This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Almaz

Spacecraft: Almaz.

To determine the usefulness of manned military space flight, two projects were pursued in the second half of the 1960's. Chelomei's Almaz was to conduct orbital research into the usefulness of manned observation of the earth, while TsKBEM MOM's Soyuz VI would conduct military research. The first Almaz concept was a Proton-launched reconnaissance station. It was to be dedicated to detailed high-resolution study of specific targets. Accordingly it was equipped with a very high resolution optical camera, infrared sensor, and optical sight for use by the cosmonauts aboard. The flight trials were intended to prove the effectiveness of manned orbital reconnaissance operations. Considerable preliminary research was done on the Almaz on complex apparatus for operational earth observation and transmission of data to earth by radio. By the beginning of the 1970's, a draft project was developed for an orbital station with man-tended on-board equipment, as well as a transport craft for resupply an return of material.

Spacecraft: Salyut 1. The DOS station was built on basis of first three Almaz to determine the usefulness of manned observation of the earth within 4 to 5 years.

Spacecraft: OPS + TKS. Space station module

Spacecraft: Salyut 4.

Salyut 4 represented the second phase of DOS civilian space station. It had 2,000 kg of scientific equipment and two sets of 3 solar panels. It was equipped with the Delta navigation system. Experiments: - Solar telescope OST-1 with main mirror of 25 cm diameter, 2.5 m focal length, built by Crimean Astrophysical Observatory with spectrograph shortwave diffraction spectrometer for far ultraviolet emissions, oriented by maneuvering entire station - two X-ray telescopes - swivel chair for vestibular function tests - lower body negative pressure gear for cardiovascular studies - bicycle ergometer integrated physical trainer (electrically driven running track 1 m X .3 m with elastic cords providing 50 kg load) - penguin suits and alternate athletic suit - 15 medical experiments total - sensors for temperature and characteristics of upper atmosphere ITS-K infrared telescope spectrometer and ultraviolet spectrometer for study of earth's infrared radiation - multispectral earth resources camera - cosmic ray detector - embryological studies - new engineering instruments tested for orientation of station by celestial objects and in darkness - New autonomous navigation system calculates orbital elements without assistance from ground - teletypewriter - two spherical airlocks near main camera to ejects body wastes. Interior floor area: 34.8 sq. m

Spacecraft: Salyut 6.

Autopilot: Digital. Propulsion/RCS Systems: Unitary. Main propulsion 2 x 300 kgf, stablization and orientation motors 32 x 24 kgf. Telemetry: High Rate. Rendezvous/Docking: Kurs. Equipment: - MKF-6 multispectral camera system - KT-140 high resolution topographical camera system (200,000 sq. km. per film frame) KRT-10 10 m diameter radio telescope - Splav alloying/materials processing furnace - Kristal containerless processor for semiconductor materials - BST-1M 1.5 m diameter cryogenic submillimeter/ ultraviolet/infrared telescope Refraktion and Zarya spectrometers for sun/moon views through earth's limb - Ispartitel experiment for coating of plates with materials - Yelena gamma ray telescope - Oasis plant growth unit - Polinom cardiovascular monitoring system.

Spacecraft: Salyut 7.

Autopilot: Digital; Propulsion/RCS Systems: Unitary; Telemetry: High Rate; Rendezvous/Docking: Kurs. Equipment: - Kristal materials processing furnace - EFO-7 star electrophotometer Improved Oasis plant growth unit - Aelita cardiovascular diagnostic unit - 24 hr hot water - food refrigerator - French echography ultrasonic medical system - Korund semiconductor materials furnace Military experiments: observations of ground aerosols; ABM intercept; naval exercises; laser pointing/tracking hardware tests

Spacecraft: Mir.

The design of an improved model of the Salyut DOS-17K space station was authorised as part of the third generation of Soviet space systems in a 17 February 1976 decree. At that time it was planned that the two stations (DOS-7 and DOS-8) would be equipped with two docking ports at either end of the station and an additional two ports at the sides of the forward small diameter compartment. By the time of the draft project in August 1978 this had evolved to the final Mir configuration of one aft port and five ports in a spherical compartment at the forward end of the station. Up to that time it was planned that the ports would provide docking positions for 7 tonne modules derived from the Soyuz spacecraft. These would use the Soyuz propulsion module, as in Soyuz and Progress, but would be equipped with long laboratory modules in place of the descent module and orbital module.

Following the decision to cancel Chelomei's manned Almaz military space station programme, a resolution of February 1979 consolidated the programs, with the docking ports to be reinforced to accommodate 20 tonne space station modules based on Chelomei's TKS manned ferry spacecraft. NPO Energia was made responsible for the overall space station, but subcontracted the work to KB Salyut due to the press of in-house work on Energia, Salyut 7, Soyuz-T, and Progress. The subcontractor began work in the summer of 1979, with drawings being released in 1982-1983. New systems incorporated into the station included the Salyut 5B digital flight control computer and gyrodyne flywheels (taken from Almaz), and the new Kurs automatic rendezvous system, Altair satellite communications system, Elektron oxygen generators, and Vozdukh carbon dioxide scrubbers.

Spacecraft: Almaz-T.

The results of the manned Almaz flights showed that manned reconnaissance from space was not worth the expense. There was minimal time to operate the equipment after the crew took the necessary time for maintenance of station housekeeping and environmental control systems.

The experiments themselves showed good results and especially the value of reconnaissance of the same location in many different spectral bands and parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Therefore the program was not cancelled, but to be followed by the Almaz-T system, which was to be a multi-satellite multi-spectral system for sustained reconnaissance.

Spacecraft: Mir-2.

The Mir-2 space station was originally authorised in the February 1976 resolution setting forth plans for development of third generation Soviet space systems. It would undergo many changes over the year, with only one thing remaining constant: the starting point was always the DOS-8 base block space station core module, built as a back-up to the DOS-7 base block used in the Mir station. Eventually Mir-2 would be merged with the International Space Station, and DOS-8 was finally scheduled to be launched by the end of 2000 as the Service Module of the ISS.

Spacecraft: Mir-2 KB Salyut.

An article by Y. P. Kornilov of the Salyut Design Bureau entitled "Unknown Polyus" in the journal "Earth and The Universe" has thrown new light on the original 1981 design for the Mir 2 Space Station. Several designs for Mir 2 have been shown over the years by the Soviets and now by the Russians, but previously it has been impossible to judge which among them were anything more than paper designs.

It had been decided that the Polyus would be the payload for the first launch of the Energia heavy lifter, then scheduled for the fall of 1986. The Soviet space program ran on a five year cycle and Kornilov complains that the Polyus spacecraft had less than the customary five years for development. Kornilov gives no reason for the decision to develop Polyus or for its rushed development. Kornilov then goes on to declare that because of this rush Polyus was created by combining components from several current projects, and that Polyus' central module was adapted from the Mir 2 Space Station. This makes it possible to identify a design for Mir 2 shown by the Soviets in 1987 at the 38th meeting of the IAF in Montreal as being the "real" Mir 2.

An examination of this design reveals several interesting features. Most of the demand for electricity would have been met by solar panels mounted on a docking tunnel. This type of mount would provide 2 degrees of freedom for following the sun. Radiators would have been permanently mounted in the shadow of the solar cells and thus usually remain shaded.

Spacecraft: ISS Zvezda.

The Zvezda service module of the International Space Station had its origins a quarter century before it was launched. The Mir-2 space station was originally authorised in the February 1976 resolution setting forth plans for development of third generation Soviet space systems. It would undergo many changes over the year, with only one thing remaining constant: the starting point was always the DOS-8 base block space station core module, built as a back-up to the DOS-7 base block used in the Mir station. When the International Space Station was agreed to, the $3-billion DOS-8 became the first Russian segment of the station, originally known as the Service Module. The original plan called for a first launch in June 1997 of the ISS Zarya tug followed by the Russian Service Module in September. ISS would then be permanently manned from January 1998 onwards. This launch schedule was delayed by more than two years due to Russia's economic problems.

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Last update 28 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .