[FPSPACE] a question....about Zond 6

Bart Hendrickx bhen at telenet.be
Mon Jul 27 15:58:03 EDT 2015

Returning to the question of when the presence of tortoises on the Zonds was
first revealed, I have a Dutch book published at the end of 1968 (just weeks
after the Zond-5/6 missions) that mentions the  tortoises aboard Zond-5 (but
nothing for Zond-6). This means that (unlike what I wrote yesterday) some
Soviet source must have talked about the tortoises  either during or shortly
after the missions.


The earliest Soviet source for the tortoises that I can find is a yearbook
published by the "Big Soviet Encyclopedia" looking back at events in 1968
(Ezhegodnik BSE, 1969 edition). This devotes several lines to the
post-flight analysis of the animals. No biological payload mentioned here
for Zond-6.



Bart Hendrickx


From: FPSPACE [mailto:fpspace-bounces at mail.friends-partners.org] On Behalf
Of Anatoly Zak
Sent: maandag 27 juli 2015 0:22
To: FPSPACE at mail.friends-partners.org
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] a question....about Zond 6


Interestingly, Korolev's Legacy published in the USSR in 1980 describes
Zond-5 and Zond-6 missions but doesn't mention biological experiments but
Spaceflight Mechanics by Levanotvsky, which came out the same year and was
the source for us in Moscow for years says that biological "organisms" were

Anatoly Zak
 <http://www.RussianSpaceWeb.com> http://www.RussianSpaceWeb.com

On 7/26/15 5:59 PM, "Bart Hendrickx" < <mailto:bhen at telenet.be>
bhen at telenet.be> wrote:

To the best my knowledge the Russians have never exactly revealed what kind
of biological payload was on board Zond-6. The reason is probably that any
animals on board most likely died, either as a result of the partial
depressurization of the descent capsule that took place late in the mission
or as a result of vehicle's crash landing.  
The biological payloads carried by Zond-5, 6 and 7 were discussed in a 1971
paper by Gazenko, Antipov and Parfenov ("Results of Biological
Investigations Undertaken on the Zond-5, Zond-6 and Zond-7 Stations" (in
Russian), "Kosmicheskie issledovaniya", 9 (July-August 1971)). I don't have
that, but Asif Siddiqi refers to it in "Challenge to Apollo". He says that
this source implies at several points that the biological payloads for
Zond-6 were almost, but not completely identical to those flown on Zond-5.
Explicit mention was only made of air-dried cells of wheat, barley, peas,
pine, carrots, and tomatoes. However, Zond-6 may also have carried
tortoises, drosophila, Tradescantia plants, bulbs of the Allium series,
dried wheat germs, various trains of chlorella, B. coli and other samples.
The 1985 "Cosmonautics Encyclopedia" edited by Glushko does seem to confirm
that Zond-6 carried tortoises : "Scientific studies : .. biological
experiments with various  objects : tortoises (on Zond-5, 6, 7), insects,
plants, bacteria". 
Looking back at the TASS reports issued during the Zond-5 and 6 missions, no
mention is made of biological payloads. The Pravda newspaper published some
quite detailed articles on both missions at the time, but only one of the
articles (on Zond-6) briefly mentions that "Zond-6 carried out radiation
studies with the help of biological objects begun by the Zond-5 automatic
station". In other words, the presence of animals on board these vehicles
(even the tortoises that survived the Zond-5 splashdown) was something the
Russians didn't want to advertise during or shortly after the actual
missions, possibly to avoid creating the impression that the missions were
man-related. I'm not sure when exactly they first revealed that the Zonds
had carried tortoises and other animals.
Bart Hendrickx 


From: FPSPACE [ <mailto:fpspace-bounces at mail.friends-partners.org]>
mailto:fpspace-bounces at mail.friends-partners.org] On Behalf Of Peter
Sent: zondag 26 juli 2015 0:34
To:  <mailto:FPSPACE at mail.friends-partners.org>
FPSPACE at mail.friends-partners.org
Subject: [FPSPACE] a question....about Zond 6

Does anyone know what the biological payload of Zond 6 was?  

Was it mammalian?
If you do, and have a reference, please post.
Many thanks in advance.


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