VostokThis article is about a type of Soviet spacecraft. For Russian base on Antarctica see Vostok, Antarctica.
The Vostok (Восток, translated as "East") was a type of spacecraft built by the Soviet Union's space program for manned space flight.
The craft consisted of a spherical descent module (mass 2.46 tonnes, diameter 2.3 meters), which housed the cosmonaut, instruments and escape system, and a conical instrument module (mass 2.27 tonnes, 2.25 m long, 2.43 m wide), which contained propellant and the engine system. On reentry, the cosmonaut would eject from the craft at about 7km and descend via parachute, while the capsule would land separately. The launch vehicle was developed from the R-7 rocket.
The Vostok spacecraft was originally designed for use both as a camera platform (for the Soviet Union's first spy satellite program, Zenit) and as a manned spacecraft. This dual-use design was crucial in gaining Communist Party support for the program. The basic Vostok design has remained in use for some forty years, gradually adapted for a range of other uncrewed satellites. The descent module was reused, in heavily-modified form, by the Voskhod program.
A series of prototype Vostoks, including at least five with animals and sometimes a test dummy aboard tested the spacecraft.
Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight, and was followed by
1966, but these were cancelled as the race to the moon intensified.
The Vostok was succeeded by the Voskhod spacecraft.