Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing
400 km southwest of Karaganda.
became first Soviet Soyuz
who was not a pilot.
Soyuz 12 was a test flight of the new designed
Soyuz capsule. The crew capacity of the capsule had been decreased from three
to two cosmonauts to allow for space suits to be worn during launch, reentry,
and potentially hazardous maneuvers.
As the first manned test of the
new version of the Soyuz ferry craft, Soyuz 12 was to have flown to a Salyut
station. But the failures of Salyut 2 and Kosmos 557 in the months previous
meant there was no station for the craft to dock to. The service module had no
solar panels, carrying batteries for power instead, which limited the flight to
about two days, enough time for a journey to and from a space station.
multispectral camera in the orbital module was used in coordination with
aircraft to photograph Earth. The intention was to survey crop and forest
conditions, it was reported. The cosmonauts also tested using a Molniya 1
satellite to communicate with ground stations when out of range.
object was jettisoned when the craft was preparing for retrofire. The object
remained in orbit for 116 days, landing 400 km southwest of