Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Backup crew

Crew notes

Jack Swigert
Jack Swigert
He later became staff director of the Committee on Science and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives.Swigert was elected as a Republican to Colorado's newly created 6th congressional district in November 1982. He defeated Democrat Steve Hogan, 98,909 votes to 56,518...

 had originally been assigned as the command module pilot for the ASTP prime crew, but prior to the official announcement he was removed as punishment for his involvement in the Apollo 15 postage stamp scandal
Apollo 15 postage stamp scandal
The crew of Apollo 15 took 398 commemorative postage stamp covers with them on their trip to the Moon , with the understanding that, when they returned, 100 of the covers were to be sold to the German stamp dealer who provided them...


Soyuz crew

Backup crew

Mission parameters

  • Mass
    Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...


} (Apollo),
} (Soyuz)
  • Perigee
    Perigee is the point at which an object makes its closest approach to the Earth.. Often the term is used in a broader sense to define the point in an orbit where the orbiting body is closest to the body it orbits. The opposite is the apogee, the farthest or highest point.The Greek prefix "peri"...


} (Apollo),
} (Soyuz)
  • Apogee:

} (Apollo),
} (Soyuz)
  • Inclination
    Inclination in general is the angle between a reference plane and another plane or axis of direction.-Orbits:The inclination is one of the six orbital parameters describing the shape and orientation of a celestial orbit...

    • 51.7° (Apollo),
    • 51.8° (Soyuz)
  • Period
    Orbital period
    The orbital period is the time taken for a given object to make one complete orbit about another object.When mentioned without further qualification in astronomy this refers to the sidereal period of an astronomical object, which is calculated with respect to the stars.There are several kinds of...

    • 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 summary


The Apollo–Soyuz Test Project entailed the docking of an American Apollo
Project Apollo
The Apollo program was the spaceflight effort carried out by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration , that landed the first humans on Earth's Moon. Conceived during the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Apollo began in earnest after President John F...

 spacecraft with the then-Soviet Soyuz spacecraft. Although the Soyuz was given a mission designation number (Soyuz 19) as part of the ongoing Soyuz program, it was referred to simply as "Soyuz" for the duration of the joint mission. The Apollo mission was not officially numbered, though some sources refer to it as "Apollo 18".
To dock the two spacecraft, the Apollo command module was launched with a docking module, designated APAS-75. Like the Apollo Lunar Module
Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back...

 on the lunar flights, the APAS had to be retrieved from the S-IVB
The S-IVB was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company and served as the third stage on the Saturn V and second stage on the Saturn IB. It had one J-2 engine...

 upper-stage of the Saturn IB
Saturn IB
The Saturn IB was an American launch vehicle commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for use in the Apollo program...

 rocket after launch. The docking module was designed as both an adapter, as the Apollo and Soyuz had different docking mechanisms, and an airlock, as the Apollo was pressurized at 5.0 psi using pure oxygen, while the Soyuz used a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere at sea level pressure. One end of the docking module was attached to the Apollo using the same "probe-and-drogue
A drogue is a device external to the boat, attached to the stern used to slow a boat down in a storm and to keep the hull perpendicular to the waves. The boat will not speed excessively down the slope of a wave and crash into the next one nor will it broach. By slowing the vessel in heavy...

" docking mechanism used on the Lunar Module and the Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

 space station, while its other end had the APAS design feature, which Soyuz 19 carried in place of its standard Soyuz/Salyut system at the time. The APAS fitting with the Soyuz 19 was releasable, allowing the two spacecraft to separate.

The Apollo flew with a three-man crew on board: Tom Stafford
Thomas Patten Stafford
Thomas Patten Stafford is a retired American Air Force lieutenant general and former NASA astronaut. He flew aboard two Gemini space flights; and in 1969 was the commander of Apollo 10, the second manned mission to orbit the Moon and the first to fly a lunar module there.In 1975, Stafford was...

, Vance Brand and Deke Slayton
Deke Slayton
Donald Kent Slayton , better known as Deke Slayton, was an American World War II pilot and later, one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts....

. Stafford had already flown into space three times, including within eight miles of the lunar surface, and was the first General Officer to fly into space (he was a brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 in the USAF
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 at the time of the flight; he would retire with three stars in 1979). Slayton was one of the original Mercury Seven
Mercury Seven
Mercury Seven was the group of seven Mercury astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959. They are also referred to as the Original Seven and Astronaut Group 1...

 astronauts selected in 1958, but an irregular heartbeat grounded him until 1972. He became head of NASA's astronaut office and, after a lengthy medical program, selected himself for this mission. At the time, Slayton was the oldest person to fly in space and the one with the longest gap between selection as an astronaut and flight into space. Brand, meanwhile, had trained with the Apollo Spacecraft used for this mission during his time as a backup Apollo 15
Apollo 15
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the American Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed "J missions", long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous...

 command module pilot, and had served multiple stints as a backup Skylab commander. The closest he came to flying prior to ASTP was as commander for the Skylab Rescue
Skylab Rescue
Brand flew in 1975 during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project as command module pilot, later commanding three Space Shuttle missions . Lind would wait another decade before he flew as a mission specialist on STS-51-B in 1985.-External links:* * * * * * *...

 mission mustered to potentially retrieve the crew of Skylab 3
Skylab 3
Skylab 3 was the second manned mission to Skylab. The Skylab 3 mission started July 28, 1973, with the launch of three astronauts on the Saturn IB rocket, and lasted 59 days, 11 hours and 9 minutes...

 due to a fuel leak on that mission's Apollo CSM.
The Soyuz flew with two men: Alexey Leonov and Valery Kubasov. Leonov became the first man to walk in space on Voskhod 2
Voskhod 2
Voskhod 2 was a Soviet manned space mission in March 1965. Vostok-based Voskhod 3KD spacecraft with two crew members on board, Pavel Belyaev and Alexei Leonov, was equipped with an inflatable airlock...

 in 1965. Kubasov, who flew on Soyuz 6
Soyuz 6
Soyuz 6 was part of a joint mission with Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8 that saw three Soyuz spacecraft in orbit together at the same time, carrying seven cosmonauts...

 in 1969, ran some of the earliest space manufacturing
Space manufacturing
Space manufacturing is the production of manufactured goods in an environment outside a planetary atmosphere. Typically this includes conditions of microgravity and hard vacuum.Manufacturing in space has several potential advantages over Earth-based industry....

 experiments. Both were slated to have flown on the ill-fated Soyuz 11
Soyuz 11
Soyuz 11 was the first manned mission to arrive at the world's first space station, Salyut 1. The mission arrived at the space station on June 7, 1971 and departed on June 30, 1971. The mission ended in disaster when the crew capsule depressurized during preparations for re-entry, killing the...

 in 1971 (Leonov as commander, Kubasov as the flight engineer), but were grounded because Kubasov was suspected to have tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

. The two-man crew on the Soyuz was a result of the modifications needed to allow the cosmonauts to wear the Sokol space suit
Sokol space suit
The Sokol space suit is a type of Russian space suit, worn by all who fly on the Soyuz spacecraft. It was introduced in 1973 and is still used . The Sokol is described by its makers as a rescue suit, and it is not capable of being used outside the spacecraft in a spacewalk or extra-vehicular...

 during launch, docking, and reentry.

Although the equipment developed for the 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. The Apollo's Saturn IB
Saturn IB
The Saturn IB was an American launch vehicle commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for use in the Apollo program...

 launcher and CSM were all surplus material. The Soyuz used was, at the time, a variation of the post-Soyuz 11 two-man design, with the incorporation of solar panels instead of batteries for "solo" flights (those not destined to the civilian Salyut
The Salyut program was the first space station program undertaken by the Soviet Union, which consisted of a series of nine space stations launched over a period of eleven years from 1971 to 1982...

 or military Almaz
The Almaz program was a series of military space stations launched by the Soviet Union under cover of the civilian Salyut DOS-17K program after 1971....

 space stations). Six ASTP-class Soyuz spacecraft were built: the primary, which flew the ASTP mission, one for "hot backup" (it was at the launch site and fully fueled, later it was disassembled), one as a "cold" backup, which was later used on the last "solo" Soyuz flight in 1976, but with the APAS docking adapter replaced with the MKF-6 multispectal camera. Before actual mission two craft were launched without any crew as KOSMOS satellites, and the last rehearsal was the Soyuz-16 crewed flight with APAS docking mechanism testing.

The ASTP-class Soyuz 7K-TM
Soyuz 7K-TM
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project 1975 version of the Soyuz spacecraft served as a technological bridge to the third generation Soyuz-T spacecraft ....

 spacecraft was designed to operate, during the docking phase, at a reduced nitrogen/oxygen pressure of 10.2 psi, allowing easier transfers between the Apollo and Soyuz.

Launch and mission

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
Bognor Regis
Bognor Regis is a seaside resort town and civil parish in the Arun district of West Sussex, on the south coast of England. It is south-south-west of London, west of Brighton, and south-east of the city of Chichester. Other nearby towns include Littlehampton east-north-east and Selsey to the...

, but a delay resulted in its occurrence being over the town of Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

 in France.

While the two ships were docked, the three Americans and two Soviets conducted joint scientific experiments, exchanged flags and gifts (including tree seeds which were later planted in the two countries), signed certificates, visited each other's ships, ate together, and conversed in each other's languages. (Because of Stafford's pronounced drawl when speaking Russian, Leonov later joked that there were 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.

After 44 hours together, the two ships separated, and maneuvered to use the Apollo to create an artificial solar eclipse
Solar eclipse
As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun as viewed from a location on Earth. This can happen only during a new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. At least...

 to allow the crew of the Soyuz to take photographs of the solar corona
A corona is a type of plasma "atmosphere" of the Sun or other celestial body, extending millions of kilometers into space, most easily seen during a total solar eclipse, but also observable in a coronagraph...

. Another brief docking was made before the ships went their separate ways. The Soviets remained in space for five days, and the Americans for nine, during which the Apollo crew also conducted experiments in Earth observation.

Re-entry and aftermath

The mission was considered a great success, both technically and as a public-relations exercise for both nations. The only serious problem was due to an Apollo crew mistake during re-entry
"Re-Entry" was the second album released by UK R&B / Hip Hop collective Big Brovaz. After the album was delayed in May 2006, the band finally release the follow-up to "Nu Flow" on 9 April 2007...

 preparations that resulted in a very rough landing and the entry of noxious gas into the spacecraft. The reaction control system was inadvertently left on during descent, and highly toxic nitrogen tetroxide was sucked into the spacecraft 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. In his autobiography, Slayton reported that the crew received doses of nitrogen tetroxide approaching the level that would cause death. The three upright bags in the nosecone were designed to upright the command module capsule if necessary after splashdown. These upright bags partially failed, leaving the capsule upside down on the ocean's surface awaiting rescue by navy divers. This is the only time this situation occurred during the entire Apollo program. During the post mission hospitalization, a lesion
A lesion is any abnormality in the tissue of an organism , usually caused by disease or trauma. Lesion is derived from the Latin word laesio which means injury.- Types :...

 was discovered on Slayton's left lung, not believed to have been caused by the fumes. A biopsy determined it was benign.

The ASTP was the final flight of an Apollo spacecraft. Immediately after the launch of the Apollo spacecraft, preparations began to convert Launch Pad 39B
Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39
Launch Complex 39 is a rocket launch site at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida, USA. The site and its collection of facilities were originally built for the Apollo program, and later modified to support Space Shuttle operations. NASA began modifying LC-39 in 2007 to...

 and the Vehicle Assembly Building
Vehicle Assembly Building
The Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center was used to assemble and house American manned launch vehicles from 1968-2011. It is the fourth largest building in the world by volume...

 at Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

 for use by the Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

, the United States' next manned spacecraft program. Launch Pad 39A had already been closed after the launch of Skylab.

Spacecraft locations

The Apollo command module from the mission is on display at the California Science Center
California Science Center
The California Science Center is a state agency and museum located in Exposition Park, Los Angeles. Billed as the West Coast's largest hands-on science center, the California ScienCenter is a public-private partnership between the State and the California Science Center Foundation...

 in Los Angeles. The descent module of Soyuz 19 is on display at the RKK Energiya museum
RKK Energiya museum
The RKK Energiya museum is a museum dedicated to the early achievements of Russian space exploration programmes. It is located on the grounds of the RKK Energiya factory in Korolyov, near Moscow....

 in Korolyov
Korolyov (city)
Korolyov or Korolev is an industrial city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, well known as the cradle of Soviet and Russian space exploration. It was originally founded as Kaliningrad in 1938 by Vasily Boldyrev, Naum Nosovsky, and Mikhail Loginov as the leading Soviet center for production of anti-tank...

, Moscow Oblast
Moscow Oblast
Moscow Oblast , or Podmoskovye , is a federal subject of Russia . Its area, at , is relatively small compared to other federal subjects, but it is one of the most densely populated regions in the country and, with the 2010 population of 7,092,941, is the second most populous federal subject...

, Russia.

Displayed at the National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 is the Apollo Command and Service Module used for testing prior to the mission, the Docking Module used as a back-up, and a model of the Soyuz spacecraft used by the Russians.


A minor planet
Minor planet
An asteroid group or minor-planet group is a population of minor planets that have a share broadly similar orbits. Members are generally unrelated to each other, unlike in an asteroid family, which often results from the break-up of a single asteroid...

, 2228 Soyuz-Apollo
2228 Soyuz-Apollo
2228 Soyuz-Apollo is a main belt asteroid with an orbital period of 2026.0941795 days . The asteroid was discovered on July 19, 1977, and was named after the Apollo-Soyuz space program, carried on in 1975. The reversal of the names was not political, but to prevent confusion with the asteroid 1862...

, discovered in 1977 by Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh
Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh
Nikolay Stepanovich Chernykh was a Soviet and Russian astronomer.Chernykh was born in the city of Usman' in Voronezh Oblast...

, is named after the mission.


The US Postal Service issued the Apollo–Soyuz commemorative stamps, honoring the United States–Soviet link up in space, on July 15, 1975, the day of the launch.
The remaining crew's most recent reunion was on July 16, 2010, when Leonov, Kubasov, Stafford and Brand met at an Omega timepiece store in New York City. All except Leonov participated in a public roundtable that evening. Omega had produced several watches to be used on the mission.


In the wake of the mission, a large Soyuz–Apollo monument was constructed outside TsUP (the Russian space control center) in Moscow. It consisted of a metal Earth overarched by an arc terminating in a scale model of the joined Apollo–Soyuz spacecraft. It was damaged when a vehicle collided with it in the late 1990s, and was removed for repairs.

See also

  • STS-71
    STS-71 was the third mission of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir Program, which carried out the first Space Shuttle docking to Mir, a Russian space station. The mission used Space Shuttle Atlantis, which lifted off from launch pad 39A on 27 June 1995 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida...

  • Splashdown (spacecraft landing)
    Splashdown (spacecraft landing)
    Splashdown is the method of landing a spacecraft by parachute in a body of water. It was used by American manned spacecraft prior to the Space Shuttle program. It is also possible for the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft to land in water, though this is only a contingency...

  • Space accidents and incidents

External links

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