Cutaway view of Spektr module of Mir.
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Originally the modules attached to the Mir base block were to be of the NPO Energia 37KS design. Design and fabrication reached an advanced phase when it was decided that the separate tug concept resulted in too low a net scientific payload (3 tonnes). Integrating the tug with the module was expected to increase this to 5 tonnes and provide some reserve engine capability at Mir and additional pressurised volume. Accordingly the 37KS modules for Mir were cancelled in 1983. Competitive designs for integrated space station modules were submitted by KB Salyut and NPO Energia. The KB Salyut 77K modules were derived from the cancelled TKS manned ferry. The competing proposal from NPO Energia combined the 37KS module with the engine unit of Mir. In June 1984 the KB Salyut design was selected. The revised Mir program plan was to assemble the station over a three year period, and operate it for ten years (versus the original one year/five years).
Spektr was to have been a dedicated military research unit, to test sensors and systems for the Soviet Fon counterpart to the American Star Wars programme. KB Salyut had designed a spacecraft bus for space based weapons based on the TKS space tug. This was an alternate / competitive design to the NPO Energia USB.
By September 1991 it was planned to launch the spacecraft one year later, conduct one month of autonomous tests, and then dock with Mir. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, all Fon 'Star Wars' work was stopped, and the spacecraft never left the shop.
In July 1993, as part of joint US-Russian activities leading up to the International Space Station, NASA agreed to provide funds to complete the Spektr and Priroda modules for Mir using US funds, providing 600 to 700 kg of US experiments would be installed. In place of the Oktava complex an unpressurised cylinder with mounting area for two additional solar panels was installed. The airlock that would have been used for the Oktava targets instead would be used to expose scientific experiments to the vacuum of space using a small manipulator arm. The configuration was approved in November 19983 with launch planned for one year later. Delays were encountered in getting NASA's equipment through Russian customs, and the launch did not finally take place until 20 May 1995.
The original Spektr design was to be armed with Oktava interceptor rockets built by NPO Kometa. A prototype of the Spektr would be docked with the Mir space station for systems tests. By 1989 the military Oktava complex aboard Spektr consisted of the following systems, which would be operated by the crew from a command post at the forward end of the module:
The revised Spektr module, the fifth Mir component to attain orbit, was primarily designed for Earth observation (specifically natural resources and atmospheric studies). The module also carried US/Russian equipment for material science, biotechnology, life sciences, and space technology studies. A small airlock and manipulator arm were available to attach small external experiments and deploy small satellites. The module's total pressurised volume was 62 cubic meters. The module originally docked with the station on June 1, 1995, and was moved to its permanent location at a Mir transfer compartment radial port on June 2, 1995.
Two 3.9 kN main engines and 400N attitude control thrusters (N2O4/UDMH) were used for initial approach and docking. Two 27 sq. meter solar arrays (6.9 kW), and two 38 sq. meter solar arrays (9.3 kW) were attached to the module. Energy storage was available via a 360 A-hr NiCd battery system.
Instruments delivered or operated on Spektr included:
Maximum Diameter: 4.2 m. Total Mass: 19,640 kg. Electrical System: Solar Panels.
Design and fabrication reached an advanced phase when it was decided that the separate tug concept resulted in too low a net scientific payload (3 tonnes). Integrating the tug with the module was expected to increase this to 5 tonnes and provide some reserve engine capability at Mir and additional pressurised volume. Accordingly the 37KS modules for Mir were cancelled. Work on the 37KE experimental module (Kvant) and the 37KB Buran modules continued. The function of the 37KS modules was taken up by modules by KB Salyut derived from the FGB. A competing proposal from NPO Energia for a unified spacecraft that combined the 37KS module with the engine unit of Mir was rejected.
The original Spektr design was to be armed with Oktava interceptor rockets and equipped with sensors to identify and track ballistic missile re-entry vehicles as well as discriminate decoys. In 1992, as directed by the Soviet Union's military and political leadership, all work on such projects was discontinued. The Spektr module was mothballed, then later converted into a civilian platform, partially funded by the United States.
MIR experiment module. Docked to Mir Jun 1
Officially: Docked to Mir Jun 1