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  Survival gun aboard Soviet/Russian spacecraft

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Author Topic:   Survival gun aboard Soviet/Russian spacecraft
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Denver, CO, USA
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 04-25-2005 12:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for flight   Click Here to Email flight     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find it very interesting that the Soyuz spacecraft carries a gun on board for fighting off wolves when they land. This means there is a gun at the International Space Station.


Posts: 346
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-25-2005 09:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pokey   Click Here to Email pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
James Oberg told me that NASA has never liked the gun onboard. During the Soyuz exchanges there are two survival guns onboard.

Oberg mentions the gun in his book "Star Cross Orbits."

The triple-barreled gun can fire flares, shotgun shells, or rifle bullets, depending on how it's loaded. The gun and about 10 rounds for each barrel are carried in a triangle-shaped survival canister stowed next to the commander's couch. The gun's shoulder stock opens up into a machete for chopping firewood.


Posts: 518
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 04-26-2005 08:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They have been flying a "survival gun" for a long time, though it has other uses besides ferocious animals. During the early days of spaceflight, it was used for potentially unruly mobs that might form around a spacecraft to steal souveneirs or badger the cosmonaut with classified questions or otherwise interrupt the recovery. It was forbidden for a member of the public to just walk up to a landed cosmonaut.

There was a story of when Vostok 6 landed, Valentina Tereshkova aimed a survival pistol at the approaching farmer and said "Do not approach" and then realizing he understood, she put the pistol down and asked "Where am I?". Remember there was no GPS then, and she really didn't know which town she was near. It turns out this occured on the Pavinskiy Collective Farm, Bayevo district of the Altai Region. Half an hour from a paved road and miles from the nearest phone!

And steal they did! Vostok 6's food was missing, as was a survival raft on Vostok 1. They had to threaten an entire village with imprisonment to get it back! (It was later returned with amnesty). Of course 99% of the folks were friendly but what about the aggressive 1% that saw entitlement to souveneirs? Or resisted collectivization and saw bullying a cosmonaut as payback?

Friendly territory was only a relative idea.

Mike Dixon

Posts: 817
From: Kew, Victoria, Australia
Registered: May 2003

posted 06-04-2014 01:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In reading some commentary attributed to Alexei Leonov post the Voskhod 2 flight, he mentioned that the area where they landed (some 400 miles from the intended area) was inhabited by bears and wolves, however they carried a gun and had (quote) plenty of ammunition.

I can only assume that was part of the survival kit carried aboard Soviet vehicles at that time; certainly wouldn't surprise me if that was the case.

Does anyone know if that practice continued beyond that flight?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

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