Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 28

Soyuz 5



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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  15.01.1969
Launch time:  07:04 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  198,7 - 230,2 km
Inclination:  51,69°
Docking Soyuz 4:  16.01.1969, 08:20 UTC
Undocking Soyuz 4:  16.01.1969, 12:55 UTC
Landing date:  18.01.1969
Landing time:  07:59 UTC
Landing site:  200 km SW of Kustanay

walkout photo

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Volynov  Boris Valentinovich  Commander 1 3d 00h 54m  49 
2  Yeliseyev  Aleksei Stanislavovich  Flight Engineer 1 1d 23h 45m  32 
3  Khrunov  Yevgeni Vasiliyevich  Research Engineer 1 1d 23h 45m  32 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Volynov
2  Khrunov
3  Yeliseyev
1  Volynov

Animations: Soyuz

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1st Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Flipchenko  Anatoli Vasiliyevich  Commander
2  Kubasov  Valeri Nikolayevich  Flight Engineer
3  Gorbatko  Viktor Vasiliyevich  Research Engineer

2nd Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Kuklin  Anatoli Petrovich  Commander
2  Volkov  Vladislav Nikolayevich  Flight Engineer
3  Kolodin  Pyotr Ivanovich  Research Engineer


Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing 200 km southwest of Kustanay / 25 km southeast of Zhitikara.

Soyuz 4 successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 31. 24 hours later it was followed by Soyuz 5 from Launch Complex 1. After the problems with Soyuz 3, a first-revolution docking was not planned. Instead the automatic rendezvous began on January 16, 1969 at 13:37 UTC on the 34th revolution of Soyuz 4 and the 18th revolution of Soyuz 5. At 100 m distance Vladimir Shatalov took over manual control of Soyuz 4 and guided the spacecraft to an accurate docking on the first attempt at 14:20 UTC.

Soyuz 5 docked with Soyuz 4, which had the active part. The two spacecrafts were electrical and mechanically connected, but there was no direct way from one spaceship to the other. It was the first docking of manned spacecrafts. The Soyuz 5 cosmonauts Yevgeni Khrunov and Aleksei Yeliseyev entered the Soyuz 4 in a spacewalk on January 16, 1969 (0h 37m). Yevgeni Khrunov and Aleksei Yeliseyev put on their Yastreb ("hawk") suits in the Soyuz 5 orbital module with aid from Commander Boris Volynov. Yastreb suit design commenced in 1965, shortly after Aleksei Leonov’s difficult EVA. Aleksei Leonov served as consultant for the design process, which was completed during 1966. Suit fabrication and testing occurred in 1967, but the fatal Soyuz 1 accident in April of that year and docking difficulties on the joint Soyuz 2-Soyuz 3 mission delayed its use in space until Soyuz 4-Soyuz 5. To prevent the suit ballooning, Yastreb featured a pulley-and-cable articulation system. Wide metal rings around the gray nylon canvas undersuit's upper arms served as anchors for the upper body articulation system. Yastreb had a regenerative life support system in a rectangular white metal box placed on the chest and abdomen to facilitate movement through Soyuz hatchways. Boris Volynov checked out Yevgeni Khrunov and Aleksei Yeliseyev’s life support and communications systems before returning to the descent module, sealing the hatch, and depressurizing the orbital module.

Yevgeni Khrunov and Aleksei Yeliseyev aboard Soyuz 5 immediately began preparing for their EVA. On the 35th revolution of the earth Yevgeni Khrunov exited into free space and began moving toward Soyuz 4. But one of his lines became tangled and he accidentally closed the tumbler of his suit ventilator. He quickly untied this, but the incident distracted Aleksei Yeliseyev, who forgot to mount a movie camera on the divan of the orbital module before exiting the spacecraft. This deprived the world of the planned film of the spacewalk. A poor quality video transmission was the only record of the EVA (0h 37m).
Yevgeni Khrunov was transferring to the Soyuz 4 orbital module while the docked spacecraft were out of radio contact with the Soviet Union over South America. Aleksei Yeliseyev transferred while the spacecraft were over the Soviet Union.

After pressurization of the Soyuz 4 capsule they were greeted by cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov in the Soyuz 4 capsule. The spacewalkers delivered newspapers, letters, and telegrams printed after Vladimir Shatalov lifted off to help prove that the transfer took place.

Soyuz 4 and 5 separated after 4 hours and 35 minutes docked together. All three cosmonauts landed with the Soyuz 4 spacecraft. Scientific (medical and biological) and technical experiments were also performed, but all in all it were tests of lunar landing techniques. The mission proved it was possible to perform the activities that would be needed on a Soviet lunar landing. The Russian plan called for a lone cosmonaut to land on the moon, return to lunar orbit, then make a spacewalk back from the landing craft to orbiting spacecraft after docking. This was because there was no internal tunnel between the two craft as found on the American Apollo CSM and LM.

Boris Volynov remained on Soyuz 5. During the re-entry the service module failed to separate after retrofire resulting in nose-first re-entry, which would have meant a sure death of the cosmonaut. In the last moment the bolts connecting the service module to the reentry capsule finally burned through and the capsule turned around, heat shield forward, just before the forward hatch melted. All capsule propellant was exhausted and the cosmonaut made a 9-g uncontrolled reentry, landing hundreds of kilometers short. There was one final problem in store for Boris Volynov when the parachute cables partially tangled. It was one of the hardest landings in space history and Boris Volynov broke his jaw and lost several teeth. The local temperature was -38 °C (-36 °F), and knowing that it would be many hours before rescue teams could reach him, Boris Volynov abandoned the capsule and walked for several kilometers to find shelter at a local peasant's house.

The crew were to meet Leonid Brezhnev during a lavish ceremony at the Kremlin, but this was ruined by an attempted assassination of the Soviet leader. A man shot eight times at the motorcade but aimed at the car containing Georgi Beregovoy, Aleksei Leonov, Andriyan Nikolayev, and Valentina Tereshkova. They were unharmed but Brezhnev's car was forced to speed away past the waiting Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 crews on the podium.


Aleksei Yeliseyev and Yevgeni Khrunov landed on January 17, 1969 at 06:50 UTC with Soyuz 4.


crew in training
Soyuz 5 on the launch pad


Last update on January 17, 2014.