enter image description here

This image was attached to the Wikipedia article on Vostok 1 with a perfunctory caption "Part of the Vostok 1 instrument panel".

I'm interested in the globe in the center. What is the name of this instrument? Is it just a passive map, or did it automatically follow the craft position? If it did, how did it do it (obtain the data to position the globe)? The article mentions considerable problems with determining the orbit; Gagarin didn't learn he was in the right orbit nearly until reentry burn time. Any more information on this device?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Jan 16 '17 at 12:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I added a reference to the Globus navigation instrument to the image description. $\endgroup$ – Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Jan 16 '17 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, took me a while - the vertical crosshair goes "up" from Jakarta to Carnarvon. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 16 '17 at 15:50

From russian wikipedia: Another instrument helped to the pilot to decide when to start manual operation to return to Earth - it was a small globe with a clock mechanism, which shows the (calculated, not measured) current location over Earth.

It followed the craft position as calculated with the mechanical computer inside, following parameters initially entered (using the knobs) as given by ground station. The discs above the globe displayed latitude and longitude; the device also used potentiometers coupled to the mechanical computer shafts to feed current craft position information to other instruments. Upon press of a button, the globe would turn from current craft position to a predicted point of landing.

Comparing the indication of "Globus" with ground features seen through "Vzor" (a small window with aiming cross lines, pointed at ship's nadir), the astronaut could determine deviations from planned path.

  • $\begingroup$ The orbit of Vostok-1 was elliptic with perigee at 169 km and apogee at 327 km. Did the globe rotated by the clock mechanism show all the properties of the calculated elliptical orbit? Speed over ground was not constant. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Jan 17 '17 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe: Yes, it was designed to simulate an arbitrary orbit of that specific inclination (only later models in Soyuz allowed changing inclination too) - the mechanical computer was vastly more complex than just "rotate the globe at constant speed". Also, if the trajectory was suborbital, it would find the landing point. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jan 17 '17 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ One serious drawback: it would need to have the orbital settings entered as dictated by a ground station, after measurement was made. This was not available until Gagarin left the Soviet radio space... $\endgroup$ – SF. Jan 17 '17 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ @SF: Some cam disks and a clock mechanism could rotate the globe with the precalculated non constant orbital speed. Koroljow prefered solutions as simple as possible. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Jan 18 '17 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe: Precalculated, non-constant, tunable speed :) Just look at this cardioid conical cam. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jan 18 '17 at 13:04

Two variants of the Globus retained in my collection - in the foreground from Voskhod, in the background installed in the Soyuz TM panel is the later version)

Globus Versions

  • $\begingroup$ You know, this is still a comment, not an answer. However, i must admit i am intrigued. How does a private citizen end up with two globus instruments? It is so remarkable, i am not sure what to make of the photo, which does indeed look like someone's home, and like it was set up to prove that the instruments are in one's possession. But.... two...? $\endgroup$ – kim holder May 4 '17 at 20:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well if you like I can shoot it with today's newspaper for "proof of life" :0) I have many artifacts from both the US and Russian space program, some of which have flown to the moon. By the way, the first image (from Wiki) at the top of the page is not a Vostok panel...its from Voskhod - they are frequently confused. $\endgroup$ – SpaceAholic May 4 '17 at 20:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I am normally a stickler for the rules on things like this. If something is not an answer to the question, it should go. In this case, as this pertains to important history of space exploration, and you, it would seem, have considerable knowledge on that subject, i am going to ask a related question specifically so this photo can be posted, and some context be provided. I'm not sure how i feel about this answer staying here after that, we'll see what our community thinks. $\endgroup$ – kim holder May 4 '17 at 20:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ space.stackexchange.com/q/21392/4660 $\endgroup$ – kim holder May 4 '17 at 21:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.