The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project|
Voskhod and Gemini:
Even as the Vostok and Mercury programs were
entering their operational phases, engineers in the U.S. and the
U.S.S.R. were undertaking the design of a second generation manned
spacecraft. The Americans began with an effort to extend the
capabilities of the Mercury craft, the so-called Mark II version, and
ended up designing an essentially new two-man vehicle capable of
greater maneuverability, rendezvous and docking, and flights of a
duration that would equal the period anticipated for the lunar
mission of Project Apollo. The Soviets, apparently spurred by the
goals set for Project Gemini, decided to modify their Vostok
spacecraft for multi-man flights. Where Voskhod was an attempt to
exploit more fully a tested design, Gemini became geared to the
creation of new systems and to the testing of unproven
 flight concepts that would be applied to even bolder
missions in the future.
By December 1961, Project Gemini received
formal approval from Washington as the second major project in NASA's
manned space program; however, much of the design work had been done
and many of the major decisions had already been made.27 The character of the new effort was shaped by two
converging lines of thought. The most influential consideration was
President Kennedy's decision in May that committed the U.S. to a
manned lunar expedition before the end of the 1960s. NASA advance
planners had been thinking about a mission to the moon, but in the
time frame of the 1970s, dependent upon the development of a new,
larger launch vehicle called Nova. This rocket would be capable of
lifting a spacecraft that could fly directly to the moon, land, and
then return to earth. This method of reaching the moon - called
direct ascent - was readily accepted because it would almost
certainly work. However, within NASA there was a group of engineers
who supported the development of an alternative route involving the
orbital rendezvous of two or more spacecraft.
John C. Houbolt of Langley and a group of his
associates felt that orbital rendezvous promised significant savings
in fuel, weight, and time, especially if it were done in lunar orbit
rather than earth orbit. A lunar expedition based upon the rendezvous
concept might be assembled with much smaller rockets than a direct
mission would need, launch vehicles that could be available well
before Nova. Orbital rendezvous had the disadvantage, however, of
being a new and untested idea. No one could predict how difficult or
hazardous a rendezvous and linkup in space might be. As long as there
was no pressing deadline for a lunar mission, direct ascent offered
the easier and safer approach, but with the Presidential creation of
a specific timetable, the supporters of rendezvous could press their
case for a quicker and cheaper path to the moon. The idea still had
to be tried to determine its feasibility, and "Gemini was first and
foremost a project to develop and prove equipment and techniques for
Project Gemini was also influenced by a second
important consideration, the desire to make a major jump in the state
of spacecraft technology. The engineers who had worked on Mercury had
seen a number of possible improvements that could have been used if
they had not been held back by a combination of considerations -
weight, time, and the desire to keep the first spacecraft simple.
While the Mercury designers had justifiably been preoccupied with
solving the basic problems of manned space flight, it had taken too
long to build and check out the handcrafted spaceship. James A.
Chamberlin, chief designer of Gemini, described the difficulties in
Mercury brought about by numerous design constraints:
Most system components were in the
pilot's cabin; and often, to pack them in this very confined space,
they had to be stacked like a layer cake and
 components of one system had to be scattered about
the craft to use all available space. This arrangement generated a
maze of interconnecting wires, tubing, and mechanical linkages. To
replace one malfunctioning system, other systems had to be disturbed;
and then, after the trouble had been corrected, the systems had to be
checked out again.29
Chamberlin saw an opportunity to make Mercury
Mark II, which became Gemini, a more easily assembled and serviced
vehicle. He began by modularizing all systems and assembling the
components of each system into compact packages, which were so placed
that any system could be removed without tampering with another.
Simultaneously, he sought to arrange most of the packages on the
outside walls of the pressurized cabin for easy access; this would
also permit several technicians to work on different systems at the
In an effort to eliminate some of the trouble
spots identified in Mercury, Chamberlin simplified his systems
wherever possible. He reduced the complexity of the relays that
controlled the automatic systems on board the craft. The new design
relied upon pilot control with automatic backup flight systems. The
result was a much simpler machine. Another change was the elimination
of the rocket-powered escape tower used in Mercury, cutting hundreds
of kilograms of extra weight, numerous relays, and much complex
wiring. This in part was made possible by the change from the
liquid-fueled Atlas rocket to the less explosive, hypergolic-fueled
Titan II.* Whereas safety required an automatic abort system to
propel the pilot away from the highly explosive Atlas in a launch
emergency, Chamberlin could equip the new spacecraft with
pilot-actuated ejection seats.
The year 1961 was a creative one for Gemini.
It began with discussions at Langley in January and continued with
the March Wallops Island talks regarding post-Mercury possibilities
for manned space flight. By mid-1961, the desire for an advanced
technology spacecraft and the Presidential decision to press forward
with the Apollo lunar program had led to a concrete proposal for a
Project Gemini owed its origins to
its predecessor - it built on the technology and experience of
Project Mercury - and to its successor - it derived its chief
justification from Project Apollo's concerns. The new project
acquired other objectives as well: testing of the concept of
controlled landing, determining the effects of lengthy stays in
space, and training ground and flight crews.30
 With the creation of
a Gemini Project Office at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston,
the program moved into its development phase.
Throughout the development period, 1962-1963,
Gemini engineers and managers worked to solve technical problems and
to meet a tight budget. "Within NASA and without, Apollo and the trip
to the moon always held center stage."31 Toward the end of 1963, the first Gemini launch
vehicle and spacecraft were being prepared for qualifying trials.
Early April 1964 saw the first of Gemini's 12 flights, an unmanned
test of the spacecraft and booster which produced excellent results.
Further test flights were postponed as hurricane season arrived on
the Florida coast. Meanwhile, the Soviets had launched their first
When given the assignment to place three
cosmonauts into orbit in the same spaceship, designer Korolev set
about to redesign Vostok.32 Apparently, the most important consideration in his
decision to modify an existing design rather than to create a new one
was the boost capacity of the launch vehicles at his disposal. From
the fragmentary details available, it appears that by 1963 Korolev
and his colleague Leonid Aleksandrovich Voskresensky were already
well along in the design work of an advanced spacecraft capable of
long-duration earth orbital missions. This vehicle, which would later
publicly emerge as Soyuz, was much heavier than Vostok, and the...
Simplified interior view of
Voskhod and Gemini spacecraft.
 ...Soviets planned
to launch it with the standard Vostok launch vehicle, plus a new and
still untested upper stage that would provide the necessary
additional thrust.33 The evidence suggests that as this design work
progressed, the Soviet political leadership grew concerned over the
possibility that the U.S. would launch a two-man vehicle before the
Soviets could.** In particular, Khrushchev wanted the Soviet multi-man
space mission to come first to maintain the Soviet lead in space
accomplishments.34 Since Korolev could not hope to perfect his advanced
spacecraft and improved launch vehicle in the time remaining before
the first Gemini flight, he turned to the task of modifying Vostok to
carry a three-man crew.
As he approached the task of altering the
Vostok interior, Korolev had two problems of equal magnitude - how to
make room for three persons, and how to keep the weight of the
completed vehicle as close to that of the original as possible. He
first eliminated the ejection seat. This change saved weight and made
it possible to accommodate three form-fitting couches. To make room
for the crew, Korolev planned to have the Voskhod cosmonauts fly in a
"shirt sleeve environment." The Soviet designer could risk
eliminating space suits since he and his staff had created a
virtually leakproof spaceship.*** Removal of the ejection apparatus would force the crew
to ride to earth in the spacecraft, thus necessitating the
development of a "softlanding" system. Korolev attacked this problem
by adding two pieces of equipment, a second parachute to supplement
the one previously used to slow the Vostok reentry sphere and a
rocket-powered landing apparatus in the parachute shroud lines that
would reduce the craft's velocity to less than one meter per second
There appears to have been a number of
unsuccessful trials with the soft landing system, including some
tests in which monkeys were killed. According to an official Soviet
publication, "At Korolev's instructions, a series of Voskhod-type
spacecraft were launched, until he was convinced that the
soft-landing system worked impeccably."36 This series included Cosmos 47, launched on 6
October 1964 and identified subsequently as an unmanned precursor to
Voskhod I, which flew six days later.37 The flight of Voskhod
I was another space spectacular for
the U.S.S.R. On board were Command Pilot Vladimir Mikhaylovich
Komarov;  Dr. Boris Borisovich
Yegorov, a medical doctor serving as flight physiologist; and the
spacecraft engineer Feoktistov, who acted as an onboard technical
scientist. The day-long mission, equivalent to three man-days for the
life support system, was completed without reported difficulty.
Toward the end of the flight, Komarov expressed the crew's eagerness
to continue the flight for another day, but Korolev, quoting
Shakespeare, replied, "There are more things in heaven and earth,
Horatio," vetoing the request. Longer missions would come, but for
the present it was best to adhere to the flight plan. On 13 October,
the retrorockets fired, and the craft began its reentry.
As on the Vostok flights, the
spacecraft's parachutes opened at an altitude of 7 kilometers. When
it came close to the ground, the soft-landing system automatically
went into operation. Streams of gases, expelled from nozzles in the
direction of the ground, reduced the touchdown velocity to virtually
zero. The cosmonauts did not feel the impact.38
With the success of this first flight, Korolev
and his associates were ready to fly again. Meanwhile, NASA was
preparing for a second unmanned Gemini-Titan flight.
Both space teams were fully occupied during
1965. The second Gemini mission was launched from the Kennedy Space
Center on 19 January. This suborbital qualification test of the
spacecraft's structure, onboard systems, and reentry heat protection
was a success, and the spacecraft was recovered two hours after
splashdown. Just over a month later on 22 February, the Soviet launch
crews sent aloft Cosmos
57, a rehearsal for Voskhod II, which flew
on 18 March.39 The two-man crew, Command Pilot Pavel Ivanovich
Belyayev and Copilot Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov, completed a 26-hour
mission, during which Leonov took the first extravehicular steps into
space. The Soviets equipped Voskhod
II with a special inflatable airlock,
and Leonov, prior to entering it, prebreathed pure oxygen for over an
hour to reduce the amount of nitrogen in his bloodstream and body
tissues. After entry, he pressurized his space suit, checked it for
leaks, adjusted his helmet, and tested the closed oxygen life support
system; Belyayev then closed the hatch between the main cabin and the
airlock. Following the gradual depressurization of his narrow
compartment, Leonov stepped out into space.40 This airlock arrangement resulted in a minimum
reduction of the original cabin pressure, apparently necessitated by
the lack of an onboard repressurization system. The Soviets continued
to rely upon a chemical bed for generating oxygen, modified only to
the extent required to support a second or third crewman.
Belayayev and Leonov had to land their
spacecraft manually when the solar-orientation system malfunctioned.
Reentry by means of the automatic-descent sequence and
solar-orientation system, the technique used in...
Soviet technicians complete
checkout of Voskhod II spacecraft. Note the aerodynamic shroud that
protects the reentry vehicle during launch (Novosti from
...all previous Soviet manned space flights,
had been planned for the 17th orbit. When trouble was discovered,
Belyayev asked permission to undertake a manual reentry on the 18th
orbit. Korolev counted off the seconds until retrofire, and the
command pilot fired the retrograde rockets high over Africa.
Voskhod II overshot the recovery area and landed in a dense
forest on the snow-covered slopes of the Ural Mountains. After hours
of searching, helicopters dropped supplies to Belyayev and Leonov,
who had to spend that night in the snow. Another day passed before
the cosmonauts and their rescuers could be airlifted to
safety.41 While the U.S.S.R. celebrated the rescue of the crew
and Leonov's 12-minute sortie into the void of space, the American
team was preparing for the first manned Gemini flight.
On 23 March, Gus Grissom and John W. Young
flew their spacecraft "Molly Brown" in a four-hour evaluation flight
of the craft and launch vehicle.**** Grissom and Young established a space-flight first by
maneuvering in orbit. They employed the orbit attitude and maneuver
system 90 minutes after launch for a precisely timed 75-second burn,
which cut the spacecraft speed by 15 meters per second and dropped it
into a nearly circular orbit.
Three quarters of an hour later, during the
second revolution, Grissom fired the system again, this time to test
the ship's translational capability and shift the plane of its orbit
by one-fiftieth of a degree. During the third pass, the pilot
completed the fail-safe plan with a two and a half minute burn that
dropped the spacecraft's perigee to 72 kilometers (45 miles) and
ensured reentry even if the retrorockets failed to
The retroengines did work, but there were
still some surprises. At first all went well, but then "Molly Brown"
seemed to be off course.  The Gemini
spacecraft produced far less lift than predicted, and as a
consequence Gemini 3 was about 84 kilometers short of its intended
splashdown point. After a few nervous minutes, Navy swimmers arrived
on the scene via helicopter to attach a flotation collar.
With the basic success of the first Gemini
flight, the project gained momentum, permitting a routine launch
nearly every other month throughout 1965 and 1966. There were
difficulties, to be sure, but the simplified manufacture and checkout
procedure permitted holding to this busy schedule. Beginning on 3
June 1965, James A. McDivitt and Edward H. White II conducted a
four-day mission aboard Gemini
IV.# This was the first long-duration flight, best
remembered for White's 20-minute space walk, which added a new
abbreviation to the public vocabulary-EVA (extravehicular activity).
Gemini IV's difficulties with a practice rendezvous meant that
the next Gemini crew would be concerned with practicing that
capability before the full-dress rendezvous experiment planned for
the sixth mission. André J. Meyer, Jr., of the Gemini Project
Office commented, "There is a good explanation on what went wrong
with rendezvous. . . ." The crew and some of the flight planners
"Just didn't understand or reason out the orbital mechanics involved.
. . ."
Catching a target in orbit is a
game played in a different ball park than chasing something down on
Earth's essentially two-dimensional surface. Speed and motion in
orbit do not conform to Earth-based habit, except at very close
ranges. To catch something on the ground, one simply moves as quickly
as possible in a straight line to the place where the object will be
at the right time. As Gemini
IV showed, that will not work in
orbit. Adding speed also raises altitude, moving the spacecraft into
higher orbit than its target. The paradoxical result is that the
faster moving spacecraft has actually slowed relative to the target,
since its orbital period, which is a direct function of its distance
from the center of gravity, has also increased. As the
Gemini IV crew observed, the target seemed to gradually pull in
front of and away from the spacecraft. The proper technique is for
the spacecraft to reduce its speed, dropping to a lower and thus
shorter orbit, which will allow it to gain on the target. At the
correct moment, a burst of speed lifts the spacecraft to the target's
orbit close enough to the target to eliminate virtually all relative
motion between them. Now on station, the paradoxical effects vanish,
and the spacecraft can approach the target directly.43
first day in space was a worrisome one, during which a wire to a
heater that pressurized the fuel cells was found to be faulty.
 The lowest pressure at which the fuel cell would
function was determined after Gordon Cooper powered down the craft
and consulted with the ground. But the rendezvous evaluation pod with
which Gemini V was to maneuver had already been released and had
drifted away, so the Gemini crew had to practice its rendezvous with
coordinates radioed to them by Houston. Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr.,
and Cooper would rendezvous with a phantom vehicle. The success of
each "phantom rendezvous" made the Gemini flight planners more
confident about the feasibility of bringing two manned spacecraft
together. The next step was a rendezvous of Gemini with an Agena
But plans went awry when the Agena target
vehicle exploded before going into orbit on 25 October 1965. The
flight of Gemini VI, ready for launch with Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and
Thomas P. Stafford, was postponed. Walter F. Burke and John F.
Yardley of McDonnell Aircraft Corporation began to discuss a
Gemini-to-Gemini rendezvous within minutes of the Agena failure.
Three days of intensive deliberation led to a decision for a
Gemini VII/VIA rendezvous mission. The two-shot mission was inspired
by the concern that the Soviets might be planning similar flights, as
well as by the desire to turn a minor defeat into a major
That a plan of such scope could be
suggested, thought about, decided upon, and announced in scarcely
three days was a sign of the managerial and technical trust that
Gemini had already come to inspire. William D. Moyers, the
President's Press Secretary, told the news media about the plan and
answered questions from reporters. Moyers said the mission was
targeted for January but gave no specific date. Back at MSC, however,
everyone from Gilruth on down was working toward an early December
After 38 days of extensive crew training and
spacecraft preparation, the dual Gemini mission began on the
afternoon of 4 December 1965. For 11 days, Frank Borman and James A.
Lovell, Jr., aboard Gemini
VII carried out their tests on the
effects of long duration in space, especially the problems associated
with personal hygiene and comfort. On the morning of 15 December,
Schirra and Stafford were launched on the fifth manned Gemini flight
and the first genuine rendezvous mission.## Their third launch attempt was a success, and
Gemini VIA was on her way to meet VII. During the ensuing
six hours, Schirra and Stafford executed a series of maneuvers that
brought them closer to the Borman-Lovell spacecraft. After 3 hours
and 15 minutes into the mission, the VIA crew locked onto
radar transponder, 434...
Meeting in space: Gemini VII/VIA
rendezvous, 15 December 1965.
...kilometers distant. There followed a series
of precise maneuvers that led to the first sighting of the target
vehicle at five hours and four minutes into the mission. At 05:56:00
ground elapsed time, the two vehicles met in space with only 37
meters separating them; the first manned rendezvous was a
There was some controversy over the claim by
the Americans that they had been the first to rendezvous in space.
Nikolayev and Popovich had been given credit for the same feat by
when they flew together in Vostok
III and IV. When Popovich was
asked by an Izvestiya correspondent if it were possible to compare his
formation flight with Nikolayev to that of Gemini VII and
I think it is possible. The first
formation flight in cosmonautics history at an orbit near earth was
made in August, 1962 by Andrian Nikolayev and myself flying the space
ships Vostok-3 and Vostok-4. As you remember, at that time our ships
came to within five kilometers distance in space. Thus, in principle,
the American experiment of an orbit rendezvous repeats in some degree
what we did. But of course there are differences too. During the
three years which elapsed since our flight the cosmonautical
techniques advanced a great deal. This allowed the Gemini-6 Command
Pilot, Walter Schirra, to accomplish with exactitude a series of
maneuvers to approach Gemini-7. Of course, the skill of Walter
Schirra played a great part in it.45
Wally Schirra saw more to rendezvous than
Somebody said . . . when you come
to within three miles [five km], you've rendezvoused. If anybody
thinks they've pulled a rendezvous off at three miles, have fun! This
is when we started doing our work. I don't think rendezvous is over
until you are stopped - completely stopped - with no relative motion
between the two vehicles, at a range of approximately 120 feet [37
 m]. That's rendezvous! From there on, it's
stationkeeping. That's when you can go back and play the game of
driving a car or driving an airplane or pushing a skateboard - it's
about that simple.46
For more than three revolutions of the earth,
the two NASA spacecraft flew together, separated by ranges of 0.3
meter to 91 meters, while the crew of VIA tested
stationkeeping### and flyaround techniques. After a five-hour sleep
period during which they had "parked" 16 kilometers away from the
other craft, Schirra and Stafford prepared to go home. With a brief
transmission, "Really a good job, Frank and Jim," Schirra flipped
around, blunt-end forward, jettisoned the equipment section, and
waited for the automatic retrofire.47 As the Gemini
VIA crew went through the process of
reentry, recovery, and return to the U.S., Borman and Lovell worked
with Mission Control to ensure that the remaining time of their
scheduled 14-day mission did not hold any surprises. Two days later,
after some anxious moments over the fuel cell, Gemini VII returned
safely to earth, proving that man could work and survive in space for
the length of time that it would take him to travel to the moon and
Each of the five remaining Gemini flights
strengthened the conviction and technical certainty that an American
could land on the lunar surface and return before 1970. On 16 March
1966, Neil A. Armstrong and David R. Scott conducted the first manned
docking when they nosed Gemini
VIII into the docking adapter of an
Agena target vehicle. But shortly after the two vehicles had locked
together, a spacecraft thruster stuck open, sending the two
astronauts into a dizzying ride through space. They undocked from the
Agena, but Gemini VIII only spun faster. They were forced to use their
reentry control thrusters to restore stability, so ground control
told the crew to prepare for immediate reentry. While the early
termination of the mission at 10 hours and 41 minutes was most
exasperating, the crew did return safely. And they had proved that
docking two spacecraft in orbit was possible.
Tom Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan rode
Gemini IXA into orbit on 3 June 1966 to work further on orbital
maneuvers, but when they completed their first rendezvous with the
target vehicle, the crew discovered a problem with the docking
adapter that precluded the docking phase of the flight. They did
continue rendezvous exercises, however, simulating the meeting of an
Apollo command module with a lunar module in lunar orbit.
Gemini IXA also provided an important lesson on the difficulties
of working outside a spacecraft in zero gravity, as Cernan left the
spacecraft to perform some experiments to get the feel of this new
 The final three
Gemini missions in 1966 built upon the experiences of the earlier
flights. They were complex missions with multiple maneuvers; they
were designed to test rendezvous and docking, to explore more fully
the problems of working outside the spacecraft, and to conduct other
experiments that would yield valuable information for Project Apollo.
reduced the worry about radiation, demonstrating that it could be
avoided during trips into deep space. Gemini XI's
first-revolution rendezvous with an Agena target vehicle simulated
the meeting of an Apollo command module and lunar module. The
automatic reentry of these last two flights gave additional proof
that man could return from long missions in space with both manual
and automatic control over the final approaches to the landing site.
Gemini, in accumulating 1,940 man-hours in space flight as opposed to
55 in Mercury, had seasoned flight and ground crews for Apollo; had
developed the techniques for rendezvous, docking, and EVA; and shown
that astronauts could stay in space as long as two weeks without
* Hypergolic fuel
ignites spontaneously upon contact with its oxidizer, thereby
eliminating the need for an ignition system, as well as being less
dangerous in some emergency situations. If n attendance were Abe
Silverstein, Robert Gilruth, George Low, James Chamberlin, Walter
Williams, Paul Purser, Maxime Faget, Charles Mathews, and Charles
** According to the U.S.
public announcement of Project Gemini made on 8 Dec. 1961, the first
manned flight would occur in 1963-1964. At NASA, Deputy Administrator
Dryden had "long expected the U.S.S.R. to make every effort to modify
a Vostok, which is large enough to carry more than one man, to obtain
an earlier flight" than those scheduled with Gemini.
*** The design of the
life support system had required a very tightly sealed spacecraft,
because the 760-mm-Hg pressure represented the total volume of gas on
board. The chemical replenishment system changed only the composition
of the gases, not the volume. In the absence of a capacity to
repressurize the cabin, the Soviets built and tested their craft to
ensure that they were leak free.
**** "Molly Brown," the
"unsinkable" heroine of a Broadway stage hit, had seemed a logical
choice for Grissom's second ship, as his Mercury Liberty Bell 7 had sunk
shortly after splashdown.
# After Gus Grissom had
given the quasi-official name of "Molly Brown" to his spacecraft,
NASA's top triumvirate, James Webb, Hugh Dryden, and Robert Seamans,
Jr., decided that "all Gemini flights should use as official
spacecraft nomenclature a single easily remembered and pronounced
name. Consequently, the next mission will be called 'Gemini IV' and
the code name will be 'Gemini.' "
## An earlier scheduled
launch on 12 Dec. did not take place because an electrical umbilical
connector separated prematurely; the crew did not eject but waited
removal by the ground crew, something that would have been impossible
in Mercury. See Hacker and Grimwood, On
the Shoulders of Titans, pp. 282- 285.
### A definition of
stationkeeping is "remaining in a particular, precise orbit with a
constant velocity , usually at a given distance from a companion body
or another vehicle."
27. Barton C. Hacker and
On the Shoulders of Titans: A History
of Project Gemini, NASA SP-4203 (Washington, 1977), p. xvi.
28. Ibid.; Hacker, "The
Idea of Rendezvous: From Space Station to Orbital Operations in
Space-Travel Thought, 1895-1951," Technology and Culture
15 (July 1974): 373-388; and John M. Logsdon, "Selecting the Way to
the Moon: The Choice of the Lunar Orbital Rendezvous Mode,"
Aerospace Historian 18 (June 1971): 63-70.
29. James A. Chamberlin,
"Project Gemini Design Integration," Lecture 36 in a series on
engineering design and operation of manned spacecraft, presented
during summer, 1963, at the Manned Spacecraft Center and to graduate
classes at Louisiana State University, the University of Houston, and
Rice University. The series was later edited and published as chapter
35 in Paul E. Purser, Faget, and Norman F . Smith, eds.,
Manned Spacecraft: Engineering Design
and Operations (New York, 1964), pp.
30. Hacker and Grimwood,
the Shoulders of Titans, p. xvi.
31. Ibid., p.
32. The Soviets are
relatively vague in their descriptions of Voskhod and its
development. See Astashenkov, Academician S. P. Korolev, Biography, pp. 226-230; and Riabchikov, Russians in Space, pp.
207-211. Vladimirov, The Russian Space
Bluff, pp. 123-127, argues that
Khrushchev wanted a space mission that would surpass the
accomplishments promised by Gemini. Equally questioning of the design
merits of Voskhod are James E. Oberg, "The Voskhod Program:
Khrushchev‘s Folly!" Spaceflight 16 (Apr.
1974): 145-149; and Peter Sullivan, "The Voskhod Spacecraft,"
Spaceflight 16 (Nov. 1974): 405-409.
33. Apparently, the
Soviets employed the Venus upper stage to launch the Voskhod.
Sullivan, "The Voskhod Spacecraft," pp. 407-408, speculates that
Korolev and his colleagues had to extemporize because of the tight
schedule imposed upon them:
The information submitted to the
FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) stated that the launch
vehicle for Voskhod I consisted of a seven engine launcher compared
with a six engine launch vehicle for Vostok. From photographs we know
that in each case five of the engines refer to the bottom central
sustainer surrounded by four boosters (the 1½ stage booster)
and the term "engine" means an independent unit. . . . above the
basic 1½ stage booster was a long stage, followed by the
standard short final stage as used on the Vostok. The reason for this
inefficient set up resulted from the speed with which the Voskhod
programme was conceived and had to be executed to be
At the time the only trustworthy extra stage
that could be man-rated was too powerful and the Vostok launch
vehicle had been stretched to its limit and was not capable of
launching heavier assembly. . . . Instead of replacing the final
stage by simply the longer, more powerful stage, the final stage was
retained as dead weight to lower the altitude that was attained. Even
so, it still resulted in a much higher altitude than any of the
Vostok or forthcoming Soyuz missions.
The Russian Space Bluff, pp. 125-126; and statement, Hugh L. Dryden to PAO
(dictated over telephone), 12 Oct. 1964.
35. Sullivan, "The
Voskhod Spacecraft," pp. 405-406; and interview, Willard M.
Taub-Ezell, 28 Feb. 1975.
Russians in Space, p. 208; and Astashenkov, Academician S. P. Korolev, Biography, pp. 227-228.
37. U.S. Congress,
Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Soviet Space Programs, 1966-1970; Goals and Purposes,
Organizations, Resources, Facilities and Hardware, Manned and
Unmanned Flight Programs, Bioastronautics, Civil and Military
Applications, Projections of Future Plans, Attitudes Toward
International Cooperation and Space Law; Staff
Report, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., 1971,
Russians in Space, pp. 210-211. Also see memo, M. Scott Carpenter to
Gilruth et al., "Cosmonaut Training," 24 Nov. 1964.
39. There has been
considerable speculation as to the cause of Cosmos 57's
disintegration; e.g., William J. Normyle, "Cosmos 57 Believed
Destroyed by Soviets," Aviation Week
and Space Technology, 12 Apr. 1965, p.
40. U.S. Congress,
Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Soviet Space Programs, 1962-1965; Goals and Purposes,
Achievements, Plans, and International Implications; Staff
Report, 89th Cong., 2nd sess., 1966,
pp. 206-208. Vladimirov, The Russian
Space Bluff, p. 140, states that it
was L. A. Voskiesenskys idea not to pressurize the Voskhod cabin, but
to use instead "a light tube. . . attached to the hatch of the
space-craft to form an exit chamber. . . ."
41. Committee on
Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Soviet
Space Programs, 1962-65, p. 207; and
Peter L. Smolders, Soviets in Space;
The Story of the Salyut and the Soviet Approach to Present and Future
Space Travel (London, 1973), pp.
42. Hacker and Grimwood,
the Shoulders of Titans, p. 235.
43. Ibid., p.
44. Ibid., p.
45. TWX, Rhett
Turnipseed to NASA, Houston, "Text of an Interview by an
Izvesti[y]a Correspondent with the Soviet Cosmonaut Pavel
Romanovich Popovich [21 Dec. 1965]," 29 Dec. 1965.
46. "Gemini 7/6
Astronaut Post Flight Press Conference," 30 Dec. tape 8, p. 2; and
Grimwood and Ivan D. Ertel, "Project Gemini," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 81 (Jan. 1968): 407.
47. Hacker and Grimwood,
the Shoulders of Titans, p. 289.
48. Ibid., pp. 338-339.