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Soyuz A
Part of Soyuz Family
Soyuz A
Soyuz A
Original Soyuz A manned spacecraft design as approved in 1963. The Soyuz 7K-LOK that would fly three years later was very similar, except the forward living module was changed from cylindrical to spherical in shape.
Russian manned spacecraft. Study 1962. The 7K Soyuz spacecraft was initially designed for rendezvous and docking operations in near earth orbit, leading to piloted circumlunar flight.

AKA: 7K. Status: Study 1962. Thrust: 4.09 kN (919 lbf). Gross mass: 5,880 kg (12,960 lb). Unfuelled mass: 5,050 kg (11,130 lb). Specific impulse: 282 s. Height: 7.40 m (24.20 ft).

A circumlunar mission would begin with launch of the Soyuz B 9K rocket block into a 225 km orbit. This would be followed by one to three Soyuz V 11K tankers (depending on the mission), which would automatically rendezvous and dock with the 9K. They would transfer up to 22 metric tons of propellant. Finally the Soyuz A 7K spacecraft with the cosmonauts aboard would be launched, dock with the 9K, and be propelled on a lunar flyby trajectory.

Soyuz continued the themes of the earlier Sever project. In the definitive December 1962 Soyuz draft project, the Vostok-Zh of the 1962 technical project was gone and Soyuz appeared as a complete two-place spacecraft. The Soyuz 7K spacecraft, Soyuz B 9K rocket acceleration block and Soyuz V 11K tanker would be launched into orbit by Soyuz 11A511 boosters.

The Soyuz A consisted, from fore to aft, of the living module (BO), the landing capsule (SA), the equipment module (PO), the propulsion module (NO) and the rendezvous electronics module (AO). This last toroidal module would be jettisoned before the Soyuz B rocket burn to minimize mass. It was retained in the initial Soyuz 7K-OK design and was misidentified in most earlier books as a 'toroidal fuel tank').

The 7K would be equipped with cinema cameras and scientific sensors to record the lunar surface during the flyby, which would be at from 1,000 to 20,000 km from the lunar surface. Total flight time was 7 to 8 days. The SA would separate from the 7K at 120 to 150 km altitude and re-enter the earth's atmosphere at 11 km/sec. After decelerating to subsonic speed, the SA's parachute would open at 10-18 km altitude. Total mass of the L1 in low earth orbit was 23,000 kg and the flyby mass of the Soyuz alone was 5,100 kg.

Korolev understood very well that financing for a project of this scale would only be forthcoming from the Ministry of Defense. Therefore his draft project proposed two additional modifications of the 7K: the Soyuz-P space interceptor and the Soyuz-R command-reconnaissance spacecraft.

The Soyuz draft project was submitted to the expert commission on 20 March 1963. However only the reconnaissance and interceptor applications of the Soyuz could be understood and supported by the military. Due to the press of other work it was decided that OKB-1 would concentrate only on development of the 7K spacecraft, while development of the 9K and 11K spacecraft would be passed to other design bureaus. The military projects Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R were 'subcontracted' to OKB-1 Filial number 3, based in Samara.

The Soyuz A L1 was described in a 23 September 1963 letter of Korolev setting out the space exploration plan for 1965 to 1975. At this time the configuration was still being tinkered with and the Soyuz modules were: the Descent Capsule (SA), Living Module (BO); Equipment Module (AO); Propulsion Module (AO); Rendezvous electronics module (NO) and Docking Unit (SU). The system still consisted of the 7K manned spacecraft, the 9K rocket spacecraft, and the 11K tanker. A total of six launches of the 11A511 Soyuz booster would be required. The 9K rocket stage would be put in orbit first. It would be followed by four 11K tankers which would top off the tanks of the rocket block. Then, when all was ready, the 7K manned craft would be put into orbit and dock with the 9K stage. The stage would fire and put the manned spacecraft on a translunar trajectory.

To Korolev's frustration, while Filial 3 received budget to develop the military Soyuz versions, his own Soyuz-A did not receive the support of the leadership for inclusion in the space program of the USSR. The 7K-9K-11K plan would have required five successful automatic dockings to succeed. This seemed impossible at the time. Instead the road to the moon advocated by Vladimir Nikolayevich Chelomei was preferred. Chelomei was Korolev's arch-rival, and had the advantage of having Nikita Khrushchev's son in his employ. He attempted to break the stranglehold that 'Korolev and Co.', also known as the 'Podpilki' Mafia, had on the space program. Chelomei's LK-1 single-manned spacecraft, to be placed on a translunar trajectory in a single launch of his UR-500K rocket, was the preferred approach. Chelomei issued the advanced project LK-1 on 3 August 1964, the same day the historic decree was issued that set forth the Soviet plan to beat the Americans to the moon. Under this decree Chelomei was to develop the LK-1 for the manned lunar flyby while Korolev was to develop the N1-L3 for the manned lunar landing. The 7K-9K-11K system was cancelled. But the Soyuz A itself would be developed by Korolev as the 7K-OK manned earth orbit spacecraft. Korolev kept his options open and had versions of it designed which would in the end be flown for manned orbital and circumlunar missions.

Crew Size: 3. Orbital Storage: 30 days. Habitable Volume: 9.00 m3. Spacecraft delta v: 420 m/s (1,370 ft/sec).

Family: Manned Circumlunar, Manned spacecraft. Country: Russia. Spacecraft: Soyuz A SA, Soyuz A BO, Soyuz A PAO. Launch Vehicles: R-7, Soyuz 11A511. Propellants: Nitric acid/Hydrazine. Agency: Korolev bureau. More at: 6906. Bibliography: 121, 157, 21, 23, 26, 283, 367, 376, 474, 72, 75.

Photo Gallery

Cutaway view of 1963 L1 circumlunar spacecraft.

Soyuz ABV ComplexSoyuz ABV Complex
Soyuz complex of 1963 as it would appear during tanker operations. From left to right: Soyuz A manned spacecraft; Soyuz B translunar injection stage; Soyuz V tanker spacecraft.

L1 Complex 1961L1 Complex 1961
The earliest Sever project tackled such problems as manoeuvring in orbit, rendezvous and docking, use of manipulators to move station modules, and testing of lifting re-entry vehicles. Sever (left) was 50% larger than Soyuz, which replaced it by late 1961 in OKB-1 studies. The Vostok-Zh manoeuvrable Vostok spacecraft (right) would be used as a manned tug to assemble the stages in low earth orbit.

L1 Complex 1961L1 Complex 1961
2 view version.

Soyuz AB CircumlunarSoyuz AB Circumlunar
Soyuz complex of 1963 as it would appear before boost into a circumlunar trajectory.

L1 Complex 1962L1 Complex 1962
The first 1961 draft of the Soyuz project was used a modernisation of the Vostok 3KA series (Vostok-Zh). Three rocket stages would be assembled in low earth orbit using a manned Vostok tug. They would then launch a Soyuz capsule on a lunar flyby and return to earth.

Soyuz ABV ComplexSoyuz ABV Complex

Soyuz ASoyuz A
Credit: © Mark Wade

Soyuz ASoyuz A
Credit: © Mark Wade

1961 During the Year - .
  • Competing designs for a reliable manned spacecraft to succeed Vostok. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Sever, Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V, Vostok-Zh.

    The Soyuz or Sever designs would utilize body lift to reduce G forces and allo the crew to make re-entries at hyperbolic speeds - when returning from the moon, or Mars. An associated design was a manned orbital tug version of the Vostok capsule to assemble spacecraft in low earth orbit.

1961 June 1 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Moon program go-ahead in response to U.S. start - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chelomei, Korolev, Yangel. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: LK-1, Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    Chelomei is informally asked by Khruschev to begin design of a booster and spacecraft for a manned circumlunar mission (UR-500 Proton and LK-1). There is no authorization for a lunar landing program, although Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei all begin booster designs.

1962 April 12 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • First Soviet announcement of manned lunar goals - . Nation: Russia. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V. First Soviet public announcement of manned lunar goals..

1962 April 16 - .
  • Soyuz A circumlunar spacecraft authorised. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Development of the 'Soyuz' Complex for Piloted flight to the Moon--approving the Soyuz program for circumlunar flight' was issued. The Soyuz was to be capable of the following:

    • Automatic rendezvous with other spacecraft
    • Automatic approach and alignment
    • Automatic docking
    • Exit of crew into open space for transfer from spacecraft to spacecraft
    • Astronavigation
    • Maneuvering in orbit (changing of orbital parameters)
    • Test of re-entry using body lift to modify the landing point and alleviate G-forces
    • Test of the operation of radio equipment and tracking equipment
    • Scientific research

1962 June 11 - .
  • VVS Conference: Military Use of Space - the Short-Term Perspective - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Malinovskiy, Rudenko, Vershinin. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    The projection is made that the US will surpass the USSR in space in 1963-1964. Kennedy's 1961 speech announcing the Apollo project to land on the moon was passed to Vershinin for comment, but no reply was ever received. Rudenko, Vershinin, and especially Malinovskiy see no role for piloted space flight, let alone flights to the moon. America, with its superior electronics capability, is still proceeding with development of manned spacecraft that require the active piloting of the astronaut. Why then, Kamanin fumes, is the USSR trying to develop completely automated manned spacecraft? Military space is being run in the USSR by men who know nothing of it, he notes. Rudenko is ill, and not even at the conference.

1962 August 8 - .
  • Additional Vostok missions; launch preparations. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Gagarin, Korolev, Nikolayev, Popovich, Rudenko, Titov. Program: Vostok, Soyuz. Flight: Vostok 3, Vostok 4, Vostok 5, Vostok 6, Vostok 6A, Vostok 7, Vostok 8, Vostok 9. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V, Vostok.

    Kamanin discusses with Rudenko the need for construction and flight of ten additional Vostok spacecraft. Korolev still plans to have the first Soyuz spacecraft completed and flying by May 1963, but Kamanin finds this completely unrealistic. The satellite is still only on paper; he doesn't believe it will fly until 1964. If the Vostoks are not built, Kamanin believes the Americans will surpass the Russians in manned spaceflight in 1963-1964. From 13:00 to 14:00 Nikolayev spends an hour in his spacesuit in the ejection seat. Kamanin finds many mistakes in the design of the ejection seat. There is no room for error in disconnect of the ECS, in release of the seat, and so on. At 17:00 the State Commission holds a rally to fete Gagarin and Titov in the square in front of headquarters. Kamanin finds the event very warm but poorly organised. At 19:00 Smirnov chairs the meeting of the State Commission in the conference hall of the MIK. Korolev declares the spacecraft and launch vehicle ready; Kamanin declares the cosmonauts ready. Nikolayev is formally named the commanding officer of Vostok 3, and Popovich of Vostok 4. Rudenko gets Popovich's name wrong - his second serious mistake. He had earlier called the meeting for the wrong time.

1962 August 9 - .
  • Vostok 3 rollout - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Keldysh, Korolev, Nikolayev, Popovich, Smirnov. Program: Vostok, Soyuz. Flight: Vostok 3, Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    At the MIK Popovich finally trains in his suit in the seat 'as planned'. At 11:30 Smirnov, Korolev, and Keldysh inspect the new space food prepared for the flight, then meet with the cosmonauts. The Soyuz spacecraft is discussed - the cosmonauts want to have a mock-up commission. Afterwards the pilots conduct more training in their flight suits. At 21:00 Vostok 3 is rolled out from Area 10 to the pad. There was a two hour delay due to the need to reinspect the fasteners on the ejection seat - use of unauthorised substitutes was detected on other seats.

1962 December - .
  • Soyuz draft project completed. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz P, Soyuz R, Soyuz V. The draft project for a versatile manned spacecraft included the Soyuz-A circumlunar spacecraft, the military Soyuz-P fighter and Soyuz-R reconn bird..

1962 December 6 - .
  • Soviet Space Plans for 1963-1964 - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev, Smirnov, Ustinov. Program: Soyuz, Vostok, DS. Flight: Vostok 7, Vostok 8, Vostok 9. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V, Vostok, Zenit-2 satellite, Zenit-4.

    Meeting of the Interdepartmental Soviet of the Academy of Sciences reviews space exploration plans. In the next two years, 5-6 Luna probes will be sent to the moon, including soft landers with a mass of 100 kg, and orbiters to map the surface. There will be flybys and landings of Mars and Venus. Two Zond spacecraft will study the space environment out to 20 million kilometres from the earth. In earth orbit, 10 Zenit spy satellites, 10 to 12 Vostok manned spacecraft, 4 to 6 Soyuz spacecraft, and 10 to 12 Kosmos satellites will be launched. The Kosmos will fly missions in meteorology, communications, television transmission, and heliographic, and geological studies. Kamanin finds this a good program, but it nearly all relies on a single launch pad and one-time transmission of data from a few satellites. The military plan is not reviewed; it must go through the VPK Military-Industrial Commission first. An Expert Commission is to be formed on the Soyuz spacecraft. Smirnov and Korolev have dictated a letter to Ustinov asking that eight more Vostoks be built. On the other hand, some on the general staff want 60 cosmonauts trained in the next two to three years, to support 8 to 10 flights of single-place spacecraft and 7 to 8 flights of multiplace spacecraft.

1963 January 18 - .
  • Soyuz expert commission - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chelomei, Korolev, Smirnov. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Raketoplan, Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    Smirnov insisted on the following after reviewing Korolev's design: 1) there must be a space suit for every crew member; 2) the spacecraft must be able to use lift during re-entry to change its landing point; 3) the spacecraft must have ejection seats. Korolev and his assistants categorically rejected these demands. Smirnov was only insisting on the availability of suits, not that they be worn at all times; and only on small lifting surfaces to give the capsule more manoeuvrability during re-entry. But Korolev rejected even this. Later the commission went to Chelomei's bureau to see his Raketoplan manned spaceplane design. But this was not even laid out on paper yet, with the draft project not scheduled to be completed until the end of February. Chelomei has already been working on this for two years. In January 1961 he gave a presentation to the General Staff and made big promises in regard to this spacecraft - but nothing has been completed. The only spacecraft that will be realistically available in the next three to five years is Korolev's - anything else would only be purely experimental.

1963 January 21 - .
  • VVS Review of Soyuz - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz P, Soyuz R, Soyuz V.

    The primary objective of the design is to achieve docking to two spacecraft in earth orbit. Secondary objectives are the operation of scientific and military equipment from the spacecraft. Three different spacecraft, all launched by an R-7 derived booster, are required to achieve this:

    • 7K spacecraft, capable of carrying three men into space and returning them to earth. The 5.5 tonne spacecraft has three modules, including the BO living module and the SA re-entry capsule
    • 9K booster stage, with a fuelled mass of 18 tonnes. After docking with the 7K this is capable of boosting the combined spacecraft to earth escape velocity. The 9K is equipped with a 450 kgf main engine and orientation engines of 1 to 10 kgf. It will have 14 tonnes propellant when full loaded. Four sequential docking with a tanker spacecraft will be required to fill the tanks before the final docking with the 7K.
    • 11K tanker, with a mass of 5 tonnes.

    The system will conduct fuellings and dockings in a 250 km altitude parking orbit, and be boosted up to 400,000 km altitude on lunar flyby missions. The system will be ready in three years. Military variants proposed are the Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R. Each spacecraft will have 400 kg of automatic rendezvous and docking equipment. Manual docking will be possible once the spacecraft are within 300 m of each other.

    Korolev still insists on an unguided landing and categorically rejects the use of wings. A parachute will deploy and slow the capsule to 10 m/s. Then a retrorocket will fire just before impact with the earth to provide a zero-velocity soft landing. Korolev still insists that spacesuits will not be carried for the crew. First test flight of the 7K, without docking, could not occur until the second half of 1964.

1963 January 23 - .
  • VVS Generals discuss Soyuz - . Nation: Russia. Flight: Soyuz 11. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    They decide that the VVS must insist on spacesuits or at least light pressure garments for the crew, and windows that will allow the crew to view the parachute cupola and ground during landings. It is agreed that the insistence on ejection seats and wings can be dropped.

1963 February 1 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511.
  • Soyuz 'leaves drafting boards' - . Nation: Russia. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz A. Soyuz 'leaves drafting boards'..

1963 February 16 - .
1963 March 7 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511.
  • Korolev approves draft plan for 'Soyuz Complex' - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chelomei, Korolev. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK, Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    Final design approval for Soyuz A spacecraft for earth orbit and circumlunar flight using orbital rendezvous, docking, and refuelling technques. Except for change of orbital module from cylindrical to spherical design, and changes to rendezvous radar tower arrangement, this design was essentially identical to the Soyuz 7K-OK that flew three years later. Additional Details: here....

1963 March 20 - .
  • Soyuz draft project was submitted to the expert commission - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz P, Soyuz R, Soyuz V.

    Aside from the baseline Soyuz-B circumlunar mission, the draft project also proposed the Soyuz-P space interceptor and the Soyuz-R command-reconnaissance spacecraft. The military projects Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R were ‘subcontracted’ to OKB-1 Filial Number 3, based in Samara. The Soyuz B circumlunar version did not receive the same level of financial support.

1963 March 21 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1 1964.
  • Presidium of Inter-institution Soviet - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chelomei, Glushko, Keldysh, Korolev. Program: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK, Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    The expert commission report on Soyuz is reviewed by the Chief Designers from 10:00 to 14:00. The primary objective of the Soyuz project is to develop the technology for docking in orbit. This will allow the spacecraft to make flights of many months duration and allow manned flyby of the moon. Using docking of 70 tonne components launched by the N1 booster will allow manned flight to the Moon, Venus, and Mars. Keldysh, Chelomei and Glushko all support the main objective of Soyuz, to obtain and perfect docking technology. But Chelomei and Glushko warn of the unknowns of the project. Korolev agrees with the assessment that not all the components of the system - the 7K, 9K, and 11K spacecraft - will fly by the end of 1964. But he does argue that the first 7K will fly in 1964, and the first manned 7K flight will come in 1965.

1963 March 21 - .
  • Soyuz development approved. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On approval of work on the Soyuz complex' was issued..

1963 September 23 - .
1963 November 30 - .
  • 1964 Flight Plans - . Nation: Russia. Program: Vostok, Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 1, Soyuz 2A, Vostok 7, Vostok 8, Vostok 9. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V, Voskhod.

    Four Vostoks are planned for 1964, one of these with dogs and other biological specimens, which will fly for ten days at altitudes of up to 600 km. This is to be followed by an eight day manned flight, then two Vostoks on a ten-day group flight. The altitude for these latter flights will be decided after the results of the dog flight. Then, by the end of the year, the first Soyuz flights will be made. Two to three of the new spacecraft are being prepared. Therefore the crews must start training for circumlunar flights and cislunar navigation. Kamanin decides that he must select 3-4 navigators, 1-2 mathematicians, and 2-3 astronomers to make up a training group of cosmonaut-navigators for these flights.

1963 December 3 - .
  • Soyuz circumlunar spacecraft approved. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK, Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    Decree 'On approval of work on the Soyuz 7K-9K-11K circumlunar complex' was issued. This elaborated on the Soyuz design made under the prior decree of 16 April 1962. Initial design work was authorised on the Soyuz 7K earth orbit basic version - capable of automatic rendezvous and docking with other spacecraft; and the 9K and 11K tanker / refuelable rocket blocks to put the 7K in high altitude or circumlunar orbits.

1963 December 7 - .
1963 December 16 - .
  • Yerkina wedding - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dementiev, Korolev, Ponomaryova, Tereshkova, Tsybin, Yerkina. Program: Soyuz, Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz A-1, Soyuz A-2, Soyuz A-3, Soyuz A-4. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz A.

    The cosmonaut weds at the TsPK cosmonaut centre, and 80 guests attend. Of the female cosmonauts, only Ponomaryova is not yet married. However the next female flight will be made no earlier than 1965-1966. Tereshkova looks tired after her tour to Southeast Asia - and she's supposed to go to Ghana on 10 January! Korolev claims that the Soyuz schedule, as laid out in the resolution of 4 December 1963, is still realistic. He will have the first Soyuz flight in August 1964 and the second and third in September 1964. Ivanovskiy doesn't believe it will be possible to make any flights until 1965. Korolev and Tsybin disccuss Shcherbakov's design for a rocket-propelled high-altitude glider. This concept was supported by the VVS, but Dementiev was against it and it was killed in the bureaucracy.

1964 January 3 - .
  • Military Soviet of the VVS Staff - . Nation: Russia. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz A-1, Soyuz A-2, Soyuz A-3, Soyuz A-4. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz P, Soyuz PPK, Soyuz R.

    No significant decisions are made. Discussion of the 3 December 1963 resolution to start development of the 7K Soyuz spacecraft. Although the resolution foresees completion of the first spacecraft during 1964, and first flights in 1965-1966, there is not one word on training of cosmonauts for such missions. Scientific versions, for manned flight to the moon and planets, as well as military variants, are foreseen.

1964 January 16 - .
  • Cosmonaut plans - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Tereshkova. Program: Vostok, Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz A-1, Soyuz A-2, Soyuz A-3, Soyuz A-4, Vostok 10, Vostok 11, Vostok 12, Vostok 13, Vostok 7, Vostok 8, Vostok 9. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Vostok.

    Kamanin is to put together a cosmonaut training plan for additional Vostok and new Soyuz flights by 1 February. Due to a lack of completed spacecraft, the next Vostok flight will not be possible until June 1964 at the earliest. The travel plans for the cosmonauts during the first half of 1964 are also to be drawn up. Tereshkova, Nikolayev, and Bykovsky are to tour India, Indonesia, Burma, Nepal, and Sri Lanka later in the year. Tereshkova will go to Ghana and Lebanon on 20 January, then to England on 31 January.

1964 January 23 - .
1964 February 18 - .
1964 February 26 - .
  • Soyuz plans - . Nation: Russia. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz A-1, Soyuz A-2, Soyuz A-3, Soyuz A-4. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    The cosmonauts meet with engineers at TsNII-30 in Noginsk to review plans for docking trainers for the new Soyuz spacecraft. The trainers were supposed to be completed by now, but they are being held up for television and optical equipment to be delivered from Leningrad and Sverdlovsk. The mock-up of the 7K manned spacecraft trainer is immobile; it can only be turned around its centre of mass. The 1/30 scale of the 9K and 11K propulsion spacecraft with which the 7K will dock are free to rotate in all 3 axes. The cosmonauts in the 7K mock-up will see the 9K or 11K via the television screen aboard the spacecraft or in the Soyuz spacecraft in what the engineers promise will be a life-like appearance. They will practice approach and docking from a simulated distance of 300 m at a typical approach rate of 2 m/s. At the scale of the installation, this will equate to 10 cm/s. After the trainer review General Ioffe briefed the cosmonauts on plans for an electronic digital computer, with a mass of 40 kg, which was being developed for use in spacecraft navigation. Kamanin sees that very close collaboration will be needed between TsNII-30, TsPK, and GKNII VVS to complete trainer development on an accelerated schedule.

1964 May 12 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1 1962.
  • Korolev's plans - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Voskhod, Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz A-1, Soyuz A-2, Soyuz A-3, Soyuz A-4, Voskhod 1, Voskhod 2, Voskhod 3, Voskhod 4, Voskhod 5, Voskhod 6. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V, Voskhod.

    While Kamanin is away arranging screening of Voskhod candidates, Korolev meets with the VVS General Staff. He tells them he wants to have four Voskhods completed by the anniversary of the October Resolution for the first spacewalk. He dreams of a manned lunar flyby by either docking Soyuz A-B-V modules in orbit, or in a single N1 launch (no metal has even yet been cut for the N1 at Kuibyshev). In order to further develop EVA techniques he wants to convert a further five Vostoks into the Voskhod configuration. Meanwhile Kamanin agrees to a compression of the medical screening schedule from 20-25 days to 15-17 days. The physicians will reduce it no further than this.

1964 June 23 - .
1964 July 2 - .
  • Voskhod and Soyuz crewing - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Benderov, Beregovoi, Feoktistov, Katys, Komarov, Lazarev, Polyakov, Sorokin, Titov, Volynov, Yegorov. Program: Voskhod, Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz A-4, Voskhod 1. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Voskhod.

    Benderov has been washed out of training after haemorrhaging excessively during centrifuge training, and Polyakov after reacting poorly to the barometric chamber. This leaves only seven cosmonauts in training for the first mission: Volynov, Katys, Komarov, Yegorov, Sorokin, Lazarev, and Feoktistov. The first six are qualified for flight, but Feoktistiov cannot be admitted for parachute or flight training; his visual acuity is only 0.3. Later the cosmonaut party collective meets to take up the problem of Titov. He has made many errors: he drives and flies too fast, he has bad marital relations. But he is known not only to the entire country, but to the whole world. To disgrace him would not reflect only on him, but on all of the cosmonauts and the Soviet Union. Therefore it is finally decided not to take any public action, but to switch him and Beregovoi in the training order for the fourth Soyuz flight.

    Later Finogenov, head of the VVS range at Vladimirovka, informs Kamanin that flight trials of the new combination parachute/soft landing system will be delayed at least two weeks after the failure of one of the parachute canopy rings in static test.

1964 July 27 - .
  • Space simulator plans - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: LK, LK-1, Soyuz 7K-LOK, Soyuz A, TMK-1, TMK-E.

    A two-day conference is held at IAKM to review requirements for trainers and task simulators over the next 6 to 7 years. The plan includes basic instructional versions of planned spacecraft, trainers for flying around the moon, and a mock-up of the TMK Heavy Interplanetary Spacecraft. These will require a new facility of to 7,000 square metres. Trainers and strands at TsPK will be housed in building D, a hangar-type facility. The TBK-60 thermal/barometric chamber will be housed in a single hangar. To fully specify TsPK trainers and stands for the lunar mission, trainers for space navigation, and military combat spacecraft will not be completed until 1965.

1964 August 1 - .
  • Full scale development of Soviet manned lunar flyby and landing projects authorised. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chelomei, Korolev. Program: Lunar L1, Lunar L3. Flight: Soyuz A-1, Soyuz A-2, Soyuz A-3, Soyuz A-4. Spacecraft: LK, LK-1, Luna Ye-8, Soyuz 7K-LOK, Soyuz A.

    Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 655-268 'On Work on the Exploration of the Moon and Mastery of Space--piloted LK-1 circumlunar and L3 lunar landing projects and the Ye-6M lunar lander' was issued. Chelomei was to develop the three-stage UR-500K booster and LK-1 spacecraft for the manned lunar flyby. Korolev was to develop the totally different N1 booster and L3 spacecraft complex for the manned lunar landing. First launch of the N1 was to be by the first quarter 1966, with manned lunar landings in 1967 to 1968. Reprioritization led to work being stopped on Korolev's Zvezda 6-man orbiting weapons platform by mid-1965, after a huge mockup had been built.

    Korolev felt that if he had the full support of the Communist Party, the military, and industry he could achieve this goal, and this decree ordered such support. The USSR would be first on the moon. But in truth the draft project behind the decree had not solved all of the technical problems, or provided a solution on how to achieve the required payload on either the booster or spacecraft side. New technology features required for success of the scheme included an advanced guidance system in the N1 third stage equipment bay, the enormous fuel tanks in the N1 first stage, and the Lox/LH2 fuel cells needed for the LOK lunar orbiter. But the real technical problem with the N1-L3 design was the total lack of any weight growth reserve. Even thought the systems had not even been developed yet, engineers were fighting over tens of grams in their weight allocations, let alone the kilograms normally at issue.

    Development of Korolev's Soyuz A-B-V, a competing circumlunar project, was evidently still authorised, although it duplicated Chelomei's LK-1.

1964 December 30 - .
  • Western reports - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Biryuzov, Brezhnev, Komarov. Program: Voskhod, Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz A-1, Soyuz A-2, Soyuz A-3, Soyuz A-4, Voskhod 1, Voskhod 2. Spacecraft: Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V, Voskhod.

    A corespondent from the APN agency calls Kamanin and wants to know if the official press should react to the claims of a Belgian professor that all of the Soviet cosmonauts have returned from space with serious psychological problems. Kamanin says there is nothing to it, but that the best course is to ignore the report and publish no official response. Kamanin looks forward to the missions planned in the new year: first the Vykhod, the first spacewalk, followed by a 10 to 12 day mission by a single cosmonaut, then later crews of first two, and then five to six in joined Soyuz spacecraft. In 1966 the first space docking is planned, followed by the first lunar flyby. Kamanin feels apprehensive, though. All manned flights have been completed to date without a serious problem, whereas Soviet unmanned spacecraft have been extremely unreliable and failed more often than not. He attributes this to the involvement of the VVS in the manned flights, whereas the RVSN rocket forces were responsible for the others. He worries that, with the ascendancy of Brezhnev and the death of Biryuzkov, that standards will drop in the future. Indeed, the RVSN has asked if Komarov could transfer officially from the VVS to the RVSN, a move that Kamanin vigorously opposes.

    At least progress on improvements at TsPK are underway. One apartment building with 75 apartments for cosmonauts is already finished, and an 11 story building should be finished in 1965, as well as schools, nurseries, stores, and so on. Currently there are 17 active cosmonauts and 13 candidate cosmonauts in training. An additional 40 will have to be recruited in 1965 to support the ambitious space plans recently adopted.

1965 February 2 - .
  • Cosmonaut organisation - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Beregovoi, Malinovskiy, Nikolayev. Program: Lunar L1, Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LK-1, Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz PPK, Soyuz R, Soyuz V.

    Kamanin will organise the cosmonauts into two groups: the first group will be commanded by Nikolayev, and the latest group by Beregovoi. They will be assigned to support and train seven missions: military space (reconnaissance, interceptor, and combat spacecraft); space navigation; life support and rescue systems; communications and telemetry systems; scientific orbital stations; lunar fly-by; and lunar landing expeditions. All of this may be for nought, since Marshall Malinovskiy has said that heavy launch vehicles and lunar flights have no military utility and should be funded and handled by the Academy of Science.

1965 April 2 - .
  • VVS role in space - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Artyukhin, Belyayev, Beregovoi, Brezhnev, Demin, Katys, Korolev, Leonov, Ponomaryova, Rudenko, Shatalov, Solovyova, Tereshkova, Volynov. Program: Voskhod, Lunar L1. Flight: Voskhod 3, Voskhod 4, Voskhod 5. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz A.

    Kamanin visits Korolev and tells him that in an upcoming meeting between the cosmonauts and Brezhnev and Kosygin, they are going to push for the VVS to be given a leading role in the exploration of space, including the necessity to improve the cosmonaut training centre with 8 to 10 simulators for Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft, and development within the VVS of competence in space technology. Korolev is not opposed to this, but says he doubts the VVS leadership will support acquiring the new mission. Kamanin then indicates to Korolev his proposed crews for the upcoming Voskhod missions: Volynov-Katys, Beregovoi-Demin, Shatalov-Artyukhin. Kamanin hopes that Korolev will support Volynov as the prime candidate against Marshall Rudenko's favouring of Beregovoi. Kamanin then raises the delicate issue of Korolev's unfavourable opinion of Tereshkova. After her flight, Korolev angrily said: "I never want to have anything to do with these women again". Kamanin does not believe his remarks were meant seriously, and broaches the subject of training Soloyova and Ponomaryova for a female version of Leonov's spacewalk flight. Korolev says he will seriously consider the suggestion.

1965 April 20 - .
  • Cosmonaut tours - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Nikolayev, Tereshkova. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1, Soyuz 2A. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz A.

    The demand for cosmonaut appearances is constant; over 90% of such requests have to be denied. Tereshkova and Nikolayev are especially in demand - France wants them for two or three days, and there are also requests from Mongolia, Finland, Norway, Greece, Iran, Rumania, USA, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and many others. As far as progress on cosmonaut trainers, General Ponomaryov, who has no interests in space, is hampering development efforts. So far his interference has delayed completion of the docking trainer by six months.

1965 June 26 - .
  • Poor progress on space trainers - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dementiev, Smirnov, Titov. Program: Voskhod, Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1, Soyuz 2A, Voskhod 3, Voskhod 4, Voskhod 5, Voskhod 6. Spacecraft: LK-1, Soyuz A, Spiral OS, TMK-1, TMK-E.

    Titov and Kamanin visit LII to review the status of simulator construction. The engineers haven't had any time to even consider trainers for winged spacecraft. The Soyuz trainer will only be completed by July 1966, and the trainer for the new Voskhod configuration is still on paper only. Simulators for manned lunar or planetary flights have not even been discussed yet. It is clear that Kamanin is going to have to go up the chain of command to Dementiev and Smirnov to get resources allocated for the work to be accelerated.

1965 August 18 - .
  • Soyuz development program reoriented; Soyuz 7K-OK earth orbit version to be built in lieu of Soyuz A. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Soyuz, Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1, Soyuz 2A, Soyuz A-1, Soyuz A-2, Soyuz A-3, Soyuz A-4, Soyuz s/n 3/4. Spacecraft: LK-1, Soyuz 7K-OK, Soyuz A, Soyuz B, Soyuz V.

    Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 180 'On the Order of Work on the Soyuz Complex--approval of the schedule of work for Soyuz spacecraft' was issued. It set the following schedule for the new Soyuz 7K-OK version: two spacecraft to be completed in fourth quarter 1965, two in first quarter 1966, and three in second quarter 1966. Air-drop and sea trails of the 7K-OK spacecraft are to be completed in the third and fourth quarters 1965, and first automated docking of two unmanned Soyuz spacecraft in space in the first quarter of 1966. Korolev insists the automated docking system will be completely reliable, but Kamanin wishes that the potential of the cosmonauts to accomplish a manual rendezvous and docking had been considered in the design. With this decree the mission of the first Soyuz missions has been changed from a docking with unmanned Soyuz B and V tanker spacecraft, to docking of two Soyuz A-type spacecraft. It is also evident that although nothing is official, Korolev is confident he has killed off Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft, and that a Soyuz variant will be launched in its place.

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