[FPSPACE] Russian space history questions from Zeb Ottobre (ChocoBranco@aol.com)

Chris Jones clj@theWorld.com
18 Nov 2002 08:34:51 -0500

"james oberg" <joberg@houston.rr.com> writes:

  Russian space history questions from Zeb Ottobre (ChocoBranco@aol.com)
  [relayed from Jim Oberg -- respond directly to Zeb, please]
  As a Russian space history buff I turn to you for the answer (I hope) on a
  relatively obscure question. No doubt you are familiar with the Soyuz 'Kontakt'
  program of 1969 - 1970. I have but a fragmentarily knowledge of it and was
  wondering if you might know why Mishin and his team elected to develop two
  kinds of docking systems - 'Ingla' and 'Kontakt'. Why was the 'Ingla' system
  (which I believe was in use on Soyuz 1 - 5) inadequate to the needs of the
  Soyuz L1/L3 program. 

Igla (Needle).  This was used up through the Soyuz T series, replaced by
the Kurs (Course) system in the Soyuz TM spacecraft.

                       It seems that the objectives of the 'Kontakt' program
  (open space EVA and crew transfer) would duplicate the efforts of the early
  Soyuz 1/2 (4/5) missions. You see my point here - that energies should have
  immediately gone into one docking system or the other to keep the lunar landing
  effort on schedule.
  In short, my question is why was the 'Kontakt' docking system needed for the
  lunar landing missions instead of 'Ingla' (weight considerations of the latter
  not withstanding) and was the 'Kontakt' program a part of the original mission
  scheduling (pre Apollo 11)or something that Mishin added later.

The mass considerations were the reason for Kontakt (which consisted of
both the antenna system and the probe/honeycomb docking system).  Igla's
antenna system was big and clunky -- look at pictures of it.  The LK/LOK
duo, particularly the former (the one that would have landed on the
moon) was severely mass constrained.  Yes, Kontakt was part of the
original planning.  Igla and Kontakt were developed in parallel, and
both were considered for the lunar landing.
  Thank you in advance for taking the time to review my question and I look
  forward to your response.
  If I may, I have two more questions for you -
  1) Was there an intended crew transfer between Soyuz 7 and 8 via an internal
  tunnel - and what exactly prevented the link up between the two ships?
No, there was no crew transfer planned, and no internal tunnel.  Soyuz
10 was the first spacecraft with the redesigned docking system.  The
linkup failed for a variety of factors: the Igla systems failed to lock
onto each other at first, the crew was hurried, the multiple (8!) tried
over two days used up too much propellant.

  2) Can you recommend a site where I might see a list of those cosmonauts/Air
  Force officers who led the Cosmonaut Detachment after Kaminin?
Sorry, don't know the answer to this.

  Sincerely, Zeb Ottobre San Francisco, California

As always, I recommend Asif Siddiqi's _Challenge to Apollo_, from which
the preceding information was taken.