The Space Race Continues

The Voskhod spacecraft was launched as part of the Soviet Union's second human spaceflight program launched following the successes of their Vostok program which first took a man into space (Vostok 1). The Voskhod was able to launch up to 3 cosmonauts at one time, registering additional space milestones for the Soviet Union!


Quick Overview Of The Voskhod Program!

As the American’s moved from Project Mercury to Project Gemini, the Soviets moved from their Vostok to the Voskhod. As with NASA’s Gemini, the Voskhod was crewed by two or three cosmonauts.

The Voskhod spacecraft was slightly larger, but very similar to the Vostok spacecraft and included backup solid-fueled retrorockets in case the primary decent rockets failed. However, unlike the Vostok, the Voskhod descent module landed with the crewmen still inside (rather than utilizing an ejection seat) so braking rockets were added to the parachute lines to soften the landing.

Unlike the previous Vostok spacecraft and the later Soyuz spacecraft, the Voskhod had no launch abort system. This meant the crew couldn’t escape if an issue was experienced by the rocket during launch. The poor cosmonauts just had to cross their fingers!

The Voskhod program was short-lived, with only two one-day manned missions and one 22-day mission with two dogs aboard flew to space. The two manned flights were more aimed towards beating the American’s to space firsts. First by putting the first multi-man crew in orbit (Voskhod 1) and then by performing the first "spacewalk" (Voskhod 2).

It wasn’t long before the Voskhod program was cancelled to concentrate on the more successful Soyuz program.