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Salyut 6



Salyut 6 was a second-generation (along with Salyut 7) Soviet space station. With Salyut 6, the Soviet space station program evolved from short-duration to long-duration stays. It was launched unmanned and crews arrived later in Soyuz spacecraft. It had two docking ports. This permitted refueling and resupply by automated Progress freighters derived from Soyuz. Progress docked automatically at the aft port, and was then opened and unlocked by cosmonauts on the station. Transfer of fuel to the station took place automatically under supervision from the ground. A second docking port also meant long-duration resident crews could receive visitors. Visiting crews often included cosmonaut-researchers from Soviet bloc countries or countries sympathetic to the Soviet Union. Vladimir Remek of Czechoslovakia, the first space traveler not from the US or USSR, visited Salyut 6 in 1978. The station received 16 cosmonaut crews, including six long-duration crews. The longest stay time for a Salyut 6 crew was 185 days. The first long-duration crew stayed for 96 days, beating the 84-day world record for space endurance established in 1974 by the last Skylab crew. The station hosted cosmonauts from Hungary, Poland, Romania, Cuba, Mongolia, Vietnam, and East Germany. Twelve Progress freighters delivered more than 20 tons of equipment, supplies and fuel. An experimental transport logistics spacecraft called Cosmos 1267 docked with Salyut 6 in 1982. The transport logistics spacecraft was originally designed for the Almaz program. Cosmos 1267 proved that large modules could dock automatically with space stations, a major step toward the multimodular Mir station and the International Space Station.

Salyut 6 had six resident crews. On 10 Dec. 1977 the first crew, Yuri Romanenko and Georgi Grechko, arrived on Soyuz 26 and remained aboard Salyut 6 for 96 days. On 15 June 1978, Vladimir Kovalyonok and Alexander Ivanchenkov (Soyuz 29) arrived and remained on board for 140 days. Vladimir Lyakhov and Valeri Ryumin (Soyuz 32) arrived on 25 Feb. 1979 and stayed 175 days. on 9 April 1980 Leonid Popov and Valeri Ryumin (Soyuz 35) arrived for the longest stay on Salyut 6, 185 days. A repair mission, consisting of Leonid Kizim, Oleg Makarov, and Gennadiy Strekhalov (Soyuz T3) worked on the space station for 12 days starting on 27 Nov. 1980. On 12 March 1981 the last crew, Vladimir Kovalyonok and Viktor Savinyikh, arrived and stayed for 75 days. During this time there were also 10 visiting missions, crews which came to bring supplies and make shorter duration visits with the resident crews.

Alternate Names

  • 10382
  • Salyut6

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1977-09-29
Launch Vehicle: Proton Booster Plus Upper Stage
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R
Mass: 9000 kg

Funding Agency

  • Soviet Academy of Sciences (U.S.S.R)


  • Human Crew

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail

Selected References

  • Harvey, B., The new Russian space programme from competition to collaboration, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, England, 1996.
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