ISS-64 mission


ISS crew:

Commander -
Sergey Ryzhikov
Flight engineers:
Sergey Kud-Sverchkov
Kathleen Rubins
Michael Hopkins
Victor Glover
Shannon Walker
Soichi Noguchi



50th anniversary of the launch of the lunar probe Zond 8

October 20, 2020

On October 20, 1970, a heavy launch vehicle Proton-K lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying the spacecraft 7K-1L No.14 towards the Moon. The successful launch of the spacecraft, which was given the post-launch name of Zond-8, completed our countrys unmanned program of developmental tests in preparation for a manned circumlunar mission.

The unmanned spacecraft 7K-L1 was built by specialists from OKB-1 (today known as S.P.Korolev RSC Energia) on the basis of a two-seater manned spacecraft Soyuz 7K-OK in accordance with the USSR Government decree dated October 25, 1965, calling for preparations for a manned circumlunar mission under the national lunar program. The program of the manned circumlunar mission using the integrated space launch system Proton-K/7K-L1 provided for developmental testing of all the components of the system, including a test of the trajectory profile and the technology for controlling the flight over the entire Earth-Moon-Earth flight path, tests of the spacecraft systems and equipment in deep space environment, of remote radio communications at the distance of up to 400 thousand km, of the crew rescue system, and of the spacecraft controllable descent under g-loads occurring during re-entry at escape velocity. The missions also studied of the effects on living things of space radiation outside the protective shield of the Earth magnetic field. For this purpose, the place of the passengers in the descent vehicle took tortoises, plant seeds and other biological objects.

The spacecraft transfer from the low Earth orbit to translunar trajectory was accomplished by repeated burns of the upper stage Block D, developed and built by OKB-1. It was during those missions that it underwent the first phase of flight development tests as a par of the four-stage Proton-K rocket. Later, Block D evolved into a whole family of upper stages Block DM, which are still used for putting spacecraft into geostationary and high-elliptical orbits, as well as departure trajectories.

On October 24, 1970, Zond-8 flew by the Moon at the minimal distance of about 1120 km and ran two photographic sessions of the Moon and Earth. During its return on October 27, the spacecraft for the first time made the atmospheric re-entry over the North Pole and successfully splashed down in the Indian Ocean, where it was recovered by an oceanography vessel Taman belonging to the USSR Navy Search and Rescue Service.

Altogether, during the period of 1967-1970, there were 12 launches of complete integrated space launching systems Proton-K/7K-L1.





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