|Mission Name:||Soyuz 6|
|Call Sign:||Антея (Antey - "Antaeus")|
|Number of Crew Members:||2|
|Launch:||October 11, 1969|
|Landing:||October 16, 1969|
|Duration:||4 days, 22 hours, 42 minutes|
|Number of Orbits:||80|
Soyuz 6 was part of a joint mission with Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8 that saw three Soyuz spacecraft in orbit together at the same time, carrying seven cosmonauts. The crew of Georgi Shonin and Valeri Kubasov were meant to take high-quality movie photography of Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8 docking but the rendezvous systems on all three spacecraft failed.
It is still not quite known exactly what the actual problem was but it is often quoted as being a helium pressurisation integrity test. The version of Soyuz spacecraft used for the missions (7K-OK) carried a torus shaped docking electronics equipment housing surrounding the motor assembly on the back of the service module. This is thought to have been pressurised with helium to provide a nice benign environment for the electronics. It was then jettisoned after docking to lower the mass of the spacecraft for reentry. What went wrong with the electronics on all three spacecraft is still not known.
The crew was made up of Georgi Shonin and Valeri Kubasov, who carried out important experiments in space welding. They tested three methods: using an electron beam, a low pressure plasma arc and a consumable electrode. The apparatus was designed at the E. O. Paton Electric Welding Institute, Kiev, Ukraine. The weld quality was said to be in no way inferior to that of Earth based welds.