|Vostok 8K72K - 8K72K COSPAR 1961-Mu|
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R-7 ICBM with single-engine third stage, uprated from Luna launch vehicle and with forward fairing to accomodate Vostok/Zenit sized spacecraft. 8K72K, used for Vostok manned spacecraft launches and the first Zenit launch attempt.
Launches: 11. Failures: 2. Success Rate: 81.82% pct. First Launch Date: 22 December 1960. Last Launch Date: 16 June 1963. LEO Payload: 4,730 kg. to: 200 km Orbit. at: 65.0 degrees. Liftoff Thrust: 397,103 kgf. Total Mass: 281,375 kg. Core Diameter: 3.0 m. Total Length: 30.8 m.
Unable to reach orbital velocity, the Vostok prototype separated while the third stage was still firing. While the ejection seat failed to operate, the capsule did make a hard landing in severe winter conditons in Siberia. It was recovered after some time, and the dogs Kometa and Shutka were alive. As a result of this flight the ejection seat was developed with a heat shield designed to protect the pilot in the event of a launch vehicle failure up to shut down of the first stage.
Carried dog Chernushka, mannequin Ivan Ivanovich, and other biological specimens. Ivanovich was ejected from the capsule and recovered by parachute, and Chernsuhka was successfully recovered with the capsule on March 9, 1961 8:10 GMT.
Officially: Development of the design of the space ship satellite and of the systems on board, which ensure necessary conditions for man's flight.
Carried dog Zvezdochka and mannequin Ivan Ivanovich. Ivanovich was again ejected from the capsule and recovered by parachute, and Zvezdochka was successfully recovered with the capsule on March 25, 1961 7:40 GMT.
Officially: Development of the design of the space ship satellite and of the systems on board, designed to ensure man's life functions during flight in outer space and return to Earth.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 1,240 bytes. 74 x 282 pixels.
Three press releases were prepared, one for success, two for failures. It was only known ten minutes after burnout, 25 minutes after launch, if a stable orbit had been achieved.
The payload included life-support equipment and radio and television to relay information on the condition of the pilot. The flight was automated; Gagarin's controls were locked to prevent him from taking control of the ship. A key was available in a sealed envelope in case it became necessary to take control in an emergency. After retrofire, the service module remained attached to the Sharik reentry sphere by a wire bundle. The joined craft went through wild gyrations at the beginning of reentry, before the wires burned through. The Sharik, as it was designed to do, then naturally reached aerodynamic equilibrium with the reentry shield positioned correctly.
Gagarin ejected after reentry and descended under his own parachute, as was planned. However for many years the Soviet Union denied this, because the flight would not have been recognized for various FAI world records unless the pilot had accompanied his craft to a landing. Recovered April 12, 1961 8:05 GMT. Landed Southwest of Engels Smelovka, Saratov.
|R-7 aft end|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 47,694 bytes. 421 x 583 pixels.
|RKK Energia - Main entrance (security check) of RKK Energia complex. Vostok rocket looms in background.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 32,837 bytes. 559 x 255 pixels.
Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite. Program partially completed. Failure of primary spacecraft orientation system.
Joint flight with Vostok 4. The first such flight, where Vostok capsules were launched one day apart, coming within a few kilometers of each other at the orbital insertion of the second spacecraft. The flight was supposed to occur in March, but following various delays, one of the two Vostok pads was damaged in the explosion of the booster of the third Zenit-2 reconnsat in May. Repairs were not completed until August. Vostok 3 studied man's ability to function under conditions of weightlessness; conducted scientific observations; furthered improvement of space ship systems, communications, guidance and landing. Immediately at orbital insertion of Vostok 4, the spacecraft were less than 5 km apart. Popovich made radio contact with Cosmonaut Nikolayev. Nikolayev reported shortly thereafter that he had sighted Vostok 4. Since the Vostok had no maneuvering capability, they could not rendezvous or dock, and quickly drifted apart. The launches did allow Korolev to offer something new and different, and gave the launch and ground control crews practice in launching and handling more than one manned spacecraft at a time. The cosmonaut took colour motion pictures of the earth and the cabin interior. Recovered August 15, 1962 6:52 GMT. Landed 48:02N 75:45 E.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 12,874 bytes. 549 x 570 pixels.
Joint flight with Vostok 3. Acquisition of experimental data on the possibility of establishing a direct link between two space ships; coordination of astronauts' operations; study of the effects of identical spaceflight conditions on the human organism. Popovich had problems with his life support system, resulting in the cabin temperature dropping to 10 degrees Centigrade and the humidity to 35%. The cosmonaut still managed to conduct experiments, including taking colour motion pictures of the terminator between night and day and the cabin interior.
Despite the conditions, Popovich felt able to go for the full four days scheduled. But before the mission, Popovich had been briefed to tell ground control that he was 'observing thunderstorms' if he felt the motion sickness that had plagued Titov and needed to return on the next opportunity. Unfortunately he actually did report seeing thunderstorms over the Gulf of Mexico, and ground control took this as a request for an early return. He was ordered down a day early, landing within a few mintutes of Nikolayev. Only on the ground was it discovered that he was willing to go the full duration, and that ground control had thought he had given the code. Recovered August 15, 1962 6:59 GMT. Landed 48:09 N 71:51 E.
|R-7 forward view - R-7 forward compartment|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 46,494 bytes. 565 x 391 pixels.
Mission objectives were officially: further study of the effect of various space-flight factors in the human organism; extensive medico-biological experiments under conditions of prolonged flight; further elaboration and improvement of spaceship systems.
Vostok 5 was originally planned to go for a record eight days. The launch was delayed repeatedly due to high solar activity and technical problems. Finally the spacecraft ended up in a lower than planned orbit. Combined with increased atmospheric activity due to solar levels, Vostok 5 quickly decayed temperatures in the service module reached very high levels.
Bykovsky also experienced an unspecified problem with his waste management system (a spill?) which made conditions in the cabin 'very uncomfortable'. He was finally ordered to return after only five days in space.
To top it all off, once again the Vostok service module failed to separate cleanly from the reentry sphere. Wild gyrations ensued until the heat of reentry burned through the non-separating retraining strap. Recovered June 19, 1963 11:06 GMT. Landed 53:24 N 67:37 E.
Joint flight with Vostok 5. First woman in space, and the only Russian woman to go into space until Svetlana Savitskaya 19 years later. On its first orbit, Vostok 6 came within about five km of Vostok 5, the closest distance achieved during the flight, and established radio contact. Flight objectives included: Comparative analysis of the effect of various space-flight factors on the male and female organisms; medico-biological research; further elaboration and improvement of spaceship systems under conditions of joint flight. It was Korolev's idea just after Gagarin's flight to put a woman into space as yet another novelty. Khrushchev made the final crew selection. Korolev was unhappy with Tereshkova's performance in orbit and she was not permitted to take manual control of the spacecraft as had been planned. Recovered June 19, 1963 8:20 GMT. Landed 53:16 N 80:27 E.