Salyut Program Insignia
Salyut 1 (DOS-1) (Russian: Салют-1; English translation: Salute 1) was the first space station of any kind, and the first Soviet space station. It was launched on April 19, 1971 (the day my daughter was born!). Its first crew launched in Soyuz 10 but was unable to board it due to a failure in the docking mechanism; its second crew launched in Soyuz 11 and remained on board for 23 productive days. However, a pressure-equalization valve in the Soyuz 11 reentry capsule opened prematurely when the crew returned to Earth, killing all three cosmonauts. Salyut 1 re-entered Earth's atmosphere on October 11, 1971.


Salyut 1 and Soyuz Drawing At launch, the announced purpose of Salyut was to test the elements of the systems of a space station and to conduct scientific research and experiments. The craft was described as being 20 m in length, 4 m in maximum diameter, and 99 m³ in interior space with an on-orbit dry mass of 18,425 kg. Of its several compartments, three were pressurized (100 m³ total), and two could be entered by the crew.


The first, or transfer, compartment was connected directly with Soyuz 11. Its docking cone had a 2 m front end diameter and a 3 m aft end diameter.


The second, and main, compartment was about 4 m in diameter. Televised views showed enough space for eight big chairs (seven at work consoles), several control panels, and 20 portholes (some unobstructed by instruments).


The third pressurized compartment contained the control and communications equipment, the power supply, the life support system, and other auxiliary equipment. The fourth, and final, compartment (unpressurized) was about 2 m in diameter and contained the engine installations and associated control equipment. Salyut had buffer chemical batteries, reserve supplies of oxygen and water, and regeneration systems. Externally mounted were two double sets of solar cell panels that extended like wings from the smaller compartments at each end, the heat regulation system's radiators, and orientation and control devices.

Salyut 1 was modified from one of the Almaz airframes. The unpressurized service module was the modified service module of a Soyuz craft.


The astrophysical Orion 1 Space Observatory designed by Grigor Gurzadyan of Byurakan Observatory in Armenia, was installed in Salyut 1. Ultraviolet spectrograms of stars were obtained with the help of a mirror telescope of the Mersenne system and a spectrograph of the Wadsworth system using film sensitive to the far ultraviolet. The telescope was operated by crew member Viktor Patsayev, who became the first man to operate a telescope outside the Earth’s atmosphere.


Length - 15.8 m
Maximum diameter - 4.15 m
Habitable volume - 90 m³
Mass at launch - 18,900 kg
Launch vehicle - Proton (three-stage)
Span across solar arrays - about 10 m
Area of solar arrays - 28 m²
Number of solar arrays - 4
Resupply carriers - Salyut 1-type Soyuz
Number of docking ports - 1
Total manned missions - 2
Total long-duration manned missions - 1

Visiting spacecraft and crews


Salyut 1 with docked Soyuz 10 spacecraft

After taking 24 h for rendezvous and approach, Soyuz 10 docked with Salyut on April 23 and remained docked for 5.5 h. The crew did not transfer to the space station


Soyuz 11 required 3 h 19 min on June 7 to complete docking. The crew transferred to Salyut and their mission was announced as:

Checking the design, units, onboard systems, and equipment of the orbital piloted station

Testing the station's manual and autonomous procedures for orientation and navigation, as well as the control systems for maneuvering the space complex in orbit

Studying Earth's surface geology and geography, meteorology, and snow and ice cover

Studying physical characteristics, processes, and phenomena in the atmosphere and outer space in various regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, and

Conducting medico-biological studies to determine the feasibility of having cosmonauts in the station perform various tasks, and studying the influence of space flight on the human organism.

On June 29, after flying 362 orbits docked with Salyut, the mission was cut short due to problems aboard the station, including an electrical fire. The crew transferred back to Soyuz 11 and reentered the Earth's atmosphere. The crew, however, was killed on descent due to a loss of cabin atmosphere. They were not wearing pressure suits. After this pressure suits were worn during launch, docking maneuvers and reentry on all launch and reentry flights.

The crew were Georgi Dobrovolski, Viktor Patsayev and Vladislav Volkov.