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

20 July - Independent Activities


Kubasov and Leonov began their sixth day in space at 1:10 a.m. while their American friends slept. They had breakfast and carried out a series of activities that included earth and solar photography and recording data photographically on the joint zone-forming fungi experiment and other unilateral experiments. Leonov also ran through a simulation of the deorbit procedures - orientation, retrofire, and the deployment of the parachutes. At mid-afternoon Moscow time (sunup in Houston), the Soviet space travelers gave a television broadcast to their viewers at home. Afterwards, they continued their experiments and preparations for their re-entry 24 hours later.45

Houston control tried for a second morning to wake the crew with "Tenderness" in Russian. This time they succeeded, and the men began their sixth day at 1:54 a.m. In addition to a day-long earth observation, which they started before breakfast, they concentrated on experiments during their first independent day in orbit. Included in the flight plan were experiments in the multipurpose furnace (MA-010), extreme ultraviolet surveying (MA-083), crystal growth (MA-085), and helium glow (MA-088). In the midst of their work during an ATS 6 communication session, CapCom Crippen gave them a news report.

Crippen included a special item in his report. "Six years ago today at 3:17:40 central daylight time we landed on the Moon. At 9:56, that's when Neil said his famous words about 'small step for man, giant leap for mankind.' " Stafford responded, "Roger. Remember it well."

Say, what day of the week is this, incidentally?
This happens to be Sunday.
[garbled] . . . our day off.
[344] Crippen:
Oh, yeah. We'll get them off after you guys get back. Y'all . . are certainly not getting a day off today.
We're not complaining.46

While there was still much to do, the pressure of the first days of the mission was gone, and the crew was settling down to the routine. The sixth day of the ASTP flight was noticeably void of the drama that had been associated with the joint activity.

45. ASTP mission commentary transcript, SR 132/1-2, 19 July 1975, SR 134/1-2, SR 143/1-2, SR 144/1, and SR 145/1-2, 20 July 1975.

46. Program Operations Office, "ASTP Technical Air-to-Ground Voice Transcription," p. 619.