Purpose and objectives of the mission: Orbital rendezvous and docking with Soyuz-2
Date: 24 April 1967
Crew: Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov (2-th flight)
Call Sign: Diamond
Cause of crash: Parachute system malfunction
Cause of death: Overloads incompatible with life when hitting the ground.
The Vostok spacecraft, which provided the Soviet Union with superiority in space, and its modification Voskhod-1 and Voskhod-2, could not solve the ever-increasing tasks of the space industry. The maximum that was available to these ships was to enter low orbit and remain on it for several days. For active work in space (changes in the height and inclination of the orbit, rendezvous and docking), these ships were unsuitable, and without these qualities, the flight to the Moon and the creation of space stations was impossible. Complete abandonment of the Voskhod program in order to concentrate resources on the USSR Lunar program, left the country without any suitable manned spacecraft suitable for flight. A new ship was required.
The design began during the life of the general designer, Sergey Korolev, and was continued after his death by Valentin Mishin. Initially, the Union was developed in two directions: the programs "Probe 7K-L1" (Lunar ship) and "7K-OK" (Orbital ship), a multi-purpose manned spacecraft, which later became the "Union".
"7K-OK" (Orbital ship). Ahead of the service module is visible docking "Needle".
“Probe 7K-L1” (Lunar ship) note the lack of a residential service compartment, it should have been occupied by the LK-1 landing Lunar module. The cosmonauts assumed the entire flight was in the chairs of the descent vehicle to reduce the mass of the ship. A narrowly focused antenna for remote space communications has also been added.
Flight tests of “7K-OK” began in 1966 year and went no matter, “7K-OK No. 2”, aka “Cosmos-133”, was launched on November 28 1966 of the year and the calculated orbit was successful, but the orientation system was installed incorrectly with confused polarity. As a result, commands from the ground were also executed inverted, in combination with the increased fuel consumption of the orientation system, the ship became virtually uncontrollable by the 20 turn. It was originally planned to conduct an unmanned docking with "7K-OK No. 1", but the launch had to be canceled. "7-OK number 2" was sent to the landing, but the descent capsule went into the non-calculated landing area in China. The USSR command could not allow the leakage of materials on the space program abroad, and the ship was blown up. The following test launch “7K-OK No. 1” turned into a catastrophe: just before the launch, the ship’s emergency rescue system suddenly worked, the spacecraft was not damaged, but the fire that broke out as a result completely destroyed the rocket and the launch pad. The third test “7K-OK No. 3” “Cosmos-140” flew 7 February 1967 of the year, the flight was partially successful, but when it entered the atmosphere due to an incorrectly installed technological plug in the heat shield it burnt a hole the size of 30 centimeters. The ship landed on the surface of the frozen Aral Sea, melted ice and sank. NASA from March 1965 to November 1966 conducted ten manned flights under the Gemini program, for the first time in the world having carried out orbital maneuvers, ships coming closer and orbital docking. Therefore, despite a number of failures with unmanned ships, and under great pressure from management, it was decided to make the following two launches of Soyuz-1 and Soyuz-2 manned. At the same time, Komarov was appointed commander of the Soyuz-1 spacecraft.
Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov (March 16 1927-24 April 1967)
Prior to being admitted to the cosmonaut corps, Komarov made a career as a military pilot as part of the 382nd Fighter Aviation Regiment (IAP) of the 42nd Fighter aviation Air Force divisions of the North Caucasus Military District in the city of Grozny. From October 27, 1952 to August 1954, Vladimir served as a senior pilot of the 486th IAP of the 279th IAD of the 57th Air Army (VA). Despite the heavy load of pilot work, he managed to get a higher education. In 1959, he successfully graduated from the 1st faculty of the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy and was assigned to the State Red Banner Scientific Research Institute of the Air Force, where his work as a test pilot begins.
Komarov and Gagarin at the airport.
It was here that the commission to select the first cosmonaut corps offered Vladimir Komarov a new secret test work, and in 1960, he was enlisted in the cosmonaut corps (Air Force Group No. 1). Here Komarov meets Yuri Gagarin, they quickly become close friends.
Mosquitoes during vestibular exercise.
However, Komarov’s career in the cosmonaut detachment did not develop at first, he was twice suspended from preparing to fly for health reasons: first, after an operation for inguinal hernia, then - due to the appearance of a single extrasystole on an electrocardiogram during a centrifuge training. Komarov was a resolute and strong-willed person, a real communist, he always put the interests of society above his own and did not succumb to difficulties. That is what will allow him to eventually return to the current group of astronauts, after six months of training according to his own program in the middle of 1963. In part, Komarov’s restoration to the active composition of the astronauts was due to the recent dismissal for disciplinary reasons of Grigory Nelyubov, the most experienced in the detachment from those who did not fly into space. Grigory Nelyubov - another sad page of the Soviet cosmonautics, the collapse of his career after a ridiculous incident, will lead him to deep depression, problems with alcohol and, ultimately, suicide, but this is completely different история.
17 September Komarov was included in the group for a long solitary flight on the ship "Vostok". However, the low flight characteristics of the Vostok ships led to the closure of the program. Komarov becomes a candidate for a long-term space flight on the new spacecraft Voskhod-1, which he performed on 12-13 in October on 1964, together with Konstantin Feoktistov and Boris Egorov. It was the world's first multi-seater spacecraft. For the first time in the crew, not only a pilot, but also a ship design engineer and a doctor. The flight crew made without spacesuits, a few years later, it will also play a role in the already another tragedy of the Soviet cosmonautics.
The orbit is significantly lower than the calculated one and the drag on the upper layers of the exosphere did not allow the crew to perform the planned long-term flight. The duration of stay in space was a little more than a day. Still, it was a success, a flight into space, a star of a hero, a private car, national recognition. Subsequently, Komarov’s appointment as Soyuz-1 commander was largely due to the fact that he was one of the few astronauts with a higher engineering education and had already been in space.
Vladimir Komarov and Yuri Gagarin during a training session on the layout of the Soyuz ship.
“From my point of view, it is very good that Komarov was entrusted with the execution of such a complex task. The choice is very good. This is a highly educated, highly trained cosmonaut. It is necessary to emphasize that he will not only carry out the program as a pilot-cosmonaut, but as a person who has become an expert in his field in several years of space training. Engineering space profile has become a profession for him. This detail is very important, given the nature of the current assignment. "