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Soyuz 12
Mission statistics
Mission name Soyuz 12
Spacecraft mass 6,720 kg (14,800 lb)
Crew size 2
Call sign Урал (Ural - "Ural")
Launch pad Gagarin's Start[1]
Launch date September 27 1973 12:18:16 (1973-09-27T12:18:16) UTC
Landing September 29 1973 11:33:48 (1973-09-29T11:33:49) UTC
47°42′N 69°00′E / 47.7°N 69°E / 47.7; 69
Mission duration 1d/23:15:32
Number of orbits 31
Apogee 348 km (216 mi)
Perigee 306 km (190 mi)
Orbital period 91.0 min
Orbital inclination 51.0°
Related missions
Previous mission Next mission
Soyuz-11.gif Soyuz 11 Soyuz 13

Soyuz 12 (Russian: Союз 12, Union 12) was a 1973 manned test flight by the Soviet Union of the newly-redesigned Soyuz 7K-T spacecraft that was intended to provide greater crew safety in the wake of the Soyuz 11 tragedy. The flight marked the return of the Soviets to manned space operations after the 1971 accident. The crew capacity of the capsule had been decreased from three to two cosmonauts to allow for space suits to be worn during launch, re-entry and docking. It was the first time pressure suits were used for reentry since the Voskhod 2 flight.[2]

Cosmonauts Vasili Lazarev and Oleg Makarov spent two days in space testing the new craft.



Position Cosmonaut
Commander Vasili Lazarev
First spaceflight
Flight Engineer Oleg Makarov
First spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Aleksei Gubarev
Flight Engineer Georgi Grechko

Reserve crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Pyotr Klimuk
Flight Engineer Vitali Sevastyanov

Mission parameters

  • Mass: 6,720 kg (14,800 lb)
  • Perigee: 306 km (190 mi)
  • Apogee: 348 km (216 mi)
  • Inclination: 51.0°
  • Period: 91.0 min

Mission highlights

As the first manned test of the new version of the Soyuz ferry craft, Soyuz 12 was to have flown to a Salyut station.[2] But the failures of Salyut 2 and Cosmos 557 in the months previous meant there was no station for the craft to dock to. The service module had no solar panels, carrying batteries for power instead,[2] which limited the flight to about two days, enough time for a journey to and from a space station.

Cosmonauts Lazarev and Makarov wore pressure suits for launch and landing, and would have worn them for a station docking, all changes brought about by the Soyuz 11 tragedy. The bulk of the suits and their environmental control systems limited the crew size to two.[2]

After the successful 27 September 1973 launch, the craft was maneuvered to 326 x 344 km on the second day in space,[2] which later proved to be the standard orbit for the Salyut 4 space station. A multispectral camera in the orbital module was used in coordination with aircraft to photograph Earth. The intention was to survey crop and forest conditions, it was reported.[2] The cosmonauts also tested using a Molniya 1 satellite to communicate with ground stations when out of range.[2]

The crew landed safely on 29 September and the mission was called "flawless."[2]

A large object was jettisoned when the craft was preparing for retrofire. The object remained in orbit for 116 days, landing 400 km southwest of Karaganda.[2]


  1. ^ "Baikonur LC1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-03-04.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Newkirk, Dennis (1990). Almanac of Soviet Manned Space Flight. Houston, Texas: Gulf Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87201-848-2.  


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