Soyuz 12 & Soyuz 13 Ferry Spacecraft Series
SOYUZ 12: FERRY CRAFT CONFIGURATION
Soyuz 12 (Ural) was the first manned flight by the Soviet Union after the tragic deaths of the Soyuz 11 crew in 1971 (see next section). The Russians launched several unmanned tests to check systems and spacecraft design to ensure the incident would not occur again. Soyuz 12 was primarily a test of the new designs, including introduction of a new launch escape rocket, so the only experiment scheduled was Earth photography. This flight introduced the ferry craft version of Soyuz without solar panels, which was used for taking crews back and forth to space stations beginning with Soyuz 14 (see fig. 19). In addition, it introduced the return to two-man crews in order to accommodate spacesuits and their associated equipment. Cosmonauts have worn spacesuits during launch and reentry since this time.
Launched into an initial orbit of 249x194 km at 1218 GMT on September 27, 1973, the ship was piloted by Lt. Col. Vasiliy Lazarev and flight engineer Oleg Makarov. It was inclined at 51.6 degrees and had a period of 88.6 minutes. In a test of the control systems, the orbit was changed to 345x326 km, 91 minutes on the second day of flight. Sven Grahn suggested that this forecast higher altitudes for Salyut and his prediction was confirmed by Salyut 4.
Both days were devoted to checking onboard systems and photographing the Earth in various spectra, using a nine-objective camera. As the spacecraft photographed a region of the planet, airplanes simultaneously took pictures of the same area for comparison purposes to discover what distortions were introduced by the atmosphere.
Soyuz 12 landed September 29, 1973, at 1134 GMT, 400 km southwest of Karaganda, Kazakhstan.
SOYUZ 13: OBSERVATORY
Soyuz 13 was launched on December 18, 1973 at 1155 GMT and code named Kavkaz ( Caucasus). Primarily conceived as an orbiting astronomical observatory (see fig. 20), the cosmonauts aboard, Maj. Petr Klimuk and flight engineer Valentin Lebedev, had undergone extensive training at the Byurakan Observatory in Armenia on the operation of the astronomical equipment on board (Orion 2). On the fifth orbit, Soyuz 13 was put into a 272x225 km orbit, inclination 51.6 degrees, period 89.22 minutes.
ORION-2 ULTRA-VIOLET CAMERA COMPLEX
• THREE AXIS STABILIZED (13 ELECTRIC MOTORS)
- 3-5 ARC SECONDS POINTING ACCURACY
- 2-3 ARC SECONDS SENSOR ACCURACY
• QUARTZ CRYSTAL OPTICAL SYSTEM
- USED FOR DETECTION IN ULTRA-VIOLET REGION (BELOW 3000 Al
- 20 x 20 DEGREE FIELD OF VIEW
• RETURNED 10,000 SPECTROGRAMS OF 3000 STARS
- EXPOSURES FROM 1 TO 20 MINUTES
- DETECTION DOWN TO ELEVENTH MAGNITUDE
- RECORDED 2000 STARS NOT PREVIOUSLY CATALOGED
Since the orbit was similar to that planned for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975, some speculated that this flight was a demonstration mission. But Salyut 2 and Kosmos 557 had failed shortly before this flight and it is quite possible that the Russians decided to modify the Soyuz so that Salyut-like experiments could continue until another space station was orbited. Two modifications were made to the Soyuz ship: The addition of the Orion 2 system which was mounted outside the ship in the position of the docking assembly, and the orbital section was transformed from a place for rest and relaxation into a space laboratory.
Klimuk and Lebedev remained in space for 8 days, landing on December 26 at 0850 GMT, 200 km southwest of Karaganda, Kazakhstan. Five minutes later they were outside walking around.
The main projects for the mission were: Astrophysical experiments with Orion 2, research into the production of protein mass in space with Oazis 2 (both of these had predecessors on Salyut 1), experiments with higher plants, biomedical checks with the Levka apparatus, Earth observation, and navigation.
The Soviets are especially interested in blood circulation to the brain in a weightless environment (blood tends to redistribute itself toward the upper body in the absence of gravity). In the Levka (Lion's Cub) experiment, the cosmonauts stretched a special expander with a force of 15 kg at a rate of 30 times per minute. The response in cerebral vessels was measured by electrodes on the cosmonauts and recorded by telemetric devices.
Oazis 2 consisted of two interconnected cylinders for the study of regeneration. One cylinder cultivated water-oxidizing bacteria which used hydrogen from water electrolysis for growth. Oxygen was formed and passed into the second cylinder containing urobacteria (which break down urea). The urobacteria absorbed the oxygen and released carbonic acid which in turn was passed back to the first cylinder and used for synthesis of biomass. Thus the waste products on one type of bacteria are the initial material used by other bacteria to accumulate protein mass: This is regeneration. During Soyuz 13's flight the biomass increased 35 times. This is important for long duration spaceflights where food, air and water might be regenerated so vast quantities of these perishables need not be carried on board.
Higher plants studied during this mission were chlorella and duckweed. Chlorella absorbs carbon dioxide and returns oxygen to the air, so the Russians want to see how well it grows in space, since animals, including people, exhale carbon dioxide and need oxygen to breathe. Duckweed is interesting because in the winter it goes into hybernation and exists in the form of turions, small bodies with inhibited vital activity. In the spring the turions multiply by division and again become duckweed. The cosmonauts put turions into a vessel and added kinetin to restore the vital activity. They then added a nutrient to see how the duckweed would assimilate it.
The cosmonauts again studied natural formations on the surface of the planet as well as the atmosphere. For the former, a nine-lens camera which exposed three strips of film simultaneously photographed several areas of Earth. Two of the films were sensitive to visible light, the third to infrared. Each lens had color filters so many spectra could be taken and selection could be made as to which are the most valuable for specific missions.
An RSS-2 spectrograph studied the atmosphere by photographing day and twilight horizons. In addition, the spectrograph recorded the reflection of solar radiation from natural formations on Earth.
Orion 2, unlike Orion 1, was mounted entirely on the outside of the ship and had a wide field meniscus telescope which could cover an area 20 degrees square. A canopy surrounded the telescope to protect it from temperature extremes as the ship travelled into and out of the Earth's shadow, and the optical components were made of crystalline quartz. A window in the canopy opened during observation, with exposure times ranging from 1 to 20 minutes.
Designed by Grigor Gurzadyan of Armenia, the telescope was mounted on a three-axis platform which stabilized the system with an accuracy of 2 to 3 seconds of arc. This was vital for successful observations. Pointing was accomplished by positioning the spacecraft within a few degrees of the area to be studied. The two reference stars were then found, whereupon Orion 2 itself took over with an automatic pointing system accurate to 3 to 5 angular seconds. The instrument had 13 electric motors for drive. Although some of the Orion 2 system was automatic, both cosmonauts were needed for these experiments; one to orient the ship, the other to work Orion.
Also mounted on the Orion system was an instrument for studying X-ray emissions from the Sun. These studies were done on the 65th orbit. The camera had several channels and took photographs simultaneously in several ranges of the X-ray band, and has a 70 degree field of view. Observations were carried out at the same time from Earth for comparison purposes.
During the mission, the cosmonauts made 10,000 spectrograms of more than 3,000 stars in the constellations Taurus, Orion, Gemini, Auriga, and Perseus. The spectrograms were in spectral classes from 2,000 to 3,000 angstroms (these cannot be studied from Earth since the atmosphere absorbs emissions less than 3,000 angstroms) and the stars were of the 10th magnitude generally, although the cosmonauts were able to photograph some even of the 12th. Special sensitive film was supplied by George Low of NASA for this project.
Experiments were continued into autonomous navigation, specifically to determine the accuracy of control systems and the testing of new instruments for orientation using the Earth and stars.
A. SOVIET SPACE PROGRAMS: 1976-80, (WITH SUPPLEMENTARY DATA THROUGH 1983) MANNED SPACE PROGRAMS AND SPACE LIFE SCIENCES PREPARED AT THE REQUEST OF HON. BOB PACKWOOD, Chairman, COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION UNITED STATES SENATE, Part 2, OCTOBER 1984, Printed for the use of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D. C., 1984
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