Author Topic: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.  (Read 3266 times)

Online Phillip Clark

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50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« on: 04/23/2017 12:52 AM »
Posted on my Facebook account this morning:

"50 years ago Moscow was full of rumours that the first Soviet piloted spacecraft for two years was about to be launched. The rumours said that a second spacecraft would follow and their joint flight would accomplish everything that the US ten-flight Gemini programme had done in 1965-1966. On April 23, 1967 - 50 years ago today - Vladimir Komarov was launched aboard Soyuz 1. After entering orbit it was found the one of the two vanes of solar panels had failed to deploy, the back-up communications antenna was not working, the 45K Sun/star sensor was not working. The planned launch of Soyuz 2 with three cosmonauts - Bykovski, Yeliseyev and Khrunov - was cancelled and the decision made to bring Soyuz 1 back to Earth early. More tomorrow."

I remember the day well, a Sunday like this year.

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #1 on: 04/24/2017 02:54 AM »
Anatoly Zak has just re-wrote and expanded his article on Soyuz 1 on his website: http://russianspaceweb.com/soyuz1.html
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Online Phillip Clark

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Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #2 on: 04/24/2017 05:21 AM »
This morning's FB posting ......

"Following on from yesterdays posting ..... 50 years ago today the first attempt to recover Soyuz 1 failed when cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov could not allign the spacecraft manually for retofire after 16 orbits. New retrofire data were uploaded on the 17th orbit and it was known that the attempt to return to Earth on the 18th orbit would be the last attempt; after that the spacecraft would have run out of power before the next landing opportunbities arose. Komarov was able to allign the spacecraft correctly and retrofire took place. It looked as if all was going well until at an altitude of 7km the descent module's parachutes failed to deploy and as a result the spacecraft fell to Earth and crashed. The impact caused unused propellant to explode and also the solid-propellant motors intended to cushion the landing exploded. The spacecraft was destroyed in the resulting fire and Komarov had no chance of survival. He was the first man to die during a space mission. Many years afterwards a photo of his remains was released - see attached. If it had been decided to fly Soyuz 2 on a rescue mission (how could Komarov transfer to Soyuz 2? - he had no EVA suit) then it is thought that spacecraft had the same flaws that prevented the Soyuz 1 parachutes from deploying, and so Soyuz 2 would have crashed instead of Soyuz 1."
« Last Edit: 05/02/2017 11:50 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline B. Hendrickx

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Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #3 on: 04/25/2017 07:25 AM »
Asif Siddiqi takes a fresh look at the Soyuz-1 mission on "The Space Review", using among other sources transcripts of declassified air-to-ground conversations :

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3226/1

Offline WallE

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Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #4 on: 04/25/2017 09:05 AM »
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3226/1

"This current article is an attempt to use the transcripts, along with other Russian language sources, to offer a new and comprehensive account of this deeply misunderstood mission. The available evidence clearly shows that not only was Komarov not in hysterics, but that he communicated calmly and cogently throughout the mission, and only with people who he was supposed to be in touch with: cosmonaut communicators, flight directors, and chief designers."

That should go without saying. Komarov was a pilot, he was professional, he fully knew the risks taken when he got behind the controls, especially when it involved a new, unproven vehicle like this, and he was also one of the most highly respected, skilled, and accomplished members of the cosmonaut corps. Real space flights are not the Weekly World News.

Offline spaceman3

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Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #5 on: 05/01/2017 11:44 PM »
So Part II of my article on the Soyuz-1 mission is now published on The Space Review:

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3229/1

Lots of new stuff on the mission based on actual ground-to-orbit mission transcripts found at a Russian archive.

Asif Siddiqi

Offline mtakala24

Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #6 on: 05/02/2017 10:01 AM »
Your articles are always a joy to read.

Offline Arch Admiral

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Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #7 on: 05/03/2017 06:48 AM »
A strong impression I get from all these new accounts of Soyuz-1 is that the command structure was very confused and no one was really in charge. Key personnel were distributed between Tyura-Tam, Moscow, and Evpatoria, with poor communication links. The "State Committee" at Tyura-Tam seems to have been mostly high-level bureaucrats with no detailed technical knowledge that could have saved the mission.

Any why was Mission Control for manned missions located in Evpatoria? This was a tracking station for UNMANNED planetary missions, which had been taken away from Korolev's control back in 1965. I get the impression from Boris Chertok's memoirs that the manned control function was moved there because of the good weather and swimming beaches - also the lavish entertainments provided by naval aviators at the nearby Saki air base. It makes as much sense as having Gemini Mission Control at Goldstone.

Offline spaceman3

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Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #8 on: 05/04/2017 10:26 PM »
A strong impression I get from all these new accounts of Soyuz-1 is that the command structure was very confused and no one was really in charge. Key personnel were distributed between Tyura-Tam, Moscow, and Evpatoria, with poor communication links. The "State Committee" at Tyura-Tam seems to have been mostly high-level bureaucrats with no detailed technical knowledge that could have saved the mission.

Any why was Mission Control for manned missions located in Evpatoria? This was a tracking station for UNMANNED planetary missions, which had been taken away from Korolev's control back in 1965. I get the impression from Boris Chertok's memoirs that the manned control function was moved there because of the good weather and swimming beaches - also the lavish entertainments provided by naval aviators at the nearby Saki air base. It makes as much sense as having Gemini Mission Control at Goldstone.

This is a very good observation. Until about 1973, control over Soviet manned missions was scattered and never really operated in any kind of coherent way. While lunar and deep space missions had Evpatoriia (or "Yevpatoria") in Crimea, control over manned missions was spread over a number of different locations, including (1) a building at Site 2 at Tyura-Tam, (2) the Ministry of Defense's General Staff building in Moscow, (3) the NII-4 institute's Moscow branch, and (4) Evpatoriia. By the time ASTP came along, all of this was concentrated at the Moscow suburb of Kaliningrad at the premises of TsNIIMash, one of the leading R&D institutes in the Soviet space industry. That control center is still the one that controls the Russian segment of ISS although Kaliningrad is now known as Korolev.

Offline WallE

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Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #9 on: 05/04/2017 11:28 PM »
This is a very good observation. Until about 1973, control over Soviet manned missions was scattered and never really operated in any kind of coherent way. While lunar and deep space missions had Evpatoriia (or "Yevpatoria") in Crimea, control over manned missions was spread over a number of different locations, including (1) a building at Site 2 at Tyura-Tam, (2) the Ministry of Defense's General Staff building in Moscow, (3) the NII-4 institute's Moscow branch, and (4) Evpatoriia. By the time ASTP came along, all of this was concentrated at the Moscow suburb of Kaliningrad at the premises of TsNIIMash, one of the leading R&D institutes in the Soviet space industry. That control center is still the one that controls the Russian segment of ISS although Kaliningrad is now known as Korolev.

The Soviet space program on the whole was a poorly-run mess until being reorganized in the mid-70s as one large outfit under the control of Valentin Glushko, after which the success rate of missions significantly improved.

During the build-up to ASTP, some American officials were concerned about the reliability of Soviet space hardware--most failures were not officially acknowledged, but the deaths of Komarov and the Soyuz 11 crew, plus a string of aborted space station missions due to docking failures did create some concern at NASA, and US intelligence had a fairly good idea about other failures that Moscow did not admit to (for example, the N1-5L explosion).

The failed Soyuz 18-1 launch in 1975 prompted US officials to pressure the Soviets for info, after which they responded that the booster used on that launch wasn't the same model that would launch Soyuz 19, and it wasn't an issue here.

Offline Flying Spaghetti Monster

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Re: 50 years ago today ..... Soyuz 1 remembered.
« Reply #10 on: 05/13/2017 01:15 AM »
There will be new additional information about the Soyuz 1 story coming out in print a little later this year in a BIS publication.  As rumor has it, the information will be from a non-Soviet/Russian perspective.

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