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Spacecraft: LK-1.

The LK-1 was the spacecraft for the original Soviet manned lunar flyby project. Design was said to have been ordered informally by Khrushchev on 13 May 1961 in response to the American Apollo program. In fact the LK-1 had its basis in a family of manned and unmanned vehicles that reached the draft project stage in the 1961-1963 period under the generic names of kosmoplans and raketoplans.

Authorisation to proceed with development of the three-stage UR-500K launch vehicle and the LK-1 itself was finally included in the omnibus 3 August 1964 lunar project decree. By that time design had been completed. 12 were to be built in 1965 to 1966 with first flight in 1967.

In October 1965 Korolev managed to get the project cancelled and started development of his Soyuz 7K-L1/Block D spacecraft in place of the LK-1.


Spacecraft: MK-700.

Chelomei was the only Chief Designer to complete an Aelita draft project and present it to the Soviet government. He proposed two launches of the enormous UR-700M launch vehicle to assemble a 1400 tonne MK-700 spacecraft in earth orbit. Nuclear thermal stages allowed a net functional payload (living quarters, Mars landers, earth return capsule) of 250 tonnes.

A government expert commission reviewed the preliminary draft project for the UR-700M launch vehicle and MK-700 spacecraft in 1972. Based on the decades worth of development and tens of billions or roubles required, the state commission recommended that further work on manned Mars expeditions be deferred indefinitely.


Spacecraft: TKS VA.

TKS VA capsules were launched in pairs by Proton boosters in 1976 to 1979 in a seemingly exhaustive series of flight tests to prove the design. They also flew as part of the complete TKS ferry spacecraft Cosmos 929, 1267, and 1443 in 1977-1983. Despite this, they were never flown manned.


Spacecraft: TKS.

Chelomei proposed replacement of the 11F72 Soyuz 7K-TK with his own transport-supply spacecraft 11F72 (transportniy korabl snabzheniya - TKS). This would consist of the 11F74 VA landing capsule and a new 11F77 Functional-Cargo Block (funktsionalno-gruzovoy blok, FGB). The TKS was designed to ferry a crew of three and a large load of supplies to the Almaz space station. It matched the Almaz itself in size and had the same mass and used the same Proton launch vehicle. On 16 June 1970 Kozlovís Soyuz-R was finally canceled and replaced by the TKS as the resupply craft for Almaz under Central Party decree 437-160.

Due to development delays, the first two Almaz that reached orbit did not use the planned TKS crew ferry. Manned Almaz flights were canceled, but work on the TKS continued. It finally flew on 3 successful test flights to the Salyut 6 and Salyut 7 space stations. The VA reentry capsule was tested on the Cosmos 929 and 1443 flights, as well on 7 special Proton launches. However they were never used to return a crew to earth. The FGB aft portion of the TKS was also used in the Polyus star wars battle station, and as a tug to deliver the Kvant module to the Mir station. Derivatives of the TKS were used as the Priroda, Kvant-2, Kristall and Spektr modules of Mir, as well as the Zarya first module of the International Space Station.


Spacecraft: Polyus.

The Polyus testbed contained means of defence against both ASAT weapons and beam weapons, though according to Kornilov's article these were only meant to conduct approach and docking tests. A cannon was mounted on Polyus to defend against ASAT weapons. An optical sighting system for the defensive cannon was included in addition to a sighting radar. By this means hostile ASAT weapons could be tracked without generating traceable signals. Experiments to check the efficiency of barium clouds in diffusing particle beams were also to have been conducted with Polyus.

A Polyus mock-up was delivered by the Krunichev Factory to Baikonur Cosmodrome in July, 1986, for tests of the Polyus/Energia interface. The spacecraft was about 37 meters in length, 4.1 meters in diameter and weighed about 80 metric tons. A question exists whether a mock-up of the Polyus test bed was constructed and if it still exists. There have been several schemes advanced by the Salyut Design Bureau and the Krunichev Factory for the commercial adaptation of Polyus and these may be intended to make use of this mock-up.

Polyus's failure to achieve working orbit was caused by a faulty inertial guidance sensor.


Spacecraft: Kvant-2.

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).

Kvant-2, which provided an airlock, additional electric power, and additional gyrodynes for orienting the station, was the first completed. It was to have been launched in March 1989, but the Kurs automatic rendezvous and docking system had suffered four failures in recent flights due to faulty microcircuits from PO Elektronika in Voronezh. Launch was delayed until October 1989 while the chips were replaced and the revised system fully tested. This caused a corresponding disruption in the Mir flight schedule. The spacecraft was finally launched on 26 November 1989 and docked on December 6 at the forward axial port of the Mir base block. It was transferred by a small manipulator arm on Mir to its permanent location at a radial port of the Mir Base Block's transfer compartment on December 8. Kvant-2 also delivered the Salyut-5B digital computer that would be used for control of the space station (this computer was originally to have been launched with Mir, then on Kvant).


Spacecraft: Spektr - Original.

Chelomei designed a spacecraft bus for space based weapons based on his TKS space tug. This was an alternate / competitive design to the NPO Energia USB. The original Spektr design was to be armed with Oktava interceptor rockets built by NPO Kometa. It was to be equipped with sensors to identify (Lira) and track (Buton) ballistic missile re-entry vehicles as well as discriminate decoys (Pion-K). A prototype of the Spektr would be docked with the Mir space station for systems tests. In 1992, as directed by the Soviet Union's military and political leadership, all work on such projects was discontinued. The Spektr module was converted into a civilian platform, and its completion and docking with Mir partially funded by the United States.


Spacecraft: Kristall.

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).

Kristall was a dedicated zero-gravity materials and biological science research module. It was to have been launched to Mir ten months after Kvant-2, in December 1989, but problems with the Kurs automatic rendezvous and docking system resulted in it being launched in January 1990, just over a month after Kvant-2.


Spacecraft: Skif-DM.

In 1990 KB Salyut proposed using the back-up of the Polyus 'star wars' test bed as a huge zero-gravity materials production facility. The 90 tonne spacecraft would return materials to earth in Ofora capsules, stretched versions of the VA capsule developed for the TKS manned ferry. Basic concepts would be proven on the TME Teknologia 20 tonne satellite to be launched by 1993. No backers for the concept were forthcoming and in 1992 further work on the Energia launch vehicle on which it depended was cancelled.


Spacecraft: Teknologia.

In 1990 KB Salyut proposed an unmanned derivative of the TKS to conduct zero-gravity materials production experiments. Materials produced by 16 different devices would be returned to earth in small KSI re-entry capsules or in the large main VA capsule at the completion of the mission. The 20 tonne satellite would have a five year life and was to be launched by 1993. The mission would be a preliminary to a full-scale production TMP Skif-DM 90 tonne spacecraft. No backers for the concept were forthcoming.


Spacecraft: Tellura.

In 1990 KB Salyut proposed an unmanned derivative of the TKS manned ferry to conduct earth resources experiments. This would be similar to the Priroda module of the Mir space station but designed for an independent free-flying mission. Tellura would be equipped with spectrometers, radiometers, television cameras, and LIDAR for conducting observations from a 400 to 450 km altitude orbit at 52, 65, or 72 degree inclination. For the higher inclinations an improved Proton-M launch vehicle would be required. The 20 tonne satellite would have a five year life and was to be launched by 1995. A less sophisticated version of the satellite, dubbed Ekologia, could be launched by 1993. No backers for the concept were forthcoming.


Spacecraft: Spektr.

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.


Spacecraft: Priroda.

Priroda was to be the last Mir module launched. Its origins can be traced back to the 37KP remote sensing module originally programmed for Mir, which would have combined civilian and military surveillance of the earth. In 1985 the module took on an international aspect when experiments scheduled for launch aboard smaller satellites within the Interkosmos programme were moved to Priroda. At that time launch was schedule for 1990; but by 1990 this had been pushed back to 1992. With the break-up of the Communist state, non-Russian experiments from other parts of the former Soviet Union were deleted (Ainur, Marina, Korund 1MP, Volna-2), and the German MOMS-2P multispectral scanner was added. Then the funding dried up entirely and in 1992 the module was put into storage.

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. Due to weight growth a forward retractable solar panel was deleted from the module (it was delivered later by Progress and installed by cosmonauts in an EVA). To power Priroda during its period of free-flight before docking with Mir, 160 expendable Al-Li batteries were installed, but the planned one month of autonomous flight before docking with Mir was eliminated. Priroda was taken out of storage in early 1994, delivered to the final test hall in Korolev in November 1995, and arrived at Baikonur in January 1996. The module originally docked with the station on April 26, 1996. It was transferred to its final location at the Mir transfer compartment's port side radial docking port on April 27.


Spacecraft: ISS Zarya.

The Russian Zarya FGB space tug was the cornerstone of the new International Space Station since it acted as an adapter between the US and Russian-built ISS segments and also provided some propulsion and propellant storage capabilities. It was closely based on the older Russian TKS spacecraft design that was intended as a ferry for the Almaz military station. The United States paid $220 million for the FGB (vs. $450 million for Lockheed's rejected 'Bus-1' option) and Khrunichev successfully completed the project on schedule and within budget. However, the launch had to be delayed by 17 months to November 1998 because the Russians were unable to complete their own ISS Zvezda service module on time.


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Last update 28 March 2001.
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