Soyuz 12: the USSR returns to space

Soyuz 12After two years of reorganization and rethinking, the Soviet manned space program resumes with the launch of Soyuz 12, carrying cosmonauts Vasili Lazarev and Oleg Makarov. Previously a three-seater, Soyuz has been redesigned following the Soyuz 11 tragedy: the vehicle now seats a crew of two, both wearing fully pressurized spacesuits. Originally intended to visit the Salyut 2 station, Soyuz 12 is only a two-day shakedown flight for the redesigned spacecraft (Salyut 2’s own technical problems have rendered it uninhabitable by a human crew).