The following is the translation of an article from the Russian news website “3DNews – Daily Digital Digest,” which was originally published on 16 July.
We’ve learned that the USSR was preparing the necessary equipment in the event of an emergency landing of an American Apollo spacecraft on Russian territory in 1975. This is shown through a plan of actions, declassified this week, on the execution of a resolution by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers of the USSR to construct a 7K-TM two-seat piloted spacecraft (Soyuz-M). The declassified information was published on the website of the Russian State Archive for Scientific and Technical Documentation.
“Equip five An-12 aircraft and eight An-24 Air Force search and rescue system aircraft with R-832 radios to provide radio communications with the crewmembers of the Apollo spacecraft in the event of it performing an unscheduled landing on USSR territory,” the declassified document says.
On 15 July 1975, Soyuz-19 took off from its pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome with cosmonauts Aleksei Leonov and Valeriy Kubasov on board. After roughly seven and a half hours, the American Apollo spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral with astronauts Thomas Stafford, Vince Brand, and Donald Slayton. On 17 July, space travelers successfully docked spacecraft from different countries for the first time ever.
This event became the basis for future international flights, and fostered the creation of the first International Space Station. The two craft spent 43 hours, 54 minutes, and 11 seconds docked together. Undocking took place on 19 July, after the Apollo separated some 200 meters from the Soyuz, the ships conducted the “Artificial Solar Eclipse” experiment and docked again. The mission was completed on 21 July 1975.