Voskhod instrument panel

I love the fact that the spacecraft’s position was indicated by a clockwork globe.

I really want to know more about the “ingenious Vzor periscope”. What a great name.

The Vostok and Voskhod spacecraft, like the U.S. Mercury, could not perform orbital maneuvers – they could only be translated around their axes. The main engine was used only at the end of the mission for the reentry braking maneuver. Instrumentation on the Vostoks was rudimentary in the extreme. There were no gyros and no eight-ball for maneuvring as on the Gemini. The reentry maneuver was normally handled automatically by radio command. Spacecraft attitude in relation to the local motion along the orbit was determined by sun sensors, infrared horizon sensors and ion gauges, which could detect the spacecraft’s direction of motion by the greater velocity of ions impacting the spacecraft in the direction of motion.

The cosmonaut could, however, take control of the spacecraft and manually reenter. This was done by using the ingenious Vzor periscope device mounted on the floor of the cabin. This had a central view and eight ports arranged in a circle around the center. When the spacecraft was perfectly centered in respect to the horizon, all eight of the ports would be lit up. Alignment along the orbit was judged by getting lines on the main scope to be aligned with the landscape flowing by below. In this way, the spacecraft could be oriented correctly for the reentry maneuver. To decide when to reenter, the cosmonaut had a little clockwork globe that showed current position over the earth. By pushing a button to the right of the globe, it would be advanced to the landing position assuming a standard reentry at that moment. This manual system would obviously only be used during daylight portions of the orbit. At night the dark mass of the earth could not have been lined up with the optical Vzor device. The automatic system would work day or night.

Voskhod navigation instrument

Voskhod navigation instrument

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