Day 17, Tuesday, 22 June
When Salyut entered the communication zone of the ground stations Dobrovolskiy was on duty, continuing studies of the physical properties of the atmosphere using a manual spectrograph. For this work he observed the horizon immediately before the Sun rose above the horizon, continuing until it had risen, and then he repeated the sequence in reverse at sunset. At the same time Patsayev measured the polarisation of the sunlight reflected by the Earth surface. Volkov and Dobrovolskiy performed meteorological observations, in particular of a cyclone near Hawaii. Meanwhile the gamma-ray measurements continued.
2.01 a. m.
Dobrovolskiy: “We saw a big cyclone at 168 degrees longitude and 30 degrees latitude, and photographed it.”
A few hours later, they monitored the development of a cyclone near the eastern coast of Australia.
6.41 a. m.
Volkov: “Zarya, I am reporting. At 6.36 hours we observed and photographed a cyclone at 125 degrees longitude, near Australia.”
Then the cosmonauts made another telecast.
Zarya-25: “Today I ask you to tell us about your biological experiments related to the effects of weightlessness on the growth and development of higher-order plants. Can you start your report?”
Dobrovolskiy: “Zarya, this is Yantar 1.1 will ask Yantar 2 to swim over to one of the containers of scientific apparatus, and he will show you the objects we study.” Zarya-25: “We see you, excellent.”
Volkov: “Comrades, we continue the introduction to our station and its extensive programme of scientific work. In the time available, we will explain the complexity
A cyclone seen from Salyut.
of the biological investigations that we are performing. I will now show you the special section where our mignonettes are situated – nine plants. However, for that I have to swim.”
Zarya-25: “Go ahead, we will observe you.”
Dobrovolskiy: “I would like to show you the special section with the container for the plants. The name of this container is Oazis.”
Zarya-25: “We can see it excellently on the TV screen.”
Dobrovolskiy: “This container holds nine bags, each with the seeds of different plants brought from Earth.”
Zarya-25: “Which ones?”
Dobrovolskiy: “It is difficult to tell exactly. I am reluctant to move them, because they have not yet grown sufficiently to be recognisable.”
Zarya-25: “Are they growing?”
Dobrovolskiy: “Here are the sprouts of the plants. You should be able to see them. The first one appeared just two days after the start of operations using this container. The second sprout, this one, is actually higher than the first, and even has four little leaves. Can you see? Next, the sprouts in bags No. 2 and No. 1 appeared.” The commentator asked how they tended the plants.
Dobrovolskiy: “We continuously observe the plants. It is a real pleasure to watch how they grow. Several times per day, we look into our ‘green corner’. The plants are developing in normal conditions. We water them twice each day using a special solution. They are illuminated by three lamps. Beside the Oazis is another unit with seeds of other plants, as well as water bacterium, flies and chlorella.’’
Zarya-25: ‘‘Thank you very much. We would like to continue this discussion, but your station is leaving the communication zone. We will take our leave of you, and wish you a successful flight. All the best.’’
In the unit adjacent to the Oazis, shown by Dobrovolskiy, were tadpole embryos. The fertilised spawn was brought to the station by Soyuz 11. The embryos had been put into storage on 10 June, after several days of development, so that they could be studied on Earth for any deviations from normal development.
From Dobrovolskiy’s notebook:
22 June. Today Viktor has decided to sleep in the orbital module. Previously, he was sleeping in the same place as Vadim.
All the time we are busy with work: changing the water tanks, activating scientific apparatus and adjusting it, taking pictures, controlling the station’s systems, making the day’s TV programme, communicating, etc. Vadim relaxes by reading Pushkin or Lermontov. Viktor uses the Era a lot, working either with the cassettes or the cine or photographic cameras. . . .
From Academician Sergey Korolev, the crewmembers from Odessa have forwarded me greetings in lyrics. . . .
From the perspective of its construction technique, the station reminds me of home. Although it has four ‘rooms’ – the descent and orbital modules of the ship and the transfer and the working compartments of the station – here everything is optimal for work and rest. We have the engineers, technicians and workers to thank for this. However, people usually think of home as a place to relax after returning from work. Here, it is impossible. On the Earth, a home is where you are surrounded by relatives and friends. Here there are only the three of us. And it cannot match the air, the sea, the Russian fields, the snow or the wind – everything that our minds associate with ‘home’. …
Watching the Earth, you can see the direction of the station’s flight, but on rapidly moving away often you cannot. We try to wear the ‘penguin’ load suits all the time – we even sleep in them, although at first that was not so pleasant. … We often work with the vacuum cleaner.
Meanwhile, at the TsUP the Landing Commission met and then recommended to the State Commission that Soyuz 11 should return on 30 June, making the landing on the third orbit after undocking from Salyut. The recovery zone had to a generally flat unpopulated region without major rivers, lakes or forests. They selected an area of the steppe some 150-200 km southwest of Karaganda in Kazakhstan.
Day 18, Wednesday, 23 June
With the end of the mission imminent, Adamik Burnazyan, the Deputy Minister of Public Health, called the ‘stars’ of aerospace medicine, including Oleg Gazenko and Abram Genin, to the TsUP. On 23 June they expressed their confidence that by the use of the treadmill and elastic expanders for exercise, wearing the ‘penguin’ suits to condition their muscles and bones, using the Veter lower-body negative-pressure unit to sustain their cardiovascular capacity and routine monitoring by the Polynom apparatus, the Salyut crew would be in much better shape on their return than were the Soyuz 9 cosmonauts. But Dobrovolskiy, Volkov and Patsayev had not exercised as much as intended. Although it was evident from an analysis of the medical data and discussions with the crew that they were tired, tense, and lacked concentration, the physicians attributed this to poor organisation of the flight, an overly ambitious work programme, and the unfamiliar daily rhythm of the operational schedule of the station, which was shorter than the 24-hour norm. The Air Force felt that the crew would be able to finish the flight as planned, but would have difficulty readapting to gravity. Kamanin suggested that Volkov would have the greatest difficulty because he had exercised less often, was drinking insufficient water, had refused to eat meat, had often complained about problems with the physical training equipment, and had shown the greatest tendency to make mistakes. This was rebutted by the doctors of the Ministry of Public Health, who said that Volkov ought to readapt more rapidly because of the three men he was the keenest sportsman and because he had flown in space previously. It was true that his first flight in October 1969 had lasted just five days and that on his return he had initially felt faint, but after sitting for several minutes and drinking some water he had been able to stand. In addition, the doctors pointed out, Volkov was the most active member of the Salyut crew, continuously ‘swimming’ back and forth within the station. In fact, they were sure that even although he had not exercised as much, Volkov was the strongest of the trio.
Volkov was on duty at the start of 23 June. Six hours later, Dobrovolskiy joined him and began a very busy working day. Then at about 8 a. m., before Volkov went to sleep, Patsayev awakened and joined Dobrovolskiy.
The final phase of the mission. Patsayev in the transfer compartment (top left), and with Dobrovolskiy (top right). Volkov exercises on the treadmill (bottom left), and Dobrovolskiy (bottom right) in between the housing for the scientific equipment (to his rear) and a wall panel.
From Volkov’s diary:
23 June. I didn’t take my leisure time. Instead, I could not resist spending it photographing Earth. I began by recording the mountains of Europe covered with fantastic patterns of snow (Mont Blanc) and the Persian Gulf. It was simply unbelievable work! How could I turn away and rest? Above all, there was minimal cloud cover.
Dobrovolskiy tested the optical characteristics of the station’s wide-angle visor by checking the diffusion levels of its various different projection screens. In addition, supported by Volkov’s navigation measurements, he experimented with the 3-axis orientation of the station. During these tests, Patsayev studied how the gases of the thrusters affected the optical coating of the portholes. They continued to monitor and photograph the Earth, in particular regions in central Kazakhstan and the Pamir Mountains. Starting at 5.48 p. m., in concert with a meteorological satellite, Volkov photographed a cyclone in the Indian Ocean at a longitude of 60 degrees east and a latitude of 45 degrees south. The working day was finished by a medical inspection, and at 9.40 a. m. the station exited the communication zone of the ground tracking stations.
Day 19, Thursday, 24 June
Dobrovolskiy and Patsayev successfully performed one of the most important tasks of the military programme. This involved using the Svinetz apparatus to observe the night launch of two solid-propellant ballistic missiles, one from a silo at Baykonur and the second from a mobile launcher. In addition, the cosmonauts continued to test Salyut in different regimes of manual and automatic orientation, with different angular rates. They also resumed astrophysical observations and took pictures of the Earth for the purposes of geology, geodesy and cartography.
3.09 a. m.
Volkov: “At 1.06 a. m. I studied a typhoon or cyclone at longitude 29 degrees and latitude 50 degrees.”
From Patsayev’s notebook:
24 June. I observed bright particles before sunrise. These were of differing sizes, at distances of between 1 and 10 metres, moving at differing speeds in differing directions. Some of them were variable in brightness.
7.33 a. m.
Zarya: “Has your appetite changed, and how much food do you eat daily?’’ Dobrovolskiy: “No loss of appetite. We eat everything.”
Zarya: “Do you require anything else related to physical exercise?’’ Dobrovolskiy: “In general, it would be good to run for half an hour. We use every free minute to perform physical exercise.’’
Zarya: “Understood. Could you tell us the most difficult physical exercise, and the reason for this?’’
Dobrovolskiy: “I’ll ask the guys…. There are no such exercises. We actually want to overload ourselves.’’
Zarya: “Do you wear the ‘penguin’ suits continuously?”
Dobrovolskiy: ‘‘Yes, we do – even while sleeping.’’
On the evening of 24 June Dobrovolskiy, Volkov and Patsayev broke the duration record set by the Soyuz 9 cosmonauts Andriyan Nikolayev and Vitaliy Sevastyanov, who, upon their return, had not been able to stand upright and had found gravity to be so severe that they were concerned they might die whilst asleep. While in space their cardiovascular systems had adjusted to weightlessness, and had then been slow to readjust to the terrestrial environment. At first there had been concern that their hearts would never recover, but by the 6th day they were back to normal. However, even prior to the flight of Soyuz 9, physicians had begun to consider how to reduce the effects of weightlessness. Their strategy was to prevent the heart from becoming accustomed to working in the lightly loaded regime, in order to make recovery after returning more rapid and less stressful. Although the Salyut crew had not exercised at the start of the mission as much as intended, they were making up for it now that they were in their final week. The breaking of the endurance record marked a major milestone. Yeliseyev and Gorbatko called from the TsUP to congratulate them, then
passed on the advice that when they landed they should remain in their couches and await the physicians.
7.29 p. m.
Zarya: “I congratulate all of you on exceeding the flight endurance record. In two orbits the 19th day will be over and the 20th day begun. Hold on, and keep going.” Dobrovolskiy: “Understood, understood. Thank you.”
Zarya: “Well done guys, hold on! How is the physical exercise going?” Dobrovolskiy: “We use everything accessible on board.”
Zarya: “We wish you the most successful end to your task.”
Dobrovolskiy: “Thank you. We will complete it. We feel well – more or less.” Zarya: “Well done! According to all the data, everything on board is excellent.” Dobrovolskiy: “Yes, everything is normal. Thank you, and we send our greetings to you all.”
In a medical check, Dobrovolskiy had a pulse of 72 beats per minute, Patsayev 74, and Volkov 88. Dobrovolskiy had a respiration rate of 20, Volkov 12, and Patsayev 18. The arterial pressure in the case of Dobrovolskiy was 110/78, Volkov 110/70, and Patsayev 130/75.
With regard to the recommendation of the Landing Commission that the descent should occur on the third orbit after undocking, Tregub tried to convince Kamanin to bring this forward to the second orbit in order to reduce the time that the tired men would spend in the tiny ship. But Kamanin refused, because a second-orbit descent would mean a night-time recovery. A third-orbit landing just 24 minutes before sunrise would give sufficient illumination to speed the recovery operation and facilitate any medical intervention.