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The space as a prelude

Космос как прелюдия

12 April marks the 55th anniversary of the first launch of man into space. Date April 12 1961 was an exceptional milestone in the history not only of our country but of all mankind. Now it is celebrated in our country as the Day of cosmonautics, and then 55 years ago it was a day of triumph of the Soviet Union, the triumph of the Soviet people, who so regarded, however, as it turned out, not all…

But the date of 12 April did not emerge suddenly, out of nowhere, but was the result of a huge work of Soviet leaders, scientists, engineers, workers, soldiers, distinctive milestones of which were the other dates on the way to the triumph of 12 April 1961.

18 October – a significant date. Nearly 69 years ago, on 18 October 1947 from Kapustin Yar in the Soviet Union was first start of the ballistic V-2 rocket (A-4), assembled completely at the pilot plant NII-88 from aggregates and components manufactured in Germany. At the Kapustin Yar on the site of the launch of the monument in honor of this momentous event in the form of an exact copy of V-2 rockets.

Exactly one year later in the same polygon Korostin Yar October 10, 1948, was produced the launch of rocket R-1 (8А11), made entirely in the Soviet Union from domestic materials. This event in the history of Soviet rocket and space era exclusive – was established missile industry and the creation of the missile nuclear shield to protect our homeland.

And exactly ten years after the first launch of ballistic missile from the Kapustin Yar on October 4, 1957 from the site of Baikonur Soviet Intercontinental ballistic missile R-7 launched the first artificial Earth satellite.

On 4 October 1957. Date, which to some extent has changed the world and our Soviet Motherland – the Soviet Union world. Almost 59 years ago, the Soviet Union first in the world using a rocket launched an artificial Earth satellite. From this date from this first Earth satellite of the world entered the space era, the era of space exploration and not only. Nuclear missile weapons, is able to inevitably hit the enemy on every continent of the Earth, became a reality. Really began to create rocket-nuclear shield of the country.

When on October 4 1957 was launched on a Soviet satellite of the Earth, I was a 3rd year student of the Moscow higher technical school im. Bauman (Bauman. Bauman). We can say that from this day our life of the Soviet people and probably not only Soviet, was held under the sign of the cosmos. Exactly three years later, in October 1960, I, already the 6th year student of the Military Artillery engineering Academy. Dzerzhinsky, on a rocket range Kapustin Yar was on combat start position, where the starting battery was prepared for the launch of R-12, and watched from a safe distance with their fellow students and the personnel of the battery combat training missile launch. It took another few months…

April 12, 1961… a Message about an event that shocked the whole world, came to us, the students of the 1st faculty of Military Artillery engineering Academy. Dzerzhinsky, in the class of the main academic building of the Academy, where we were doing graduate design and preparation for the diplomas. Told us about this little transistor radio that belonged to one of our fellow students and quietly created a musical background in the classroom, without interfering with our creative efforts in designing strategic ballistic missiles and rocket engines. The message about the flight of Yuri Gagarin into space was for us, the future graduates of the Academy of the Rocket (after all, despite his artillery name, Academy. Dzerzhinsky was a rocket), was as unexpected, as for all Soviet people. And as the whole of the Soviet people (although it is now clear, not only of the Soviet people), aroused a genuine sense of admiration and pride for our Soviet man major Yuri Gagarin, for our Soviet Motherland, for our strategic Rocket forces because Missile troops launched into space the first man and the first satellite in 1957. And since we, the listeners of Rocket Academy, future officers of Missile troops, too, were parcel of the Rocket troops, and felt a kind of belonging in this great event. However, bound by routine and military discipline, his studies did not stop and lively exchanging opinions on past and listening to coming from the transistor to the information, continued his creative exploration to the drawing Board, until after some time, our attention drifting from somewhere far away through the Windows of the class a strange noise, different from noise generated by passing on Moskvoretskaya embankment by the car. The window class went on Moskvoretsky embankment and one of them had a perfect view of Raushskaya embankment on the opposite Bank of the Moscow river and even some of the Big Moskvoretsky bridge. When we are interested by this noise, thunder, it appeared that the Big Moskvoretsky bridge, and Raushskaya embankment filled with people with flags and banners and that strange noise was the noise of the festive crowd, the noise of the demonstration, the noise of the procession of jubilant people. So space Gagarin became the prelude to our future rocket service, because in August of that same space in 1961 after the defense shaded space flight Gagarin rocket diplomas our fate in the person of the Commander-in-chief of the strategic missile forces have scattered us, the graduates of the Military Artillery engineering Academy. Dzerzhinsky, in combat units Missile forces and missile-space polygons, making us one of the direct defenders of our country on combat duty in strategic missile forces, and other direct participants of space exploration on grounds of the strategic missile forces.

And after 5 months of the year after the first space flight of Yuri Gagarin, I, the engineer-Lieutenant, Deputy commander of the 8th battery starting on the technical side, in August 1961 was on duty in the 2nd missile division (RDA) 867 missile regiment (RP) 29 missile division (rd).

In 1966, five years after the launch of Gagarin into Space, I had to participate in the preparation and conduct of combat training missile from a test site. Although the landfill was not tyura-Tam (Baikonur), and Kapustin Yar, and the rocket was not an Intercontinental, medium-range, and we launched space object, and training the head part on the test site in Kazakhstan, this does not reduce our responsibility, and not derogate from the dignity of our famous rocket R-12 (8К63), although the average range. A range of 2000 kilometers and the capacity of the WARHEAD in megaton one could successfully perform its mission for nearly 30 years in Europe, and in 1962 a scare and the US, for the first time in its history, clearly relished the opportunity of inevitable retribution. By the way, our rocket, fitted with a second degree, was directly involved in space exploration, putting into orbit satellites of series “Cosmos”. This rocket could be seen in his time in the pavilion “Space” at ENEA.

Since 1966 begin regular trips starting batteries to the landfill Kapustin Yar for the production of combat training launches of missiles. The first battery in our 867 missile regiment, which had such an honor and on which rests a high responsibility to demonstrate the level of combat training and ability to carry out the military task, they had 8 battery under the command of major V. N. Likholetova. Starting battery is going to the landfill were not only against themselves, but almost showed the level of training and division, and regiment, and even division, because the results of the fulfilment of the combat task – carrying out combat training launch of missile in fact was estimated the level and organization of combat training in the division. With the receipt of the order at checkout starting batteries to the landfill and before leaving in the battery and the division has begun intensive preparation for the test site. During this time I had to do everything possible to efficiently perform the task at the site. All knew the importance of the upcoming testing ground for battery, regiment, division and its responsibility for ensuring that it has succeeded and who didn’t understand, that persistently explained. Necessary arrangements for training and organizational arrangements were successfully carried out and in the end, and officers and staff were determined for the best result both theoretically and practically, and morally. 8-I battery is no exception, in the same way been preparing for a trip to the landfill in the future, and other starting batteries of the regiment. I’ll tell you, that 8 I battery successfully completed training combat mission, combat defending the honor 867 29 rocket regiment and missile division.

At the end of may 1966 the so-called “chain” 867 missile regiments, including the 8th starting battery, the calculation of the transport and dock RTB, the calculation of the OPD (office of training data), ASC (rescue team), under the leadership of Deputy regiment commander Lieutenant Colonel Ganina and Deputy commander of the 2nd division of major General Batalov loaded in the station garden in troop train, and by rail is being transferred from our “consecratio” forests in Latvia “sosecret” Astrakhan steppe. Our stay at the site was delayed for almost a month, but there is a silver lining, although not so bad to be on the ground in the month of June and without alerting and routine of daily service in the division, so a couple of times on weekends, and weekends and they are on the range weekend, officers of the “chain” were able to go on our bus “tour” on the 10th deck, to look at military and civilian Kapustin Yar and even to visit the Akhtuba river and swim in it. What is most memorable to stay at the site, in addition to passing tests for admission to the start, the reception and delivery of special equipment, the missile launch? Of course, first of all, hot Sunny weather, when the air temperature far above 30 degrees in the shade and at this temperature it was necessary not to hide from the sun in the premises, and to prepare and conduct missile launch while in the remedy from the EEOC (overall, rubber boots, rubber gloves, gas mask) for several hours.

Oddly enough in hot weather, but remember the field and the dirt and close could not compare our native Baltic mud. We felt it, when once passed over the cloud and shed a polygon on the steppe of short but intense rain. The hot sun dried clay soil ground of the desert turned into mud, clay solution, is slippery as ice, and sticky like glue. About this the dirt they say: – getter. And although between the barracks, soldiers ‘and officers’ canteens, hotels and other buildings in the site # 20, which housed arrived at the launch of “chain” missile regiments, paths were laid out, but completely to exclude contact with the ground was impossible and each in their boots felt that it is the land of the polygon, when the entrance to the barracks or officers ‘ hotel was scraped with their feet. Fortunately, our confrontation with the ground of the landfill did not last long. After a couple days of hot sun had dried the earth, and we again stood firm on the ground, ready for the upcoming trials.

Another attraction of the landfill remaining in memory along with the mud, steel of small midges from the family of mosquitoes or gnats, as it was called at the site that appeared in the month of June and from the marsh between the rivers of Volga and Akhtuba and brought a lot of inconvenience, especially when working on technique. The only escape from these blood-sucking insects – a protective suit from the EEOC with a gas mask and rubber gloves covering exposed parts of the body. But in 30-40 degree heat long stay in this form is fraught with overheating and heat stroke, that had the tankers, who wore spetzashita and later all were exposed while on pre-launch position waiting for the command to engage the starting position when preparing the missile for launch, balancing the risk of overheating and the danger of being bitten by a Midge, if you take off a gas mask to avoid the risk of overheating. And the danger of being bitten by the Midge was great, because sweaty head without the mask is attracted gnats. Well, when there was a breeze and scattered Midge, giving the possibility, at least for a few minutes to be without a mask. And if no breeze, it was only possible to remove the mask and breathe without a mask – to climb into the cockpit of the car. And had to do periodically, despite the fact that the cabin was like in the Finnish sauna, and a bug managed to sneak behind you, though in a much smaller quantity, from which it was possible to fight back.

Our stay at the landfill in the summer of 1966 was memorable for one circumstance, is not relevant to the execution of the task before us, but give an idea of some of the details of life at site # 20 in 1966. And it was a pleasant surprise – voentorgovsky in the officers ‘ dining room was the buffet with a dry wine and beer, which is slightly brightened our prolonged presence on the ground. In subsequent years, such pleasant surprises on the site of No. 20 was gone. In 1967 he started another campaign against alcoholism… Especially stay at the range we learned in the course of our life, and immediately after placement at site # 20 in front of the staff of the “chain”, in addition to the launch, got up two important tasks: first, tests of the Commission of the polygon on the admission of personnel starting battery and ask for access to combat training to start, secondly, reception of machinery for the preparation and launch at the local (field) start of previous battery or starting battery is already shot.

And officers, and personnel of the “chain”, except, maybe, the person serving in rear and our doctor, were anxiously awaiting the day taking tests. And now, a few days after our arrival to the landfill, that day has come. The Commission of the polygon, it is the same group of instructors, led by major Khalip – the chief of Department of management of the landfill. From the same Department and were members of the Commission – instructors training team. Preparation of ASC was checked by inspector for safety ground. Unpleasant surprises were not. The personnel of the 8th starting battery and the ASC successfully passed tests and received admission to the training-combat missile. One task was executed, but there was still another not less important task, the success of which determined ultimately the successful implementation of our main tasks is carrying out combat training launch of missile – the receiving equipment. However, this task was delayed. We had to wait for two weeks until shot the other battery and finally it was our turn. Since the launch in 1966, followed one after another, shot battery the technique is not transferred to the local owners of this technology, and immediately the other batteries, was preparing to start. And the 8th battery had to take equipment directly from the battery shot, and the officers of the training team of the division to ensure high-quality reception equipment, by his personal participation in technical checking and in addressing emerging issues in the process of acceptance. I had very carefully and efficiently to make the technique not to miss defects or malfunctions, which in the case of pass been the weaknesses and faults accepted. After taking battery equipment any claims and complaints by owners of the field equipment was taken – the entire responsibility for the readiness of machines for start fell on the shoulders took the “chain”. And even the failure or any malfunction of equipment, which appeared during the preparation of the missile for launch, were attributed to the technique adopted batteries, and field technique, in contrast to our regular battery of technique, especially means of fueling CRF, have been subject to intensive exploitation in the conduct of missile launches, which, of course, was reflected on her condition, even external. So that you should have been, as they say, in both, including we, the officers of the training team of the division, especially because the dealer tried the battery as quickly as possible to shove himself used the technique with the host battery. In the reception-transmission of equipment were involved and the third party – the owners of this equipment, the soldiers and sergeants of the division of the polygon based on this technique, who acted as arbitrators in the dispute between the granting and receiving parties, so a certain positive role in the process of transfer of technology was the establishment of friendly relations with the owners, the soldiers and sergeants of the polygon, when receiving and passing techniques. Simultaneously with the reception of equipment took place and the reception areas 4 which were carried out combat training launch of a rocket and which is passed into our possession and under our responsibility, so the “chain” went the duty to maintain the site on it ready for operation equipment and control mode, so that outsiders could not get to the site, prior to the transfer of equipment after start-up another “chain” or field owners.

So, the technique after a thorough inspection has been adopted and in the remaining time until the start time once again is being tested, where possible, the officers and the personnel of the battery to prevent any unexpected surprises during preparation and launch of missiles, both from the side of special equipment, and automotive, because almost all units are on wheels. After taking technology there were still two important events – the reception and transportation of combat missile R-12 to the launch pad No. 4 and fence batteries tankers fighting the EEOC EEOC in the warehouses of the landfill and shipping them to the launch pad, which were successfully held on the eve of day of start.

Along with all to start preparing and tylovik “chain”. He faced a demanding task – to start to prepare everything needed for easy meal of officers and staff of the “chain”, and in the day of the launch to prepare this feast, which was held after the missile launch and evaluation. The personnel celebrated the launch yogurt, lemonade, biscuits, sweets, canned food, which our tylovik bought in Voentorg specifically for staff to start. It wasn’t that hard, but other than that he was to be sure to get in the Astrakhan steppes lamb to the officer Desk, and for that it seemed to him the necessary powers and on-Board vehicle ZIL-157. The results of his expedition into the steppes await with interest. This is the last step on our way from the Baltic to the start. And here he made the lamb from the depths of the steppes delivered. To start everything is ready. There comes a day for which hundred of people were prepared, conducted lessons, take tests, moved 2,000 miles, again prepared and take tests. The day of the launch. After Breakfast, officers and personnel of the “chain” goes from site No. 20 to the launch pad No. 4, where it remains in suspense for the order to launch. Finally, with the CP of the polygon comes the long awaited the order to start, or rather, the order “to Take full combat readiness”, and battery commander major Likholetov gives the command “battle stations”. The starting battery is in principle no different from our own comprehensive classes with dressing the EEOC, unless climatic characteristics. Hot air temperature at thirty degrees and scorching sun makes it difficult for the personnel in the remedies. In order to alleviate the heat load, officers and personnel involved in the work on the launch pad, dressed in advance in a simple soldier’s underwear, the kit is for the entire “chain” was brought for this purpose on the polygon, and on top wore a protective suit. Preparing the missile for launch – moving from constant readiness to full and the start of full combat readiness is the combat charts and instructions.

A feature of the combat training start-up on the range, the real start unlike the simulation start-up when carrying out short circuit, was that after performance of all technological operations to prepare the rocket for launch, which should be performed at a set of combat charts time, from which, indeed, depended the final assessment battery (kept the battery at a set time is fine, if there were no other deficiencies, did not comply – clearly unsatisfactory), were given additional time of 10 minutes to evacuate EVERYONE from the platform No. 4, except for a few officers, remaining in a secure bunker the start, where the battery commander and the senior machine operator training 8Н213 pressed the “start” button on the remote start.

The last moments of preparing the missile for launch from full combat readiness. The calculation of peroxide their task successfully completed and leaves the starting position, driving away from the start aggregates 8Г210 and 8Т311 at a safe distance. The battery is successfully prepared the missile for launch at a set time – you just need to press the “start” button in the bunker start-up. All personnel, including officers and instructors, leaving the starting position and the machine travels outside the area # 4 along a concrete road for a distance of over 3 kilometers where anxiously looks back at the rocket towering over the lonely steppe, and waits for a rocket launch. Suddenly there is a deafening roar, at the foot of a rocket shroud of smoke and gases, they grow, rise higher and higher and now the whole rocket surrounded by yellow-orange cloud. The rumble and roar of engines growing and the cloud of gases, the rocket starts to move upward. It seems that she is struggling to overcome the earth’s gravitational field but its speed is becoming faster and faster and she rattled out in the blue sky under our applause, leaving behind only a vapor trail from the engine and us in suspense of the result of the tool. The success or failure of start, hit or not hit?

About 30 minutes of waiting. We are waiting for the command to return, without the team, no one has the right to return to the starting position and the team will be only when the test site in Kazakhstan, will be informed of the missile launch. Finally, there is the command to return. Rush to the cars and rush back to the starting position. Slips checkpoint site # 4 and drive up to the start. Soldiers and officers poured from the cars and rush toward the starting table. The table, covered with soot, still keeps the warmth of the hot gases of the rocket engine. The soldiers put fingers to blackened the table and leave fingerprints in your military service – memory about his involvement in the launch of strategic missile R-12. The missile successfully hit its goal and you can now remove the protections and to put ourselves in a state of permanent readiness. All work associated with the technique over. It remains to sum up the work of the launch battery, and you can sit at the table to celebrate the successful launch of.

Summing up was carried out in one of the structures of the starting position, where all officers of the training team of the polygon, the officers of the training team of the division, officers of the starting battery and the command of our “conversations”, according to the known scheme: first, the work of the Department was evaluated by the instructor of the division, then the instructor of the polygon that agreed or disagreed with the assessment of the instructor’s division. And so in all departments in order, then the commander of the battery, which evaluated major Batalov. Naturally, the priority belonged to the instructors of the polygon. Usually before closing we, the instructors of the division, tried to negotiate, to discuss with the instructors of the landfill assessment offices to come, so to speak, to a common denominator, to speak at the wrap-up with a single opinion. Generally, it has been done, though not always. The instructor of the test site was impartial, he had no business neither to overestimate nor to underestimate. Instructor of the division was the person concerned, he was in a predicament at the site – and checking, and ensuring. As offering, he had to try to ensure a positive common denominator with the instructor of the polygon so that not decreased the overall assessment battery before a satisfactory manner. In the case of the 8th battery that was not required. Final verdict – assessment of the battery makes the head of the training team polygon major Khalip. Assessment 8 th battery is fine.

Now it was with a feeling of great accomplishment to sit at a festive table covered with a staff in one of the areas of areas 4 and for the officer in another, where we waited for the cooked properly lamb, while we prepared and conducted the launch. The soldier on the table I have already said, I will not repeat, and the officer will say that the yogurt at the table and we did not drink except lemonade on the table was something else, of course, within reasonable limits, going well under the hot lamb. Rather, a good was freshly cooked lamb under the “rocket fuel”, which for P-12 rockets were not used, but was used by the rocketeers, if you had the chance. At the site was such a case, when he was brought along for emergencies rectified ethyl alcohol and had a legitimate reason for its use – successful launch of.

After the holiday feast back to rest on platform No. 20 tomorrow to begin servicing equipment and its readiness for the transfer of the next “chain”. It remains only to transmit technique and can be subsided from the landfill in cosecretary Baltic forest. The task is difficult, but it needs to be solved. Joint efforts of the officers of the battery, the personnel of the battery, officers ‘ training team of the division under the control of the owners field of technology transfer to other equipment the “chain” with the design, as expected, the act of acceptance-transfer. Signed and from shoulders down with! Nothing connects the “chain” with a polygon, have only successfully located in troop train, tired of waiting in their cars and us in the way back when not lying on his shoulders the burden of responsibility for the imminent start-up, when you do not have to think about the upcoming tests…

It was my first but not last trip to the landfill Kapustin Yar in the quality of the instructor training team of the division, regiment and division. Many years have passed since then, but still, remembering his past rocket, feel the feeling of delight and satisfaction that the rockets, in the preparation and start-up of you participated, has successfully hit a target several thousand miles away from you.

… It will take many years. And the world will forget about our works, but in the form of fragments of various missiles, will remain our tracks!

Космос как прелюдия

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