This post is a research reflection based on my term paper subject choice - the USSR's Salyut Program.
Requirement for ASCI 601 Week 5.
 This is a collection of information that may not necessarily translate to my final research project - mostly for my own, in-depth, knowledge.

Check out Reflection 1 for Salyut 1 - 3 basics
Reflection 2 for their details.
Reflection 3 gives Salyut 4 - 7 basics.

Figure 1.

Sketch of Soyuz crew ferry docking with Salyut 1 space station.

Note: From International Space Station, Russian space stations [Fact Sheet], by Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 1997, NASA ( NASA content (images, videos, audio, etc) are generally not copyrighted and may be used for educational or informational purposes without needing explicit permissions (NASA Image Use Policy).

Note: From International Space Station, Russian space stations [Fact Sheet], by Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 1997, NASA ( NASA content (images, videos, audio, etc) are generally not copyrighted and may be used for educational or informational purposes without needing explicit permissions (NASA Image Use Policy).

Recap: The Salyut Program

After multiple ICBM and Soyuz successes, the USSR knew they had the data they needed to make a space station a reality. While NASA was proceeding as a civilian endeavor, the USSR maintained a classified, military-industrial posture (Sagdeev, Eisenhower, & Logsdon, 2008). On the heels of the USAF's and NRO's Manned Orbital Laboratory cancellation - with only the mockup ever entering orbit in 1966 - the USSR got to work (Uri, 2019).

Originally, the USSR had two station types: Salyut (civilian), and Almaz (military). The Almaz program was approved, first - proposed in 1964, with work beginning in 1970. They realized that using the civilian name and versions of the orbiters, while switching between civilian and military purposes for each station, was the perfect cover for world speculation. Therefore, they established the Salyut Program and focused their efforts...

Sixteen months after the 1970 establishment of the Salyut Program, on April 19, 1971, Salyut 1 was in LEO (Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 1997, pg. 2).


Salyut (Salute)

  • The USSR's civilian type space station, conceived after Almaz type stations
  • Also, the public name of each space station
    • Salyut 2, 3, and 5 were secretly Almaz 1, 2, and 3
  • Salyut type stations used Almaz hardware for large components, such as the hull, while Soyuz hardware components were used for the subsystems
  • The Salyut type differed from the Almaz type in construction with docking in the rear (Salyut was in the front) and Almaz stations had weapons on board(Portree, 1995)

Almaz (Diamond)

  • The Almaz Program and station type was conceived before the Salyut Program and station type
  • Military secrecy was high and information can be difficult to find
  • Was meant to use Transport Logistics Spacecraft (TKS) rather than Soyuz before the Salyut/Almaz secrecy idea came into play
  • Almaz Program/stations were cancelled prior to Salyut 7; Salyut 7 was originally going to be Almaz 4
  • The remaining Almaz stations were converted into unmanned satellites
    (Portree, 1995)


Week 8: Experiments, Notable Equipment, & Lessons

The Salyut Program's contributions to modern, and future, space habitation lie in the experimentation aboard each station. We covered Salyut 4 - 7, and their general information, last post. This post, we will go over the experiments on board the successful missions, and what was ultimately learned from each station, if such information is available. Being that the USSR was so secretive about these missions, especially the military (Almaz) stations, some information is difficult to come by.

Note: Any reliable informational sources are welcome in the comments!

Salyut 4

December 26, 1974 - February 2, 1977

Figure 2.

Artist rendering of Salyut 4.

Note: From Salyut 4 Publications by NASA's HEASARC: Observatories, 2020, NASA ( NASA content (images, videos, audio, etc.) are generally not copyrighted and may be used for educational or informational purposes without needing explicit permissions (NASA Image Use Policy).

Notable Equipment

  • Very much like Salyut 1
    • Single docking
    • Transfer, work, propulsion modules
    • Last hull of its kind
  • Stroka teleprinter; TsUP could send hardcopy info to cosmonauts
  • Rubber sleeve between ferry & station for ventilation
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • OST-1 25-cm solar telescope
    • Spectrograph & diffraction spectrometer
  • Filin & RT-4 x-ray telescopes
  • ITSK infrared telescope
  • Meteoroid detector
  • Solar arrays larger than past Salyuts
    • Steerable
  • Exercise equipment
    • Treadmill
    • Bike that generated electricity
  • Delta nav system
  • KATE-140 & 500 multispectral cameras
  • Spektru upper atmosphere analyzer


  • General astrophysics observations
  • Various closed-cycle life support systems
  • Peas and onions in the Oazis greenhouse - the first greenhouse in space
  • Meteoroid measurements
  • Continued Earth observation
  • Continued testing of the Priboy water regeneration system, first seen on Salyut 3/Almaz 2
  • Kaskad navigation system testing
  • Filin observations of Sco X-1 (Scorpius X-1), Cir X-1 (Circinus X-1), Cyg X-1 (Cygnus X-1), and A0620-00 were published in the late 70s

Lessons Learned

  • The April 5 Anomaly - Vasili Lasarev and Oleg Makarov (code name Ural) launched, in what was dubbed Soyuz 18a in Western nations, towards Salyut 4. Electrical malfunction caused half of the first and second stage latches to prematurely explode, with the first stage becoming stuck to the second. Automatic safety system took over, the Soyuz was maneuvered, and the astronauts survived after a harrowing reentry that caused them to experience between 12 to 18 G's the entire time. Because of where they landed, it took 24 hours for them to be recovered in eastern USSR. This became the only suborbital manned flight in Soviet space history, along with becoming the only downrange abort in manned spaceflight history.
  • During Soyuz 18's (18b according to the U.S.) 60-day stay on Salyut 4, Soyuz 19 greeted Soyuz 18 during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
  • Soyuz 20 was an unmanned long-duration test by the USSR to test unmanned flight and docking, carried biological organisms for space-exposure testing, and was tested in various flight conditions to improve systems.

(Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 1997; NASA's HEASARC: Observatories, 2020; Portree, 1995; Smirnov, V., Semenov, A., Rebrikov, Kuzim, Gosniias, & Russian Academy of Sciences, 1999; Salyut 4, n.d.; Soyuz 18, n.d.; Soyuz 20, n.d.)

Apollo - Soyuz Test Project (ASTP)

Fast Facts

  • Both launched July 15, 1975
    • Soyuz landed July 21, 1975
    • Apollo landed July 24, 1975
  • Mission lasted 9 days, 7 hours, 28 minutes
    • July 15 - 24, 1975
  • This was the final flight of the Apollo Program
  • First successful docking of spacecraft from different nations
  • First live Soviet televised launch
  • Astro/cosmonauts visited each other's space centers
    • Russians visited Johnson Space Center in July 1973, April/May & September 1974, February 1975
    • U.S. went to Moscow in November 1973, June/July 1974, April/May 1975
      • First Americans to see Russian launch facilities at Baikonur Cosmodrome in April of 75
  • During the simulations, Americans learned Russian and the Russians learned English
  • Apollo Crew:
    • Thomas P. Stafford
    • Vance D. Brand
    • Donald K. Slayton
  • Soyuz Crew:
    • Alexey A. Leonov
    • Valery N. Kubasov

(Redmond, 2004)

Salyut 5/Almaz 3

June 22, 1976 - August 8, 1977

Figure 3.

Artist rendering of Almaz stations (Salyut 3 and 5).

(Portree, 1995)

Note: From Mir Hardware Heritage by David Portree, 1995, Johnson Space Center Reference Series ( NASA content (images, videos, audio, etc.) are generally not copyrighted and may be used for educational or informational purposes without needing explicit permissions (NASA Image Use Policy).

Notable Equipment

  • As with other Almaz stations:
    • Four hatches
    • Larger work compartment vs living comparment
  • Agat Earth-observation camera from Salyut 3/Almaz 2
    • Occupied most of the work compartment
  • Kristall furnace


  • The Agat camera allowed researchers to compile maps; find oil, gas, and ore; scrutinize tectonic structures; conduct land and facility surveys; study storm formations; find forest fires
    • The camera was also used for military reconnaissance
  • Soyuz 21:
    • Tracked a Siberian military exercise
    • First use of Kristall furnace to grow crystals
    • Propellant transfer system testing for future Progress resupply missions
  • Soyuz 24:
    • Finished Soyuz 21 experiments
    • Air replacement engineering tests for future Progress resupply missions by releasing air at the front of the station, using Salyut 24's oxygen tanks to replace it. This test proved to be beneficial during Salyut 6.

Lessons Learned

  • Soyuz 21 departed the station well before their scheduled departure date; it is assumed a fire, the failure of their environmental system, and film-developing chemical fumes from the surveillance cameras causing health issues.
  • Soyuz 23 failed to dock because of a final-approach system malfunction, compounded by minimal reserve power and a missed landing opportunity.
  • Soyuz 24 finished what Soyuz 21 started; the environment was deemed safe upon arrival, insinuating that the environmental system was working perfectly, again. They sent the Earth return capsule on its way after loading all experiments.
  • Planned Soyuz 25 mission was cancelled due to Salyut 5's fuel depletion

(Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 1997; Portree, 1995; Smirnov, V., Semenov, A., Rebrikov, Kuzim, Gosniias, & Russian Academy of Sciences, 1999; Salyut 5, n.d.; Soyuz 21, n.d.; Soyuz 23, n.d.; Soyuz 24, n.d.)

Salyut 6

September 29, 1977 - July 29, 1982

Second-Generation Station

Salyut 6 was the first of two second-generation Salyut type stations. With it came the tests and use of the new Soyuz-T (transport) spacecraft that replaced the original Soyuz Ferry to bring cosmonauts to the stations. Salyut 6 turned to long-term cosmonaut stays.

Figure 4.

Artist rendering of Salyut 6.


Note: From Mir Hardware Heritage by David Portree, 1995, Johnson Space Center Reference Series ( NASA content (images, videos, audio, etc.) are generally not copyrighted and may be used for educational or informational purposes without needing explicit permissions (NASA Image Use Policy).

Notable Equipment

  • Two docking ports
    • Allowed Visiting Expeditions (guest crews) to join Principle Expeditions (USSR cosmonauts) on station
      • These were cosmonauts from allied countries who were trained under the Intercosmos program in the USSR
      • Vladimir Remek was the first person to travel to space who wasn't from the US or USSR, in 1978 - he was from Czechoslovakia
      • Salyut 6 welcomed cosmonauts from Hungary, Poland, Romania, Cuba, Mongolia, Vietnam, and East Germany
    • Allowed those on station to rotate Soyuz when leaving
    • Allowed Progress resupply missions
      • 12 successful resupply missions
  • Cosmos 1267 was spacecraft experiment that docked with Salyut 6 in 1982
    • Paved the way for Mir, the first multi-module space station, and then the International Space Station
  • Redesign of the propulsion module allowed more inside space
    • Larger work and living compartments
  • Three sets of sun-sensored/steerable solar arrays
    • Comms antennae mounted to the ends enabled power to be cycled between comms and the station
  • New guidance/nav system - Orientation and Motion Control System of the Station (SOUND in Russian)
    • Gyroscopes, ion/solar/star sensors, sextant, manual controls, Kaskad orientation, radio rendezvous (multi-layered redundancy for auto-docking)
  • Integrated Propulsion System (ODU in Russian)
    • Combined attitude/propulsion controls
    • Shared dioxohydrazine and UDMH
  • Increase in electrical outlets and power capability
  • Docked by:
    • Soyuz Ferry
    • Soyuz-T (new)
    • Progress (new)
    • Cosmos 1267 module
    • port-to-port transfers
  • BST-1M multispectral Telescope
  • Yelena gamma-ray telescope


Key Lessons Learned

  • 6 Principle Expeditions
  • 4 resupply carriers
    • Soyuz Ferry, Soyuz-T, Progress, TKS
    • 12 Progress missions (1 - 12)
      • Progress was in-line to become extra space station modules on the first multimodule space station in history - USSR's Mir; was replaced
    • Soyuz-Ferry had short lifetime; replaced by Soyuz-T
      • T is considered 3rd Gen Soyuz
      • T still used the Igla (needle) approach system
      • Could carry 3 cosmonauts rather than 2
      • Solar arrays replaced batteries as primary power
    • Made T smaller/more powerful
  • Integrated/combustion propulsion system
    • N2O2 and UDMH
  • Flight control system was 16 KB of RAM, BTSVK computer (Argon)
    • Prior, flight control was hard-copy given by verbal command from Earth to Cosmonauts
    • Integrated circuits
  • Engine redesign removed backup engine
  • Porthole covers to prevent reentry black covering, preventing visual upon reentry
  • Gentle touchdown using rockets
  • Training requirement increased to 1 year to fly it
  • 18 manned missions
  • 13 unmanned missions
  • Design lifetime lasting 1+ year
    • More with repairs
  • First EVA from a Salyut (20 mins); depressurized forward compartment/opened forward docking port (90 mins; initially tested on Salyut 5) with Color TV images to Moscow
  • Tested resonant frequency vs structural integrity
  • Achieved first spacecraft swap
  • Cosmos 1267 module addition
  • Salyut 7 was launched while Salyut 6 was still in-orbit and decaying

Salyut 7

April 19, 1982 - February 7, 1991

Figure 5.

Salyut 7 (rear) pictured with Cosmos 1686 (front).


Note: From Mir hardware heritage. (No. 19950016829), by Portree, D. S., 1995, Johnson Space Center Reference Series ( NASA content (images, videos, audio, etc) are generally not copyrighted and may be used for educational or informational purposes without needing explicit permissions (NASA Image Use Policy).

Notable Equipment

  • Nearly identical to Salyut 6
  • Hot plates for heating food
  • Hot water!
  • Two portholes to kill bacteria
    • Allowed ultraviolet radiation
    • Micrometeoroid shields
  • Large porthole added for astronomy
  • Upgraded workout/medical equipment
  • BST-1M multispectral telescope replaced by X-ray detection suite
  • 3 sets of steerable solar panels
    • Attachment points for extensions
    • Added as previous panels degraded


  • During the June 12, 1982 monthly shower day, brown residue was observed within a UV porthole
    • Result of UV striking rubber gasket; resulted in an accidental learning opportunity
  • Etalon space exposure experiment
    • Located outside the station; was a collection of materials to see how they reacted in space
  • Oazis, Fiton, other plant-growing units
  • Solar array augmentation EVA test & subsequent successful augmentation
  • Girder experiment
    • Ferma-Postroital tests
  • Welding experiments
    • Electron gun
  • The last crew removed 20 instruments from Salyut 7 and brought them over to Mir
  • Reentered in 1991 after four years empty

Lessons Learned

  • 12 manned missions

    • 6 Principle Expeditions
  • 15 unmanned missions
  • 3 resupply carriers
    • Soyuz-T, Progress, TKS
    • Cosmos 1686 module addition
  • Launched Iskra comms satellites from the station trash airlock
    • First launch of comms satellite from a manned space vehicle
      • Accomplished PRIOR to the US's launch of two geostationary satellites from the space shuttle (NSTS-5, Nov 11 - 16, 1982)
  • A window was impacted by Delta Aquarid meteor shower thankfully not puncturing outer pane
  • Propulsion system failure in 1983, using Progress to maintain orbit
  • Soyuz-T 9's booster caught fire just prior to launch; cosmonauts were saved before explosion
    • Both cosmonauts were crew of T-8 failed docking

(Portree, 1995, pg. 27; Salyut 7, n.d.)


There is much more to the Salyut/Almaz Program than my short blogs can cover!

  • Various equipment replacements
  • Multiple Visiting Expeditions and Intercosmos missions
    • Svetlana Savitskaya: first woman to visit space in 20 years (after the world's first woman in space - USSR's Valentina Tereshkova)
      • Svetlana was first woman to perform an EVA
  • Emergency drills were practiced with a Diusa that would calculate depressurization time
    • Ran drills:
    • Station shutdown, experiment collection, and station exit
    • Fire drills
    • Leak repair drills
    • Had permission to land anywhere in the world if it were to become reality
  • Salyut 7 went completely dead in February of 1985
    • USSR scrambled to train two cosmonauts to manually dock with the dead station and attempt to revive it
    • Soyuz-T 13: Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Viktor Savinykh manually docked with the dead station using a handheld laser to judge distance on June 8, 1985
    • Solar arrays were dead, station was haphazardly rolling
    • Frost/ice covered everything as a water main had burst, a comms line had failed so TsUP would have been unaware that the solar array sensor failed, thereby killing the power to the station
    • Crew used Soyuz-T 13 to orient panels towards sun, charge batteries, regenerate the oxygen, had the station back up and running by July

Personal Reflection on the Salyut/Almaz Program...

Until Embry-Riddle, I had never heard of this program, nor had I ever heard of Mir. I did not know who the first woman was in space, or the first woman do do an EVA. I only knew of Skylab, the International Space Station, and Sally Ride. It is safe to say that the US's collaborations with the Soviets/Russia during and after the Salyut/Almaz program allowed us to learn a lot from them and compare notes. Without this collaboration, I personally have no doubt we would not be at this point in space exploration - nevermind the political/budget barriers. Throughout this term, I've been astonished at all of the incredible space feats I'd never known about. It is also incredible to see how much international collaboration took place between the USSR/Russia and their allies. Space is for everyone and should be an adventure open to anyone in the world who wants to peacefully explore and live there. My hope is that, as we move into this new Space Race, we do not let greed, borders, and commercialization cloud our judgment or get in the way of scientific exploration. I am also aware that I do not know all there is to know about these projects; the more I dig, the more I learn and the more I am fascinated. I implore everyone to do the same!


Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. (1997). International Space Station, Russian space stations [Fact Sheet]. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

NASA Image Use policy. (n.d.). NASA.

NASA's HEASARC: Observatories. (2020, September 11). Salyut 4 Publications.

Portree, D. S. (1995, March 1). Mir hardware heritage. (No. 19950016829). Johnson Space Center Reference Series.

Redmond, C. (2004, October 22). The flight of Apollo-Soyuz. NASA History.

Sagdeev, R., Eisenhower, S., & Logsdon, J. (2008, May 28). United States-Soviet space cooperation during the Cold War. NASA.

Salyut 4. (n.d.). NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive.

Salyut 5. (n.d.). NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive.

Salyut 6. (n.d.). NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive.

Salyut 7. (n.d.). NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive.

Smirnov, V. M., Semenov, A. S., Rebrikov, V. N., Kuzim, G. A., Gosniias, & Russian Academy of Sciences. (1999). Results of onboard investigations on meteoroid and technogenic bodies from “Salyut” and “Mir” orbital stations. Space Debris, 1(3), 211-218.

Soyuz 18. (n.d.). NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive.

Soyuz 20. (n.d.). NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive.

Soyuz 21. (n.d.). NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive.

Soyuz 23. (n.d.). NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive.

Soyuz 24. (n.d.). NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive.

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