Credit: Manufacturer Image
Launched: 1965 August. Number crew: 1 .
At Baikonur for the launch of a Venera probe, the Soviet space leadership discussed future plans. The female cosmonaut training group was there for their first rocket launch. The next Vostok would carry the first woman into space; Ponomaryova, Solovyova, and Tereshkova were the leading candidates. Flight plans were discussed at a meeting in the evening between Kamanin and Leonid Smirnov. It would be possible to make the flight by the end of 1962, but March-April 1963 was more likely, depending on the final report on the Vostok 3/4 flights. The work force would be fully occupied in August-October in launching probes to Venus and Mars, also probably delaying any Vostok flight until the following spring. The next flight would probably be part of a group flight of two or three spacecraft, piloted by both men and women. The female flights would be limited to three days, while the male flights would last for 7 to 8 days. Additional Details: here....
The prospects did not look good for authorisation of production of ten further Vostok spacecraft. In a heated discussion between Rudenko, Ivanovskiy, and Grechko, it was argued that production of further Vostoks would delay flight of the first Soyuz spacecraft by a year. On the other hand this would mean no Soviet manned flights in 1963-1964. Furthermore Ivanovskiy reported that production of the female version of the Vostok space suit could not be completed until the end of 1962. Therefore this meant that the flight of two female cosmonauts in the final two available Vostok spacecraft would be delayed until March-April 1963 - the very end of the storage life of the spacecraft.
Korolev, still very ill in the hospital following a collapse six days earlier, supported Kamanin's plan for acceptance of the Vostok manned spacecraft for military service with the Soviet Air Force. It could enter series production and be used for continuous military research flights. However the General Staff continued to oppose any expansion of manned space flight. It it wasn't for Khrushchev, Korolev noted, there would not be any Soviet manned space programme at all.
At a meeting of the General Staff on space plans, it was reported that the Ministry of Defence supported completion of two additional Vostok spacecraft to allow four Vostok flights in 1963. But Malinovskiy was adamant: the Vostok fullfilled no military objectives, would not be accepted for military use, and he would recommend to the Military Industrial Commission that the additional flights be rejected. Kamanin noted that history was repeating itself - fifty years earlier Tsarist generals had rejected the acquisition of aircraft by the Imperial Russian Army.
Kamanin prepared recommendations for General Staff discussions on future Vostok military flights. His plan involved construction of ten additional spacecraft including new versions to test military equipment for reconnaisance, interception, and combat objectives. Flights would begin in 1963: manned flights of ten days duration; flights with biological payloads of 30 days duration; flights with biological payloads in high orbits to test the effects of Van Allen radiation belt exposure; flights that would conduct a range of technology experiments, including manual landing; landing with the cosmonaut within the capsule; depressurisation of the capsule to vacuum test equipment and suits for future spacewalks; etc). The plan was killed by his superiors.
Kamanin is to put together a cosmonaut training plan for additional Vostok and new Soyuz flights by 1 February. Due to a lack of completed spacecraft, the next Vostok flight will not be possible until June 1964 at the earliest. The travel plans for the cosmonauts during the first half of 1964 are also to be drawn up. Tereshkova, Nikolayev, and Bykovsky are to tour India, Indonesia, Burma, Nepal, and Sri Lanka later in the year. Tereshkova will go to Ghana and Lebanon on 20 January, then to England on 31 January.
Korolev is supporting establishment of a new institute, the IMBP, for study of biological reactions to spaceflight. He plans to complete 8 additional Vostok capsules, of which two or three will be used for unmanned life sciences missions. There is continued controversy over the next few days about the acceleration of Beregovoi's training to qualify him for an early spaceflight, and Volynov's movement from the Vostok to Soyuz training groups.
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.