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astronautix.com Vostok


Spacecraft: Resurs T / Zenit-2M/NH. Remote sensing.

Spacecraft: Vostok-Zh.

During the course of 1961 Korolev's OKB-1 worked on design of a reliable manned spacecraft to succeed Vostok. The Soyuz or Sever designs would utilize body lift to reduce G forces and allo the crew to make re-entries at hyperbolic speeds - when returning from the moon, or Mars. On 10 March 1962 Korolev approved the technical project "Complex docking of spacecraft in earth orbit - Soyuz". This draft report envisioned use of an manned orbital tug version of the Vostok capsule to assemble spacecraft in low earth orbit. In one concept a large spacecraft was assembled in earth orbit by a Vostok-Zh (or Vostok-7) manoeuvrable manned satellite, piloted by a 'cosmonaut assemblyman'. The pilot would rendezvous and dock with each component as it reached orbit, then manoeuvre the component to the in-assembly spacecraft. Following completion of assembly, the Vostok would retrofire and the assemblyman would return to earth.

The Vostok-Zh could be used on another mission to assemble a 15 tonne orbital station with the mission of observing the earth. It would consist of three separately-launched blocks: a ZhO living section, BAA scientific apparatus block, and the Soyuz spacecraft itself.

By the end of 1962 the Vostok-Zh approach had been discarded in favor of automatic docking in orbit of the L1 spacecraft and a succession of tankers to fuel a single rocket block.


Spacecraft: Yantar Test. Test of Yantar systems aboard a Zenit spacecraft.

Spacecraft: Korolev Suborbital Manned Spacecraft.

Spacecraft: Vostok 3KA.

First manned spacecraft. Derivatives were still in use over thirty years later, for military photo-reconnaissance, earth resources, mapping, and biological missions.

In the spring of 1957 Tikhonravov began study of a manned orbital spacecraft. The April 1958 preliminary design indicated a mass of 5.0 to 5.5 tonnes, 8 to 9 G re-entry, spherical capsule, 2500 to 3500 deg C re-entry temperatures. The heat shield would weigh 1300 to 1500 kg, and the landing accuracy would be 100 to 170 km. Operating altitude was 250 km. The astronaut would eject from the spacecraft at an altitude of 8 to 10 km.

Construction drawings were issued beginning in the fall of 1958. From the end of 1960 six unmanned Vostok variants were launched, followed by six crewed missions.

The Vostok crew accommodation was for one cosmonaut, in a spacesuit, equipped with an ejection seat for launch aborts and for landing on the earth. The spacecraft had two windows: one above the cosmonaut's head in the entry hatch, one at his feet, equipped with the Vzor optical device for orientation of the spacecraft. Attitude control was by cold gas thrusters for on-orbit orientation; passive control for the capsule during re-entry. A single parachute allowed recovery of the capsule. There was no soft-landing system; the pilot ejected for a separate landing under his own parachute.

The Vostok and Voskhod spacecraft, like the US Mercury, could not perform orbital manoeuvres - they could only be translated around their axes. The main engine was not restartable and was used only at the end of the mission for the re-entry braking manoeuvre.


Spacecraft: Vostok 1K. Prototype of Vostok manned spacecraft and Zenit reconnaisance satellite.

Spacecraft: Vostok 1KP. First test version of prototype for Vostok manned spacecraft and Zenit reconnaisance satellite. Reentry capsule lacked heat shield; it could not be recovered.

Spacecraft: Zenit-2.

The Zenit spacecraft had its origins before Sputnik. In 1956, the Soviet military identified a requirement for a photo-reconnaissance satellite (see Zenit). Sergei Korolev, flushed after the success of Sputnik, instead advocated that manned spaceflight should have first priority. After bitter disputes, a compromise solution was reached. Korolev was authorised to proceed with development of a spacecraft to achieve manned flights at the earliest possible date. However the design would be such that the same spacecraft could be used to fulfil the military's unmanned photo reconnaissance satellite requirement. A series of 1K prototypes would prove the essential design; the 2K and 4K versions would be unmanned spy satellites, and the 3K the manned spaceship. The military resisted, but in November 1958 Korolev won, and the Council of Chief designers approved the Vostok manned space program, in combination with Zenit spy satellite program.

Development work was begun in May 1959. Project leader was Ryazanov until 1961; thereafter Tsybin. Section heads were Yu M Frumkin for the spacecraft and Ts V Solovyov for the communications. The agreed technical specifications for the 2K satellite (given the code name Zenit-2) were for a photo apparatus with a focal length of not less than a meter, limited only by the size of the spacecraft itself. Electronics were to include secure radio systems that would only transmit and receive data when the spacecraft was over the territory of the USSR. These included transmission of photo-television images and receipt of secure command and programming data.


Spacecraft: Zenit-4.

Zenit-4 was the second Soviet photo-reconnaisance satellite, providing high-resolution imagery to complement the area coverage of the Zenit-2. The Zenit-4 draft project was completed in 1964. The high resolution system used a 3 m focal length camera. Development was done by Kozlov at OKB-1 Filial 3. Chertok and Tsybin were in charge of the flight tests. Zenit-4 was equipped with the Ftor-4 camera and was accepted into service in 1965. Typical orbital profile: inclination 65 degrees with altitude of 202-320 km; inclination 51.8 degrees with altitude of 199-286 km; inclination 72.8 degrees with altitude of 204-331 km; inclination 81.3 degrees with altitude of 201-368 km. Designed duration: 8 days. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.995 PDM; sometimes; 19.990 PDM.


Spacecraft: Voskhod 3KV.

The Voskhods were adaptations of the single place Vostok spacecraft meant to conduct flights with up to three crew and for space walks in advance of US Gemini program. Work on the 3KV (three crew) and 3KD (two crew plus inflatable airlock) versions of the basic Vostok spacecraft began with the decree issued on 13 April 1964. In order to accommodate more than one crew, the seats were mounted perpendicular to the Vostok ejection seat position, so the crew had to crane their necks to read instruments, still mounted in their original orientation. The Elburs soft landing system replaced the ejection seat and allowed the crew to stay in the capsule. It consisted of probes that dangled from the parachute lines. Contact with the earth triggered a solid rocket engine in the parachute which resulted in a zero velocity landing.

The airlock of the two-crew 3KD version weighed 250 kg and was 700 mm in diameter and 770 mm high when stowed for launch. When inflated in orbit, it was 2.5 m long, with an internal diameter of 1.0 m and external diameter of 1.2 m.

The heavier Voskhods were launched by the 11A57 launch vehicle with a much larger third stage than that used for the Vostoks. This allowed installation of a backup solid propellant retrorocket package on the nose of the spacecraft.


Spacecraft: Voskhod 3KD.

The Voskhods were adaptations of the single place Vostok spacecraft meant to conduct flights with up to three crew and for space walks in advance of US Gemini program. Work on the 3KV (three crew) and 3KD (two crew plus inflatable airlock) versions of the basic Vostok spacecraft began with the decree issued on 13 April 1964. In order to accommodate more than one crew, the seats were mounted perpendicular to the Vostok ejection seat position, so the crew had to crane their necks to read instruments, still mounted in their original orientation. The Elburs soft landing system replaced the ejection seat and allowed the crew to stay in the capsule. It consisted of probes that dangled from the parachute lines. Contact with the earth triggered a solid rocket engine in the parachute which resulted in a zero velocity landing.

The airlock of the two-crew 3KD version weighed 250 kg and was 700 mm in diameter and 770 mm high when stowed for launch. When inflated in orbit, it was 2.5 m long, with an internal diameter of 1.0 m and external diameter of 1.2 m.

The heavier Voskhods were launched by the 11A57 launch vehicle with a much larger third stage than that used for the Vostoks. This allowed installation of a backup solid propellant retrorocket package on the nose of the spacecraft.


Spacecraft: Voskhod 3KV Tether.

Korolev was always interested in application of artificial gravity for large space stations and interplanetary craft. He sought to test this in orbit from the early days of the Vostok programme. Three versions were considered:

  • Voskhod 3KV, tethered to its boosterís final rocket stage, Block I

  • Soyuz 7K-OK, tethered to Block I

  • Two Soyuz 7K-OK, which would rendezvous and dock in orbit and then undock, pulling the tether out between them.

Separation of the two components with a rotation of 0.5 degrees/second would produce 0.03 G of artificial gravity. The components would then close to 300 m, reaching 7 degrees/second and 1/6 G. The Voskhod would need additional liquid fuel rocket thrusters fitted to put the components into rotation. When follow-on Voskhod flights after Voskhod 2 were cancelled, the experiment was moved to the Soyuz 7K-OK project. However after Korolevís death, this project in turn was closed by Mishin on 28 March 1966 and not pursued further.


Spacecraft: Zenit-2M.

Planning began in mid-1967 for military systems to enter service through 1975. These included this improved area survey model of the Zenit-2 reconnaissance satellite, accepted into service in 1970. The special reconnaissance system Ftor-2 of the Zenit-2 was replaced by the more capable system Ftor-2R3. Typical orbital profile: inclination 65 degrees, 204-288 km alt; inclination 62.8 degrees, 200-294 km alt; inclination 51.8 degrees, 202-256 km alt; inclination 71.3 degrees, 205-316 km alt; inclination 72.8 degrees, 203-312 km alt; inclination 81.3 degrees, 210-232 km alt. Designed duration: 12 days. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.995 PDM; 66.2 (Tral).


Spacecraft: Zenit-4M.

Planning began in mid-1967 for military systems to enter service through 1975. These included this improved model of Zenit-4 high resolution reconnaisance satellite, accepted into service in 1971. The photo system Ftor-6 replaced the Ftor-4 of the Zenit-4. The Zenit-4M was the first of the series equipped with a restartable engine which allowed adjustment of the orbit during the mission. High resolution, maneuverable; Typical orbital profile: inclination 65 degrees with altitude of 203-290 km; maneuvers to 178-312 km altitude. Also inclinations of 51.6 degrees; 72.8 degrees; 81.3 degrees. Designed duration: 13 days. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.150 PCM telemetry or 19.300 Morse-code.


Spacecraft: Zenit-4MK.

Modernised high resolution version of the Zenit-4M satellite that went into service in 1972. Maneuverable; (two-tone telemetry). Typical orbital profile: inclination 62.8 degrees, 180-325 km altitude, maneuvering to 170-315 km; inclination 65 degrees, 205-300 km altitude maneuvering to 170-305 km; inclination 72.8 degrees, 205-340 km altitude, maneuvering to 170-315 km. Designed duration: 12 or 14 days. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.989 FSK; 39.978 FSK; 232.0 PPM-AM.


Spacecraft: Zenit-4MT.

Special version of Zenit developed for topographical photography. This was developed by OKB-1 Filial 1 based on the Zenit-4M. It utilised the SA-106 topographic camera from the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Factory, and a laser altimeter and doppler apparatus developed by NPO Radiopribor. The draft project was completed in 1968. Flight trials aboard the Soyuz launch vehicle began in 1971 from Plesetsk. Trials were completed in 1975 and the system was accepted into service in 1976. Launch vehicle was Soyuz 11A511M, the only spacecraft to use this launch vehicle. Typical orbital profile: inclination 82.3 degrees, 81.3 degrees with altitude of 215-245 km; inclination 72.8 degrees with altitude of 200-325 km; inclination 62.8 degrees with altitude of 230-275 km. Designed duration: 12 or 13 days. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.994 FSK.


Spacecraft: Energia.

Adaptation of recoverable Vostok spacecraft for investigation of primary cosmic radiation and meteoritic particles in near-earth outer space. Two such spacecraft were launched in the 1970's to study high-energy cosmic rays. The scientific equpment carried measured 1.5 m x 1.145 m x 0.85 m.


Spacecraft: Zenit-4MKT.

Adaptation of recoverable Vostok spacecraft for reconaissance/remote sensing. Decrees of 21 December 1972 started work on this replacement to the Meteor-Priroda system. The project was managed by the State Centre Priroda of the Main Directorate of Geodesy and Cartography of he Soviet Ministers. Kozlov was the General Designer. The Zenit-4MKT / Fram spacecraft was equipped with the Priroda-3 camera, which took multi-spectral photographs on black and white and spectro-zonal film. The camera was built by the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Factory of the Ministry of Defence. Head of the project government commission was Yu P Kienkoof. Film resolution was 20-30 m black and white, 30 to 50 m multispectral. Swath width 180 km; total area of 17 square million km covered per mission. Typical orbital profile: inclination 81.3 degrees, 220-262 km altitude; inclination 82.3 degrees, 215-252 km altitude. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.989 FSK; 39.978 FSK; 232.0 PPM-AM.


Spacecraft: Bion.

Bion was developed for biological studies of the effects of radiation. The spacecraft was based on the Zenit reconnaissance satellite and launches began in 1973 with primary emphasis on the problems of radiation effects on human beings. Launches in the program included Cosmos 110, 605, 670, 782, plus Nauka modules flown on Zenit-2M reconnaissance satellites. 90 kg of equipment can be contained in the external Nauka module.


Spacecraft: Zenit-6U.

A universal variant of the Zenit spacecraft, used in two altitude ranges, for both observation and high resolution missions. Maneuvers to high perigee during the course of a mission. Typical orbital profile: inclination 72.8, 70.4 degrees with altitude of 200-380 km; maneuvering to altitude of 360-415 km. Designed duration: 14 days. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.989 FSK; 39.978 FSK; 232.0 PPM-AM; 19.989 FSK; 39.978 FSK; 231.5 PCM-FM.


Spacecraft: Zenit-4MKM.

A further modification of the Zenit-4MKM, entered service in 1978. Improved high resolution, maneuverable; (two-tone telemetry). Typical orbital profile: inclination 62.8 degrees, 180-325 km altitude, maneuvering to 170-315 km; inclination 65 degrees, 205-300 km altitude maneuvering to 170-305 km; inclination 72.8 degrees, 205-340 km altitude, maneuvering to 170-315 km. Designed duration: 12 or 14 days. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.989 FSK; 39.978 FSK; 232.0 PPM-AM.


Spacecraft: Resurs F1-17F41.

Remote sensing. Investigation of the natural resources of the earth in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR and international cooperation. Western description: Earth resources, close look. Typical orbital profile: inclination 81.3-82.6 degrees with altitude of 210-275 km or 185-280 km; maneuvering to altitude of 260-275 km. First flight: Cosmos 1127. Last flight: Cosmos 1746. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.989 FSK; 39.978 FSK; 232.0 PPM-AM.


Spacecraft: Efir. Science. Adaptation of the Vostok spacecraft.

Spacecraft: Zenit-8.

Military cartographic photo-surveillance satellite; investigation of the natural resources of the earth in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR and international cooperation. Western description: Typical orbital profile: inclination 70 degrees with altitude of 350-420 km. Designed duration: 15 days. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 19.989 FSK; 39.978 FSK; 232.0 PPM-AM.


Spacecraft: Foton. Adaptation of recoverable Vostok spacecraft for zero-gravity materials processing tests. 400 W available to operate experiments.

Spacecraft: Resurs F1-14F40.

Adaptation of recoverable Vostok spacecraft for remote sensing. Investigation of the natural resources of the earth in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR and international cooperation. Film resolution 10-11 m black and white, 31-33 m multispectral. Swath width 147 to 225 km; total area covered per mission 27 to 76 million square km. Restartable engine allows adjustment of orbit during mission. Typical orbital profile: inclination 81.3 to 82.6 degrees with altitude of 180-235 km or 185-280 km; maneuvering to an altitude of 260-275 km or 180-280 km; maneuvering to an altitude of 325-340 km. First flight: Cosmos 1762. Last flight: Cosmos 1920. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 231.5 PCM-FM.


Spacecraft: Resurs F2.

Adaptation of recoverable Vostok spacecraft for remote sensing. Investigation of the natural resources of the earth in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR and international cooperation. Film resolution 9-12 m black and white, 15-18 m multispectral (4-6 spectral bands). Swath width 150 km; total area covered per mission 20.7 million square km. Missions: Cosmos 1906, Cosmos 1965, Cosmos 1990, Resurs-F7. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 231.5 PCM-FM.


Spacecraft: Resurs F1-14F43.

Remote sensing. Investigation of the natural resources of the earth in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR and international cooperation. Western description: Earth resources, close look. Missions: Cosmos 1951, Cosmos 1957, Cosmos 1968, Resurs-F1. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 231.5 PCM-FM.


Spacecraft: Resurs F1M.

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Last update 28 March 2001.
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