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Soyuz Apollo Test Project


Scarborough, UK
2014 Oct 31
Friday, Day 304

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Elsewhere:

The Partnership: A History of the Apollo Soyuz Test Project

Press Kit (PDF Download)
A Multitude Of Missions

Apollo-Soyuz was the first time that spacefarers of two nations shared a spacecraft in orbit. The plan was hatched under the presidencies of Nixon and Brezhnev and aimed at docking together a Soviet and and American spacecraft, and for the crews to visit each other. It was to be nearly two decades before another similar mission was undertaken, with the coming together of the Russian Mir space station and the US space shuttle.

ASTP crewIn order to undertake the ASTP mission, the Soviet Union had to make considerable modifications to the standard Soyuz design. For the Apollo side of the mission, the difference in spacecraft atmospheres, for example was handled by building a special Docking Module to fit between the two craft. Soyuz had to operate with a lower than usual internal atmospheric pressure and the vehicle had to be fitted with a new docking unit. Apollo on the other hand required no such changes and it operated in essentially the same mode as it had for flights to the Moon and Skylab. It used the same internal atmosphere plus the standard lunar docking system. The specially-designed ASTP docking collar was fitted to the 'Soyuz end' of the Docking Module.

To ensure that ASTP flight went smoothly, the Soviet Union undertook a series of Soyuz missions with and without crews aboard in order to test and perfect the new systems.

Date Time (UTC) Event
1974 Apr 3 07:40 Cosmos 638, a Soyuz spacecraft without crew, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Soyuz rocket into 187 x 309 kilometre orbit at 51.8 degrees inclination - its mission may be related to the upcoming ASTP
1974 Apr 7 After several manoeuvres, Cosmos 638 orbit is 258 x 274 kilometres
1974 Apr 13 04:07 Cosmos 638 fires its manoeuvring engine to initiate re-entry
1974 Apr 13 04:48 Cosmos 638 lands in Khazakhstan
1974 Aug 12 06:30 Cosmos 672, a Soyuz spacecraft without crew, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Soyuz rocket into 195 x 305 kilometre orbit at 51.8 degrees inclination - its mission is to follow the flight profile, and test systems for, the upcoming ASTP
1974 Aug 14 After several manoeuvres, Cosmos 672 orbit is 227 x 237 kilometres - similar to the one planned for ASTP
1974 Aug 18 04:07 Cosmos 672 fires its manoeuvring engine to initiate re-entry
1974 Aug 18 04:48 Cosmos 672 lands in Khazakhstan
1974 Dec 2 09:40 Soyuz 16 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Soyuz rocket into 184 x 291 kilometre orbit at 51.8 degrees inclination with Anatoli Filipchenko and Nikolai Rukavishnikov aboard - its mission is a 'dry-run' for ASTP, call sign - Buran
1974 Dec 2 18:08 Atmospheric pressure inside Soyuz 16 is now 10.4 psi/540 mm, rather than the 'normal' 14.7 psi/760 mm
1974 Dec 3 13:37 Atmospheric pressure inside Soyuz 16 is now 9.9 psi/510 mm - as will be used by ASTP during crew transfers
1974 Dec 5 Soyuz 16 orbit is now 225 x 226 kilometres
1974 Dec 6 16:01 Atmospheric pressure inside Soyuz 16 is now 16.0 psi/830mm
1974 Dec 7 09:00 Dummy docking unit (used to test connections with the Soyuz docking gear) jettisoned from Soyuz 16
1974 Dec 7 13:10 Soyuz 16 internal atmospheric pressure is now back to normal - 14.7 psi/760 mm
1974 Dec 8 The dummy docking unit from Soyuz 16 enters the Earth atmosphere as a result of natural decay of the orbit through air drag and is destroyed by frictional heating
1974 Dec 8 07:26 Soyuz 16 fires its manoeuvring engine to initiate re-entry
1974 Dec 8 08:04 Soyuz 16 lands - 300 kilometres north of Dzhezhkazgan
1975 Jul 15 12:20 Soyuz 19 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Soyuz 19 rocket into 191 x 218 kilometre orbit at 51.6 degrees inclination with Alexei Leonov and Valeri Kubasov aboard (for the first time ever, two unrelated space missions are being controlled simultaneously as cosmonauts Klimuk and Sevastyanov work aboard Salyut 4)
1975 Jul 15 Atmospheric pressure inside Soyuz 19 is now 10.4 psi/540 mm, rather than the 'normal' 14.7 psi/760 mm
1975 Jul 15 19:50 Apollo (ASTP) launched from the Kennedy Space Center by Saturn 1B rocket (SA-210) into 153 x 166 kilometre orbit with Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand and Donald Slayton aboard
1975 Jul 15 21:04 Apollo separates from the upper stage of the Saturn 1B and starts the manoeuvre aimed at docking with the ASTP Docking Module - it then pulls the module away from the rocket and Apollo is ready for the docking with Soyuz 19
1975 Jul 15 23:10 Apollo crew reports the presence of a mosquito in the cabin - it subsequently disappears and is assumed to have died
1975 Jul 17 08:05 Direct radio contact established between Apollo and Soyuz 19
1975 Jul 17 16:09 Soyuz 19 and Apollo dock together after Soyuz 19 acts as a 'passive' target for Apollo
1975 Jul 17 16:12 Hard-dock and latching between the two spacecraft is achieved - orbit is 217 x 231 kilometres
1975 Jul 17 Soyuz 19 internal pressure is reduced to 9.7 psi/500 mm
1975 Jul 17 16:26 Astronauts Stafford and Slayton enter the Docking Module, close the hatches between the Module and Apollo, and raise the atmospheric pressure from 5.0 psi/255 mm to 9.5 psi/490 mm by introducing nitrogen
1975 Jul 17 18:00 Crews of Salyut 4 and Soyuz 19 exchange greetings as they pass within radio range of each other
1975 Jul 17 19:10 Soyuz 19 crew opens the hatch at the forward end of the orbital module
1975 Jul 17 19:17 After pressures have been equalised at 9.9 psi/510 mm, astronaut Stafford opens the hatch at the Soyuz 19 end of the Docking Module - the way into Soyuz 19 orbital module is now clear
1975 Jul 17 19:19 Astronaut Stafford and cosmonaut Leonov shake hands inside the Docking Module
1975 Jul 17 22:47 The crews part and then close the hatches between the Docking Module and Soyuz 19, pressure in the Docking Module is reduced to 5.0 psi/260 mm and then Stafford and Slayton return to Apollo command module
1975 Jul 18 09:15 Stafford and Brand enter the Docking Module, close the hatches between the Module and Apollo, and raise the atmospheric pressure
1975 Jul 18 10:00 The hatches into Soyuz 19 are opened after pressures are equalised - Leonov enters the Docking Module and Brand transfers into Soyuz 19 to join Kubasov
1975 Jul 18 11:00 The hatches to Apollo are opened after the pressure in the Docking Module has been reduced - Leonov and Stafford join Slayton in Apollo
1975 Jul 18 15:45 Stafford and Leonov enter the Docking Module, close the hatches between the Module and Apollo, and raise the atmospheric pressure
1975 Jul 18 16:01 The hatches into Soyuz 19 are opened after pressures are equalised, Brand and Kubasov then change places with Leonov and Stafford
1975 Jul 18 16:30 The hatches to Soyuz 19 are closed and the pressure in the Docking Module is then reduced to allow the hatches into Apollo to be opened - Brand and Kubasov join Slayton in Apollo
1975 Jul 18 17:30 Both crews take part in an international press conference
1975 Jul 18 19:50 Slayton and Kubasov enter the Docking Module, close the hatches between the Module and Apollo, and raise the atmospheric pressure
1975 Jul 18 20:20 The hatches into Soyuz 19 are opened after pressures are equalised, then Slayton and Kubasov Join Leonov and Stafford in Soyuz
1975 Jul 18 20:49 Stafford and Leonov shake hands
1975 Jul 18 21:00 The hatches to Soyuz 19 are closed after Stafford and Slayton enter the Docking Module - joint activities between the two crews are finished - they then reduce the pressure in the Docking Module
1975 Jul 18 21:35 Stafford and Slayton enter Apollo and close the remaining hatches
1975 Jul 19 12:12 Soyuz 19 and Apollo undock and move away from each other - Apollo is between Soyuz 19 and the Sun, creating a solar eclipse for observation by the Soyuz 19 crew
1975 Jul 19 12:33 Soyuz 19 and Apollo dock together in orbit for a second time - this time Apollo is the passive target
1975 Jul 19 12:40 Hard-dock and latching between the two spacecraft is achieved, but Apollo has to give unplanned assistance by firing its thrusters at the last moment
1975 Jul 19 15:26 Soyuz 19 and Apollo undock again
1975 Jul 19 18:42 Apollo fires its Reaction Control System thrusters and moves away
1975 Jul 19 Atmospheric pressure inside Soyuz 19 is back to the 'normal' 14.7 psi/760 mm
1975 Jul 21 10:10 Soyuz 19 fires its manoeuvring engine to initiate re-entry
1975 Jul 21 10:51 Soyuz 19 lands - 90 kilometres north east of Arkalyk
1975 Jul 24 Crew of Apollo stows unwanted materials in the Docking Module
1975 Jul 24 19:41 Apollo releases the Docking Module
1975 Jul 24 20:37 Apollo fires its Service Propulsion System to initiate re-entry
1975 Jul 24 21:18 Apollo splashes down - 430 kilometres west of Hawaii, it is hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier USS New Orleans with the crew inside
1975 Aug 2 Apollo-Soyuz Docking Module enters the Earth atmosphere as a result of natural decay of the orbit through air drag and is destroyed by frictional heating
1976 Sep 15 09:48 Soyuz 22 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Soyuz rocket into 185 x 296 kilometre orbit at 64.8 degrees inclination with Valeri Bykovsky and Vladimir Aksyonov aboard - it is the backup spacecraft from ASTP, refurbished to carry the MFK-6 large-format camera for Earth observation built in the German Democratic Republic - a similar camera was later fitted to Salyut 6
1976 Sep 16 Soyuz 22 established in its operational orbit - 239 x 253 kilometres
1976 Sep 23 07:01 Soyuz 22 fires its manoeuvring engine to initiate re-entry
1976 Sep 23 07:42 Soyuz 22 lands in Khazakhstan
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