Orbital union

Soyuz 19 took off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 15 July 1975, with the Apollo spacecraft (it had no call sign or other designation and was known simply as Apollo) joining it from Cape Canaveral about seven hours later. A day of orbital manoeuvres brought the spacecraft to their rendezvous, and they docked at 16:10 GMT on 17 July (see pp. 176-77). Astronauts and cosmonauts transferred from one spacecraft planning on earth

NASA built a mock-up Soyuz at Houston for use in training. Here cosmonaut Leonov and astronaut Stafford pore over procedures for the orbital rendezvous.

apollo-soyuz

Joined together, the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft clearly show their origins on rival sides of the Space Race. The block in the centre is the docking module, which allowed the two incompatible spacecraft to join together.

1960 Astronomy Clubs

docking target service module infrared descent module

Soyuz orbital module

SCIISOI

Soyuz manoeuvring engine telemetry antenna solar panel

BIOGRAPHY

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alexei leonov

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Born in Siberia, Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov (b.1934) showed early interest in both art and aviation but eventually joined the Soviet Air Force, where he was selected for the first cosmonaut trainee group in 1960. He first flew aboard Voskhod 2 in 1965, becoming the first man to walk in space (see p.102). Although he did not fly again until Soyuz 19, he had been scheduled for several other missions, including 3 proposed flight around the Moon and the cancelled second mission to Salyut 1. After his second flight, he [ became head of the cosmonaut team at Star City, eventually retiring jwith the rank of General & in 1991 to concentrate , fc once again on painting.

First Orbital Flights Soviet Union

mission memento

Each crew carried two identical halves of this plaque - after exchanging sections, each took a complete version back to Earth.

Deke Slayton: Soyuz, Apollo. How do you read me?

EXPERIENCE

the superpowers meet in space

A handshake in orbit mission memento

Each crew carried two identical halves of this plaque - after exchanging sections, each took a complete version back to Earth.

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was a triumph of early cooperation between the Soviet and American space programmes, with engineers working for many years to make two separately evolved spacecraft operate together. In July 1975, however, it ultimately came down to the skill of five people in orbit.

in training

The crew of Apollo and Soyuz 19 (left to right: Brand, Leonov, Stafford, Kubasov, and Sloyton) formed close ties during their months of preparation.

The numberless Apollo soared into the Florida sky atop its Saturn IB launcher on the afternoon of 15 July 1975, racing in pursuit of the Soviet Soyuz 19 that had launched earlier in the day. On reaching space, Command Module Pilot Vance Brand cried in Russian "Miy Nakhoditsya na orbite!" ("We are in orbit!"). A little under an hour later, the Apollo CSM separated from the S-IVB upper stage, and turned around to pull the Docking Module (DM) out of the stowage space normally reserved for a Lunar Module.

On 16 July, Soyuz performed several engine burns to help modify its orbit. Meanwhile, Apollo, after a perfect docking and extraction manoeuvre, made a series of its own burns to gradually take it up with the Soyuz, bringing the two craft together on the cosmonauts' 36th orbit of Earth.

Awaking early on 17 July, the Apollo crew sighted Soyuz at 1pm Houston time, and made radio contact moments later. The cosmonauts greeted their American counterparts enthusiastically:

together in space

The crew of Soyuz 19 left Earth 7V2 hours before Apollo. Over the next two days of flight, both crews adjusted their sleep to synchronize with each other better. The spacecraft stayed locked together for a little under two days, during which time the Americans got to enjoy a banquet of Soviet space food aboard the Soyuz.

Deke Slayton: Soyuz, Apollo. How do you read me?

Valéry Kubasov: Very well. Hello, everybody. DS: Hello, Valéry. How are you? Good day, Valéry.

VK: How are you? Good day. DS: Excellent... I'm very happy. Good morning. Alexei Leonov: Apollo, Soyuz. How do you read me?

DS: Alexei, I hear you excellently. How do you read me?

AL: I read you loud and clear. Good.

A first measure of separation revealed that the two craft were 222km (138 miles) apart. Over the next three hours, a series of manoeuvres by Apollo closed the gap. Given approval for docking, Leonov rolled Soyuz 19 towards the approaching Apollo, while US Commander Tom Stafford guided the American spacecraft in to a perfect rendezvous at 16:10.

"Man, I tell you, this is worth waiting 16 years for!"

Deke Slayton catching his first view of the Earth from space, 15 July 1975

The Apollo crew had closed the hatch to the DM in case anything went wrong on final approach, while the cosmonauts had retreated to their Descent Module. As Deke Slayton reopened the DM hatch, a smell of burning glue from inside caused brief alarm and a delay while they waited for the air to clear. Slayton and Stafford now entered the DM and sealed themselves in as the atmosphere slowly adjusted to match that on Soyuz, while a Soviet announcer broadcast a message from premier Leonid Brezhnev:

"To the cosmonauts Alexei Leonov, Valery Kubasov, Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, Donald Slayton. Speaking on behalf of the Soviet people, and for myself, I congratulate you ... The whole world is watching with rapt attention and admiration of your joint activities in fulfillment of the complicated programme of scientific experiments. The docking has confirmed the correctness of the technical decisions developed and realized by | cooperative friendship "

Leonov and Kubasov opened the hatch on their side, then Stafford opened the final hatch and looked out into the Soviet spacecraft. Leonov was waiting to greet him, and the two commanders shook hands high above the French city of Metz.

HISTORIC HANDSHAKE

Looking into the coble-strewn Soyuz Orbital Module, Stafford's first words were "Looks like they got a few snakes in there, too." Then he called "Alexei, our viewers are here - come over here, please."

HISTORIC HANDSHAKE

Looking into the coble-strewn Soyuz Orbital Module, Stafford's first words were "Looks like they got a few snakes in there, too." Then he called "Alexei, our viewers are here - come over here, please."

MEETING PRESIDENT FORD

The US President took a keen interest in the Apollo-Soyuz rendezvous, questioning the astronauts and cosmonauts closely during a radio link-up. He later welcomed the US and Soviet crews to the White House.

MEETING PRESIDENT FORD

The US President took a keen interest in the Apollo-Soyuz rendezvous, questioning the astronauts and cosmonauts closely during a radio link-up. He later welcomed the US and Soviet crews to the White House.

lost crew

The crew of Soyuz 11 pose for a photo during training, Left to right ore Commander Georgi Dobrovolsky, Test Engineer Viktor Patsayev and Flight Engineer Vladislav Volkov.

soyuz on the pad

A Soyuz rocket with Soyuz 9 spacecraft, shroud, and escape tower in place is raised into an upright position prior to launch.

19 April 1971

The unmanned Salyut 1 DOS station is launched from Baikonur by a Proton rocket.

23 April 1971

Soyuz 10 is launched, carrying the intended first Salyut crew of Vladimir Shatalov, Alexei Yeliseyev, and Nikolai Rukavishnikov (one of the design team). Later in the day, an attempt to board Salyut 1 fails when the docking system will not fully engage.

24 April 1971

Soyuz 10 returns to Earth.

10 May 1971

An investigation concludes that the Soyuz 10 docking failure was probably due to a fault on the spacecraft, not the station.

6 June 1971

Soyuz 11 is launched with an improved docking mechanism, and successfully docks with Salyut 1 a day later. The three-man crew begin a 23-day mission aboard the station.

29 June 1971

The crew of Soyuz 11 are killed returning to Earth.

10 October 1971

Salyut 1 breaks up on re-entry.

soyuz on the pad

A Soyuz rocket with Soyuz 9 spacecraft, shroud, and escape tower in place is raised into an upright position prior to launch.

in the factory

Engineers work on fitting the Soyuz-compatible docking port to the Almoz-derived components of Salyut 1. The 2m (80in) diameter comportment fitted to the narrower end of the station's moin body.

An outpost in orbit

Recognizing that it had lost the race for the Moon, the Soviet Union rapidly switched its space programme to focus on the exploitation of Earth orbit.

While the engineers of OKB-1 had spent most of the late 1960s developing technology for a Soviet trip to the Moon, by the end of the decade they had little to show for it but the Soyuz spacecraft. Meanwhile, the rival design bureau led by Vladimir Chelomei had been garnering political support for a series of manned military space stations known as Almaz. The Almaz station would be launched using Chelomei's powerful Proton rocket (see p.210), and cosmonaut crews and supplies would travel to and from it using the almost equally massive TKS ferry vehicle.

Following the decision to abandon manned lunar efforts and pretend there had never been a race with Apollo, launching a space station suddenly became a priority. Of course, there was still the question of whether a cosmonaut could survive the proposed month-long missions in weightless conditions - at the time, no cosmonaut had flown for longer than five days. The Soyuz 9 mission was to change all that, with Andrian Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyanov spending some 18 days in orbit.

Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

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