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Significant Activities in Soviet Manned Spaceflight: 1981-83

As noted earlier, the main text of this report adds data for the period 1976-80 to existing versions of Soviet Space Programs. Since this edition has taken additional time to prepare following the 1981 death of Dr. Charles S. Sheldon II, Senior Specialist in Space and Transportation, who spearheaded the 1966-70 and 1971-75 editions and was in the process of preparing this edition, the current authors have decided to include a chapter that briefly highlights what has happened since 1980. Information in this chapter is not as extensively detailed as that in the remainder of the volume, since its purpose is only to bring the reader up to date.



The final manned flights to Salyut 6 were launched in 1981. First, a resupply mission, Progress 12, was sent to the space station on January 24. Then Soyuz T-4, carrying cosmonauts Vladimir Kovalenok and Viktor Savinyk, was launched on March 12, 1981, and the crew stayed on board for 75 days. They were visited by two crews, each of which brought Interkosmonauts to the station. The first, Soyuz 39, was launched on March 22 and was composed of Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Jugderdemidiyan Gurragcha (the first Mongolian cosmonaut). The second, Soyuz 40, was commanded by Vladimir Popov and included the first Romanian cosmonaut, Dumitru Prunariu, and was launched on May 14, 1981. The Soviets reported that this would be the last flight of the original Soyuz, with future flights to be made with Soyuz-T.

The Soyuz T-4 crew was the final crew on Salyut 6, and left the space station on May 26. During the time they were on board, the crew continued experiments similar to those conducted by earlier crews on Salyut 6 and detailed in chapter 3. As discussed below, the space station was de-orbited in July 1982.


On June 19, 1981, the Soviets docked an unmanned module, Kosmos 1267, with Salyut 6. The spacecraft, which weighed 15 metric tons, almost as much as the Salyut itself, had been launched on April 25, 1981, and had performed numerous orbital maneuvers prior to the time it docked with the space station, including separation of a large modular section weighing 600 kilograms on May 24 which reentered and was recovered. Kosmos 1267's orbital activities closely paralleled those of a previous flight, Kosmos 929, in 1977, whose purpose was then unknown.

When Kosmos 1267 docked with Salyut 6, the Soviets announced that it was "designed to test systems and elements of the design of future spacecraft and for training in the methods of assembly of orbital complexes of a big size and weight." (1) In other words, a modular space station. They also stated that the earlier orbital maneuvers were to test the satellite in an independent mode, including midcourse corrections and other dynamic operations. (2) This was not unexpected, as the Soviets had been discussing plans for large orbital stations for several years.

In July, September, and December 1981, the Soviets released details of the experiments being conducted with the combined spacecraft, emphasizing that the purpose was to generate knowledge in the creation of even larger stations in the future. Numerous maneuvers of the complex were made using the Kosmos 1267 engines.

In October and November, however, the U.S. trade magazine Aviation Week and Space Technology reported that the spacecraft was in fact, an "antisatellite battle station equipped with clusters of infrared-homing guided interceptors," with "firing ports to eject 1-meter-long miniature vehicles guided by infrared sensors. (3)

The Kosmos 1267/Salyut 6 combination was deorbited by the Soviets on July 29, 1982. Because the Soviets do not usually report on military satellites at all and there was considerable coverage of Kosmos 1267, and since there were no known test firings of any projectiles which were allegedly aboard Kosmos 1267, it is difficult to conclude that Aviation Week was correct in its allegations that this was an antisatellite-related device.


During the final months of flight for the Salyut 6/Kosmos 1267 complex, the Soviets launched Salyut 7, another second-generation space station. The station is very similar to Salyut 6, with an improved navigation system, a strengthened forward docking port, and modifications to the solar panels to permit attachment of additional arrays.

Salyut 7 was launched on April 19, 1982, and received its first crew in May. Soyuz T-5 was launched on May 13 carrying two cosmonauts: Anatoliy Berezovoy and Valentin Lebedev. This crew set a new duration record of 211 days, returning on December 10. They were visited by two missions. The first, Soyuz T-6, was launched on June 24 and carried the first Frenchman into space, Jean-Loup Chretien. The crew also included two Soviets: Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Aleksandr Ivanchenkov. The second set of visitors arrived in Soyuz T-7 and included the second woman in space, Svetlana Savitskaya. Launched on August 19, she was joined by Leonid Popov and Aleksandr Serebrov. There were four Progress resupply flights during 1982.

Among the important results of experiments on Salyut 7 during 1982 was the first successful growing of a seed through the entire life cycle of the plant and back to seed again. The Soviets had been attempting to do this since Salyut 1, but only succeeded in 1982 using an Arabidopsis seed (wallcress). Other work included electrophoresis experiments using the Tavria unit in which molecules are separated from each other by passing an electrical current through a fluid. Researchers are optimistic that more pure vaccines and other pharmaceutical products can be produced in space, without the influence of gravity. The cosmonauts experimented with interferon and urokinase, and found that it is possible to purify substances between 10 and 15 times better than on Earth, and the productivity in space is hundreds of times higher.

The main crew took more than 20,000 photographs of the Earth using the MKF-6M and KATE-140 cameras. They also used a television apparatus called Niva to video record and relay back to Earth information on observed areas, thus avoiding the delay waiting for another crew or the end of the mission to return the film from MKF-6M and KATE-140 systems for processing (the Progress spacecraft is not recovered so cannot return the results of experiments).

The space station carries an X-ray spectrometer called SKR-02M, with which they made observations of interstellar space for a total of 40 hours of observing time. Two French astrophysics experiments are also on board. The first, Piramig, is a highly sensitive camera used to study the upper atmosphere, the interplanetary medium, and galaxies, in the visible and near-infrared bands. The second, PCN, is used for nighttime studies of weak light sources in space (such as the luminosity of interstellar dust) and the upper atmosphere (luminescent clouds and lightning).

Human physiology studies were continued, as well as other biological experiments, including Cytos-2, which concerned the effects of weightlessness on bacteria under the influence of different antibiotics, and Biobloc, which investigated the effects of cosmic rays on biological material.

Although the Soviets have never admitted to conducting military experiments on any space station, including this one, the trade press carried accounts of several military investigations thought to be taking place. Aerospace Daily reported on speculation by the

Pentagon that antisubmarine warfare experiments were conducted, including observations of bioluminescence produced by plankton, which might reveal the path of a submarine. (4) Air Force Magazine reported that there was "strong circumstantial evidence" that the Soviets used Salyut 7 for calibrating and refining the targeting and tracking mechanisms of ground-based military lasers. (5) Finally, Aviation Week and Space Technology reported that the Soviets conducted pointing and tracking tests similar to those planned for the U.S. Talon Gold experiment (to be carried on the space shuttle in 1985) in which ballistic missiles and other spacecraft were tracked. These tests could be related to development of a space-based laser system. (6)

Two small (25 kg) satellites, Iskra 2 and Iskra 3, were deployed from Salyut 7 in 1982 through the airlock. Both were reportedly used during their short lifetimes (the orbit was low so they decayed rapidly) by amateur radio operators. The cosmonauts performed a 2V2 hour EVA during which they practiced the use of various tools while in their spacesuits, practiced connecting mechanical joints which could be used to join large structures, and evaluated materials (e.g., rubber) which might be used as sealing agents in space construction.

In 1983, a lengthy article was published in Pravda consisting of extracts from Lebedev's diary.7 His frank remarks about the loneliness of living in space, away from family and friends, problems with insomnia despite a tiring workload, and establishing a working relationship with his colleague on the flight that would not be influenced by the presence of the visiting crews, revealed the psychological pressures involved in long-duration spaceflight. The mere fact of its publication was interesting and surprising.

In 1983, three crews were intended to occupy Salyut 7, but only one successfully achieved that goal. In March, the unmanned module Kosmos 1443 docked with the space station (see below). The first crew intended to dock with the Salyut 7/Kosmos 1443 complex was Soyuz T-8, but its rendezvous radar failed to deploy and the crew was unable to dock. The attempts by the three-man crew (Vladimir Titov, Gennadiy Strekalov, and Aleksandr Serebrov) to compensate for the lack of the radar system by "seat-of-the-pants" flying were detailed in an /article in Krasnaya Zuezda only 4 months after the attempt failed. (8) Again this was uncharacteristic candor, since previously, docking failures had nevertheless been described as mission successes.

A successful docking was achieved by the Soyuz T-9 crew which had been launched on June 27. Vladimir Lyakhov and Alexandr Alexandrov remained on board for 149 days. Supplies were delivered by Kosmos 1443 and two Progress missions, and the Progress was modified so that fresh foods could be placed inside only a few hours before launch, instead of days before launch as had previously been the case. During the mission, a fuel leak developed in one of the Salyut fuel tanks, but the problem was not serious enough to cause the Soviets to bring the crew home. (9)

The T-9 crew continued work on experiments similar to those conducted by previous Salyut 7 occupants. Earth photography was expedited by the presence of Kosmos 1443 in the early part of the mission because it was used for stabilizing the complex (and therefore did not exhaust Salyut 7's fuel supply or require the crew's time), and could return a large amount of exposed film in its descent module. Thus, in 1 week, Lyakhov and Alexandrov took as many photographs as the previous crew had taken during its entire 211-day mission.

(10) By the end of their 149 days, they had held 43 sessions of Earth resources observations, obtaining 3,000 photographs with the MKF-6 camera, and 100 with the KATE-140. The crew also performed a series of experiments called "Kometa" for improving mathematical models for reproducing colors of the sea as they are perceived through the atmosphere, to enable space crews to make more accurate observations.

A wide range of experiments related to materials processing were conducted. Nineteen experiments in the electrophotograph series were conducted to study the effect of space flight conditions on thin film coatings which were exposed to the conditions of outer space in an airlock. Electrophotograms were made of the materials after several hours or days of exposure. Results of the first set of experiments were returned via the Kosmos 1443 descent module, and after processing them on the ground, scientists requested several changes in the manner in which the tests were conducted, including the use of film more sensitive to electric fields, and more frequent observations .by the crew (including taking color photographs) of changes during the exposure time. Little mention was made of the Splav and Kristall furnaces, other than a general reference at the end of the mission that semiconductors (including cadmium selenide) had been processed in Kristall.

Electrophoresis experiments continued with the Tavria unit. A pure protein substance was produced toward the end of Soyuz T-9 mission from the membranes of an influenza virus. The Soviets commented that although such a preparation can be made on Earth, the experiment showed that it could be made much more economically in space. The T-9 crew produced 35 milligrams of the substance, "sufficient for our laboratories to be supplied with material for research over the course of many months. . . . This super-

pure substance is ... a domestic standard with which we can now compare all the vaccines that are produced.(11)

Fourteen sessions of experiments were performed with the Pion unit for studying heat and mass transfer in, and the physics of, multiphase media in weightlessness. The Pion apparatus recorded changes in the density and temperature of substances as the con-

tainer in which they were held was heated. The processes were recorded on motion picture film and videotape using a holographic device.

Plant growth experiments continued, and included work with some of the Arabidopsis seeds produced on the 1982 mission.

The crew used the SKR-02M, Piramig, and PCN astrophysical equipment, as well as a reflecting X-ray telescope (called RT-4M).

Repair work continued on different components of the space station, most notably the Delta navigation system. The computer began sending new data to storage locations, and erasing important information. The crew replaced the system's memory unit, and the

computer was reprogrammed via telemetry from the ground, a process that took a week. (12)

A micrometeorite struck one of Salyut's windows in July, causing a loud crack and creating a crater with a 4 mm diameter.

The Soyuz T-9 crew became the first cosmonauts to perform two EVA'S on a single flight as the result of the failure of the Soyuz T-10 crew to make it into orbit (see below). Lyakhov and Alexandrov performed EVA'S on November 1 and November 3 to install additional solar panels to increase the electricity supply for the experiments on the station, with each excursion lasting almost 3 hours. According to the Soviets, the new panels increased the electricity supply by 50 percent, although a picture of the crew installing the additional panels showed them to be only about one-third (or less) the size of the main arrays (see fig. I). (13) This accomplishment was cited as extremely important for planning for the development of orbiting industrial facilities and solar power stations.

The duration of the Soyuz T-9 mission was extended following the aborted Soyuz T-10 mission on September 26, 1983. The T-10 crew was to have docked with Salyut 7, and probably would have replaced, rather than visited, the T-9 crew. Seconds before liftoff, however, a fire erupted in the launch vehicle, and the two men on board (V. Titov and Strekalov, both veterans of the Soyuz T-8 failure) were jettisoned by the Soyuz emergency abort system. They were safely recovered 3 kilometers downrange.

Press reports of the accident appeared in the West within a week of the accident (most stating, incorrectly, that three people were aboard, one a woman), and 2 weeks later, at the International Astronautical Federation [IAF] conference in Budapest, Hungary, the Soviets themselves admitted that it had occurred (and named the two men who were on board). In December 1983, at a press conference for the T-9 crew, Soviet officials added that the T-9 mission had been extended because of the T-10 failure, and the EVA was to have been conducted by the T-9 crew and the two men who were "to have relieved them." (14) The use of the phrase "to have relieved them" virtually confirmed the speculation that the T-10 crew would have replaced rather than visited Lyakhov and Alexandrov. A turnover of operations from one crew to another has been expected since the launch of Salyut 6 in 1977. When it finally happens, very probably in 1984, the Soviets will have made another major step toward their stated goal of a permanent presence in space.

The Soyuz T-10 launch failure, coupled with the rumors about the fuel leak on Salyut 7, led many Western journalists to declare an emergency on board the space station, despite a lack of evidence to support such an assertion. The longest time a Soyuz T spacecraft had remained in orbit had been 113 days, so after 111 days, a BBC journalist reported that in 2 more days the crew would be stranded in orbit and they were running out of supplies. This hyperbole continued until the very day Lyakhov and Alexandrov returned to Earth. In fact, the crew had plenty of supplies from Kosmos 1443 and the two Progress missions, and there was no evidence that the design lifetime of Soyuz T was only 113 days. At the IAF meeting in Budapest, for example, it was unofficially unacknowledged that the design lifetime was on the order of 180 days.

Even if there had been a problem with reactivating the ferry craft, an unmanned Soyuz T could have been launched to bring the crew home, as had been done with the Soyuz 32 crew (see chapter 3). Thus, there was no evidence that the crew was ever in danger, despite the numerous press reports to the contrary.


On March 2, 1983, the Soviets launched Kosmos 1443 and described it as an operational version of Kosmos 1267, although the fact that it retained a Kosmos designation instead of having a new name like Progress suggests that it may still have been preoperational. The Soviets reported that Kosmos 929 (see chapter 3) had been a precursor flight for this type of spacecraft, confirming many years of Western speculation.(15) The spacecraft docked with Salyut 7 on March 10, 1983.

The Soviet press gave considerable coverage of the spacecraft and its mission and it was described as serving several purposes: (1) a cargo craft both for bringing supplies and equipment to an orbiting crew (2.5 times the amount that Progress can carry) and returning up to 500 kg of cargo to Earth in a descent module; (2) a space tug; (3) an extension to the space station to increase its habitable volume by 50 cubic meters (or approximately 50 percent); and (4) as an autonomous module for various tasks such as materials processing or astronomical observations.

The spacecraft had two solar panels of its own with a total span of 16 meters and an area of 40 square meters, and weighed as much as Salyut (20 tons). It was 13 meters long and 4 meters in diameter at its widest point. The descent module resembled an American Gemini capsule from the 1960's. Pictures of the vehicle were published in Pravda, (16) and renditions based on those pictures are shown in figures 2 and 3.





- 40 SO. M.








FIGURE 2.—Kosmos 1443 spacecraft. Kosmos 929 in 1977 introduced a whole new class of spacecraft that appears to be related to the manned program. Kosmos 929 conducted extensive maneuvering in Earth orbit and returned a recoverable capsule part way through its mission. Two follow-on missions: Kosmos 1267 and Kosmos 1443 linked up with Salyut space stations (Salyut 6 and Salyut 7 respectively). They may eventually become building blocks for larger, permanent space structures.

In its cargo craft role, it delivered almost 3 tons of supplies and equipment to the space station, including the solar panels which were later installed by the Soyuz T-9 crew. The descent module returned 350 kilograms of material on August 23, 1983, a week after Kosmos 1443 separated from Salyut 7. Among the cargo were the results of more than 45 experiments, and pieces of equipment that had functioned aboard the space station (e.g., an air regenerator and components of the Delta computer) to enable studies of the deterioration of these systems.

The main body of the spacecraft, which had been filled with trash by the Soyuz T-9 crew, was deorbited on September 19, 1983.

As a space tug, Kosmos 1443 raised and lowered the orbit of the complex several times, and also made numerous maneuvers after it undocked from Salyut on August 14. The Soviets commented that in the not so distant future such tugs would be used to assemble structures weighing many metric tons, the components of which would be launched into orbit stage by stage. (17)

Somewhat surprisingly, it never really functioned as an extension to Salyut 7, which Western observers had assumed was its primary task. Instead, shortly after the supplies were unloaded and the crew had loaded the material to be returned to Earth in the descent module, the entire spacecraft (instead of just the descent module) undocked. It remains unclear as to whether the Soviets simply did not intend to use it as a modular space station extension on this flight, or if something went wrong.


Rumors have existed for many years that the Soviets are developing a reusable space vehicle similar (in concept, at least) to the U.S. space shuttle (see chapter 3).

In the 1980-82 time period, however, Soviet space officials began to downplay the possibility of their developing a reusable vehicle on the basis that their present spacecraft were more economic. In April 1981, for example, cosmonaut Vitaliy Sevastyanov responded to a reporter's question about Soviet development of a space shuttle by saying that a shuttle would be more effective than existing systems "only for a short term investigation of a certain phenomena [sic] or subjects, and only when new, stronger and cheaper materials are invented." (18) At the 1981 IAF meeting, another cosmonaut, Aleksey Yeliseyev told reporters that "at the present time, there is no plan for a Russian space shuttle." (19) In February 1982 Anatoliy Skripko, Science Attache at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, publicly announced in a speech to the American Astronautical Society that the Soviets were, in fact, developing a shuttle, but cautioned that nothing would be seen of it for another 2 to 5 years. (20)

Despite these statements to the contrary, on June 3, 1982, only 4 months after Skripko's talk, the Soviets launched Kosmos 1374. It was an unusual mission, launched from Kapustin Yar and recovered in the Indian Ocean after one and a quarter orbits. U.S. Government sources were quoted as saying that this was a test of a shuttle type vehicle. (21) Subsequent media accounts stated that the vehicle was a 2,000 Ib (900 kg) sub-scale vehicle, launched on a C-l booster. (22)

The use of the term "shuttle" could be confusing, however, since earlier reports had indicated that the Soviet "shuttle" would be only one-third the size of the U.S. shuttle (see chapter 3). The Western media suggested that the ultimate vehicle for which this test

was conducted would be a 40,000 Ib (18,000 kg) vehicle, (23) compared to the approximately 106,000 kg U.S. shuttle orbiter.

In 1983, two more tests of the prototype were conducted. Kosmos 1445 was launched on March 15, and landed in the Indian Ocean as had Kosmos 1374. The Australian Navy was at the scene during the Soviet recovery operations, and they released several pictures of the vehicle. A rendition of the vehicle based on those pictures is shown in figure 4. The pictures showed what resembles thermal protection tiles used on the U.S. space shuttle on part of the top of the vehicle, what appears to be a cockpit window, and a smooth bottom, suggesting either a ceramic or carbon-carbon coating.

Spaceplane Details:


- 3.4 M LENGTH

- 1.4 M WIDTH

- 2.6 M WING SPAN (22.5° CANT)


FIGURE 4,—Kosmos Mini-Shuttle Spacecraft. Three Kosmos spacecraft have been launched to test lifting reentry vehicles. Kosmos 1374, 1445, and 1517 were each launched from the Kapustin Yar launch facility on C-1 boosters. After completing one orbit, retro bums brought the first two down in the Indian Ocean off the Cocos Islands, and the third into the Black Sea. Royal Australian Air Force patrol aircraft monitored recovery operations in the Indian Ocean, and obtained excellent photographs of the spacecraft details on which this drawing is based.

The third flight was made on December 27, 1983, establishing a pattern of flights 9 months apart. This flight differed from the earlier two missions because it made a "controlled descent" into the Black Sea, indicating increased confidence in the system.

Information released by the Pentagon in 1983 revealed that the Soviets are developing two reusable vehicles, the first the same size as the U.S. shuttle, the second, a smaller "spaceplane."24 The Western press reported that the version equivalent to the U.S. shuttle had been seen in intelligence photographs mounted on the back of a Bison aircraft (as the U.S. shuttle is mounted on a Boeing 747 for transport across the country), and is virtually identical to the U.S. shuttle (see fig. 5). According to Aerospace Daily, the vehicle is 109

Ram-R Shuttle Prototype Test Vehicle concept. A large shuttle proto type vehicle has been observed being tested at the Ramenskoye Experimental Test Center. It is earned on a Bison bomber much like the U.S. space shuttle is carried on a 747. No design details are available other than the dimensions listed here. However, since it has been stated elsewhere that their shuttle will discard its engines with the propellant tank, it may have an aft cargo door, instead of one on top like the U.S. shuttle. The elimination of engines may have been to include jet engines for a powered landing. This design concept shows a fairing for such an engine between the twin tails.

At the end of 1983, it remained unclear as to whether the three prototype flights were related to the generic development of reusable space vehicles, or if they were sub-scale models of the spaceplane. The potential missions for a Soviet spaceplane are not clear, although the United States is also considering development of a smaller, more versatile version of the space shuttle. Missions planned for this American spaceplane might include orbital reconnaissance, retrieval and repair of satellites, antisatellite activities, and/or weapons delivery. Similar uses of a Soviet spaceplane would not be surprising.


More information came to light about Soviet future plans in the 1981-83 time period, but nothing that was basically new. Discussion of the possibility of sending a crew to Mars continued at a low level, but some Soviet officials hastened to add that they do not have a specific timetable for mounting such an effort. At the February 1982 speech by Skripko, however, he stated that they might attempt a manned Mars mission in 10 to 15 years. He did not say whether they would try to land people on Mars or simply fly them around the planet and bring them home.

Discussion continued to focus on the need for modular, permanently manned space stations, and in November 1983, a lengthy article was published in Pravda which described future Earth orbital activities. According to the article,26 the Soviets plan to build a complex of large facilities in orbits ranging from 200 to 4,000 kilometers, served by freight and passenger transport spacecraft. Included in the list of separate installations were research laboratories, housing modules, powerful energy installations, a refueling station, repair workshops, and construction sites for producing and installing standardized components. Some of these facilities would operate automatically, while others would be permanently manned. Among the benefits of this "orbital complex" cited in the article would be the ability for continuous monitoring of the state of the atmosphere and crops, detecting forest fires, and producing mineral resource surveys; tracking ships and aircraft; providing stable television reception and permanent radio and television communications; batch production of materials unattainable on Earth, and serving as a base for "ambitious space projects like night-time illumination in regions of the Far North using reflected sunlight." Among the technological challenges of such a project would be construction of a parabolic antenna with an effective aperture of 300 to 350 motors that could operate for 15 to 20 years. Such an object would be constructed in low Earth orbit and taken to a higher orbit using a tug. No time frame was given for completion (or initiation) of such a complex.

In the nearer term future, it would not be unexpected to see more frequent launches of the Kosmos 1443-type spacecraft. Some could be outfitted as industrial plants in space that could operate autonomously for a time, and then dock with Salyut for a change of materials by a space station crew.

If the Soviets are finally successful in developing a Saturn V class launch vehicle, they might use it to launch a core with several docking ports to which Salyut and/or Kosmos 1443 type modules would dock. The concept of such a station has been discussed by the Soviets for several years. At the end of 1983, rumors were rampant that a test launch of the Saturn V-class booster would come in 1984. If this proves true, then the larger space station could be in orbit by 1985 or so. Initially, a station composed of a core with 4 to 6 docking ports might accommodate up to 12 persons, although there has also been some discussion of slightly larger space stations housing 20 to 30 people.27 Obviously the orbital complex discussed in Pravda would involve larger numbers of people, perhaps 100 or more.


An interesting development in 1983 was an unusual amount of candor by the Soviets about their space program. As mentioned earlier, articles detailing Lebedev's thoughts while on his 211 day flight and the Soyuz 33 and Soyuz T-8 docking failures were published The Soviets admitted that they had had a launch failure on September 26, named the crew involved, and provided some details of what had happened only 2 weeks after the incident. They further conceded that there had been a fuel leak on Salyut 7, as the Western media had reported, and also affirmed that they are developing a reusable space vehicle. They also published articles describing their launch sites at Kapustin Yar and Plesetsk, which had not been previously discussed in the Soviet press.

Whatever the reasons for this new frankness on the part of the Soviet Union, it is certainly appreciated by Western observers of the Soviet space program, and it can only be hoped that such openness will continue to grow.


In 1981, the only missions having any significant life sciences research associated with them were Soyuz T-4 which was launched in March 1981, and the succeeding launching of Soyuz 39 and Soyuz 40. All these manned missions ferried cosmonauts to the Salyut 6 space station.

Cosmonauts Kovalenok and Savinyk were aboard the Salyut 6 for 75 days. During this time they performed experiments on vestibular disturbances and changes in body mass, utilizing multifunctional clinical analysis systems (Polimov-2M, Rheograph and Beta). Cardiovascular analysis after 3 weeks in space indicated that their average pulse rate was 60 per minute and the arterial pressure was 120/63. By the end of the 7th week in space, the average pulse rate remained constant; however, the arterial pressure had decreased for one crewmember. This would suggest that though cardiac de conditioning was manifesting itself in one of the crewmembers, the other remained stable. The Soviets claim this stability was achieved by maintaining a vigorous physical exercise program, consisting of at least 2 hours of exercise per day. The physical conditioning regime utilized a bicycle ergometer, a running track, expansion equipment for strength building and springs to create a load on the muscoskeletal system. The crew also trained with the "Chibis" vacuum suit. Additional cardiovascular studies were per formed by the Soyuz 39 crews. (28) .

In addition to the aforementioned observations, the arrival of Soyuz 40 brought with it an experiment that evaluated the capacity of human lymphocytes to synthesize interferon.

The crew of Soyuz 40 also investigated possible countermeasures to the initial difficulties encountered in adapting to zero gravity. The crew wore special collars (Vorotnik) which created an artificial load on the cervical vertebrae and limited head movements. It was hoped that this would reduce the incidence of space motion sickness. It is not clear whether the system was effective. Another experiment by means of a device called Pneomatik attempted to prevent the redistribution of blood to the upper torso. Other cardiovascular measurements on the righthand portion of the heart were made by means of a Kardiokassett. (29)

During this time interval, another series of experiments were being conducted on the growth of higher plants aboard the Salyut 6. Utilizing the Oazis apparatus discussed in chapter 4, the crews attempted to grow peas, onions, and orchids; unfortunately none were successful. They also evaluated the effect of heterogenous magnetic fields on the orientation of Crepsis sprouts.

On April 19, 1982, the Soviets launched Salyut 7. Like Salyut 6, the transfer compartment of the new station had a window designed to permit germicidal ultraviolet light to sterilize the interior of the station and transfer point continually. The Soviets also indicate that this permits the cosmonauts to maintain a well tanned skin. One should mention that the ultraviolet light might also facilitate vitamin D synthesis by conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to vitamin D. The latter in turn promotes calcium absorption from the intestines. Though not specifically mentioned in the Soviet literature, this might beneficially modify some of the demineralization occurring in bone tissue.

The first crew to visit Salyut 7 remained aboard the space station for the longest duration yet—211 days. Most of the biomedical information from the flight is still not available. Unconfirmed reports indicate that toward the end of their 211-day mission, Berezovoy and Lebedev were experiencing some psychological difficulties. However, prior to that time the condition of the cosmonauts wasb judged to be good. Unfortunately, on returning to Earth they did encounter some difficulties. They landed at night in the midst of a snow storm. Due to their physical deconditioning they were unable to get out of the Soyuz capsule. The first rescue helicopter sent to assist them from their capsule crashed on landing. The second rescue helicopter which carried medical teams aboard managed to reach the Soyuz capsule. However, it could not take off. Motor vehicles were then dispatched from Arkaiek to the landing site and the cosmonauts spent the night in this vehicle. Upon reaching Dzhezkezgan, the two cosmonauts were transferred to Baikonur to undergo readaptation treatments. (30)

During their 211 days aboard Salyut 7, several significant events occurred. An attempt was made, by taking advantage of zero gravity, to purify a biological material, interferon, by electrical charge only, regardless of its molecular weight. Results were encouraging in that a 10 to 15 time greater purification was achieved than is possible on Earth. In addition, on June 24 a Soviet-French space crew arrived to monitor cardiac functions with the French-developed "Echograf," a method for ultrasonic echo-sounding and dopplerography of the heart and major blood vessels. This instrument permitted monitoring of the pumping and contractile function of the heart as well as determining the rate of blood flow in the blood vessels during the acute adaption phase in a weightless state. In that phase, the redistribution of body fluids to the upper torso occurs. By means of closed circuit television, both the crew and ground stations were able to monitor the heart and blood flow visually. One observation was that the heart is displaced upward in the chest cavity due to zero gravity. Blood circulation was measured through the heart, aorta and veins. The rate of blood flow as well as the movement of the heart walls, valves and heart shape were also observed during weightlessness. (31) Using the "Echograf, the crew also evaluated countermeasures in order to normalize blood circulation.

The second female cosmonaut was sent into space August 19, 1982. One of the major reasons given for the mission is that the Soviets believe there is a psychological advantage to having a woman as part of a space crew. The Soviet space medical staff also

are trying to gain more information as to the female response and adaptation to space environment. Based on some of these observations, perhaps some of the physiological problem areas encountered by man in space might be modified from data obtained from female cosmonauts. (32)

A modest success in the general area of reproduction was recorded by the Soviets. After numerous failures, they succeeded in germinating and growing wallcress (arabidopsis) from a seed and having the latter subsequently seed.

This latter accomplishment may in the long run be a significant advancement in the development of ecological system for sustaining man in extended space missions.

On June 27, 1983, the Soyuz T-9 was launched. The program called for docking with the orbiting complex Salyut 7 and Kosmos 1443. The crew performed medical and biological experiments that are presently being analyzed.(33) The adaptation of cosmonaut A. Alexandrov to conditions of weightlessness was reported to be somewhat complicated by familiar symptoms of blood pooling in the head during the first few days of the flight. Alexandrov also had difficulty sleeping and suffered a mild loss of appetite during this period. Cosmonaut Lyakhov's adaptation reportedly went more smoothly.

On December 14, 1983, Kosmos 1514, the latest Soviet biosatellite similar in design to the Vostok spacecraft used for early manned missions, was launched. It carried NASA instrumentation for an experiment involving two monkeys, "Abrek" and "Bion", in addition to small laboratory animals and fish. The growth dynamics of plants was also studied. The primary mission of Kosmos 1514, which remained in orbit for only 5 days, was to study specific circulatory mechanisms of physiological adaptation to weightlessness. One of the most complicated problems of manned spaceflight is physiological adaptation to weightlessness in the first hours and days of flight. In these early stages of spaceflight, a number of physiological and circulatory shifts take place, occasionally resulting in discomfort for astronauts and cosmonauts in the form of temporary space sickness and a feeling of fullness of the head. The Kosmos 1514 mission was designed to measure the dynamics of these changes in monkeys. Despite its short duration, the mission was considered to be a success and data are being analyzed. (34) In another experiment, pregnant rats carried aboard Kosmos 1514 apparently gave birth to normal young after the flights. The results of the flight are still being analyzed.



The following sections detail the missions of Soyuz 25 through Soyuz 38, and Soyuz T-2 and T-3, those manned missions to Salyut 6 that took place through the end of 1980. Only details of the missions not included in the previous sections is included, for example all information on Progress resupply flights are discussed in detail on p. 572. Experiments conducted by the crews are described on p. 585. Two other unmanned ships locked with Salyut 6 in the 1977-80 time frame: Soyuz 34, which is discussed here as a ferry craft to return the Soyuz 32 crew; and Soyuz T-l which is discussed under the Soyuz development flights on p. 449.With the long duration crews, ferry crafts were exchanged with those of visiting missions since the Soyuz has only been proven to be capable of being safely reactivated after a 90-day period of dormancy. Thus, the crew that went up in Soyuz 26 came down in Soyuz 27, and the crew that went up in Soyuz 27 came down in Soyuz 26. This makes mission designations difficult and confusing, since once the original Soyuz 27 crew had returned to Earth in the Soyuz 26 ship, the crew originally called Soyuz 26 was renamed Soyuz 27 even though it was the same crew. The call sign remains with the crew, not the ship.

In this report, missions where ships were exchanged are designated by two numbers: In this case, Soyuz 26/27 and Soyuz 27/26. The first number designates the original ship which brought the crew to the space station, while the second is the ship which returned them to Earth. Both ship duration times and crew duration times are listed in the table at the end of the chapter. In cases where the Soviets did not announce a landing time, it is calculated here based on a table of flight durations published in a Russian book "Kosmos" published in Leningrad in 1982.

In summary, during this period, 14 two-man crews and 1 three-man crew were sent to Salyut 6. Two of these (Soyuz 25 and Soyuz 33) did not dock. Five were long duration missions: Soyuz 26/27—96 days; Soyuz 29/31—140 days; Soyuz 32/34—175 days; Soyuz 35/37— 185 days. Valeriy Ryumin participated in both the Soyuz 32/34 mission and the 35/37 mission, thus accumulating almost a year of time in space. The space station was occupied for approximately half the time it was in orbit (see tables 10 and 11).


Mission, Dates occupied, Number of days'

Soyuz 26/27.......................Dec. 11, 1977 to Mar. 16, 1978..........................................96

Soyuz 29/31.......................June 16, 1978 to Nov. 2, 1978...........................................139

Soyuz 32/34.......................Feb. 26, 1979 to Aug. 19, 1979.........................................174

Soyuz 35/37.......................Apr. 10, 1980 to Oct. 11, 1980...........................................184

Soyuz T-3..........................Nov. 28, 1980 to Dec. 10, 1980............................................12

Total………………………………………………………..time occupied …. . ..............605

Total time of Salyut 6 in orbit

Sept. 29, 1977 to Dec. 31, 1980.........................................1,188

Occupancy rate (Percent) .................................................................................51


1. Note that days on board the space station are one day less than total mission duration, since one day is required for rendezvous and docking.


Mission 1, Inclusive dates of entire mission 2, Days onboard Salyut

Soyuz 26 (crew)................... Dec. 10, 1977 to Mar. 16, 1978............................. 95

Soyuz 27............................ Jan. 10, 1978 to Jan. 16, 1978................................. 35

Soyuz 28............................. Mar. 2, 1978 to Mar. 10, 1978.... .............................. 7

Soyuz 29 (crew)................. June 15, 1978 to Nov. 2, 1978................................ 139

Soyuz 30............................... June 27, 1978 to July 5,1978................................. 37

Soyuz 31 (crew)......................Aug. 26, 1978 to Sept. 3, 1978... .. ..................... 37

Soyuz 32.................................Feb. 25, 1979 to Aug. 19, 1979.......................... ..174

Soyuz 35 (crew)......................Apr. 9, 1980 to Oct. 11, 1980.... ....................... ....184

Soyuz 36 (crew)......................May 26, 1980 to June 3, 1980............................... 37

Soyuz T-2................................June 5, 1980 to June 9, 1980.................... .......... 33

Soyuz 37 (crew)......................July 23, 1980 to July 31, 1980............................... 37

Soyuz 38.................................Sept. 18, 1980 to Sept. 26, 1980.............................37

Soyuz T-3................................Nov. 27, 1980 to Dec. 10, 1980................................... 12

1. In some cases, a crew would travel to Salyut in one spacecraft and return in a different one which had been left behind by a visiting crew.

Missions in this column indicate the ship on which the crew was launched.

2. It takes one day for the Soyuz to dock with the space station, so the days on the station are one day less than total mission duration.

3. A visiting crew.

Source: Data taken from TASS announcements.

These missions to Salyut 6 represented a significant step forward for the Soviets in terms of extending man's duration in space. It was anticipated that the Soviets might try to institute a permanently manned space station with Salyut 6, which would have been

possible if they had tried. Why they did not is unknown. They did demonstrate the capability of bringing up a new crew, however.

Also, as noted earlier, the advent of "visiting" crews opened opportunities for the Soviets to fly non-Soviet cosmonauts, and seven of the nine Interkosmos countries were represented during this time period (the other two were flown in 1981).

With the introduction of Salyut 6, the distinction drawn in the West between military and civil Salyuts can no longer be made. Using prior criteria, Salyut 6 would be classified as a civil space station, although there have been reports that the Soviets have conducted military experiments. If an assessment is made of press reports of activities, it can be determined that those civil experiments which are reported must account for the majority of the time spent working by the crew. It is always possible that unreported military experiments also take place, but probably consume less time than those for civil purposes. The one area in which a civil/military distinction is most difficult to make—Earth photography—occupies the largest percentage of reports, however. Thus, it cannot be estimated with any certainty how much time is devoted to military experiments.

Launch and landing opportunities

The rationale underlying the selection of opportunities for manned flights to Salyut 6 has been explained by British analysts Phillip S. dark and Robert D. Christy, dark deduced empirically, as shown in figure 41, that landings are chosen so that they take place during the 5 hours before sunset in the landing area. Thus, for a given mission duration, there is a small range of launch times which can give landing under the optimum conditions.(128) This enabled him to make accurate predictions of the launch and recovery times associated with Salyut 6. The ascending node of the Salyut 6 orbit precessed with respect to the Earth-Sun line approximately once in every 60 days, so there was a period of about 10 days at 2 month intervals during which a Soyuz landing could be made under optimum conditions. If the revolution on which landing was made was known, the landing time could be estimated with reasonable accuracy.

The launch times and data for manned missions can also be calculated. For example, the visiting missions lasted for 8 days, so one could begin looking for a flight about 8 days before a recovery "window" opened. If the mission duration for the long duration crews was estimated, and therefore the most likely landing opportunities to be used, a calculation could be made as to launch opportunities.

Beginning with Soyuz 32, the long duration crews on Salyut 6 were launched during a landing opportunity in case Salyut proved unable to support the flight (so the crew could return to Earth under favorable conditions). Thus, the last three long duration missions lasted for approximately an integral number of Salyut orbital plane precessions.

Christy's less empirical approach (129) is based on two landing constraints which were revealed during preparations for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project: (a) the landing must take place at least 1 hour before local sunset, and (b) for the purpose of manually overriding the automatic descent program, Soyuz must cross the terminator at least 8 minutes before retrofire. (130) The constraints must be fulfilled on the first pass over the landing site on the planned recovery day and the day after.

For a solo space mission like Soyuz 9, the choice of flight dates is completely open, but for flights to an already orbiting space station, recovery dates are dictated by whether or not the Salyut orbit obeys the constraints.

The second constraint may only be broken in the case of an emergency landing like that of Soyuz 33, but the first constraint may be waived if it conflicts with other mission requirements. This happened with some of the Interkosmonaut missions because one requirement of those flights was that citizens of the participating country be able to observe Salyut in the night sky while their cosmonaut was aboard. In cases where the countries were in the more southerly latitudes (Cuba and Vietnam), this could not have been achieved had the constraint been observed.

Typical mission features

All launches to Salyut 6 (like that of the space station itself) are made out of the facility at Tyuratam (see figure 43) into an orbit inclined at 51.6 degrees. Routinely, the Soyuz spacecraft will make orbital adjustments on revolutions 4 and 17, with docking on revolution 17-18. Docking occurs at approximately 25 hours and 40 minutes Ground Elapsed Time. On the crews with two cosmonauts, the pilot enters the space station first, followed by the commander.

At the end of the mission, the Soyuz lands approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes after undocking from the space station. Landing occurs in the area near Dzhezkazgan and Tselinograd (see figs. 42 and 43). The cosmonauts are given a preliminary physical examination at the landing site and then are flown to Tyuratam for varying lengths of time depending on the duration of their mission and subsequent read-aptation to Earth's gravity. Sometime thereafter (the date is variable and may depend more on the schedules of the political personalities involved than anything else), the crewmembers are awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title and/or an Order of Lenin. In general, a cosmonaut on the first and second flights will get Hero of the Soviet Union (and is thereafter referred to as "twice Hero of the Soviet Union") along with an Order of Lenin, and if he flies additional missions, will only be given the Order of Lenin. Cosmonauts whose missions have not been successful are frequently given only the Order of Lenin, unless the fault clearly lay with systems and not their actions. Also with less-than-successful missions, the award ceremony may be delayed.



1. Tass in English, 1100 GMT, June 19, 1981.

2. Ibid.

3. Killer Satellites. Aviation Week and Space Technology, Oct. 26, 1981, p. 15. Cosmos Threat, Aviation Week and Space Technology, Nov. 30, 1981, p. 17.

4. Aerospace Daily, Nov. 29, 1982. p. 137.

5. Air Force Magazine, March 1983. p. 24.

6. Aviation Week and Space Technology, Oct. 25, 1982. p. 15.

7. Gubarev, V. His Heart Remains on Earth. Pravda, Aug. 15, 1983 p 7

8. Titov, V. Trial in Orbit. Krasnaya Zvezda, Aug. 9, 1983. p. 4.

9. The fuel leak had been reported by Aviation Week and Space Technology, (Oct. 10, 1983. p.23) and in December the Soviets confirmed that there had been a leak, although it would appear that it was not as serious as Aviation Week had suggested.

10. Izvestiya, July 18, 1983. p. 2.

11. Leningradskaya Pravda, Nov. 29,1983. p. 4.

12. Sotsialisticheskaya Industriya, July 17, 1983. p. 3.

13. Pravda, Nov. 4, 1983. p. 3.

14. (1) Burns, John F. Soviet Launching Explosion and Salyut 7 Leak Confirmed New York Times, Dec. 13, 1983. p. C 4. (2) Soviets Acknowledge Salyut Fuel Leak, Note Mission Extension Aerospace Daily, Dec. 13, 1983. p. 217. (3) Paris AFP, 1626 GMT, Dec. 12, 1983.

15. Pravda, July 3, 1983. p. 3. Sotsialisticheskaya Industriya, July 3, 1983 p 4

16. Pravda, July 2, 1983 and Oct. 9, 1983.

17. Moscow Domestic Service, 0000 GMT, July 1, 1983.

18. Bratislava Pravda, Apr. 14,1981. p. 6.

19. Soviets Air Space Station Goals at IAF. Astronautics and Aeronautics, Jan. 1982. p. 18.

20. Aviation Week and Space Technology, Mar. 1, 1982. p. 24.

21. Washington Post, June 10, 1982. p. A 4.

22. Soviets Test Sub-Scale Shuttle. Aviation Week and Space Technology, June -21, 1982, pp. 16-17.

23. Ibid.

24. U.S. Department of Defense. Soviet Military Power. Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, March 1983. p. 66.

25. Soviet Shuttle Orbiter Seen at Ramenskoye, Aerospace Daily, Mar. 4, 1983. p. 26.

26. Paton, B. and Y. Semenov. For the Orbits of the Future. Pravda, Nov. 28,1983 p 7

27. Soviets Looking at 20 to 30 Man Space Stations. Defense Daily, Aug. 16, 1982. p. 243.

28. Vorob'ev Ye I et al. Preliminary Results of Medical Studies Conducted During Manned Flights of Salyut 6 Program. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk. SSSR. Seriya Biologicheskaya 1, 1981, pp. 5-20.

28. Ibid.

29. Ibid.

30. Ducrocq, A. The Terrible Return. Air Et Cosmos. Dec. 18, 1982, pp. 52-63.

31. Nikitin, S. A. Biomedical and Technical Experiments in Flight of Soviet-French Crew. Priroda No. 9. September 1982, pp. 6-9.

32. Gubarev, V. Rationale for Selection of Female Cosmonauts. Pravda, Aug. 20, 1982, p. 3.

33. Moscow. Tass. June 29, 1983.

34. Moscow. Tass International Service. Dec. 20, 1982.

128. Clark, Phillip S. Soyuz Missions to Salyut Station. Spaceflight, June 1979: 259-263.

129. Christy, R. D. Safety Practices for Soyuz Recoveries. Spaceflight, v. 23, Nov. 1981: 321-322.

130. Apollo-Soyuz Test Project—Launch Window Plan. ASTP Mission Document 40100.2, Oct.1973.

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