Soyuz 6


Soyuz 6
The Soviet Union 1969 CPA 3809 stamp (Georgi Shonin and Valeri Kubasov (Soyuz 6)) cancelled.jpg
Georgy Shonin and Valeri Kubasov on 1969 commemorative stamp of Soviet Union
Mission typeTest flight
OperatorSoviet space program
COSPAR ID1969-085A
SATCAT no.04122
Mission duration4 days 22 hours 42 minutes 47 seconds
Orbits completed80
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSoyuz 7K-OK No.6
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-OK (passive - photographer)
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau (OKB-1)
Launch mass6577 kg [1]
Landing mass1200 kg
Crew size2
MembersGeorgy Shonin
Valeri Kubasov
CallsignАнтей (Antey - "Antaeus")
Start of mission
Launch date11 October 1969, 11:10:00 GMT[2]
Launch siteBaikonur, Site 31/6[3]
End of mission
Landing date16 October 1969, 09:52:47 GMT
Landing site180 km at northwest of Karaganda, Kazakhstan
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[4]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude192.0 km
Apogee altitude231.0 km
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Soyuz 7 →

Soyuz 6 (Russian: Союз 6, Union 6) was part of a joint mission with Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8 that saw the three Soyuz spacecraft in orbit together at the same time, carrying a total of seven cosmonauts. The crew of Georgy Shonin and Valeri Kubasov were meant to take high-quality movie photography of the Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8 docking, but the rendezvous systems on all three spacecraft failed.

It is still not known exactly what the actual problem was, but it is often quoted as being a helium pressurisation integrity test.[5] The version of Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft used for the missions carried a torus-shaped docking electronics equipment housing surrounding the motor assembly on the back of the service module, which is thought to have been pressurised with helium to provide an inert environment for the electronics. It was then jettisoned after docking to lower the mass of the spacecraft for reentry. Due to unstable temperature, disparity between the frequencies of the transmitters and receivers, which were stabilised by special quartz resonators, occurred. The piezocrystals were supposed to be in thermostats at a strictly constant temperature.[6]

The crew was made up of Shonin and Kubasov, who carried out experiments in space welding. They tested three methods: using an electron beam, a low-pressure plasma arc and a consumable electrode. While welding, Kubasov almost burned through the hull of the vehicle's Living Compartment, which in the absence of spacesuits could have resulted in a catastrophic situation.[6] The apparatus was designed at the Paton Institute of Electric Welding, Kyiv, Ukraine. The weld quality was said to be in no way inferior to that of Earth-based welds.[5]

After eighty orbits of the Earth, they landed on 16 October 1969, 180 km (110 mi) northwest of Karaganda, Kazakhstan.

The radio call sign of the spacecraft was Antey, referring to the Greek hero Antaeus, but at the time of the flight, however, it was also the name of the largest practicable aircraft, the Soviet Antonov An-22, made in Ukraine. But unlike the call signs of Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8, it was not the name of a squadron in Soviet military training, of uncertain role, for the one that begins with the letter 'a' is Aktif, meaning "active".


Position Cosmonaut
Commander Georgy Shonin
Only spaceflight
Flight Engineer Valeri Kubasov
First spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Vladimir Shatalov
Flight Engineer Aleksei Yeliseyev

Reserve crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Andriyan Nikolayev
Flight Engineer Georgy Grechko

Mission parameters

  • Mass: 6,577 kg (14,500 lb) [1]
  • Perigee: 192.0 km (119.3 mi) [4]
  • Apogee: 231.0 km (143.5 mi)
  • Inclination: 51.68°
  • Period: 88.67 minutes


The mission objectives included:[1]

  • checkout and flight test of spaceborne systems and the modified structure of the Soyuz craft,
  • further improvement of the control, orientation, and orbital stabilisation systems and navigation aids,
  • debugging the piloting systems by orbital maneuvering of the spaceships in relation to one another,
  • testing of a system for control of the simultaneous flight of three spacecraft,
  • scientific observations and photographing of geological-geographical subjects and exploration of the Earth's atmosphere,
  • studying circumterrestrial space,
  • conducting experiments of engineering research and biomedical engineering importance.


Stable two-way radio communications was maintained between the spaceships and the ground stations, and TV coverage was broadcast from the ships during flight. The most significant objective was testing alternate methods for welding using remote handling equipment in the high vacuum and weightless conditions of outer space. In Soyuz 6, the welding unit had the name Vulcan and was controlled remotely by electric cable. Of the three types of welding tried (low pressure compressed arc, electron beam, and arc with a consumable electrode), electron beam was the most successful. Soyuz 6 also performed group flight with Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8, but it did not dock with either spacecraft.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Display: Soyuz 6 - 1969-085A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Launchlog". Jonathan's Space Report. 28 September 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Baikonur LC31". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Trajectory: Soyuz 6 1969-085A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b M. Sharpe, Space: The Ultimate Frontier
  6. ^ a b B. Chertok, Rockets and People, Vol. IV

External links

  • Astronautix
  • Svengrahn