Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 51

Soyuz 16



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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  02.12.1974
Launch time:  09:40 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  191,7 - 314,8 km
Inclination:  51,79°
Landing date:  08.12.1974
Landing time:  08:04 UTC
Landing site:  30 km SW of Arkalyk

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Filipchenko  Anatoli Vasiliyevich  Commander 2 5d 22h 23m  97 
2  Rukavishnikov  Nikolai Nikolayevich  Flight Engineer 2 5d 22h 23m  97 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Filipchenko
2  Rukavishnikov
1  Filipchenko
2  Rukavishnikov

Animations: Soyuz

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1st Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Dzhanibekov  Vladimir Aleksandrovich  Commander
2  Andreyev  Boris Dmitriyevich  Flight Engineer

2nd Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Romanenko  Yuri Viktorovich  Commander
2  Ivanchenkov  Aleksandr Sergeyevich  Flight Engineer


Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing 300 km north of Dzheskasgan / 30 km southwest of Arkalyk.

The Soyuz 16 mission was the final rehearsal and first manned mission in a program which culminated in the Apollo-Soyuz (ASTP) mission seven months later.
Main goals of the mission were check-out of the Soyuz space craft's on-board systems which had been modernized to meet the requirements of the 1975 joint flight in accordance with the programme of the Soviet-United States experiment; conduct of scientific and technical investigations.

Early 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 spacecraft.

During the flight, cosmonauts Anatoli Filipchenko and Nikolai Rukavishnikov tested the androgynous docking system to be used for the ASTP mission by retracting and extending a simulated 20 kg American docking ring.

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 ASTP flight.

From launch to landing the flight of Soyuz was nearly perfect, and the results of the test of life support, docking, antenna deployment, and ground control systems were excellent.


crew in training


Last update on June 20, 2014.