Soyuz 2A

Soyuz 2A is the unofficial name for a canceled space flight of a Soyuz spacecraft. It should be done in parallel to the Soyuz 1, but was canceled at short notice due to technical reasons, what the team saved her life.

In the Soviet space exploration, it was customary to number only successful missions, so there was no official name for this canceled flight. The designation Soyuz 2 was used in October 1968 for an unmanned target for Soyuz 3.


About two years after the last manned space flight, the Soviets should be introduced with a dual mission of the new Soyuz spacecraft. The design still showed many shortcomings, and several unmanned launches were unsuccessful, but the start was to political pressure applied.


As with the Voskhod flights the team classification was a point of contention several different camps. On the one side stood Nikolai Kamanin, head of cosmonaut training, on the other Vasily Mishin, Head of the Design Office OKB -1.

Kamanin In 1965, eight cosmonauts in training for the Sojusraumschiffe since autumn. Four of them had been going to space behind: Yuri Gagarin, Andrian Nikolayev, Valery Bykowski and Vladimir Komarov. Two astronauts without space experience ( Wiktor Gorbatko Yevgeny Khrunov ) were since 1960 in the cosmonaut group, two more ( Anatoly Voronov and Pyotr Kolodin ) since 1963.

Mishin tried to form suitable engineers its design offices as cosmonauts and let nominate as Sojusbesatzungen. This was particularly Sergei Anokhin, Alexei Eliseev and Valeri Kubasov that were included in the group of cosmonauts May, 1966 along with five other engineers.

Another candidate for nomination as Soyuz commander was Beregowoi Georgi, who was in 1964 nachgerückt in the cosmonaut group due to the promotion of Marshal Rudenko. Beregowoi was an outstanding test pilot, but was larger and heavier than the other cosmonauts and also exceeded the actual maximum age.

The team assignments were changing constantly. Also, the fact that was not a space suit available for Anokhin, played a role.

In August 1966, therefore decided that Soyuz 1 and Soyuz should be commanded two of Komarov and Bykowski, with Gagarin and Nikolayev as replacements. The other two crew members should come from the group Anokhin, Jelissejew, Khrunov and Gorbatko.

However, this decision was not final, and after the issue of the occupation escalated to the Central Committee, was from November 1966 following allocation:

Soyuz one should start with Komarov, as a substitute Gagarin was divided. Soyuz 2 was to be commanded by Bykowski, with Nikolayev as a substitute. Thus Beregowoi had Khrunov and Jelissejew divided no chances on a space flight before Soyuz 3 When the two cosmonauts who could swap Soyuz 2 to Soyuz 1, were, with Gorbatko and Kubasov as a substitute. Thus, three seats were reserved for relatively experienced cosmonauts, while the fourth was to be occupied by a engineer. Khrunov was Alexei Leonov substitute for already at the first Soviet EVA.

The misfortune of Soyuz 1

The launch of Soyuz 1 with Vladimir Komarov on board took place on 23 April 1967. The launch of Soyuz 2 was to take place the day after. Both spacecraft should remain four days in orbit.

In the Earth's orbit however there were serious problems with the Soyuz 1, since a solar module had not deployed and the spacecraft was difficult to stabilize. Short term was indeed thought that the cosmonauts of Soyuz 2 could solve the jammed solar panel by hand, but the planned start could not be performed due to poor weather conditions at the launch site.

Komarov in the Soyuz 1 attempted a landing, but failed the brake shields and the landing capsule was smashed on the ground, with Komarov was killed.

In a study of Soyuz 2, the same errors were detected as in Soyuz 1 on the brake shields. If Soyuz 2 would be launched, Bykowski, Jelissejew and Khrunov would also not survive.


The crash of Soyuz 1 and the death of Komarov threw the Soviet manned space back 18 months. It was not until in October 1968 with Soyuz 3 of the next manned launch what Beregowoi was nominated.

While Khrunov and Jelissejew still trained for their exit in the Earth's orbit, which then actually took place in January 1969, located Bykowski was preparing for a manned flight to the moon, which was never carried out.