MOSCOW: Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation on Wednesday published a batch of declassified archival documents to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the docking between the Soviet Soyuz and US Apollo spacecraft.
On July 15, 1975, the Soviet and US spaceships performed the first docking and creation of a joint international orbiting facility. The event became a historical milestone and marked the beginning of international cooperation in space.
“#Declassified: we continue the work on declassifying and publishing historical evidence of the beginning of the space era. Today, we present a bundle of documents on the preparation and carrying out the space flight per the program #SoyuzApollo,” the corporation tweeted.
Among the documents published by the agency was one revealing that officials were instructed to purchase materials for the flight suits of Soviet cosmonauts Alexey Leonov and Valery Kubasov, the two men who manned the Soyuz rocket, in the United States due to conditions on the Apollo spacecraft.
“Fire safety issues in connection with the pure oxygen atmosphere on the Apollo craft deserve serious attention … In the absence of sufficient domestic experience on the development of fireproof equipment and materials for a pure oxygen atmosphere, the commission considers it advisable to purchase film and broadcast equipment in the US, as well cables, connectors, clothing materials and other supplies, for the flight and crew training,” a document read.
Air resembling that on Earth was previously used on Soviet spacecrafts, in contrast to the US program, which used pure oxygen. This prompted specialists to construct an additional airlock compartment for when the Apollo and Soyuz rockets docked.
The archival documents also revealed that four months before launch, a crack was found on the Soyuz 19 spacecraft that was meant to carry Leonov and Kubasov.
“In the process of preparing for the summer tests of the Soyuz-M spacecraft number 75 [Soyuz 19], which is scheduled to conduct a joint mission with a US Apollo spacecraft, cracks were detected in the peripheral docking unit,” a March 1975 document read.
Soviet experts were instructed to rectify the issue and also check other similar craft, according to the document.
The collection also includes orders by USSR General Machine-Building Minister Sergey Afanasyev, the summary document from the meeting of the Soviet academy of Sciences and NASA on designing compatible docking equipment, as well various protocols and decisions by the Soviet side and photographs.