The Apollo-Soyuz Mission

The above image made from a frame of 16 millimeter motion picture film marked the high point in the Detente. The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was the first time that the US and the USSR cooperated in a manned space mission. Engineering teams from both sides collaborated in the development of a docking module to link the spacecraft, with the Russians being forced to reveal their past failures to NASA.

Apollo commander Thomas P. Stafford (right) and Soyuz-19 commander Aleksei A. Leonov (left) greet each other for the first time in space with a handshake. It was an event broadcast live on global television. This mission was meant to symbolize the end of competition and the beginning of an era of cooperation in space. The crews visited each other’s spacecraft, shared meals, and worked on various tasks during several days together in space. This fulfilled a 1972 agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States to participate in a joint venture in space–messages were relayed from the crews directly to President Ford and Premier Brezhnev.

The two spacecraft remained docked for two days, and undocked and re-docked for practice purposes. This would be the final flight of the Apollo spacecrafts.

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