CREW COUCH SHOCK ABSORBER USED ON SOYUZ 23, THE FIRST SOVIET "SPLASHDOWN."
THE ABORTED FLIGHT LANDS ON A FROZEN LAKE DURING A RUSSIAN BLIZZARD.
FLOWN cosmonaut crew couch shock absorber made of aluminum and other metals, 29 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Fittings at three different locations allow placement inside the Soyuz spacecraft on the crew seat assigned to cosmonaut Valery Rozhdestvenskronty. Several stenciled markings (in Russian) read in part (translated):"Shock absorber cover n. 564. Remove before flight". With a Typed Letter Signed by ROBERT ROZHDESTVENSKY.
Valery Rozhdestvensky's signed provenance letter in Russian reads (translated): "Upon completion of the flight on Soyuz-23, during which an emergency situation had occurred (due to which the connection with the space station Salut-5 failed), me and Zudov landed not in the designated point on the land, but on the lake Tengiz. Amortization of the chair #564 did not function, and after I investigated the reasons of this failure I took this chair home as a souvenir. Signed: Robert Rozhdestvenskyi."
Rozhdestvensky was selected for the cosmonaut program in 1965 and served as flight engineer on Soyuz 23 with commander cosmonaut Vyacheslav Zudov. Soyuz 23 was launched on October 14, 1976 for a planned long duration mission on the Salyut 5 space station. Problems with the automatic docking system during rendezvous on October 15 forced the crew to abort the mission and return to earth the following day, October 16. Soyuz 23 landed on the nearly frozen lake in the dark during near blizzard conditions. Their landing parachute soon began to sink and drag the spacecraft below the waterline. This caused difficulty for the recovery crews to actually locate Soyuz 23 and it was not until the next morning that the crew was actually rescued.