<p>Dreams of space settlements. To the 85th anniversary of the birth of the outstanding KPI graduate Volodymyr Fartushnyi

With the advent of the era of space flight, design engineers became interested in the idea of creating orbital space complexes and even entire human settlements in Earth orbit and on the Moon. Initially, they were planned to be formed by docking ships with each other. However, this was not enough to build complexes of large structures. Therefore, the only possible way to create them in space was to use metal welding. In 1964, the Chief Designer of OKB-1 S.P. Korolev and Director of the E.O. Paton Institute of Electric Welding (IEW) B.E. Paton created a "Plan of Joint Work on Welding in Space" and began research and development activities.

Electron beam welding was chosen as the main means among others. Soon, a pilot plant (stand A-1084) was created on the theme "Zvezda". In 1965, it was tested under short-term zero gravity conditions on a Tu-104 AK laboratory aircraft at the Flight Research Institute (Zhukovsky, Moscow region). Their unique results were discussed at a special meeting at OKB-1 with the participation of S.P. Korolev and B.E. Paton in September 1965.

The next step was to create welding equipment that would be able to operate in space flight conditions. Such a unit was created in 1967, named "Vulcan", was quite compact and weighed only 50 kg. Its ground tests took place at the G.I. Severin Zvezda Research and Production Association (Tomilino, Moscow region) in a special pressure chamber for testing space suits. A vacuum was created in the pressure chamber that corresponded to the "height" of 100 km, and welding experiments were conducted by an operator in a spacesuit.

In the same year, the selection of specialists from the EEZ began for the training of a research astronaut and experiments in Earth orbit. As a result of a strict selection based on medical and professional qualifications, Vladimir Fartushny, a senior researcher at the IEZ, was selected.

V.G. Fartushnyi was born on February 3, 1938 in Simferopol. In 1955, he graduated from high school and entered the first year of the Mechanical Faculty of the KPI, majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology. In 1960, he graduated from the institute with a degree in Welding Equipment and Technology and received a qualification as a mechanical engineer. In the same year, he was hired at the E.O. Paton Institute of Electric Welding.

In 1963, he was appointed Senior Engineer - Group Leader of the Institute of Electric Welding, and in 1965 - Lead Engineer. In these positions, he developed the scientific basis for welding high-alloy corrosion-resistant steels, developed new technologies and welding materials. Since 1964, he has been studying at the IES part-time postgraduate program and after graduating in 1966 was appointed a junior researcher at the IES. He took an active part in the creation and testing of the Vulcan space welding installation.

In 1967, Volodymyr Fartushnyi became a senior researcher at the Institute, and in May 1968 he was seconded to the Central Design Bureau of Experimental Engineering (Kaliningrad, now Korolev, Moscow region), where the first group of civilian test astronauts was being created. It consisted of 10 employees of OKB-1. The only representative of the Institute of Electric Welding was V.G. Fartushny. Since then, his position at the Institute has been a research astronaut.

In April 1969, the program of a record-breaking flight of three spacecraft at once was approved: "Soyuz-6, -7, -8. Metal welding was chosen to conduct unique experiments in orbit. However, the first space welder on the planet was not Fartushny, but Valery Kubasov, a test astronaut from the Central Design Bureau of Electric Welding, who had completed an internship at the Institute of Electric Welding.

The Soyuz-6 spacecraft was launched on October 11, 1969. The crew consisted of two people - commander Georgy Shonin and flight engineer Valery Kubasov. A Vulcan welding device was installed in the ship's utility compartment, which, according to the program, was to operate in automatic mode. Several types of electric welding were to be performed alternately on different metal samples. Before starting the experiment, the astronauts entered the descent vehicle, closed the hatch and depressurized the living compartment. The experiment turned out to be dangerous, as the device malfunctioned and almost burned through the outer shell of the ship, which could have led to explosive depressurization. And the astronauts were not wearing spacesuits... The experiment was watched with excitement by the director of the Institute of Electric Welding, B.E. Paton, who was in the Mission Control Center. Next to him was Volodymyr Fartushnyi, who provided the necessary advice. Although he did not have a chance to go into space this time, he continued his space training.

In May 1969, V. Fartushnyi, V. Patsaev, and V. Yazdovsky began training as flight engineers under the Kontakt program at the Cosmonaut Training Center. It was planned to conduct in-orbit tests of the radio system for the convergence and docking of lunar spacecraft under the H1-L3 program. In November, the crew was formed, consisting of the spacecraft commander Oleksiy Hubarev and flight engineer Volodymyr Fartushnyi. Preparations for the flight on the Soyuz simulator began. But then a tragedy struck: Volodymyr Fartushnyi was involved in a car accident and suffered serious leg injuries. In June 1971, the medical commission decided to suspend him from further space training. In July of the same year, the Kontakt program was canceled, as the Soviet program of human spaceflight to the Moon was halted.

After his recovery, Volodymyr Fartushnyi continued to work at the Institute of Electric Welding as a senior researcher and head of the laboratory. He worked on improving the methods and devices for welding metals, received several dozen copyright certificates for inventions that brought huge savings to the national economy.

In 1980, on the initiative of B.E. Paton, Volodymyr Fartushnyi was appointed director of the All-Union Design and Engineering Institute of Welding Production (since 1992 - Ukrainian Institute of Welding Production), which he headed until 2004. In 1992, he co-founded the Ukrainian Welding Society and became its president in 1995. After retiring in 1998, he worked as deputy editor-in-chief and chairman of the editorial board of the production and technical magazine Zvaryavchik.

What about welding in space? While working on solving earthly problems, Volodymyr Fartushnyi never forgot about space. With his participation, a universal electron beam hand tool (UBHT) was created. Using it, on July 25, 1984, on board the Salyut 7 orbital station, cosmonauts Volodymyr Dzhanibekov and Svetlana Savytska performed the world's first welding experiment in outer space. The test resulted in a new generation of URIs, the Universal equipment, which was tested aboard the Salyut 7 in 1986 by cosmonauts Vladimir Solovyov and Leonid Kizim. They performed manual electron beam welding of fragments of advanced structures on the outer surface of the orbital station. In the future, it was planned to continue the experiments on board the Mir spacecraft and even the Columbia shuttle, since the Americans did not have space welding technology. Unfortunately, these experiments were never carried out...

At the Institute of Electric Welding, with the participation of V. Fartushnyi, another device was developed for use in space, the "Isparytel" ("Evaporator"). It is designed to apply protective coatings on the surface of spacecraft, as they degrade to a depth of 10 microns during long-term operation in outer space. It was tested aboard the Salyut-6 spacecraft by cosmonauts V. Lyakhov and V. Ryumin in June 1979. The working unit of the installation was located in the airlock chamber, where a vacuum was created, and the remote control was located in the working compartment of the spacecraft. One of the working specimens, a duplicate of the Evaporator, is on display at the Borys Paton State Polytechnic Museum.

Volodymyr Hryhorovych Fartushnyi passed away on April 16, 2018. In 2021, his wife, Svitlana Borysivna, donated Volodymyr Fartushnyi's personal belongings to the KPI Museum: original copyright certificates for inventions, books, photographs, and awards. The personal file of student V.G. Fartushnyi was found and scanned in the university archive. 

Today, museum specialists and visitors have the opportunity to study the achievements of the outstanding Kyiv Polytechnic, who worked to create normal conditions for long-term human stay in space.

Sergiy Grachev  
Head of the Department of Aviation and Astronautics History 
Borys Paton State Polytechnic Museum,
Gergana Ivanova, Ph, 
PhD in History of Aviation and Astronautics 
Borys Paton State Polytechnic Museum