Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
.S V Russia Ready Tuesday Rendezvous Blastoffs APPOINTMENT IN SPACE - American and Russian spacemen who will be involved in Tuesday's U.S.-Soviet space rendezvous blastoffs are, from left: Apollo astronauts Donald K, Slayton (docking module pilot), Vance D. Brand (command module pilot) and Thomas P. Stafford (commander); and Soyuz cosmonauts Valery N. Kubasov (engineer) and Aleksey A, Leonov (commander). CAPECANAVERAL.Fla. (UPl) — Russia sent its Soyuz to the launch pad Saturday and America's cool Apollo commander Thomas P. Stafford landed at the spaceport in a thunderstorm proclaiming,"We're proclaiming,"We're in great shape and ready to go" on Tuesday's U.S.Soviet rendezvous blastoffs. "1 hope we have all the bad weather today. Hope it's not like this next Tuesday," Stafford said after he zoomed into Patrick Air Force Base at 4:40 p.m. EOT through a thick layer of black storm clouds. Rain pattered on his bald head and soaked his yellow flight suit as he talked briefly to newsmen. Fellow astronauts Vance D. Brand and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton left the Johnson Space Center at Houston in other T38 jet trainers after Stafford to fly to the launch site. At the Soviet cosmodrome at Baikonur in the Central Asian desert cosmonauts Alexei A. Leonov, colonel in the Red Air Force, and space companion Valeri N. Kubasov, a civilian engineer, were reported in "excellent spirits" as they reheasred parts of their flight schedule. Everything was going smoothly in both countries. Even the weather, which has plagued the U.S. launch site here with lightning and gale force wind gusts for a week, showed signs of improving. The long-range forecast for Apollo's 3:50 p.m. EOT takeoff target was for partly cloudy skies and only scattered thunderstorms in the launch area. At the Soviet cosmodrome at Baikonur in the Central Asian desert, Prof. Konstantin Bushuyev, Russia's technical director, reported that everything was on schedule in preparing the Soyuz spacecraft and its booster rocket. A huge erector raised the 162-foot space machine vertically for Hight. At the launch site here, all was in readiness for start of the final Saturn-Apollo countdown at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The Russians will start the unprecedented space show with an'8:20 a.m. EOT takeoff on Tuesday. Brig. Gen. Stafford, Brand and Slayton are due to liftoff from this spaceport 8,670 miles away seven and a half hours later. If all goes well, the two space teams will rendezvous Thursday 136 miles over Germany and fly linked together for the next 44 hours, sharing meals of borscht and beef steak, carrying out a series of experiments and exchanging gifts, including pine tree seeds from each nation.