Soyuz 4

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Soyuz 4
Mission statistics
Mission name: Soyuz 4
Call sign: Амур (Amur - "Amur River")
Number of crew members: 1 (at launch)
3 (at landing)
Launch: January 14, 1969
07:30:00 UTC
Baikonur LC1
Landing: January 17, 1969
06:50:47 UTC
Duration: 2 days, 23 h, 20 min, 47 s
Number of orbits: 48

Soyuz 4 launched January 14, 1969. On board was the cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov on his first flight. The aim of the mission was to dock with Soyuz 5, transfer two crew members from that spacecraft and reenter. The last three Soyuz flights had attempted to do this but had all failed for various reasons.

Contents

Crew

Mission parameters

  • Mass: 6625 kg
  • Perigee: 213 km
  • Apogee: 224 km
  • Inclination: 51.7°
  • Period: 88.8 min

Space walk

  • Yeliseyev and Khrunov - EVA 1
  • EVA 1 Start: January 16, 1969, 12:43:00 UTC
  • EVA 1 End: January 16, 01:15 UTC
  • Duration: 37 minutes

Mission highlights

The two spacecraft docked on January 16, the first time two manned spacecraft had docked (Apollo 9 would do the same thing in March of the same year). Yevgeny Khrunov and Aleksei Yeliseyev aboard Soyuz 5 immediately began preparing for their EVA. Boris Volynov, who would remain on Soyuz 5 filmed them donning their Yastreb space suits.

On their 35th revolution of Earth they exited the spacecraft, on the second ever Soviet spacewalk. One of Khrunov's lines became tangled and he accidentally closed the tumbler of his suit ventilator. This distracted Yeliseyev who did not set up movie camera on the orbital module before exiting the spacecraft. This meant that there is no film of the historic EVA, only a poor video transmission.

One hour later they were greeted by Shatalov after the repressurisaton of the Soyuz 4 orbital module, which also acted as a airlock. Soyuz 4 and 5 separated after 4 hours and 35 minutes docked together. Soyuz 4 reentred and landed 100 km SW of Karaganda, now in Kazakhstan on January 17, 1969.

The mission proved it was possible to perform the activities that would be needed on a Soviet lunar landing. The Russian plan called for the sole cosmonaut who landed on the moon to spacewalk back from the landing craft to orbiting spacecraft after docking in lunar orbit. This was because there was no internal tunnel between them like with the American CSM and LM.

The crew were to meet Leonid Brezhnev during a lavish ceremony at the Kremlin, but this was ruined by an attempted assassination of the Soviet leader. A man shot eight times at the motorcade but aimed at the car containing Georgi Beregovoi, Alexei Leonov, Andrian Nikolayev, and Valentina Tereshkova. They were unharmed but Brezhnev's car was forced to speed away past the waiting Soyuz 4/5 crews on the podium.

EVA details

This docking mission had EVA objectives similar to those planned for Apollo 9. Soyuz 4 launched first, and was the active vehicle in the docking with Soyuz 5. The news agency TASS stated that: “. . . there was a mutual mechanical coupling of the ships. . . and their electrical circuits were connected. Thus, the world’s first experimental cosmic station with four compartments for the crew was assembled and began functioning. . .” The mission rehearsed elements of the Soviet piloted lunar mission plan. Moscow TV carried the cosmonauts’ EVA preparations live. Khrunov and Yeliseyev put on their Yastreb (“hawk”) suits in the Soyuz 5 orbital module with aid from Commander Boris Volynov. Yastreb suit design commenced in 1965, shortly after Leonov’s difficult EVA. Leonov served as consultant for the design process, which was complete during 1966. Suit fabrication and testing occurred in 1967, but the Soyuz 1 accident in April of that year and Soyuz docking difficulties (Soyuz 2-Soyuz 3, October 1968) delayed use in space until Soyuz 4-Soyuz 5. To prevent the suit ballooning which contributed to Leonov’s EVA difficulties, Yastreb used a pulley and cable articulation system. Wide metal rings around the gray nylon canvas undersuit’s upper arms served as “anchors” for the upper body articulation system. Yastreb had a regenerative life support system in a rectangular white metal box placed on the chest and abdomen to facilitate movement through Soyuz hatchways. Volynov checked out Khrunov and Yeliseyev’s life support and communications systems before returning to the descent module, sealing the hatch, and depressurizing the orbital module. Khrunov went out first, transferring to the Soyuz 4 orbital module while the docked spacecraft were out of radio contact with the Soviet Union over South America. Yeliseyev transferred while the spacecraft were over the Soviet Union. They closed the Soyuz 4 orbital module hatch behind them, then Soyuz 4 Commander Vladimir Shatalov repressurized the orbital module and entered to help Khrunov and Yeliseyev get out of their suits. The spacewalkers delivered newspapers, letters, and telegrams printed after Shatalov lifted off to help prove that the transfer took place. Soyuz 4 and 5 separated after only 4 h, 35 min together.

See also

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