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37KB
37KB
37KB instrumentation payload carried aboard first Buran flight. This module is closely related to the Kvant module on Mir and a similar x-ray astronomy module that Buran would have flown to Mir if it had not been cancelled.

Credit: © Mark Wade. 62,683 bytes. 574 x 394 pixels.


Manufacturer's Designation: 37KB. Class: Manned. Type: Space Station. Nation: USSR. Manufacturer: Korolev.

Development of a new kind of Soviet space station module, designated 37K, was authorised on 17 September 1979. The basic 37K design consisted of a 4.2 m diameter pressurised cylinder with a docking port at the forward end. It was not equipped with its own propulsion system. The original authorisation was for a total of eight 37K's of various configurations:

The 37KB modules, similar to the Kvant module of the Mir space station, were to be standard on the early Buran flights. They would serve a function similar to the Spacehab modules on the shuttle, providing pressurised storage and equipment racks for payloads taken aloft on solo Buran flights. 37KB s/n 37070 was the only one of four built to actually fly. It was delivered to Baikonur in February 1986, and primarily contained instrumentation to measure the performance of the orbiter and its structure on its first flight - over 6000 data points were monitored. In addition, it was equipped with batteries to provide electrical power to Buran in the absence of the usual fuel cells.

Three 37KB modules were built - two flight articles and a spare. Following the initial flight tests using the 37KB, it was planned that s/n 37271 and the flight spare would be converted to the 37KBI configuration, which could be docked to the Mir and Mir-2 stations. In 1989 the planned utilisation of the 37KB modules for Buran was as follows:

External events were catching up with these projects - the economy and political system in the Soviet Union had begun its rapid disintegration. The ambitious plans for a Mir-2 space station were being downgraded constantly. By the autumn 1991 it was proposed that a 'Mir 1.5' station would be equipped with 37KB modules, delivered by Buran, in place of the huge modules previously envisioned. Under this plan, the DOS-8 Mir base block would be orbited in 1994, towed to Mir by Buran, and attached to the DOS-7 base block already in orbit since 1986. During the two year period of joint operation of both base blocks, Mir would deliver an experimental 37KBT module equipped with biotechnology experiments. DOS-7 would then be deorbited, beginning the start of a four year assembly process of the Mir-2 station. DOS-8 would be equipped by Buran with 37KBE power modules and two operational 37KBT biotechnology modules. Buran could swap the 37KBT modules and return them to earth for removal of the products produced and outfitting for reuse.

Work on the 37KB modules was finally stopped completely when further Buran funding was ended in 1993.


Specification

Total Length: 5.1 m. Maximum Diameter: 4.2 m. Total Habitable Volume: 37.00 m3. Total Mass: 7,150 kg.


37KB Chronology


17 September 1979 37K space station module authorised

The basic 37K design consisted of a 4.2 m diameter pressurised cylinder with a docking port at the forward end. It was not equipped with its own propulsion system. The original authorisation was for a total of eight 37K's of various configurations. Of these, only the 37K-E (Kvant module of Mir) and the 37KS (instrumentation module in Buran) would fly.


15 November 1988 37KB module s/n 37070 Program: Buran. Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: Energia. Mass: 7,150 kg.

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Last update 12 March 2001.
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