SP-4209 The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Countdown to Launch

 

During the days remaining till the 15th of July, Lunney and Bushuyev kept in touch by telex and telephone. On 23 June, Lunney sent the "Launch minus 21 days" report to the Professor:

SPACECRAFT:
S-IB launch vehicle stage fuel (RP-l) loading was completed satisfactorily on July 23, 1975. Countdown demonstration test preparations have started and the nine-day test will start at 0700 EDT on June 25, 1975.
GROUND SYSTEMS:
ATS-6 satellite testing is complete. All MCC-H network interface testing is complete except for S-band tracking test to be conducted on June 25, 1975.65

[313] Three days later, Lunney and Bushuyev discussed a variety of topics, including the joint control center simulations scheduled for the end of the month and some public affairs questions.66 Meanwhile, the astronauts continued their training.

At 2:50 on the afternoon of the 24th, the prime crew began a three-week preflight medical isolation program - the "Flight Crew Health Stabilization Plan." Stafford, Slayton, and Brand were limited to specific working and training areas at JSC, and only previously screened personnel could come in contact with them. These "primary contacts" were required to wear surgical masks when in the presence of the crew. No one, especially the three astronauts, wanted a change in crew assignments because of the sniffles or any other common illness. In their off-duty hours, the prime three were quartered in mobile homes near the astronauts' gym in the northeast corner of the space center. In addition to further practice in the simulators, they continued their work on Russian.67 (See table X-1.)

Table X-1. ASTP Crew Training Summary as of 15 July 1975

Training activities

Hours accomplished

Stafford

Brand

Slayton

Briefing/reviews:

Command and service module

26.4

55.6

60.3

Docking module

8.0

21.5

24.9

Launch vehicle

2.6

3.0

2.6

Experiments

94.8

95.8

100.3

Flight plan/checklist

13.5

38.0

19.5

Mission technique/rules

29.5

61.0

23.5

Soyuz

2.0

2.0

2.0

Systems Training:

Transfer procedures

17.5

27.0

17.5

Crew systems

18.5

27.5

22.5

TV

2.5

5.0

5.5

Photo

12.5

12.5

11.0

Experiments

81.3

82.3

117.5

Stowage

1.0

2.0

7.0

Bench checks

12.0

12.0

12.0

Egress/fire

13.0

13.0

13.0

Spacecraft test

106.5

98.5

174.5

Morehead planetarium

0.0

0.0

12.5

Medical

33.5

22.5

31.5

Simulators:

Command module simulator/docking module simulator

428.0

474.2

549.3

Command module procedures simulator

32.5

0.0

56.0

Russian language

1,016.5

923.5

1,077.5

Joint crew activities

737.6

812.3

735.1

Total hours

2,689.7

2,789.2

3,075.5

[314] On 25 June, the Countdown Demonstration Test (CDDT) began at 7:00 a.m. After participating in the "Joint Orbital Operations Simulation" between the Houston and Moscow control centers, which began early on Sunday the 29th and continued for 56 hours, the prime crew departed Houston on 2 July for KSC, where they would take part in the manned portion of the CDDT. During one phase of the test that included a simulated ignition and lift-off, Vance Brand's space suit leaked, as it had during a high altitude test run. This time the problem was traced - to one of the pressure-sealing slide fasteners. A minor modification to this "sophisticated zipper" fixed the leak, and technicians also altered Stafford's and Slayton's suits as a precautionary measure. As time ticked away toward the hour of launch, the tempo of activities quickened.68

After a one-day holiday and an additional check of Brand's suit, the prime crew flew their T-38s back to Ellington Air Force Base on Saturday, 5 July. That afternoon, they reviewed the flight data file, and on Sunday they took to their T-38s again and later practiced Russian. As last minute checks went on at the Cape, the crew spent a busy week in the command module simulator. Rendezvous was practiced, with and without systems failures thrown in by their instructors, and solutions to possible docking malfunctions were studied and worked out in the simulator. On 13 July, the crewmen once again climbed into their jets and departed for Florida.69

 

 Reports from Baykonur Cosmodrome indicated that the Soviet crewmembers were also in quarantine. After talking to Stafford on the 10th, Leonov and Kubasov continued reviewing their flight plans at the Soviet launch center. While they studied, the launch crews readied the two space vehicles. The prime spacecraft and booster were on the pad and fueling began on the 11th. Two days later, the second Soyuz and launch vehicle were transported to the secondary pad some 20 kilometers distant. All preparations were on schedule, and Soviet mission control advised the Americans that the tracking stations and tracking ships Akademik Sergei Korolev and Kosmonavt Yuri Gagarin were ready for the flight.70

Since the personnel of the Soviet and American control centers were scheduled to start round-the-clock duty scheduled on 14 July, 24 hours before the launch of Soyuz, the teams of visiting specialists had to be in place ahead of time. A group of 15 specialists and interpreters from the Soviet Union had arrived in Houston on the 8th.* NASA's flight control...

 


 [315]

Soyuz launch vehicle and ASTP spacecraft

The Soyuz launch vehicle and ASTP spacecraft are transported to the launch site by railroad flat car (Soviet Academy of Sciences photo).


 

....specialists led by Charles R. Lewis arrived at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport on the 12th, where they were met by V. G. Kravets, V. D. Blagov, and S. P. Tsybin, members of the Soviet ground control teams.** With everyone in place, Chet Lee conducted the "L - 2 Day Review" to determine whether all systems were set for launch.71 Gulick could give a reasonably favorable weather forecast - broken clouds, wind out of the east southeast at 10 knots, a temperature of about 29°C, with about a 70-percent change of thunderstorms. All stations reported that they were ready to go.


* O. I. Babkov headed the delegation, which included S. G. Grishin, Deputy Director of MCC-M for Information; V. V. Illarionov, CapCom; A. S. Korolev, onboard systems specialist; V. V. Kudryavtsev, docking systems specialist; V. K. Novikov, life support system specialists; I. P. Shmyglevskiy, control system specialist; V. I. Staroverov, flight controller; V. D. Yastrebov, trajectory specialist; G. I. Kharitonov, Intercosmos; B. S. Kunashev, Space Studies Institute; and interpreters, B. P. Artemov, Y. N. Sergeyeva, and O. G. Yavorskaya.

** C. R. Lewis headed the delegation, which included R. F. Overmyer, Capcom; R. L. Haken, control system specialist; R. W. Becker, trajectory specialist; J. A. Kamman, guidance and navigation specialist; J. S. McLendon, electrical and instrumentation specialist; R. L. Grafe, ECS specialist; J. E. Riley, F. G. Williams, and A. P. Alibrando, public information; and interpreters J. O. Glikman, I.A. Mamantov, A. Rodzianko, T. Krivosheim, and K. Javorskaya.


65. TWX, Lunney to Bushuyev, "Apollo Status Report," 23 June 1975.

66. "Minutes of the ASTP Telephone Conversation [U.S. Minutes]," 26 June 1975; and "Minutes of the June 26, 1975 Telephone Conversation between Lunney and Bushuyev [USSR Minutes]," 26 June 1975.

67. NASA News Release, JSC, 75-59, "ASTP Crew Begins Medical Isolation," 24 June 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "ASTP Prime Crew Activities," 25-29 June 1975; and data supplied by Mike S. Brzezinski.

68. NASA News Release, KSC-115-75, "ASTP Dress Rehearsal Begins Wednesday," 25 June 1975; [Response to query, JSC], "Suit Fitting Background" [n.d.]; and TWX, Lunney to Bushuyev, "Apollo Status Report," 29 June 1975. See also NASA, JSC, Engineering and Development, "Weekly Activity Report," 6-12 July 1975, p. 3:

During CDDT, excessive leakage was discovered in the suit loop of the spacecraft while in the low pressure (vent) mode, although no leakage was evidenced at high pressure (3.75 psi). Troubleshooting conducted in the spacecraft isolated the problem to Astronaut Brand's suit. Following completion of CDDT, Astronaut Brand's flight suits were returned to JSC where additional failure analysis established the source of this low pressure leak to be in the crotch radius area. The leak is induced when the crewman is tightly strapped into the couch position causing the zipper sealing lips to unseat. After examining several possible corrective concepts, a zipper insert [made of vinyl tubing] was designed which can be placed between the sealing zipper and the donning assist zipper thereby preventing the sealing lips from being unseated by the couch position condition. Certification tests of the zipper insert have been conducted to verify its acceptability for flight and to assure no adverse effects on use of the suits in the pressurized mode. Vance Brand had also fit checked his suits with the insert installed to verify acceptability.

69. [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "ASTP Prime Crew Activities," 30 June-7 July 1975; TWX, Lunney to Bushuyev, "Apollo Status Report," 2 July 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "Status Report ASTP-2," 4:30 p.m., 7 July 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "ASTP Apollo Crew Activities," 7-8 July 1975; [ASTP News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "ASTP Apollo Crew Activities," 8-15 July 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], Status Report ASTP 3," 8:00 a.m. EDT, 8 July 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "Status Report - ASTP #4," 4:30 p.m., 8 July 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "Status Report ASTP 5," 8:00 a.m., 9 July 1975; TWX, Lunney to Bushuyev, "Apollo Status Report," 9 July 1975; and data supplied by Brzezinski. See also TWX, Lunney to Bushuyev, "Apollo Status Report," 10 July 1975.

70. [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "Status Report ASTP #12," 2:00 p.m., 11 July 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "Status Report ASTP #14," 5:00 p.m., 11 July 1975; [U.S.S.R.], Press Bulletin No. 1, "ASTP Mission Events," 12 July 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "Status Report #15," 9:30 a.m., 12 July 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "Status Report ASTP #16," 2:30 p.m., 12 July 1975; [NASA News Release, KSC (unnumbered)], "Status Report #17," 5:00 p.m., 12 July 1975; [U.S.S.R.], Press Bulletin, "Two Days before the Liftoff," 13 July 1975; and A. I. Ostashev and N. I. Zelenshikov, "Soyuz 19 u poroga orbitiy" [Soyuz 19 on the threshold of space,] in Soyuz i Apollon, pp. 235-244.

71. TWX, Vladen S. Vereshchetin to Lunney, 7 July 1975; [NASA News Release, JSC (unnumbered)], "USSR Academy of Sciences ASTP Delegation for Mission" [n.d.]; [U.S.S.R.], Press Bulletin No. 3, "Two Days before the Liftoff," 13 July 1975; and [NASA, Apollo Program Office], "USA Specialists in Moscow during ASTP Mission" [n.d.].


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