[FPSPACE] "Lifting the Veil" more comments.
nodin at sbcglobal.net
Thu Nov 15 17:03:38 EST 2007
First, let me preface my comments by saying that through the years of my career I have had more than my share of problems and disagreements with CIA. But, in this instance, I want to address some of the possible "inaccuracies" that Sven Grahn cites. I spent a good bit of my early career collecting, analyzing and using this kind of data, and contributing to such reports.
Excerpts from Sven Grahn's comments in brackets ...
[The graph shows that the Luna launch on 4 January 1963 left earth orbit
"4 th stage ejection". Is this really true? Later accounts based on
Soviet sources do not agree with the CIA analysis.]
I think this might refer to the operation of the 4th stage at the time ejection should have occurred (which would have been easily determined through telemetry), not necessarily that the ejection burn successfully placed the craft on a proper lunar trajectory. Note that no midcourse trajectory functioins were identified.
[The 3 February 1963 launch is indicated to have reached orbit, which in
hindsight seems to be incorrect.]
As with the January "4 th stage ejection" this is likely to be no more than confirmation of the 3rd stage operation as observed in telemetry, and not final achievement of the desired orbit. There was no indication of stability in the parking orbit.
[The Cosmos 60 flight is also indicated by the CIA to have come to the
same point as the 4 Jan launch: "4 th stage ejection". As far as I can
tell from recent Russian sources it never left earth orbit.]
The same comment as for the 4 Jan launch. Perhaps guidance or engine problems precluded achievement of desired trajectory from parking orbit.
[The Cosmos 21 launch is indicated to have resulted in "communications
en route". As I understand things, this space probe never left earth orbit.]
It isn't likely that we incorrectly identified the "communications" signals or that those signals came from beyond low-earth-orbit, though the assigned Cosmos number does tell us that it was likely a failed deep space (Venera?) attempt.
[There the spacecraft mass is given by the Soviet Union as 5320 kg and the flight duration as 24 hr 17 min and 3 sec, i.e to the nearest second. The CIA table (from mid-1966) gives the flight time as 24 h 17 min and the mass as 11750 lb= 5329.7 kg. So, the CIA seems not to have cared for accuracy in this particular case.]
Seems like a pretty good match to me ... All of the times in the chart are listed only to the minute, not to the second. And, I'd bet that the cited mass in both cases was no more than a close estimate -- why would 11728 lb be any more or less accurate than 11750 lb?
In the same chart, how do the Vostok masses or weights stack up? I seriously doubt that Gagarin's Vostok 1 and Tereshkova's Vostok 6 were identical in mass, nor were Vostoks 3 and 4. Several years later, when I developed the DOD's R.O.C.K.E.T. simulation for the R7 launch system, the announced masses agreed very well with my simulation results for both Vostok and Voskhod (less than a 100 pound deviation, which was probably not too bad considering liftoff wieghts of well over 265 tons to start -- the real trick was separating the third stage (Lunik or Venik) mass from the true payload mass).
More information about the FPSPACE