Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP)

Today on Far Future Horizons we commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. Today's video feature is The Mission of Apollo / Soyuz a  NASA Spaceflight Educational Documentary released in 1975. 

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) was the last mission in the Apollo program and was the first joint flight of the U.S. and Soviet space programs. The mission took place in July 1975. For the United States of America, it was the last Apollo flight, as well as the last manned space launch until the flight of the first Space Shuttle in April 1981.

Though the Test Project included several scientific missions (including an engineered eclipse of the Sun by Apollo for Soyuz to take photographs of the solar corona), and provided useful engineering information on the synchronization of American and Soviet space technology that would prove useful in the future Shuttle-Mir Program, the primary purpose of the mission was symbolic. ASTP was seen as a symbol of the policy of détente that the two superpowers were beginning to adopt at the time, and as a fitting end to the tension of the Space Race.

Alekei Leonov and Deke Slayton

This was the first flight of Deke Slayton, who was chosen as one of the original Mercury Seven Astronauts in April 1959. Alexei Leonov, the first man to walk in space, was the commander of the Soviet half of the mission. This was Leonov's second and last space mission. 

 Soyuz crew pictured with the Apollo crew
Left to right: Slayton, Stafford, Brand, Leonov, Kubasov

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) entailed the docking of an American Apollo spacecraft with the Soviet Soyuz 19 spacecraft. Whilst the Soyuz was given a mission designation number as part of the ongoing Soyuz program, it was referred to simply as "Soyuz" through the duration of the joint mission. The Apollo mission was officially not numbered, though some sources refer to it as "Apollo 18".

Apollo crew
Thomas P. Stafford - Commander
Vance D. Brand - Command Module Pilot
Donald K. Slayton - Docking Module Pilot

Soyuz crew
Alexei Leonov - Commander
Valeri Kubasov - Flight Engineer

The Mission of Apollo / Soyuz - 1975 NASA Spaceflight Educational Documentary 

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