The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Reviewing Flight Readiness


On 22 May, Low and Kotelnikov chaired the joint Flight Readiness Review at the Presidium of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Reviewing the extensive preparations and testing that had taken place since the Mid-Term Review held in October 1973, the FRR was patterned after those traditionally conducted by NASA before all U.S. space flights. This formal management evaluation was designed "to assure that all appropriate steps [had] been taken by both sides to verify that the critical equipment and operations of each side [had] been planned or manufactured to meet the IED/ASTP Documentation Requirements"5 Nearly all the joint pre-flight activities had been completed in time for the FRR. Concurrent with the launch site activities, representatives of Working Groups 2, 3, 4, and 5 had put the finishing touches on their pre-flight preparations, and the Technical Directors had cleared up their last minute questions of mutual interest.

Lunney and Bushuyev began the 5-hour review with technical histories of their respective spacecraft. In addition to comments about the readiness of ASTP hardware, the Technical Directors indicated that 133 documents had been negotiated and signed. While some flight-related documents were to be updated prior to the mission, only the post-mission report remained to be prepared. During their hour-presentation on Working Group 0 activities, Low raised a few questions. He asked Bushuyev if there had been any hardware anomalies in either of the unmanned ASTP test flights or in Soyuz 16 that would require changes in the ASTP flight hardware. Bushuyev indicated that there had been only two minor problems - the cabin cooling system had directed too much cool air on the cosmonauts' feet, and the crew had had some minor difficulties with the food. Neither of these problems had required hardware changes. Bushuyev reported no difficulties with ASTP hardware during the test missions.6

[289] With the completion of their presentations, the Technical Directors turned the proceedings over to the Working Group chairmen. During the course of the review, fifteen Soviets and twelve Americans at the main conference table followed the presentations in specially prepared notebooks, which contained briefing charts and bilingual illustrations. The Working Group presentations were made by the co-chairmen who had not reported during the Mid-Term Review - V. A. Timchenko, V. P. Legostayev, R. D. White, B. V. Nikitin, and W. W. Guy.7

5. "U.S. Proposal for a Joint ASTP Flight Readiness Review" [n.d.].

6. ASTP notebook, kept by Leonard S. Nicholson, for May-Nov. 1975.

7. Low, "Notes from Visit to Soviet Union, May 17-23, 1975," 5 June 1975. According to data supplied by R. H. Dietz on 6 June 1975, the Soviet lineup at the main table was as follows: B. V. Nikitin, Yu. S. Dolgopolov, V. S. Syromyatnikov, V. P. Legostayev, V. A. Timchenko, A. A. Leonov, Yu. V. Zonov, K. D. Bushuyev, V. A. Kotelnikov, B. N. Petrov, A. I. Tsarev, M. V. Sokolov, V. S. Vereshchetin, I. Rumyantsev, Tulin, and Sagdayev. The Americans present included C. M. Lee, H. E. Smith, R. O. Aller, A. W. Frutkin, A. B. Tatistcheff, G. M. Low, G. S. Lunney, J. F. Yardley, W. J. Kapryan, W. W. Guy, L. S. Nicholson, and R. D. White. See also "Apollo Soyuz Test Project, Flight Readiness Review, May 1975," 25 May 1975.