The Voskhod programme (Russian: Восход, "ascent", "dawn") was a Soviet human spaceflight project. Voskhod development was both a follow-on to the Vostok programme, recycling components left over from that programme's cancellation following its first six flights. The two missions flown used the Voskhod spacecraft and rocket.
The Voskhod flights were, in retrospect, merely aimed at making Soviet "firsts" in space exploration. While these missions were the goal of the Politburo's influence on the efforts of the Soviet space programme, they were achieved by significantly decreasing safety and reliability.
The Voskhod spacecraft was basically a Vostok spacecraft that had a backup, solid fuel retrorocket added to the top of the descent module. The heavier weight of the craft was made possible by improvements to the R-7 Semyorka-derived booster. The ejection seat was removed and two or three crew couches were added to the interior at a 90-degree angle to that of the Vostok crew position. However, the position of the in-flight controls was not changed, so the crew had to crane their heads 90 degrees to see the instruments.
In the case of Voskhod 2, an inflatable exterior airlock was also added to the descent module opposite the entry hatch. After use, the airlock was jettisoned. There was no provision for crew escape in the event of a launch or landing emergency. A solid fuel braking rocket was also added to the parachute lines to provide for a softer landing at touchdown. This was necessary because, unlike the Vostok, the Voskhod descent module landed with the crew still inside.
The Voskhod flights, with their dates of launch, were:
While the Vostok programme was dedicated more towards understanding the effects of space travel and microgravity on the human body, Voskhod's two flights were more aimed towards spectacular "firsts". Although achieving the first EVA ("spacewalk") became the main success of the programme, beating the U.S. Gemini programme to put the first multi-person crew in orbit was the objective that initially motivated the programme. Once both goals were realised, the programme was abandoned. This followed the change in Soviet leadership, which was less concerned about stunt and prestige flights, and allowed the Soviet designers to concentrate on the Soyuz programme.
Published in July 2009.
Copyright 2004-2024 © by Airports-Worldwide.com, Vyshenskoho st. 36, Lviv 79010, Ukraine