Soyuz 4

Soyuz 4 is the mission name for the flight of a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft. It was the third manned flight of a Soyuz spacecraft and the twelfth flight in the Soviet Sojusprogramm.


Start crew

  • Vladimir Aleksandrovich Shatalov ( first space flight ) commander

Replacement crew

  • Georgi Stepanovich Shonin

The support team consisted of Georgi Dobrovolsky Timofejewitsch.

Return crew

  • Vladimir Aleksandrovich Shatalov ( first space flight ) commander
  • Alexei Stanislavovich Jelissejew ( first space flight )
  • Yevgeny Vasilyevich Khrunov ( first space flight )

Mission overview

Soyuz 4 was part of a composite mission with Soyuz 5 The two Soviet spaceships were together in space with a total of four cosmonauts on board.

The two spacecraft docked on 16 January 1969. It was the first time in the history of space flight. Both spacecraft were electrically and mechanically connected to each other, but had no access hatch to the other spacecraft. While Alexei Eliseev and Yevgeny Khrunov established their space suits and stepped out into space to get to Soyuz 4, the orbital module of Soyuz 4 was depressurized, because it should serve as an entry gate for the two cosmonauts. After about an hour then could Shatalov greet his two visitors after the orbital module was returned to his cabin pressure.

After both spaceships for 4 hours and 35 minutes were coupled to each other, they separated again and began separate descents.

This mission demonstrated the possibility that the necessary for the Soviet lunar program steps in space were executed. The plan called for a single cosmonaut, who should again enter the space ship over a Weltraumaustieg the landing module. Unlike the Apollo spacecraft had the Soviet model no connecting tunnel between landing and command module.

On January 24, 1969, the crews of both ships should take the former CPSU General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev during a welcoming ceremony in front of the Moscow Kremlin. However, this was prevented by an attack on the Soviet party boss. The lieutenant Viktor Ilyin scored eight times on the convoy, but mistakenly aimed not at Brezhnev's car, but the one to which the previously flown in space cosmonauts Georgi Beregowoi, Alexei Leonov, Andrian Nikolayev and Valentina Tereshkova sat. The driver of the car was killed, a driver of the motorcycle escort, Beregowoi and Nikolayev were slightly injured, the latter was able to stop the vehicle. The car then drove past the Brezhnev waiting in the stands Soyuz 4 and 5 crews.