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Salyut Type Stations

In the early 1960's, Sergei Korolev and his OKB-1 Design Bureau were preoccupied with the development of the Soyuz vehicles. As a result, development of the first Soviet space stations fell upon the OKB-52 Design Bureau and Vladimir N. Chelomei. Development of Almaz system began 12 October 1964. In February 1970 it was decided to transfer Almaz hardware and plans to OKB-1 in the hopes of having a station in orbit before the Americans could launch Skylab.

What resulted was the adaptation of Almaz hardware for large components and Soyuz hardware for the subsystems. This Long-Duration Station (DOS) was to be called Zarya (dawn), but shortly before launch it was realized that there would be confusion because of another project code named Zarya. The name was quickly changed to Salyut (salute). This was a "salute" to Yuri Gagarin.

The DOS stations (Salyut 1, 4, 6 and 7) were of a "civilian" nature, at least by Soviet standards. Almaz 1, 2 and 3 (Salyut 2, 3 and 5) were strictly military. The Almaz program had also developed its own crew and supply delivery vehicles, the TKS. Because of the Almaz/Soyuz "merger" and declining political influence of the OKB-52 unit, the TKS, while it did fly, never carried any crew members. A fourth Almaz, Almaz 4, was to have been launched in 1978, but the program was cancelled not long before the launch could occur.

The early Salyut stations could not be resupplied or refueled, so they did not have long life expectancy. The second generation DOS stations (Salyut 6 and 7) could be resupplied and had a longer life.

The Almaz stations, also referred to as Orbital Piloted Stations, had superior photo equipment, targeting equipment, and an anti-satellite cannon. A special cargo and crew delivery system was also developed for use with the Almaz. This was designated TKS.

Salyut 1 with approaching Soyuz (Credit: NASA)

Salyut 1 (DOS-1) was in orbit from 19 April 1971 until 11 October 1971. While Soyuz 10 did dock with Salyut 1, the cosmonauts did not enter. The Soyuz 11 cosmonauts inhabited it from 7-29 June 1971.

DOS-2 launch was on 29 July 1972. A second stage failure of the Proton rocket caused the station to fall into the Pacific Ocean.

Salyut 2 (OPS-1 or Almaz 1) was launched 3 April 1973. About a week later, a severe tumbling problem developed, and the craft broke up into about 25 trackable pieces which entered the atmosphere on 28 May 1973. It was an Almaz type (military).

Cosmos 557/DOS-3 orbited from 11-22 May 1973. Soon after reaching orbit, there was a failure of the attitude control system ion sensors which depleted most of the attitude control fuel supply. A command was sent to raise the orbit but being in the wrong attitude, the station reentered instead.

Almaz 2 (Credit: NASA)

Salyut 3 (OPS-2 or Almaz 2) orbited from 24 June (25 June in Moscow), 1974 until 24 January 1975. It was occupied only by the Soyuz 14 cosmonauts. Soyuz 15 was unable to successfully dock with Salyut 3. Like Salyut 2, Salyut 3 was an Almaz type.

Salyut 4 with approaching Soyuz Ferry (Credit: NASA)

Salyut 4 (DOS-4) was in orbit from 26 December 1974 to 2 February 1977. It was inhabited by 2 cosmonaut crews, Soyuz 17 (11 January - 9 February 1975) and Soyuz 18 (25 May - 26 July 1975). Soyuz 20, an unmanned craft, also docked from 19 November 1975 until 16 February 1976.

Salyut 5 (OPS-3 or Almaz 3) orbited 22 June 1976 to 8 August 1977. It was inhabited by Soyuz 21 cosmonauts from 7 July to 24 August 1976. Soyuz 23 was unable to dock on 15 October 1976, however the Soyuz 24 crew was able to occupy the station from 8-25 February 1977. Salyut 5 was an Almaz type station, similar to Salyut 2 and Salyut 3. Salyut 5 was intentionally de-orbited 8 August 1977.

Salyut 6 (Credit: NASA)

Salyut 6 (DOS-6) was in orbit from 29 September 1977 to 29 July 1982. It was a second generation platform, similar to Salyut 1 and Salyut 4, but had two docking ports, one on either end. This permitted the docking of unmanned Progress type craft and extend the operational lifetime of Salyut 6. Salyut 6 marked the first use of the unmanned Progress supply craft, and the new Soyuz T ferry craft. The operational schedule was changed to have a resident team occupy the craft for an extended period, while secondary crews would arrive and disembark. These secondary crews were the first to include "guest cosmonauts" from outside the Soviet Union. Salyut 6 was intentionally de-orbited 29 July 1982.

Salyut 6 Missions:
Soyuz 25, aborted
Soyuz 26, PE-1
Soyuz 27, VE-1
Soyuz 28, VE-2 (First international)
Soyuz 29, PE-2
Soyuz 30, VE-3 (Second international)
Soyuz 31, VE-4 (Third international)
Soyuz 32, PE-3
Soyuz 33, VE-5 (Fourth international)
Soyuz 34, launched unmanned
Soyuz T-1, unmanned
Soyuz 35, PE-4
Soyuz 36, VE-6 (Fifth international)
Soyuz T-2, VE-7
Soyuz 37, VE-8 (Sixth international)
Soyuz 38, VE-9 (Seventh international)
Soyuz T-3, Maintenance
Soyuz T-4, PE-5
Soyuz 39, VE-10 (Eighth international)
Soyuz 40, VE-11 (Ninth international)

Salyut 7 (DOS-7) entered orbit on 19 April 1982, and remained there until 7 February 1991. It was similar to Salyut 6, being built of spare parts and backup hardware from Salyut 6. Salyut 7 modifications included the installation of electric stoves, a refrigerator, constant hot water, two portholes designed to allow ultraviolet light to enter (to help kill infections), and improved medical and exercise facilities. A total of ten Soyuz T crews visited Salyut 7. Because of assorted technical problems, Salyut 7 was not as productive as Salyut 6. It was boosted to a higher orbit in August 1986, which was meant to keep it up for another 10 years in hopes of being able to return for repairs. Increased solar activity caused the orbit to decay must faster than anticipated and Salyut 7 reentered uncontrolled over South America on 7 February 1991.

Salyut 7 Missions:
Soyuz T-5, PE-1
Soyuz T-6, VE-1 (Tenth international)
Soyuz T-7, VE-2
Soyuz T-8, aborted
Soyuz T-9, PE-2
Soyuz T-10-1, aborted
Soyuz T-10, PE-3
Soyuz T-11, VE-3 (Eleventh international)
Soyuz T-12, VE-4
Soyuz T-13, PE-4
Soyuz T-14, PE-5
Soyuz T-15, PE-6

*NOTE: PE designates "Principal Expedition"; VE designates "Visiting Expedition"


Page last modified: 10 August 2015 16:05:06.