The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) was the last mission in the Apollo program (using what would have been the Apollo 18 vehicle to the moon), and was the first joint flight of the U.S. and Soviet space programs. The mission took place in July 1975. For the United States of America, it was the last Apollo flight, as well as the last manned space launch until the flight of the first Space Shuttle in April 1981.

Though the Test Project included several scientific missions (including an engineered eclipse of the Sun by Apollo for Soyuz to take photographs of the solar corona), and provided useful engineering information on the synchronization of American and Soviet space technology that would prove useful in the future Shuttle-Mir Program, the primary purpose of the mission was symbolic. ASTP was seen as a symbol of the policy of détente (relaxing or easing) that the two superpowers were beginning to adopt at the time, and as a fitting end to the tension of the Space Race.


This was the first flight of Deke Slayton, who was chosen as one of the original Mercury Seven Astronauts in April 1959. During the "Race to the Moon", Major Slayton was grounded due to a heart murmur, and had to be content being the Head of the Astronaut Corp. In this capacity, he had to pick the crews/teams for each mission. He handled this impossible task (the ego of test pilots) with aplomb and was really their leader. He passed away in 1993.






CREW


Apollo-Soyuz Crew


US:
Thomas P. Stafford (4) - Commander
Vance D. Brand (1) - Command Module Pilot
Donald K. Slayton (1) - Docking Module Pilot

Backup crew:

Alan L. Bean - Commander
Ronald E. Evans - Command Module Pilot
Jack R. Lousma - Docking Module Pilot

USSR:

Alexei Leonov (2) - Commander
Valeri Kubasov (2) - Flight Engineer
Number in parentheses indicates number of spaceflights by each individual prior to and including this mission.

Backup crew:

Anatoli Filipchenko - Commander
Nikolai Rukavishnikov - Flight Engineer





Apollo-Soyuz

This is a photo of the docked American/Soviet craft. The complete mockup of both spacecraft docked is kept at the
National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.