The original Soyuz 9 mission was planned to fly two Soyuz spacecraft in the August to September 1970 time frame for a rendezvous and docking; however, at the end of December 1969 the communist party bosses ordered that the mission be changed to a single spacecraft on a 20 day long duration flight to be launched in April 1970 to coincide with Lenin’s birthday.
When we left the Soviet Union they had somewhat successfully landed a probe on Venus and they had completed the automatic docking of two Soyuz 7K-OK spacecrafts. However they did not reach their goal of a circumlunar flight in time for the 50th anniversary of the glorious revolution.
After 1957, the Soviets became accustomed to achieving “world firsts” in space accomplishments. Nevertheless, 10 years later they were not confident that they could pull off the world’s first fully automatic rendezvous and docking of two un-piloted Soyuz spacecraft. At the time the chance for success was estimated at only 50/50.
Vasily Mishin at Baykonur in 1967. Credit B. Chertok
Armen Mnatsakanyan the main designer of Igla. Credit B. Chertok