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Oleg Kononenko
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David Saint-Jaques
Ann McClain
Ovchinin Alexey
Nick Hague
Christina Koch


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RSC Energia: 48 years since the launch of the Salyut station

April 19, 2019

On April 19, 1971 there was a launch of the world's first long-duration orbital station (LDOS) Salyut.

The station development began in late 1969. Yu.P. Semenov was appointed as lead designer of the project. When working on LDOS the following was used: existing hardware of the orbital module of the Almaz military station the work on which was performed at TsKBM, and the onboard systems of the Soyuz spacecraft. This approach made it possible to prepare the station for launch within a year, while the work on it was conducted 24 hours a day, without days off.

The station orbital module consisted of the adapter, working and service modules, as well as the science hardware bay. The set of solar arrays borrowed from spacecraft 7K-OK was installed on the outer surface of the pressurized adapter module 2.1 m in diameter with the docking assembly. The working module had the pressure shell consisting of two lips 2.9 and 4.1 m in diameter connected by a conical adapter. It was intended for basic flight control operations, scientific research and observations, to make by cosmonauts a set of physical exercises, food intake and rest. The service module of unpressurized design 2.1 m in diameter was intended to accommodate the corrective propulsion system borrowed from spacecraft 7K-OK. On its outer surface there was a system of two-component attitude-control engines and the second set of solar arrays also borrowed from spacecraft 7К-ОК was installed. The station science hardware of the mass of 1.5 t consisted of a sola telescope, X-ray telescope (РТ-4), infrared telescope spectrometer (ИТС-К), a sight with X-60 magnification (ОД-4) and other hardware.

Name Salyut has remained for the entire subsequent series of orbital stations. In this case the station had a different name Zarya – it was the word that was written in large letters on its hull. Renaming is due to the fact that such a name was already used for the Chinese spacecraft.

The appearance in orbit of the first in the world orbital station opened a new era in the human exploration of outer space. A large number of organizations participated in its creation, but the role of TsKBEM (today it is RSC Energia) in this work is undoubtedly decisive. It was the prime organization on the subject ensuring the development and design of the station systems and manned spacecraft to deliver crews to it. The project involved such highly skilled specialists as K.D. Bushuev, S.O. Okhapkin, B.E. Chertok, S.S. Kryukov, K.P. Feoktistov, B.V. Rauschenbach.

The first expedition to the station, which consisted of cosmonauts V.A. Shatalov, A.S. Eliseev and N.N. Rukavishnikov on the Soyuz-10 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 23, 1971. The station mechanical capture using the docking mechanism of the Soyuz-10 spacecraft was implemented but because of malfunctions arising during retraction nominal docking did not occur and the crew had to return to Earth.

The second expedition was launched into orbit on June 6, 1971 on the Soyuz-11 spacecraft. The docking and the crew transfer to the station were normal. Cosmonauts worked in orbit for about 23 days, establishing an absolute record of the man stay in space. The crew implemented a program of scientific, technical and medical experiments. However, the landing ended tragically: cosmonauts G.T. Dobrovolsky, V.N. Volkov and V.I. Patsaev died because of the descending vehicle depressurization. In connection with the accident, the crew flights to the station were not further conducted, and it operated in orbit in unmanned mode. On October 11, 1971 on command from Earth the station entered the dense atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean and ceased to exist.

The first long-duration orbital station was in orbit for 176 days. From 1973 to 1986 six more stations were launched under the name Salyut. Later on this experience was used when creating the new generation orbital stations, including the Mir orbital complex and the Russian Segment of the International Space Station.

 

Launches

July 20, 2019
The launch of LV Soyuz-FG with SC Soyuz MS-13 is planned
April 4, 2019
LV Soyuz-2.1a with CV Progress MS-11 is launched

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