Born: 1900-06-03. Died: 1973-12-30.
Korolev gives a briefing to Vershinin and other military leaders at OKB-1 laying out his proposed plans for space in the next two to three years. He pushes for VVS to purchase 10 to 15 Vostok-1 or Vostok-3A spacecraft for a sustained manned flight series. The next Vostok flight is now delayed to 27-28 February. He reviews the two Vostok-1 flights to date. The first successfully orbited and recovered the dogs Strelka and Belka, the second failed to reach orbit, but the capsule successfully landed 3500 km downrange near Yakut in the Tura region, after reaching an altitude of 214 km. The dogs survived a 20-G re-entry and hard landing in the capsule.
Kamanin spend the night in a new hotel with much-appreciated electrical heating. At 11 am they fly to Moscow with Chernushka, the small living specimens, and the mannequin. The flight was a complete victory - all is now ready for the first manned flight into space.
The VVS TTZ requirements document for the next generation Soviet manned spacecraft is approved by Vershinin. It is to accommodate two cosmonauts, have a launch mass of 6.5 to 7.0 tonnes, be capable of manoeuvring and changing its orbit at altitudes of 270 to 300 km altitude. The TDU engine is to be restartable, and the spacecraft will have a system to reliably change and hold its orientation in flight. The crew will be returned in a pressurised spherical re-entry capsule, but still be provided with ejection seats for separate landing of the crew in emergencies. The craft will be capable of flights of 15 to 20 days duration and be equipped with redundant communications systems. Kamanin points out the necessity of coordinating the TTZ with OKB-1. Vershinin and Ponomarev fight over whether to consider Chelomei's Raketoplan as meeting the requirement. Kamanin's position is that Korolev's Vostok is now flying reliably, while the Raketoplan is a 'crane in the clouds' - it might come to them some day, but who knows when.
Vershinin formalises two decrees - one to supply a Tu-104 to TsPK for cosmonaut zero-G training, the other for two Il-14's with HF transponders for long-range communications. Two further questions are discussed - should the cosmonauts be given the code for unlocking the manual orientation system of the spacecraft? It is decided they will be. And when will the flight be announced? Kamanin's position is that should happen as soon as the spacecraft safely reaches orbit, the others only want to make the first manned flight public after landing. It is decided to refer the matter for decision at the General Staff level.
Chief of Staff F A Agaltsov visits the Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine (IAKM) to review the six cosmonauts' training for flight. An 11-day trial is underway of the hot mock-up of the Vostok capsule's environmental control system. He also sees the dogs that have flown in space: Belka, Strelka, and Chernushka. Strelka has six 3-month-old puppies. Vershinin delivers a speech asking the cosmonauts to be morally prepared for spaceflight. The cosmonauts complain about the performance of Alekseyev's design bureau - of six spacesuits ordered, only three have been delivered (for Gagarin, Titov, and Nelyubov), and they haven't been able to train in parachute jumping in the suits yet.
The VVS leadership has been diverted for the last three days in meetings of the General Staff of the Warsaw Pact. At 09:00 Kamanin takes a break to prepare two letters. One goes to the Ministry of Defence, certifying readiness for the launch of Vostok 1 on 10-20 April; the other goes to Zakharov on the General Staff, turning over all in-flight photographs to the VVS. Vershsinin pages through Kamanin's photo album of earth photographs taken during the unmanned Vostok test flights. They show the precise orbital orientation of the spacecraft. He says he will show these to Grechko and Malinovskiy, trying to convince them of the usefulness of manned spaceflight. Kamain calls Korolev and advises him that Voronin is ready. Korolev says that he plans to put wood wool into the cabin to absorb any excess lithium chloride.
At Area 2 the cosmonauts conduct three hours of training on manual landing, and activities after landing. All three accomplish the manual landing well. Then they have three hours of badminton for physical conditioning. Both Gagarin and Titov like the game, and they are filmed for posterity. In the evening Rudnev discusses adding a night shift in order to achieve launch on 11 to 12 April. Afterwards Vershinin is briefed, and told all is normal, heading for an 11/12 April launch. Vershinin replies that the Americans are planning to launch their first man into space on 28 April. Kamanin is confident, there will be no difficulty in beating them. He notes the Americans launched a Mercury capsule on 24 March, but there was an abort and the capsule sank in the Atlantic. In the evening the movies are 'Careful, Babushka' and 'Vostok-1'. Kamanin finds the film on the mission good. General Moskalenko calls - he wants a meeting with the cosmonauts on launch day. Kamanin is not opposed, but he needs to know a specific time - it will be a busy morning before the launch
The commission meets from 09:30 to 12:00, making the official interview of Gagarin on his flight. There are unending questions. Afterwards Gagarin fields more questions by phone from the press. In the second half of the day he is readied for the return to Moscow. He has to make a half-hour speech to Khrushchev, but he hurries through the prepared text. Two or three trainers had noted this impatience of his, but Kamanin had already decided before the flight that Gagarin had the makings of a good orator. In the evening Brezhnev calls twice, and Vershinin several more times, coordinating things for Gagarin's return to Moscow. Bad weather is predicted for the next day and it is decided that Gagarin's airplane will arrive at Vnukovo. Gagarin is to exit the aircraft and walk alone to the reviewing stand. For this performance he is measured for a new uniform and great coat. He rehearses the speech twice, with Kamanin playing the part of Khrushchev in posing impromptu questions.
Korolev says he will need 28 pilot-cosmonauts and 22 specialist cosmonauts (engineers, scientists, etc) in the period 1962-1964. This is to include five women. Kamanin had already brought up the concept of a female spaceflight to Vershinin, Korolev, and Keldysh immediately after Gagarin's flight. He believed it was their patriotic duty to beat the Americans in putting a woman in space, and he wanted to find a female cosmonaut who would be a dedicated Communist agitator in the same class as Gagarin or Titov.
Vershinin approves the removal of Rafikov and Anikeyev from the cosmonaut group. In the night of 12-13 March they left the base without permission and went to the Moskva Restaurant Rafikov is not happy with his wife, and talks of divorce all the time. During holidays in Sochi last May he spent time with many women, and beat his wife when she complained about it. Titov, Rafikov, and Anikeyev have all come to the notice of the Chief of Staff.
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.
A briefing by engineer V A Smirnov predicts that the Americans will make a 17-18 revolution flight of the earth by the end of 1962. Kamanin disagrees, believing they will not achieve this until the second half of 1963. Another Zenit-2 spy satellite has failed to achieve orbit. The first had failed due to a third stage problem, and now the third attempt failed due to a first stage problem. It blew up 300 m from the pad, and did enough damage to put the launch complex out of operation for a month. Therefore the Vostok 3/4 launches cannot now take place until the end of July at the earliest.
Kamanin has continued arguments over the reorganisation of VVS space units and the role of IAKM. Korolev has never supported a leading role for the VVS or Kamanin in the Soviet space program. He is complaining about the 'offences' of the VVS, Kamanin, and the cosmonauts. Korolev cites Gagarin's trauma and Titov's motor accidents. He believes cosmonauts should be selected only from OKB-1 engineers. He also believes the cosmonauts are wasting too much time on publicity tours. Vershinin and Keldysh are hearing all of these complaints.
Kamanin queries Vershinin on support for a female Voskhod flight. The Commander-in-Chief approves the idea, but then suddenly brings up the question of Beregovoi. There seems to be a quid pro quo here, but Kamanin says that Volynov is still the lead candidate for the next flight. Cosmonautics Day celebrations go well, with Kamanin feeling he is successful in lobbying both politicians and industry leaders on the idea of an all-female Voskhod flight with Ponomaryova and Solovyova.
Kamanin meets with Marshall Rudenko to present his cosmonaut crew plans. For the experimental gravity flight he proposes Volynov-Katys (prime crew), Beregovoi-Demin, and Shatalov-Artyukhin (back-up crew). Rudenko wants Beregovoi's as the first crew, but Kamanin, sensing the Marshall is unsure in his position, pushes for Volynov. He then presents his plan for the next Voskhod EVA mission: Solovyova and Ponomaryova as the female prime crew, Khrunov and Gorbatko, and Zaikin as the male back-up crew. Kamanin says he already has Korolev, Keldysh, and Vershinin behind this plan. But Rudenko says he will decide this later - he has to take his daughter to the hospital.
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On creation of military Voskhod and Soyuz spacecraft' was issued. Eight days later, Kamanin receives the resolution, signed by Marshal Zharkov, countersigned by Smirnov. Krylov, Vershinin, Sudts, and Gorshkov are ordered to immediately begin military space research aboard Voskhod and also develop a special version of the Soyuz spacecraft for visual and photographic military reconnaissance, satellite inspection, interception in orbit, as well as development of nuclear missile early warning systems. This is old hat to Kamanin. Krylov has no interest in military spacecraft, and will not implement the order.
A major programme review is held on plans for Voskhod s/n 5, 6, and 7. Tsybin insists that to conduct all of the experiments requested by the Ministry of Defence will take ten spacecraft and missions, but only five have been authorised. Spacecraft s/n 5 will fly with dogs, on a biosat mission. Spacecraft s/n 6 and 7 are being completed for 15-day flights with two crew, outfitted for artificial gravity experiments and medical and military research. The readiness of the military experiments is very poor, due to the fact that in the past Malinovskiy over and over again prohibited any work on military uses of space, at least until the ideal military platform was developed. It was only on Keldysh's initiative that any preliminary work had been done at all. Kamanin replies to Tsybin that it was not the business of OKB-1 to develop military experiments; this was the concern of the Military of Defence. Yet, Kamanin admits to himself, there is no single organisation within the Ministry that is supervising this work. Later Kamanin takes Gagarin to a meeting with Vershinin and Marshal Grechko. The Marshal is unimpressed with Gagarin's understanding of the issues involved in the issue of whether the VVS or RVSN should handle manned spaceflight. Kamanin resolves not to take cosmonauts to such high-level meetings in the future. Grechko does understand finally how poorly Malinovskiy and his deputies have handled military spaceflight. But Malinovskiy, and his supporters, Marshal Rudenko, and Colonel-General Ponomaryov, will not give up in their effort to prevent the VVS from becoming the responsible organisation for military spaceflight.
The argument continues over IMBP running qualification tests instead of IAKM. This will cause a 5 to 7 day delay in qualifying the system for flight. Vershinin and Rudenko later clear Kamanin's recommendation for the Voskhod 3 crew for the new 20-day fight plan: Volynov as commander, Khrunov or Gorbatko as pilot, Beregovoi and Shatalov as back-ups.
In the previous days Kamanin has been preparing Vershinin and Rudenko for the struggle to ensure the Ministry of Defence's interests in space are preserved and defended. Malinovskiy, Smirnov, and Ustinov must be convinced of the righteousness of the VVS position on space crew preparation and training. At the beginning of 1966, Kamanin thought 1966 would be the year Russia would leap ahead again in the space race. At that time four manned Voskhod and four manned Soyuz flights were expected. Now the year is half over, and it is clear that the only remaining Voskhod flight will not go ahead, and it will be luck if even two Soyuz missions are flown. Instead of a year of triumph, 1966 will see the USA pulling far ahead in the space race. This is the fault of the incredibly poor management of the Soviet space program by Ustinov, Smirnov, Keldysh, and Malinovskiy -- but even more fundamentally due to the inept management of OKB-1 and TsUKOS. The Voskhod program was delayed, then destroyed by OKB-1's insistence on inclusion of their poorly thought-out and developed experiment in artificial gravity. VVS was always opposed to this experiment, yet OKB-1 dragged the program out for years trying to perfect it. Flights of the Soyuz spacecraft could already have occurred in 1962-1963, had Korolev not ignored VVS recommendations and insisted on perfecting a fully automatic rendezvous and docking system. Development of this system delayed the Soyuz project a minimum of three years.
Kamanin has prepared a draft letter from the Minister of Defence to the Central Committee decrying the lead of the United States in military space research and manned spaceflight. But the letter has not been forwarded. Rudenko has sought a meeting with Smirnov on the attempt by MOM and OKB-1 to take over all manned spaceflight functions, but Kamanin does not believe that he or Vershinin have Smirnov's ear.
Marshal Vershinin attends the meeting, where it is revealed that all systems in development - Chelomei's, Mishin's, Voronin's, Severin's, and others - are seriously behind schedule. The first unmanned circumlunar test of the L1 was to be made by 15 April 1967, but it seems unlikely it will even be completed by the end of 1967.
Mishin, Rudenko, and others have met with Beregovoi and support his selection as commander for the first Soyuz mission. Kamanin does not believe he is fit for the assignment, due to his age, his height and weight (that are the limit of the acceptable for the Soyuz). Gagarin reports that during a visit to OKB-1 the day before, he discovered that they were still going all out to prepare their own crews and train their own cosmonauts for Soyuz flights. Kamanin reassures him that the full power of the VVS, the General Staff, and the Ministry of Defence is behind the position that only VVS pilots will command the missions. Mishin is gloating over the latest spacesuit tests. Khrunov tried exiting from the Soyuz hatch in the Tu-104 zero-G aircraft. Using his full dexterity and strength, he had more success than in earlier tests. But Kamanin notes that designing a spacecraft hatch only 10 mm wider than the cosmonaut is hardly the basis for practical spaceflight or training. Later Kamanin plays tennis with Volynov and Shonin. Their Voskhod 3 flight is still not officially cancelled. They have been fully trained for the flight for months now, but no go-ahead is given. On Saturday, Tsybin presents to the General Staff OKB-1's concept for training of engineer cosmonauts. Tyulin, Burnazyan, and Keldysh have approved the plan, except they have substituted VVS engineer cosmonauts for those from OKB-1 for the first Soyuz flights. So this is the result of months of controversy - a position that there is no fundamental opposition to cosmonaut candidates from OKB-1. Kamanin sees the absolute need for his draft letter to be sent from the four Marshals (Malinovskiy, Zakharov, Krylov, and Vershinin) to the Central Committee. Mishin continues to "assist" the situation - it has been two weeks since he promised to submit the names and documentation for his candidates to the VVS, and he has done nothing.
Rudenko has reached agreement with Mishin that L1 and L3 crews will also consist of a VVS pilot as commander, and an OKB-1 flight engineer. Kamanin is depressed. Despite the support six marshals (Malinovskiy, Grechko, Zakharov, Krylov, Vershinin and Rudenko), Mishin has won this argument with the support of Ustinov, Serbin, Smirnov, Pashkov, Keldysh, Afanasyev, and Petrovskiy. Later the State Commission meets, for the first time in a long time at Tyuratam. Kerimov chairs the session, with more than 100 attendees, including Mishin, Rudenko, Krylov, Pravetskiy, Kurushin, Ryazanskiy, Mnatsakanian, and Tkachev. All is certified ready,. Launch of the active spacecraft is set for 26 November, and the passive vehicle on 27 November.
The boosters were rolled out to the pads over eight hours late, at 17:30. There were delays in integrating the spacecraft in its fairing with the rocket, due to the much greater length of the Soyuz fairing and SAS abort tower (making the whole vehicle 46 m long). There was even concern that the assembled rocket would topple over in its horizontal carriage due to the forward centre of gravity. Mishin is getting out of control - publicly screaming at his staff. He demeans the competence of the cosmonauts and extols the quality of his own engineer-cosmonauts in front of the leadership. He yet again insists on crew changes. Kamanin discusses Mishin's public hysterics and tantrums with Rudenko. Rudenko agrees that the man is unstable and unsuitable, but says that he has powerful forces behind him on the Central Committee and Council of Ministers. No one except Vershinin dares oppose him. Rudenko's only course is to let the State Commission and government decide who will fly.
Grechko, Zakharov, Shtemenko, Ivashutin, Vershinin, Rudenko and with dozens of other generals view a film prepared by the GRU on the American Apollo program. It gives the viewers a clear idea of the immense scale of the American program, which dwarfs the resources the Soviets have devoted to their counterpart. Kamanin believes it clearly demonstrates why the Soviet Union is lagging in the space race and how illusory is the hope of ever regaining the lead.
The cosmonauts are revolting against the selection of Nikolayev as their commander. They have written a letter demanding that Belyayev be put in the position. Leonov is also lobbying for the job, but Kamanin notes he has made two serious mistakes since April, no chance. Leonov attends a self-criticism meeting with the 'Gagarin comrades', self-confesses and emotionally says he will leave the cosmonaut unit if there are no future chances for promotion due to his repeated mistakes. Finally he is told that if does good work in the future, he could achieve the deputy commander position, but he can never, never make mistakes again.
A Zenit-2 spy satellite capsule has gone off course, splashed down in the Volga River, and sunk. Vershinin is in the hospital with intestinal polyps. Kamanin is reminded of Korolev's case, although he is told Vershinin's condition is not serious. There is criticism of the botched Zenit-2 recovery from Kutakhov. Meanwhile the Central Committee has decided to take no action on Czechoslovakia but send a letter to the Czech Communist Party. Kamanin is sick of this limp-wristed talk, talk, talk.
Vershinin looks bad after his surgery. His loss would be a blow for Kamanin's cause - Vershinin was steadfast against the unobjective positions of Mishin and Smirnov. Vershinin had just sent yet another letter about the procurement of the 16 m centrifuge for the TsPK. This is a six-year long story. The VVS has been trying to procure this essential piece of cosmonaut training equipment since 1962, but it still has not been delivered. Vershinin also has issued a letter on the L3 recovery force issue. He points out that the resolution of the Central Committee ordered the expenditure of 600 million roubles and the commitment of 9,000 men for recovery services. Another 400 million roubles and 12,000 men were earmarked by the Rocket Forces. Despite this huge commitment, Mishin now says he doesn't need any of them, that he can bring his L1 and L3 spacecraft to precision landings within the confines of the cosmodrome, eliminating the need for any Indian Ocean recoveries. This optimism is not accepted, but it is agreed the total requirement can be reduced to 400 million roubles and 7,000 men, through use of lighter recovery ships of the Leninskiy Komsomol class, and the use of three airborne relay stations instead of nine.
The General Staff considers the impending Soyuz 4 and 5 flights. Vershinin asks - what is the likelihood of Apollo 8 being successful? Kamanin tells him it is very good now; the final midcourse correction was made successfully. A State Commission convenes to consider the Zond 6 failure. Mishin and Tyulin do not attend - they send Bushuyev to represent them. It has been found that 70 km from the cosmodrome, as the spacecraft deployed its parachute, the parachute lines were pyrotechnically severed at 3 km altitude and the capsule crashed into the plain. This in turn was found to be due to an ONA landing antenna failure; and this in turn caused by the SUS going down to temperatures of -5 deg C during the flight and the depressurisation of the cabin. The hydrogen peroxide, due to the low temperature, put the spcecraft at a 45 degree attitude instead of the 18 degree maximum (?). There are five L1's left. Number 13 is at Tyuratam begin prepared for an unmanned flight due for launch on 20 or 21 January, number 11 is being readied for a March 1969 manned launch, to be followed by numbers 14, 15, and 16 in April, May, June. At 19:15 the successful splashdown of Apollo 8 is reported. The race to be first around the moon is over.
Plans for purchase of ten Soyuz spacecraft for the VVS are discussed. They next turn to Volynov's problems during the Soyuz 5 re-entry. The fault can be attributed entirely to the modular design of the spacecraft, requiring that two modules be jettisoned before re-entry. Vershinin declares that what was needed was a true KLA space flight craft, which would be winged, set toward orbit by aircraft-type booster stages, and could be recovered at a conventional air base borne on wings or rotor blades. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin flies back to Moscow aboard an An-24. Plans for the Cosmonaut Centre are discussed during the flight. It is to consist of 600 officer, 8 generals (vs. 1 currently), 3 directorates (vs. 1 now), and 6 deputy positions (instead of 3). It will become the country's centre for both cosmonaut training and scientific research. Vershinin had spent all day at Chkalovskiy on 3 February. He was unable to get anything going on these plans despite promises to implement them by higher officers.