|Almaz 3 - Rare drawing of Salyut 3 Almaz space station. From left to right, docking port surrounded by maneuver engines and solar panels; main station body; Nudelman self-defence gun.|
Credit: Dmitri. 12,172 bytes. 320 x 182 pixels.
In December 1962 Sergei Korolev released his draft project for a versatile manned spacecraft, the Soyuz. Korolev understood very well that financing of the scale required could only come from the Ministry of Defence. Therefore his draft project proposed two additional modifications of the Soyuz: the Soyuz P (Perekhvatchik, Interceptor) space interceptor and the Soyuz R (Razvedki, intelligence) command-reconnaissance spacecraft. The VVS and the Strategic Rocket Forces supported these variants of the Soyuz. They were fully aware that the US Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory was in the advance concept stage (it would be approved for development on December 10, 1963). But Korolev had no time to work on what were to him Soyuz ‘side-lines’. In 1963 his OKB-1 was fully occupied with work on the Voskhod and N1 projects.
Therefore he decided that while OKB-1 Kaliningrad would concentrate on development of the Soyuz-A circumlunar spacecraft, the military projects Soyuz-P and Soyuz-R would be ‘subcontracted’ to OKB-1 filial number 3, based in Samara (then Kuibishev), headed by Chief Designer Dmitri Ilyich Kozlov.
The Soyuz-R system consisted of two separately launched spacecraft derived from the Soyuz design, with the docked complex having a total mass of 13 tonnes. The small orbital station 11F71 would be equipped with photo-reconnaissance and ELINT equipment. To dock with the 11F71 station Samara developed the transport spacecraft 11F72 Soyuz 7K-TK. Soyuz-R was included by the Defence Ministry in the 1964-1969 five-year space reconnaissance plan, issued on 18 June 1964.
|Almaz forward view - Forward view of Almaz space station - original configuration, Note crew couches in cutaway view of VA reentry capsule interior. The Almaz was actually flown without the VA. Also note the orientation engines just below the VA attachment collar.|
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler. 27,117 bytes. 541 x 328 pixels.
|Soyuz VI / OIS - Mishin's version of Soyuz VI with OIS light space station (conceptual drawing based on description).|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 15,036 bytes. 584 x 168 pixels.
On 24 August 1965 urgent measures were ordered to test manned military techniques in orbit at the earliest possible date. Kozlov was to fly by 1967 a military research variant of the Soyuz. The new spacecraft was designated the 7K-VI by Kozlov and had the project code name ‘Zvezda’.
|Soyuz R - Soyuz R military research laboratory (conceptual drawing based on description).|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 32,334 bytes. 614 x 379 pixels.
|Soyuz PPK - Soyuz PPK antisatellite interceptor (conceptual drawing based on description).|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 6,769 bytes. 242 x 169 pixels.
|Soyuz P - Soyuz P antisatellite interceptor (conceptual drawing based on description).|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 8,351 bytes. 313 x 171 pixels.
|Military Soyuz - Comparison of military variants of Soyuz. From left to right: Soyuz P, Soyuz PPK, Soyuz R, Soyuz VI (Kozlov), Soyuz VI/OIS (Mishin)|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 27,972 bytes. 634 x 369 pixels.
|Almaz interior - Closeup view of interior of Almaz space station. Note large white film cassettes of reconnaisance camera, and cosmonaut at control station for Agat camera system.|
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler. 33,064 bytes. 594 x 334 pixels.
Following the death of the crew of Mishin’s Salyut 1 on their return to earth in 1971, and the failure to reach orbit of the second Salyut in 1972, Brezhnev finally gave Chelomei the nod to launch the Almaz in order to beat the American Skylab. Under the cover name Salyut 2 it reached orbit in April 1973. A crew was preparing to launch but the station depressurised on the 13th day of the mission. Either a fragment of the exploded Proton booster's third stage penetrated the skin or an on-board electrical short started a fire. Almaz was finally successfully launched into space as Salyut 3 in June 1974. The one meter diameter telescope could photograph airfields and missile complexes. An optical sight gave the cosmonaut the illusion of coming to a standstill over a facility. The cosmonaut could see the numbers on the decks of ships and the types of aircraft on aircraft carriers. There were also infrared and topographical cameras. The Nudelman cannon inherited from the Soyuz VI was retained as an active defence system in the event of an attack by an Apollo spacecraft. The cannon was supplemented with space-to-space missiles.
|Rear view of Almaz - Rear view of Almaz model. Note two maneuvering engines flanking docking collar, stowed solar panels, and guides for aft interstage separation|
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler. 34,657 bytes. 391 x 486 pixels.
Due to development delays, the first two Almaz that reached orbit did not use the planned VA crew capsule. The TKS VA capsule was tested on several Proton launches, the first just after the final crew returned from Salyut 5. Instead Korolev OKB Soyuz ferries were used to transport the crews to the stations. But the Soviet military, based on the results of the Salyut 3 and 5 Almaz flights, lost interest in manned military space stations. Chelomei was told to scrap his unflown Almaz stations but instead hid them in a corner of his vast factory. The TKS was finally flown several times in conjunction with civilian Salyut stations., but never with its intended manned crew.
|TKS model - TKS model. From left to right note launch escape system, VA reentry capsule, main body with longitudinal fuel tanks and stowed solar arrays, docking system and EVA hand rails at base.|
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler. 30,271 bytes. 656 x 221 pixels.
Almaz continued in one form. As a counterpoint to the American Lacrosse satellite, a version of Almaz with an enormous side-looking radar was designed. The first such Almaz-K was to be launched in 1981. However, an order arrived from Moscow ten days prior to the launch - terminate the Almaz Program as a result of work on Buran. Ustinov had decided to deal the finishing blow to Chelomei. Only after the deaths of Chelomei and Ustinov (they died the same year two weeks apart) did new Chief Designer Gerbert Yefremov manage to convince Minister of Defence Sokolov that the program needed to be continued. They authorised him to prepare for launch the station that had collected dust for six years at the Baikonur test range. To the designers' surprise, the Almaz was in decent condition (in contrast to its fairing, which had been used as a toilet). It had only been saved by its external placards - ‘Warning - Don't Enter - Self-Destruct Charges on Board’. This much-suffering Almaz was launched on November 29, 1986. But the second stage did not separate for the first time in many years and the same self-destruct charges destroyed the Almaz.
|Almaz T1 / K - Almaz T1 or K radarsat version of Almaz.|
Credit: Khrunichev. 16,046 bytes. 353 x 193 pixels.
|TKS model - TKS model. Closeup of docking system at base.|
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler. 20,709 bytes. 285 x 322 pixels.
|TKS VA capsule - The landing capsule of the three crew military TKS transport/resupply spacecraft for the Almaz space station. Called ‘our Apollo’ by cosmonaut Leonov. After separation of the capsule from the Almaz the retrorocket assembly at top deorbited the capsule. TKS capsules (VA is the Russian acronym) flew 13 times between 1976 and 1983, ten times in capsule tests, three times as part of complete TKS spacecraft which docked with Salyut space stations. They were never flown manned.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 41,449 bytes. 394 x 579 pixels.
|TKS model - TKS model. Closeup of main maneuver engines (in triangular housings top and bottom) and reaction control system engine cluster.|
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler. 22,660 bytes. 244 x 457 pixels.
Based on successful test flights of Chelomei's unmanned interceptor-sputnik prototypes (Polyot 1 and 2), the Soyuz 7K-PPK manned interceptor version is cancelled.
|RD-0225 Almaz engine - RD-0225 main propulsion engine for Almaz space station|
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler. 14,609 bytes. 163 x 365 pixels.
|Almaz station engine - Almaz station orientation engine|
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler. 13,817 bytes. 175 x 314 pixels.
|Almaz - Forward view of Almaz space station - original configuration. From left to right note stowed solar panels, sunshade for Agat reconnaisance camera extending below first station compartment, VA reentry capsule and its launch escape rocket.|
Credit: © Dietrich Haeseler. 21,728 bytes. 558 x 168 pixels.
The planned first flight of the Soyuz VI combat spacecraft was planned for early 1969, beating America's equivalent Manned Orbiting Lab. The project was cancelled in 1968.
|TKS capsule hatch - The crew of the TKS went from the descent capsule to the main spacecraft cabin through this hatch in the heat shield of the capsule. The central crew couch folded up to give access to the hatch. A similar arrangement was to be used in Gemini B for the USAF MOL (Manned Orbiting Laboratory).|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 82,306 bytes. 568 x 397 pixels.
Ten stations 'in advanced stage of completion' by end of year.
|TKS capsule interior - Left control panel of the descent capsule of the TKS spacecraft. The TKS crew instruments were assembled from the same building blocks as those used in the Soyuz series of spacecraft. The standard clock, used since Vostok, is in the top middle of the panel. The large central panel was used to call up sequences of automated spacecraft procedures.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 67,412 bytes. 574 x 395 pixels.
Brezhnev orders a cooperative crash program to build a civilian space station to beat Skylab into orbit. The civilian station (later named Salyut) will use the Almaz spaceframe fitted out with Soyuz functional equipment. Mishin's OIS military station was cancelled and Chelomei's Almaz would continue, but as second priority to the civilian station. The Soyuz 7K-S station ferry, the 7K-ST, would be revised to be a more conservative modification of the Soyuz 7K-OK. The OIS cosmonaut group was incorporated into the Almaz group.
|Almaz cutaway - The Almaz military station was first successfully launched into space as Salyut 3 in June 1974. The one meter diameter 'Agat' telescope could photograph airfields and missile complexes. There were also infrared and topographical cameras. The Nudelman cannon at the nose provided an active defense system in the event of an attack by an Apollo spacecraft. The Soviet military, based on the results of the Salyut 3 and 5 Almaz flights, lost interest in manned military space stations.|
Credit: Videokosmos. 28,944 bytes. 470 x 260 pixels.
Planned second crew to the first Almaz space station. Cancelled after the loss of control of Almaz OPS 1 (Salyut 2) in orbit.
Planned first crew to the first Almaz space station. Cancelled after the loss of control of Almaz OPS 1 (Salyut 2) in orbit.
|Almaz forward hatch - Almaz forward airlock, with the female docking cone for use with the Soyuz. At the bottom is the EVA exit tunnel; the ring mount was used to jettison small capsules to return film to earth during the flight.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 43,253 bytes. 571 x 394 pixels.
Brezhnev personally selects Almaz for next space station launch. Following two successive failures of DOS-7K station (Salyut 1 and 7-29-72 launch failure), Brezhnev personally selects Almaz for next launch (Salyut 2).
|Almaz - An Almaz station being prepared for flight at the Khrunichev Factory in Moscow.|
Credit: Khrunichev. 19,316 bytes. 273 x 265 pixels.
|TKS capsule interior - The right control panel of the TKS. The earth globe instrument, also used in Vostok, Salyut, Almaz, and Soyuz, showed the crew at all times their position over the earth. It also allowed them to determine their landing site in the case of a manual re-entry or loss of communications with the ground.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 50,247 bytes. 577 x 400 pixels.
First successful Almaz military manned space station flight. Following the successful Soyuz 14 and unsuccessful Soyuz 15 missions, on 23 September 1974 the station ejected a film return capsule, which was successfully recovered. On 25 January 1975 it fired its manoeuvring engines for the last time and braked itself from orbit over the Pacific Ocean.
208km X 240km orbit to 213km X 253km orbit. Delta V: 4 m/s
213km X 252km orbit to 251km X 268km orbit. Delta V: 15 m/s
250km X 266km orbit to 265km X 271km orbit. Delta V: 5 m/s
266km X 267km orbit to 268km X 272km orbit. Delta V: 1 m/s
265km X 269km orbit to 265km X 273km orbit. Delta V: 1 m/s
261km X 266km orbit to 258km X 262km orbit. Delta V: 1 m/s
258km X 261km orbit to 258km X 286km orbit. Delta V: 7 m/s
235km X 259km orbit to 261km X 285km orbit. Delta V: 14 m/s
261km X 285km orbit to 255km X 294km orbit. Delta V: 3 m/s
218km X 229km orbit to 0km X 218km orbit. Delta V: 68 m/s
Total Delta V: 51/119 m/s.
Officially: Futher testing of improved station design, on-board systems and equipment; conduct of scientific and technical research and experiments in space flight. Futher testing of improved station design, on-board systems and equipment; conduct of scientific and technical research and experiments in space flight.
|TKS capsule detail 1 - The BSO (Bloka Skhoda s Orbiti - Deorbit Block) mounted on top of the VA capsule weighed 450 kg and allowed the capsule to maneuver and orient itself after separation from the FGB for retrofire and return to the earth.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 24,684 bytes. 197 x 424 pixels.
On 4 July Soyuz 14 docked with the Salyut 3 space station after 15 revolutions of the earth. The planned experimental program included manned military reconnaissance of the earth's surface, assessing the fundamental value of such observations, and some supplemental medico-biological research. All objectives were successfully completed and the spacecraft was recovered on July 19, 1974 at 12:21 GMT, landing within 2 km of the aim point 140 km SE Dzkezkazgan. After the crew's return research continued in the development of the on-board systems and the principles of remote control of such a station.
|Panel Soyuz 7K-OK - Control panel of the initial earth orbit version of Soyuz.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 11,752 bytes. 723 x 288 pixels.
Soyuz 15 was to conduct the second phase of manned operations aboard the Salyut 3 military space station, but the Igla rendezvous system failed and no docking was made. The two day flight could only be characterised as '... research in manoeuvring and docking with the OPS in various modes, and development of methods for evacuation and landing from space complex in new conditions....' The crew was recovered on August 28, 1974 20:10 GMT. Officially: Conduct of joint experiments with the Salyut-3 orbital scientific station.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 63,829 bytes. 577 x 383 pixels.
Second successful flight of the Almaz manned military space station. Operated for 409 days, during which the crews of Soyuz 22 and 24 visited the station. Soyuz 23 was to have docked but its long-distance rendezvous system failed. Soyuz 25 was planned, but the mission would have been incomplete due to low orientation fuel on Salyut 5, so it was cancelled. The film capsule was ejected 22 February 1977 (and sold at Sotheby's, New York, on December 11, 1993!). The station was deorbited on 8 August 1977. In addition to the human crew two Russian tortoises (Testudo horsfieldi) and Zebrafish (Danio rerio) were flown.
|Almaz EVA panel - The Almaz space station’s instrument panel for controlling and observing extra-vehicular activity. A television monitor provides views of the exterior of the station. This was mounted on the opposite wall across from the main control station.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 30,674 bytes. 574 x 247 pixels.
|TKS capsule exterior - The landing capsule of the three crew military TKS transport/resupply spacecraft for the Almaz space station. Called ‘our Apollo’ by cosmonaut Leonov. After separation of the capsule from the Almaz the retrorocket assembly at top deorbited the capsule. TKS capsules (VA is the Russian acronym) flew 13 times between 1976 and 1983, ten times in capsule tests, three times as part of complete TKS spacecraft which docked with Salyut space stations. They were never flown manned.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 43,287 bytes. 397 x 566 pixels.
|Kosmos 186/188 - Kosmos 186/188 docking. Soyuz-R and OIS would have had a similar appearance.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 29,841 bytes. 485 x 366 pixels.
|TKS - Obsolete drawing of the TKS space station ferry according to information available ca. 1987. At that time it was known in the west as the 'Heavy Kosmos' spacecraft.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 1,948 bytes. 174 x 294 pixels.
Double reentry test of TKS-VA capsule of TKS orbital shuttle. Spacecraft each weighed 9,090 kg. One was placed into a lower 189 X 213 km orbit, the other at the higher orbit indicated. After one orbit, both recovered at 44 deg N, 73 deg E, on December 15, 1976 3:00 GMT.
|TKS Large - Obsolete drawing of the TKS space station ferry according to information available ca. 1987. At that time it was known in the west as the 'Heavy Kosmos' spacecraft.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 2,184 bytes. 152 x 368 pixels.
Docked with Salyut 5. A busy, successful mission, accomplishing nearly as much as the earlier Soyuz 21's 50 day mission. Recovered February 25, 1977 9:38 GMT. Landed 37 km NE Arkalyk.
|Almaz right hatch - Almaz forward tunnel. In the original design this led to the hatch in the heat shield of the VA crew return capsule.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 64,512 bytes. 574 x 397 pixels.
First test of TKS manned shuttle. Maneuvered extensively. TKS-VA capsule returned to earth August 16, 1977. Deorbited February 2, 1978.
214 km X 261 km orbit to 215 km X 279 km orbit. Delta V: 5 m/s
207 km X 261 km orbit to 208 km X 264 km orbit. Delta V: 1 m/s
208 km X 260 km orbit to 209 km X 267 km orbit. Delta V: 2 m/s
192 km X 222 km orbit to 219 km X 232 km orbit. Delta V: 9 m/s
219 km X 232 km orbit to 303 km X 327 km orbit. Delta V: 51 m/s
303 km X 327 km orbit to 312 km X 318 km orbit. Delta V: 4 m/s
312 km X 319 km orbit to 314 km X 325 km orbit. Delta V: 1 m/s
284 km X 294 km orbit to 290 km X 301 km orbit. Delta V: 3 m/s
288 km X 300 km orbit to 286 km X 305 km orbit. Delta V: 1 m/s
285 km X 303 km orbit to 439 km X 447 km orbit. Delta V: 84 m/s
437 km X 448 km orbit to 335 km X 437 km orbit. Delta V: 31 m/s
335 km X 437 km orbit to 337 km X 438 km orbit. Delta V: 1 m/s
337 km X 438 km orbit to 90 km X 337 km orbit. Delta V: 100 m/s
Total Delta V: 193/293 m/s
Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space.
|Almaz comm panel - Communications console of the Almaz, including keyboard. This was mounted to the left of the main space station control console, and encrypted teletype communications with the earth.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 68,073 bytes. 577 x 337 pixels.
|Almaz main console - Closeup of the main console for operating the station, with the familiar Soyuz-type globe, clock, and external television/radar scope instruments.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 76,642 bytes. 574 x 402 pixels.
|Almaz forward panel - Another Almaz control station, located in the station forward of the camera. Purpose unknown.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 54,875 bytes. 570 x 398 pixels.
|Almaz main console - The main console for operating the Almaz space station, placed to the left of the camera operation console. The familiar instruments found in Soyuz and the civilian Salyut space stations are all present - clockwise from upper left: The combined video / radar display for rendezvous and docking; the clock; the earth globe instrument for displaying position over the earth; the controls for calling up automatic spacecraft command sequences.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 78,440 bytes. 570 x 395 pixels.
Dual reentry test of two TKS-VA capsules. Recovered March 30, 1978 after one orbit.
|TKS capsule interior - At the junction of the left and right instrument panels of the TKS was a Vzor optical device, as used in Vostok and Soyuz. The Vzor allowed the crew to line up the spacecraft for retrofire and return to earth even if all other spacecraft systems failed.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 50,371 bytes. 571 x 399 pixels.
|Almaz airlock - Side view of Almaz showing spherical air lock, with EVA tunnel jutting out at an angle. The film return capsule airlock was mounted between the EVA tunnel and the main docking hatch.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 81,841 bytes. 398 x 570 pixels.
Dual test of TKS-VA manned capsule. Shutdown of the launch vehicle on the pad triggered the launch escape system, which pulled the top capsule away from the booster. The parachute system failed and the capsule crashed to the ground. The lower capsule remained in the rocket. The top capsule was to have been manned, but the inability to demonstrate two consecutive failure free launches of the Proton/TKS-VA combination made that impossible.
|TKS capsule - TKS capsule at Khrunichev|
Credit: Khrunichev. 18,542 bytes. 220 x 330 pixels.
Dual test of TKS-VA manned capsule. One vehicle reentered and landed after two orbits, the other after one orbit. The top capsule was to have been manned, but the inability to demonstrate two consecutive failure free launches of the Proton/TKS-VA combination made that impossible. This launch successfully demonstrated the reusability of the TKS-VA capusle; the same pair had flown as Cosmos 997/998 on 30 March 1978.
|Almaz right exterior - Aft view of the Almaz, showing the airlock, ringed by propellant tanks. The EVA hatch juts out below the main docking hatch.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 75,161 bytes. 543 x 393 pixels.
Test of TKS-VA manned capsule. Two satellites launched by a single rocket.
|Almaz right exterior - Aft view of the Almaz, showing the propellant tanks and the '11F668' article number on its side.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 41,067 bytes. 361 x 343 pixels.
Second TKS flight that would have docked with the cancelled Almaz OPS 4 military space station. The spacecraft was instead flown unmanned to Salyut 7 as Cosmos 1443.
|Almaz forward hatch - Forward view of the Almaz. In the original design, the forward tunnel would have led to the aft hatch of the VA crew return capsule. The station was flown without this capsule, a Soyuz being used to shuttle them to the station and back to earth.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 64,053 bytes. 394 x 577 pixels.
TKS space station ferry. Flown unmanned to the Salyut 6 space station after the Almaz military station program was cancelled. Capsule recovered 24 May 1981. Docked with Salyut 6 on June 19 at 10:52 AM MT after 57 days autonomous flight. Deorbited and destroyed with Salyut July 29, 1982.
|Almaz - Obsolete drawing showing suspected appearance of Almaz space station, ca. 1992.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 2,649 bytes. 233 x 294 pixels.
Third TKS flight that would have docked with the cancelled Almaz OPS 4 military space station. The spacecraft was instead flown unmanned to Salyut 7 as Cosmos 1686. For that mission the VA reentry capsule was retained but stripped of its heat shield and all recovery equpment. In their place military optical test sensors (infrared telescope and Ozon spectrometer) were installed.
|Almaz camera station - The crew station for the Agat reconnaissance camera on the Almaz military space station. After two successful flights (Salyuts 3 & 5) the it was found that the extra cost of a manned spacecraft outweighed any advantages and the program was cancelled. The operator could manually operate the camera system. Film could be developed and examined aboard the station. Small reentry capsules, mounted around the aft docking collar, allowed film to be returned during the mission.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 70,851 bytes. 575 x 399 pixels.
Planned Soyuz flight to a dock with the Almaz OPS 4 space station. The mission was cancelled together with the Almaz program in 1981.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 2,448 bytes. 286 x 165 pixels.
|Soyuz VI (sketch) - Drawing from an article by Samara chief designer Kozlov showing a Soyuz-VI-like spacecraft with two nuclear thermal generators, with the radiation shadow zones indicated.|
14,415 bytes. 220 x 332 pixels.
|TKS Manned Ferry - TKS manned space station ferry.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 10,181 bytes. 456 x 142 pixels.
|Lunar Spacecraft - Comparison of Chelomei manned spacecraft. Left to right: Chelomei LK-1 circumlunar spacecraft with UR-500K third stage. Chelomei LK-700 lunar landing spacecraft. Chelomei TKS space station resupply tug. Competing Korolev Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar spacecraft with Block D translunar injection stage and UR-500K third stage.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 25,167 bytes. 423 x 429 pixels.
|Almaz model - Model of Almaz station as flown at the Chelomei Bureau. Note the extended forward main body which contained the Nudelmann space gun.|
Credit: Andy Salmon. 21,905 bytes. 334 x 376 pixels.