Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing
300 km north of Dzheskasgan / 30 km southwest of Arkalyk; full dress rehearsal
The Soyuz 16 mission was the final
rehearsal and first manned mission in a program which culminated in the
) mission seven months later.
concepts for a joint flight included docking a Soyuz craft to the American
Skylab space station, or an Apollo vehicle docking with a Salyut space station.
Once the Americans abandoned their Skylab station in 1974, the Apollo-Salyut
concept seemed to be the logical choice, but since the Soviets had started to
develop a universal docking adapter for the mission and feared having to
publicly reveal details of their military-focused Salyut missions, the two
powers opted to link a Soyuz spacecraft with an Apollo
During the flight, cosmonauts Anatoli
tested the androgynous docking system to be
used for the
mission by retracting and extending a simulated 20 kg American docking
The crew also tested modified environmental systems, new solar
panels and improved control systems, as well as a new radar docking system. The
air pressure was reduced from 760 mm to 540 mm and oxygen raised from 20% to
40% to test reducing the planned transfer time to Apollo from two to one hour.
On December 07, 1974, the docking ring was jettisoned with explosive bolts to
test emergency measures if the capture latches got stuck during the