Pushing the limits

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


Following a lacklustre solo test flight aboard Soyuz 3 by Georgi Beregovoi, who clearly was not up to the complexities of the mission, the Soviet Union next launched Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 into orbit on a mission to link up in space and effect a partial crew transfer by EVA. Vladimir Shatalov was launched first aboard Soyuz 4 on 14 January 1969, followed into orbit the next day by the three-man crew of Boris Volynov, Yevgeny Khrunov and Alexei Yeliseyev on Soyuz 5. All four cosmonauts were making their first flights into space. Just three orbits after Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 had linked up and an EVA crew transfer involving Khrunov and Yeliseyev had been successfully completed, it was time to undock the two vehicles. Once they had disengaged, Shatalov fired small thrust rockets and Soyuz 4—now with three cosmonauts onboard—slowly slipped away from its sister craft, leaving Volynov as the sole occupant of Soyuz 5.


Orbital Module Instrument Module Descent Module International Herald Tribune Soviet Space 
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© Praxis Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK 2009

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