Soyuz 9

Soyuz 9 (Russian: Союз 9, Union 9) was a 1970 Soviet crewed space flight. The two-man crew of Andriyan Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyanov broke the five-year-old space endurance record held by Gemini 7, with their nearly 18-day flight. The mission paved the way for the Salyut space station missions, investigating the effects of long-term weightlessness on crew, and evaluating the work that the cosmonauts could do in orbit, individually and as a team. It was also the last flight of the first-generation Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft, as well as the first crewed space launch to be conducted at night. In 1970, Soyuz 9 marks the longest crewed flight by a solo spacecraft.

Soyuz 9
The Soviet Union 1970 CPA 3907 stamp (Cosmonauts Andriyan Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyanov, Soyuz 9).png
Andriyan Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyanov on the 1971 commemorative stamp "424 Hours On Earth's Orbit" of Soviet Union
Mission typeTest flight
OperatorSoviet space program
COSPAR ID1970-041A
SATCAT no.04407
Mission duration17 days 16 hours 58 minutes 55 seconds
Orbits completed288
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSoyuz 7K-OK No.9
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-OK
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau (OKB-1)
Launch mass6460 kg [1]
Landing mass1200 kg
Crew size2
MembersAndriyan Nikolayev
Vitaly Sevastyanov
CallsignСокол (Sokol – "Falcon")
Start of mission
Launch date1 June 1970, 19:00:00 GMT
Launch siteBaikonur, Site 31/6[2]
End of mission
Landing date19 June 1970, 11:58:55 GMT
Landing siteSteppes in Kazakhstan
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[3]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude207.0 km
Apogee altitude220.0 km
Period88.59 minutes
Vimpel 'Diamond'.jpg
Vimpel Diamond for entrainment patch
← Soyuz 8


Position[4] Cosmonaut
Commander Andrian Nikolayev
Second and last spaceflight
Flight Engineer Vitaly Sevastyanov
First spaceflight

Backup crewEdit

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Anatoly Filipchenko
Flight Engineer Georgy Grechko

Reserve crewEdit

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Vasily Lazarev
Flight Engineer Valeri Yazdovsky


The flight tested, for a longer period of time than any other, the capacity of the hardware and the human crew, on the long-term exposure to space conditions and observing (both visually and photographically) geological and geographical objects, weather formations, water surfaces, and snow and ice covers. The crew conducted observations of celestial bodies and practiced astronavigation, by locking onto Vega or Canopus, and then used a sextant to measure its relation to the Earth horizon. The orbital elements were refined to three decimal places by the crew.[1]

Commander Andriyan Nikolayev and flight engineer Vitaly Sevastyanov spent 18 days in space conducting various physiological and biomedical experiments on themselves, but also investigating the social implications of prolonged spaceflight. The cosmonauts spent time in two-way TV links with their families, watched matches in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, played chess (including this chess game with the crew as white; it was the first chess game played across space) with ground control, and voted in a Soviet election. The mission set a new space endurance record and marked a shift in emphasis away from spacefarers merely being able to exist in space for the duration of a long mission (such as the Apollo flights to the Moon) to being able to live in space. The mission took an unexpected physical toll on the cosmonauts; in order to conserve attitude control gas during the lengthy stay in orbit, Soyuz 9 was placed in a spin-stabilisation mode that made Nikolayev and Sevastyanov dizzy and space sick.[5]

Mission parametersEdit

  • Mass: 6,460 kg (14,240 lb) [1]
  • Perigee: 207.0 km (128.6 mi) [3]
  • Apogee: 220.0 km (136.7 mi)
  • Inclination: 51.70°
  • Period: 88.59 minutes


The spacecraft soft landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan, and the crew was picked up immediately. Adjusting to gravity of Earth seemed to present a minor problem for the two cosmonauts.[1] They required help exiting the descent module and were virtually unable to walk for a few days.[5] Nonetheless, this experience proved the importance of providing crews with exercise equipment during missions. After landing the crew spend 2 weeks in a quarantine unit originally designed for cosmonauts returning from Moon landings.[5] While at the time the soviet press reported this was done in order to protect the cosmonauts in case space travel had weakened their immune system in practice its more likely it was practice for the Soviet crewed lunar program which at that point had not been abandoned.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Display: Soyuz 9 1970-041A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Baikonur LC31". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Trajectory: Soyuz 9 1970-041A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ Mir Hardware Heritage – 1.7.3 (wikisource)
  5. ^ a b c d Harvey, Brian (2007). Soviet and Russian Lunar Exploration. Springer-Praxis. pp. 179–181. ISBN 0387218963.