Central Research Institute
for Machine Building

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

On May 24, 1972, the USSR and the United States signed an Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space For Peaceful Purposes committing the parties to the launch of Apollo Soyuz Test Project – ASTP.

By the start of the work on the ASTP Program, the Central Design Bureau of Experimental Machine-building (TsKBEM) specialists, their subcontractors and TsNIImash TsUP employees had developed volumes of documentation with detailed and comprehensive description of all the flight control loop elements: interaction of the elements given, as well as of Russian TsUP and American MCC’s; integrated training programs; potential onboard emergency situations, emergency egress procedures. Operational crew manual had been developed specifying their functions (responsibilities) and description of actions to be taken in case of any particular contingencies.

NII-88 Coordination and Computing Center/TsNIImash had not had the required experience of the fully-featured MCC for the manned spacecraft control by 1973, and certainly not for the program similar in complexity and extent of responsibility to the ASTP program. Most certainly, the center required to be certified to execute such a program. Insight into the American MCC revealed the fact that they were highly focused on specialists’ trainings test-practicing various situations that could potentially be faced during the flight.

In 1973, TsNIImash Coordination and Computing Center was unclassified upon the country’s leadership decision and passed the International Assurance being registered as Soviet MCC. As of July 1, 1975, MCC’s manpower reached 1960 employees. Operational crew consisted of 3 shifts.

USSR cosmonauts Alexey Leonov and Valery Kubasov, US astronauts Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand and Donald Slayton took part in the flight conducted on July 15 – 21, 1975. Their in-flight responsibilities were as follows:
  • A. Leonov – Soyuz-19 Commander;
  • V. Kubasov – Soyuz-19 Flight Engineer;
  • T.Stafford – Apollo Commander;
  • V. Brand – Apollo Commander Module Pilot;
  • D. Slayton – Apollo Docking Module Pilot.

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Flight Participants

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Flight Participants

The joint Soyuz-19 and Apollo mission involved performance of the main program tasks, including rendezvous and docking of the spacecraft, crew members’ transfer from one spacecraft to the other, interaction of the Mission Control Centers and crews, as well as joint scientific experiments (“Zone-Forming Fungi Experiment”, “Microbial Exchange Experiment”, “Multipurpose Furnace Experiment”, “Artificial Solar Eclipse Experiment”, “Ultraviolet Absorption Experiment”).

TsNIImash was awarded the Order of October Revolution for the contribution to the successful execution of the ASTP Program.

The ASTP Program opened the door to the Mission Control Center.

First Space International Docking Certificate

First Space International Docking Certificate

TsNIImash work performed in the frame of the ASTP Program (Soyuz-Apollo Test Flight):
  • investigation of thrusters plume effect;
  • gas-dynamic characterization of the engines;
  • Soyuz-M spacecraft structural tests;
  • ballistic support;
  • mission control at MCC.

On January 15, 1976, TsNIImash was awarded the Order of October Revolution by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR for the efforts taken in the development and manufacturing of new equipment.