Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Infobox Space mission
mission_name = "ASTP Apollo"
insignia = ASTPpatch.pngcrew_size = 3
command_module = CM mass 14,768 kg
spacecraft_mass = 16,780 kg total (CM plus 2,012 kg spaces|2DM (Docking Module))
launch_pad = LC 39B nowrap|Kennedy Space Center Florida, USA
launch_date = July 15, 1975 19:50 UTC
landing = July 24, 1975 21:18 UTC coord|21|52|N|162|45|W|name=Apollo-Soyuz Test Project landing|type:landmark
mission_duration = 9 d 01 h 28 m
orbits = 148
apogee=231 km |perigee=217 km |period=88.91 m |inclination=51.75°
distance_traveled = ~5,990,000 km
crew_photo = Portrait of ASTP crews.jpg
crew_caption = Left to right: Slayton, Stafford, Brand, Leonov, Kubasov
previous_mission =
next_mission =
Infobox Space mission
mission_name = "Soyuz 19"
callsign = Союз ("Soyuz"; "Union")
spacecraft_mass = 6,790 kg
crew_size = 2
launch_pad = Gagarin's Start Baikonur Cosmodrome Kazakh SSR
launch_date = July 15, 1975 12:20 UTC
landing = July 21, 1975 10:50 UTC
mission_duration = 5 d 22 h 30 m
orbits = 96
apogee=231 km |perigee=218 km |period=88.92 min |inclination=51.76°
distance_traveled = ~3,900,000 km
previous_mission = Soyuz 18
next_mission = Soyuz 20
The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) was the first joint flight of the U.S. and Soviet space programs. The mission took place in July 1975. For the United States of America, it was the last Apollo flight, as well as the last manned space launch until the flight of the first Space Shuttle in April 1981.

Though the Test Project included several scientific missions (including an engineered eclipse of the Sun by "Apollo" for "Soyuz" to take photographs of the solar corona), and provided useful engineering information on the synchronization of American and Soviet space technology that would prove useful in the future Shuttle-Mir Program, the primary purpose of the mission was symbolic. ASTP was seen as a symbol of the policy of détente (relaxing or easing) that the two superpowers were beginning to adopt at the time, and as a fitting end to the tension of the Space Race.

Apollo crew

*Thomas P. Stafford (4) - Commander
*Vance D. Brand (1) - Command Module Pilot
*Donald K. Slayton (1) - Docking Module Pilot

Number in parentheses indicates number of spaceflights by each individual prior to and including this mission.

Backup crew

*Alan L. Bean - Commander
*Ronald E. Evans - Command Module Pilot
*Jack R. Lousma - Docking Module Pilot

Crew notes

Jack Swigert had originally been assigned as the Command Module Pilot in the ASTP prime crew, but prior to the official announcement was removed as punishment for his involvement in the Apollo 15 postage stamp scandal. Swigert was not involved in the controversial Apollo 15 stamp deal, but in the investigation that followed the scandal he initially denied having any involvement in similar schemes. When evidence against him started to build up he confessed to Deke Slayton and was consequently considered to be undesirable from a public relations viewpoint.

oyuz crew

*Alexei Leonov (2) - Commander
*Valeri Kubasov (2) - Flight Engineer

Number in parentheses indicates number of spaceflights by each individual prior to and including this mission.

Backup crew

*Anatoli Filipchenko - Commander
*Nikolai Rukavishnikov - Flight Engineer

Mission parameters

**14,768 kg (Apollo),
** 6,790 kg (Soyuz)
**152 km (Apollo),
**186 km (Soyuz)
**166 km (Apollo),
**220 km (Soyuz)
**51.7° (Apollo),
**51.8° (Soyuz)
**87.6 minutes (Apollo),
**88.5 minutes (Soyuz)


*First docking: July 17, 1975 - 16:19:09 UTC
*Last undocking: July 19, 1975 - 15:26:12 UTC
*Time docked: 1 day, 23 hours, 07 minutes, 03 seconds

Mission highlights

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) took place in the second half of July 1975 and entailed the docking of an American Apollo spacecraft with the Soviet Soyuz 19 spacecraft. Whilst the Soyuz was given a mission designation number as part of the ongoing Soyuz program, it was referred to simply as "Soyuz" through the duration of the joint mission. The Apollo mission was officially not numbered, though some sources refer to it as "Apollo 18". ["Mir Hardware Heritage", David S. F. Portree. NASA Reference Publication 1357, March 1995. ]

The Apollo flew with the following crew on board: Tom Stafford, Vance Brand and Deke Slayton. The Soyuz flew with Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov. Slayton was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts selected in 1958 but had been grounded due to a heart problem. Slayton became head of NASA's astronaut office and after a lengthy medical program, selected himself for this mission. At the time, it made him both the oldest person to fly in space and the longest gap between selection as an astronaut and flight into space. Vance Brand had trained with the Apollo Spacecraft used for this mission during his time as a backup Apollo 15 command module pilot as well as multiple stints as a backup Skylab commander. Alexei Leonov was the first man to walk in space in 1965 on Voskhod 2, and was to have commanded the ill-fated Soyuz 11 mission but was bumped due to health issues.

Although the equipment developed for ASTP was only of use as a one-off, the program allowed NASA to maintain a manned space focus following the end of the Apollo and Skylab missions. As the Apollo's Saturn IB launcher and CSM were all surplus material, from the U.S. point of view, ASTP was the most inexpensive manned space program ever mountedFact|date=July 2008.

The Soyuz and Apollo flights launched within seven and a half hours of each other on July 15, and docked on July 17. Three hours later the two mission commanders, Stafford and Leonov, exchanged the first international handshake in space through the open hatch of the Soyuz. NASA had calculated that the historic handshake would have taken place over the British seaside resort of Bognor Regis, [http://www.somewhere.org.uk/broadcast/pilgrims/phil/blast.htm] but a delay resulted in its actual occurrence being over the town of Metz in France. [http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4209/ch11-3.htm]

The two spacecraft remained linked for 44 hours, long enough for the three Americans and two Soviets to exchange flags and gifts (including tree seeds which were later planted in the two countries), sign certificates, pay visits to each other's ships, eat together and converse in each other's languages. (Because of Stafford's pronounced drawl when speaking Russian, Leonov later joked that there were actually "three" languages spoken on the mission: Russian, English, and "Oklahomski.") There were also docking and redocking maneuvers during which the two spacecraft reversed roles and the Soyuz became the "active" ship. The Soviets remained in space for five days, the Americans for nine, during which the Apollo crew also conducted experiments in Earth observation.

. Another brief docking was made before the ships went their separate ways.

The mission was a great success, both technically and as a public-relations exercise for both sides. For Slayton, it was a personal milestone in his life — he was originally slated to fly the Mercury 7 mission in 1962, but was grounded due to an irregular heartbeat, a condition that grounded him until 1972, and after his reinstatement, required him to wait another three years before flying on "Apollo-Soyuz". The Apollo-Soyuz mission was the first mission carrying a handheld programmable pocket calculator (the HP-65); the calculator was programmed to perform several backup computations to partly stand in for the Apollo mission computer in case the latter should malfunction or cease to function altogether (neither of which occurred).

The only serious problem was due to an Apollo crew mistake during re-entry preparations that resulted in a very rough landing and entry of noxious gas into the capsule. The reaction control system was inadvertently left on during descent and highly toxic nitrogen tetroxide was sucked into the capsule as it drew in outside air. Brand briefly lost consciousness, and Slayton reported suffering nausea. As a precaution, the three astronauts were hospitalized for two weeks in Honolulu, Hawaii. In his autobiography, Slayton reported that the crew received doses of nitrogen tetroxide approaching the level that would cause death. During the hospitalization, a lesion was discovered on Slayton's left lung, not believed to have been caused by the fumes. A biopsy determined it was benign. [ [http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4209/ch11-9.htm The Partnership - ch11-9 ] ]

This was the final flight of an Apollo spacecraft. The Command Module is on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California. In the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the original Soyuz module and a mock-up of the Apollo command module are on display (see picture below).

Immediately after the launch of the Apollo spacecraft, preparations began to convert Launch Pad 39B and the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center for use by the Space Shuttle, the United States' next manned spacecraft program. Launch Pad 39A had already been closed after the launch of Skylab.


A minor planet, 2228 Soyuz-Apollo, discovered in 1977 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh, is named after the mission. [cite book | last = Schmadel | first = Lutz D. | coauthors = | title = Dictionary of Minor Planet Names | pages = p. 181 | edition = 5th | year = 2003 | publisher = Springer Verlag | location = New York | url = http://books.google.com/books?q=2222+Lermontov+ST1 | id = ISBN 3540002383]


External links

* [http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Soyuz/ASTP/ASTPMission.php ASTP Chronology]
* [http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/history/astp/astp.html ASTP home page]
* [http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/apollo/soyuz.html Apollo-Soyuz]
* [http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4209/toc.htm The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project]

– "the official NASA history of the mission"
* [http://www.io.com/~o_m/ssh/astp/astp.htm OMWorld's ASTP Docking Module Trainer & Project Introspective Pages]
* [http://history.nasa.gov/30thastp/index.html Apollo-Soyuz Test Project page from NASA History Office]
* [http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19750067869_1975067869.pdf International rendezvous and docking mission (Apollo-Soyuz/Salyut) 1971 - NASA report (PDF format)]
* [http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19730025080_1973025080.pdf Apollo/Soyuz test project operational data book. Volume 2: ASTP mass properties data book - NASA report (PDF format)]
* [http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19750065564_1975065564.pdf Apollo-Soyuz test project operation handbook command service docking modules systems operating procedures - NASA flight operations manual (PDF Format)]
* [http://history.nasa.gov/series95.html NASA History Series Publications] (many of which are on-line)

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