Volkov: "We observed a cyclone over South America at 22 degrees east and 46 degrees south.'' Zarya: "Logged."
On 27 June the cosmonauts made their seventh and final Cosmovision telecast. By now they were the best-known cosmonauts since Gagarin, Titov, Teryeshkova and Leonov. Surprisingly, this time the 'star' was the most reticent member of the crew -Viktor Patsayev. Interestingly, although the preparations to return to Earth were well underway, the subject was the food that they had been eating during their record-breaking stay is space.
Zarya-25: "Many television viewers and radio listeners would like to know: how do you eat?''
Patsayev: ''Our food is either in cans or in tubes. We also have small packages of desserts such as prunes and cookies. The food is stored in two freezers - which are very large units. We keep tubes and juices in special containers. Some food can be heated - we have two heaters.''
Zarya-25: ''You have been in space for 22 days. Has your weight changed?''
As the mission drew to an end, the cosmonauts continued to monitor terrestrial meteorological phenomena.
Patsayev: "I don't think so."
Zarya-25: "What do you do in your rest time?"
Patsayev: "We don't have much leisure time, but when we do we read - we have a small library with books by Lermontov, Pushkin and Tolstoy. And we also listen to music on our cassette player.''
Day 23, Monday, 28 June
Their penultimate day on Salyut began on the morning of 28 June. At 12 noon the station completed its 342nd orbit with a crew on board. While the cosmonauts made their preparations to return to Earth, the landing support team at the TsUP kept up to date on the meteorological forecast for the dawn period in the recovery zone. The most important factor was the wind speed. If the descent module were to land
At Yevpatoriya, the flight controllers were happy with the progress of the mission, and were eager for the crew's return. In the first row (left to right) are Feoktistov, Nikolayev, Kamanin (with Yeliseyev behind him), Kerimov, Agadzhanov and Chertok. (From the book Rockets and People No 4, courtesy www.astronaut.ru)
On the eve of Soyuz ll's return to Earth, members of the State Commission arrived at the TsUP in Yevpatoriya from Moscow and Baykonur. Seated in the first row (left to right) are Raushenbakh, Chertok, Agadzhanov, Nikolayev, Mishin, Afanasyev, Kerimov, Bugayskiy (with Semyonov behind) and Shatalov.
on its side, as often happened, and there was a strong wind, then it might roll after landing, and even on a flat surface this would be unpleasant for the men inside, especially if they were feeling weak. In the worst case, if the wind speed exceeded the permitted maximum the module might be damaged on impact and the crew injured -perhaps even fatally. However, the forecast was still favourable. The Landing Commission prepared two sets of instructions for the cosmonauts: the first for the primary landing site and the second - to be used only if the first attempt were to fail - for the reserve site.
Having realised that the cosmonauts were tired, the TsUP worked with them step by step in the process of preparing Salyut to operate in its automated regime in the weeks between the departure of its first crew and the arrival of its second crew. As a result of this close supervision, which was feasible only during the periods when the station was in communication, the effort took much longer than expected. The same procedure was adopted for preparing the Soyuz spacecraft. As part of the process of 'mothballing' the station, it was thoroughly cleaned and the rubbish was stowed in the orbital module of the ferry for disposal.
With the landing imminent, experts from the TsKBEM and Himmash arrived at the TsUP. Headed by General Kerimov, the expert group included Boris Chertok, Boris Raushenbakh, Yuriy Semyonov and Viktor Bugayskiy. As on the occasion of the docking three weeks previously, many off-duty controllers again came into the control centre. And of course Very Important People flew in simply in order to take part. As all the preparations for the descent were well in hand, most of the guests took advantage of the delightful weather and passed the time by walking along the beach. Despite the recent launch failure of the N1 rocket, everyone at the TsUP was happy with the progress of the Soyuz 11 mission and was confident that tomorrow's undocking would go well and that the extraordinary crew would land safely.
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