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Voskhod

The Voskhod ("Sunrise") was a spacecraft built by the Soviet Union's space program for manned space flight. It was a development of and a follow-on to the Vostok spacecraft.

The craft consisted of a spherical descent module (diameter 2.3 meters), which housed the cosmonauts, and instruments, and a conical instrument module (mass 2.27 tonnes, 2.25 m long, 2.43 m wide), which contained propellant and the engine system.

In order to create more space inside the descent module, the cosmonaut's ejection seat was removed, meaning that the Voskhod crews would return to Earth inside their spacecraft, unlike the Vostok cosmonauts who ejected and parachuted down separately. The lack of space also meant that the Voskhod crews did not wear space suits, although one was taken on the Voshkod 2 mission. The overall increase in mass required a new landing system to slow the craft, and this added a small solid-fuel rocket to the parachutes. Finally, the Voskhod 2 spacecraft carried a large inflatable airlock that allowed cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov to exit and re-enter the craft.

Voskhod was carried into orbit by a variant of the same R-7 rocket that was used for Vostok and Sputnik, but featured a larger upper stage to carry the heavier capsule.

The spacewalk was the main purpose of the programme, but beating the US Gemini programme to put the first multi-person crew in orbit also became an important objective. The programme was then abandoned to concentrate on the Soyuz programme with the ultimate (unrealised) objective of putting a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon as well as due to the EVA problems on Voskhod 2.

The Voskhod flights were:

  • Cosmos 47 uncrewed test flight of the Voskhod hardware
  • Voskhod 1 first space flight with more than one person on board
  • Cosmos 57 uncrewed test flight, unsuccessful
  • Voskhod 2 first EVA ("spacewalk")

Planned but cancelled flights were

  • Voskhod 3 19 day mission to study long term weighlessness
  • Voskhod 4 20 day mission to study long term weighlessness
  • Voskhod 5 10 day all female crew
  • Voskhod 6 flight to test new EVA jet belt

The Voskhod was succeeded by the Soyuz spacecraft.



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