Nikolai Kamanin

Nikolai Kamanin
Nikolai Petrovich Kamanin
Stamp R18 10 12 cropped.jpg
Born 18 October 1908
Melenki, Vladimir Oblast
Died 11 March 1982
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service/branch Red Army
Soviet Air Forces
Years of service 1927-1971
Rank Colonel General
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
Other work Soviet space program, head of cosmonaut training

Nikolai Petrovich Kamanin (Russian: Никола́й Петро́вич Кама́нин) (18 October 1908 - 11 March 1982) was a Soviet aviator, awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union in 1934 for the rescue of SS Chelyuskin crew from an improvised airfield on the frozen surface of the Chukchi Sea near Kolyuchin Island.

In World War II he successfully commanded air brigade, air division and an air corps, reaching the rank of Airforce Colonel General and Air Army commander role after the war.

In 1960-1971, General Kamanin was head of cosmonaut training in Soviet space program. He recruited and trained the first generation of cosmonauts, including Yuri Gagarin, Gherman Titov and Alexei Leonov. Kamanin was the Airforce representative in space program, a proponent of manned orbital flight and Airforce influence over the space race. His diaries (1960–1971), published in 1995-2001, are among the most important sources documenting the progress of Soviet space program.[1][2]


Early life

Nikolai Kamanin was born in Melenki, near Murom, Vladimir Oblast. Kamanin's grandfather was a wealthy shoemaker with his own workshop, however, his father, Pyotr Kamanin, broke with tradition and joined the Bolsheviks. He died in 1919 at the age of 49; mother, Stefanida Danilovna (1876–1964) lived all her life in Melenki. Stefanida and Pyotr Kamanin had 10 children; Nikolai survived all his four brothers.[3] Alexander Ivanovich Kamanin, Nikolai's uncle, lived a very long life, including 50 years of religious hermitage, and had a reputation of a holy elder.[4]

According to his son, Lev Kamanin, Nikolai Kamanin was actually born in 1909 and changed it to 1908 to cheat the Army admission staff when he volunteered in 1927.[5] He passed the airforce physical test and completed the pilots' school in Borisoglebsk in 1929, trained by legendary pilot Victor Kholzunov. Kamanin was dispatched to the site of Russo-Chinese railroad conflict in the Far East, arriving one day after cease-fire. There, he joined the legendary Lenin air regiment, the first airforce unit in Soviet history. Kamanin flew a two-seater reconnaissance airplane, including 11-hour endurance flights over the Sea of Japan. His crewmate, incidentally, was an ethnic Chinese.[6]

Chelyuskin Rescue

In February 1934, Chelyuskin steamship was crushed by Arctic ice in the Chukchi Sea. 104 crewmembers and passengers set their base on pack ice. At that time, United States grounded all arctic flights after a string of accidents, and the only rescue force on hand was Anatoly Liapidevsky and his crew of ANT-4. After 28 failed attempts, Liapidevski located the ice camp on 5 March landed and hauled out twelve of 104 survivors. A week later, on the second flight to ice camp, he crash-landed the airplane after an engine failure. Operation stalled; Soviet government dispatched three groups of pilots from Far Eastern air bases.

The largest group of seven military and civilian reconnaissance pilots on Polikarpov R-5 biplanes, based in Primorsky Krai, was led by Kamanin (he later grounded one of the pilots for insubordination). The group sailed from Vladivostok 2 March 1934, disembarked at Olyutorka and landed at Vankarem airfield 1 April. Kamanin and Vasily Molokov flew from a temporary base in Vankarem settlement to the ice camp, saving 34 and 39 survivors. On their first flight from the ice camp, R-5 (designed as a two-seater) carried a crew of two, plus two men from Chelyuskin in the hull. Next flights added makeshift wing gondolas, carrying two more men per mission. Other pilots from Kamanin team hauled them from Vankarem to Providence Bay seaport. The ice camp was completely evacuated 13 April 1934; Kamanin returned with the ship's bosun and eight riding dogs.

The next day, six pilots that flew to the ice camp and back (including Kamanin) and Sigizmund Levanevsky were announced as the first Heroes of the Soviet Union. Pilots who ferried survivors from Vankarem to Providence received Order of the Red Star.[6]

World War II

Occupation of Iran

In 1939, Kamanin completed Zhukovsky Airforce Academy. Prior to his front-line assignments, colonel Kamanin held a staff role in Central Asia, setting up 17 training facilities and shaping up fresh airforce units. 25 August 1941, in agreement with United Kingdom, Soviet troops crossed the border with Iran, eventually taking control over the northern part of this country. Kamanin's air brigade provided logistical and reconnaissance support for this operation. 20 July 1942, Kamanin was summoned to Moscow to organize, train and lead the newly conceived 292nd Ground Attack Air Division (292 штурмовая дивизия, 292 шад).[6]

Division Commander: Rzhev, Demyansk

25 July 1942 Kamanin arrived at his new command, only to find orders that the division must give away its fully staffed, battle-worthy regiments to front-line troops. The division was refit only in September 1942, including 800th, 820th, 667th ground attack regiments equipped with Ilyushin Il-2, and 427th pursuit regiment equipped with Yakovlev Yak-1 fighters.

16 October 1942, in the days of Battle of Stalingrad the division was assigned to front-line airfields near Andreapol, Tver Oblast and subordinated to Mikhail Gromov's Third Air Army targeted against Rzhev and Smolensk. The division entered combat 29 October Kamanin's first personal combat sortie in World War II occurred 28 December 1942, against Velikiye Luki railroad station. The division was engaged in the Battle of Velikiye Luki and Second Rzhev-Sychevka Offensive, which ended in German evacuation of Rzhev bridgeheads at an enormous cost to Red Army. 292nd division, credited with saving Soviet offensive at Bely, Tver Oblast (8 December) and other tactical successes, was slowly bleeding, losing 20 pilots and 35 aircraft in two months, with no replenishments until January 1943. Refit division served against Demyansk Pocket, 15–23 February 1943. 1 March 1943, Kamanin was summoned to Moscow again and passed command of 292nd division to Filipp Agaltsov, future Marshal of Aviation.[6]

Corps Commander: Kursk

Kamanin, promoted to Major General 18 May 1943, took command of 8th Combined Air Corps. The Corps contained two ground attack divisions: 212nd, later Fourth Guards (commander colonel Georgiy Baidukov) and 264th (commander colonel Evgeny Klobukov), the latter manned with inexperienced pilots. One of the seasoned pilots was Georgi Beregovoi, flying IL-2 since 1941. The third unit, 256th pursuit division, was in formation stage. All units needed extensive training, however, instead of 400 tons of petrol required, Kamanin could only secure 40 tons. Another shipment of 200 tons provided 4-5 training sorties for young pilots. This brief round of training was interrupted by a fatal accident that revealed structural defects in their fleet of IL-2, and required modifications to make it good.

21 May 1943, the Corps relocated south, near Liski, Voronezh Oblast. Across the front line, German troops were concentrating for the Battle of Kursk. The Corps was subordinate to newly organized Steppe Front, a strategic reserve force behind main Soviet line around Kursk. At the end of German offensive against Kursk, it was renamed Fifth Ground Attack Corps and dispatched to the front-line Second Air Army, targeted at capturing Belgorod. Their first combat sortie occurred at 11:00, 23 July 1943, in preparation for Operation Rumyantsev (3–23 August). 16 August 1943, the corps took its worst hit ever, losing 15 planes in one day. Soon, in the action around Kharkiv, Kamanin's corps, notably Beregovoy's unit, excelled in anti-tank warfare using new PTAB anti-tank bomblets.[6]

Advancing over Ukraine

Throughout 1943, the Corps followed advancing troops in Ukraine, but its actions were limited by fuel and ammunition rationing. In the beginning of Battle of the Dnieper, the Corps could only dispatch two active regiments to Bukrin bridgehead, the rest was grounded by fuel shortage. Situation improved, when the vector of Soviet offensive switched to Lyutezh bridgehead. Kamanin earned Order of Suvorov for his corps' achievement in the Battle of Kiev (1943). This was followed by action against Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket in January–February 1944 and subsequent Kamenets-Podolsky Pocket in March–April.

In spring, 1944, Kamanin obtained permission to fly personal missions to the enemy's territory and was engaged in deep reconnaissance of Lviv area with lieutenant Pyotr Schmigol (Hero of the Soviet Union, 1944). This information paved the road to Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive of July 1944.[6]

Raid on Lviv

Lviv was defended by an estimated force of 700 German aircraft. Shortly before the battle, Ivan Konev prohibited any ground action until the airforce brings reliable data on enemy formations. Instead, Kamanin proposed a combination of night-time reconnaissance with a major ground attack by IL-2 units. This was originally considered an imminent failure, since IL-2 was never intended for night flight and very few shturmovik pilots had night flight experience. Technicians modified IL-2 exhaust pipes, so that exhaust would not blind pilots completely, but otherwise the operation remained a high risk. Thus, Kamanin planned to take off at night, arrive over Lviv airfields early at dusk and return after dusk.

The first group to arrive at Lviv airfield, six Yak fighters, prevented takeoff of German defence fighters. Another group of 12 fighters patrolled along the return route. First attack unit of eight IL-2's, protected by eight fighters, attacked the German airplanes on the ground in a 1300 meter dive. This was followed by the main force of IL-2 bombers, arriving in groups of four.

Soviet formation of 34 fighters and 24 attack planes lost 3 airplanes. Kamanin estimated German losses at 30 twin-engined airplanes and one Focke-Wulf Fw 190 (of the 150 aircraft presumed to be on the ground) plus warehouses and other materiel. Same night, similar strikes at three other airfields effectively crippled German resistance in the air.

After completion of Lviv-Sandomierz operation, Kamanin was awarded Order of Kutuzov.[6]

Budapest to Prague

In September 1944, Romania changed sides and turned against Germany (see Battle of Romania (1944)). Romanian air corps, led by General Ionescu, was temporarily placed under Kamanin's command. Kamanin admitted it was a strong, well-trained force of 170 aircraft (mostly, modern German types), and Romanians proved themselves as capable aviators.

Meanwhile, Kamanin's own force was heavily engaged over Tisza valley, flying 150-200 sorties daily, paving the road to Budapest. In December, 1944, his regiments relocated to an extremely dangerous position - airfields only 10-12 kilometers behind the front line. This was, however, the only solution that could enable effective support of ground troops after an all-out offensive was launched 20 December 1944. This day, the corps flew over 1000 sorties. Kamanin's corps operations in Battle of Budapest were limited mostly by physical state of dirt airfields (other formations, based farther from the front line, were also limited by long approach distances). It happened to be placed directly on the axis of German Operation Konrad, and was key in tying up this counteroffensive.[6]

Arkady Kamanin

Arkady Kamanin, son of General Kamanin, was born in 1928. He grew up near his father, on the airfields, and was exposed to flying since childhood. After the outbreak of war, Arkady worked at the aircraft plant, and arrived at Andreapol airfield in 1943 with his mother, Maria Mikhailovna. Formally enlisted at the age of 14, Arkady served as a mechanic; he learned practical flying skills hitchhiking rides with real pilots and was allowed to fly Polikarpov Po-2. On one of these flights, Arkady managed to save wounded lieutenant Berdnikov, who crash-landed his damaged IL-2 near the front line, retrieve the reconnaissance film and return safely to the base. Soon, sergeant Kamanin was qualified to fly, becoming the youngest pilot of World War II at the age of 15.[7] Arkady Kamanin received combat Order of the Red Star and Order of the Red Banner; he died in 1947 at the age of 19.

Space program

Kamanin completed the General Staff Academy in 1956 and commanded airforce of Central Asian district for three years. In 1960, Chief Marshal of Aviation, Konstantin Vershinin, assigned Kamanin to Soviet space program as the military chief of manned orbital flight program. His formal title was Deputy chief of combat training for space (Russian: заместитель начальника боевой подготовки ВВС по космосу), formally a step down from his previous roles of First deputy to Airforce chief of staff and Air Army commander.[8] Kamanin was assisted by Major General, Hero of Soviet Union Leonid Goreglyad, colonel Boris Aristov, a skilled navigator with 232 combat sorties experience, and other notable war pilots. The Center for Cosmonaut Training (present-day Star City, Russia) was initially led by colonel Karpov, Kamanin's subordinate.

Preparation to manned flight

Kamanin's diaries, first published in 1995, start with 17 December 1960, and explain the development of Soviet manned program and related politics from within. Diaries present at least four sides of his activities prior to Yuri Gagarin's flight, all of which continued until Kamanin's retirement:

Coordination of design bureaus developing life support systems for manned spaceflight: spacesuits, parachutes, air regeneration etc. Kamanin diaries present himself as a risk-taker, willing to go forward with incomplete systems to beat the Americans to orbit.[9] Later, when the space programs focused on full automatic controls, Kamanin asserted his viewpoint in favor of human controls. At the same time, during 1962 discussions on flight duration, he was always on the conservative side, voting for no more than two days spaceflights.[10]

Tracking, search and recovery of landed craft, coordination and refinement of SAR efforts. For example, 9 March 1961, Vostok 3A prototype flew a flawless mission. The capsule with Chernushka and Ivan Ivanovich landed in an open field near Stary Tokmak. Kamanin and Vladimir Yazdovsky arrived on site, encircled by curious villagers, and arranged recovery of the craft. The tracking network was considerably expanded after 1965, with a special naval group and installations in Cuba.[11]

Management of cosmonaut training squad, probably the least time-consuming activity, started with selection of the Air Force Group I in March 1960. 17–18 January 1961, Kamanin chaired the Examination Committee that evaluated first six cosmonauts prepared for Vostok program. Kamanin rated Yury Gagarin, Gherman Titov and Grigori Nelyubov as the best candidates. He personally developed cosmonaut flying manual and training schedule,[12] traveled across landing areas with flight candidates [13] and supervised last-minute training at Baikonur. Kamanin also campaigned for early disclosure of Soviet launches, as soon as the craft is in orbit, against Vershinin's original opinion. Kamanin's view was upheld 29 March when the state commission approved the first manned launch.

Commissioner for all other space launches, including the first interplanetary space probes. He was skeptical about the value of these probes: "Venus launch is hardly a sensible endeavor: it delays manned flight and decreases Rocket Force battle-readiness" ("Пуск на Венеру - затея едва ли разумная: она задерживает полет человека и снижает боеспособность ракетных войск").[14] Indeed, the first Venus mission failed, Venera spacecraft was trapped in Earth's orbit. The second Venera, launched 12 February 1961, missed its target by 100,000 kilometers, which was a success for 1961 technology.

Gagarin's flight

By 5 April 1961, Kamanin was still indecisive, ranking Gagarin and Titov equally fit for the flight. Three days later, he recommended Gagarin, with Titov on backup. After the final training session (afternoon, 11 April), Kamanin parted with Yuri Gagarin. Next day, Gagarin lifted off in Vostok 1, made a full orbit and safely landed 23 kilometers from Saratov.[15] Kamanin left the mission control 20 minutes after launch, as soon as Gagarin reported that he is safe in orbit, and rushed to Stalingrad in Antonov An-12. Still airborne, Kamanin received radio message that Gagarin has landed safely and is flown to Kuybyshev airport. Later, in 1966, he recorded that "As odd as it may seem, Gagarin's flight was the safest. Voskhod 2 was the most dangerous to date" ("Как это ни странно звучит, но самым надежным у нас был полет Гагарина. Самым опасным до настоящего времени являлся полет "Восхода-2").[16]

Public relations

14 April Kamanin accompanied Gagarin on his triumphant ride into Red Square and has been the publicity mentor of Soviet cosmonauts until his retirement. In May–September 1961, Gagarin and Kamanin performed a world publicity tour, reaching countries like Iceland and Brazil.

This was followed by a near disaster in Crimea. For the first time, Kamanin reported serious personal problems of Gagarin and Titov, and attempted to fixed their discipline and motivation. 4 October 1961, Gagarin injured his head in a bizarre jump from a balcony, ended up in a hospital and failed to attend the opening of 22nd Communist Party Congress. This was a political blow against Airforce and Kamanin personally;[17] Kamanin had to concentrate on politics to restore former influence. 20 October United States media, curious why Gagarin missed the Congress, started its own inquiries and speculations; Kamanin was called to intervene. 24 October Gagarin, bearing fresh evidence of a plastic surgery on his torn eyebrow, made a brief appearance at the Congress; he later explained the scar as a routine tourist accident.[18]

In December, 1961, Gagarin and Kamanin flew on another tour, this time of India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Later, Kamanin had to persuade Vershinin to let him stay at home and concentrate on real work instead of meeting foreign dignitaries.[19] He, however, appreciated the results of United States tour (28 April - 12 May 1962), and the practical information released by John Glenn and Alan Shepard.

Another particularly challenging campaign followed the flight of Voskhod 1. Three cosmonauts landed 13 October 1964, the day when Nikita Khrushchev was ousted from power. Their triumphant return was compromised by uncertainty in new Soviet leadership and accidental death of Marshal Sergey Biryuzov (19 October).

Woman in space

Kamanin campaigned for training and launching women cosmonauts since Gagarin's flight, but the subsequent publicity assignments separated him from decision-making. However, 25 December Soviet government authorized selection of a second group of 60 trainees, including women. By the end of January, 1962, Kamanin collected 58 women's resumes and picked 23 who still had to pass the physical tests. 12 March a group of five women was picked for active training; 29 March he identified Valentina Tereshkova, Irina Solovyova and Tatyana Kuznetsova as the most capable for the flight. Another set of problems he handled were the life support systems for the women, notably the female spacesuits - an unexpected problem.[20]

The group passed cosmonauts examinations 28 November 1962 and was put on hold until the end of April 1963. Preparation to the flight was impossible without a firmly set launch date, and nobody in the government dared to give a go-ahead. 24 April government finally ordered a joint flight of two available Vostok spacecraft - the only two craft in stock. Their shelf life was set at 15 June 1963 and could not be extended. Thus, the flight preparation of Valery Bykovsky and Valentina Tereshkova (approved to fly 21 May) was hurried by "use it or lose it" deadline. Kamanin and the cosmonauts relocated to Baikonur 27 May and stayed there until the launch. In fact, Tereshkova lifted off 16 June - one day past her craft expiry date. Kamanin worked mission control shifts while she was in space and had to wake her up when Tereshkova, asleep, failed to respond.[21] Both crafts landed safely but overshot the landing target by two degrees. Like Gagarin, Tereshkova bailed from the landing capsule and used her personal parachute.[22] After the flight, Kamanin again was involved in time-consuming publicity campaign - this time, centered around Tereshkova.

In 1965, after Voskhod 2, Kamanin proposed a flight of female crew on the next Voskhod. Gagarin and other (male) cosmonauts were strongly against it.[23] The case was closed with cancellation of all planned Voskhod launches.

Political failures

Kamanin was engaged in the rivalry between various powers behind Soviet space program - on the Airforce side. His personal vision of space program was more than once cut short by this political rivalry.

Establishment of a single space agency. Kamanin realized the need to eradicate friction between Rocket Force, Airforce and different industrial groups (Korolyov, Mikhail Yangel, Vladimir Chelomei). His political weight was too low for such achievement; the nearest goal was to unite all military space efforts under a single command. In November 1963, the General Staff proposed placing all military space projects under the Commander of Airforce; Rodion Malinovsky, minister of defence, scrapped the project.[24] Later pro-Airforce campaign (May–July 1964) also failed. Rivalry and duplicate functions continued on lower levels, for example, the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems (established 1964) competed with older Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine for personnel and premises,[25] etc.

Expansion of Vostok programme. Kamanin also realized that Korolyov's Soyuz project is a very distant future, and relying on Soyuz alone will ground his cosmonauts squad for years. Throughout 1961-1963, he campaigned for more Vostok manned launches. His calls to build 8-10 Vostok spacecrafts did not materialize (at some point in 1963, he seemed to succeed with a "build Vostoks" program, but it was soon folded down). As a result, there were only three Soviet manned flights between the last Vostok (June 1963) and the first manned Apollo flight (October 1968); Kamanin was on mission control for all three, including Vladimir Komarov's fatal flight. By June 1964, Kamanin realized that the Soviet side has lost the space race;[26] he blamed Korolyov and Mstislav Keldysh for the lack of realistic long-term plans.[27] It's not surprising that idle time worked against the personnel morale and caused even more interdepartmental politics.

Head of Training Center problems. After demotion of Colonel Karpov, the first head of Cosmonaut Training Center, Kamanin initially supported nomination of General Odintsov. Odintsov was approved 5 April 1963, and in a few weeks proved himself completely incompetent to the task - a view allegedly supported by Korolyov and Marshal Rudenko.[28] 17 July Airforce Military Council dismissed Odintsov; Kamanin campaigned to nominate 29 year old Yury Gagarin, but was stonewalled by his superiors Vershinin and Rudenko. However, in September Rodion Malinovsky reinstalled Odintsov; the situation normalized in November 1963 with appointment of General Nikolai Kuznetsov.[29] After the death of Gagarin, Kamanin (himself ultimately responsible for all cosmonaut training) blamed Kuznetsov for a sequence of errors that allowed Gagarin and Seregin to take off on their fatal flight.[30] Replacing Kuznetsov, again, became a long bureaucratic struggle.

Disaster years: 1966-1968

Korolyov. 1966 started with death of Sergey Korolyov. His successor, Vasily Mishin, backed by Mstislav Keldysh, started his own political campaign, targeted at capturing cosmonaut training facilities from the Airforce - which forever alienated Kamanin. In particular, Mishin promoted his own candidates into space program; Kamanin deemed them inadequately trained to fly and insisted on Airforce candidates with a proven flight record. For some time, the future Soyuz missions had two competing crews - Airforce and OKB-1,.[31] Kamanin's cosmonauts were also assigned to future Almaz, Spiral and two competing lunar projects.[32] Probably as a reaction against Mishin, Kamanin rated Vladimir Chelomei and his staff very high,[33] and his products - superior to Mishin's.[34]

Komarov. Kamanin, as the state commissioner for Soyuz 1 launch, was present at Baikonur throughout launch preparation that began 6 April 1967. Once the rocket lifted off on 23 April Kamanin took the charge of the first mission control shift. Vladimir Komarov, on his second orbit, reported failure in solar panels - one of them failed to deploy. So far, the situation was manageable, and Kamanin dispatched Gagarin to the second mission control station in Yevpatoria. On the 13th orbit, state commission realized imminent danger and decided to land Komarov and cancel Soyuz 2. 6:45 AM, 24 April while Komarov was still alive, Kamanin boarded the plane departing to the landing area. In the air, Kamanin received the first, incorrect, news of Soyuz descending with a fully deployed parachute. He was not aware of disaster until meeting General Artamonov on the Orsk airfield. Kamanin lost an hour and half travelling to the crash site, only to see the capsule still on fire. Later, Soyuz 1 parachute failure was linked to an insufficient pilot chute that failed to drag the main parachute from its container.[35]

Gagarin and Seregin. 27 March 1968, Yuri Gagarin and colonel Vladimir Seregin were killed on a routine training flight in a Mig-15UTI jet trainer. Enquiries continued for more than a year and did not produce a clear answer. All cosmonauts flight training was suspended. Kamanin, as the person ultimately responsible for cosmonaut training, received a formal reprimand; without Gagarin and without any prospects of winning the space race, his own influence and influence of Airforce on the space program deteriorated - while American lunar program was steady under way.


On November 11, 1969, Marshal Kutakhov notified the 62-year-old Kamanin of his upcoming transfer to "consultancy" — a soft retirement. Two weeks later, before that paperwork was completed, Kamanin sent a bitter letter to Minister of Defense Andrei Grechko, explaining his view on military space program and rejecting unnecessary favor of "consultancy" employment. Kamanin continued working as usual; the string of premature deaths continued with Pavel Belyayev (10 January 1970).

In 1970, Soviet space program re-oriented from lunar travel to orbital stations. In February 1970, Kamanin estimated first Almaz (Chelomei) or DOS-7K (Mishin) to be ready in summer 1971, at best.[36] Selection of cosmonauts for the first orbital station, again, became a tug of war between Mishin and Kamanin,[37] while Airforce continued recruitment of new military pilots like Vladimir Dzhanibekov.[38] 19 May - 19 June, Kamanin conducted the usual flight preparation and flight control sequence of Soyuz 9; health problems of cosmonauts returning from an 18-day mission caused a major redesign of future flight programs and another clash with Mishin (Mishin insisted on 30-days flights, Kamanin set for no more than 24 days).[39]

Salyut 1 was launched 19 April 1971; initial failures of on-board fans and scientific equipment bay were not considered a major problem. Crew of Soyuz 10, launched four days later, docked with the stations, but failed to lock the docking gasket firmly. They did not have enough fuel for a second docking and a safe return, nor the spacesuits for an EV transfer, and the mission controller aborted the flight. For the first time in Soviet space program, Soyuz 10 landed at night.

On 21 May 1971, Kamanin arrived at Baikonur for his last mission launch. Soyuz 11 lifted off 6 June docked with the station, completed the program, but the crew was killed by decompression on their landing run. Kamanin was at the mission control at Eupatoria throughout their fatal descend and left his own transcript of conversation and the silence that followed.[40]

Kamanin retired after the accident, replaced by Vladimir Shatalov. He died in 1982 at the age of 74.

Kamanin in media

Arkady and Nikolai Kamanin (played by Alexander Porokhovshchikov) are the characters of a 1978 Soviet film, "Then you will see the sky" ("И ты увидишь небо").[41]



  1. ^ An abridged concise English version is available online at
  2. ^ Full Russian edition: Каманин, Н.П., "Скрытый космос", М, v.1 1995, v.2 1997, v.3 1999, v.4 2001 ISBN 5-93345-002-2
  3. ^ Kamanin diaries, 12 November 1965
  4. ^ Kamanin diaries, 1 April 1964
  5. ^ Russian: Лев Каманин, "Николай Каманин",
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h This section is based on Kamanin's own memoirs published in 1971: Каманин, Н.П. "Летчики и космонавты", М., 1971
  7. ^ This story of Arkady Kamanin is based on Nikolai Kamanin's 1971 memoirs (pp.297-300). Contemporary propaganda presented a different version.
  8. ^ Kamanin diaries, 30 July 1963
  9. ^ Kamanin diaries, February 1961
  10. ^ Kamanin diaries, 21 July 1962
  11. ^ Kamanin diaries, 10 and 25 October 1965, and later records
  12. ^ Kamanin diaries, 3 and 4 March 1961
  13. ^ Kamanin diaries, 17 March 1961
  14. ^ Kamanin diaries, 20 January 1961
  15. ^ Landing place is given as in Kamanin's diaries, 12 April 1961. See Vostok 1 for a different description.
  16. ^ Kamanin diaries, 1 March 1966 - follow up to the crash of Charles Bassett and Elliott See
  17. ^ Kamanin diaries, 17 October 1961
  18. ^ Kamanin diaries, 15 November 1961
  19. ^ Kamanin diaries, 16 January 1962
  20. ^ Kamanin diaries, 25 June 1962
  21. ^ Kamanin diaries, 18 June 1963
  22. ^ Kamanin diaries, 20 June 1963
  23. ^ Kamanin diaries, 16 April 1965
  24. ^ Kamanin diaries, November 27, 1963
  25. ^ Kamanin diaries, 10 April 1964
  26. ^ Kamanin diaries, 19 June 1964
  27. ^ Kamanin diaries, 13 April 1964
  28. ^ Kamanin diaries, 12 June 10 and 11 July
  29. ^ Kamanin diaries, 27 July to 9 September November 11, 1963
  30. ^ Kamanin diaries, 11 December 1968
  31. ^ Kamanin diaries, 7 July 1966
  32. ^ Kamanin diaries, 2 September 1966
  33. ^ Kamanin diaries, 28 December 1966
  34. ^ Kamanin diaries, 9 January 1970 etc.
  35. ^ Russian: В.Е.Гудилин, Л.И.Слабкий. "Ракетно-космические системы", М, 1996, глава 4.2
  36. ^ Kamanin diaries, 27 February 1970
  37. ^ Kamanin diaries, 6 and 13 May 1970
  38. ^ Kamanin diaries, 30 April 1970
  39. ^ Kamanin diaries, 19 December 1970
  40. ^ Kamanin diaries, and 6 and 7 July 1971
  41. ^ Russian: film info and original poster


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  • Soyuz 11 — Insignia de la misión Datos de la misión Nombre: Soyuz 11 Cohete lanzador: Soyuz (11A511) Nombre en clave: Янтарь (Yantar …   Wikipedia Español

  • Frank Frederick Borman — Frank Borman Land (Behörde): USA (NASA) Datum der Auswahl: 17. September 1962 (2. NASA Gruppe) Anzahl der Raumflüge: 2 Start erster Raumflug …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sojus 10 — Missionsdaten Mission: Sojus 10 NSSDC ID: 1971 034A Raumschiff: Sojus 7K T (GRAU Index 11F615A8) Seriennummer 31 Masse: 6.800 kg Trägerrakete: Sojus (GRAU Index …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bykowski — Waleri Bykowski Land: UdSSR Datum der Auswahl: 7. März 1960 (1. Kosmonauten Gruppe) Anzahl der Raumflüge: 3 Start erster Raumflug: 14. Juni …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Valery Bykovsky — Waleri Bykowski Land: UdSSR Datum der Auswahl: 7. März 1960 (1. Kosmonauten Gruppe) Anzahl der Raumflüge: 3 Start erster Raumflug: 14. Juni …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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