Soyuz 17


Soyuz 17
Mission typeDocking with Salyut 4
OperatorSoviet space program
COSPAR ID1975-001A
SATCAT no.07604
Mission duration29 days 13 hours 19 minutes 45 seconds
Orbits completed479
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSoyuz 7K-T No.5
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-T
ManufacturerNPO Energia
Launch mass6570 kg[1]
Landing mass1200 kg
Crew size2
MembersAleksei Gubarev
Georgy Grechko
CallsignЗенит (Zenit - "Zenith")
Start of mission
Launch date10 January 1975, 21:43:37 UTC
Launch siteBaikonur, Site 1/5[2]
End of mission
Landing date9 February 1975, 11:03:22 UTC
Landing site110 km at the northeast of Tselinograd, Kazakhstan
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[3]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude293.0 km
Apogee altitude354.0 km
Period91.7 minutes
Docking with Salyut 4
Docking date12 January 1975
Undocking date9 February 1975
Time docked28 days
Vimpel 'Diamond'.jpg
Vimpel Diamond patch  

Soyuz 17 (Russian: Союз 17, Union 17) was the first of two long-duration missions to the Soviet Union's Salyut 4 space station in 1975. The flight set a Soviet mission-duration record of 29 days, surpassing the 23-day record set by the ill-fated Soyuz 11 crew aboard Salyut 1 in 1971.


Position Cosmonaut
Commander Soviet Union Aleksei Gubarev
First spaceflight
Flight Engineer Soviet Union Georgy Grechko
First spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Soviet Union Vasily Lazarev
Flight Engineer Soviet Union Oleg Makarov

Reserve crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Soviet Union Pyotr Klimuk
Flight Engineer Soviet Union Vitaly Sevastyanov

Mission parameters

  • Mass: 6,570 kg (14,480 lb)[1]
  • Perigee: 293.0 km (182.1 mi)[3]
  • Apogee: 354.0 km (220.0 mi)
  • Inclination: 51.6°
  • Period: 91.7 minutes

Mission highlights

Salyut 4 was launched 26 December 1974, and Soyuz 17, with cosmonauts Georgy Grechko and Aleksei Gubarev as its first crew, was launched 16 days later on 10 January 1975.[4] Gubarev manually docked Soyuz 17 to the station on 12 January 1975, and upon entering the new station he and Grechko found a note from its builders which said, "Wipe your feet"![4]

Salyut 4 was in an unusually high circular orbit of 350 km (220 mi) when Soyuz 17 docked with the station. Salyut designer Konstantin Feoktistov said this was to ensure propellant consumption would be half of what was needed for lower-altitude Salyuts.[5]

The crew worked between 15 and 20 hours a day, including their 212 hour exercise period.[4] One of their activities included testing communication equipment for tracking ships and contacting mission control via a Molniya satellite.[4] Astrophysics was a major component of the mission, with the station's solar telescope activated on 16 January 1975.[5] The crew later discovered that the main mirror of the telescope had been ruined by direct exposure to sunlight when the pointing system failed. They resurfaced the mirror on 3 February 1975 and worked out a way of pointing the telescope using a stethoscope, stopwatch, and the noises the moving mirror made in its casing.[4]

On 14 January 1975, a ventilation hose was set up from Salyut 4 to keep the Soyuz ventilated while its systems were shut down.[4] On 19 January 1975, it was announced that ion sensors were being used to orient the station, a system described as being more efficient.[5] A new teleprinter was used for communications from the ground crew, freeing the Salyut crew from constant interruptions during their work.[5]

The cosmonauts began powering down the station on 7 February 1975 and they returned to Earth in the Soyuz capsule two days later, on 9 February 1975.[5] They safely landed near Tselinograd in a snowstorm with winds of 72 km/h and wore gravity suits to ease the effects of re-adaptation.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Display: Soyuz 17 1975-001A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Baikonur LC1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Trajectory: Soyuz 17 1975-001A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Newkirk, Dennis (1990). Almanac of Soviet Manned Space Flight. Houston, Texas: Gulf Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87201-848-2.
  5. ^ a b c d e Clark, Phillip (1988). The Soviet Manned Space Program. New York: Orion Books, a division of Crown Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-517-56954-X.