Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 58

Soyuz 23

Radon

USSR

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  14.10.1976
Launch time:  17:40 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  188 - 224 km
Inclination:  51,61°
Landing date:  16.10.1976
Landing time:  17:46 UTC
Landing site:  140 km SE of Arkalyk

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Zudov  Vyacheslav Dmitriyevich  Commander 1 2d 00h 06m  32 
2  Rozhdestvensky  Valeri Iliyich  Flight Engineer 1 2d 00h 06m  32 

Crew seating arrangement

Launch
1  Zudov
2  Rozhdestvensky
Landing
1  Zudov
2  Rozhdestvensky

Animations: Soyuz

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with friendly permission of www.marscenter.it

1st Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Gorbatko  Viktor Vasiliyevich  Commander
2  Glazkov  Yuri Nikolayevich  Flight Engineer

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2nd Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Berezovoy  Anatoli Nikolayevich  Commander
2  Lisun  Mikhail Ivanovich  Flight Engineer

Flight

Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing 195 km southwest of Tselinograd / 140 km southeast of Arkalyk.

The Soyuz 23 ferry spacecraft suffered a docking system failure. Sensors indicated an incorrect lateral velocity, causing unnecessary firing of the thrusters during rendezvous (approach was until 100 m). The automatic system was turned off, but no fuel remained for a manual docking with the Salyut 5 space station. Crews were normally trained for a manual dock, but not for a manual approach. So the only possible solution was an immediate return to Earth.

The spacecraft experienced a remarkable and near catastrophic return to Earth. The crew landed at night on a frozen lake (Tengiz) during a snow-storm (195 km southwest of Tselinograd / 140 km southeast of Arkalyk). The ice broke, the parachute became wet and took the escape hatch under water. The capsule was cooled and the heating systems had been turned down to conserve the battery power.
Several attempts, to reach the capsule, failed. But the capsule's beacons could not be seen in the heavy fog, and rubber rafts used to try to reach them were blocked by ice and sludge. Amphibious vehicles were air-lifted to the vicinity, but could not reach the capsule owing to bogs surrounding the lake. Accordingly, the rescue was called off until dawn. The cosmonauts were safe, but they were low on power, so they were forced to shut down everything but a small interior light. The next morning, frogmen were dropped in by helicopters, attached flotation devices to the Soyuz craft and recovered the crew. The capsule was too heavy to be lifted by the helicopter, so it was dragged to shore. The recovery operation had taken nine hours. The rescue men were surprised to find the crew alive.

Photos

Soyuz 23 on the launch pad
 

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Last update on March 08, 2014.