The big lie

DIY 3D Solar Panels

Do It Yourself Solar Energy

Get Instant Access

On 30 December 1968, Soviet space leaders met to discuss their response to Apollo 8 and their impending defeat. Mstislav Keldysh proposed a novel solution - using Chelomei's Proton rocket to launch a robotic mission that would collect and return samples

UNMANNED MOON SHOTS

The Luna programme continued throughout the 1960s. Key achievements included the first craft in lunar orbit and the sending back of the first pictures from the surface, in February 1966.

targeting sensor attitude control engines alignment sensors for docking manoeuvres with LOK_

cosmonaut cabin

KOMAROV IN TRAINING

Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, veteran of the Voskhod 1 mission, works at a simulotor console during preparations for his ill-fated flight aboard Soyuz 1.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Engineers at OKB-1 inspect Soyuz 9 during assembly. The orbital module is at the top, then the descent module, with the service module at the base.

KOMAROV IN TRAINING

Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, veteran of the Voskhod 1 mission, works at a simulotor console during preparations for his ill-fated flight aboard Soyuz 1.

one day be used to resupply cosmonauts aboard an orbiting space station (an idea that reached fruition with the Progress supply ferry - see p.210).

Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov was chosen to fly the first manned mission, Soyuz 1. The launch, on 23 April 1967, went well but problems began to develop soon afterwards. The initial plan was for Soyuz 2 to launch the next day with a three-man crew. The vehicles would rendezvous in space, and two cosmonauts would spacewalk to Soyuz 1, returning to Earth with Komarov. But a problem unfolding the solar panels left Soyuz 1 critically short on power and incapable of playing its part in

BIOGRAPHY

k

VASILI MISHIN

I

While Soviet plans for the Moon stalled in the mid-1960s, work continued on a sophisticated new spacecraft. The Soyuz design ultimately proved so successful that it is still used, in modified form, to this day.

The Soyuz complex was the centrepiece of Sergei Korolev's original plan for an Earth-orbit rendezvous mission to the Moon. The Chief Designer envisaged a series of spacecraft with different roles that could function independently or together. Soyuz A was a manned vehicle, Soyuz B an unmanned craft with a powerful rocket motor, and Soyuz V a fuel tanker. Soviet bureaucracy and the confusion over rival lunar missions ultimately forced the unmanned engine block and tankers to be abandoned, and Soyuz A was redefined as a smaller, less ambitious modular spacecraft (though still on the scale of the Apollo CSM and capable of going to the Moon if it had been given the chance).

The Soyuz craft that began to roll off Soviet production lines in 1966 had three distinct parts. A spherical forward section, the orbital module, sat at the front of the capsule and would provide working space and house equipment needed in orbit. This connected via a hatch to a bell-shaped descent module that contained couches to accommodate three cosmonauts during launch and return to Earth. Behind the descent module's heat-shielded broad end was a cylindrical service module, containing the engines and other spacecraft systems. Solar panels that extended to either side of the service module could be used to recharge the spacecraft's batteries while in orbit.

A bad start

Unmanned Soyuz test launches were mostly disguised by listing them under the catch-all Cosmos programme of satellites. Although cosmonaut chief Nikolai Kamanin criticized the time wasted in developing fully automated spacecraft with systems that would become redundant once they had a crew onboard, most of the engineers felt this allowed for extensive safety checks before trusting a cosmonaut's life to the vehicle. In this case, it also added versatility - an unmanned Soyuz controlled from the ground might

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Engineers at OKB-1 inspect Soyuz 9 during assembly. The orbital module is at the top, then the descent module, with the service module at the base.

Vasili Pavlovich Mishin (1917-2001) was among the Soviet scientists sent to Germany in 1945, where he first met Sergei Korolev. On his return to the Soviet Union, Mishin became Korolev's deputy at OKB-1 and helped the bureau and the Soviet Union to take the lead in the Space Race. Staff lobbied for his promotion to Chief Designer after Korolev's death, and Mishin oversaw the early Soyuz and Salyut programmes. However, he was ousted from the post in favour of Valentin Glushko after the failure of the N1 Moon rocket.

ZARYA CALLING

Controllers and visiting family members at Baikonur's Spaceflight Control Centre (often known by its callsign Zarya, meaning "Sunrise") take advantage of a brief communication window during the Soyuz 9 mission.

EATING BREAKFAST

Andrian Nikolayev samples breakfast aboard Soyuz 9. When the cosmonauts landed after 18 days, they were weakened by their experience, though they mode a good recovery. Later flights showed that longer stays would allow the body to adapt better and that if they exercised properly the cosmonauts would actually return in better shape.

the manoeuvre. The second launch was scrubbed as mission controllers concentrated on getting Komarov down safely. Soyuz 1 was proving difficult to stabilize in orbit, and two re-entry attempts were aborted before the descent module finally plunged into the atmosphere during its 18th orbit. The return to Earth appeared to be going well, but disaster struck when the module's braking parachute failed to deploy properly. Komarov died instantly as his capsule hit the ground near Orsk in the Ural mountains.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment