The Salyut programme (Russian: Салют, IPA: [sɐˈlʲut], meaning "salute" or "fireworks") was the first space station programme, undertaken by the Soviet Union. It involved a series of four crewed scientific research space stations and two crewed military reconnaissance space stations over a period of 15 years, from 1971 to 1986. Two other Salyut launches failed. In one respect, Salyut had the task of carrying out long-term research into the problems of living in space and a variety of astronomical, biological and Earth-resources experiments, and on the other hand the USSR used this civilian programme as a cover for the highly secretive military Almaz stations, which flew under the Salyut designation. Salyut 1, the first station in the programme, became the world's first crewed space station.
|First flight||Salyut 1|
|First crewed flight||Soyuz 10|
|Last flight||Soyuz T-15|
Salyut flights broke several spaceflight records, including several mission-duration records, and achieved the first orbital handover of a space station from one crew to another, and various spacewalk records. The ensuing Soyuz programme was vital for evolving space station technology from a basic, engineering development stage, from single docking port stations to complex, multi-ported, long-term orbital outposts with impressive scientific capabilities, whose technological legacy continues as of 2020[update]. Experience gained from the Salyut stations paved the way for multimodular space stations such as Mir and the International Space Station (ISS), with each of those stations possessing a Salyut-derived core module at its heart.
Mir-2 (DOS-8), the final spacecraft from the Salyut series, became one of the first modules of the ISS. The first module of the ISS, the Russian-made Zarya, relied heavily on technologies developed in the Salyut programme.
The programme was composed of DOS (Durable Orbital Station) civilian stations and OPS (Orbital Piloted Station) military stations:
It was realized that the later civilian DOS stations could not only offer a cover story for the military Almaz programme, but could also be finished within one year and at least a year earlier than Almaz. The Salyut programme begun on 15 February 1970 on the condition that the crewed lunar programme would not suffer. However, the engineers at OKB-1 perceived the L3 lunar lander effort as a dead-end and immediately switched to working on DOS. In the end it turned out that the Soviet N1 "Moon Shot" rocket never flew successfully, so OKB-1's decision to abandon the lunar programme and derive a DOS space station from existing Soyuz subsystems and an Almaz/OPS hull proved to be right: The actual time from the DOS station's inception to the launch of the first DOS-based Salyut 1 space station took only 16 months; the world's first space station was launched by the Soviet Union, two years before the American Skylab or the first Almaz/OPS station flew.
Initially, the space stations were to be named Zarya, the Russian word for "Dawn". However, as the launch of the first station in the programme was prepared, it was realised that this would conflict with the call sign Zarya of the RKA Mission Control Center (TsUP) in Korolyov – therefore the name of the space stations was changed to Salyut shortly before launch of Salyut 1. Another explanation given is that the name might have offended the Chinese, who purportedly were preparing a new rocket for launch, which they had already named Shuguang or "Dawn". The Salyut programme was managed by Kerim Kerimov, chairman of the state commission for Soyuz missions.
A total of nine space stations were launched in the Salyut programme, with six successfully hosting crews and setting some records along the way. However, it was the stations Salyut 6 and Salyut 7 that became the workhorses of the programme. Out of the total of 1,697 days of occupancy that all Salyut crews achieved, Salyut 6 and 7 accounted for 1,499. While Skylab already featured a second docking port, these two Salyut stations became the first that actually utilised two docking ports: this made it possible for two Soyuz spacecraft to dock at the same time for crew exchange of the station and for Progress spacecraft to resupply the station, allowing for the first time a continuous ("permanent") occupation of space stations.
The heritage of the Salyut programme continued to live on in the first multi-module space station Mir with the Mir Core Module ("DOS-7"), that accumulated 4,592 days of occupancy, and in the International Space Station (ISS) with the Zvezda module ("DOS-8"), that as of 21 August 2012[update] accumulated 4,310 days of occupancy. Furthermore, the Functional Cargo Block space station modules were derived from the Almaz programme, with the Zarya ISS module being still in operation together with Zvezda.
First generation served as a space station engineering test bed. Aim was from early Almaz beginnings to construct long-living multi-modular stations.
Salyut 1 (DOS-1) (Russian: Салют-1) was the world's first space station launched into low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1971. The Salyut program followed this with five more successful launches of seven more stations. The final module of the program, Zvezda (DOS-8), became the core of the Russian segment of the International Space Station and remains in orbit.
Salyut 1 was modified from one of the Almaz airframes, and was made out of five components: a transfer compartment, a main compartment, two auxiliary compartments, and the Orion 1 Space Observatory.Salyut 1 was visited by Soyuz 10 and Soyuz 11. The hard-docking of Soyuz 10 failed and the crew had to abort this mission. The Soyuz 11 crew achieved successful hard docking and performed experiments in Salyut 1 for 23 days. However, they were killed by asphyxia caused by failure of a valve just prior to Earth reentry, and are the only people to have died above the Kármán line. Salyut 1's mission was later terminated, and it burned up on reentry into Earth's atmosphere on October 11, 1971.
DOS-2 designation given to a space station, launched as part of the Salyut programme, which was lost in a launch failure on 29 July 1972, when the failure of the second stage of its Proton-K launch vehicle prevented the station from achieving orbit. It instead fell into the Pacific Ocean. The station, which would have been given the designation Salyut 2 had it reached orbit, was structurally identical to Salyut 1, as it had been assembled as a backup unit for that station. Four teams of cosmonauts were formed to crew the station, of which two would have flown:
Kosmos 557 (Russian: Космос 557 meaning Cosmos 557) was the designation given to DOS-3, the third space station in the Salyut program. It was originally intended to be launched as Salyut-3, but due to its failure to achieve orbit on May 11, 1973, three days before the launch of Skylab, it was renamed Kosmos-557.Due to errors in the flight control system while out of the range of ground control, the station fired its attitude thruster until it consumed all of its attitude control fuel and became uncontrollable before raising its orbit to the desired altitude. Since the spacecraft was already in orbit and had been registered by Western radar, the Soviets disguised the launch as "Kosmos 557" and quietly allowed it to reenter Earth's atmosphere and burn up a week later. It was revealed to have been a Salyut station only much later.[when?]
Salyut 3 (Russian: Салют-3; English: Salute 3; also known as OPS-2 or Almaz 2) was a Soviet space station launched on 25 June 1974. It was the second Almaz military space station, and the first such station to be launched successfully. It was included in the Salyut program to disguise its true military nature. Due to the military nature of the station, the Soviet Union was reluctant to release information about its design, and about the missions relating to the station.
It attained an altitude of 219 to 270 km on launch and NASA reported its final orbital altitude was 268 to 272 km. Only one of the three intended crews successfully boarded and manned the station, brought by Soyuz 14; Soyuz 15 attempted to bring a second crew but failed to dock.Although little official information has been released about the station, several sources report that it contained multiple Earth-observation cameras, as well as an on-board gun. The station was deorbited, and re-entered the atmosphere on 24 January 1975. The next space station launched by the Soviet Union was the civilian station Salyut 4; the next military station was Salyut 5, which was the final Almaz space station.
Salyut 3 would make history, by conducting the first test-fire of a conventional weapon in space. During Salyut 3’s mission span, cosmonauts would fire the onboard 23mm cannon, which was reported to be a modified Nudelman aircraft cannon. To operate the cannon, the crew had to maneuver the whole space station in the direction of the target. Sources state that the firing was to deplete the ammunition on the craft. However, others sources say that the station conducted 3 tests of the gun through the whole mission span of Salyut 3.
In 1977, another marked step forward was made with the second generation of Salyut stations. The aim was to continuously occupy a space station with long-duration expeditions, for the first time in spaceflight.
Although Salyut 6 and Salyut 7 resembled the previous Salyut stations in overall design, several revolutionary changes were made to the stations and programme for the aim of continuous occupation. The new stations featured a longer design life and a second docking port at the aft of the stations – crew exchanges and station "handovers" were now made possible by docking two crewed Soyuz spacecraft at the same time. Furthermore, the uncrewed Progress resupply craft was created based on the crewed Soyuz, to resupply the crew and station with air, air regenerators, water, food, clothing, bedding, mail, propellants, pressurant, and other supplies. While the Progress docked to the station's second docking port, the crew's Soyuz spacecraft could remain docked to the station's first port. The Progress spacecraft even delivered hardware for updating onboard experiments and permitting repairs to the station, extending its life.
Salyut 6 (Russian: Салют-6; lit. Salute 6), DOS-5, was a Soviet orbital space station, the eighth station of the Salyut programme. It was launched on 29 September 1977 by a Proton rocket. Salyut 6 was the first space station to receive large numbers of crewed and uncrewed spacecraft for human habitation, crew transfer, international participation and resupply, establishing precedents for station life and operations which were enhanced on Mir and the International Space Station.
Salyut 6 was the first "second generation" space station, representing a major breakthrough in capabilities and operational success. In addition to a new propulsion system and its primary scientific instrument—the BST-1M multispectral telescope—the station had two docking ports, allowing two craft to visit simultaneously. This feature made it possible for humans to remain aboard for several months. Six long-term resident crews were supported by ten short-term visiting crews who typically arrived in newer Soyuz craft and departed in older craft, leaving the newer craft available to the resident crew as a return vehicle, thereby extending the resident crew's stay past the design life of the Soyuz. Short-term visiting crews routinely included international cosmonauts from Warsaw pact countries participating in the Soviet Union's Intercosmos programme. These cosmonauts were the first spacefarers from countries other than the Soviet Union or the United States. Salyut 6 was visited and resupplied by twelve uncrewed Progress spacecraft including Progress 1, the first instance of the series. Additionally, Salyut 6 was visited by the first instances of the new Soyuz-T spacecraft.
The success of Salyut 6 contrasted with the programme's earlier failures and limited successes. The early history of the programme was plagued by the fatalities of Soyuz 11 and three launched stations which quickly failed. Earlier successful stations received few crews, limited to several weeks' habitation by the design life of their Soyuz craft and the presence of a single docking port per station; unsuccessful docking was also common. Salyut 6 on the other hand routinely received successful dockings of crewed and uncrewed craft, although the first visiting craft Soyuz 25 and later Soyuz 33 failed to dock with the station.From 1977-1981, the station was occupied by human crews during six separate, discontinuous intervals, each coterminous with the presence of a resident crew who were first-in, last-out while support crew visited. Between each of these intervals Salyut 6 was vacant, although it was visited by Soyuz T-1 and Kosmos 1267 during its periods of vacancy. Following the launch of successor Salyut 7, Salyut 6 was de-orbited on 29 July 1982, almost five years after its own launch.
Salyut 7 (Russian: Салют-7; English: Salute 7) (a.k.a. DOS-6, short for Durable Orbital Station) was a space station in low Earth orbit from April 1982 to February 1991. It was first crewed in May 1982 with two crew via Soyuz T-5, and last visited in June 1986, by Soyuz T-15. Various crew and modules were used over its lifetime, including 12 crewed and 15 uncrewed launches in total. Supporting spacecraft included the Soyuz T, Progress, and TKS spacecraft.It was part of the Soviet Salyut programme, and launched on 19 April 1982 on a Proton rocket from Site 200/40 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Soviet Union. Salyut 7 was part of the transition from monolithic to modular space stations, acting as a testbed for docking of additional modules and expanded station operations. It was the eighth space station of any kind launched. Salyut 7 was the last of both the second generation of DOS-series space stations and of the monolithic Salyut Program overall, to be replaced by Mir, the modular, expandable, third generation.
After the second generation, plans for the next generation of Salyut stations called for the cores DOS-7 and DOS-8 to allow, for the first time in spaceflight, the addition of several modules to a station core and to create a modular space station. For this, the DOS modules were to be equipped with a total of four docking ports: one docking port at the aft of the station as in the second generation Salyuts, and the replacement of the front docking port with a "docking sphere" containing a front port and starboard docking port.
While the station cores DOS-7 and DOS-8 were built and flown, they never received the Salyut designation. Instead, DOS-7 evolved into the Mir Core Module for the Mir space station that followed the Salyut programme, and DOS-8 was used as the Zvezda Service Module for the International Space Station (ISS) which followed Mir.
The heritage from the Almaz programme is present even today. While the last space station from the Almaz programme was flown as Salyut 5 in 1976, the development of the Almaz TKS spacecraft evolved into the Functional Cargo Block, which formed the basis for several Mir modules, the experimental Polyus orbital weapons platform and the Zarya module of the ISS.
DOS-7 continued to be developed during Salyut 7, becoming the Mir Core Module of the Mir space station – the first modular space station, with crewed operations lasting from 1986 to 2000. The station featured upgraded computers and solar arrays, and accommodations for two cosmonauts each having their own cabin. A total of six docking ports were available on the Mir Core Module, which were used for space station modules and visiting spacecraft – the docking sphere design had been upgraded from its initial Salyut design to contain a maximum of five docking ports (front, port, starboard, zenith and nadir). And finally, the modules for Mir were derived from the Functional Cargo Block design of the Almaz programme.
The name of the Mir space station – Russian: Мир, literally Peace or World – was to signify the intentions of the Soviet Union to bring peace to the world. However, it was during the time of Mir that the Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991, ending what was begun with the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. This dissolution had started with the Soviet "perestroika and glasnost" ("restructuring and openness") reform campaigns by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s, had reached a preliminary endpoint with the revolutions of 1989 and the end of the communist Eastern Bloc (Warsaw Pact and the Comecon), finally to reach the Soviet Union itself in 1991.
While the Russian Federation became the successor to much of the dissolved Soviet Union and was in a position to continue the Soviet space program with the Russian Federal Space Agency, it faced severe difficulties: imports and exports had steeply declined as the economic exchange with Comecon nations had crumbled away, leaving the industry of the former Soviet Union in shambles. Not only did the political change in eastern Europe signify an end of contributions to the space programme by eastern European nations (such as the East German Carl Zeiss Jena), but parts of the Soviet space industry were located in the newly independent Ukraine, which was similarly cash-strapped as Russia and started to demand hard currency for its contributions.
It was during this time of transition and upheaval that the Shuttle–Mir program was established between the Russian Federation and the United States in 1993. The former adversaries would now cooperate, with "Phase One" consisting of joint missions and flights of the United States Space Shuttle to the Mir space station. It was a partnership with stark contrasts – Russia needed an inflow of hard currency to keep their space programme aloft, while in the United States it was seen as a chance to learn from the over 20 years of experience of Soviet space station operations. It was "Phase Two" of this Shuttle–Mir program that would lead to the International Space Station.
DOS-8 evolved into the Mir-2 project, intended to replace Mir. Finally, it became the International Space Station (ISS) Zvezda Service Module and formed the core of the early ISS together with the Zarya module (which was derived from Almaz Functional Cargo Block designs).
The first generation of Salyut stations received few craft for rendezvous and docking. By contrast the programme's second generation stations, Salyut 6 and Salyut 7, received multiple crewed and uncrewed craft for rendezvous, docking attempts (whether successful or not), human habitation, crew transfer, and supply. The table counts craft which achieved rendezvous with their targets as visiting craft, regardless of whether they docked successfully.
|Salyut 1||DOS-1||19 April 1971
|11 October 1971
|-||DOS-2||29 July 1972||29 July 1972||-||-||-||-||-||18,500|
|Salyut 2||OPS-1 (military)||4 April 1973
|28 May 1973
|DOS-3||11 May 1973
|22 May 1973
|Salyut 3||OPS-2 (military)||25 June 1974
|24 January 1975
|Salyut 4||DOS-4||26 December 1974
|3 February 1977
|Salyut 5||OPS-3 (military)||22 June 1976
|8 August 1977
|Salyut 6||DOS-5||29 September 1977
|29 July 1982
|Salyut 7||DOS-6||19 April 1982
|7 February 1991
|For comparison, the DOS-7 and DOS-8 modules that were derived from the Salyut programme:|
Mir Core Module
|19 February 1986
||23 March 2001
ISS Service Module
|12 July 2000
||Still in orbit||8,723||7,500||215||85
All data for Zvezda (DOS-8) as of 18 May 2021[update].