Thirty-seven years ago, on September 15 on 1976: 12 (Moscow time), the Soyuz-48 spacecraft was successfully launched with cosmonauts Valery Bykovsky and Vladimir Aksyonov on board. In less than four years, in the summer of 22, Vladimir Viktorovich Aksenov made his second space flight. For the successful execution of work in space, he was twice awarded the "Golden Star" of the Hero of the Soviet Union. In addition to performing complex flight missions in space orbit, this man made a huge contribution to the development of rocket space technology, automated systems for studying the environment and searching for the Earth’s natural resources. The Soviet cosmonaut was awarded many Soviet and foreign orders and medals. He has over a dozen inventions and is a full member of the Academy of Cosmonautics named after K.E. Tsiolkovsky and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
As you know, the road to space originates on Earth. Volodya Aksenov was born 1 in February 1935 in the forestry Meshchersky region, in the village of Giblitsy, located in the Kasimov district of the Ryazan region. His mother, Alexandra Ivanovna Aksenova, worked as an accountant on the collective farm. In 1940, Vladimir gave birth to a younger brother, who was named Valentin. When the Great Patriotic War began, the father, Victor Stepanovich Zhivoglyadov, went to the front. He died in 1944 year. The childhood of two brothers was heavy and was held under the care of my mother's parents.
Did Volodya dream about space in his youth? In those days there were no such words. Shortly before his first flight, the astronaut would say: “Grandmother and grandfather put me on my feet”. Grandfather, Ivan Prokofievich, taught him to cut grass, store firewood and much more. Along with adults, Volodya and Valentin worked on a collective farm field - they knitted sheaves, chose potatoes. Grandmother and grandfather were well-known teachers of literature and the Russian language. They instilled in the boy a love of reading and music.
Ivan Prokofievich was a native of the peasants, thanks to his abilities, he enrolled (and then successfully completed) Ryazan Alexander seminary in Ryazan. In addition to teaching literature, he played the violin well and led the school and church choirs. A grandmother, Vera Fyodorovna Aksenova, worked at a local school for fifty-one years, was awarded the Order of Lenin and the medal "For Valiant Labor in the Years of the Great Patriotic War." The doors of their houses were open at any time. Teachers were respected by both adults and children, people often came to them for help and advice.
In 1942, Vladimir went to the village school. He studied well, graduated from seven classes with the right to enter the technical school without exams. For the fourth, fifth and seventh grades, he was awarded “Certificates of Commendation”. In 1949, Aksenov entered the industrial technical school in Kasimov. He studied there for only one year. In the order number 58 (from 17 July 1950 of the year) for the 2 group, he is listed first among those transferred to the next course with scholarships.
However, his mother died, and her sister, Zinaida Ivanovna Semakina, took the guy to her in Kaliningrad. Like her parents, she worked as a teacher, and Volodya from the second year continued his studies at the Mytishchi Engineering College. He graduated from this educational institution in 1953, and on the recommendation of the local city committee of the Komsomol he was sent to the tenth military aviation a school located in the city of Kremenchug, Poltava region. Two years later, having completed initial training in flying skills, he continued his studies at the Chuguev Aviation School of fighter pilots. For exemplary discipline and excellent academic success, the cadet was repeatedly awarded the command.
But it so happened that in the 1956-1957 years a large-scale reduction of the country's air force began. In connection with the development of rocket technology, a government resolution was adopted to reduce the Air Force. The reduction and retraining affected aviation design bureaus Lavochkin, Tsybina, Myasishchev. The regiments and divisions were reduced, and in the schools they sent entire courses to the reserve. In the circle of pilots, the reduction was called the "Khrushchev acceleration of aviation." These events also affected the twenty-one Vladimir Aksyonov. After studying for one and a half years at the Chuguev Aviation School, he was demobilized.
He was fired into the reserve, but the thirst for the sky remained. Since Aksenov graduated from a machine-building technical school, he was hired to work in the fifth department of the OKB-1 designer in the third category. This happened on January 30 1957 of the year, even before the launch of the first artificial satellite of the Earth. So rocket technology became his fate. He took part in the design, development, evaluation and experimental studies of spaceship compartments. Aksenov himself wrote: “... since January 1957 I began working as a designer in the Kaliningrad Special Design Bureau. Our chief designer was Sergey Korolev. For a new business, I needed in-depth knowledge ... ”.
In October, 1957 was assigned the second category, and from November 1959 Aksenov became the first category constructor. In the early sixties, he first met with the guys from the first set of astronauts, among whom was his classmate from the Kremenchug tenth VASHPOL - Alexey Leonov. And in the 1963 year, Vladimir a year earlier than fellow students, without a break from production, graduated from the All-Union Polytechnic Institute in absentia, whose training and consulting center was available at the enterprise. By that time, he had already worked as a senior design engineer. The specialty chosen by him at the institute was called “Engineering technology, metal-cutting machines and tools”, and the topic of Aksenov’s thesis was titled “Life support systems for a spacecraft for flights to the Moon”.
In 1965, Vladimir Viktorovich was transferred from the design department to the newly created flight test department, headed by the famous test pilot, the legend of Soviet aviation, Sergei Nikolaevich Anokhin. His experience and the highest human qualities gave a lot to future astronauts. Anokhin led the squad for twenty-five years, until his death at 1989. In the new department, Vladimir Aksenov was entrusted with conducting tests of space technology in zero gravity. This was necessary because the most diverse work of the crews, including in outer space, was planned on the “Soyuz” type ships. The development of methods for the work of people and space technology, the training of ship personnel in zero gravity and lunar gravity (including the transition from one device to another) became the main task of Aksenov. The most experienced pilots flew "weightless", and Vladimir Viktorovich was the technical test leader. This experience is very useful to him in the future. He himself made more than 250 test flights on a TU-104 laboratory plane, creating conditions for short-term weightlessness. 1200 times Aksenov was in the regime of artificial weightlessness (which was approximately equal to 9 hours of stay in “pure” weightlessness) and 150 times - in the mode of lunar gravity (approximately 40 minutes).
Immediately after being transferred to the flight test department, Vladimir Viktorovich brought Korolev a statement with a request to enroll him in a detachment of civilian test-cosmonauts. The fact is that several selected OKB-1 specialists were included in the cosmonaut detachment along with military pilots. Despite the mixture of crews consisting of “civilian” and “military” astronauts, the systems of selection and training were the same. All participants occupied the same test-cosmonaut positions and could replace each other in flight. At the same time, the cosmonauts of the company also had some additional functions - the testing and evaluation of the made space technology during its direct operation in space. Aksenov’s candidacy was considered and approved personally by Sergei Pavlovich, after which the stage of his medical selection began without interruption from his main activity.
Medical Commission lasted almost two months. According to special methods, doctors checked the work of the whole organism as a whole, as well as each organ individually at maximum loads. Collected information about the human life resource. The selection for medical requirements was truly “space”, during which most of the applicants were screened out. According to statistics at that time, the conclusion of "one-year" from a hundred people received only two or three.
For Vladimir Viktorovich this period was very hard and long. At the first medical examinations, held at the Institute of Biomedical Problems, he received “satisfactory” marks for some important tests, indicating a low level of fitness. And although these were passing assessments, they turned out to be insufficient for concluding “fit for special training”. Doctors advised Aksenov to better observe the regimen and to come one year later for another examination. Vladimir Viktorovich followed their advice and successfully passed a medical examination a year later. However, by this time the first recruitment to the civilian astronauts unit of the OKB-1 was already over. And the conclusion about the validity was given by the medical commission for just a year. At the end of this period, it was necessary to confirm it again, in full.
At the same time (in January 1966) Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, the father of Soviet cosmonautics, died under the leadership of Aksyonov for nine years. Later, Vladimir Viktorovich would write about him: “Sergey Pavlovich was the founder of practical cosmonautics all over the world. Largely thanks to his will, outstanding abilities of a politician and organizer, talent of a scientist and engineer, our country became the pioneer of the space age of humanity ... The works of the Queen are an example of the depth of scientific and engineering thought, focus on the final result. To work under the leadership of such a person is a great success in life, giving a lot of practical experience and life concepts ... ”.
In August, 1966, Vladimir Aksenov was assigned to lead one of the OKB-1 teams, and in February, 1970, he became the head of the flight testing laboratory of the 731 department. Having no information in advance about when the next set of test-cosmonauts will pass, Vladimir Viktorovich tried to pass all subsequent annual medical examinations in time so that he could have all the documents in order. He was in such a “readiness mode” for eight years, only in the 1973 year (21 of March) when he joined the detachment as test cosmonaut of the 291 department of the TsKBEM.
A long time of selection, accompanied by work on flight tests, was not in vain. Soon after enrollment, Aksenov and Valery Bykovsky were included in the main crew on the forthcoming space flight. From the beginning of 1974 to the end of 1975, Vladimir was trained on the transport ship 7K-S along with Leonid Kizim. In parallel, he led a detachment of civilian flight engineer training on the same program. Then, from January to July 1976, he as a flight engineer, along with Bykovsky, was trained on the ICF-6 multi-spectral camera test program developed by Soviet and German scientists and produced in the GDR at the Carl Zeiss Jena plant.
Every flight into space is a step into the unknown. A step that requires an astronaut of the highest skill, boundless courage and strong will. The first flight of Vladimir Viktorovich began on September 15 1976 of the year on the Soyuz-22 ship. The expedition took place in the framework of the use and exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes, the call sign of Vladimir Aksyonov was “Hawk-2”. It was the first flight of the Intercosmos program, but only Soviet cosmonauts entered the crew. Their main task was to test the new ICF-6 camera, photographing areas of various continents of the Earth, the territory of the Soviet Union and the GDR using a multi-zone method. In addition, the latest navigation equipment was tested, bio-experiments were carried out, methods of orientation of the ship were tested.
The astronauts worked sixteen hours a day, the work required a lot of concentration from them. There have been various kinds of failures. For example, after the cassettes that were filled on the ground were shot, they had to be replaced. The operation was carried out in complete darkness and according to the established procedure. However, it turned out that the rather complex mechanisms of the filmed cassettes were jammed during extraction. After several dozen unsuccessful attempts for astronauts, a dilemma arose: to try further or change in the light, having spotted rather large parts. Considering the enormous informational value of the pictures taken, the astronauts spent a lot of time trying to get the tapes in the dark until they got it. After the return, the designers refined the camera, and this defect did not manifest to the next work on Salut-6.
There was another episode. The camera was not planned to return to Earth, it had to burn with the domestic compartment in the atmosphere. However, to further improve the methods of decoding, light filters on all lenses were needed. And at the informal request of scientists, the astronauts decided to dismantle them. The work was not provided for by the program, they had to disassemble for several hours, crush the entire apparatus. As a result, a variety of parts of the device scattered throughout the ship. However, the filters were returned to Earth.
September 23 astronauts landed safely. The recorded flight duration was 7 days, 21 hours, 52 minutes, and 17 seconds. The results were considered very successful. The developed and interpreted photographic films gave a color image with the quality and intensity of information that surpassed the highest expectations. In addition, the flight of the Soyuz-22 was well coordinated by various terrestrial services, planning to survey the earth's surface, choosing routes for them and assessing the weather conditions at the locations. All this made it possible to get almost 95% of images of excellent quality. For the entire flight, twenty million square kilometers of the earth's surface were filmed (of which 10 million is the territory of the USSR). For the successful accomplishment of tasks, Vladimir Viktorovich Aksyonov was awarded the "Golden Star". The descent vehicle of the ship on which he flew is now in the Tsiolkovsky Museum in the Ryazan Region in the village of Izhevsk.
The second (and last) space flight of Vladimir Aksyonov began on 5 June 1980. As a flight engineer (call sign "Jupiter-2"), he, together with the crew commander Malyshev Yury Vasilyevich, tested the new transport ship "Soyuz T-2". The peculiarity of this ship was that all its main systems could be controlled through the on-board computer, the control panel and the display from which were withdrawn to the crew. Spacecraft of this class in the world at that time did not exist. The American Shuttle, also having centralized control via an onboard computer, set out on its first flight only one year later.
During the flight, the crew experienced new onboard systems, practicing a variety of control modes in a manned version. In addition, astronauts were faced with a difficult task - to dock their spacecraft with the Salyut-6 orbital station, where cosmonauts Valery Ryumin and Leonid Popov were stationed. To do this, they had to perform a complex maneuver: at the first stage, the Soyuz T-2 apparatus approached the research complex in an automatic control mode, but further actions, namely, direct approach to the station and mooring, had to be performed manually.
Neither Aksenov nor Malyshev could even imagine what difficulties they would have to face. When approaching the Salyut, the crew commander did not manage to reach the calculated trajectory for the docking. And the stock of the energy carrier intended for maneuvers, at the device was limited. The control of the ship is an exclusive prerogative of the commander, and during the docking, Aksenov could only sit in a chair and be silently worried about the result of the operation. If the correction had failed, the astronauts would have flown past the station and returned to Earth without completing the main task. When there was little energy left, Vladimir Viktorovich, unable to bear it, asked to transfer control to him. Surprisingly, however, Malyshev did not object. Later, he admitted that at that moment he clearly realized what he should do, although this went against all the “iron” instructions. Having completed all the necessary operations, Vladimir Aksenov managed to safely dock the Soyuz T-2 spacecraft with the Salyut-6 station from the aggregate compartment.
The test flight was accompanied by other abnormal situations of various kinds, but all of them were successfully overcome. The flight was also recognized as successful, and the overall program was fully implemented. All failures were eliminated on subsequent devices. In zero gravity, the astronauts stayed for about four days (flight duration - 3 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes, and 30 seconds). Upon arriving on Earth on June 9 for courage and heroism shown during the expedition, Vladimir Aksyonov and Yury Malyshev were awarded Gold Star medals.
Being in the ranks of the squadron, Aksenov, like all civilian astronauts, simultaneously worked in the design bureau, participated in testing the equipment and preparing the crews for new space flights. At the end of 1981, Vladimir successfully defended his thesis at the Space Research Institute, receiving a degree in technical sciences. For more than thirty years he worked in various test, design and design departments of the enterprise in various positions, becoming, in the end, the deputy head of the complex, developing the node systems of spacecraft: descent, docking, movement, etc.
Vladimir Viktorovich was expelled from the cosmonaut corps on October 17 1988. In the same year, with the consent of the management, he moved to another department - the State Research Center for Hydrometeorology and the Study of Natural Resources - in the place of the director. This Center was engaged in the creation of automatic satellites capable of using satellite imagery to study the surface of the planet. The works were carried out only in the direction of the creation of satellites, the development of the instrument base for them and the launching of vehicles into orbit. Aksenov this seemed insufficient. He was able to substantiate the need to create within a single scientific production association a closed system, including controlling satellites in flight, obtaining information from them and interpreting it as suitable for specific consumers (in particular, forest workers, geologists, agricultural enterprises).
His proposal was considered, resulting in a government decree establishing the NGO Planet (in 1990). Vladimir Aksenov began simultaneously to fulfill the duties of the general director of NPO Planeta and the director of the institute. Created by NPO Planeta, which includes the main subdivision of the Research and Development Center, it was engaged in the development, manufacture, and operation of automatic systems engaged in the study of the Earth from space. Unfortunately, this association was collapsed in the years of perestroika, after it completely lost government funding. On this occasion, Aksenov said in an interview: "What happened can be attributed to the trend of curtailing national space exploration programs at the end of the last century, a trend that we, cosmonautics experts, found negative."
Among other things, Vladimir Aksenov conducted a considerable social work. He was Deputy Chairman of the Soviet Peace Foundation, then Chairman of the Peace and Sustainable Development Permanent Commission of the International Association of Peace Foundations, which the Soviet Foundation turned into 1992. In 1996, he was appointed Chairman of the Presidium of the public association “Spiritual Movement of Russia”, which studies the religions of the world, problems of philosophy, issues of linguistics, the development of human cultures and the state structure of countries. Since 1999, the famous cosmonaut has been a member of the Central Council of the “Orthodox Russia” social movement, and in 2001, he became the president of the scientific foundation “Institute for Security and Sustainable Development”. Another person would have had enough of even one of these social stresses. However, Vladimir Viktorovich had time to make presentations on environmental problems, in particular, in Rio de Janeiro (at the World Conference on the Environment) and at the UN in New York. He was a participant in many international conferences, was appointed chairman of the organizing committee of the first UN conference on conversion issues (in which more than 100 countries participated).
In his free time, Vladimir Viktorovich was engaged in swimming, skiing, athletics, and played chess. For all these sports, he has sports categories. He loved to go hiking in the mountains for several weeks. Friends note his passion for singing in a big company, and Vladimir Viktorovich among his hobbies primarily calls reading: “I am fond of philosophical, historical literature. Now it’s more professional, studying the origins of philosophy, religions, views that reflect different aspects of people's perception of the world. ” In 1999, he wrote a small pamphlet entitled The Illusion of Security. It was released by the publishing house of the Patriot newspaper and is devoted to the problems of using nuclear weapons in modern military concepts. To the question: “What will cosmonautics be able to achieve in the coming decades?”, Vladimir Viktorovich answers: “In my opinion, in the future it is necessary to develop national programs for the development of near-Earth space. Pay attention to target flights by individual ships. A considerable share of new knowledge can provide an observatory on the moon. This is a real project, especially if it is international. And of course, you must implement a flight to Mars. No automata working according to a pre-programmed program will be able to replace a person who has the opportunity to choose the object of research and comprehensive analysis. ”
The authority of Vladimir Aksenov is great both in our country and abroad. Honest and modest, possessing great capacity for work and deep knowledge, always ready to help everyone who addressed him. He never severed his ties with his small home, often came to Giblitsy, Kasimov and Ryazan, spoke to young people in labor collectives, met with scientists, local historians and journalists, tried to help solve many problems at the federal level.
I would like to wish Vladimir Aksyonov health and long life. The constant companion of this courageous man has always been and is his spouse, Marina Vasilyevna. They have two sons, now adults and married. The eldest son Valery is a candidate of economic sciences, he works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The younger son Sergey chose the profession of doctor. Vladimir Viktorovich's grandchildren are already growing up: Alexander and Ksenia.
From the cosmonaut’s biography at http://www.rgdrzn.ru/pages/show/honor/honor_detail/16 and interviews with him at http: //188.8.131.52/content/numbers/226/37.shtml