The Salyut 6 space station made possible the first long-duration Soviet space missions. The station hosted 16 cosmonaut crews during its approximately five years in orbit, including five crews that stayed for longer than one month.
Salyut 6 launched on Sept. 29, 1977 from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Tyuratam, U.S.S.R. It was lofted using a Proton booster and upper stage.
As the first of the second-generation Soviet space stations, Salyut 6 demonstrated the use of two docking ports. A total of 35 manned and unmanned spacecraft used these ports. Soyuz spacecraft docked to one port, leaving the other available for visiting Soyuz crews on short-duration missions or Progress resupply vehicles.
A total of twelve Progress spacecraft delivered more than 20 tons of equipment, supplies and fuel during the station's lifetime, which allowed cosmonauts to spend increasingly longer periods of time in space. Progress spacecraft docked automatically to the aft port and were then opened and unlocked by cosmonauts on the station. Fuel was transferred automatically with supervision from the ground crew.
Salyut 6 was also visited by the first non-U.S., non-U.S.S.R. space traveler. Vladimir Remek, a Czechoslovakian cosmonaut from the Intercosmos program, visited the station in March 1978.
The Intercosmos program enabled cosmonaut researchers from Soviet bloc countries or countries sympathetic to the Soviet Union to visit the space station. Other researchers that visited Salyut 6 came from Hungary, Poland, Romania, Cuba, Mongolia, Vietnam, East Germany and Bulgaria. Although three of these men stayed for more than two months, most of them briefly visited with crews already occupying the station.
The first crew was supposed to occupy the station in October 1977, but their docking attempts failed. Rescheduling had to be done, which resulted in the risky winter launch of Soyuz 26. Winter launches were not favored because of the poor conditions at Baikonur and the landing zone at that time of year. However, Yuri Romanenko and Georgi Grechko launched without major problems on Dec. 10, 1977 and spent over one month on Salyut 6.
Overall, cosmonauts inhabited the station for a total of 676 days. Their time was filled with numerous experiments and studies. The instruments they used included an infrared telescope, a mapping camera, a radio telescope, an Earth photography camera, a furnace for heating samples, plant growth facilities, a treadmill, cardiology equipment and a gamma ray detector.
There was also a changeover from the Soyuz to the Soyuz-T manned spacecraft during this time. The new vehicle was tested for three months from December 1979 to March 1980, and by November it was being tested using a three-man crew. This was the first time since the Soyuz 11 flight in 1971 that three cosmonauts were able to fly a mission together.
After the last Salyut 6 cosmonauts left the station, an experimental transport logistics spacecraft docked to it. Cosmos 1267 launched on April 25, 1981, orbited in space for two months and then docked to Salyut 6 on June 19. Cosmos 1267 proved that large modules could dock automatically to space stations -- an important step toward the later development of Mir and the International Space Station.
Cosmos 1267 remained docked to Salyut 6 until both were deorbited and reentered the Earth's atmosphere over the south Pacific Ocean on June 29, 1982. They were destroyed by frictional heating during descent.
Salyut 6 Spacecraft Mission Profile
Soyuz 25 October 9, 1977 2 days, 0 hours Vladimir V. Kovalyonok, 2 days, 0 hours Commander Valery V. Ryumin, 2 days, 0 hours Flight Engineer
Soyuz 26 December 10, 1977 37 days, 10 hours Yuri V. Romanenko, 96 days, 10 hours Commander Georgi M. Grechko, 96 days, 10 hours Flight Engineer
Soyuz 27 January 10, 1978 64 days, 22 hours Vladimir A. Dzhanibekov, 5 days, 22 hours Commander Oleg G. Makarov, 5 days, 22 hours Flight Engineer Soyuz 28 March 2, 1978 7 days, 22 hours Alexei N. Gubarev, 7 days, 22 hours Commander Vladimir Remek, 7 days, 22 hours (Czechoslovakia) InterCosmos
Soyuz 29 June 15, 1978 9 days, 15 hours Vladimir V. Kovalyonok, 139 days, 14 hours Commander Alexander S.Ivanchenkov, 139 days, 14 hours Flight Engineer
Soyuz 30 June 27, 1978 7 days, 22 hours Pyotr I. Klimuk, 7 days, 22 hours Commander Miroslav Hermaszewski, 7 days, 22 hours (Poland) InterCosmos Soyuz 31 August 26, 1978 67 days, 20 hours Valery F. Bykovsky, 7 days, 20 hours Commander Sigmund Jähn, 7 days, 20 hours (GDR) InterCosmos
Soyuz 32 February 25, 1979 108 days, 4 hours Vladimir A. Lyakhov, 175 days, 36 minutes Commander Valery V. Ryumin, 175 days, 36 minutes Flight Engineer
Soyuz 33 April 10, 1979 1 day, 23 hours Nikolai N. Rukavishnikov, 1 day, 23 hours Commander Georgi Ivanov, 1 day, 23 hours (Bulgaria) InterCosmos Soyuz 34 June 6, 1979 7 days, 18 hours -- Sent to recover Soyuz 32 Crew. Soyuz 32 spacecraft returned unmanned.
Soyuz 35 April 9, 1980 55 days, 1 hour Leonid I. Popov, 184 days, 20 hours Commander Valery V. Ryumin, 184 days, 20 hours Flight Engineer
Soyuz 36 May 26, 1980 65 days, 20 hours Valery N. Kubasov, 7 days, 20 hours Commander Bertalan Farkas, 7 days, 20 hours (Hungary) InterCosmos
Soyuz T-2 June 5, 1980 3 days, 22 hours Yuri V. Malyshev, 3 days, 22 hours Commander Vladimir V. Aksyonov, 3 days, 22 hours Flight Engineer Soyuz 37 July 23, 1980 79 days, 15 hours Viktor V. Gorbatko, 7 days, 20 hours Commander Pham Tuan, 7 days, 20 hours (Vietnam) InterCosmos
Soyuz 38 September 18, 1980 7 days, 20 hours Yuri V. Romanenko, 7 days, 20 hours Commander Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez, 7 days, 20 hours (Cuba) InterCosmos
Soyuz T-3 November 27, 1980 12 days, 19 hours Leonid D. Kizim, 12 days, 19 hours Commander Oleg G. Makarov, 12 days, 19 hours Flight Engineer Gennady M. Strekalov, 12 days, 19 hours Flight Engineer
Soyuz T-4 March 12, 1981 74 days, 18 hours Vladimir V. Kovalyonok, 74 days, 18 hours Commander Viktor P. Savinykh, 74 days, 18 hours Flight Engineer Soyuz 39 March 22, 1981 7 days, 20 hours Vladimir A. Dzhanibekov, 7 days, 20 hours Commander Jugderdemidiyn Gurragcha, 7 days, 20 hours (Mongolia) InterCosmos
Soyuz 40 May 14, 1981 7 days, 20 hours Leonid I. Popov,
7 days, 20 hours Commander
7 days, 20 hours
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Updated: Tuesday 1st, April, 2014