Salyut 4 was the third Soviet space station launched into orbit. It took off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 26, 1974 at 4:15 Universal time.

Salyut 4 was very similar to Salyut 1, with the addition of three rotatable solar arrays. Its on-orbit dry mass totaled 18,500 kilograms. It was designed to remain in orbit for approximately 60 days and carried extensive scientific equipment to conduct experiments for this period of time.

Salyut 4 was the second space station devoted primarily to civilian objectives. It carried an X-ray instrument, called the Filin telescope, that had four gas flow proportional counters. Optical sensors and X-ray detectors were outside the station, and power supply and measurement units were inside. The detectors were calibrated using one ground-based and three inflight modes -- inertial orientation, orbital orientation and survey. The large detectors collected data in four energy channels.

Four spacecraft were sent to Salyut 4. One of these was unmanned and another suffered a launch failure.

The Soyuz 17 crew, Aleksei Gubarev and Georgi Grechko, launched from Baikonur on Jan. 10, 1975. They were greeted to the station by a note left inside from the preparation crew that read, "Wipe your feet!" They spent 29 days in space, and then returned, landing 100 kilometers northeast of Tselinograd on Feb. 9.

The second mission headed for Salyut 4 was designated Soyuz 18-1. Vasily Lazarev and Oleg Makarov took off on April 5, 1975. However, a launch failure forced the Soviets to abort the flight. The abort system saved the two men, who landed 1,600 kilometers from the launch site, near the China border. The entire flight lasted approximately 21 minutes.

The next and final manned mission to Salyut 4 was Soyuz 18. The spacecraft launched from Baikonur on May 24, 1975 carrying Pyotr Klimuk and Vitali Sevastyanov. While on the station, the men were able to converse with the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project crews. Klimuk and Sevastyanov spent 63 days in space before landing 56 kilometers southwest of Arkalyk on July 26.

One last spacecraft was sent to spend three months docked to the station. Engineers wanted to test Soyuz 20 to see how its systems would perform over an extended period of time in space. It launched from Baikonur on Nov. 17, 1975. The spacecraft carried biological specimens, including turtles and plants, so a joint experiment could be conducted with the three-week Cosmos 782 mission. Soyuz landed on Feb. 16, 1976, 56 kilometers southwest of Arkalyk.

Approximately one year later, on Feb. 2, 1977, Salyut 4's propulsion system was used to deorbit it over the Pacific Ocean. The station was destroyed by frictional heating.

Salyut 4 Space Station Mission Profile

Soyuz 17 January 10, 1975 Alexei A. Gubarev Commander Georgi M. Grechko Flight Engineer
Soyuz 18-1 April 5, 1975 Vasily G. Lazarev Commander Oleg G. Makarov Flight Engineer 
Soyuz 19 May 28, 1975 Pyotr I. Klimuk Commander Vitaly I. Sevastyanov Flight Engineer Soyuz 20 November 17, 1975 -- Unmanned Craft --


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Updated: Tuesday 1st, April, 2014