NASA illustration of a VBK-Raduga ballistic return capsule during final descent to Earth.

The VBK-Raduga capsule was a reentry capsule that was used for returning materials to Earth's surface from the space station Mir. They were brought to Mir in the Progress-M cargo craft's dry cargo compartment. For return, the capsule would be substituted for the Progress' docking probe before it left the space station, and then after the Progress-M performed its deorbit burn, the capsule was ejected at 120 km altitude to reenter the atmosphere independently. It would then parachute to a landing area in Russia.[1]

Each Raduga was about 1.5 m long, 60 cm in diameter, and had an unloaded mass of about 350 kg. It could return about 150 kg of cargo back to Earth. Use of the Raduga reduced the Progress-M's cargo capacity by about 100 kg, to a maximum of about 2400 kg.[citation needed]

The European Space Agency studied a very similar system called PARES (Payload Retrieval System), for use in combination with the Automated Transfer Vehicle.[2]

Capsule Launch date Carried by Notes
VBK-Raduga 1 27 September 1990 Progress M-5
VBK-Raduga 2 19 March 1991 Progress M-7 Lost on reentry
VBK-Raduga 3 20 August 1991 Progress M-9
VBK-Raduga 4 17 October 1991 Progress M-10
VBK-Raduga 5 19 April 1992 Progress M-12
VBK-Raduga 6 15 August 1992 Progress M-14
VBK-Raduga 7 31 March 1993 Progress M-17 Capsule returned by Progress M-18
VBK-Raduga 8 10 August 1993 Progress M-19
VBK-Raduga 9 11 October 1993 Progress M-20
VBK-Raduga 10 22 March 1994 Progress M-23

See also


  1. ^ "VBK-Raduga". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  2. ^ "PARES to complete study phase". Flight International. 5 April 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2014.