Soyuz 7K-T No.39

Soyuz 18-1 or Soyuz 18A is the name under which a false start a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft is guided to the Salyut -4 space station. It would be the second flight to the station and had been the 33rd launch of a Soyuz spacecraft. Within the Soviet Soyuz program exclusively missions were numbered sequentially, which at least had reached orbit.


Main occupation

  • Vasily Grigoryevich Lazarev ( second space flight), Commander
  • Oleg Grigoryevich Makarov ( second space flight), flight engineer

For both cosmonauts it was the second joint flight. The first Soyuz 12 in September 1973 had served the testing of the development of the spaceship Soyuz, also they were together the backup crew for Soyuz 17

Backup crew

  • Pyotr Ilyich Klimuk, Commander
  • Vitaly Ivanovich Sevastyanov, Flight Engineer

The support team consisted of Vladimir Kovalyonok and Yuri Ponomarev.

Mission overview

Because of the problems encountered during the period of the Cold War represented a political issue, must here on younger, but not necessarily reliable sources be used.

The launch took place on schedule to T 288.6 seconds, as at an altitude of 192 km, the second and third stage separation was initiated. The third stage ignition takes two seconds before the burnout of the second stage. Only three of the six closures which connected the steps were dissolved after the ignition of the third stage. By pushing the remaining closures were separated, but this differed from the thrust vector of the planned direction. After T 295 seconds, the deviation was so large that the automatic safety system separated the spaceship with the help of the main engines of the service module of the third stage and then the return capsule from the rest of the spacecraft.

At the time of separation of the landing capsule of the flight vector was already focused on the earth, so that the rate of descent increased greatly by the additional thrust of the separation system. Instead of the intended for such emergencies acceleration of 15 g ( 147 m / s ²), the cosmonauts up to 21.3 g ( 209 m / s ² ) are abandoned. Despite the very strong overload the parachutes opened on schedule and slowed the ship to a successful landing after a flight of only 21 min and 27 s and a distance traveled of 1574 km from.

The landing capsule landed in the high mountains in the northwest of China, less than 1.6 km from the Mongolian border and approximately 80 miles from the Soviet border (48 ° 29 'N, 88 ° 15' O48.48295788.256468 ). The crew was taken by Soviet helicopter a few hours after landing, without that the Chinese side was informed. As the source of this presentation, the Soviet army newspaper " Red Banner " from 1983 is given.

Official representations on the part of the Soviet TASS news agency spoke of a landing in the mountains south of Gorno- Altaisk.

The flight of Soyuz 18-1 was the first case of a rocket failure at a higher altitude with crew on board and subsequent successful landing. Since a height of more than 100 km was reached, the flight for both cosmonauts is considered as a space flight. Registration as a suborbital flight record ( altitude reached 192 km and 6830 kg take-off weight ) in the FAI was not, although this flight today represents the highest and heaviest suborbital mission in the class K -1 ( suborbital flights with spaceships ).