Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

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Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
Mission Spacecraft
Mission Statistics (Soyuz)
Mission Name:Soyuz 19
Call Sign:Союз (Soyuz - "Union")
Number of
Launch:July 15, 1975
12:20:00 UTC
Apogee:231 km
Perigee:218 km
Period:88.92 min
Inclination:51.76 deg
Landing:July 21, 1975
10:50:00 UTC
57 N 67 E
Duration:5 d 22 h 30 min 54 s
Number of
~2,400,000 mi
(~3,900,000 km)
Mass:Soyuz 6,790 kg
Mission Insignia
Missing image
Apollo-Soyuz insignia

Mission Statistics (Apollo)
Mission Name:Apollo
Call Sign:Apollo
Number of
Launch:July 15, 1975
19:50:00 UTC
Kennedy Space Center
Apogee:231 km
Perigee:217 km
Period:88.91 min
Inclination:51.75 deg
Landing:July 24, 1975
21:18:00 UTC
Template:Coor dm
Duration:9 d 1 h 28 min 24 s
Number of
~3,700,000 mi
(~5,990,000 km)
Mass:CSM 14,768 kg
DM 2,012 kg
Crew Picture
ASTP crew portrait (L-R: Slayton, Stafford, Brand, Leonov, Kubasov)
ASTP crew portrait
(L-R: Slayton, Stafford, Brand, Leonov, Kubasov)

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was the first joint flight of the US and Soviet space programs. The Apollo Spacecraft and Docking Module were launched on a Saturn IB rocket.


Apollo Crew

(1) number of spaceflights each crew member has completed, including this mission.

Jack Swigert had originally been suggested for Command Module Pilot position in the original ASTP prime crew, but was removed as punishment for his role in the postage stamp scandal following the Apollo 15 mission. (Swigert was not involved in the controversial Apollo 15 stamp deal, but in the investigation that followed the scandal he initially denied having any involvement in similar schemes. When evidence against him started to build up he confessed to Deke Slayton and was consequently considered to be undesirable from a public relations viewpoint.)

Backup Crew

Support Crew

Soyuz Crew

(1) number of spaceflights each crew member has completed, including this mission.

Backup Crew

Mission parameters

  • Mass:
    • 14,768 kg (Apollo),
    •   6,790 kg (Soyuz)
  • Perigee:
    • 152 km (Apollo),
    • 186 km (Soyuz)
  • Apogee:
    • 166 km (Apollo),
    • 220 km (Soyuz)
  • Inclination:
    • 51.7 (Apollo),
    • 51.8 (Soyuz)
  • Period:
    • 87.6 minutes (Apollo),
    • 88.5 minutes (Soyuz)


  • First Docking: July 17, 1975 - 16:19:09 UTC
  • Last Undocking: July 19, 1975 - 15:26:12 UTC
  • Time Docked: 1 day, 23 hours, 07 minutes, 03 seconds

Mission highlights

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) took place in the second half of July 1975 and entailed the docking of an American Apollo space craft with the Soviet Soyuz 19 space craft. The former had three crew on board – Tom Stafford, Vance Brand and Deke Slayton, the latter had two – Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov.

ASTP was in part inspired by the 1968 film Marooned, in which a stranded US Apollo crew is rescued by a Soviet spacecraft. Although the equipment developed for ASTP was only of use as a one-off, the program allowed NASA to maintain a manned space focus following the end of the Apollo and Skylab missions. As the Saturn IB launcher and Apollo CSM were all surplus materiel, ASTP was the most inexpensive manned space program ever mounted.

The Soyuz 19 and Apollo craft launched within seven-and-a-half hours of each other July 15, and docked on July 17. Three hours later, Stafford and Leonov exchanged the first international handshake in space through the open hatch of the Soyuz. The two spacecraft remained linked for 44 hours, long enough for the three Americans and two Soviets to exchange flags and gifts (including tree seeds which were later planted in the two countries), sign certificates, pay visits to each other's ships, eat together and converse in each other's languages. There were also docking and redocking maneuvers during which the two spacecraft reversed roles and the Soyuz became the "active" ship. The Soviets remained in space for five days, the Americans for nine, during which the Soviets also conducted experiments in Earth observation.

Missing image
Soyuz 19 spacecraft as seen from Apollo CM

The docking was made possible by a specially-built adapter that was carried into orbit with the Apollo craft and took place on July 17, 1975. The historic handshake between Stafford and Leonov, the two mission commanders, had originally been scheduled at such time that it would have taken place over Bognor Regis, but a delay resulted in its actual occurrence being over continental Europe.

While docked, the two crews conducted joint scientific experiments and spent time in each others' craft. After forty-four hours together, the two ships separated, and maneuvered to use the Apollo to create an artificial solar eclipse to allow the crew of the Soyuz to take photographs of the solar corona. Another brief docking was made before the ships went their separate ways.

The mission was a great success, both technically and as a public-relations exercise for both sides. As an aside, the Apollo-Soyuz mission was the first mission carrying a handheld programmable pocket calculator (the HP-65); the calculator was programmed to perform several backup computations to partly stand in for the Apollo mission computer in case the latter should malfunction or cease to function altogether (neither of which occurred).

The only serious problem that arose was due to the Apollo crew making a mistake during their preparations for re-entry that resulted in a very rough landing and the capsule filling with noxious fumes. The reaction control system was inadvertently left on during descent, producing uncombusted thruster propellant which was then sucked into the capsule as its pressure equalized with the outside air. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.

This was the final flight of an Apollo spacecraft. The Command Module is on display at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.


The ASTP insignia was cleverly designed. Look closely at the ASTP crew picture. The American crew wears the insignia with the "Blue" banner to the left. This causes the patch to read as "Apollo - Soyuz". The Soviet crew wears the insignia with the "Red" banner to the left. Worn this way, the patch now reads, "Soyuz - Apollo".

External links

Preceded by:
Skylab 4
Project Apollo
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Soyuz 18
Soyuz programme
Succeeded by:
Soyuz 20

Template:End box

Template:US manned space programs

Template:Russian manned space programs

pt:Apollo 18 es:Apollo-Soyuz de:Apollo-Sojus-Projekt fr:Apollo-Soyouz he:אפולו-סויוז hu:Apollo-Szojuz-program


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