Born: 1908-10-30. Died: 1984-12-20.
German aerodynamicist Albring designed the G-3 missile for the Russians. This would use a rocket-powered Groettrup-designed G-1 as the first stage. The cruise stage would have an aerodynamic layout like that of the Saenger-Bredt rocket-powered antipodal bomber of World War II. Cruising at 13 km altitude, the supersonic missile would carry a 3000 kg warhead to a range of 2900 km. This was an alternate approach to Ustinov's 3000 kg over 3000 km range missile requirement of April 1949. This design would be elaborated at Korolev's bureau into the EKR ramjet design of 1953.
Khrushchev desired to decentralise the missile industry, since a single nuclear bomb on Moscow would wipe out Korolev's factories. Ustinov was requested to draw up a plan for two additional completely independent missile design bureaux, one in the south of the Soviet Union, the other in the Urals. It was also envisioned a third bureau would be built in the east, in Siberia, but this was never done. This effort cost tens of billions of roubles. While the managers and lead technical staff would be taken from Korolev's bureau, the working engineers, technicians, and workers for the bureau and associated factories would be recruited locally at each site. This would avoid the additional expense of building extra housing. Korolev fought to keep control, wanting to make the new bureaux just branches of his own, but Khrushchev was adamant that only completely autonomous organisations would be acceptable. Yangel was easily selected for the southern bureau, and the young Makeyev was a more contentious selection for the Ural bureau.
Khrushchev, Molotov, Bulganin, and other leaders are given a tour of Korolev's OKB-1 in Kaliningrad. They are shown the R-1, R-2 and R-5 missiles as well as a mock-up of the R-7 and are awed. Ustinov reports that only five warheads would be needed to destroy Britain, and seven to nine for France. The need for the R-12 was discussed - the longer range was essential so that the missiles could be based farther from NATO's borders (the experience of the German invasion and quick destruction of forward-based units and equipment was on everyone's minds).
Decision to move directly to early manned flights in orbit. Korolev, after a review with engineers, determines that planned three stage versions of the R-7 ICBM could launch a manned orbital spacecraft. Korolev advocates pursuit of manned spaceflight at the expense of the military's Zenit reconnsat program, putting him in opposition to Ustinov.
Ustinov heads a review of the reconnaissance satellite program, at that time still referred to as the Vostok-2 and Vostok-4 spacecraft. Thirty staff are working on it full time at OKB-1, but Korolev says that due to delays in the photographic, television, and radar equipment for the spacecraft the first launch will be delayed two to three months. But he points out that since Vostok-1 has already proven the recovery systems, the first Vostok-2 should still be ready for launch in June-July 1961. Ustinov notes that the Ministry of Defence has had little input or understanding of the specification for the spacecraft. The launch of the first Vostok-3 is delayed to March due to the need to fully test all systems. The life support system (Vornonin) and the ejection seat (Alekseyev) are the pacing items. The next meeting is set for 27 February. Kustanin testifies as to the readiness of the spacecraft and the cosmonauts.
The cosmonauts practice donning the suits and adjusting the regulators. Kamanin muses on the need to convince the VVS leadership to support the TTZ for a new manned spacecraft, on the way to better organize the IP tracking stations, and how to obtain a leading role for the VVS in development of reconnaissance satellites. Otherwise, he believes the Russians will lose the space race to the Americans, who are launching 3 to 4 times more satellites. He notes that 22 Discoverers have been launched to develop an American reconnaissance satellite, and he comments on the Echo-1 passive communications balloon. The Americans are pushing to match the Soviet Union in launch vehicles and already surpass them in electronics, communications, and telemetry. Kamanin notes that communications with Venera 1 were lost when it was only 2 million kilometres from earth, while the US has already demonstrated communications with satellites out to 37 million kilometres. He admires the way the Americans have concentrated all of their efforts in one civilian space organization, with full-time managers for the effort. By comparison, the Soviets only have part-time managers, such as Ustinov, Rudnev, and so on. After the suit exercise the cosmonauts play chess and cards, but again Gagarin does not take part, and is deep in silent thought.
At 08:54 a meeting is held, where it is decided the bad performance of Voronin and Alekseyev in completing their capsule subsystems will be reported to Ustinov and Rudnev. At 13:00 the booster is rolled out to the pad. At 18:00 Gagarin and Titov donn their space suits and practice riding the elevator up to the spacecraft, and entering the hatch. This is to give them a practical feel for the time it will actually take them to get aboard and complete checkout of the spacecraft and suit.
The capsule was recovered 45 km southeast of Votinsk. The mannequin was ejected successfully from the aircraft, the dog Zvezdochka was fine, and was displayed to journalists all day. Therefore all is ready for a manned flight. The cosmonauts agree: 'Everything is finished, we can fly'. All is ready for a one-orbit flight with recovery in the USSR, but Kamanin still worries about the lack of any realistic plan in emergency situations. The environmental control system has still not completed endurance tests, and won't be able to keep the cosmonaut alive for the ten to twelve days it would take the spacecraft to decay from orbit if the retrorocket fails. Trials with the hot mock-up of the ECS in the capsule have still not been successful. Furthermore, a recovery at sea is not practical.
The pace quickens leading to the first human spaceflight. Kamanin coordinates matters with Korolev and Voronin, and then discusses the ECS problems and cosmonaut landing issues with Dementiev. Plans are made for a meeting with Ustinov and Kozlov. In the evening a meeting of the General Staff is held. Decisions made: 1) Announce the name of the cosmonaut as soon as he is in orbit; 2) improve VVS support (aircraft, helicopters) needed to pick up the cosmonaut immediately after landing; 3) issue a formal letter to Moskalenko on rules for filming of the cosmonaut at the launch site; 4) organise an examination of the 11 cosmonauts not in the group of six now being prepared for flights.
The commission meets from 16:00 to 18:00 to assess readiness for launch. Korolev says he is ready to launch a man, following the two consecutive successful mannequin flights. Who will be selected to be the first man in space? The commission discusses the issue at some length. Afterwards, Kamanin meets with Ustinov at 18:30 and shows him a picture album of photographs taken from Vostok on the March 9 and 25 test flights. One taken over Turkey clearly shows the city of Alexandretta and the concrete runways of the airfields, demonstrating the military potential of the system. All is ready for the flight. The Central Committee of the Communist Party has issued a decree that the first man be launched into space between 10 and 20 April 1961. Three variant press releases are prepared, for 1) attainment of a successful orbit; 2) after a successful landing; and 3) in the event of an emergency landing with a request for international assistance in recovery and return of the cosmonaut. The consensus is that the APO destruct system used in the unmanned test flights will be deleted for the manned flight. Only Ivashutin is against this. Two successful ejection tests from an Il-28 bomber were reported from LII, finally completing a key milestone required for the flight.
The Soviet leadership attends a secret exhibition of Soviet rocket technology in a sporting hall at Pitsunda, on the Black Sea. The Chief Designers offer competing designs. It is decided that the R-16, R-9, UR-200, UR-500, and N1 will go forward. Yangel's R-56 is rejected. Additional Details: here....
Ustinov wants launch of two cosmonauts within a month to answer the American Glenn flight. Of seven candidates, Nikolayev and Popovich are most likely to be selected. Meanwhile Titov has more incidents. He has driven his Volga into a bus. This is his third accident within a year.
Kamanin selects the cosmonauts for the dual flight ordered by Ustinov: Nikolayev and Popovich, with Nelyubov and Bykovsky as back-ups. Ustinov has ordered launch by 10-12 March. - such is the Soviet's lousy leadership, Kamanin notes. They don't do anything for months, then suddenly want a manned launch within 10 days. Korolev wants a three-day flight, but the VVS wants no more than two days, and only then if the cosmonauts are in excellent condition after the first day.
Joint flight with Vostok 4. The first such flight, where Vostok capsules were launched one day apart, coming within a few kilometers of each other at the orbital insertion of the second spacecraft. The flight was supposed to occur in March, but following various delays, one of the two Vostok pads was damaged in the explosion of the booster of the third Zenit-2 reconnsat in May. Repairs were not completed until August. Vostok 3 studied man's ability to function under conditions of weightlessness; conducted scientific observations; furthered improvement of space ship systems, communications, guidance and landing. Immediately at orbital insertion of Vostok 4, the spacecraft were less than 5 km apart. Popovich made radio contact with Cosmonaut Nikolayev. Nikolayev reported shortly thereafter that he had sighted Vostok 4. Since the Vostok had no maneuvering capability, they could not rendezvous or dock, and quickly drifted apart. The launches did allow Korolev to offer something new and different, and gave the launch and ground control crews practice in launching and handling more than one manned spacecraft at a time. The cosmonaut took colour motion pictures of the earth and the cabin interior. Additional Details: here....
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.
Ustinov, Smirnov, and other industry leaders challenge the plan for dual female flights. They would send only one woman aloft in Vostok s/n 007. Vostok s/n 008 would be held as a reserve. If Vostok s/n 007 was successful, s/n 008 would be used for a simultaneous manned flight. Training was to be complete by 1 April. The Soviet Air Force was categorically against this sudden revision. There were four women that had completed advanced training and were ready for flight, while there were only three men in training for flights later in the year. It would be impossible to complete the training of the male cosmonauts in a few weeks. However the spacecraft would reach the end of their storage life by May-June 1963 and would have to be used by then.
From August 1962 until February 21, 1963 it was planned that the next two Vostok flights (Vostok 5 and 6) would take place in March-April 1963 and be a dual female flight. Two capsules would be launched a day apart; each would remain aloft for three days. Although a final decision would only be made at the last minute, cosmonaut chief Kamanin always planned to name Tereshkova for the first flight. She was appropriately feminine and modest, and always mouthed the correct Communist party line in interviews. Ponomaryova was considered the most qualified candidate technically and emotionally for the Vostok 6 flight. However her aggressive feminism and failure to mouth Soviet catch-phrases were considered drawbacks by the male Communist stalwarts that ran the programme. This dual female flight plan was approved all the way up the Soviet hierarchy until it was killed at the last moment at a meeting of the Presidium of the Communist Party on 21 March 1963 by party ideologue Kozlov and Ministry of Defence Chief Ustinov. Only one female would be allowed to fly for propaganda purposes. A male cosmonaut (Bykovsky) was rushed into final training, delaying the dual flights for two months. Tereshkova made it into space aboard Vostok 6, following Bykovsky aboard Vostok 5. But Ponomaryova and the other female cosmonauts trained in the 1960's never flew.
This was his last visit, just weeks before his overthrow. The Soviet leadership were shown the UR-100 and observed launches of the competing UR-200 and R-36. Khrushchev agreed with the decision to put the R-36 into production instead of Chelomei's UR-200. He felt he couldn't turn down Yangel a third time after approving Korolev's N1 instead of Yangel's R-56 and Chelomei's UR-100 instead of Yangel's R-26. Khrushchev decided to cancel Korolev's badly behind schedule R-9A, even though Smirnov and Ustinov insisted they wanted it in their arsenal (in May 1965, after Khrushchev's overthrow, this decision was reversed and the R-9A went into production).
Khrushchev also visited a secret space fair, with Korolev, Chelomei, Yangel, and Glushko presenting their rockets and spacecraft. Chelomei presented his UR-700 heavy lift design as an alternative to Korolev's N1. This presentation was a surprise to Ustinov and Dementiev. Khrushchev ordered Chelomei to prepare a draft proposal for the design. Chelomei hoped that 12 to 18 months later, when the UR-700 draft project would be completed, the fallacy of Korolev's N1 design would be apparent to all. Korolev's N1 plans were also reviewed and approved at the meeting.
Over the two days, Khruschev witnessed five launches of rockets by Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei, all of them successful. Gagarin and Belyayev explained the Vykhod spacecraft to him, and Leonov donned a spacesuit and demonstrated how he would exit into open space form the inflatable airlock and return thereafter. All went very well.
This was the last time Khrushchev saw the chief designers of the Soviet rocket industry. Despite his support for them not one of them visited him in his retirement.
The landing commission meets at 09:00. Emergency landing arrangements for each orbit are examined. Weather at both launch and landing sites is predicted to be excellent - clear, 5 m/s wind. Komarov is given Communist relics to be taken into space and returned to earth - a portrait of Marx which had belonged to Lenin, a photo of Lenin holding a copy of Pravda, and a banner from the Paris Commune. At 16:00 the crew meets with the garrison of Area 2 and thanks the launch team for all of their hard work. Afterwards Korolev takes the crew to the capsule and gives final instructions. Around 18:00 there is an emergency meeting in Korolev's office. A defect in the transmitter of the Tral system was detected at 14:30, , and it is not possible to easily get at the equipment any more. There is a dispute as to how long it would take to change out the equipment - estimates range from 10 minutes to two hours. In any case, Korolev had not been informed, but the Soviet hierarchy has already learned of the problem. Korolev flies into a rage, something Kamanin has not seen in four years of working with Korolev. Korolev settles the matter by calling Ustinov on the VCh scrambler phone and personally certifying that the booster and spacecraft are ready for flight.
Korolev speaks privately to Chertok. Kozlov has told him it will be impossible to build an N1 with the 93 tonne payload capability until the fourth flight article. The L3 concept was still the same as in the August decree - 2 cosmonauts aboard the LOK orbiter, one aboard the LK lander. Korolev asks Chertok to take 800 kg out of the weight budget for the L3. Chertok informs him that they are already 500 kg over the August budget. This is still without all the unknowns of the automated lunar landing being solved. Additional Details: here....
With the rocket erected on the pad, a meeting is held several hundred meters away between the chief designers, Keldysh, Rudenko, and 600 to 700 workers. Afterwards Korolev and Tyulin call Moscow, and certify to Smirnov, Ustinov, Kosygin, and Brezhnev that all is ready for the flight.
Marshal Grechko convenes the Soviet to consider the issues raised by Gagarin's letter. Representatives from the PVO, VVS, RVSN, and the NTK attend. Problems in the space program and the loss of the lead in the space race to the Americans are blamed on the Academy of Sciences and the design bureaux and factories - none dare risk blaming poor management and support by the Ministry of Defence. The issues seen are:
There is no high-level support for moving space activities away from what Kamanin calls 'the artillery people' - it is known that Ustinov has made his career in building up the RVSN, and he is not about to criticise them.
Kamanin notes the Luna 8 mission, which will attempt the first soft landing on the moon the next day, and the launch of Gemini 7, which is to set a new space endurance record and make the first rendezvous in space. The Americans are clearly pulling well ahead of the Soviet Union, but Kamanin vows not to capitulate. He recaps the opposition of Malinovskiy, Smirnov, and Ustinov to manned spaceflight over the last five years. Korolev and Kamanin already wanted to build a second series of ten Vostok spacecraft in 1961, which could have been used to keep the lead in the race with America. Instead this was blocked year after year. The cosmonauts have been trained and ready for the fights aboard Vostok or Voskhod that would have kept the Soviet Union ahead in the space race; what has been lacking is the spacecraft to make the flights.
From 1963-1965 Ustinov was both head of the Soviet for the National Economy and the First Secretary of the Presidium of Soviet Ministers. He supported civilian space projects and instructed the military to co-operate in them. But after Khrushchev was ousted, Ustinov had less influence with the Ministry of Defence.
After the death of Korolev in January, a letter was sent to the Central Committee requesting that Mishin be appointed director of OKB-1. Ustinov tried to line up support for Mishin, but by the time of the first first Saturn IB orbital flight on 26 February 1966, no decision had been made. America was progressing on the path to the moon, but Russia was stalled. An alternate that had been considered was Sergei Okhapkin, another Deputy Chief Designer at TsKBEM. But Okhapkin knew only spacecraft, he had never developed complete launch-booster-spacecraft systems. By the time Mishin was appointed, it was clear that the race was lost. The American's planned their first Saturn V launch in September 1967 and their first manned flight in 1968. Mishin could not expect trials of the LK lunar lander until 1969 at the earliest. There were insufficient funds allocated, and the schedule had no allowance for test flight failures. Ustinov, Morozhin, and Keldysh pointed fingers as to who had presented such unrealistic schedules to the Politburo. Keldysh now supported unmanned robot lunar landers in development by Babakin. Even these would not land until 1970, allowing three years of flight trials to achieve reliability. Khrushchev, it seemed, was to blame for such enormous unaffordable projects. This in turn put Ustinov in danger, as Khrushchev's point man for space.
Kamanin is back from leave and orients himself. VVS General Rudenko has been visited by Mishin, Tsybin, and Tyulin. They want to replace Kamanin's crews for the first Soyuz mission in September-October with a crew made up of OKB-1 engineers: Dolgopolov, Yeliseyev, and Volkov as the prime crew, Anokhin, Makarov, and Grechko as back-ups. Kamanin believes this absurd proposal, made only three months before the planned flight date, shows a complete lack of understanding on the part of OKB-1 management of the training and fitness required for spaceflight. Kamanin has had eight cosmonauts (Komarov, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Bykovsky, Voronov, Kolodin, Gagarin, and Nikolayev) training for this flight since September 1965. Yet Mishin and Tyulin have been shopping this absurd proposal to Smirnov, Ustinov, and Malinovskiy, who do not know enough to reject it.
In the previous days Kamanin has been preparing Vershinin and Rudenko for the struggle to ensure the Ministry of Defence's interests in space are preserved and defended. Malinovskiy, Smirnov, and Ustinov must be convinced of the righteousness of the VVS position on space crew preparation and training. At the beginning of 1966, Kamanin thought 1966 would be the year Russia would leap ahead again in the space race. At that time four manned Voskhod and four manned Soyuz flights were expected. Now the year is half over, and it is clear that the only remaining Voskhod flight will not go ahead, and it will be luck if even two Soyuz missions are flown. Instead of a year of triumph, 1966 will see the USA pulling far ahead in the space race. This is the fault of the incredibly poor management of the Soviet space program by Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Malinovskiy -- but even more fundamentally due to the inept management of OKB-1 and TsUKOS. The Voskhod program was delayed, then destroyed by OKB-1's insistence on inclusion of their poorly thought-out and developed experiment in artificial gravity. VVS was always opposed to this experiment, yet OKB-1 dragged the program out for years trying to perfect it. Flights of the Soyuz spacecraft could already have occurred in 1962-1963, had Korolev not ignored VVS recommendations and insisted on perfecting a fully automatic rendezvous and docking system. Development of this system delayed the Soyuz project a minimum of three years.
Brezhnev has finally agreed to meet with Gagarin, Leonov, and Kamanin on 28 or 29 July. Gagarin will be in Czechoslovakia on 25 July, and Leonov in Hungary; they'll have to be back by the 27th to prepare for the meeting. Kamanin holds no great hope for the outcome - the cosmonauts' desire to reorganize and reprioritise Soviet spaceflight will meet powerful opposition from Ustinov, Smirnov, and Malinovskiy.
DF Ustinov, Secretary of the Central Committee for Defense and Space, berates Mishin on the slow start on the program. He stated "Do not underestimate the successes the US program Gemini. You need to consider a staged program of space exploration. The pace of progress in KIS and TP facility construction will not support launches within the mandated timeframe" (Mishin Diaries 1-234).
Mishin sends a letter to Kamanin, linking acceptance of his eight cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1 to continuation of sea recovery tests of the Soyuz capsule at Fedosiya. Kamanin's early hopes for Mishin have been dashed - not only is he no Korolev, but his erratic management style and constant attempts to work outside of accepted channels and methods, are ruining the space program. Later Gagarin briefs Kamanin on the impossibility of meeting Brezhnev, who has flown south for vacation without reacting to Gagarin's letter. Most likely, the letter will be referred to Ustinov, who will pass it to Smirnov, with instructions to suppress this "revolt of the military". Gagarin requests permission to resume flight and parachute training in preparation for a space mission assignment. Kamanin agrees to allow him to begin three months before the mission to space. This will be no earlier than 1967, as Gagarin will not be assigned to the first Soyuz flights.
Kamanin decides to smooth over matters with OKB-1. He calls Mishin, and then Tsybin, and agrees to begin processing of Anokhin, Yeliseyev, Volkov, and Kubasov as soon as he receives their personnel files and security clearances. Mishin promises to deliver the Soyuz mock-up of the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft soon - it slid from 20 July, then from 7 August.
As expected, Gagarin's letter to Brezhnev was referred to Ustinov, then to Smirnov, who has now referred it to Afanasyev and Malinovskiy with the instructions that they are "to present a mutually agreed solution". Malinovskiy referred it in turn to his four marshals, and Rudenko immediately makes an error by conceding that TsPK will accept OKB-1 cosmonaut candidates for training aboard Soyuz.
The government has decided to decrease rather than increase the authority of the Chairman of the State Commission for Manned Flights. Kerimov will be appointed to the post. He is now only Chief for the MOM Third Main Administration. His predecessors were Ministers or Deputy Ministers (Rudnev, Smirnov, Tyulin). Kerimov will not have the rank or authority to stand up to dozens of chief designers, deputy ministers, Marshals, Generals, or the President of the Academy of Sciences. Kamanin observes that Soviet space affairs continue to roll downhill under the "valiant" management of Ustinov and Smirnov.
Ustinov calls Gagarin, Komarov, and Leonov to his office to discuss their long-unanswered letter to Brezhnev. He asks about cosmonaut training for Soyuz flights, and surprisingly, Voskhod 3 (long buried by Mishin, though no resolution or decision ever cancelled the mission). He urges the cosmonauts to stop quarrelling and work more closely with OKB-1. Kamanin judges from the report of this strange conversation that Ustinov has a completely distorted view of affairs, as a result of falsehoods fed to him by Mishin and Smirnov. Shortly after this debriefing General Kuznetsov calls with the surprising news that Mishin has issued orders for work to resume in preparing Voskhod 3 for flight. But this is the last that is ever heard of the Voskhod 3 mission...
Ustinov chairs a VPK meeting on the readiness of the Soyuz spacecraft for flight. The first unmanned launch of the spacecraft will not be possible until 20 November. Mishin considers a manned flight impossible before 10 January 1967, but Ustinov orders preparations for a 20 December 1966 launch date. Mishin attempts to blame the delay on crew training. But it is OKB-1 and Mishin who failed to deliver the necessary training equipment for the TBK-60 chamber, Tu-104 aircraft, and the Volga docking simulator.
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.
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.
Kamanin accompanies 17 generals and other officers of the VVS in a tour of Chelomei's OKB-52. Chelomei spends five hours personally acquainting the visitors with his bureau's space technology capabilities. It was the first in-depth meeting Kamanin and Vershinin have had with Chelomei, despite meeting with him occasionally since 1961. They have mainly interacted with Korolev and now Mishin. Additional Details: here....
Ustinov reviews the cosmonauts. Kamanin urges that a manual docking be allowed on the Soyuz 1/2 mission - he had argued the same point with Korolev before his death. Komarov say he can accomplish a manual docking from 350 km range (once the Igla automatic system has brought him there from 23 km range). There follows a discussion of an all-female flight. Four female cosmonauts would be assigned to the mission, and Kamanin would need 5 to 6 months to complete there training. The mission is designated 'Voskhod-6'.
The cosmonauts are completely trained, ready for launch at any time with four hours notice. Then Mishin calls Ustinov and tells him that their training is what is holding up the Soyuz 1 launch! From the point of view of the military quality assurance inspectors, there are 100 unresolved discrepancies on Soyuz 1 - the spacecraft is a piece of shit.
Ustinov convened the commission at noon. The work was to be completed by 15 May, and the final report issued by 25 May. The members of the commission would be Ustinov, Smirnov, Serbin, Afanasyev, the Chief Designers, and Gagarin. 22 members would work in seven subcommittees that would:
Over 200 recommendations were made for revision of the parachute system, and all of these had to be made over the last two to three months. There have been 30 drops of the FAB-3000 Soyuz capsule mass simulator and two drops of capsule mock-ups. The entire series of tests is due to be completed by 20 September. This will allow flight of the first two manned spacecraft on 15 to 20 October. The commission is split over the selection of Feoktistov for the flight. It has to be referred to Smirnov and Ustinov for a final decision.
The booster was supposed to be launched by 1966, but there is no way it will be finished this year, and it is highly questionable it will even get off the ground in 1968. The N1 tanks are pressurised to 2 atmospheres, and can go up to three atmospheres in an emergency. In the enormous MIK assembly hall are three N1's - one 'iron bird' ground test model and two flight vehicles. The first roll out of the mock-up will take place in 1967, and the first launch attempt is still expected in 1968 (the first launch will not be attempted until the second and third stages complete stand tests. There is no test stand for the first stage, it will be fired for the first time in flight). An explosion would destroy the pad, requiring several years of repairs. There are two pads, but even that would not be a guarantee of the availability of the rocket due to the poor expected initial reliability. The N1 project is costing 10 billion roubles, not including considerable investment required by the military. To Kamanin the whole thing is a boondoggle, showing the necessity for development of lighter air-launched boosters. He believes there are many mistakes in design and construction, but Mishin, Pashkov, Smirnov, and Ustinov support these doubtful projects of Korolev and Mishin, instead of technically sound projects such as Chelomei's UR-700 or MiG's air-launched spacecraft. If Mishin thinks the current Proton/L1 reliability is only 0.6, then that of the completely unproved N1/L3 must be even less...
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.
Due to failure of a star tracker a guided lifting re-entry of 3-4 G was not accomplished. A ballistic re-entry of 7-8 G however resulted in a successful soft landing in the target zone. Rudenko's recovery crews demonstrated a lack of training. Ustinov and Mishin were anxious to release a proclamation of total mission success, but they needed confirmation that the soft landing rockets had functioned correctly. It was only after 2.5 hours that the recovery teams arrived aboard an Mi-6 helicopter that the correct function of the landing system is verified and the leadership notified.
The first Saturn V and Surveyor 6 have been launched by the Americans. Kamanin catalogues why the Americans are beating them: bad organisation, on the parts of Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov, Malinovskiy, and Grechko; technical errors and an undisciplined approach to the fulfilment of government decrees concerning the Soyuz and N1 on the parts of Chief Designers Korolev and Mishin; lack of coordination between the institutes and design bureaux compared to the United States; and finally, the Americans are spending several times more money than has been dedicated to the Soviet space program.
A panel headed by Afanasyev and Mishin reviews the readiness of the N1. The mock-up booster is to complete pad compatibility tests by 30 March 1968. The first launch is still supposed to take place in the second half of 1968. The launch of the American Saturn V in November has reenergized the workers at Tyuratam. Kamanin is impressed - he was less sure of success, knowing all the problems of a project that requires the labour of thousands of persons. Afanasyev then turns to crew selection issues. The original resolution said that a cosmonaut was to be launched by an N1-L3 by April 1968. Mishin says he will be able to make two launches in the second half of 1968. It will take 18 to 24 months to train crews. But to date, Mishin still won't agree to crew selections, despite dozens of contacts and letters from Kamanin to Ustinov and Smirnov. There are still no simulators for the L3. Mishin wants to launch to the moon only engineers from TsKBEM. He is given an ultimatum: either the VVS will leave the space program, requiring Mishin to take over all training and crew responsibilities, or reach an agreement on crew composition in the next few days. Afansyev orders the commission to convene again in two to three days.
Kamanin is dumbfounded. The leadership has decided to accept Mishin's recommendations, scrap the 7K-VI project, and replace it with a Soyuz variant! Mishin is an egotist, but he is supported by highly-placed leaders - Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov, Serbin, Stroganov, Keldysh, and others. So everyone in the space program has to dance in the service of this 'engineer-performer', who is not a credible chief designer.
Afanasyev holds meetings on the L3 lunar expedition program. Kamanin recites Mishin's failings. Afanasyev replies that he has talked to Ustinov about it, but Ustinov will leave the current management in charge until N1 flight tests begin. If they are unsuccessful, then Mishin alone will have to answer for it. Afansyev also assures Kamanin that although Feoktistov should be allowed to train for a space flight, he and Ustinov will make sure he never flies.
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....
Kamanin, Gagarin, Titov, Popovich, Belyayev, and Leonov meet with Marshal Yakabovskiy. They inform him that Mishin is blocking further development of the 7K-VI military manned spacecraft and also trying to kill Chelomei's Almaz military space station. They get nowhere. The Marshal says that while he doesn't understand much about space himself, Ustinov had assured him that Mishin and Afanasyev were taking all measures necessary to correct the necessary material...
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).
He agrees that only pilots should be assigned as crew commanders. However he says that the increase of the training centre to 500 staff will need discussion with the party. Furthermore, Kamanin's wish to move management of manned spacecraft projects from the RSVN to the VVS is a 'difficult subject' that has to be discussed at the highest levels of the Ministry of Defence.
Khrunov tries to don the Yastreb space suit unassisted, in another test of the feasibility of a 1+2 Soyuz mission. He simply cannot accomplish the task in the four minute maximum time required. Mishin now has Ustinov interested in his 1+2 mission, with Yeliseyev to make a solo EVA from one Soyuz to another.
Mishin still wants to eventually conduct a 2+2 mission, but now wants the flight in August to be a 0+1 test flight. In this he is supported by Keldysh and Ustinov. He wants Feoktistov to be the pilot. Kamanin is adamantly opposed and offers him Beregovoi, Volynov, or Shatalov.
Mishin wants one more unpiloted Soyuz launch, resulting in a 0+1 unmanned/manned test flight in September, to be followed by the design 1+3 mission with crew transfer in November/December. The reserve chute failed in tests at an SA re-entry capsule mass of 2800 kg. Therefore, Mishin feels the 0+1 mission would be safe, resulting in a mass for the manned capsule of 2650 kg. But Ustinov insists on the 1+3 mission, meaning an SA mass of 2750 kg. Another consideration is that the capsule may need ballast anyway in order to obtain the correct centre of gravity location for the lifting re-entry manoeuvres. It must be balanced in such a way so that it can re-enter the atmosphere at its maximum 23 degree angle of attack.
Coordination problems between the ministries in preparation of the Soyuz spacecraft. VVS and MAP have managers assigned for quality control of each system, while MOM (Afanasyev) counterpart staff are disorganised. Yet again conflicts have to be appealed to 'Cardinal' Ustinov.
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.
Apollo 8 has been launched. Kamanin recalls that he first saw a model of the Saturn V during his visit to Washington DC with Titov in 1962. At that time the Soviet Union planned to fly the N1 in four years, but the only manned spacecraft on the drawing boards after Voskhod was the Sever. Khrushchev didn't give a go-ahead for the lunar program until 1964. In the gap between Voskhod and Soyuz flights, when the American Gemini program seized the lead, the USSR could have achieved a record by flying Volynov for 18 days in Voskhod 3. But this was cancelled at the last minute by the leadership because the Voskhod had 'no development potential'. Ustinov, Smirnov, Pashkov were responsible for this decision, which put the USSR permanently behind in the space race.
The Soyuz 4 and 5 crews arrive at Tyuratam aboard an An-24. They work with their spacesuits at Area 31 until 23:00. On the bus back to the sleeping quarters Kamanin tells them of Ustinov's 'recommendation' that they do an automatic docking. They are against it, argue for a manual docking. If allowing enough time for the crew of the active spacecraft to adapt to zero-G is the issue, they propose switching the launch order of the active and passive spacecraft. This alternative is ruled out - it is too late and risky to modify the flight programs. Shatalov bursts out - 'Here we are debating this for the tenth time, while he Americans are orbiting the moon'. They call for the bus to stop. They exit out into the icy clear night and look at the moon. Thoughts came of the nine comrades who had died trying to put the USSR first to the moon, all to no avail.
The L3 spacecraft still does not even exist in mock-up form. All of the leadership are responsible for this farce - Malinovskiy, Smirnov, Ustinov, Brezhnev. There is no single manager of the space program. The VPK and Central Committee operate on rumours. The Interagency Soviet headed by Keldysh was supposed to coordinate space activities, but in fact has not functioned in the last four to five years. There is no single military space organisation in the Ministry of Defence. Piloted flight tests are being run by former artillery officers in the RSVN. Various organizations of MAP and VVS coordinate ground and flight tests poorly. These are the reasons for the failure of the Soviet Union in space. Today in the Central Committee Ustinov asked - 'how to answer Apollo 8?' Ustinov relies on Keldysh, Keldysh supports Mishin, and Mishin is unfit for his duties. But Mishin is not even there! The program they come up with: In January 1969, 2 Venera probes will be launched, two manned Soyuz missions, and L1 s/n 13 will be sent around the moon. In February the first N1 will be launched. By the end of March the first Ye-8 robot will land on the moon and return lunar soil to the earth. This meeting is followed by a session of the VPK at 16:00. The crews are named for the Soyuz 4 and 5 flights.
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....
After two days of snow, family, and rest at this dacha, Kamanin is called to a General Staff meeting - the issue - how to answer the Americans? Attending are Generals Kutakhov, Moroz, Ponomarev, Kustanin, Yoffe, Frolov, Kartakhov, and others. It is agreed that the only proper answer is a Soviet lunar landing - but that is two to three years away. The 1964 resolution authorising the lunar program required a lunar flyby to be conducted by 1967 and a landing by 1968. But Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, and Pashkov hindered the attainment of this order. They were always requiring meetings, analyses, reports. The result - now many volumes of reports, but no action. The VPK proposes to land a Ye-8-5 robot on the moon and return lunar soil to earth in a 50 cm diameter, 38 kg capsule. The capsule will descend under a parachute and transmit on two VHF beacons in order to be located. But this still does not exist in metal, just in mock-up form. Considered logically, it could not be available earlier than the second half of 1969. The existing schedule for it to fly in the first half of the year is illogical and unachievable. Kamanin looks back with bitterness on the year of 1968 -- they have lost the moon race, they have lost Gagarin. His only consolation is his family.
At Baikonur, Ustinov and Afanasyev get into an argument with Mishin. They want Soyuz 4 and 5 to accomplish a completely automatic docking, as was done successfully by Cosmos 186/188 and Cosmos 212/213. Mishin categorically rejects this. He wants a manual docking, which was unsuccessful when attempted by Beregovoi on Soyuz 2/3. Meanwhile the Soyuz 4/5 crews hold a news conference.
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....
Kamanin and four cosmonauts return to Moscow from Tyuratam aboard an Il-18. It has been nearly nine years since Gagarin's flight, and now America looks like the winner of the space race, with the successful flight of Apollo 8 around the moon. Kamanin attributes the loss to the mistakes made by Ustinov and Smirnov in the erratic management of the Soviet program, coupled with the insistence of Korolev and Mishin to develop completely automated spacecraft that do not require intervention by the cosmonaut.
Two sequential N1 failures could not just be blamed on the poor reliability of the first stage. It was apparent that, compared to the Americans, both the management and the development practices of the Soviet space programme were inferior to the Americans. Politically there was no consensus within the Soviet state of the need for a space programme. Glushko and Ustinov waged a perpetual struggle against Afanasyev, Keldysh, and Mishin. RVSN Commander Kirillov wrote a letter to Smirnov on behalf of Afanasyev on the root causes of the failures. His faction believed these were the continued use of artillery/military rocket development practices for large, complex systems. These outdated practices required 20 to 60 flight tests to achieve reliability before a rocket could be put into production. Additional Details: here....
Mishin pitched his first draft for the next five year plan, with an upgraded N1M to launch expeditions to the moon, Mars, and MKBS. Again his plans to improve the N1 were not well received (Mishin Diaries 2-213): Meeting with the DF Ustinov (22.00) on the rocket and space Five Year Plan. N1-L3 - Core package for lunar exploration. Expedition to Mars \ necessary to accelerate MKBS / MV Keldysh - Against OB-VI and against N1M with EYaRD. There are three preliminary designs for an expedition to Mars (TsKBEM, Chelomei, Yangel)
"Luch" - you need to develop (especially realistic anti-jamming measures). NA Pilyugin - against the N1M LV.
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:
Meeting of Kamanin with S G Donevskiy. The L3 trainer will not be finished until May 1970 - and the current schedule for the first manned L3 launch is December 1970! But in any case Kamanin assesses the latter date as unrealistic -- there is no rocket or spacecraft in being yet. Later in the day Efimov, Moroz, and Kamanin meet with the female cosmonauts - Ponomaryova, Solovyova, Yerkina, and Kuznetsova. They advise them that despite the letter to the Central Committee asking for an all-female Soyuz flight, it has been rejected. Ustinov, Smirnov, and Pashkov are all opposed to the idea, as are MOM, MAP, AN, and VVS. Kamanin believes the whole female cosmonaut concept was a mistake. Flying Tereshkova in the first place started the whole thing, but now there is no follow-up.
Kamanin advises Nikolayev his chances of being named to fly Soyuz 8 are very low. Tereshkova arrives at Kamanin's office in the evening. She is infuriated that her husband is not to be allowed to fly the mission. She says she will take the matter to Ustinov and Polanskiy. Kamanin tells her that would be a mistake.
The members do not believe the three spacecraft and crews are ready for flight. They rate the availability of the actual spacecraft for training before the flight at 20 to 30%, while the trainers are being used at 200% of their rated capacity. The result is the cosmonauts can only train on the technical systems of the actual spacecraft after they have been delivered to the cosmodrome. The situation is even worse with the experimental equipment for the flights, which in some cases they do not see until they are at the cosmodrome. Unwilling to commit themselves, the commission bumps the decision whether to proceed up to the Politburo. Ustinov and Smirnov badly guide the whole space program, in Kamanin's view. The Politburo won't meet until 29 September -- he hopes the Russian bureaucracy can complete all the steps to approve the flights before the scheduled launch day!
Mishin was opposed to the DOS space station concept - he wanted to pursue the N1-launched MKBS. Afanasyev and Deputy Minister Tyulin wouldn't support the idea either. None of them wanted to take the risk. The only chance was to get to VPK Chairman Ustinov through Communist party channels. The opportunity came on the flight of engineers and management to Baikonur for the Soyuz 6/7/8 flight. Feoktistov had prepared a briefing on DOS, which he presented to Ustinov.
In the euphoria after the return of the Soyuz 6/7/8 crews, the problem was how to get Ustinov to meet further with the DOS 'conspirators'. Mishin had prohibited any meetings by TsKBEM staff with the Communist Party Secretary unless Mishin was also present. Another obstacle was that Feoktistov was not a party member; how could his presence at a party meeting be explained to Mishin later?
In any event these consideations were simply ignored. Feoktistov was present at a party meeting with Keldysh, Afanasyev, Tyulin, Serbin, and the Ministry of Defence's party cell: Strogonov, Kravtsev, and Popov. Keldysh was mainly worried how the project would affect the N1, but was reassured that the N1 had a dedicated work force, and the L3 lunar lander spacecraft engineers and workers that would work on DOS were currently idle and had no part of that work. It was finally decided to go ahead with the DOS no earlier than January, to allow time for Ministry Decrees, approval of a work plan by the VPK, preparation of a decree for signature by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Soviet Ministers. Work began on the project in December 1969 under the initial auspices of the Academy of Sciences. Additional Details: here....
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....
Ustinov called the DOS 'conspirators' to Kuibyshev Street. Mishin was sent away to Kslovodsk and Chelomei and Glushko were not invited. No one wanted to listen to any more of Glushko's diatribes about Kuznetsov's engines.
Ustinov supported presentation of the DOS concept to the Central Committee. Chelomei categorically opposed DOS and was trying to kill it through military channels. But the allure of an '18 month' station - one which would not only beat the American Skylab, but be in space in time for the 24th Party Congress - seemed too alluring. Mishin also rejected DOS, but deputies at both design bureaux supported the concept and were eager to proceed.
DOS was therefore created only when the moon project failed. Chelomei was forced to work on DOS, and it severely impacted Almaz schedules. The Salyut name was later applied to both the DOS and Almaz stations, creating the impression in the outside world that they were built by one designer.
Tereshkova is on a tour of Jordan and Syria. Kamanin muses over the year 1969. He is able to rationalise that it wasn't a bad year -- they flew 9 cosmonauts on five space missions. But of course they lost the moon to the Americans. He blames Mishin, Keldysh, Smirnov, and Ustinov for this. But he also blames the attitude of the Ministry of Defence and VVS. This is indicated by the total indifference to civilian space projects of Grechko and Kutakhov. They don't support the Gagarin Centre, or Kamanin's request for 10 additional Soyuz flights in earth orbit. Kamanin views the L3 spacecraft and mission scenario as unsafe. What is needed is a new spacecraft, launched by two N1 boosters, that will take a crew of 3 to 5 to the moon.
Work continues at the Gagarin Centre even on Sundays. Kamanin studies the reorganization of space units within the Ministry of Defence. Leonov wants to write a letter to Brezhnev, complaining about the management of the space programme. He wants to finger Mishin, Keldysh, Sminrov, Serbin, Ustinov, Krylov, Zakharov, and Grechko by name. Kamanin asks him -- can all the cosmonauts write to the head of state whenever they want? Who will protect them from the inferno of backlash that would result? He doesn't support Leonov's idea.
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...
It was originally planned to fly two Soyuz spacecraft in August-September 1970, but at the end of December it was ordered that this be changed to a single 20 day flight in April 1970. Kamanin was given only two days to put together a training programme that had to prepare the cosmonauts for flight by 20 March. The State Commission meets and decides to move the Soyuz 9 flight to May, even though Kamanin says he can support the April schedule. It is the scientific institutes who say they cannot finish development of their experiments - even to meet the May schedule. Kamanin blames such chaos on Smirnov, Serbin, and Ustinov.
Meeting DF Ustinov (Smirnov, Keldysh Afanasiev, Serbin, Stroganov, Kommissarov, Tsarev, Kerimov and others, on acceleration of N1 after 1973 for MKBS. Meeting at 12:00 - DF Ustinov (Smirnov, Keldysh Afanasiev, Serbin, Stroganov, Kommissarov, Tsarev, Kerimov and others.) ... 2) MKBS - Accelerate after 1973. It is necessary to accelerate the draft resolution on the MKBS and associated activities - EYaRD, reusable transport spacecraft. (Mishin Diaries 2-299)
Lunokhod-1 and Venera-7 missions continue well. The NIITsPK conference is completed, final total 88 papers. The conference has recommended a cautious build-up in manned flight durations - the next mission should be 22 days long, then 26, then 30. But Ustinov has ordered Mishin to ensure that the first flight to DOS will be 30 days long. Kamanin is categorically opposed to this. Kamanin runs through the principal differences between himself and Mishin:
The VVS leadership visits Chelomei's facility at Reutov. Kamanin recalls first seeting the Almaz mock-up five years earlier - it was already fully defined then. But it was only in August 1970 that a resolution was issued setting a firm schedule: Chelomei was to start flight trails in the second half of 1971, and the station was to enter service in 1972. Mishin is proposing to cancel Almaz and build 10 DOS stations instead. Mishin currently supervises five design bureaux, 60,000 workers, and is working on Soyuz, 7K-S, L3, DOS-7K, and a very few other projects. Chelomei has only one design bureau and 8,000 workers. Yet he has produced well-designed, mass-produced cruise missiles for the Navy, over 1,000 ICBM's for the RVSN, and the high-quality UR-500 Proton launch vehicle. Almaz could have flown on time if Ustinov had allowed Chelomei just 10% of the resources he has let Mishin squander on DOS. Chelomei easily agrees with the VVS to a mutual schedule for Almaz crew training, crew composition, etc. The contrast with the argumentative Mishin couldn't be greater.
It is obvious to Kamanin from the ECS conference that there are many mistakes in the organization of the Soviet space program. There is no single agency directing the program, like the American NASA. There is not only no five year plan for manned spaceflight, there is not even a plan for next year! Decisions on manned space are made erratically by unqualified members of the leadership. There is no single manager of military space projects. Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Karas at GUKOS are all pulling in different directions. Ustinov, Smirnov, and Keldysh don't give space more than 10% of their working time.
Kutakhov calls Smirnov to give the VVS position on DOS-7K flights. He is told that Mishin has not only Ustinov and Smirnov, but even Brezhnev behind him in support of 30, and then 60 day spaceflight durations aboard DOS. The VVS' position of limiting flights to 20 to 24 days has no chance.
An expert commission met to consider the N1-L3. Keldysh made several categorical demands:
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.
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.
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....
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.
Principal basis for the development of the MOK
1. Providing solutions in targeted areas of defense, science and the economy as they may change over 10-20 years. Enabling rapid replacement of legacy systems, devices and components by more sophisticated systems without changing the logic of construction of the MOK as a whole and its constituent satellite systems and basic modules.
2. Solution targets a minimum number of satellite modules using common equipment and apparatus.
3. Complex solution of defense, economic and scientific problems using MKBS - the main base of the MOK, for logistics and maintenance of a long-term operation and cost-effective transport system.
4. The modular structure of the MOK. Wide standardization, harmonization of systems, devices, compartments, aggregates. All elements of these systems, devices, units must be maintainable and interchangeable.
5. Ensuring long-term service life (5-10 years) of the MOK through periodic visits CM astronauts for routine maintenance, based on the MKBS.
6. MOK should provide the most cost-effective creation of rocket-space tools for addressing the full range of targets, most cost-effective organization of logistics, maintenance and management of the complex in comparison with existing systems. The development of the IOC should be considered as the direction of development of rocket and space technology to solve national problems with the least material costs.
7. Stages of creation MOK as the development and creation of the necessary special systems.
And receives the following criticisms:
1. All elements of MKBS (especially spacecraft based on the 7KS) must have the new layout of systems and equipment, providing repair and replacement.
2. GP Melnikov - MKBS is necessary, but give priority to modules SM-1 and SM-2 (these are specialized military free-flyers).
3. You need to rethink the section on handling scientific information.
4. Do we need to upgrade or add all these launch sites (R-7, UR-500 and N-1) for MOK (especially the UR500K launch complex)? VP Barmin offers not to upgrade the old UR-500 launch complexes, and spend those funds on new complexes (in fact these two additional UR-500 complexes would be the only ones built after the N1 / MKBS cancellation).
5. You need a special decision of the Central Committee of the CPSU and special funding for construction.
6. Which launch vehicles to implement the MOK.
ND Ustinov suggests use of the UR-500 with a fluorine-ammonia upper stage to launch the SNTV direct television broadcasting system (Mishin Diaries 3-104)
Since Soyuz 11 and his subsequent 'retirement', the Soviet Union has launched two space stations that failed in orbit, and made only one two-day Soyuz flight. Meanwhile the Americans had run successfully their entire Skylab program. The fourth N1 exploded on 23 November 1972. Ustinov has thrown away tens of billions of roubles on that useless project. Soyuz 13 landed yesterday - the first Soviet manned spaceflight not under Kamanin's command. Khrushchev made many mistakes, but Brezhnev continues to make even more. Kamanin feels his country is however not fit for democracy, that it needs discipline - otherwise there will be anarchy.
1. Now, when considering our long-term program and the use of near-earth space (including the Moon) for different purposes, it is necessary to clearly define the sequence of its implementation.
Especially decide - where to start? (Especially in the present situation).
- It is necessary as soon as possible to show the rationality inherent in the program guidelines.
Namely a space-based MOK.
- Optimal location for OAA systems: based on MKBS (DOS) - or visited the MPM for routine maintenance or brought near-MKBS for the same purpose.
- Reusable transport ship based on the 7M, and then a reusable transport system based on the work on the N-1 (but with a new engine system in stage 1).
- Space problems solved by the OAA.
- A great resource. (even after these events)
Where to start?
1. DOS 5 (6?) + 7KT + 7KTT + 7KS-OR
7KS-OR (evidently a reconnaissance version of the 7KS) - view as the embodiment of the most efficient use of the developed equipment (Zenit-Yantar)
Negotiations with DI Kozlov (What does he want?)
2. All that in the first only on the basis of the 7M, to create the MTK and MPM (talks with EV Shabarov)
What will branch NII-4 handle?
1. Operative follow-up exploration.
2. Armed struggle in outer space.
3. The defeat of the moving targets.
4. Electronic countermeasures
5. Use of stationary orbit.
6. Use of of sun-synchronous orbits.
Filial of NII-4 GUKOS support (but only at the lower levels): 1. R-7M; 2. N-1?; 3. N-11
Support in the MO MO for the N-1 - signed by Alekseev and Tolubko.
Navy is indifferent to MOK (they do not understand the prospects)
It is necessary to establish a relationship with the customer. He is interested in this (Attract DI Kozlov!)
- Write a detailed letter on MOK to Afanasyev (copied to the Central Committee) (With a draft work order)
- Draft a memo to the Central Committee for DF Ustinov. (Long-term planning)
- Achieve color television for the Soyuz-M (NN Detinov - CC)
- TsKBEM review of the level of work on special equipment in related organizations.
- Write a memo about the possibilities of "A" in the operational intelligence. (VK Bezverby together with TsNIIMASH).
- Deal with the radio channel on the "Yantar". Orders: VK Bezverby
- The draft memo on the need of long-term integrated planning by the state. TSKBEM work on MOK - 1st to attempt its development. (Mishin Diaries 3-167)
Ustinov achieved a leadership consensus to kill the N1 by the beginning of May 1974. He achieved the agreement of the other Ministers on the Military-Industrial Commission, and finally Keldysh. Projects that were ongoing that were linked with the N1 included: the lunar base, MKBS space station, Mars robotic soil return spacecraft and manned expedition, a space radio telescope with a 100 m antenna, and multiple channel communications satellites. All of these died with the cancellation. If 8L had been successful, then after 1 or 2 further test launches, the N1-L3M could begin flying. That meant that the Soviet Union was within 3 to 4 years of establishing long-term lunar expeditions and a moon base. The Americans would have been leapfrogged. Instead, the leadership decided to develop a completely new heavy-lift launch vehicle, which never became operational before the Soviet Union collapsed.
Glushko's first action was to implement a decision of the leadership to develop a completely new heavy-lift launch vehicle. This work started in 1974, with a planned first flight in 1984, at a total estimated cost of 5 to 6 billion roubles. One factor in the decision was the fact that Keldysh was greatly disturbed by the manoeuvrability of the space shuttle. He talked the matter up until he managed to get Ustinov and Brezhnev worked as well. He told them a US shuttle could manoeuvre around Soviet PVO and PKO anti-missile and satellite defences and deliver a 25 tonne nuclear bomb of greater than 25 megatons force directly on Moscow.
Keldysh was convinced that the US planned to use the shuttle for a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Russia. Therefore the USSR needed an analogous capability to maintain the strategic balance. While this discussion was going on, the energies of TsKBEM were completely absorbed in the Apollo-Soyuz program, on which the prestige of the Soviet Union depended. Additional Details: here....
Glushko formally cancelled the N1 within the new NPO Energia on 13 August 1974 with the support of Ustinov, even though he had no decree of the VPK Military-Industrial Commission or the Central Committee authorising such an act. The N1-L3 itself was not officially closed down until the resolution of February 1976 starting work on the Energia/Buran boosters. By that time 6 billion roubles had been spent on the N1 over 17 years. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin attends a reunion of cosmonauts on the occasion of the arrival of the Soyuz 15 crew at Chkalovsky Airfield. Demin has flown at the age of 48, the oldest astronaut ever, until Slayton makes his flight. Kamanin talks to Glushko and learns that the N1 has finally been cancelled. The misbegotten project went for eight years only because of the unconditional support of Mishin by Keldysh, Smirnov, and Ustinov. The earliest Soviet lunar landing cannot occur earlier than the Tenth Five Year Plan (e.g. 1980). Kamanin learns that Soyuz 15 was supposed to be a thirty-day flight, but the Igla automatic docking system failed yet again.
Almaz station portion of the project already severely cut back after Marshal Grechko's heart attack in early 1976. Chelomei lost his most active patron and was unable to withstand the slow strangulation of his projects by Ustinov and Glushko. Almaz finally completely scrapped in 1980, but Chelomei hid the completed space stations in a corner of his complex, labelling them as 'radioactive material'. Chelomei finally forced to retire in October 1983. TKS shuttle craft used to dock with Salyut stations but never in manned mode. Following Ustinov's death, Almaz stations finally flown as unmanned radarsats, but Chelomei did not live to see this.
Following the cancellation of the Almaz military station it was still planned that two of the TKS ferries would be flown manned to Salyut stations. In September/October 1979 three crews were formed. In December 1981 Ustinov killed Chelomei's plans for manned TKS flights. The TKS training group was dissolved and TKS-2 flew unmanned to Salyut 7 as Cosmos 1443.
Planned second manned flight of TKS ferry to the Salyut 7 space station. The crews were assigned in September/October 1979. But in December 1981 Ustinov killed Chelomei's plans for manned TKS flights. The TKS training group was dissolved and TKS-3 flew unmanned to Salyut 7 as Cosmos 1686.
After the American decision was taken into 1983 to initiate the 'Star Wars' strategic defence initiative program, Minister of Defence Ustinov requested that the Americans be challenged. As a 'warning shot' the Terra-3 complex was used to track the space shuttle Challenger with a low power laser. This caused malfunctions to on-board equipment and temporary blinding of the crew, leading to a US diplomatic protest.
On 29 November 1986 the first Almaz-T space station was launched. Unfortunately the Proton second stage exploded on the way to orbit. The planned manned flight to the station was cancelled. At the beginning of 1987 it was decided not to man the next Almaz-T, instead operate it in a fully automatic mode. Thus was the final Almaz cosmonaut training group disbanded.