning well. He proposed that he orient on the dayside, spin up the gyro platform, and let the gyros orient the spacecraft on the nightside for retrofire. The plan is followed and the spacecraft was targeted for a landing area 80-100 km southwest of Karaganda.

    PVO radars pick up the capsule as it soars over the Caspian Sea, and a Mi-4 helicopter sights the parachute even before it thumps down, upright, on the steppes. During the landing, the Soyuz air supply became toxic, and Rukavishnikov was overcome and became unconscious. Nevertheless the crew safely landed at 23:40 GMT, 120 km NW of Karaganda. At the cosmodrome, Chertok is assigned to head a special commission to find the cause of the docking failure and correct it before the next mission can be launched. The VVS aircraft leaves at 07:00 for Moscow. Mishin was to accompany the VPK on their aircraft back, but he is drunk and has to go separately at 15:00. The Soyuz 10 crew reaches Chkalovsky Air Base at 14:00 on 26 April and proceed to Star City for further debriefings. Film and photos indicated that the docking system on the Salyut was not damaged, setting the stage for the Soyuz 11 mission.

1971 May 3 - .
  • EVA to Salyut discussed. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Mishin, Rukavishnikov, Shatalov, Yeliseyev. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 10, Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    The Soyuz 10 crew receive awards at the Kremlin. Rukavishnikov is made a Hero of the Soviet Union, which means he will receive 5,000 roubles, a Volga automobile, and other privileges. Kamanin calls Mishin later in the day. Mishin wants to send up a two-man crew in Soyuz 11, in space suits. One of them will make a spacewalk to examine the docking collar on the Salyut station prior to docking and remove the cover from the scientific sensor bay. Kamanin is infuriated. Seven to eight months ago the VVS had asked Mishin about the possibility of carrying at least one spacesuit aboard the Soyuz or Salyut and the possibility of making an EVA. He categorically rejected the idea. At that time he said it was practically impossible. There are insufficient oxygen reserves aboard the station for a full depressurisation. It would reduce the oxygen to a 75-day supply, and 45 to 50 days worth of reserves are required by mission rules. A cosmonaut meeting is called to discuss the matter. This reveals that DOS#2 is planned to have spacesuits and all of the equipment necessary for an EVA. But an EVA on Soyuz 11 is not possible. There EVA equipment and have not been manufactured. Two to three months would be required to fabricate the suits and equipment and to train for the EVA. Salyut 1 can only last 60 to 70 days. A Soyuz 12 mission in the first part of June could not be ready for an EVA. All in all it would be better to incorporate the EVA hardware into the first mission to a new DOS#2 station.

1971 May 4 - .
  • Soyuz 11 EVA pushed. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Mishin, Rukavishnikov, Shatalov, Yeliseyev. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 10, Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    At 10:00 the Soyuz 10 crew has the traditional post-flight meeting with the Central Committee, followed by speeches at 15:00 before the workers and engineers at TsKBEM. The truth about the flight is not revealed. Mishin is still pushing for an EVA on Soyuz 11; Kamanin tells him the idea is absurd. Kamanin fumes that Mishin still hasn't reliable solved the problem of automated space docking, on which he began work in 1962.

1971 May 8 - .
  • Soyuz 11 / Soyuz 12 plans. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Mishin. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 10, Soyuz 11, Soyuz 12 / DOS 1. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    Frolov reports to Kamanin on a meeting of the general designers. Mishin has planned the Soyuz 11 launch for June, to be followed by Soyuz 12 in July. The reworked docking mechanism will be ready for installation on Soyuz 11 by 18 May. Mishin recommends a full automated docking for the next mission.

1971 May 10 - .
  • Cause of Soyuz 10's failure to dock. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chertok. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 10, Soyuz 11. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    A sunny day in Moscow. Chertok's investigative commission has found that the likely cause of Soyuz 10's failure to dock was a dented sleeve on the active part of the docking mechanism. In repeated tests the sleeve bent at 130 kg force 60% of the time. The real force of docking was estimated at 160 to 200 kg. Therefore for Soyuz 11 and subsequent models the sleeve will be reinforced by a factor of two. The crew will also be given the capability of steering the docking probe and of operating the orientation engine to improve the chances of docking when difficulties do occur.

1971 May 12 - .
  • VPK Meeting on Soyuz 11/12. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Kutakhov, Mishin, Smirnov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11, Soyuz 12 / DOS 1. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    Mishin guarantees to Smirnov that Soyuz 11 will be able to dock to Salyut 1. He also promises thirty-day missions for both Soyuz 11 and Soyuz 12. But there is a problem with this last promise -- Soyuz 12 won't launch until 15-18 July, which will be after the guaranteed life of the Salyut 1 station. Kamanin protests the decision. Smirnov points out that they must fulfil the resolutions of the Communist Party without question. But he reassures Kamanin that they will take everything one step at a time, keeping the safety of the crew in mind. Kutakhov also does not support the decision, but orders must be followed.

1971 May 14 - .
  • Soyuz 11 launch considerations argued. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Feoktistov, Mishin, Ustinov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    The crews are continuing training for Soyuz 11. Mishin expects launch on 6 June. He is not opposed to limiting the flight duration to 25 days, necessary in order to make a landing in daytime at the end of the mission. Kamanin doesn't trust this change of heart - he asks the VVS ballistics section to confirm Mishin's calculations. Feoktistov visits Kamanin. He wants to be on the fourth crew to fly to DOS#2. VVS ballistics calls back. A launch as late as 11-12 June would still allow a daytime landing after 25 days. However from day 6 to 24 of the flight retrofire would be on the night side, and could only be accomplished using the technique of Soyuz 10 - aligning the spacecraft on the day side, spinning up the gyro platform, and using the gyros for night-side orientation during retrofire. At a meeting of the Central Committee, Kamanin fights with Ustinov for the safety of the crew. After a three-hour debate the majority of those present are still worried about the reliability of the docking system. But nevertheless the decision is made to proceed with Soyuz 11.

1971 May 21 - .
  • Soyuz 11 crews arrive at Tyuratam. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11, Soyuz 12 / DOS 1. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    The Salyut crews arrive at Tyuratam and see the new reinforced docking system for the first time. Then they go to Area 2 to prepare their flight plans. Aferwards they train from 20:00 to 24:00 aboard Soyuz 11. But due to the parallel work on revising the Igla system, the systems are not all updated yet. The cosmonauts have no confidence in the new system, and can only say they 'probably' have a better chance of success in docking than before.

1971 June 1 - .
1971 June 2 - .
  • Contingency planning for Soyuz 11. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Kolodin, Leonov, Patsayev, Rukavishnikov, Volkov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11, Soyuz 12 / DOS 1. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    From 09:00 to 13:00 the Soyuz 11 cosmonauts and engineers discuss the best approaches for docking, contingency plans, and so on. A concrete solution is provided for every possible problem they might encounter aboard the station - bad air, water contaminated, stuck exit hatch, and so on.

1971 June 6 - . 04:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511.
  • Soyuz 11 - . Call Sign: Yantar (Amber ). Crew: Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, Volkov. Backup Crew: Kolodin, Kubasov, Leonov. Payload: Soyuz 7K-OKS s/n 32. Mass: 6,790 kg (14,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Kolodin, Kubasov, Leonov, Patsayev, Volkov. Agency: MOM. Program: Salyut. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7KT-OK. Duration: 23.77 days. Decay Date: 1971-06-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 5283 . COSPAR: 1971-053A. Apogee: 237 km (147 mi). Perigee: 163 km (101 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 88.40 min.

    First space station flight, two years before the American Skylab. The Soyuz 11 launch proceeds without any difficulties. The first orbital correction in the set of rendezvous manoeuvres to head for Salyut 1 is made on the fourth revolution. At 15:00 Kamanin and other critical staff board a plane for the mission control centre at Yevpatoriya. The aircraft takes 4 hours 30 minutes to get there.

    Equipment aboard Salyut 1 included a telescope, spectrometer, electrophotometer, and television. The crew checked improved on-board spacecraft systems in different conditions of flight and conducted medico-biological research. The main instrument, a large solar telescope, was inoperative because its cover failed to jettison. A small fire and difficult working conditions will lead to a decision to return crew before planned full duration of 30 days.

1971 June 7 - .
  • Soyuz 11 docks with Salyut 1. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, Volkov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    A joint meeting of the Soyuz 11 State Commission and Soviet of Chief Designers takes place at Yevpaptoriya at 07:00. Aboard Soyuz 11, the Igla automatic rendezvous and docking system is switched on when the spacecrafft is 7 km from Salyut 1. There is no manual intervention in the process; Dobrovolsky simply makes reports to the ground of the rendezvous and docking system's progress. Docking itself takes place out of tracking range. There is considerable suspense in mission control during the 90-minute wait until reacquisition. Before leaving radio contact, telemetry showed a signal that the docking mechanism had depressurised, which would have prevented the cosmonauts from opening the hatch and entering the space station. But when the station comes back in view, it turns out that all went normally and the crew has already entered the station. Patsayev entered first, turned on the air regenerator, and replaced two failed fans. The crew report that the station atmosphere is unpleasant, with a strong burned smell. It will take 20 hours for all of the air in the station to cycle through the ECS scrubbers, so the crew is told to spend the first night aboard their Soyuz.

1971 June 8 - .
  • Soyuz 11 powered down and crew begins long-duration mission aboard Salyut 1. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, Volkov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    When the crew awakes, the station air is all right, and all eight fans and filters of the ECS are operating. Soyuz 11 is powered down and put in storage mode. The crew begins the DOS work program. But they have not yet put on their Penguin training suits and are not yet following the exercise program. Clearly, they are not taking the necessary steps to adapt to zero-G and preserve their health for their return. They take control of the station for the first time, making an orbital correction manoeuvre, and then orienting the station and its solar panels fully toward the sun. The world press is full of the great news of a new Soviet victory - the first station in space.

1971 June 16 - .
  • Soyuz 11 Day 11 - fire aboard the station. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Bykovsky, Chelomei, Dobrovolsky, Khrunov, Mishin, Nikolayev, Patsayev, Popovich, Sevastyanov, Shatalov, Volkov, Volynov. Program: Salyut, Almaz. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Almaz OPS, Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK, Soyuz OB-VI, Soyuz VI.

    Kamanin is to fly back to Yevpatoriya in the afternoon. Chelomei is often ill lately -- Mishin is using the opportunity to lobby Ustinov and Smirnov to kill Almaz, and increase the DOS-7K order from four to ten. Mishin killed Kozlov's Soyuz VI in a similar manner. Prior to his departure, the cosmonauts brief Kamanin on the results of the visits of Popovich and Sevastyanov to France, and Khrunov to the USA. Kamanin is having trouble with the leadership in allowing Volynov to be assigned to another crew.

    As Kamanin is on the way to the airport, a serious situation develops aboard the station. At 13:00 the cosmonauts report a strong burning smell, and smoke in the station. The crew evacuates the station and retreat to the Soyuz lifeboat. Forty minutes later, just as Kamanin is boarding the Tu-104, Shatalov reports that the mission will continue, but the situation aboard the station is not comfortable. The crew has turned off the primary oxygen regenerator and exchanged the filters of the oxygen supply and reserve regenerator. At 14:05 Kamanin finally boards the aircraft, which takes off and sets course for the Crimea. At 14:30 they are ordered to turn around and land at Chkalovksy Airfield outside Moscow. The whole thing turns out to be a banal mistake by one of the officers at an air traffic control station! They lose two hours in the process. No information is available when the Tu-104 finally lands at Saki, since Nikolayev and the other cosmonauts who attended the emergency meetings had taken off to return to Moscow three hours earlier. Kamanin finally arrives at Yevpatoriya at 23:00, in time for a comms session with Dobrovolsky and Patsayev (Volkov is sleeping). The Soyuz 11 crew reports that the training suits are very tiring. Dobrovolsky reports all is now normal otherwise. He requests permission to continue the flight. Bykovsky reports that the situation on the station is now stable. There is no more smoke or burning smell, but the crew has been overloaded in the last six hours. They have done a lot of work with no food or rest. The situation was so bad at one point that preparations had been made for undocking the Soyuz for an emergency return to earth.

1971 June 25 - .
  • Soyuz 11 Day 20 - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, Volkov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    The crew sets a new world endurance record in space. Overnight they conduct another successful Svinets experiment, this time observing the launch of a solid propellant missile. The crew seems alert and in good shape. The Landing Commission confirms landing for 30 June, but now 200 to 250 km south-west of Karaganda. The medical teams will be prepared for all possible situations. There are bitter arguments within the commission as to the current and likely condition of the crew.

1971 June 26 - .
  • Soyuz 11 Day 21 - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, Volkov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    The crew has completed all scientific and technical experiments aboard the Salyut station. They will spend the last two to three days concentrating on physical training, medical observations, and preparation for landing. They will turn off all station equipment not required for autonomous flight, prepare the Soyuz for landing, and measure the water and consumable reserves available for the next crew. The experiments have produced many film cartridges, experiment samples, and so on that should be returned to earth. However there is not enough space or mass reserves in the Soyuz capsule for them all so they are only to return those specifically listed by ground control.

1971 June 27 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Soyuz 11 Day 22 - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Isayev, Keldysh, Mishin, Patsayev, Smirnov, Ustinov, Volkov. Program: Salyut, Lunar L3. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    The shocking news of rocket engine designer Isayev's premature death is received at the Soyuz 11 control point at Yevpatoriya. This is followed by the news that the third N1 failed 57 seconds into its flight. A total of 13 N1's were built, and all three launched so far have exploded. Kamanin agreed to cancellation of the entire project three years ago, but Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Mishin continued in their grandiose charade, wasting billions of roubles in the process. Meanwhile on the 22nd day of Soyuz 11's flight, the crew is up and about. Volkov is especially active, which should improve his readaptation when he returns to earth.

1971 June 28 - .
  • Soyuz 11 Day 23 - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Dobrovolsky, Karas, Keldysh, Mishin, Patsayev, Volkov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    The cosmonauts have to be extremely careful in putting Salyut in storage mode. They go through the checklist together with the ground to make sure no errors are made. The Salyut station is much more comfortable than the Soyuz, but the mission has revealed it needs many improvements, including: a unit for ejecting liquids from the station; solar panels, and scientific instruments, that can be automatically pointed at the sun or their target and stabilised; an improved control section; better crew rest provisions. Only with such improvements will it be possible to make flights of two months or longer. And such flights will take ten years to work up to, not by the end of the year, as Mishin claims. Kamanin thinks it will be possible to prolong flights to 40 to 60 days in 1972, but that this will then be a long-standing record. Any longer would be equivalent to running 100 km but then collapsing and dying - the Soviet Union doesn't need those kind of records!

    The bigwigs arrive from Moscow to be in on the landing. But Afanasyev, Keldysh, Mishin, and Karas all remain at the cosmodrome for the investigation into the N1 failure.

1971 June 29 - .
  • Soyuz 11 day 24 - final preparations for landing. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Mishin, Patsayev, Volkov, Yeliseyev. Program: Salyut, Lunar L3. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Salyut 1, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    Big dramas are being played out at the cosmodrome over the N1 failure, but Mishin seems protected by someone very high up and is untouchable in the blame game. This is the last full day aloft of the Soyuz 11 crew. At 19:30 the State Commission at the command point authorises the Soyuz 11 crew to undock from the Salyut space station. A communications session begins on the 15th orbit of the day at 19:45. Dobrovolsky and Volkov confirmed that the station was completely mothballed, all material to be returned was stowed in the Soyuz capsule, the crew was wearing their anti-G suits, and had completed shut-down of the station. Yeliseyev advised the crew that ground telemetry showed that they had not turned on the noxious gas filters in the station. Volkov argues that this must be a ground control error, but after checking admits the crew made a mistake.

    After the crew has left the station, taken their seats in the capsule, and closed the hatch between the Soyuz BO orbital module and SA re-entry capsule, the strained voice of Volkov comes from space: 'Hatch not hermetically sealed? What's happening? What's going on?'. All this response to the fact that the caution and warning panel 'Hatch open' light has not gone out. Yeliseyev calmly advises the crew, 'Don't panic. Open the hatch, and move the wheel to the left to open. Close the hatch, and then move the wheel to the right six turns with full force'. The crew does this several times, but the light still won't go out. On a final attempt, with 6.5 turns of the wheel, the light goes out. On the second half of he 15th orbit, the crew lowers the pressure in the BO to 160 mm, and the hatch proves to be air-tight.

    On the 16th orbit the crew separates their Soyuz from the Salyut station. At 21:35 they report normal separation and that they 'can see how the station moves away from the spacecraft'. They have enough propellant to stop the separation velocity, and take photographs of the station from 10 to 15 m away. They then back away to 30-40 m, and Patsayev takes another set of photographs documenting the condition of the station.

1971 June 30 - .
  • Landing of Soyuz 11 and death of crew. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Goreglyad, Patsayev, Smirnov, Ustinov, Volkov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    Kamanin account: The next communications session with Soyuz 11 comes at 00:16. Kamanin reads up to the crew the conditions at the primary and secondary landing zones (10 km visibility, 2-3 m/s wind, 16 deg temperature, 720 mm pressure). The crew is to told to report on HF and UHF using all antennae and to call out parachute opening. They are ordered to wait in the capsule for the recovery crews, not to open the hatch themselves under any circumstances. It should take no more than 20 to 30 minutes until the recovery team can open the hatch from the outside. They are under no circumstances to try to get out of the capsule without the assistance of the doctors. Dobrovolsky confirms: "All received, landing sequence proceeding excellent, all OK, crew is excellent".

    Telemetry shows the Soyuz braking engine begins firing at 01:35:24 and makes a nominal 187 second retrofire burn. Ground control waits for verbal confirmation, but there are no voice communications received from the capsule. At 01:47:28 the crew should have reported successful BO and PAO module separations from the capsule, but still nothing heard. It is not clear to ground control at this point - is Soyuz 11 heading for a landing or staying in orbit? From 01:49:37 to 2:04:07 the capsule is in communications range but there is no reply to the ground's calls. It is now obvious that something is wrong aboard Soyuz 11, but it is not clear what.

    At 01:54 the VVS command point reports that radar has picked up the spacecraft at 2200 km uprange from the landing zone. It is on course, so the feeling is that the capsule's communications system has simply failed. The parachute deploy signal is received from within the landing zone, but still no transmissions from the crew as on earlier missions. At 02:05 an Il-14 search plane and Mi-8 helicopter spot Soyuz 11 descending under its parachute, within 200 km east of Dzhezkazgan. Soyuz 11 lands at 02:18 Moscow time. Four helicopters land simultaneously as the capsule thumps down on the steppe. The report from the recovery forces to the control centre is only one word: "Wait". There are no further tramsmissions from the recovery forces. It is clear the crew must be dead. Kamanin calls Goreglyad and tells him to set up a State Commission.

    Later it is learned that two minutes after landing the hatch was opened by the recovery group and the crew was seen to be without signs of life. At 06:00 by orders of Ustinov and Smirnov the designated members of the State Commission depart from the Crimea for the landing site aboard a Tu-104, then transfer to an An-10. But on arrival they find that Goreglyad has already left for Moscow with the corpses of the crew. At 16:00 the engineers and doctors meet with the State Commission. The spacecraft's cabin, seats, parachute, equipment, and instruments have been examined. They indicate no problems - the spacecraft made a good soft landing. A hard landing was not a factor. All switches on the instrument panel were in their correct positions. A vent in one of two air valves was open 10 mm. There were no other discrepancies, even though the doctors already report that they believe the crew died from decompression of the cabin. At 23:00 the State Commission members leave for Moscow. Additional Details: here....

1971 July 1 - .
  • Soyuz 11 capsule evaluated at landing site. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, Volkov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    At 05:00 specialists arrive from Moscow to the Soyuz 11 landing site to test the hermetic seal of the cabin. By 08:00 the pressure tests of the cabin show a slight loss, but it takes 1.5 hours for the cabin to fully depressurise. There are no cracks or holes in the cabin. Therefore the only cause could be the two air valves. The medical experts have already determined that the cosmonauts died from depressurisation of the spacecraft. The crew have haemorrhages in their brains, blood in their lungs, and nitrogen in their blood. The flight recorder shows that four seconds after the depressurisation began Dobrovolsky's breathing rate went to 48/minute (normally 16/minute), asphyxiation began, and 20 to 30 seconds later he was dead. By 19:30 Kamanin is in Moscow, and he sees the bodies laying in state at 21:40. They are cremated at 22:00.

1971 July 4 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Soyuz 11 failure investigation - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, Severin, Tereshkova, Volkov. Program: Lunar L3, Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-T, Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    This was a very difficult time for TsKBEM. All work at the bureaus came to a complete halt after the loss of Soyuz 11 and N1 6L. Simultaneous expert commissions investigated the loss of N1 6L and Soyuz 11. TsKBEM was seen as responsible for every failure. A virtually legal process ensued to fix guilt. Every design decision was examined and questioned. Additional Details: here....

1971 July 7 - .
  • Kamanin's last diary entry in service. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Brezhnev, Bushuyev, Dobrovolsky, Khrushchev, Mishin, Patsayev, Serbin, Smirnov, Ustinov, Volkov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7KT-OK.

    Kamanin is furious. Of 25 cosmonauts that have flown, five are buried in the Kremlin Wall, one in Novdevich cemetery, and 19 are still in service. These deaths are due to the incompetent management of Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, Mishin, Afanasyev, Bushuyev, and Serbin. Some people are trying to blame Kamanin or the cosmonauts, saying the vent could have been plugged with a finger if the crew was properly trained. Others blame the crew in other ways. But the main problem was already brought up early over and over and over by the VVS and Kutakhov - the crew should never have flown without spacesuits! This has been going on for seven years. Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Ustinov, Smirnov, all wrote of their fear of allowing dangerous spaceflights. But these were the same leaders who supported the categorical rejection of the need for the crew to fly in spacesuits. The need for the suits was rejected first by Korolev, then Mishin. They kept saying that hundreds of manned and unmanned spacecraft had flown without depressurisation ever occurring.

    The idea of plugging the vent with a finger is absurd. Had they done so, they would have had only 15 to 17 minutes to work the problem before the onset of G-forces. Imagine the real situation - retrofire was normal - the BO module jettisoned - suddenly the depress light on the caution warning panel is on! Dobrovolsky checks the hatch, but it's not the hatch -- and there are only 25 to 30 seconds until they all become unconscious. Volkov and Patsayev undo their straps and turn on the radio. The whistling of the air can only be heard at the commander's seat - where the vent valve is located. Kamanin discontinues diary entries for two years after this date.

1971 August - .

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