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Other Tracking Ships

The four military 'tracking' ships that are relatively small, the Sibir, Suchan, and Sakhalin entered service first, The Chukhotka, Chazma and Chumikan followed with the latter two being larger and faster. It probably was not coincidence that during the recovery of the 'aborted Apollo 13 flight the Chumikan was in this remote part of the South Pacific, not near known Soviet test areas, when it offered assistance to the Americans. Undoubtedly its reason for being there was the collection of intelligence by studying the Apollo reentry ablation phase.

Other tracking ships which have broken into the news include the Morzhovets which was put under temporary arrest in a Brazilian port for violating territorial waters. During the Soyuz 9 mission, Trud reported that the Morshovets, Kegostrov, and Bezhitsa were in the South Atlantic . (50)

During the Zond circumlunar flights, the Russians have described how they deliberately plan for these to approach Earth over the Polar Regions , sometimes dipping into the atmosphere and then skipping out again before making a second reentry and landing. In one case, Zond 5 entered over Antarctica , but instead of developing aerodynamic lift to skip out of the atmosphere and home to the U.S.S.R., it made a ballistic reentry and landed in the ocean. The Russians had named five tracking ships as being in that ocean, and it was the Borovichiy that made the pick up, but the capsule was transferred to a Soviet meteorlogical service ship, the Vasiliy Golovnin for carriage to Bombay , from where it was air-lifted home. Zond 8 also landed in the Indian Ocean , after a northern approach, but the ship making the pickup was not named.

Closely related to the Soviet Academy of Sciences ships like the Morzohovets and its three sisters are eight ships with naval crews that are not known to have supported the space program but apparently work on missile programs.

References;

1. SOVIET SPACE PROGRAMS, 1971-75, OVERVIEW, FACILITIES AND HARDWARE MANNED AND UNMANNED FLIGHT PROGRAMS, BIOASTRONAUTICS CIVIL AND MILITARY APPLICATIONS PROJECTIONS OF FUTURE PLANS, STAFF REPORT , THE COMMITTEE ON AERONAUTICAL AND SPACE .SCIENCES, UNITED STATES SENATE, BY THE SCIENCE POLICY RESEARCH DIVISION CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, VOLUME – I, AUGUST 30, 1976, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON : 1976,

50. Trud, Moscow , June 6, 1970 , p. 4.



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