The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project|
Studying in Star City
The American ASTP crews visited the U.S.S.R.
in mid-November 1973 for eleven days of spacecraft familiarization.
In addition to the Soviet crews and training specialists, the U.S.
prime and backup crews, two support crewmen (Overmyer and Bobko),
Gene Cernan,* Nick Timacheff, and John E. Riley, a Public Affairs
Officer from JSC, were present at the Yu. A. Gagarin Cosmonaut
Training Center in Star City. Following the pattern set by the JSC
crew training staff in July, the Soviets presented nine video-taped
lectures to the visiting astronauts. Starting with a description of
the Soyuz flight from launch to rendezvous, undocking to landing, the
television tapes covered a number of significant aspects of the
Soviet craft. This set of lectures and their subsequent study of the
mockups and trainers gave the astronauts a better feel for the Soyuz
flight control systems and onboard displays and the environmental
controls for oxygen generation, temperature levels, and food, water,
and waste management. Details of radio and television communications
equipment closed the presentations.30
During the course of their stay, the
astronauts had ample opportunity to become acquainted with the Soyuz
general purpose and docking simulators and the Soyuz and Salyut
mockups. They listened to recordings of air-to-ground conversations
from an earlier Soyuz mission and discussed an even longer list of
common terms that would be used during the flight. Finally, they went
over with their hosts the "Joint Crew Activities Plan" and the "On
Board Joint Operations Instructions." The Soviets gave them copies of
the video tapes, hardbound copies of the scripts, which were
illustrated with line drawings, and tape recordings of the
Rest stop during trip from Star
City to Moscow provides crewmen with a chance for a snowball fight,
In addition to the classroom instruction, the
astronauts participated in cosmonaut physical training activities and
social events. During non-working hours, the two space teams jogged,
swam, and shared steam baths. At one point during a rest stop on
their journey between Star City and Moscow, they engaged in a
snowball fight, a rare treat for the men from semitropical Houston.
Their crowded agenda also included a trip to the ballet, where the
astronauts were literally showered with bouquets of roses by young
ballerinas. But the snow covered fields of Russia were quickly
followed by the mild winter of Gulf Coast Texas. And with the return
to Houston came more detailed preparations and training for the
* Cernan had replaced
Dave Scott as Lunney's special assistant after Scott left in Aug.
1973 to become Director of NASA's Flight Research Center, Edwards,
30. The titles of the
nine brochures all dated Oct. 1973 presented to the astronauts were
as follows: "Soyuz" Mission Profile, Soyuz Spacecraft General
Description, Androgynous Peripheral Docking System (APDS), Onboard
Systems Manual Control General Concept, Thermal Control System (TCS),
Atmospheric Composition Control and Integrity Check Systems General
Concept, "Soyuz" Radio and TV Communications Systems Operation, Food
and Water Systems, and Waste Management Systems.
31. "Minutes, US
Astronaut Crews Familiarization Courses at the Y[u]. A Gagarin
Cosmonaut Training Center" 19-30 Nov. 1973; Eugene A. Cernan to
Lunney, memo, "ASTP Crew Visit to USSR," 13 Dec. 1973; Hedrick Smith,
"U.S. Astronauts in Soviet to Train with Russians," New York Times, 20 Nov.
1973; Michael McGuire, "Joint Space Bid Off to Bumpy Start,"
Chicago Tribune, 20 Nov. 1973; and Vladimir A. Shatalov, "Na orbite
sotrudnichestva" [On the orbit of cooperation], in Soyuz i Apollon, rasskazivayut sovetskie uchenie
inzheneri i kosmonav ti-yehastniki sovmestnikh rabot s amerikanskimi
spetsialistami [Soyuz and Apollo,
related by Soviet scientists, engineers and cosmonauts - participants
of the joint work with American specialists], Konstantin D. Bushuyev,
ed. (Moscow, 1976), pp. 199-214.