Status: Deceased; Active 1966-1971. Born: 1935-11-23. Died: 1971-06-30. Spaceflights: 2 . Total time in space: 28.71 days. Birth Place: Moscow.
Graduated from Moscow Air Force Institute, 1959. Pilot and parachutist. Call sign: Donbass (Donbass - River Don basin).
Volkov and Dobrovolskiy conduct medical experiments aboard Salyut 1.
Credit: RKK Energia
Russian engineer cosmonaut 1966-1971. Member of first space station crew, however perished during landing. From 1958 a civilian engineer, Korolev OKB, involved in the development of the Vostok and Voskhod spacecraft. 2 spaceflights, 28.7 days in space. Flew to orbit on Soyuz 7 (1969), Soyuz 11.
Gagarin and Leonov visit Kamanin, who is on vacation at his dacha. They tell him of manoeuvres by Tyulin, Burnazyan, and Mishin in his absence. A VPK resolution will name crews for Soyuz missions that will consist of "invalid" engineers from OKB-1 (Anokhin, Frolov, Makarov, Volkov) instead of trained, flown cosmonauts (Gagarin, Nikolayev, Bykovsky).
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.
Tyulin heads a meeting that brings the Soyuz crewing dispute into the open. The opposing crews are represented as follows:
Kamanin is furious. Mishin and Tyulin think an engineer can be trained to be a spacecraft commander in three months, without passing a flight physical, without being a qualifed pilot, without screening and training on the centrifuge or zero-G aircraft, and without parachute training. They put no value in six years of VVS experience in cosmonaut training. They give no weight to the years of general training, spaceflight experience, and ten months of Soyuz-specific training his candidates have already had. He notes that the United States trains crews for a minimum of one to two years before a flight. Kamanin says this decision will not stand.
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.
Nikolayev, Bykovsky, Komarov, Khrunov, Gorbatko, Kolodin, and Voronov complete two parachute jumps each, with landing at sea. Training in sea-recovery by helicopter, with the cosmonauts in spacesuits, will be completed over the next two days. Smirnov is ready to sign a letter from Afanasyev, Burnazyan and Keldysh creating a new civilian cosmonaut training centre under the Ministry of Medium Machine Building, separate from the VVS centre. The letter is not coordinated with the Defence Ministry, and contradicts the letter sent by the four marshals to the Central Committee. Kamanin prepares a vigorous refutation of the letter's position. The physicians' board on OKB-1 candidates has only cleared Yeliseyev for flight - they could not agree on Volkov, Kubasov, and Grechko. OKB-1 only submitted four candidates for review, not the eight promised.
In the period 1966 to 1968 there were five simultaneous Soviet manned space projects (Soyuz 7K-OK orbital; Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar; Soyuz VI military; L3 manned lunar landing; Almaz space station). Cosmonaut assignments were in constant flux, resulting in many claims in later years that 'I was being trained for the first moon flight'. Additional Details: here....
Volkov, Grechko and Kubasov believe they can complete cosmonaut training in two months. Of course they know space technology, but Kamanin informs them that, with intensive training, they might be ready in one or two years. Popovich is assigned as leader of the Soyuz VI military spacecraft training group, and Belyayev as head of the Almaz military orbital station training group. Kaminin tells Severin to complete spaceuits for Khrunov and Gorbatko, but to ignore Mishin's orders to prepare suits for Anokhin and Yeliseyev. Anokhin has already been rejected due to his age and health, and Yeliseyev is still being tested. Kamanin reviews draft test programs for the UR-500K/L1 and N1-L3. He lines out statements inserted by Pravetskiy on joint training of cosmonauts by the MOM, Ministry of Public Health and VVS.
First snow of the winter in Moscow. The training of Soyuz crews has to be completed within 40 days, but there is still no assurance the trainers will be ready by 15 November. Komarov will command the active spacecraft, and Bykovsky the passive. Gagarin and Nikolayev are their back-ups. The 20 December flight date can only be met if Khrunov and Gorbatko serve as flight engineers. Training of Kubasov, Volkov and Yeliseyev in 40 days is impossible. Yet there is still no agreement on the crew composition.
Kamanin visits OKB-1. Mishin certifies that unmanned Soyuz s/n 1 and 2 will fly by 26 November, and the manned spacecraft s/n 3 and 4 by the end of December. The departure of cosmonauts for the range must take place not later than 12-15 December. There remains only 30 days for training of the crews, the member of which have still have not been agreed. Mishin ignores common sense and still insists on the preparation of only his own engineers (Yeliseyev, Kubasov, Volkov, Makarov). The argument over the Soyuz crews continues without resolution up to the Central Committee level, then back down through the VPK and State Commission, over the next week.
Rudenko, Mishin, Kerimov and Kamanin agree on crews for upcoming flights. Komarov, Bykovsky, Khrunov, and Yeliseyev are assigned to Soyuz s/n 3 and 4; Gagarin, Nikolayev, Gorbatko, and Kubasov to Soyuz s/n 5 and 6, with Beregovoi, Shatalov, Volkov, and Makarov trained as back-ups. For Soyuz s/n 7, which will conduct space welding experiments with the Vulkan furnace, the commander will be either Komarov, Bykovsky, Gagarin, Nikolayev, Beregovoi, or Shatalov. The other two crewmembers will be either Lankin and Fartushniy from the Paton Institute, VVS cosmonaut Kolodin, or an engineer from OKB-1.
Crews for the L1 must be named in order to complete the five-month training program in time. Eight L1's are being completed to the manned configuration, but Mishin believes it is necessary to plan for only six manned missions. It is decided to train nine crews. Spacecraft commanders will be Komarov, Bykovsky, Nikolayev, Gagarin, Leonov, Khrunov, Volynov, Beregovoi, and Shatalov. Flight engineers will be Yeliseyev, Kubasov, Makarov, Volkov, and Grechko. Komarov, Bykovsky or Nikolayev will command the first circumlunar flight. Mishin promises to name the OKB-1 candidates for that flight by 8 December. Mishin and Kerimov agree that training of cosmonaut- researchers from the Academy of Sciences may begin, although both Mishin and Rudenko expressed doubts about cosmonaut candidate Yershov.
The failures of Cosmos 133 have been narrowed to entangled thrust vector vanes in the main engines and a single defective approach and orientation thruster. It is agreed to set the unmanned launch of Soyuz s/n 1 for 18 December as a final functional check of all systems. If this is successful, the date will then be set for the manned launch of Soyuz s/n 3 and 4. Flight control will be conducted from Yevpatoria.
The newly named crew for Soyuz s/n 7 begin zero-G training on the Tu-104 (Beregovoi, Shatalov, Volkov and Makarov). A review will be held of the SAS emergency recovery system in Vladimirovka tomorrow. VVS engineers are worried about the hydrogen peroxide venting which has burned parachute lines on two occasions. It is not believed that Soyuz s/n 1 can complete all tests to verify the systems that failed on s/n 2 before 18 December. It is clear that Mishin cannot resist the pressure from the leadership to hurry, and is cutting out pre-launch tests, with an inevitable decrease in the chances for mission success. TsNII-30 has been given until the end of December complete plans for search and recovery of returning lunar spacecraft. But Mishin and OKB-1 have not provided the necessary trajectory data for such planning.
The commission considers plans for the rest of the Soyuz production. Spacecraft s/n 14, 15, and 16 are to fly in August 1969, 17 and 18 in November 1969, and 19 and 20 in February-March 1970. Crews selected for the August flights are: for spacecraft 14, Shonin and Kubasov; for 15, Filipchenko, Volkov, and Gorbatko; for 16, Nikolayev and Sevastyanov. Back-ups will be Kuklin, Grechko, and Kolodin. All of the spacecraft will fly 4 to 5 day missions. Spacecraft 15 and 16 will dock and remain together 2 or 3 days to form an 'orbital station'. Experiments planned for the flight are:
Spacecraft 17 through 20 will fly 15 to 16 day missions to demonstrate the new SZhO life support system for the L3, and conduct rendezvous and docking operations using the L3's Kontakt system. Additional Details: here....
Kamanin takes General Efimov to see the roll-out of the Soyuz 6 booster. Mishin calls during the tour to ask that Volkov be switched with TsKBEM engineer Grechko on the Soyuz 7 crew. Kamanin refuses at this late date, noting in disgust Mishin is always pushing his staff for flight regardless of how it might affect the mission. Efimov is then taken to see the N1 MIK assembly building, the largest building in Europe. They view the construction of the 104-m-long booster's three stages. Next they go out to the pad, surveying the facility from 120 m up in one of the gantries. Kamanin muses that unless the N1 can be made reliable, the Russians will be 7 to 8 years behind the Americans in planetary and lunar exploration. Later the State Commission meets and fixes the launch schedule for the upcoming flights. Mishin does not raise the issue of Grechko flying to the commission. Shatalov is named commander of the entire three-spacecraft group flight.
Tested spacecraft systems and designs, manoeuvring of space craft with respect to each other in orbit, conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological experiments in group flight. Was to have docked with Soyuz 8 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However failure of rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission did not permit successful rendezvous and dockings. Additional Details: here....
Orbital manoeuvres for the Soyuz 7-8 docking have proceeded normally. The automated rendezvous system is supposed to kick in when the spacecraft are 250 km apart. The plan is that Soyuz 7 and 8 will dock while Soyuz 6 observes from only 50 m away. However when Soyuz 7 and 8 are only a kilometre apart, the Igla automated docking system fails. The crews could conduct a manual rendezvous, but the this is not allowed by the technical flight controller. Additional Details: here....
Following an orbital correction during the night, Soyuz 7 and 8 are expected to be less than 1 km from each other when communications are regained at 9 am. Instead they are 40 km apart. It will require two more orbits over Soviet territory to refine the tracking of the spacecraft and recalculate the necessary rendezvous manoeuvres. By 12:40 they are 1700 m apart and the crews begin the manual rendezvous manoeuvre. Shatalov fires his engines four times, but in the absence of any indication to the pilot of range to the target, he could not get into a position for a safe docking. He withdraws to a safe distance. Additional Details: here....
Soyuz 6 lands successfully at 09:52 GM, coming to rest in a vertical position. A recovery helicopter lands 10 minutes later, finding the cosmonauts have already emerged from the capsule. After the landing of Soyuz 6 there are two further attempts to dock Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8, but they fail due to large errors in the ballistic calculations of the manoeuvres necessary to correct their orbits.
The landing commission meets at the command post at 08:00. Soyuz 7 is to land on orbit 97, beginning a 95 m/s retrofire impulse at 11:44:11. The main parachute is to deploy at 12:12:34. All is reported normal aboard the spacecraft, except that the Soyuz 7 warning light panel shows 'ASP' - automatic landing sequence. Despite this, Soyuz 7 landed successfully at 09:26 GMT. Additional Details: here....
The medical reports show all the cosmonauts lost 1.5 to 3.5 kg during the flight (with Filipchenko having the greatest loss). However Kamanin plays tennis with Gorbatko, Shonin, and Volkov just two days after the flight. They show no apparent ill effects of zero-G.
The cosmonauts fly from Baikonur to Moscow, escorted by six MiG-21 fighters to Vnukovo airfield, where they receive honours all around, followed by meetings with reporters. Brezhnev was no there - he was on his way to Baikonur to observe the Tyulpan ICBM exercise.
Traditional meeting between the cosmonauts and the engineers and workers at TsKBEM. They are quizzed on the flight failures, followed by dinner and toasts. Kamanin tells Afanasyev that instead of messing about with the N1-L3, they should build 8 to 10 more Soyuz and fly, fly, fly -- it is the only way to develop reliable systems. The Ministry of Defence needs a long-range plan of sustained flights of 5 to 6 spacecraft per year. All 300 present applaud the speech, except Mishin, who is against a new series of Soyuz spacecraft.
Two months after first raising the issue, Mishin has proposed crews for the flights to the DOS station, still planned to occur before the end of the year. Mishin is still pushing Feoktistov, who Kamanin believes is not only seriously ill, but immoral, being on his second wife. Kamanin now has 20 spacecraft crews, but they will have to wait six years or more for a trip to space at the current mission rate. Mishin's proposed DOS crews are as follows: 1 - Shatalov, Yeliseyev, Rukavishnikov; 2 - Shonin, Kubasov, Kolodin; 3 - Volynov, Feoktistov, Patsayev; 4 - Khrunov, Volkov, Sevastyanov.
Meeting on DOS crews. Kamanin will agree to Mishin's proposed crews with the following provisions: 1) Feoktistov is eliminated from the list; 2) Military cosmonauts must be on 3 of the 4 crews, with the overall ratio six military to six civilian cosmonauts. The proposed crews: 1 - Shonin, Yeliseyev, Rukavishnikov; 2 - Leonov, Kubasov, Kolodin; 3 - Shatalov Volkov, Patsayev; 4- Dobrovolsky, Sevastyanov, Voronov. Mishin is opposed to Dobrovolsky and Volkov.
The third, back-up DOS crew of Dobrovolsky, Volkov and Patsayev train in the DOS trainer. All of the crews have made good runs, with no mistakes or failures. Shatalov, after training on the DOS simulator, now supports Mishin's 30 day flight approach. He has also talked to Yeliseyev and Sevastyanov about the matter. He believes there may be a very different reaction to zero-G from individual to individual, and the Soyuz 9 crew may have been the wrong two individuals.
Shatalov's crew arrived at 09:00 aboard a Tu-104 and were ensconced in Room 14 of the Hotel Kosmonavt. Two further Tu-104's arrived 20 and 30 minutes later with the second and third crews. At 18:00 they all went to the MIK assembly hall to view the two Soyuz spacecraft and the station. There were electrical problems with the station, and they finally returned to the hotel at 24:00 without the problem having been resolved. Kamanin notes two films are to be screened tomorrow - a Bulgarian movie and the Soviet film 'Diplomat'.
A four-story school burned down the previous night in Leninsk. The cosmonauts and space centre technicians watched the USA-USSR ice hockey match, which went from 23:00 until 02:00 the next morning. Kamanin returns to Moscow aboard a Tu-104. Aboard the flight the political intrigues surrounding selection of Kamanin's deputy are discussed.
Kamanin, the DOS crews, and 40 VVS specialists fly to Tyuratam. VVS medical officers have to battle outbreaks of measles, rabies, and dysentery at the cosmodrome. The crews are medically isolated in the Hotel Kosmonavt. In the evening they watch the film '300 Spartans'.
Intended first space station mission; soft docked with Salyut 1. Launch nearly scrubbed due to poor weather. Soyuz 10 approached to 180 m from Salyut 1 automatically. It was hand docked after faillure of the automatic system, but hard docking could not be achieved because of the angle of approach. Post-flight analysis indicated that the cosmonauts had no instrument to proivde the angle and range rate data necessary for a successful manual docking. Soyuz 10 was connected to the station for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the lack of hard dock, it is said that the crew were unable to enter the station due to a faulty hatch on their own spacecraft. When Shatalov tried to undock from the Salyut, the jammed hatch impeded the docking mechanism, preventing undocking. After several attempts he was unable to undock and land.
Kamanin is advised that the atmosphere aboard Salyut 1 is now all right. He finds the news disturbing, since he was not informed until then that there was a problem! Feoktistov outlines the modifications made to Soyuz 11 compared to Soyuz 10 to the cosmonauts. The reinforcement of the docking ring system has added 10 kg to the spacecraft. Consumables are carried that increase the time for autonomous flight from three to four days.
From 09:00 to 13:00 the Soyuz 11 cosmonauts and engineers discuss the best approaches for docking, contingency plans, and so on. A concrete solution is provided for every possible problem they might encounter aboard the station - bad air, water contaminated, stuck exit hatch, and so on.
The cosmonauts play tennis in the morning. There are two dysentery cases in the staff at Area 2. Contact between the officers and workers at the centre is minimised. The Soyuz 11 crew undergoes their final medical checkups. A spot is found on Kubasov's lung in the x-ray. The doctors say it is the beginning of tuberculosis, and prohibit him from flying in space! Mishin, backed by Moscow, says that under mission rules, this means the Dobrovolsky back-up crew will have to fly in place of Leonov's crew. Kamanin feels uncomfortable with the decision, but can make no good argument for his preference - just replacing Kubasov on Leonov's crew with Volkov. The Launch Commission decides that Soyuz 11 is to be rolled out to the pad at 06:00 on 4 June, with launch at 07:39 on 6 June, with Dobrovolsky's crew aboard.
Soyuz 11 is on the launch pad, and which crew will fly is still being argued. Kamanin wants to simply have Volkov replace Kubasov on Leonov's crew. Mishin wants the complete backup crew to replace Leonov's crew. Others on the launch commission support Mishin. At 15:30 a team of physicians arrive from Moscow to verify the diagnosis of Kubasov. At 18:00 the final state commission meeting confirms the Dobrovolsky crew. At 19:00 a press conference is held - Dobrovolsky, Patsayev, and Volkov are publicly presented as the crew of Soyuz 11.
Leonov and his crew meet with Kamanin at 10:00 and argue against flying the back-up crew. Kamanin tells him that they are not reacting in a correct manner to the decision. Afterwards Kamanin meets with Krylov at Area 17 to discuss the planned new three-story hotel, which will finally include some sports training facilities for the cosmonauts. By the evening ten VVS generals have arrived to see the launch -- no more than 2 or 3 really need to be there.
First space station flight, two years before the American Skylab. The Soyuz 11 launch proceeds without any difficulties. The first orbital correction in the set of rendezvous manoeuvres to head for Salyut 1 is made on the fourth revolution. At 15:00 Kamanin and other critical staff board a plane for the mission control centre at Yevpatoriya. The aircraft takes 4 hours 30 minutes to get there.
Equipment aboard Salyut 1 included a telescope, spectrometer, electrophotometer, and television. The crew checked improved on-board spacecraft systems in different conditions of flight and conducted medico-biological research. The main instrument, a large solar telescope, was inoperative because its cover failed to jettison. A small fire and difficult working conditions will lead to a decision to return crew before planned full duration of 30 days.
A joint meeting of the Soyuz 11 State Commission and Soviet of Chief Designers takes place at Yevpaptoriya at 07:00. Aboard Soyuz 11, the Igla automatic rendezvous and docking system is switched on when the spacecrafft is 7 km from Salyut 1. There is no manual intervention in the process; Dobrovolsky simply makes reports to the ground of the rendezvous and docking system's progress. Docking itself takes place out of tracking range. There is considerable suspense in mission control during the 90-minute wait until reacquisition. Before leaving radio contact, telemetry showed a signal that the docking mechanism had depressurised, which would have prevented the cosmonauts from opening the hatch and entering the space station. But when the station comes back in view, it turns out that all went normally and the crew has already entered the station. Patsayev entered first, turned on the air regenerator, and replaced two failed fans. The crew report that the station atmosphere is unpleasant, with a strong burned smell. It will take 20 hours for all of the air in the station to cycle through the ECS scrubbers, so the crew is told to spend the first night aboard their Soyuz.
When the crew awakes, the station air is all right, and all eight fans and filters of the ECS are operating. Soyuz 11 is powered down and put in storage mode. The crew begins the DOS work program. But they have not yet put on their Penguin training suits and are not yet following the exercise program. Clearly, they are not taking the necessary steps to adapt to zero-G and preserve their health for their return. They take control of the station for the first time, making an orbital correction manoeuvre, and then orienting the station and its solar panels fully toward the sun. The world press is full of the great news of a new Soviet victory - the first station in space.
All continues normal aboard the station. Television sessions are held with the crew. They have now put on their training suits, and are urged to do regular physical training as required by the program. There are enough ECS consumables, fuel, water, and food aboard for the station to continue in manned operation until 20 August. The return of he Soyuz 11 crew is planned for 30 June, with launch of Soyuz 12 on 20 July. The first of the daily landing commission meetings is held. Emergency landing sites and procedures for the following day are discussed and set.
All normal aboard Salyut 1. It is established that Soyuz 11 has enough propellant remaining for 57 hours of autonomous flight, including orientation and retrofire. It is decided to ask the crew to conduct a couple of experiments with the 'globus' instrument on the station to determine the accuracy of its landing point prediction.
Launch, docking, and the first five days of work by the Soyuz 11 crew aboard the Salyut 1 station proceeded with virtually no failures whatsoever. Cosmonauts Filipchenko, Lavarev, and Vorobyov will fly with Kamanin to Yevpatoriya to act as capcoms and cosmonaut centre liaisons for the rest of the mission.
Kamanin is to fly back to Yevpatoriya in the afternoon. Chelomei is often ill lately -- Mishin is using the opportunity to lobby Ustinov and Smirnov to kill Almaz, and increase the DOS-7K order from four to ten. Mishin killed Kozlov's Soyuz VI in a similar manner. Prior to his departure, the cosmonauts brief Kamanin on the results of the visits of Popovich and Sevastyanov to France, and Khrunov to the USA. Kamanin is having trouble with the leadership in allowing Volynov to be assigned to another crew.
As Kamanin is on the way to the airport, a serious situation develops aboard the station. At 13:00 the cosmonauts report a strong burning smell, and smoke in the station. The crew evacuates the station and retreat to the Soyuz lifeboat. Forty minutes later, just as Kamanin is boarding the Tu-104, Shatalov reports that the mission will continue, but the situation aboard the station is not comfortable. The crew has turned off the primary oxygen regenerator and exchanged the filters of the oxygen supply and reserve regenerator. At 14:05 Kamanin finally boards the aircraft, which takes off and sets course for the Crimea. At 14:30 they are ordered to turn around and land at Chkalovksy Airfield outside Moscow. The whole thing turns out to be a banal mistake by one of the officers at an air traffic control station! They lose two hours in the process. No information is available when the Tu-104 finally lands at Saki, since Nikolayev and the other cosmonauts who attended the emergency meetings had taken off to return to Moscow three hours earlier. Kamanin finally arrives at Yevpatoriya at 23:00, in time for a comms session with Dobrovolsky and Patsayev (Volkov is sleeping). The Soyuz 11 crew reports that the training suits are very tiring. Dobrovolsky reports all is now normal otherwise. He requests permission to continue the flight. Bykovsky reports that the situation on the station is now stable. There is no more smoke or burning smell, but the crew has been overloaded in the last six hours. They have done a lot of work with no food or rest. The situation was so bad at one point that preparations had been made for undocking the Soyuz for an emergency return to earth.
At the 08:00 comms session Volkov is on duty, while Dobrovolsky and Patsayev sleep. Kamanin notes that to Volkov everything in his account of the previous day's emergency is 'I' - 'I' decided, 'I' did, etc. Mishin expresses his opinion that the flight commander must make all the decisions; to which Volkov answers 'the whole crew decides things together'. The tracking team, however, considers him too independent and emotional, a person who won't recognise or acknowledge his errors. The State Commission meets at 11:00 and decides there is nothing to prevent the mission continuing. However it is decided to shut down all scientific equipment. They will be turned back on one by one in an attempt to find the origin of the burning.
The crew makes a five minute television transmission. The telescope in the background produces dissonance in the image. Kamanin calls Mishin at Tyuratam, where the N1 is being prepared for launch. There are delays, and the launch must be moved back two days to 22 June. Kamanin tells the crews that this means there will be no good opportunity for them to observe the launch from the station with the Svinets apparatus, as was planned. Meanwhile the electrical specialists and Chertok in Moscow cannot localise the electrical problem. All of the equipment aboard has been turned off and on, and the burning simply does not occur again. Meanwhile there are concerns that Soyuz 11 may be able to reach the desired mission length, but that Soyuz 12 may not be safe to fly by its launch date. The mission is still planned for the full 30 days, but the physical training program has not been followed due to the problems and breakdowns aboard the station, requiring the cosmonauts to spend a lot of time in unplanned repair activities. The physicians are not in favour of prolonging the flight.
The Soyuz 11 crew completes their 1000th revolution of the earth. Gorbatko jokes that they are 'go for 2000' but the crew is not enthusiastic. Kamanin does not believe they have more than 10 or 11 days endurance left in them. Clear problems exist: the Penguin training suits do not adequately replace gravitational effects (they have suffered torn elastic bands); the measured lung capacity of the crews has declined from 300 on the first day of the flight to 200 now; use of the treadmill caused the whole station to vibrate alarmingly and was discontinued (the solar panels flapped, the propellants sloshed in the tanks, and the noise of the track couldn't be kept out of the rest areas). The weather is very poor in the prime recovery area for the last two days - 20-25 m/s wind - dangerous for landing.
Thirty years since the start of World War II, Kamanin muses. He thinks of the weight of those years - of Stalinist repression, war, loss of his oldest son, evacuation to Ashkabad and Tashkent, death of Komarov, and finally the heaviest loss of all - the death of Gagarin. Kamanin will be 63 in October, and the war memories still engulf him. He is so tired. Time to retire, make way for the younger men. There are some good men in the first cosmonaut team. Meanwhile, all is normal aboard Salyut 1 on the 17th day of Soyuz 11's mission.
The weather is bad, and Kamanin is depressed. Over the last three days various 'stars' of space medicine have come to the command point to pontificate. They are convinced this crew will be in better shape on their return than the Soyuz 9 crew due to the KTF trainer, Polinom vacuum device, Penguin prophylactic suits, and so on. Kamanin is not convinced. He thinks the readaptation period will be very difficult. Volkov will be the worst off. In flight he often complains of problems with the physical training equipment, doesn't drink enough water, and often makes mistakes. But the doctors say all will be quite OK. The landing commission meets. The touchdown of the crew is set for 30 June, 150-200 km south-west of Karaganda.
Dobrovolsky and Patsayev successfully complete the Svinets experiment, fixing the position of a rocket launched at night. The N1 launch has been delayed again. Karas reports that telemetry shows many problems with the rocket, even just sitting on the pad. Kamanin sees this lousy rocket as a heavy cross for Soviet cosmonautics to bear. As for Soyuz 11, the Landing Commission discusses moving the landing from the 3rd to 2nd revolution on 30 July. But then the crew will land in the dark, while for the 3rd revolution landing they will touch down 24 minutes before sunrise. It is decided to continue planning for the third revolution, in case the crew needs immediate medical assistance.
The crew sets a new world endurance record in space. Overnight they conduct another successful Svinets experiment, this time observing the launch of a solid propellant missile. The crew seems alert and in good shape. The Landing Commission confirms landing for 30 June, but now 200 to 250 km south-west of Karaganda. The medical teams will be prepared for all possible situations. There are bitter arguments within the commission as to the current and likely condition of the crew.
The crew has completed all scientific and technical experiments aboard the Salyut station. They will spend the last two to three days concentrating on physical training, medical observations, and preparation for landing. They will turn off all station equipment not required for autonomous flight, prepare the Soyuz for landing, and measure the water and consumable reserves available for the next crew. The experiments have produced many film cartridges, experiment samples, and so on that should be returned to earth. However there is not enough space or mass reserves in the Soyuz capsule for them all so they are only to return those specifically listed by ground control.
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.
The cosmonauts have to be extremely careful in putting Salyut in storage mode. They go through the checklist together with the ground to make sure no errors are made. The Salyut station is much more comfortable than the Soyuz, but the mission has revealed it needs many improvements, including: a unit for ejecting liquids from the station; solar panels, and scientific instruments, that can be automatically pointed at the sun or their target and stabilised; an improved control section; better crew rest provisions. Only with such improvements will it be possible to make flights of two months or longer. And such flights will take ten years to work up to, not by the end of the year, as Mishin claims. Kamanin thinks it will be possible to prolong flights to 40 to 60 days in 1972, but that this will then be a long-standing record. Any longer would be equivalent to running 100 km but then collapsing and dying - the Soviet Union doesn't need those kind of records!
The bigwigs arrive from Moscow to be in on the landing. But Afanasyev, Keldysh, Mishin, and Karas all remain at the cosmodrome for the investigation into the N1 failure.
Big dramas are being played out at the cosmodrome over the N1 failure, but Mishin seems protected by someone very high up and is untouchable in the blame game. This is the last full day aloft of the Soyuz 11 crew. At 19:30 the State Commission at the command point authorises the Soyuz 11 crew to undock from the Salyut space station. A communications session begins on the 15th orbit of the day at 19:45. Dobrovolsky and Volkov confirmed that the station was completely mothballed, all material to be returned was stowed in the Soyuz capsule, the crew was wearing their anti-G suits, and had completed shut-down of the station. Yeliseyev advised the crew that ground telemetry showed that they had not turned on the noxious gas filters in the station. Volkov argues that this must be a ground control error, but after checking admits the crew made a mistake.
After the crew has left the station, taken their seats in the capsule, and closed the hatch between the Soyuz BO orbital module and SA re-entry capsule, the strained voice of Volkov comes from space: 'Hatch not hermetically sealed? What's happening? What's going on?'. All this response to the fact that the caution and warning panel 'Hatch open' light has not gone out. Yeliseyev calmly advises the crew, 'Don't panic. Open the hatch, and move the wheel to the left to open. Close the hatch, and then move the wheel to the right six turns with full force'. The crew does this several times, but the light still won't go out. On a final attempt, with 6.5 turns of the wheel, the light goes out. On the second half of he 15th orbit, the crew lowers the pressure in the BO to 160 mm, and the hatch proves to be air-tight.
On the 16th orbit the crew separates their Soyuz from the Salyut station. At 21:35 they report normal separation and that they 'can see how the station moves away from the spacecraft'. They have enough propellant to stop the separation velocity, and take photographs of the station from 10 to 15 m away. They then back away to 30-40 m, and Patsayev takes another set of photographs documenting the condition of the station.
The re-entry capsule was recovered June 29, 1971 23:17 GMT, but when the hatch was opened it was found that the crew had perished due to a loss of cabin atmosphere. A pressure equalization valve was jerked loose at the jettison of the Soyuz Orbital Module. The valve was not supposed to open until an altitude of 4 km was reached. The three-man crew did not have space suits. The Soyuz was thereafter redesigned to accomodate only two crew, but in spacesuits. The actual Soyuz 11 Prime Crew was Leonov, Kubasov, and Kolodin. Dobrovolskiy, Volkov, Patsayev were their backups (and support crew to Soyuz 10). Kubasov was grounded by physicians few days before launch, and the back-up crew ended up going instead.
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....
Russian engineer cosmonaut 1966-1971. Member of first space station crew, however perished during landing. From 1958 a civilian engineer, Korolev OKB, involved in the development of the Vostok and Voskhod spacecraft. 2 spaceflights, 28.7 days in space. Flew to orbit on Soyuz 7 (1969), Soyuz 11.
At 05:00 specialists arrive from Moscow to the Soyuz 11 landing site to test the hermetic seal of the cabin. By 08:00 the pressure tests of the cabin show a slight loss, but it takes 1.5 hours for the cabin to fully depressurise. There are no cracks or holes in the cabin. Therefore the only cause could be the two air valves. The medical experts have already determined that the cosmonauts died from depressurisation of the spacecraft. The crew have haemorrhages in their brains, blood in their lungs, and nitrogen in their blood. The flight recorder shows that four seconds after the depressurisation began Dobrovolsky's breathing rate went to 48/minute (normally 16/minute), asphyxiation began, and 20 to 30 seconds later he was dead. By 19:30 Kamanin is in Moscow, and he sees the bodies laying in state at 21:40. They are cremated at 22:00.
The Soyuz 11 crew is buried in the Kremlin Wall in a State Funeral at Red Square. This is followed by the first meeting of the State Commission on the Soyuz 11 disaster. Ten sub-committees were set up to concentrate on various technical aspects of the investigation. The initial finding is that the air valve in the 'Mir' apparatus opened in free space at 170 km altitude. Within 112 seconds the capsule fully depressurised. The valve was designed to let in fresh air after re-entry. It should have been impossible for this valve to open until the external barometric pressure had increased to a set level. The only crew instructions and training in relation to this valve were that it was to be closed by either the crew or the recovery forces in case of a landing in water.
This was a very difficult time for TsKBEM. All work at the bureaus came to a complete halt after the loss of Soyuz 11 and N1 6L. Simultaneous expert commissions investigated the loss of N1 6L and Soyuz 11. TsKBEM was seen as responsible for every failure. A virtually legal process ensued to fix guilt. Every design decision was examined and questioned. Additional Details: here....
So many kinds of failures were simulated during Soyuz training - but never the failure that killed the Soyuz 11 crew. Yet the deaths were preventable. The VVS and the cosmonauts had been writing letters for eight years on the necessity of wearing suits aboard the spacecraft. Mishin's reply: 'I don't want to fly cowards on my spacecraft'. It would have been possible to fly Soyuz with a crew of two, in suits, or at least adequate reserve oxygen tanks to flood the compartment and maintain pressure in the situation of a capsule leak. The VVS protested the decision not to fly with such measures, but Mishin simply rejected the protests.
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.