|Mission type||Test flight|
|Operator||Soviet space program|
|Mission duration||4 days 22 hours 50 minutes 49 seconds|
|Spacecraft||Soyuz 7K-OK No.8|
|Spacecraft type||Soyuz 7K-OK (passive)|
|Manufacturer||Experimental Design Bureau (OKB-1)|
|Launch mass||6646 kg |
|Landing mass||1200 kg|
|Callsign||Гранит (Granit - "Granite")|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||13 October 1969, 10:19:09 GMT|
|Launch site||Baikonur, Site 31/6|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||18 October 1969, 09:09:58 GMT|
|Landing site||Kazakh Steppe, Kazakhstan|
|Reference system||Geocentric orbit|
|Regime||Low Earth orbit|
|Perigee altitude||201.0 km|
|Apogee altitude||227.0 km|
Soyuz 8 (Russian: Союз 8, Union 8) was part of a joint mission with Soyuz 6 and Soyuz 7 that saw three Soyuz spacecraft in orbit together at the same time, carrying a total of seven cosmonauts.
The crew consisted of commander Vladimir Shatalov and flight engineer Aleksei Yeliseyev, whose mission was to dock with Soyuz 7 and transfer crew, as the Soyuz 4 (involving, among others, these two cosmonauts) and Soyuz 5 missions did. Soyuz 6 was to film the operation from nearby.
However, this objective was not achieved due to equipment failures. Soviet sources were later to claim that no docking had been intended, but this seems unlikely, given the docking adapters carried by the spacecraft, and the fact that both Shatalov and Yeliseyev were veterans of the previous successful docking mission. This was the last time that the Soviet-crewed Moon landing hardware was tested in orbit, and the failure seems to have been one of the final nails in the coffin of the programme.
The radio call sign of the spacecraft was Granit, meaning Granite. This word is apparently used as the name of a reactive or defensive squadron in Soviet military training, and, just like the Soyuz 5, it was constructed and its crew was trained to be the responsive (not entirely passive) or female spacecraft in its docking. Giving military names to the spacecraft was probably a response to an appeal that the commander of the Soyuz 5 made. Further, the word was probably chosen as it begins with a letter following that sequence starting with Antey (meaning Antaeus) and Buran (meaning Blizzard); Г (G) is the fourth letter of the Russian alphabet.
|Flight Engineer||Aleksei Yeliseyev|
|Flight Engineer||Vitaly Sevastyanov|
The mission objectives included:
Stable two-way radio communication was maintained between the spaceships and the ground stations, and TV coverage was broadcast from the ships during flight. Soyuz 8 was a part of the group flight of Soyuz 6, 7, and 8, and resembled Soyuz 6 in that it was an active ship designed to move toward the passive Soyuz 7. Soyuz 8 was equipped with full docking apparatus and for some hours flew very close to Soyuz 7. No docking occurred. The flight was safely terminated in Kazakh Steppe, in Kazakhstan.