AKA: Almaz (Diamond). Launched: 1965-03-18. Returned: 1965-03-19. Number crew: 2 . Duration: 1.08 days. Location: RKK Energia Museum, Korolev, Russia.
First spacewalk, with a two man crew of Colonel Pavel Belyayev and Lt. Colonel Aleksey Leonov. During Voskhod 2's second orbit, Leonov stepped from the vehicle and performed mankind's first "walk in space." After 10 min of extravehicular activity, he returned safely to the spacecraft through an inflatable airlock.
This mission was the original raison d'etre of the Voskhod series, with the original name 'Advance'. It almost ended in disaster when Leonov was unable to reenter the airlock due to stiffness of the inflated spacesuit. He had to bleed air from the suit in order to get into the airlock. After Leonov finally managed to get back into the spacecraft cabin, the primary hatch would not seal completely. The environmental control system compensated by flooding the cabin with oxygen, creating a serious fire hazard in a craft only qualified for sea level nitrogen-oxygen gas mixes (Cosmonaut Bondarenko had burned to death in a ground accident in such circumstances, preceding the Apollo 204 disaster by many years). On re-entry the primary retrorockets failed. A manually controlled retrofire was accomplished one orbit later (perhaps with the backup solid rocket retropack on the nose of spacecraft - which did not exist on Vostok). The service module failed to separate completely, leading to wild gyrations of the joined reentry sphere - service module before connecting wires burned through. Vostok 2 finally landed near Perm in the Ural mountains in heavy forest at 59:34 N 55:28 E on March 19, 1965 9:02 GMT. The crew spent the night in the woods, surrounded by wolves, before being located. Recovery crew had to chop down trees to clear a landing zone for helicopter recovery of the crew, who had to ski to the clearing from the spacecraft. Only some days later could the capsule itself be removed.
Although trumpeted to the world as a triumph (with suspect TV pictures and film of the spacewalk which did not match), this was the swan song of the Soviet space program and for Korolev. Follow-on Voskhod missions were cancelled as too dangerous, and America took the lead with Gemini 4 and subsequent missions taking the records for duration, rendezvous and docking, and spacewalking.
|Voskhod 2 EVA.|
Credit: RKK Energia
The cosmonauts visit Korolev at OKB-1 for the first viewing of the mock-up of the Soyuz spacecraft. Korolev announces that single-place Vostoks will fly no more, and that instead four of the spacecraft will be completed during 1964 to take three crew members. This decision has been taken since it was now certain that Soyuz will not be ready to fly in 1964, and the impending first flights of American Gemini and Apollo spacecraft will give the USA a lead in manned spaceflight before Soyuz missions can be flown.
Kamanin is disturbed by the decision. He recalls that in 1961 flight of the Vostok with two or three crew was discussed, with flights to occur in 1962-1963. But at that time Korolev cancelled the plans, saying the Soyuz would be used for such missions. Now Soyuz will not fly until 1965, and he has changed his tune. Furthermore, the modified Vostok is inherently risky, with no way to save the crew in case of a launch vehicle malfunction in the first 40 seconds of flight. Unlike Vostok, the three crew will not have individual ejection seats or parachutes to give them a chance of escape in the event of an abort. The crew will be subject to 10 to 25 G's during an abort. There is no assurance the environmental control system can be modified to handle three crew. It all seems very unsafe, and Kamanin believes the six consecutive successful Vostok flights have given Korolev's engineers a false sense of the safety of the Vostok system. Kamanin is perplexed. How does he plan to convert a single-place spacecraft to a three-place spacecraft in a few months? Korolev has no clear answers, but asks for the cosmonauts' support of the scheme.
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 59 'On approval of work to convert Vostok to Voskhod and use it for three-person space missions' is issued. The resolution instructs GKOT to complete four Vostok spacecraft to the multi-passenger Voskhod configuration. The first is to be completed by 15 June 1964; the second by 30 June; the third and fourth, in July. The crew for the first mission will consist of a pilot-cosmonaut, a scientist, and a physician. Launch is set for the first half of August 1965.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On approval of work on four Voskhods and five EVA-equipped Vykhods' was issued. Work on the 3KV (three crew) and 3KD (two crew plus inflatable airlock) versions of the basic Vostok spacecraft began.
Kamanin receives the directive issued by Biryuzov to implement the Voskhod Party resolutions. Four spacecraft will be completed, two in a three-man configuration, to be flown in the second half of 1964, and two in a configuration that will provide an airlock and allow one cosmonaut to exit into open space. Less than a year is allowed to develop the new spacecraft version for the spacewalk, as well as develop the space suit. This will be a crash priority program, and allow Korolev no resources to complete and launch five Vostok spacecraft on manned and life sciences missions beginning in May.
Korolev meets with the cosmonauts, VVS, and RVSN staff to discuss concerns as to the safety of Voskhod. As for flying without spacesuits, Korolev points out than in 14 Zenit-2/Zenit-4 and 10 Vostok flights there has not been a single instance of loss of cabin pressure. He conveniently omits stating that the suit used on the Vostok missions allowed the cosmonaut 4 to 6 hours of oxygen supply to return to earth in case of cabin depressurisation; but on Voskhod the crew will perish. As for individual crew parachutes, he believes they are useless since the crew would not get a chance to use them in an emergency anyway. Korolev sold Khrushchev on the mission by characterising Voskhod as a modification of the reliable Vostok spacecraft. However, he did inform Khrushchev that the risk of loss of the crew on a Voskhod flight was greater than on a Vostok flight. However it was decided this risk was worth taking in exchange for the great political effect of having the first multi-man crew in space.
While Kamanin is away arranging screening of Voskhod candidates, Korolev meets with the VVS General Staff. He tells them he wants to have four Voskhods completed by the anniversary of the October Resolution for the first spacewalk. He dreams of a manned lunar flyby by either docking Soyuz A-B-V modules in orbit, or in a single N1 launch (no metal has even yet been cut for the N1 at Kuibyshev). In order to further develop EVA techniques he wants to convert a further five Vostoks into the Voskhod configuration. Meanwhile Kamanin agrees to a compression of the medical screening schedule from 20-25 days to 15-17 days. The physicians will reduce it no further than this.
A meeting of Generals Kholodkov (VVS) and Yuryshev (General Staff) reviews military space plans - launch centres, anti-satellite forces, command and control systems. Kamanin looks forward to the VVS taking control of military cosmonautics. Later a meeting with Korolev and Bushuyev reviews Voskhod crew plans. It is agreed that the commanders will be selected from among the four flight-ready unflown cosmonauts (Volynov, Komarov, Leonov, Khrunov). Korolev describes in detail for the first time the inflatable airlock that is to be fitted to four Voskhods to allow one cosmonaut to exit into space. Korolev believes it will be possible to use the existing Vostok spacesuit for this operation, but Kamanin severely doubts this.
Korolev presents the Voskhod technical design to organisations outside of OKB-1. Over 27 VVS representatives, including 10 cosmonauts, attend. The two Vostok variants have been dubbed 3KV (3-crew version) and 3KD (2 crew version with airlock). Korolev will complete integration of the first 3KV article by 12 June (8 days from the briefing). The first two articles will be shipped to Baikonur on 15 June for final test. An unmanned test flight with mannequins will be made in July, with the first three-crew manned flight in August. This will be followed by the first 3KD flight in September, with the first spacewalk. The difficulty in preparing equipment and training crews on this schedule are immense; and the chances of complete success are low. But it is the only way the Soviet Union can maintain its leadership in space in the face of the impending Gemini and Apollo flight tests, and the delays in Soyuz. After the meeting, Kamanin decides to train two cosmonauts as Voskhod spacecraft commanders, and the other three as spacewalkers.
Titov is reviewed by VVS officers. He is unrepentant and insists he did nothing wrong. Kamanin recites his sins - he has become remote from the cosmonaut collective, his is hanging out with riffraff such as writers and artists, he doesn't come home at night, he drinks too much, drives too fast, is undisciplined... the list goes on and on. He is going to be put under strict medical control and be closely supervised in the future. Afterwards Kamanin calls Korolev, who confirms that the first manned Voskhod will be impossible by the end of August, and there are so many technical issues that he has no idea when the first Vykhod flight will occur. Kamanin notes the Ranger 7 flight, and that the Americans are also catching up with the Soviet Union in the field of lunar and planetary probes....
Composition of the crew for Voskhod continues to be debated intensively. There has been talk of the medical unsuitability of Katys and Yegorov. Later Kamanin discusses progress with the Vykhod mission based on their work at Factory 918 and LII. Many technical details have to be worked out -- movement in open space, the space suit, airlock, communications, etc. The work is in two steps: first to solve simply doing spacewalk, and then how to control and manoeuvre the spacecraft when a cosmonaut is outside. Korolev seems to think that enthusiasm will solve all problems, but Kamanin is concerned of the demonstrated unreliability of Korolev's Luna, Mars, and Molniya unmanned spacecraft.
Katys insists that he knew nothing of his brother and sister living in Paris. His father had these children before 1910, when they left with their mother for Paris. His father did not marry Katys' mother until 1924. His father was arrested in 1931, when Katys was only 5 years old. Meanwhile Tyulin recommends that Kamanin delay his departure for Baikonur by 2 to 3 days. The launch vehicle for the first test mission hasn't been delivered yet. There are still problems with the landing system. In a test at Fedosiya on 29 August, the capsule was dropped from an aircraft with the parachute hatch already opened. Normally this would be ejected by a barometric switch at 7 to 8 km altitude. So the tests have not really proven the end-to-end function of the landing system. 2 to 3 months would be needed to correctly wring out the system, which is still showing many bugs. Instead Korolev now says that the first Voskhod flight will take place no earlier than 10-15 September, and the first manned flight has realistically moved into October. The 3KD Vykhod flight Korolev still plans by the end of the year, but Kamanin believes it cannot take place until 1965. Leonov reports that there are still a lot of problems and defects with the spacesuit being designed for the space walk. Finally two VVS officers have discovered there is a real problem with Voskhod internal temperatures post-landing. Since the crew compartment hatch will not be ejected as in Vostok, they estimate that temperatures will reach 40 deg C at 11 minutes after landing, peaking at 60 deg C 5 to 8 minutes after that. They recommend that the crew has to be able to open the external air vents manually - currently they only open automatically 11 minutes after landing.
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.
Five aircraft are necessary to fly all of the VVS staff and engineering workers back to Moscow. Word has come through that Khrushchev has been removed from his posts, with Brezhnev now the First Secretary of the Communist Party and Kosygin now Premier of the Soviet Ministers. Kamanin's opinion was that Khrushchev was not in the same league as Lenin or Stalin, and that he would have only a minor place in history, but he is surprised by his sudden downfall. Tyulin believes that Korolev's promise to Khrushchev to fly Vykhod in November is now nullified, and that a more reasonable date of March-April 1965 can be set.
The Voskhod 1 crew have completed their post-flight debriefings and final report. Plans for 1965 are laid out. The Vykhod spacewalk flight will be made in the first quarter of 1965. Of the five Voskhod spacecraft, that are to be completed in the first quarter of 1965, the following program is laid out: two will be devoted to flights of a single cosmonaut, without a spacesuit, on endurance missions of 12 to 15 days. Two will be used for scientific research missions. One will be used to repeat the spacewalk of the Vykhod mission.
A corespondent from the APN agency calls Kamanin and wants to know if the official press should react to the claims of a Belgian professor that all of the Soviet cosmonauts have returned from space with serious psychological problems. Kamanin says there is nothing to it, but that the best course is to ignore the report and publish no official response. Kamanin looks forward to the missions planned in the new year: first the Vykhod, the first spacewalk, followed by a 10 to 12 day mission by a single cosmonaut, then later crews of first two, and then five to six in joined Soyuz spacecraft. In 1966 the first space docking is planned, followed by the first lunar flyby. Kamanin feels apprehensive, though. All manned flights have been completed to date without a serious problem, whereas Soviet unmanned spacecraft have been extremely unreliable and failed more often than not. He attributes this to the involvement of the VVS in the manned flights, whereas the RVSN rocket forces were responsible for the others. He worries that, with the ascendancy of Brezhnev and the death of Biryuzkov, that standards will drop in the future. Indeed, the RVSN has asked if Komarov could transfer officially from the VVS to the RVSN, a move that Kamanin vigorously opposes.
At least progress on improvements at TsPK are underway. One apartment building with 75 apartments for cosmonauts is already finished, and an 11 story building should be finished in 1965, as well as schools, nurseries, stores, and so on. Currently there are 17 active cosmonauts and 13 candidate cosmonauts in training. An additional 40 will have to be recruited in 1965 to support the ambitious space plans recently adopted.
Kamanin spends the day with key OKB-1 staff and leading cosmonauts in reviewing problems with the Volga airlock and Berkut spacesuit at Factory 918. There are more than 50-60 presentations made by all concerned organisations. Belyayev and Leonov say that the trainer aboard the Tu-104 is sufficient for them to prepare for the task. However everything must be done to allow the feat to be accomplished with minimum energy on the part of the cosmonaut and with total reliability of the equipment.
Over 60 leading engineers and cosmonauts review progress on development of Vykhod systems and spacewalking techniques. The group views films of Leonov training in zero-G in the Tu-104 aircraft, as well as an American film of the moon as taken from Ranger on its kamikaze impact mission. Development of systems seems to be going very well and very thoroughly. Both the men and the equipment should be ready by 15 February. There remains the need for a back-up oxygen supply for the spacewalker, and improved reliability of the primary KP-55 oxygen generator. Development of the technology to allow the cosmonaut to leave the spacecraft is essential for later manned explorations of the moon and planets.
All systems development is complete, and the two boosters for Vykhod are ready. The launch of the pathfinder spacecraft with mannequins aboard will take place at the end of January, with the manned mission scheduled for March. Leonov's spacesuit is complete, but Zaikin's will not be finished until 5 February, and there will exist only the metal detail parts for Gorbatko's suit.
The 15 candidate-astronauts take their first phase examinations. 13 are rated outstanding, with Shatalov, Gubarev, and Demin doing the best. Two are rated only 'good' - Dobrovolskiy and Pitskherlauri. Dobrovolskiy was the worst, getting some answers completely wrong. For example, he said that the maximum thickness of Vostok's heat shield was 440 mm, when the correct answer was 140 mm; and identified Krug as a homing beacon on the search aircraft, rather than aboard the spacecraft. However overall everything went well, and all were considered to have passed. On this day Belyayev and Leonov complete their centrifuge training. Belyayev is 40 years old, and had little trouble with the centrifuge. Kamanin resolves to name Khrunov as a spacecraft commander in Belyayev's place, with a final crew being Khrunov-Leonov in case Belyayev cannot fly for some reason. Khrunov is available since Zaikin since the decision has been made to train Zaikin as Leonov's backup instead of Gorbatko.
Kamanin is being pressured by his superiors to fly Beregovoi as commander of the Vykhod instead of Belyayev. Kamanin considers Beregovoi not to be necessarily a bad candidate, but the crews already selected have been training for six months and it would be dangerous to introduce someone relatively untrained into the crews. Furthermore, it would take 45 to 60 days to fabricate the custom spacesuit needed for Beregovoi. Therefore Kamanin rejects the suggestion. He notes that the Americans have launched a Gemini capsule unmanned - this after two earlier unsuccessful Titan 2 launches. In 1965 the Americans are planning 3 or 4 manned flights with the Gemini spacecraft.
Faced with continuing pressure to fly Beregovoi on the Vykhod flight. Kamanin notes that the spacecraft requires short cosmonauts of minimum weight (Belyayev is 170 cm tall and weighs 72 kg; Leonov 172 cm and 78.2 kg; Gorbatko 168.5 cm and 69 kg; Khrunov 171 cm and 70.8 kg; and Zaikin 167 cm and 69.3 kg). By comparison Beregovoi is 180 cm tall and weights 84.5 kg.
The first manned test of the airlock fails before an audience of 60 government and industry leaders. A VVS pilot in a spacesuit was to demonstrate the entire sequence involved in exiting into space. (release of the forward ring, inflation of the airlock, opening of the hatch between the spacecraft and airlock, closing the hatch, evacuation of the air from the airlock, opening of the outer hatch of the airlock, then the sequence in reverse). Two attempts are made at 15 km equivalent altitude, but the hatch from the spacecraft to the airlock cannot be opened due to defects in its construction in the first try. This is fixed, but on the second try the Vega system that monitors the cosmonaut's condition fails.
At Chkalovskiy Airfield, the Vykhod airlock experiments are repeated, this time to an altitude of 37 km. This time the tests, run at up to 37 km equivalent altitude, are successful. The cosmonaut's pulse reached 90-108 per minute during the effort to get into the lock and open it. In all the test took two hours, but Korolev was pleased with the results. But afterwards he differs with Kamanin in the need for a 16-m arm centrifuge to be used for cosmonaut training. It should mainly be used by industry, Korolev believes.
The 3KD spacecraft will be known as Voskhod-2 rather than Vykhod. It was felt that 'Vykhod' ('exit') would reveal the purpose of the flight, which should not be revealed unless the experiment succeeds. The cosmonauts are training very hard in the zero-G trainer and will use the airlock at 37 km equivalent vacuum in the TBK-60 on 8 February. The motto is "Train hard to make it easy to do".
The first meeting of the State Commission for the Voskhod-2 flight is held. Korolev, Tsybin, Severin, and other testify to the readiness of the spacecraft and booster systems. It is decided to fly the pathfinder mannequin fight on 14-16 February, and the crewed flight on 25-27 February. Kamanin objects that the radio beacon system on Voskhod is less reliable than that on Vostok, as proven on the Voskhod-1 mission.
After a one-day diversion to Tashkent due to bad weather, Kamanin and the VVS delegation land at Baikonur. The weather is -10 deg C and heavy snow. It is reported from Moscow that Zaikin and Khrunov successfully operated the airlock at 37 km altitude in the TKB-60, and this time the Vega system finally worked. In the evening, as the others leave for a film, Kamanin looks out from his room in the cosmonaut dormitory at Area 17. He sees hundreds of new buildings in the snow, where none existed only five years ago. Baikonur is truly developing into a powerful space centre.
Kamanin and Korolev return to the cosmodrome. Korolev is furious with Bogomolov over the continuing Tral problems and with Bogomolov's outspokenness. Meanwhile the problem of what to do if the airlock loses pressure is discussed. No good solution is found; in such a case the cosmonaut would be unable to enter the capsule. Finally the problem of which tracking station will issue the signal for opening and closing the airlock is discussed. IP-7 at Klyuchi and IP-6 at Yelizovo are both possibilities. Korolev would like both to be able to do so, in order to have a backup. It occurs to Kamanin that these kinds of problems could easily be handled if the first Voskhod-2 had a crew aboard. As spacecraft become increasingly complex, it will eventually be necessary to fly space missions with crews aboard that are not publicly announced. He foresees a need for many such 'black' flights in the future to prove out new systems, to complete military operations, and to train crews.
In the evening all problems are finally solved and the Voskhod spacecraft declared ready for flight.
Barring any further discrepancies, the spacecraft will be mated to the launch vehicle and rolled out to the pad on 20 February. Launch will be 21-22 February. Voskhod-2 with a crew aboard won't launch until the first half of March. However Korolev is preparing the Ye-6 robot lunar soft lander for launch on 13 March, making it an end of March launch date more likely for Voskhod-2. Kamanin still questions the radio systems aboard Voskhod, and Korolev placates him by saying a new system will be developed for Voskhod-3.
Unsuccessful mission. Voskhod 2 test. Immediately after orbital insertion airlock and spacesuit inflated normally. Then two ground control stations sent commands to the spacecraft simultaneously. The combined signals accidentally set off the retrofire sequence, which some time later triggered the self destruct mechanism (designed to prevent the spacecraft from falling into enemy hands).
Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space. Additional Details: here....
Korolev is confined to his cottage with a high temperature. Meanwhile tapes and documentation are being flown in from Kamchatka, Moscow, and Kolpasheva, and experts are flying in from OKB-1. So far it has been discovered that IP-6 and IP-7 were simultaneously communicating with the spacecraft at the time the re-entry sequence began.
An accident commission has been formed, but receipt of tapes from IP-7 and IP-6 are held up by bad weather in Omsk. This incident certainly seems to have ended any consideration of Kamanin's idea of flying secret 'black' missions with crews aboard to test new spacecraft. The launch of the E-6 Lunik is set for 12 March, so Tyulin has pushed the Voskhod-2 manned launch back to the end of March at a minimum.
The tapes finally arrive from all concerned tracking stations by 11 am. Korolev is ill, and his deputies work in his place. At 16:00 the accident commission meets. They find that at precisely the same time, IP-6 and IP-7 transmitted command 42 (decompress airlock) to the spacecraft. In such a case, the command could have been received and interpreted by the spacecraft as a single command 5 (retrofire). IP-6 was supposed to have transmitted the command at this point in the mission, with IP-7 to retransmit them as a backup only on command from Moscow. However IP-7 thought at the time that they were responsible for sending commands to the spacecraft. Accordingly, the spacecraft itself has been fully exonerated.
However it is found that of the 45 commands that can be sent to the spacecraft, four of them, including the command of the re-entry sequence, are unprotected from this kind of error. In Kamanin's opinion, in the last five years, Mnatsakanian's bureau has done nothing to ensure security of commands to spacecraft or the exploitation of this major weakness by the United States.
It is decided that the launch of Voskhod-2 can go ahead in the second half of mine. However Korolev calls Kamanin and others to be briefed at his bedside. His temperature is down to 37 deg C, normal, but yesterday it was 40 deg C - diagnosis: "unknown cause". Korolev does not want to launch Voskhod-2 until a Zenit spy satellite has flown with its re-entry capsule fitted with the same airlock ring as Voskhod-2. This will prove that the re-entry capsule is stable during descent with the airlock ring, something that could not be demonstrated by Cosmos 57. Kamanin agrees that this will be proposed to the State Commission.
However they do not part without sharp words being exchanged over the quality of VVS doctors and military versus civilian cosmonauts. Korolev notes that due to the military's complete lack of interest in space, the only military cosmonaut that will ever be needed is Gagarin.... Kamanin is wounded but realises the truth of Korolev's words, attributing the issue to Malinovskiy, who has blocked all proposals for a military role in manned spaceflight, let alone a VVS role.
The final conclusion is as before, that simultaneous transmission of the air release command from IP-6 and IP-7 started the chain of events leading to the self-destruction of the spacecraft. It is decided that a Zenit planned for 4-8 March will fly with the Vykhod airlock ring, followed by the E-6 launch on 12 March, and the Voskhod-2 launch with a crew aboard for 15-20 March.
Kamanin reviews emergency procedures with the Voskhod-2 prime and backup crews, and finds their training fully complete - they are ready for flight. Re-entry with the airlock ring is a special concern. If the airlock has jettisoned normally, the ring will have a height of 27-40 mm above the surface of the spherical capsule; if it only partially jettisons, the rings could be as much as 70-80 mm high. In such a case the asymmetry of the ring on the upper heat shield might impart a rotation to the capsule. The drogue parachute can be safely deployed at up to 1.5 to 2.0 revolutions per second; beyond that there is real danger to the crew's survival. If the experiment with the Zenit capsule fitted with the ring is successful, that will provide some confidence. But if the Zenit is not launched or fails to return to earth, then in Korolev's opinion the flight should be delayed until the safety of re-entry with the ring can be demonstrated. However the majority of the State Commission disagrees with Korolev, and believe it will be safe to proceed with the Voskhod-2 flight even without the Zenit test.
Tyulin advises from Baikonur that the Zenit spacecraft has been fitted with sensors to measure the rotation rate of the capsule fitted with the airlock ring during re-entry. It is to be mated to the booster on 5 May, with launch on schedule for 7 May. Korolev wants the cosmonauts to report to the cosmodrome on 7 May.
Only on this day does Kamanin receive a copy of Korolev's "Preliminary Plan for Voskhod spacecraft (3KV and 3KD) series in 1965", issued in February. His plan is:
Kamanin is preparing the final press packet, with the cosmonaut biographies, which will be delivered to TASS but only released by them after confirmation that the spacecraft is in orbit. Later Kamanin and forty other guests, including hero-cosmonauts and future hero-cosmonauts, throw a party for Tereshkova's 28th birthday. There is tension in the room as the cosmonauts eye each other as competitors for the flights after Voskhod-2. Volynov is the leading candidate to command the next flight, and has already been a back-up four times, but Marshal Rudenko keeps blocking his selection for flight (Volynov is a Jew). Rudenko is pushing Beregovoi for the next flight, and everyone in the room knows it...
Kamanin and the cosmonauts land at the airfield at 11:45, but have to wait until 12:10 for the arrival of Tyulin and Korolev for the official greeting. Korolev is ill but pushing himself hard. A dispute breaks out about crew assignments. At the last minute some want Khrunov to substitute for Belyayev. Korolev is clearly disgusted by such reversals after the prime crew has been set for months.
Final flight suit fitting is conducted on Belyayev, Khrunov, Leonov, and Zaikin by Komarov and Gagarin. It is decided that on flight day only Belyayev, Leonov, and Khrunov will suit up. Khrunov has trained for both crew positions, and in case of last second substitution, he can fly in place of either Belyayev or Leonov. Kamanin tells of the opposition to Belyayev making the flight, which goes back to an incident in the altitude chamber when a Colonel Karpov underhandedly reported that Belyayev was performing poorly. Kamanin believed this was due to bad telemetry. Leonov recounts another incident where the oxygen supply was failing during the same test, but Belyayev did not denounce the Factory 918 staff.
That evening the contingent watches the Arabic film "Black Glasses". At the same time an incident is developing when Khrunov insists that the second crew would only train in the capsule in their spacesuits - otherwise they would report to the State Commission that they were not ready for flight. That evening's training session was cancelled as a result.
Korolev, Rudenko, Kamanin, Kuznetsov, Gagarin, Komarov, and Tselikin give the crew their final briefing. Communications protocols are worked out. Korolev tells the crew he is satisfied that they are ready for flight, but tells them not to take unnecessary risks or heroics. The main thing is that they return safely to earth.
The Zenit-4 fitted with the airlock attachment ring successfully lands at 12:09, 170 km south of Kustanin (and 50 km north of the aim point). Later procedures for emergency landing on the first, second, and third orbits are discussed. The cosmonauts want to discuss the possibility of their taking action if the airlock fails to jettison (even though there are redundant systems to ensure this). Leonov discuses a method of inflating the airlock, his opening the hatch from the spacecraft, checking all connections, then returning to the capsule and attempting again. Data arrives in the evening from the recovered Zenit - the rotation rates are acceptable, Voskhod-2 is clear to launch on 18 March. In the evening the cosmonauts conduct interviews with journalists.
Korolev, Severin, Kuznetsov, and Kamanin certify the readiness of the booster and spacecraft, the airlock and spacesuit, the astronauts, and the recovery forces. Roll-out to the pad is set for the morning of 17 March, with launch on 18 or 19 March. In the evening the recovered Zenit-4 capsule arrives at Baikonur and is examined by the astronauts. The rate of rotation never exceeded 40 - 100 degrees/second, well within the tolerance of both the crew and the parachute deployment system.
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.
At 07:30 the state commission meets at the pad and gives the go-ahead. At 8:30 Korolev, Tyulin, Rudenko, and Kamanin observed the cosmonauts donning their suits. At 09:20 they met the cosmonauts again at the pad. After handshakes, the crew went up the elevator, the calm Belyayev being loaded first in the capsule, followed by excited Leonov. Korolev, Gagarin, and the others left the pad for the bunker 10 minutes before the launch. The launch went well, although the suspense in the first 44 seconds of flight (when crew abort was not possible) was unbearable. The final stage shut down at T+526 seconds, and the crew was in orbit. Even though he doesn't smoke, Korolev has a cigarette at T+530 seconds, once he knows the crew is safe in orbit.
The party then moved to the KP command point, where over the next four hours they watched the first man - a Soviet man, Alexei Leonov - enter free space. All operations - airlock deployment, airlock pressurisation, opening the hatch from the spacecraft, entering the airlock, the inner hatch closing, depressurisation of he airlock, opening of the outer hatch, Leonov's exit into space - went well. Television images showed him somersaulting in space, moving 3 to 5 m from the capsule with the earth in the background. There was some worry when the capsule began revolving at 20 degrees per second during the spacewalk, and the high concentration of oxygen (45%) in the cabin. The rotation is stopped, but after consulting with the crew, and considering the large oxygen reserves available, it is decided not to worry about the high oxygen level in the cabin. Kamanin goes to bed at 12:00, overjoyed by the success of the day's events.
First spacewalk, with a two man crew of Colonel Pavel Belyayev and Lt. Colonel Aleksey Leonov. During Voskhod 2's second orbit, Leonov stepped from the vehicle and performed mankind's first "walk in space." After 10 min of extravehicular activity, he returned safely to the spacecraft through an inflatable airlock.
This mission was originally named 'Vykhod ('Exit/Advance'). It almost ended in disaster when Leonov was unable to reenter the airlock due to stiffness of the inflated spacesuit. He had to bleed air from the suit in order to get into the airlock. After Leonov finally managed to get back into the spacecraft cabin, the primary hatch would not seal completely. The environmental control system compensated by flooding the cabin with oxygen, creating a serious fire hazard in a craft only qualified for sea level nitrogen-oxygen gas mixes (Cosmonaut Bondarenko had burned to death in a ground accident in such circumstances, preceding the Apollo 204 disaster by many years). Additional Details: here....
On re-entry the primary automatic retrorocket system failed. A manually controlled retrofire was accomplished one orbit later (evidently using the primary engine, not the backup solid rocket retropack on the nose of spacecraft). The service module failed to separate completely, leading to wild gyrations of the joined reentry sphere - service module before connecting wires burned through. Vostok 2 finally landed near Perm in the Ural mountains in heavy forest at 59:34 N 55:28 E on March 19, 1965 9:02 GMT. The crew spent two nights in deep woods, surrounded by wolves. Recovery crews had to chop down trees to clear landing zones for helicopter recovery of the crew, who had to ski to the clearing from the spacecraft. Only some days later could the capsule itself be removed. Additional Details: here....
The crew spent the night in the forest. Only at dawn can a helicopter fly over the landing point again. He reports he sees the two crew, one felling wood, the other building a bonfire. During the night, neither the two crew from the helicopter that landed 5 km away or the searchers from the PVO regiment were able to find the crew in the dense forest. Finally at 07:30 a Colonel Sibiryakov, physician Tumanov, and a technician are lowered from a Mi-4 helicopter to a point 1500 meters from the capsule. Several others are lowered to begin chopping down trees to create a clearing where the helicopter can land. Sibiyakov's party depart at 08:30, skiing toward the capsule, finally reaching the crew after three hours of arduous travel at 11:30. The crew is in fine condition - helicopters had dropped supplies and warm underwear the night before.
The recovery forces want to have a helicopter pick up the cosmonauts from the landing site, meaning hoisting them from a hover at an altitude of 5 to 6 m. Rudenko vetoes this idea due to the poor visibility, insisting they must be evacuated in snowmobiles. When he is told this is impossible, he becomes adamant that they must wait for conditions to improve. This is ridiculous. Kamanin believes there will be hell to pay if the cosmonauts have to spend a second night in the forest at a landing point only 70-80 km from the capital of the oblast.
By the next morning, two clearing suitable for helicopter operations have been cleared - a small zone 1.7 km from the capsule, and a larger zone 5 km from the capsule. At 6:50 the cosmonauts and their rescuers - seven in all - ski away from the capsule, reaching the small zone at 8:06. They are picked up there by an Mi-4 helicopter and flown to the large zone, arriving their 20 minutes later. From there a larger Mi-6 helicopter flies them at 9:50 to the airport at Perm. They were to depart aboard an An-10 from Perm at 11:00 for Tyuratam, but their departure is delayed by an hour as they talk on the telephone with Brezhnev. Afterwards toasts are raised at Area 10 at Baikonur by the Chief Designers and Keldysh. Korolev calls for them all to push together toward reaching the moon. The cosmonauts finally arrive at the cosmodrome at 17:30 and are driven through cheering crowds in Zvezdograd. In the hall of the hotel they give the first account of their mission.
Belyayev and Leonov are trained for their press conference. Keldysh and Sedov and others take the crew through the acceptable answers to likely questions. Kamanin wants the crew to provide truthful answers to questions on the problems the crew faced, but Keldysh absolutely prohibits this.
Kamanin meets Korolev at 9:30; Korolev agrees with Kamanin that the truth of the difficulties encountered should be revealed at the press conference. The matter must be escalated to Brezhnev, since Keldysh and Smirnov are against this course. At 10:30 the leading engineers of OKB-1 meet with 11 of the cosmonauts. The results of the Voskhod-2 flight are reviewed.
Belyayev and Leonov are given 60 likely questions from the press corps, and briefed on allowable answers. In the afternoon the press conferences are held, with Keldysh sitting at the podium with the cosmonauts. It goes well, and the video of the spacewalk is shown.
The Voskhod-2 cosmonauts and Kamanin see the film taken of Leonov's spacewalk. It was taken by internal and external cameras on the spacecraft, as well as by the cosmonauts. Kamanin finds the raw footage quite clear and believes a good film can be assembled from a combination of the video and film coverage. Later Kamanin hears that American Ed White will attempt to duplicate Leonov's spacewalk on the Gemini flight scheduled for 8 June 1965. In the following days the Voskhod 2 crew faces a round of press conferences, meetings with design bureaux staff.
Kamanin is trying to co-ordinate a visit to Kaluga by Belyayev and Leonov with Korolev, but Korolev is totally concentrating on getting a Luna E-6 to soft land on the moon. The Soviet Ministers are on his back as a result of the string of failures so far.
Kamanin notes Gemini-3 landed 96 km from the aim point. He notes that all Soviet Vostok and Voskhod landings have been of high precision, using the automatic landing system. Voskhod-2 missed the aim point by 368 km, but this was due to a 46 second delay in activating the retrorocket. This delay was due to the layout of Voskhod, which left the Vostok cabin instruments and Vzor visual orientation device in their original place, but mounted the crew seats perpendicular to the original orientation of the Vostok ejection seat. This meant, to manually orient the spacecraft, Belyayev had to float across the seats in order to see the Vzor device. After orienting the spacecraft, he had to return to his seat before igniting the retrorocket. All of this, in the cramped cabin and the crew in spacesuits, took much longer than expected.
A meeting between the cosmonauts and OKB-1 becomes heated on the question of the Voskhod design. Korolev and his specialists attempt to minimise the design approach that made manual re-entry for Voskhod-2 so difficult. In fact the state commission concluded that it was impossible to conduct a manual re-entry with the crew in their seats. Korolev agreed that later Voskhods will be equipped with instruments allowing manual re-entry with the astronauts seated, and apologised for the oversight.
The issue of ground support for manned lunar missions is discussed within the VVS. It will be necessary to have continuous and reliable tracking and communications of spacecraft in parking orbit prior to trans-lunar injection, in orbits with inclinations between 51 and 65 deg. Kamanin is tasked to develop a forecast and plan for necessary developments in the next 4 to 5 years. Later Kamanin considers cosmonaut travels. Nikolayev and Tereshkova are to go to Japan on 21 October. Leonov and Belyayev have returned from a tour of Bulgaria, Greece, East Germany, and Cuba, but they made several mis-statements during the tour which have been brought to Kamanin's attention. The issue of getting Gagarin back into cosmonaut training is again broached.