Presidential Libraries

Preparing to Launch

Preparing to Launch

The U.S. and Soviet space programs conducted numerous tests and simulations. From July 1973 to April 1975, the U.S. and Soviet space crews and supporting engineers visited each other’s facilities and trained together. The U.S. astronauts took Russian language courses; the Soviets took English courses. Both teams agreed that in space, the Americans would speak to their Soviet counterparts in Russian, who in turn would speak English to the Americans.

Midway through their first intensive training session, the men visited Washington, D.C. while en route to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for joint flight crew training.

This September 6, 1974 memorandum from Henry A. Kissinger describes the visit and provides an overview of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

National Archives Identifier: 7347330, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum Identifier: 19740906.

Model of the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft depicting their linkage in outer space. The commemorative pins attached to the base were worn by the cosmonauts when the model was presented to President Ford in the meeting shown below.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum Identifier: 1992.3.

The presentation of Apollo-Soyuz model to President Ford, September 7, 1974 in the the White House, Washington, DC. From left to right, Vladimir A. Shatalov, Commander of Cosmonaut training; Valeriy N. Kubasov, ASTP Soviet engineer; Aleksey A. Leonov, ASTP Soviet crew commander; Anatoly Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to the U.S.; President Gerald R. Ford; Thomas P. Stafford, ASTP American crew commander; Donald K. Slayton, American crew's docking module. The commemorative pins can be seen in the photograph.

National Archives Identifier: 7347187, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum Identifier: A0624-20.