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September 10, 1960

Proposal from D. Ustinov et al to the CPSU CC on Human Spaceflight

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

Nº VP-3/1647      


September 10, 1960


Top Secret

(of special importance)

Copy Nº 1


To the CPSU CC


The successful launch, flight into space, and landing of a spacecraft (the object Vostok-1)[1] raise the question of the timeframes to perform a manned spaceflight in a new way.


The analysis of the telemetry data received in the process of the Vostok-1 flight indicate the possibility of creating normal living conditions for human existence during spaceflight.


The use of separate elements of piloting on the spacecraft by the astronaut, along with the automatic control of the spacecraft’s flight, increases the reliability of the flight and landing of the craft.


A study of the projected technical solutions provides an opportunity to create a spacecraft (object Vostok-3A) and solve the question of manned spaceflight on this object in 1960.


The first manned spaceflight will appear to be one of the most important stages in the mastery of cosmic space.


As has already been reported to the CPSU CC [Central Committee] at the present time a rocket system has been prepared, the 8K78 booster rocket, capable of lifting an object of seven to nine tons into orbit. The first test of this rocket will be conducted in the planned launch of an interplanetary station to the region of Mars in September and October of this year.


The existence of such a satellite provides new opportunities to create manned military satellites.


The accomplishment of the first manned spaceflight is a very difficult task and will require the enormous efforts of all developer organizations and missiles technology industrial enterprises.


It is necessary to pose this task as the main one in terms of space work to ensure the first manned spaceflight on a satellite-ship [korabl’-sputnik] in a short timeframe and with a high degree of reliability, deferring the deadlines for the solution of other tasks in this field.


Based on this we are submitting the following proposals concerning the work plan in the field of mastering space in the immediate period:


1. Between September 20 and October 8, 1960 launch an interplanetary station to the region of Mars (a separate report has been submitted to the CPSU CC about this question).[2]


2. After the launch of one or two Vostok-1 objects in October and November and two Vostok-3A objects in November and December perform a manned spaceflight on object Vostok-3A in December 1960.


Immediately begin the work to prepare the booster rocket and the Vostok-3A object for a manned flight.


Complete the training of the pilot-astronauts by December 1, 1960, including the training exercise for the object Vostok-3A in ground conditions.


3. Postpone the preparations for the launch of the Elektron satellites from November-December 1960 to March-April 1961.


4. Postpone the creation and launch of the Luna satellite (object Ye-7) to transmit an image of the Moon from the first half of 1961 to the end of 1961.


5. Postpone the deadline for the creation of Vostok-2 objects (the established deadlines: one set – January 1961 and one set – February 1961) and the automated science station on the surface of the Moon – object Ye-6 (the established deadline – the end of 1960) by one quarter.


6. The launch of the interplanetary station to the region of Venus is to be done at the previously established periods (January 1961).


Please approve our proposals to perform the first manned spaceflight on a satellite as a task of special importance.[3]


We also request permission to submit these changes to the previously outlined plan of work to master outer space.[4]




D. Ustinov[5],

R. Malinovskiy[6],

K. Rudnev[7],

V. Kalmykov[8],

P. Dement’yev[9],

B. Butoma[10],

M. Nedelin[11],

S. Rudenko[12],

V. Ryabikov[13],

M. Keldysh[14],

S. Korolev[15],

V. Glushko[16],

M. Ryazanskiy[17],

N. Pilyugin[18],

V. Barmin[19],

V. Kuznetsov[20]


Archival Source: APRF, f. 3, op. 13, d. 307, ll. 5-7. Original. Signatures. First published with abridgments in Izvestiya TsK KPSS no. 5 (1991): 101-102.


[1] This refers to the August 19, 1960 launch of a spacecraft that was publicly named the Vtoroy Korabl’-Sputnik [Second Satellite-Ship] which carried two dogs Belka and Strelka into orbit. They were successfully recovered about a day after launch. The spacecraft was of the Vostok-1-type, an early prototype version of the eventual Vostok-3A-type reserved for human spaceflight.

[2] This refers to the September 3, 1960 note of D. F. Ustinov, K. N. Rudnev, V. D. Kalmykov, and others which reported the progress of the work to launch a spacecraft to Mars and asked for permission for that launch (see APRF, f. 3, op. 47, d. 277, ll. 77-80). The launch was considered at the September 14, 1960 meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee. As a result, decree Nº P300/II was adopted “The Launch of the Interplanetary Automated Station Mars-1” (see AP RF, f. 3, op. 47, d. 277, ll. 73-76).

[3] The note was considered at the October 11, 1960 meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee. As a result, a decree Nº P305/X entitled “A Question of the Commission of the USSR Council of Ministers on Military-Industrial Questions” was adopted and a Central Committee and Council of Ministers decree “On the Object Vostok-3A” was approved.

[4] This refers to Central Committee and Council of Ministers decree Nº 587-238 of June 4, 1960 “On the Plan to Master Cosmic Space in 1960 and the First Half of 1961.”

[5] Dmitriy Fedorovich Ustinov (1908-1984) was chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission.

[6] Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovskiy (1898-1967) was USSR minister of defense.

[7] Konstantin Nikolayevich Rudnev (1911-1980) was chairman of the State Committee of Defense Technology.

[8] Valeriy Dmitriyevich Kalmykov (1908-1974) was chairman of the State Committee of Radio-Electronics.

[9] Pyotr Vasil’yevich Dement’yev (1907-1977) was chairman of the State Committee for Aviation Technology.

[10] Boris Yevstafyevich Butoma (1907-1976) was chairman of the State Committee of Shipbuilding.

[11] Mitrofan Ivanovich Nedelin (1902-1960) was commander-in-chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces.

[12] Sergey Igant’yevich Rudenko (1904-1990) was 1st deputy commander-in-chief of the Air Force.

[13] Vasiliy Mikhaylovich Ryabikov (1907-1974) was chairman of the RSFSR Sovnarkhoz.

[14] Mstislav Vsevolodich Keldysh (1911-1978) was vice-president of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

[15] Sergey Pavlovich Korolev (1907-1966) was chief designer of OKB-1.

[16] Valentin Petrovich Glushko (1908-1989) was chief designer of OKB-456.

[17] Mikhail Sergeyevich Ryazanskiy (1909-1987) was chief designer and director of NII-885.

[18] Nikolay Alekseyevich Pilyugin (1908-1982) was chief designer and deputy director of NII-885.

[19] Vladimir Pavlovich Barmin (1909-1993) was chief designer of GSKB Spetsmash.

[20] Viktor Ivanovich Kuznetsov (1913-1991) was chief designer of NII-944.

Document Information


Selected, edited, and annotated by Asif Siddiqi. Translated by Gary Goldberg and Angela Greenfield.


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