March 18, 2014

The Voskhod 2 spacecraft carrying Pavel Belyayev and Alexei Leonov was launched at 07:00 UT from Baikonur and put into a 169-473 km orbit at 64.8 degree inclination and a period of 90.9 minutes. It had an inflatable airlock extended in orbit. Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov donned a space suit and left the spacecraft while the other cosmonaut, Pavel Belyayev, remained inside. Leonov began his spacewalk 90 minutes into the mission at the end of the first orbit.

Though Leonov was able to complete his spacewalk successfully, both that task and the overall mission were plagued with problems. After his 12 minutes and 9 seconds outside the Voskhod, Leonov found that his suit had stiffened to the point where he could not re-enter the airlock. He was forced to bleed off some of his suit’s pressure, in order to be able to bend the joints. Leonov did not report his action on the radio to avoid alarming others, but Soviet state radio and television had earlier stopped their live broadcasts from the spacecraft when the mission experienced difficulties. The two crewmembers subsequently experienced difficulty in sealing the hatch properly, followed by a troublesome re-entry in which malfunction of the automatic landing system forced the use of its manual backup. The spacecraft was so cramped that the two cosmonauts, both wearing spacesuits, could not return to their seats to restore the ship’s center of mass for 46 seconds after orienting the ship for reentry and a landing in Perm Krai. The orbital module did not properly disconnect from the landing module, causing the spacecraft to spin wildly until the modules disconnected at 100 km.

The delay of 46 seconds caused the spacecraft to land 386 km from the intended landing zone, in the inhospitable forests of Upper Kama Upland, somewhere west of Solikamsk. Although mission control had no idea where the spacecraft had landed or whether Leonov and Belyayev had survived, their families were told that they were resting after having been recovered. The two men were both familiar with the harsh climate and knew that bears and wolves, made aggressive by mating season, lived in the taiga; the spacecraft carried a pistol and “plenty of ammunition”. Although aircraft quickly located the cosmonauts, the area was so heavily forested that helicopters could not land. Night arrived, the temperature fell to below −30°C, and the spacecraft’s hatch had been blown open by explosive bolts. Leonov and Belyayev had to strip naked, wring out the sweat from their underwear, and re-don it and the inner linings of their spacesuits to stay warm. A rescue party arrived on skis the next day with food and hot water, and chopped wood for a fire and a log cabin. After a more comfortable second night in the forest, the cosmonauts skied to a waiting helicopter several kilometers away and flew to Perm, then Baikonur.

Image – Artwork of Alexey Leonov, the World’s first ever spacewalker

More from this category:
January 23, 2014

Progress-MS modernized cargo vehicles will fly to the ISS since 2015. The improvements and introduced gradually and already being practiced on Progress-M, – RSC Energia…

full story
May 14, 2013

According to press-service of Mission Control Center,  the Soyuz TMA-07M landing capsule touched the ground at 06:31 Moscow time (02.31 GMT) on Tuesday morning in…

full story
August 20, 2014

On August 18, Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev performed a spacewalk.  The cosmonauts started working at 18.02, Moscow time, and successfully completed the…

full story
January 30, 2019

In the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center the meeting of the Main Medical Commission ended, which analyzed the data of medical examinations of Alexey Ovchinin –…

full story
September 4, 2014

Russian woman-cosmonaut Anna Kikina may go to space in several years, – GCTC Head Yuri Lonchakov reported. “Anna Kikina passed all necessary trainings. Her team…

full story
July 24, 2019

On the night of July 22, 2019 from the Khrunichev Space Center (part of Roscosmos State Corporation) the parts of the “Proton-M” launch vehicle (the…

full story
December 8, 2014

Proton-M booster with Yamal-401 space device will be launched a day earlier: on December 15 instead of December  16, as was planned before, – Roscosmos…

full story
July 3, 2014

Soyuz-2.1b booster with Fregat upper stage, Meteor-M #2 space device and 6 small satellites launch from Baikonur is scheduled for July 8, 19.58, Moscow time. The…

full story