Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 37

Soyuz 9

Sokol

USSR

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  01.06.1970
Launch time:  19:00 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  31
Altitude:  208 - 220,6 km
Inclination:  51,72°
Landing date:  19.06.1970
Landing time:  11:59 UTC
Landing site:  75 km W of Karaganda
Crew Soyuz 9

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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  Nikolayev  Andriyan Grigoriyevich  Commander 2 17d 16h 58m  286 
2  Sevastiyanov  Vitali Ivanovich  Flight Engineer 1 17d 16h 58m  286 

Crew seating arrangement

Launch
1  Nikolayev
2  Sevastiyanov
Landing
1  Nikolayev
2  Sevastiyanov

Animations: Soyuz

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1st Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Filipchenko  Anatoli Vasiliyevich  Commander
2  Grechko  Georgi Mikhailovich  Flight Engineer

2nd Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Lazarev  Vasili Grigoriyevich  Commander
2  Yazdovsky  Valeri Aleksandrovich  Flight Engineer

Flight

Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing 75 km west of Karaganda.

Soyuz 9 performed the first night launch in the aera of human spaceflights. The crew performed photographical and visual Earth observation, several astrophysical, physiological experiments and technical studies. One solar panel was not working well after a few days, but that was not a big problem. The capsule was set into a slow sun oriented rotation. Valentina Tereshkova and her daughter communicated via radio and television with husband and father Andriyan Nikolayev. On Flight day 10 the crew was off duty. On this day they played chess via radio with cosmonaut Viktor Gorbatko on Earth. Since flight day 12, the crew became more and more problems to do concentrate work, they became tired and made some small mistakes.

The Soyuz spacecraft is composed of three elements attached end-to-end - the Orbital Module, the Descent Module and the Instrumentation/Propulsion Module. The crew occupied the central element, the Descent Module. The other two modules are jettisoned prior to re-entry. They burn up in the atmosphere, so only the Descent Module returned to Earth.
Having shed two-thirds of its mass, the Soyuz reached Entry Interface - a point 400,000 feet above the Earth, where friction due to the thickening atmosphere began to heat its outer surfaces. With only 23 minutes left before it lands on the grassy plains of central Asia, attention in the module turned to slowing its rate of descent.
Eight minutes later, the spacecraft was streaking through the sky at a rate of 755 feet per second. Before it touched down, its speed slowed to only 5 feet per second, and it lands at an even lower speed than that. Several onboard features ensure that the vehicle and crew land safely and in relative comfort.
Four parachutes, deployed 15 minutes before landing, dramatically slowed the vehicle's rate of descent. Two pilot parachutes were the first to be released, and a drogue chute attached to the second one followed immediately after. The drogue, measuring 24 square meters (258 square feet) in area, slowed the rate of descent from 755 feet per second to 262 feet per second.
The main parachute was the last to emerge. It is the largest chute, with a surface area of 10,764 square feet. Its harnesses shifted the vehicle's attitude to a 30-degree angle relative to the ground, dissipating heat, and then shifted it again to a straight vertical descent prior to landing.
The main chute slowed the Soyuz to a descent rate of only 24 feet per second, which is still too fast for a comfortable landing. One second before touchdown, two sets of three small engines on the bottom of the vehicle fired, slowing the vehicle to soften the landing.

The landing proceeded normally, but both cosmonauts had big problems, to stand and to walk after landing. The cosmonauts' condition after landing was awful. It was painful and difficult for them to get up. They falled down in their first tortured attempts at walking. They had to be dragged along by the arms and they looked very ill. There was no knowledge about the effects of zero-G for humans and so there were no plans and equipment (for example chairs) for the ill crew, which was brought then to hospital. But all in all a new spaceflight duration record was performed. But it was the final record performed by a solo flying spaceship. Following records were set by spaceships, which travelled to orbital stations.

Photos


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Last update on October 16, 2014.