A Year in Space
by George A. Spiteri
Thursday June 9th 1988 (Cont:)
By 17:30 GMT the hatches were opened and Titov and Manarov had their first human contact in nearly half a year. Vladimir Titov said that be was quite happy about the new arrivals. (When the author recently met Viktor Savinykh, he told me that Titov and Manarov were in pretty good shape.) To add to the festivities, the visitors brought some orchids that had an unusual history. They were grown originally in space, taken back to earth but were stolen and eventually retrieved with the culprit being apprehended!
Friday June 10th 1988
The five cosmonauts were engaged in joint experiments under the Shipka project designed by Bulgarian scientists. In the evening, Bulgarian leader, Todor Zhivkov, spoke to the five men and told them that all of Bulgaria is following their flight and invited them to his country after the flight.
Saturday June 11th 1988
Nine experiments were conducted in four areas of research. Amongst them was the “Potential” experiment performed by Alexandrov and Savinykh testing the capabilities of human muscle.
Sunday June 12th 1988
The cosmonauts took pictures of Bulgaria. They also studied the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere and ionosphere and did research into the adaptation of the human body to weightlessness.
Monday June 13th 1988
The cosmonauts continued medical and materials processing experiments. They also answered more than forty questions from Soviet and Bulgarian journalists. With reference to Soyuz 33 the first question asked was had there been any technical failures?
Anatoly Solovyov answered “everything is keeping with schedule… technology performed well”. In a later question journalists asked how did Titov and Manarov welcome the newcomers, what was on their diet and how they felt?
Viktor Savinykh answered: “The reception was very warm and hospitable; when we arrived at the station, the table had already been laid”.
The visiting crew brought with them peaches, strawberries, yogurt, lemons, oranges, onions and tomatoes. They also praised the space food prepared by Bulgarian specialists. The cosmonauts said the Bulgarian equipment was excellent and would remain aboard Mir after the joint flight on a permanent basis.
Tuesday June 14th 1988
The experiments for today included study of Bulgaria’s natural resources, growing mono-crystals, obtaining an effective anti-flu vaccine and smelting new alloys. Alexander Alexandrov said, jokingly, to Mission Control that the best experiment was that of “sleep” because to carry it out one had merely to be asleep but with a number of sensors attached to the body. The data obtained would supply information on man’s sleep during his period of adaptation to weightlessness.
Wednesday June 15th 1988
More materials processing experiments and astro-physical studies of various star clusters.
Thursday June 16th 1988
The five cosmonauts were concluding their experiments today. Soyuz TM 4 was being prepared for its return to earth the next day and was being packed with the materials and experiments produced during the Joint flight.
Friday June 17th 1988
Soyuz TM 4 undocked from Mir at 06:18 GMT with Solovyov, Savinykh and Alexandrov inside the cramped descent module. Radio Moscow’s Russian Service began live coverage of the descent 8 minutes prior to touchdown, which came at 10:13 GMT. Mission Control broke into applause the moment the capsule thumped down on the earth 200km from Dzhezkazgan. Within minutes the cosmonauts were sitting on ‘deckchairs’.