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(Russian: ‘salute’)

A series of seven space stations launched by the USSR 1971–86. Salyut was cylindrical in shape, 15 m long, and weighed 19 tonnes. It housed two or three cosmonauts at a time, for missions lasting up to eight months.

Salyut 1 was launched on 19 April 1971. It was occupied for 23 days in June 1971 by a crew of three, who died during their return to Earth when their Soyuz ferry craft depressurized. In 1973 Salyut 2 broke up in orbit before occupation. The first fully successful Salyut mission was a 14-day visit to Salyut 3 in July 1974. In 1984–5 a team of three cosmonauts endured a record 237-day flight in Salyut 7. In 1986 the Salyut series was superseded by Mir, an improved design capable of being enlarged by additional modules sent up from Earth.

Crews observed Earth and the sky, and carried out processing of materials in weightlessness. The last in the series, Salyut 7, crashed to Earth in February 1991, scattering debris in Argentina.

http://www.astronautix.com/project/salyut.htm History, description, and specifications of the Salyut space station modules. There are lots of excellent photographs of Salyut 6 and its interior, as well as pictures and technical drawings.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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