Zarya - Soviet, Russian and International Spaceflight
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Vostok


Scarborough, UK
2014 Jul 23
Wednesday, Day 204

Maintained by:











Vostok - the World's First Spaceship

In all, six piloted missions were orbited, between 1961 and 1963, under the 'Vostok' programme name.

VostokThe Vostok spacecraft shares its roots with Sergei Korolyov's 'Zenit' recoverable satellite. Several versions of Zenit have existed over the years and it still flies orbital missions as the re-entry vehicle of the 'Cometa' recoverable satellite, and under the 'Photon' and 'Bion' labels.

The Vostok spacecraft development programme included several orbital flights before Gagarin went into orbit, including a full dress rehearsal with dummy cosmonaut.

Following Laika (Sputnik 2) into space were several dogs as occupants of the Vostok development missions - the Korabl Sputniks or 'Spaceship Satellites'. Unlike with Laika, the object was to return the dogs from their missions, though this aim was not always achieved.

A short chronology of the Vostok and early Zenit programmes follows. A more complete history can be found in the "Zarya Diaries" - available from the right hand menu.

Date Time (UTC) Event
1958 Jan 1 Work begins in the Soviet Union on designing the vehicle which will become the piloted Vostok (3KA) and Voskhod (3KV & 3KD) spacecraft, and the recoverable Zenit (2K) photo-reconnaissance satellite
1958 Nov 1 00:00 The Soviet government approves development of the Vostok and Zenit spacecraft
1960 Jan 11 USSR Government establishes a Cosmonaut Training Centre
1960 Mar 1 The Soviet Union first group of 20 space flight trainees reports to the Cosmonaut Training Centre
1960 May 15 00:00 Korabl Sputnik 1 (1KP-1), English - "Spaceship-Satellite", a Vostok/Zenit prototype, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into approx 320 x 360 kilometre orbit at 65.0 degrees inclination - the purpose of the flight is to verify spacecraft systems and onboard there is mass to simulate the presence of a cosmonaut, on this mission, there is no heat shield and the cabin is not intended to be recovered
1960 May 18 23:52 Having aligned itself for retrofire, Korabl Sputnik 1 ignites its retro-rocket but an error means that it is pointing 180 degrees away from the correct direction and the spacecraft orbit is boosted to an orbit of 278 x 689 kilometres - its cabin section then separates from the instrument unit and remains in orbit for a further five years
1960 Jul 28 07:12 Korabl Sputnik (1K-1) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket aimed towards a low orbit around the Earth at 65 degrees inclination, it carries the dogs Chaika and Lisichka - the rocket explodes shortly after lift-off and the craft is destroyed
1960 Aug 19 08:44 Korabl Sputnik 2 (1K-2) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 297 x 324 kilometre orbit at 65.0 degrees inclination - it's purpose is continued testing of Vostok's systems, it carries two dogs: Strelka and Belka, and other biological specimens including plants, rats and mice
1960 Aug 20 10:20 Approx time - Korabl Sputnik 2 retro-rocket fires
1960 Aug 20 10:50 Approx time - Korabl Sputnik 2 ejector mechanism operates as a test for the Vostok ejector seat, and the container carrying Strelka and Belka continues descent under a parachute
1960 Aug 20 11:02 Korabl Sputnik 2 experiments container lands - the spacecraft touches down nearby at about the same time
1960 Dec 1 07:26 Korabl Sputnik 3 (1K-3) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 166 x 232 kilometre orbit at 65.0 degrees inclination - it carries two dogs: Pchelka and Mushka and other biological specimens including animals, plants and insects, and continues testing of Vostok's systems
1960 Dec 2 09:12 Korabl Sputnik 3 fires its retro-rocket to initiate re-entry but it fails to shut down and continues to fire until all fuel is used up - the re-entry angle is too steep and the spacecraft is destroyed by frictional heating
1960 Dec 22 07:45 Korabl Sputnik (1K-4), carrying two dogs - Damka and Krasavka, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket aimed towards a low orbit around the Earth at 65 degrees inclination - the spacecraft separates from the rocket while the third stage is still firing
1960 Dec 22 07:50 Estimated time - having survived separation from its launcher, Korabl Sputnik (1K-4) lands by parachute - its cargo is recovered intact
1961 Mar 9 06:28 Korabl Sputnik 4 (3KA-1) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 173 x 239 kilometre orbit at 64.9 degrees inclination - in order to continue tests of the Vostok systems, it carries a dummy cosmonaut, a dog: Chernushka, and other biological specimens
1961 Mar 9 07:29 Approx time - Korabl Sputnik 4 retro-rocket fires
1961 Mar 9 07:58 Approx time - Korabl Sputnik 4 ejector seat operates and the dummy cosmonaut continues a separate descent under a parachute
1961 Mar 9 08:09 Korabl Sputnik 4 dummy cosmonaut lands - the spacecraft, with Chernushka inside, touches down nearby at about the same time
1961 Mar 25 05:54 Korabl Sputnik 5 (3KA-2) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 164 x 230 kilometre orbit at 64.9 degrees inclination - it carries a dummy cosmonaut, a dog: Zvezdochka and other biological specimens and is the final test flight prior to the launch of Vostok
1961 Mar 25 06:59 Approx time - Korabl Sputnik 5 retro-rocket fires
1961 Mar 25 07:29 Approx time - Korabl Sputnik 5 ejector seat operates and the dummy cosmonaut continues a separate descent under a parachute
1961 Mar 25 07:40 Korabl Sputnik 5 dummy cosmonaut lands - the spacecraft, with Zvezdochka inside, touches down nearby at about the same time
1961 Apr 12 06:07 World first piloted spaceship, Vostok (3KA-3), launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 169 x 315 kilometre orbit at 65.0 degrees inclination with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard
1961 Apr 12 07:16 Vostok is aligned for retro-fire
1961 Apr 12 07:26 Vostok retro-rocket fires
1961 Apr 12 07:35 Vostok re-enters the atmosphere - Gagarin ride is rough as the instrument unit and the cabin remain joined by a cable until re-entry heating burns it through
1961 Apr 12 07:55 Vostok ejector seat operates and Gagarin continues descent under a parachute
1961 Apr 12 08:05 Gagarin lands - 26 kilometres south-west of Engels, Saratov Region - Vostok touches down nearby at about the same time
1961 Aug 6 06:00 Vostok 2 (3KA-4) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 166 x 232 kilometre orbit at 65.0 degrees inclination with cosmonaut Gherman Titov aboard
1961 Aug 6 15:30 Titov begins rest period aboard Vostok 2
1961 Aug 6 23:37 Aboard Vostok 2, Titov is awakened at the end of his sleep period - 37 minutes later than planned
1961 Aug 7 02:45 Aboard Vostok 2, Titov eats breakfast
1961 Aug 7 06:41 Approx time - Vostok 2 retro-rocket fires
1961 Aug 7 07:11 Vostok 2 ejector seat operates and Titov continues descent under a parachute
1961 Aug 7 07:18 Titov lands 740 kilometres south-east of Moscow near Krasny Sut, Saratov region - Vostok 2 touches down nearby at about the same time
1962 Mar 14 A group of five women joins the original cosmonaut detachment at the Soviet Union Cosmonaut Training Centre
1962 Aug 11 08:30 Vostok 3 (3KA-5) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 166 x 218 kilometre orbit at 65.0 degrees inclination with cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev aboard
1962 Aug 12 08:02 Vostok 4 (3KA-6) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 165 x 222 kilometre orbit at 65.0 degrees inclination with cosmonaut Pavel Popovich aboard - it orbit is close to that of Vostok 3
1962 Aug 12 08:12 Approx time - Vostok 4 passes 6.5 kilometres from Vostok 3 - there is radio and contact between the two cosmonauts and the spacecraft are visible to each other - the two spacecraft then drift slowly apart
1962 Aug 15 06:10 Approx time - Vostok 3 retro-rocket fires
1962 Aug 15 06:16 Approx time - Vostok 4 retro-rocket fires
1962 Aug 15 06:39 Vostok 3 ejector seat operates and Nikolayev continues descent under a parachute
1962 Aug 15 06:46 Vostok 4 ejector seat operates and Popovich continues descent under a parachute
1962 Aug 15 06:51 Nikolayev lands and Vostok 3 touches down nearby at about the same time - location: 48.03 degrees north, 75.75 degrees east, near Karkaralinsk in the Karaganda region
1962 Aug 15 06:59 Popovich lands, and Vostok 4 touches down nearby at about the same time - the mission has been shortened by one day because of a misunderstanding between the cosmonaut and mission control about his state of health - location: 48.15 degrees north 71.85 degrees east, near Atasu in the Karaganda region
1963 Jun 14 11:58 Vostok 5 (3KA-7) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 162 x 209 kilometre orbit at 65.0 degrees inclination with cosmonaut Valeri Bykovsky aboard
1963 Jun 16 09:29 Vostok 6 (3KA-8) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Vostok rocket into 168 x 218 kilometre orbit at 65.1 degrees inclination with female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova aboard
1963 Jun 16 09:40 Approx time - Vostok 6 passes 5 kilometres from Vostok 5 but their orbits are angled with respect to each other so the two spacecraft move rapidly apart - there is radio contact between the two cosmonauts
1963 Jun 19 07:41 Approx time - Vostok 6 retro-rocket fires
1963 Jun 19 08:10 Vostok 6 ejector seat operates and Tereshkova continues descent under a parachute
1963 Jun 19 08:20 Tereshkova lands, and Vostok 6 touches down nearby at about the same time - location 53.27 degrees north, 80.45 degrees east, 620 kilometres north-east of Karaganda
1963 Jun 19 10:26 Approx time - Vostok 5 retro-rocket fires
1963 Jun 19 10:36 Approx time - Vostok 5 re-enters the atmosphere - Bykovsky ride is rough as the instrument unit and the cabin remain joined by a cable until re-entry heating burns it through - a similar problem to that encountered by Gagarin
1963 Jun 19 10:55 Vostok 5 ejector seat operates and Bykovsky continues descent under a parachute
1963 Jun 19 11:05 Bykovsky lands, and Vostok 5 touches down nearby at about the same time - location: 53.40 degrees north, 67.62 degrees east, 540 kilometres north-west of Karaganda
1964 Mar 1 Soviet government cancels remainder of the Vostok programme so that work can be concentrated on developing the Voskhod spacecraft
1965 Oct 15 12:40 Approx time - the cabin of Korabl Sputnik 1 (launched 1960) re-enters the Earth atmosphere and is destroyed by frictional heating
1966 Jan 14 Sergei Korolyov dies while undergoing surgery, he is aged 59 - his funeral is held in Moscow and his ashes are interred in the wall of the Kremlin
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