The last Salyut

Launched in April 1982, Salyut 7 was a slightly upgraded version of its predecessor. The improved orbital life of the Soyuz T capsule (see panel, above) reduced the need for regular visits by guest crews to exchange the docked spacecraft, but visits were still needed from time to time, as missions grew longer.

The new station was launched in an almost empty state - once Anatoli Berezovoi and Valentin Lebedev were aboard, scientific equipment and consumables were supplied by Progress (and later TKS) ferries. The crew soon welcomed visitors from Soyuz T-6, including French cosmonaut Jean-Loup Chrétien. In August, the visit of Soyuz T-7 brought with it the second female cosmonaut, Svetlana Savitskaya. Berezovoi and Lebedev remained in orbit for 211 days, smashing previous records. The second long-stay crew, who arrived the following April, stayed for only five months, but a three-man mission in 1984

the first female spacewalker

During a second visit to Salyut 7 in July 1984, cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya become the first woman to walk in space, during a three-hour, 35 minute EVA.

salyut 7 in orbit

The layout of Salyut 7 surprised those who had expected the next station to have a modular design (like the later Mir). Nevertheless, the station proved that Salyut 6's four-year lifetime was no fluke and that stations could operate for long periods in orbit.

saw Leonid Kizim, Vladimir Solovyov, and Oleg Atkov extend the record to 236 days, and included a visit by Indian cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma.

Early in 1985, with the unmanned station in automatic mode, an electrical fault drained the batteries, and it seemed as if Salyut 7 was to be abandoned. But a rescue mission by Soyuz T-13 brought it back to life for two more long-duration missions - and this time the cosmonauts did achieve the orbital handover between crews that would be key to the next, and final, Soviet space station.


USA - Gemini 4

USA - Pioneer

USSR - Vostok 1

USSR - Soyuz 4 and 5, first-day cover


USSR - Voskhod 2

USSR - Vostok 5


USSR - Vostoks 3 and 4

USSR - Soviet space programme celebration apollo soyuz space test project


• Comprehending

Probing the Planets


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