Dobrovolskiy: ''Of which investigation you are talking?''

Zarya: ''The medical one. What you have not completed today, you must precisely complete tomorrow. Also, we ask that you time your work involving the Polynom.''

Dobrovolskiy: ''We are trying to work as on Earth, but here the conditions are different. The amount of work is the terrestrial one, and that is why we are short of time.''

From Dobrovolskiy's notebook:

26 June. Volodya Shatalov read to me a clipping from the Pravda newspaper. At a session of the Odessa City Council, I was elected an honorary citizen of the city.

Earth has provided us with a forced physical exercise regime. Soon will be landing time!

After finishing the scientific programme, the final days of the flight were devoted to intensive physical training, medical examinations and the other preparations for returning to Earth. In concert with controllers at the TsUP, they had already started to prepare Salyut to resume operating in its unmanned regime. They were to check

Left: Dobrovolskiy and Volkov check instructions. Right: Dobrovolskiy controls the flight programme, as Volkov (in the background) exercises on the treadmill.

The Soyuz 11 cosmonauts were very popular among the Soviet public, who followed the flight of the first space station crew with the great interest, in this case in the newspaper Izvestia.

and switch off all equipment that would not be required. The quality of the supplies of water, food and other consumables that would be needed for the next crew had to be checked. In parallel, they prepared the Soyuz, which had been powered down for more than three weeks. The scientific materials to be returned to Earth were stowed in the cramped descent module in such a way as not to alter its centre of mass or to overload it. The crew were permitted to bring back to Earth only items specified by special instruction. Bags of rubbish were loaded into the orbital module, and would be discarded with that module.

As the cosmonauts were packing up their things on that 26 June, Aleksey Isayev, General Designer of OKB-52 (Himmash) and one of the pioneers of Soviet rocketry, suffered a lethal heart attack. He was 63. Isayev led work on the development of the primary and backup engines for all Soviet manned spacecraft, including Salyut. The KTDU-1 braking engine for Vostok and Voskhod and the KTDU-35 for Soyuz had successfully de-orbited all Soviet cosmonauts. Immediately after Isayev's death the Kremlin issued an announcement that identified him by name for the first time.

Day 22, Sunday, 27 June

On the next day, 27 June, the Soviet Union suffered another severe blow when the third launch of the N1 lunar rocket from Baykonur failed. The flight began well, but after 57 seconds a stabilisation problem caused the automatic control system to turn off all the engines of the first stage and the 3,000-tonne rocket crashed not far away from the launch pad.6 This was a serious loss for Mishin, because it undermined his ambition to send cosmonauts to the Moon in the near future.

As the world's first space station, Salyut was the last hope for the Soviet manned space programme. The Soyuz 11 crew had proved that the DOS design was capable of sustaining long-duration missions. In conjunction with the daily telecasts that had enabled people right across the nation to participate in the excitement of living in a space station, the research they undertook demonstrated what flying in space was all about. The Americans had landed on the Moon. So what! Soviet cosmonauts were the masters of Earth orbit, which was where the true benefits were to be gained.

In the meantime, the Salyut crew devoted their 22nd day in space to the increased exercise regime and medical tests.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment