ISS-65 mission


ISS crew:

Commander -
Akihiko Hoshide

Flight engineers:
leg Novitskiy
Petr Dubrov
Mark Vande Hei
Robert Shane Kimbrough
Megan McArthur
Tomas Pesquet



50th anniversary of the launch of the worlds first orbital station

April 19, 2021

April 19, 1971 saw the launch from the Baikonur launch site of the heavy launch vehicle Proton-K carrying into orbit the worlds first Long-term Orbital Station (Russian acronym - DOS) Salyut. Its successful launch marking the 10th anniversary of the mission of Yuri Gagarin ushered in the new age of manned spaceflight and significantly expanded the opportunities for direct studies of space by man.

Design work on the orbital complex for scientific research DOS-7K began in late 1969 on the initiative of a team of specialists from the Central Design Bureau of Experimental Machine Building (TsKBEM, today known as RSC Energia) K.D. Bushuev, S.O. Okhapkin, B.E. Chertok, S.S. Kryukov, K.P. Feoktistov and B.V. Raushenbakh. The proposed to use as a basis for the DOS module the pressurized compartment of the future manned military orbital station Almaz developed by TsKBM (know known as NPO Mashinostroyeniya) using systems and equipment from Soyuz spacecraft made by TsKBEM itself. On February 9, 1970, a government decree identified the network of subcontractors to be involved in the development of the orbital module DOS-7K No.121 under the general supervision of a lead designer of TsKBEM Yuri Pavlovich Semenov. The station was being developed and built simultaneously at TsKBEM, TsKBM, Khrunichev Machine-building Plant and the Experimental Machine-building Plant of TsKBEM. The manufacturing of the pressurized cabin, elements of the primary structure and the final assembly of the vehicle were performed at the Khrunichev plant per engineering documentation prepared by TsKBM, while integrated ground testing of the station was done by TsKBM. Owing to the smooth coordination of work between these companies the launch of the first DOS was achieved on an extremely tight schedule, within 16 months after the start of work.

The orbital module DOS-7K No.121 consisted of the Transfer, Working and Propulsion compartments, as well as a scientific equipment bay. Installed on the outer surface of the pressurized Transfer compartment, along with the docking and internal transfer system that was used for the first time, were a couple of solar array panels borrowed from the onboard power supply system of the Soyuz spacecraft. The second couple of the same type of panels was installed on the unpressurized Propulsion compartment that included an orbital correction propulsion system also borrowed from Soyuz. Scientific equipment of the 1.5 ton station included the solar, X-ray and infrared telescopes and other scientific instruments. And to deliver the crews to the station, TsKBEM developed a new transportation modification 7K-T of the Soyuz spacecraft. Within its expected 3 months life in orbit, the station was supposed to be capable of receiving 2 to 3 expeditions with a crew of three in each rotation in order to conduct a program of scientific experiments, biomedical and astrophysical research.

After orbital insertion, DOS Salyut nominally switched to automatic flight mode which included a diagnostic of the onboard systems and equipment. The crew of the first expedition consisting of cosmonauts Vladimir Shatalov, Aleksei Eliseev and Nikolai Rukavishnikov was launched on April 23, 1971. However, the transportation spacecraft Soyuz-10 failed to dock with the station due to a docking mechanism malfunction. The second expedition consisting of Georgi Dobrovolski, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsaev was launched on June 6, 1971 on Soyuz-11. After the docking and transfer to the station, the cosmonauts carried out a 23-day program of scientific, engineering and medical experiments, setting a space endurance record.

Overall, DOS Salyut stayed in orbit for 175 days, and on October 11, 1971, was de-orbited over the Pacific on command from the ground. The mission of the first-generation DOS laid the foundations for the development of a whole series of our nations more advanced long-duration orbital stations, development of which eventually became one of the key areas of TsKBEM activities. Multiple technologies developed in the course of this work formed the basis for the development of the multi-modular orbital complex Mir and the present-day International Space Station.





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