Salyut 7

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Salyut 7
Salyut 7 photographed following the undocking of Soyuz T-13, 25 September 1985
File:Salyut program insignia.svg
The insignia of the Salyut Program
Station statistics
Crew 3
Launch 19 April 1982
19:45:00 UTC
Launch pad LC-200/40, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Soviet Union
Reentry 7 February 1991[1]
Mass 19,824 kg
Length 16 m (minimum)[1]
Width 4.15 m (max.[1]
Pressurised volume 90 m³ (minimum)[1]
Perigee 219 km (118.25 nmi)
Apogee 278 km (150.1 nmi)
Orbital inclination 51.6 degrees
Orbital period 89.2 minutes
Days in orbit 3216 days
Days occupied 816 days
Number of orbits 51,917
Distance travelled 2,106,297,129 km
(1,137,309,460 nmi)
Statistics as of de-orbit and reentry
Salyut 7 with docked Kosmos 1686 TKS spacecraft

Salyut 7 (Russian: Салют-7; English: Salute 7) (aka DOS-6[1]) was a space station in low Earth orbit from April 1982 to February 1991.[1] It was first manned in May 1982 with two crew via Soyuz T-5, and last visited in June 1986, by Soyuz T-15.[1] Various crew and modules were used over its lifetime, including a total of 12 manned and 15 unmanned launches.[1] Supporting spacecraft included the Soyuz T, Progress, and TKS spacecraft.[1]

It was part of the Soviet Salyut programme, and launched on 19 April 1982 on a Proton rocket from Site 200/40 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in what was then the Soviet Union. Salyut 7 was part of the transition from "monolithic" to "modular" space stations, acting as a testbed for docking of additional modules and expanded station operations. It was the tenth space station of any kind launched. Salyut 7 was the last Space Station of the Salyut Program, which was replaced by Mir.


Salyut 7 was the back-up vehicle for Salyut 6 and very similar in equipment and capabilities. With delays to the Mir programme it was decided to launch the back-up vehicle as Salyut 7. In orbit the station suffered technical failures though it benefited from the improved payload capacity of the visiting Progress and Soyuz craft and the experience of its crews who improvised many solutions (such as a fuel line rupture in September 1983 requiring EVAs by the Soyuz T-10 to repair). It was aloft for eight years and ten months (a record not broken until Mir), during which time it was visited by 10 crews constituting six main expeditions and four secondary flights (including French and Indian cosmonauts). The station also saw two flights of Svetlana Savitskaya making her the second woman in space since 1963 and the first to perform an EVA during which she conducted metal cutting and welding alongside her colleague Vladimir Dzhanibekov.[2] Aside from the many experiments and observations made on Salyut 7, the station also tested the docking and use of large modules with an orbiting space station. The modules were called "Heavy Kosmos modules" though in reality were variants of the TKS spacecraft intended for the cancelled Almaz military space station. They helped engineers develop technology necessary to build Mir.


File:Salyut 7 assembly .jpg
Salyut 7 during assembly.

It had two docking ports, one on either end of the station, to allow docking with the Progress unmanned resupply craft, and a wider front docking port to allow safer docking with a Heavy Kosmos module. It carried three solar panels, two in lateral and one in dorsal longitudinal positions, but they now had the ability to mount secondary panels on their sides. Internally, the Salyut 7 carried electric stoves, a refrigerator, constant hot water and redesigned seats at the command console (more like bicycle seats). Two portholes were designed to allow ultraviolet light in, to help kill infections.[1][3] The medical, biological and exercise sections were improved, to allow long stays in the station. The BST-1M telescope used in Salyut 6 was replaced by an X-ray detection system.[3]

Crews and missions

Salyut 7 with docked spacecraft

Following up the use of Kosmos 1267 on Salyut 6, the Soviets launched Kosmos 1443 on 2 March 1983, from a Proton SL-13. It docked with the station on 10 March, and was used by the crew of Soyuz T-9. It jettisoned its recovery module on 23 August, and re-entered the atmosphere on 19 September. Kosmos 1686 was launched on 27 September 1985, docking with the station on 2 October. It did not carry a recovery vehicle, and remained connected to the station for use by the crew of Soyuz T-14. Ten Soyuz T crews operated in Salyut 7. Only two Interkosmos "guest cosmonauts" worked in Salyut 7. The first attempt to launch Soyuz T-10 was aborted on the launch pad when a fire broke out at the base of the vehicle. The payload was ejected, and the crew was recovered safely.

Resident crews

Salyut 7 had six resident crews.

There were also four visiting missions, crews which came to bring supplies and make shorter duration visits with the resident crews.

Technical and crew problems

The station suffered from two major problems, the first of which required extensive repair work to be performed on a number of EVAs.


On 9 September 1983, during the stay of Vladimir Lyakhov and Alexander Alexandrov, while reorienting the station to perform a radiowave transmission experiment, Lyakhov noticed the pressure of one fuel tank was almost zero. Following this, Alexandrov spotted a fuel leak looking through the aft porthole. Ground control decided to try to repair the damaged pipes, in what was to be the most complex repair attempted during EVA at the time. This was to be attempted by the next crew, the current one lacking the necessary training and tools. The damage was eventually repaired by Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyov, who after four EVAs managed to fix two leaks but needed a special tool to fix the third. The tool was delivered by Soyuz T-12, and the leak was subsequently fixed.[4]

Loss of power

The drifting station as seen from the approaching Soyuz T-13.

On 11 February 1985, contact with Salyut 7 was lost. The station began to drift, and all systems shut down. At this time the station was uninhabited, after the departure of Leonid Kizim, Vladimir Solovyov and Oleg Atkov, and before the next crew arrived. It was once again decided to attempt to repair the station, which was performed by Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Viktor Savinykh on the Soyuz T-13 mission, in what was in the words of author David S. F. Portree "one of the most impressive feats of in-space repairs in history".[1]

All Soviet and Russian space stations were equipped with automatic rendezvous and docking systems, from the first space station Salyut 1 using the IGLA system, to the Russian Orbital Segment of the International Space Station using the Kurs system. Upon arrival, 6 June, the Soyuz crew found the station was not broadcasting radar or telemetry for rendezvous, and after arrival and external inspection of the tumbling station, the crew judged proximity using handheld laser rangefinders.

Dzhanibekov piloted his ship to intercept the forward port of Salyut 7 and matched the station's rotation. After hard docking to the station and confirming the station's electrical system was dead, Dzhanibekov and Savinykh sampled the station atmosphere prior to opening the hatch. Attired in winter fur-lined clothing, they entered the station to conduct repairs. The fault was eventually found to be an electrical sensor that determined when the batteries need charging.

Once the batteries were replaced, the station started charging them, and warmed up over the next few days.[4] Within a week sufficient systems were brought back online to allow robot cargo ships to dock with the station.[1]

Crew hallucination

On 12 July 1984, cosmonauts Leonid Kizim, Vladimir Solovyov and Oleg Atkov were on their 155th day aboard the Salyut 7 when the trio started to group hallucinate, seeing what was described as a “brilliant orange cloud” surrounding the station. The hallucination was reported to Ground Control and the crew was subject to psychological and medical examinations upon their return.

The Russian website confirmed that the cosmonauts officially reported the group hallucination, which was attributed to pressure, temperature fluctuations and shortage of oxygen to the brain.[5]

End of life

Salyut 7 was last inhabited in 1986 by the crew of Soyuz T-15, who ferried equipment from Salyut 7 to the new Mir space station. Between 19 and 22 August 1986, engines on Kosmos 1686 boosted Salyut 7 to a record-high mean orbital altitude of 475 km to forestall reentry until 1994. Retrieval at a future date by a Buran shuttle was also planned.[6]

However, unexpectedly high solar activity in the late 1980s and early 1990s increased atmospheric drag on the station and sped its orbital decay. It finally underwent an uncontrolled reentry on 7 February 1991 over the town of Capitán Bermúdez after it overshot its intended entry point, which would have placed its debris in uninhabited portions of the southern Pacific Ocean. [7][8]

Expeditions and visiting spacecraft


Expedition Crew Launch date Flight up Landing date Flight down Duration (days)
Salyut 7 – EO-1 Anatoli Berezovoy,
Valentin Lebedev[1]
13 May 1982
09:58:05 UTC
Soyuz T-5 10 December 1982
19:02:36 UTC
Soyuz T-7 211.38
Salyut 7 – EP-1 Vladimir Dzhanibekov,
Aleksandr Ivanchenkov,
Jean-Loup Chrétien – France
24 June 1982
16:29:48 UTC
Soyuz T-6 2 July 1982
14:20:40 UTC
Soyuz T-6 7.91
Salyut 7 – EP-2 Leonid Popov,
Aleksandr Serebrov,
Svetlana Savitskaya
19 August 1982
17:11:52 UTC
Soyuz T-7 27 August 1982
15:04:16 UTC
Soyuz T-5 7.91
Salyut 7 – EO-2 Vladimir Lyakhov,
Aleksandr Pavlovich Aleksandrov
27 June 1983
09:12:00 UTC
Soyuz T-9 23 November 1983
19:58:00 UTC
Soyuz T-9 149.45
Salyut 7 – EO-3 Leonid Kizim,
Vladimir Solovyov,
Oleg Atkov
8 February 1984
12:07:26 UTC
Soyuz T-10 2 October 1984
10:57:00 UTC
Soyuz T-11 236.95
Salyut 7 – EP-3 Yury Malyshev,
Gennady Strekalov,
Rakesh Sharma – India
3 April 1984
13:08:00 UTC
Soyuz T-11 11 April 1984
10:48:48 UTC
Soyuz T-10 7.90
Salyut 7 – EP-4 Vladimir Dzhanibekov,
Svetlana Savitskaya,
Igor Volk
17 July 1984
17:40:54 UTC
Soyuz T-12 29 July 1984
12:55:30 UTC
Soyuz T-12 11.80
Salyut 7 – EO-4-1a Viktor Savinykh 6 June 1985
06:39:52 UTC
Soyuz T-13 21 November 1985
10:31:00 UTC
Soyuz T-14 168.16
Salyut 7 – EO-4-1b Vladimir Dzhanibekov 6 June 1985
06:39:52 UTC
Soyuz T-13 26 September 1985
09:51:58 UTC
Soyuz T-13 112.13
Salyut 7 – EP-5 Georgi Grechko 17 September 1985
12:38:52 UTC
Soyuz T-14 26 September 1985
09:51:58 UTC
Soyuz T-13 8.88
Salyut 7 – EO-4-2 Vladimir Vasyutin,
Alexander Volkov
17 September 1985
12:38:52 UTC
Soyuz T-14 21 November 1985
10:31:00 UTC
Soyuz T-14 64.91
Salyut 7 – EO-5 Leonid Kizim,
Vladimir Solovyov
13 March 1986
12:33:09 UTC
Soyuz T-15 16 July 1986
12:34:05 UTC
Soyuz T-15 125.00
50 on S7


Spacecraft Spacewalker Start – UTC End – UTC Duration Comments
Salyut 7 – PE-1 – EVA 1 Lebedev, Berezevoi[1] 30 July 1982
30 July 1982
2 h, 33 min Retrieve experiments
Salyut 7 – PE-2 – EVA 1 Lyakhov, Alexandrov 1 November 1983
1 November 1983
2 h, 50 min Add solar array
Salyut 7 – PE-2 – EVA 2 Lyakhov, Alexandrov 3 November 1983
3 November 1983
2 h, 55 min Add solar array
Salyut 7 – PE-3 – EVA 1 Kizim, Solovyov 23 April 1984
23 April 1984
4 h, 20 min ODU repair
Salyut 7 – PE-3 – EVA 2 Kizim, Solovyov 26 April 1984
26 April 1984
4 h, 56 min Repair ODU
Salyut 7 – PE-3 – EVA 3 Kizim, Solovyov 29 April 1984
29 April 1984
2 h, 45 min Repair ODU
Salyut 7 – PE-3 – EVA 4 Kizim, Solovyov 3 May 1984
4 May 1984
2 h, 45 min Repair ODU
Salyut 7 – PE-3 – EVA 5 Kizim, Solovyov 18 May 1984
18 May 1984
3 h, 05 min Add solar array
Salyut 7 – VE-4 – EVA 1 Savitskaya, Dzhanibekov 25 July 1984
25 July 1984
3 h, 35 min First woman EVA
Salyut 7 – PE-3 – EVA 6 Kizim, Solovyov 8 August 1984
8 August 1984
5 h, 00 min Complete ODU repair
Salyut 7 – PE-4 – EVA 1 Dzhanibekov, Savinykh 2 August 1985
2 August 1985
5 h, 00 min Augment solar arrays
Salyut 7 – PE-6 – EVA 1 Kizim, Solovyov 28 May 1986
28 May 1986
3 h, 50 min Test truss, retrieve samples
Salyut 7 – PE-6 – EVA 2 Kizim, Solovyov 31 May 1986
31 May 1986
5 h, 00 min Test truss


Specifications of the baseline 1982 Salyut 7 module, from Mir Hardware Heritage (1995, NASA RP1357):[1]

  • Length – about 16 m
  • Maximum diameter – 4.15 meters
  • Habitable volume – 90 m³
  • Weight at launch – 19,824 kg
  • Launch vehicle – Proton rocket (three-stage)
  • Orbital inclination – 51.6°
  • Span across solar arrays – 17 m
  • Area of solar arrays – 51 m²
  • Number of solar arrays – 3
  • Electricity available – 4.5 kW
  • Resupply carriers – Soyuz-T, Progress, TKS spacecraft
  • Docking System – Igla or manual approach
  • Number of docking ports – 2
  • Total manned missions – 12
  • Total unmanned missions – 15
  • Total long-duration missions – 6
  • Number of main engines – 2
  • Main engine thrust (each) – 300 kg

Visiting spacecraft and crews

(Launched crews. Spacecraft launch and landing dates listed.)

  • TKS 34 March – 14 August 1983 – Launched unmanned as Kosmos 1443.
  • TKS 4September 1985 – 7 February 1991 – Launched unmanned as Kosmos 1686. Featured a high-resolution photo apparatus and optical sensor experiments (infrared telescope and Ozon spectrometer).

See also


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 David Portree - Mir Hardware Heritage (1995) - Page 90-95 - NASA RP1357
  2. "Space welding anniversary!". Orbiter-Forum. Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. 4.0 4.1 Leaving Earth, by Robert Zimmerman, ISBN 0-309-08548-9, 2003.
  5. Pravda, Angels in space nothing but top secret hallucination
  6. Astronautix, Salyut 7.
  7., Spacecraft Reentry FAQ:
  8. NYT, Salyut 7, Soviet Station in Space, Falls to Earth After 9-Year Orbit

External links

External links

Preceded by
Salyut 6
Salyut programme
Succeeded by