Soyuz 1

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Soyuz 1
Mission Statistics
Mission Name:Soyuz 1
Call Sign:Рубин (Rubin - "Ruby")
Number of Crew Members:1
Launch:April 23, 1967
00:35:00 UTC
Baikonur LC1
Landing:April 24, 1967
03:22:52 UTC
51.13 N, 57.24 E
Duration:1 day, 2 h, 47 min, 52 s
Number of Orbits:18

Soyuz 1 (Russian Союз 1, Union 1) was part of the Soviet Union's space program and was launched into orbit on April 23, 1967, carrying a single cosmonaut, Colonel Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov, who was killed when the spacecraft crashed after its return to Earth. This was the first in flight fatality in the history of manned spaceflight.

Unlike other manned spacecraft to that time the Soyuz had never been succesfully flown on an unmanned testflight - all the previous flights had encountered some problem. Yuri Gagarin as back up pilot was aware of the design problems and the pressures from the politburo to have the flight and attempted to "bump" Komarov from the mission knowing that the Soviet leadership would not risk a national hero on the flight.

Mission planners originally intended to launch a second Soyuz 2 into orbit on the next day carrying 3 cosmonauts - Valery Fyodorovich Bykovsky, Yevgeny Vassilyevich Khrunov, and Aleksei Stanislavovich Yeliseyev - and two of those were planned to do an EVA to Soyuz 1. Shortly after launch, problems began when one solar panel failed to unfold, leading to a shortage of power for the spacecraft's systems. Also, problems with the orientation detectors complicated manoeuvering the craft. The crew on the second Soyuz prepared to fix the solar panel of Soyuz 1, but heavy rain at Baikonur made the launch impossible. As a result, Soyuz 1 was deorbited as soon as it passed above the USSR again. The main parachute did not unfold due to problems with a pressure sensor, and the manually deployed reserve chute tangled, making the spacecraft fall to Earth nearly unbraked. Komarov was killed by the landing impact. According to some reports (http://www.astronautix.com/details/soyz1712.htm), Komarov cursed the engineers and flight staff as he descended. Later inspection of the Soyuz 2 spacecraft showed the same problem with the parachute, which would have doomed all four cosmonauts if the launch had proceeded. The original mission of Soyuz 1 and 2 was later carried out by Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5.

Engineers detected 200 design faults with the spacecraft before launch but government officials pressed for a space test to continue the trend of beating the United States in the space race and have Soviets first on the moon. Soyuz 1 problems delayed the launch of Soyuz 2 and Soyuz 3 until October 25, 1968. This eighteen-month delay and the following explosion of an unmanned N-1 booster on July 3, 1969 scuttled Soviet plans of landing a cosmonaut on the Moon.

Soyuz 1 Crash Site SE of  Orenburg near the Russian-Kazakhstani border.
Enlarge
Soyuz 1 Crash Site SE of Orenburg near the Russian-Kazakhstani border.

Crew

(1) number of spaceflights each crew member has completed, including this mission.

Mission Parameters

  • Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK #4, active docking system
  • Mass: 6450 kg
  • Perigee: 197 km
  • Apogee: 223 km
  • Inclination: 50.8
  • Period: 88.7 minutes

External links

Red Files: Secret Soviet Moon Mission (http://www.pbs.org/redfiles/moon/)

Template:Sequenceaf:Soyuz 1 fr:Soyouz 1 id:Soyuz 1 hu:Szojuz-1 pl:Sojuz 1 pt:Soyuz 1 sl:Sojuz 1

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