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Space


Soyuz 38

1971-1975/1976-1980

II. THE SOYUZ PROGRAM

Soviet Manned Space Programs: 1957-80

MANNED MISSIONS TO SALYUT 6: 1977-80

SOYUZ 38: FIRST CUBAN COSMONAUT

The fourth and last crew to visit Popov and Ryumin on Salyut 6 was the Soyuz 38 (Taymyr) crew which was composed of Col. Yuriy Romaneko and Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, the first Cuban to fly in space. He was hailed in the Soviet media alternately as the first cosmonaut from Cuba, the Western Hemisphere, a non-aligned country, or Latin America. The spacecraft was launched at 1911 GMT on September 18, 1980, and docked with Salyut 6 at 2049 GMT the next day.

Among the joint Cuban/Soviet experiments conducted during the mission were several focussing on biomedical problems, including "Support," "Cortex," and "Anthropometry." Two experiments involving the growth of microorganisms were conducted, one called "Multiplikator" and the other "Hateuy" which involved studying yeast growth. No further details were provided.

Two materials processing experiments involving sugar were performed, which marked the first time such experiments on Salyut involved an organic substance. High temperatures were not required for these processes, so the Cubans had devised a piece of

equipment called "Kristallograph" which allowed the crew to look at what was transpiring in the furnace and to photograph it. They also conducted a series of Earth observation sessions focussing on Cuba.

In all, 20 experiments were conducted in four fields: medico/biological, psychological, physico-technical, and Earth resources. Wilfredo Torres Yribar, President of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, stated that half of those experiments reflected the interest of the Cuban economy. (187)

The Cubans and Soviets had been working on a holographic experiment for this flight, but it was not ready in time. The Soyuz T-3 crew brought it into space with them in November.

Romanenko had been on Salyut 6, 2 years previously, and commented that little had changed except that there was more scientific equipment. The crew landed in their own Soyuz 38 spacecraft on September 26 at 1554 GMT, 175 km southeast of Dzhezkazgan after 8 days (188 hours 43 minutes) in space.

References:

A. SOVIET SPACE PROGRAMS: 1976-80, (WITH SUPPLEMENTARY DATA THROUGH 1983) MANNED SPACE PROGRAMS AND SPACE LIFE SCIENCES PREPARED AT THE REQUEST OF HON. BOB PACKWOOD, Chairman, COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION UNITED STATES SENATE, Part 2, OCTOBER 1984, Printed for the use of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D. C., 1984

187. Nature, 16 Oct. 80, p. 577.