The Soviet Union has cancelled its space link-up mission and has ordered the Soyuz-Thirty-Three spacecraft to return to earth.
The Soviet Union has cancelled its space link-up mission and has ordered the Soyuz-Thirty-Three spacecraft to return to earth. Soviet space officials said on Thursday (12 April) that the planned docking operation was called off because of manoeuvring difficulties with the orbiting Salyut-Six space station.
SYNOPSIS: Here, just outside Moscow, the Cosmonauts underwent their last complete training session before blast-off on Tuesday (10 April).
Before entering the mock spacecraft, the two men collect their examination cards. These contain lists of tasks and emergency situations liable to occur on a space mission. Cosmonaut Georgi Ivanov is a Bulgarian -- the first to go into space under the Soviet Union's "Interkosmos Programme". His companion in Nikolai Rukovishnikov, commander of the Soviet mission. At the age of forty, Rukovishnikov has made two previous space flights and is one of the oldest Soviet cosmonauts.
The cosmonauts were instructed to carry out a series of experiments with two colleagues in the Salyut-Six orbiting station. Salyut was launched eighteen months ago.
Tuesday's launching of Soyuz took place at Baikonur in Central Asia. It was hailed throughout the Soviet Union and Bulgaria as a new scientific triumph and demonstration of co-operation between Communist countries.
The Soyuz craft carried the forty-ninth and fiftieth cosmonauts to blast off from the Baikonur launching pad. The capsule was to have docked with Salyut on the eighteenth anniversary of the world's first space flight -- undertaken by Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union.
April the twelfth is celebrated as the "Day of the Cosmonaut" in the Soviet Union. And, shortly before the abortive link-up, plans were announced for a special postage stamp to commemorate the event.
Soyuz-Thirty-Three is the sixth mission to a Salyut station to go wrong since 1971. Then, three cosmonauts were killed when their capsule re-entered the earth's atmosphere.