Soyuz 6

Soyuz 6 (Russian: Союз 6, Union 6) was part of a joint mission with Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8 that saw three Soyuz spacecraft in orbit together at the same time, carrying a total of seven cosmonauts. The crew of Georgi Shonin and Valeri Kubasov were meant to take high-quality movie photography of the Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8 docking, but the rendezvous systems on all three spacecraft failed.

It is still not known exactly what the actual problem was, but it is often quoted as being a helium pressurization integrity test.[2] The version of Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft used for the missions carried a torus-shaped docking electronics equipment housing surrounding the motor assembly on the back of the service module, which is thought to have been pressurised with helium to provide a benign environment for the electronics. It was then jettisoned after docking to lower the mass of the spacecraft for reentry. Due to unstable temperature, disparity between the frequencies of the transmitters and receivers, which were stabilized by special quartz resonators, occurred. The piezocrystals were supposed to be in thermostats at a strictly constant temperature.[3]

The crew was made up of Shonin and Kubasov, who carried out experiments in space welding. They tested three methods: using an electron beam, a low-pressure plasma arc and a consumable electrode. While welding, Kubasov almost burned through the hull of the vehicle's Living Compartment, which in the absence of spacesuits could have resulted in a catastrophic situation.[3] The apparatus was designed at the E. O. Paton Electric Welding Institute, Kiev, Ukraine. The weld quality was said to be in no way inferior to that of Earth-based welds.[2]

After eighty orbits of the Earth, they landed on 16 October 1969, 180 km (110 mi) northwest of Karaganda, Kazakhstan.

The radio call sign of the spacecraft was Antey, referring to the Greek hero Antaeus, but at the time of the flight, however, it was also the name of the largest practicable aircraft, the Soviet Antonov 22, made in Ukraine. But unlike the call signs of Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8, it was not the name of a squadron in Soviet military training, of uncertain role, for the one that begins with the letter 'a' is Aktif, meaning "active".

The Soviet Union 1969 CPA 3809 stamp (Georgi Shonin and Valeri Kubasov (Soyuz 6))
Shonin and Kubasov commemorative stamp
Soyuz 6
Mission typeTest flight
OperatorSoviet space program
COSPAR ID1969-085A
SATCAT no.4122
Mission duration4 days, 22 hours, 42 minutes, 47 seconds
Orbits completed80
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-OK
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau OKB-1
Launch mass6,577 kilograms (14,500 lb)
Crew size2
MembersGeorgi Shonin
Valeri Kubasov
CallsignАнтей (Antey - "Antaeus")
Start of mission
Launch date11 October 1969, 11:10:00 UTC
Launch siteBaikonur 31/6[1]
End of mission
Landing date16 October 1969, 09:52:47 UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee212 kilometers (132 mi)
Apogee218 kilometers (135 mi)
Inclination51.6 degrees
Period88.8 minutes
Soyuz programme
(Manned missions)


Position Cosmonaut
Commander Georgi Shonin
Only spaceflight
Flight Engineer Valeri Kubasov
First spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Vladimir Shatalov
Flight Engineer Aleksei Yeliseyev

Reserve crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Andriyan Nikolayev
Flight Engineer Georgi Grechko


  1. ^ "Baikonur LC31". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  2. ^ a b M. Sharpe, Space: The Ultimate Frontier
  3. ^ a b B. Chertok, Rockets and People, Vol. IV

External links

1969 in spaceflight

1969 saw humanity step onto another world for the first time. On 21 July 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, Eagle, landed on the moon's surface with two astronauts aboard. Days later the crew of three returned safely to Earth, satisfying U.S. President John F. Kennedy's 1962 challenge of 25 May 1961, that "this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."There were four Apollo missions in total in 1969, three of which traveled to the moon, with Apollo 12 also landing on the surface. The success of the Apollo program was a testament to the efforts of over 500,000 American engineers, scientists and technicians.

In 1969, the Soviet Union's space program had success with the docking of two manned spacecraft as well as the success of their Venus and Lunar probes. The Soviets, however, suffered severe blows to their manned Lunar aspirations when their N1 rocket failed twice during two 1969 launches.

Georgy Shonin

Georgy Stepanovich Shonin (Ukrainian: Гео́ргій Степа́нович Шо́нін) (August 3, 1935 – April 7, 1997; born in Rovenky, Luhansk Oblast, (now Ukraine) but grew up in Balta of Ukrainian SSR) was a Soviet cosmonaut, who flew on the Soyuz 6 space mission.

Shonin was part of the original group of cosmonauts selected in 1960. He left the space programme in 1979 for medical reasons.

Shonin's family hid a Jewish family from the Nazis during WWII.Shonin later worked as the director of the 30th Central Scientific Research Institute, Ministry of Defence (Russia).

He died of a heart attack in 1997.

He was awarded:

Hero of the Soviet Union

Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR

Order of Lenin

Order of the October Revolution

Order of the Red Banner of Labour

Order of the Red Star

Ten commemorative medals

Medal "25 Years of People's Power" (Bulgaria)

Three medals from the Mongolian People's Republic

Five medals from the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic

List of R-7 launches (1965–1969)

This is a list of launches made by the R-7 Semyorka ICBM, and its derivatives between 1965 and 1969. All launches are orbital satellite launches, unless stated otherwise.

List of Soviet manned space missions

This is a list of the manned space missions conducted by the Soviet space programme. These missions belong to the Vostok, Voskhod, and Soyuz space programs.

Soviet manned space missions did not have any official patches before Apollo–Soyuz program. After that and until Soyuz TM-12 "Juno" flight mission patches had been designed only for international missions.

List of astronauts by first flight

This is a list of astronauts by first flight, in chronological order. According to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, spaceflight is achieved by exceeding an altitude higher than 100 km (62 mi; 330,000 ft), thereby crossing the Kármán line. The United States Air Force considers an altitude of 50 mi (80 km; 260,000 ft) as the limit of space; United States Air Force and NASA personnel exceeding that altitude can be awarded the astronaut badge.

List of astronauts by name

This is an alphabetical list of astronauts, people selected to train for a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft.

For a list of everyone who has flown in space, see List of space travelers by name.

More than 560 people have been trained as astronauts. Until recently, astronauts were sponsored and trained exclusively by governments, either by the military or by civilian space agencies. However, with the advent of suborbital flight starting with privately funded SpaceShipOne in 2004, a new category of astronaut was created: the commercial astronaut.

While the term astronaut is sometimes applied to anyone who trains for travels into space—including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists—this article lists only professional astronauts, those who have been selected to train professionally. This includes national space programs, industry and commercial space programs which train and/or hire their own professional astronauts.

Names in italic are astronauts who have left Low Earth orbit, names in bold are astronauts who have walked on the moon. The flags indicate the astronaut's primary citizenship during his or her time as an astronaut. The symbol identifies female astronauts.

List of cosmonauts

This is a list of cosmonauts who have taken part in the missions of the Soviet space program and the Russian Federal Space Agency, including ethnic Russians and people of other ethnicities.

Soviet and Russian cosmonauts born outside Russia are marked with an asterisk and their place of birth is shown in an additional list.

For the full plain lists of Russian and Soviet cosmonauts in Wikipedia, see Category:Russian cosmonauts

Four female cosmonauts have flown on the Soviet/Russian program: Valentina Tereshkova, Svetlana Savitskaya, Elena V. Kondakova, and Elena O. Serova

List of human spaceflights

This is a list of all human spaceflights throughout history. Beginning in 1961 with the flight of Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1, human spaceflight occurs when a human crew flies a spacecraft into outer space. Human spaceflight is distinguished from spaceflight generally, which entails both crewed and uncrewed spacecraft.

There are two definitions of spaceflight. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), an international record-keeping body, defines the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space at 100 kilometers above sea level. This boundary is known as the Kármán line. Additionally, the United States military awards astronaut wings to qualified personnel who pilot a spaceflight above an altitude of 50 miles (80 km). Thirteen flights of the North American X-15 met the latter criteria, while only two met the former. This article is primarily concerned with the former international convention, and also lists flights which only satisfied the latter convention. Unless otherwise specified, "spaceflight" and related terms only apply to flights which went beyond the Kármán line.

As of the launch of Soyuz MS-12 on 14 March 2019, there have been 325 human spaceflight launch attempts, including three failed attempts which did not cross the Kármán line. These were the fatal Challenger disaster, and two non-fatal aborted Soyuz missions, T-10a and MS-10. Another non-fatal aborted Soyuz mission, 18a, nevertheless crossed the Kármán line and therefore qualified as a sub-orbital spaceflight. Three missions successfully achieved human spaceflight, yet ended as fatal failures as their crews died during the return. These were Soyuz 1, Soyuz 11, and the Columbia disaster. Uniquely, Soyuz 34 was launched uncrewed to the Salyut 6 space station, to provide a successful return vehicle for the crew of Soyuz 32. Including Soyuz 34 gives a total of 326 attempted human spaceflights. 14 flights reached an apogee beyond 50 miles, but failed to go beyond 100 kilometers.

List of human spaceflights, 1961–1970

This is a detailed list of human spaceflights from 1961 to 1970, spanning the Soviet Vostok and Voskhod programs, the start of the Soviet Soyuz program, the American Mercury and Gemini programs, and the first lunar landings of the American Apollo program.

Red indicates fatalities.

Green indicates sub-orbital spaceflight (including flights that failed to attain intended orbit).

Grey indicates flights to the Moon.

The United States defines spaceflight as any flight reaching an altitude of 50 miles, while the FAI definition requires an altitude of 100 kilometers. During the 1960s, 13 manned flights of the U.S. North American X-15 rocket plane met the U.S. criteria, of which only two met the FAI's. This article's primary list includes only the latter two flights. A separate, secondary list gives the other eleven which flew between 50 miles and 100 kilometers.

List of spaceflight records

This is a list of spaceflight records. Most of these records relate to human spaceflights, but some unmanned and animal records are listed as well.

Salyut 6 EP-1

Soyuz 6 EP-1 was a 1978 Soviet manned space flight to the orbiting Salyut 6 space station, during the expedition EO-1. It was the third manned flight to the station, and the second successful docking. It was also the first crew to visit an occupied station and marked the first time that three spacecraft were docked together. The launching spacecraft was Soyuz 27 (Russian: Союз 27, Union 27), and the crew of EP-1 are often referred to as the Soyuz 27 crew.

The main function of the mission was to swap Soyuz craft with the orbiting crew, in so doing freeing a docking port for a forthcoming supply tanker. Cosmonauts Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Oleg Makarov returned to earth in the Soyuz 26 spacecraft after spending five days on the station.

Soyuz 18

Soyuz 18 (Russian: Союз 18, Union 18) was a 1975 Soviet manned mission to Salyut 4, the second and final crew to man the space station. Pyotr Klimuk and Vitali Sevastyanov set a new Soviet space endurance record of 63 days and the mark for most people in space simultaneously (seven) was tied during the mission.

Soyuz 5

Soyuz 5 (Russian: Союз 5, Union 5) was a Soyuz mission using the Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft launched by the Soviet Union on 15 January 1969, which docked with Soyuz 4 in orbit. It was the first docking of two manned spacecraft of any nation, and the first transfer of crew from one space vehicle to another of any nation, the only time a transfer was accomplished with a space walk – two months before the US Apollo 9 mission performed the first internal crew transfer.

The flight was also memorable for its dramatic re-entry. The craft's service module did not separate, so it entered the atmosphere nose-first, leaving cosmonaut Boris Volynov hanging by his restraining straps. As the craft aerobraked, the atmosphere burned through the module. But the craft righted itself before the escape hatch was burned through. Then, the parachute lines tangled and the landing rockets failed, resulting in a hard landing which broke Volynov's teeth.

Soyuz 7

Soyuz 7 (Russian: Союз 7, Union 7) was part of a joint mission with Soyuz 6 and Soyuz 8 that saw three Soyuz spacecraft in orbit together at the same time, carrying a total of seven cosmonauts.

The crew consisted of commander Anatoly Filipchenko, flight engineer Vladislav Volkov and research-cosmonaut Viktor Gorbatko, whose mission was to dock with Soyuz 8 and transfer crew, as the Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 missions did. Soyuz 6 was to film the operation from nearby.

However, this objective was not achieved due to equipment failures. Soviet sources later claimed that no docking had been intended, but this seems unlikely, given the docking adapters carried by the spacecraft, and the fact that the Soyuz 8 crew were both veterans of the previous successful docking mission. This was the last time that the Soviet manned Moon landing hardware was tested in orbit, and the failure seems to have been one of the final nails in the coffin of the programme.

The radio call sign of the spacecraft was Buran, meaning blizzard, which years later was re-used as the name of the entirely different spaceplane Buran. This word is apparently used as the name of an active or aggressive squadron in Soviet military training, and just like Soyuz 4, the Soyuz 7 spacecraft was constructed to be the active or male spacecraft in its docking.

Soyuz 7K-OK

Soyuz 7K-OK was the first generation of Soyuz spacecraft in use from 1967 to 1971.

This first generation was used for the first ferry flights to the Salyut space station program; Soyuz spacecraft in their current generation are still in use to ferry crew to and from the ISS.

This generation is notable for the only fatalities of the Soyuz programme As of 2019, with Soyuz 1 in 1967 (sole crew-member killed by parachute failure) and Soyuz 11 in 1971 (crew killed by depressurization during reentry).

The first unmanned automated docking in the history of spaceflight, between Kosmos 186 and Kosmos 188 in 1967, was achieved with this generation of Soyuz spacecraft. The generation encompasses furthermore the first docking between two manned spacecraft (Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5), the longest manned flight involving only one spacecraft (the 18-day flight of Soyuz 9 in 1970) and the first successful manning of the first space station in the history of space flight (Soyuz 11 and Salyut 1 in 1971).

The Soyuz 7K-OK vehicles carried a crew of up to three without spacesuits. The craft can be distinguished from those following by their bent solar panels and their use of the Igla automatic docking navigation system, which required special radar antennas.

The 7K-OK was primarily intended as a variant of the 7K-LOK (the lunar mission Soyuz) for Earth orbital testing. Mostly the same vehicle, it lacked the larger antenna needed to communicate at lunar distance. The early Soyuz models also sported an external toroidal fuel tank surrounding the engines and meant to store extra propellant for lunar flights, but it was left empty on Soyuz 1-9. After the spacecraft was converted to a space station ferry, the tank was removed.

Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft had a "probe and drogue" docking mechanism to connect with other spacecraft in orbit, in order to gather engineering data as a preparation for the Soviet space station program. There were two variants of Soyuz 7K-OK: Soyuz 7K-OK(A) featuring an active "probe" docking port, and Soyuz 7K-OK(P) featuring a passive "drogue" docking target. The docking mechanisms of 7K-OK and 7K-LOK did not allow internal transfer (this feature was added on the 7K-OKS version), thus cosmonauts had to spacewalk between docked modules. This procedure was conducted successfully on the joint Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 missions, where Aleksei Yeliseyev and Yevgeny Khrunov transferred from their Soyuz 5 to the Soyuz 4 craft.

The first unmanned test of this version was Kosmos 133, launched on November 28, 1966.

Soyuz 8

Soyuz 8 (Russian: Союз 8, Union 8) was part of a joint mission with Soyuz 6 and Soyuz 7 that saw three Soyuz spacecraft in orbit together at the same time, carrying a total of seven cosmonauts.

The crew consisted of commander Vladimir Shatalov and flight engineer Aleksei Yeliseyev, whose mission was to dock with Soyuz 7 and transfer crew, as the Soyuz 4 (involving, among others, these two cosmonauts) and Soyuz 5 missions did. Soyuz 6 was to film the operation from nearby.

However, this objective was not achieved due to equipment failures. Soviet sources were later to claim that no docking had been intended, but this seems unlikely, given the docking adapters carried by the spacecraft, and the fact that both Shatalov and Yeliseyev were veterans of the previous successful docking mission. This was the last time that the Soviet-crewed Moon landing hardware was tested in orbit, and the failure seems to have been one of the final nails in the coffin of the programme.

The radio call sign of the spacecraft was Granit, meaning Granite. This word is apparently used as the name of a reactive or defensive squadron in Soviet military training, and, just like the Soyuz 5, it was constructed and its crew was trained to be the responsive (not entirely passive) or female spacecraft in its docking. Giving military names to the spacecraft was probably a response to an appeal that the commander of the Soyuz 5 made. Further, the word was probably chosen as it begins with a letter following that sequence starting with Antey (meaning Antaeus) and Buran (meaning Blizzard); Г (G) is the fourth letter of the Russian alphabet.

Spacecraft call signs

Spacecraft call signs are radio call signs used for communication in manned spaceflight. These are not formalized or regulated to the same degree as other equivalent forms of transportation, like aircraft. The three nations currently launching manned space missions use different methods to identify the ground and space radio stations; the United States uses either the names given to the space vehicles, or else the project name and mission number. Russia traditionally assigns code names as call signs to individual cosmonauts, more in the manner of aviator call signs, rather than to the spacecraft.

The only continuity in call signs for spacecraft have been the issuance of "ISS"-suffixed (or "-1SS", for its visual similarity) call signs by various countries in the Amateur Radio service as a citizen of their country has been assigned there. The first Amateur Radio call sign assigned to the International Space Station was NA1SS by the United States. OR4ISS (Belgium), GB1SS (UK), DP0ISS (Germany), and RS0ISS (Russia) are examples of others, but are not all-inclusive of others also issued.

Valeri Kubasov

Valeri Nikolayevich Kubasov (Russian: Вале́рий Никола́евич Куба́сов; 7 January 1935 – 19 February 2014) was a Soviet/Russian cosmonaut who flew on two missions in the Soyuz programme as a flight engineer: Soyuz 6 and Soyuz 19 (the Apollo–Soyuz mission), and commanded Soyuz 36 in the Intercosmos programme. On 21 July 1975, the Soyuz 7K-TM module used for ASTP landed in Kazakhstan at 5:51 p.m. and Kubasov was the first to exit the craft. Kubasov performed the first welding experiments in space, along with Georgy Shonin.

Kubasov was also involved in the development of the Mir space station. He retired from the Russian space program in November 1993 and was later deputy director of RKK Energia.

Kubasov evaded death twice during his space career. He was part of the crew that was originally intended to fly Soyuz 2, which was found to have the same faulty parachute sensor that resulted in Vladimir Komarov's death on Soyuz 1 and was later launched without a crew. Later, he was grounded for medical reasons before the Soyuz 11 flight, which killed the crew when the capsule was accidentally depressurised by a faulty valve.

Launch vehicles and upper stages
Other hardware
Soyuz docking tests
Zond (7K-L1/L1S) lunar flyby missions
LOK (7K-LOK/L1E) test missions
LK Lander (T2K) test missions
Main topics
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