Author Topic: Proposed "dual launch" L-1 manned circumlunar mission  (Read 2621 times)

Offline spaceman3

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Re: Proposed "dual launch" L-1 manned circumlunar mission
« Reply #20 on: 03/20/2017 03:37 AM »
I can add a little bit more on the 'dual-launch' circumlunar option for the L1 spacecraft. Here is an excerpt from my book 'Challenge to Apollo' (published in 2000, but written in 1998) for which the main sources were the Kamanin diaries, the Mishin diaries, the Chertok memoirs, and extensive interviews with Georgiy Vetrov, a historian at RKK Energiya:

From p. 559:

There was one additional cautionary element of the L I circumlunar project, introduced to compensate for any potential troubles with the UR-500K Proton launch vehicle. From early discussions in the fall of 1965, Korolev's engineers had expressed reservations of launching cosmonauts on the still-untested Proton booster-concerns motivated primarily by the use of toxic storable propellants in the rocket. As insurance against the possibility of designers not being able to declare the Proton safe enough to launch humans, Mishin came up with a plan to launch the 7K-L1 on the Proton in an automated mode. The crew would be launched separately on a special variant of the Soyuz, which would dock with the 7K-LI ship. The two cosmonauts wearing their Yastreb ("Hawk") EVA suits would exit the Soyuz and transfer into the 7K-LI via "a curved tunnel in the. .. support
cone." The Soyuz would then automatically undock, while the cosmonauts in the L1 would carry out their circumlunar mission after a corresponding boost from the Blok D stage. For this plan to work, TsKBEM [i.e., the Mishin design bureau] had to accommodate the manufacture of two special modifications of the 7K-OK and 7K-L1 vehicles. The 7K-OK's modification, designated 7K-OK-T was equipped with a forward unit equipped for docking with a 7K-L1. The 7K-L1's modification not only had the "curved tunnel" but also a custom-built passive docking unit installed at the forward end of the spacecraft at the support cone. This heavy unit would be discarded once the transfer took place and before TLI.

Then, on pp. 610-611, I note:

The Komarov disaster had ... repercussions on the L1 program. It was clear to most senior space program leaders that the Soyuz docking and EVA mission would be delayed possibly to early 1968. This meant that the cosmonauts would not have an opportunity to rehearse an extravehicular transfer prior to a dual-launch circumlunar flight. During a meeting of the L1 State Commission in early June 1967. Chairman [Georgiy] Tyulin officially decided to abandon the docking-in-Earth-orbit option for the circumlunar project and opt for launching cosmonauts on the new UR-500K Proton booster. As a compensatory measure, he introduced two additional automated circumlunar missions into the flight sequence, making a total of six robotic flights before a piloted [circumlunar] one.

Mishin also mentions the 7K-OK-T (although he calls it "7K-OKT") in his diaries which are now publicly available. This was a modification of the basic 7K-OK Soyuz to accomplish a docking with a Zond L1 in Earth orbit.

Either way, if you check Kamanin's diaries, the entry on June 5, 1967 suggests that Tyulin, Mishin, etc. had essentially abandoned the dual launch scenario. Apparently on June 4 (Sunday) at a meeting, it was decided "to reject the docking variant of the flight (otkazat'sya ot stikovochnogo [podsadochnogo] varianta poleta) and concentrate all attention on the direct variant."

Of course, this doesn't mean that occasionally, in 1967-69, various engineers didn't bring up the dual launch option circumulanar plan as a possibility... BUT I think we can conclude that as an ACTUAL flight plan, that option was never seriously considered after mid-1967.




Offline Proponent

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Re: Proposed "dual launch" L-1 manned circumlunar mission
« Reply #21 on: 03/20/2017 08:50 AM »
"Podsadka" (translates to "Transplanting")

Konarski's Russian-English Dictionary of Modern Terms in Aeronautics and Rocketry defines it as "landing," though a more everyday meaning is "boarding," which makes some sense in this context.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2017 09:02 AM by Proponent »

Offline Moskit

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Re: Proposed "dual launch" L-1 manned circumlunar mission
« Reply #22 on: 03/20/2017 09:25 PM »
Quote
Konarski's Russian-English Dictionary of Modern Terms in Aeronautics and Rocketry defines it as "landing," though a more everyday meaning is "boarding," which makes some sense in this context.

Po_d_sadka, not posadka.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Proposed "dual launch" L-1 manned circumlunar mission
« Reply #23 on: 03/21/2017 07:59 AM »
DOH!  Thank you.

Offline B. Hendrickx

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Re: Proposed "dual launch" L-1 manned circumlunar mission
« Reply #24 on: 03/21/2017 08:09 PM »
I sent an e-mail to RKK Energia veteran Vladimir Bugrov, the former cosmonaut candidate who took part in simulations of the Soyuz-to-L1 EVA. I asked him whether access to the L1 would have been via the side-hatch of the back-up parachute system and whether that wouldn't have been too small. He replied that Vladimir Aksyonov, the other cosmonaut who was involved in the simulations , always entered first through "that hatch" and that he had no trouble doing so although he was taller than Bugrov. I interpret that as confirmation that access was through a side-hatch and not through a curved inflatable airlock as some have suggested.

I asked him if he wore the Yastreb suit during the simulations, but he can't remember that. He does recall that he didn't wear the backpack on the legs as Khrunov and Yeliseyev did during the Soyuz-5/4 EVA. In response to my question whether the depressurization of the descent module would have posed any problems, he said that "the functioning of the systems inside would have been guaranteed". Finally, he told me that the simulations took place in the spring of 1967. In his book "Marsianskiy proyekt Korolyova" Bugrov says the dual-launch scheme was cancelled shortly after the simulations, so that confirms other evidence that the scheme was abandoned as a serious option around mid-1967. 

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