Soyuz 8

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Shatalov and Yeliseyev on commemorative stamp
Soyuz 8
Mission typeTest flight
OperatorSoviet space program
COSPAR ID1969-087A
SATCAT no.4126
Mission duration4 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes, 49 seconds
Orbits completed80
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-OK(P)
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau OKB-1
Launch mass6,646 kilograms (14,652 lb)
Crew size2
MembersVladimir Shatalov
Aleksei Yeliseyev
CallsignГранит (Granit - "Granite")
Start of mission
Launch date13 October 1969, 10:19:09 (1969-10-13UTC10:19:09Z) UTC
Launch siteBaikonur 31/6[1]
End of mission
Landing date18 October 1969, 09:09:58 (1969-10-18UTC09:09:59Z) UTC
Landing site51°N 72°E / 51°N 72°E / 51; 72
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude201 kilometres (125 mi)
Apogee altitude227 kilometres (141 mi)
Inclination51.7 degrees
Period88.7 minutes
Soyuz programme
(Crewed missions)
← Soyuz 7
Soyuz 9 →

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,[citation needed] 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.


Position Cosmonaut
Commander Vladimir Shatalov
Second spaceflight
Flight Engineer Aleksei Yeliseyev
Second spaceflight

Backup Crew[edit]

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Andrian Nikolayev
Flight Engineer Vitali Sevastyanov


  1. ^ "Baikonur LC31". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-03-04.