22 July 1987 01:59 GMT. Landing Date: 1987-12-29 09:16:00 PM. Flight Time: 160.30 days. Alternate Name: Soyuz TM-3 (Aleksandrov). Flight Up: Soyuz TM-3. Flight Back: Soyuz TM-3. Call Sign: Vityaz (Knight ). Crew: Aleksandrov. Backup Crew: Savinykh. Program: Mir. A P Aleksandrov was transported to the Mir orbital space station abaord Soyuz TM-3 with a Soviet-Syrian crew comprising cosmonauts A S Viktorenko and M A Faris. Aleksandrov replaced the ailing EO-2 crew member Laveykin and remained aboard Mir with Romanenko. Soyuz TM-3 maneuvered from initial 231 X 217 km orbit to Mir's 311 X 359 km orbit and docked with the rear Mir port at 3:30 GMT 24 July.
Narrative (adapted from D S F Portree's Mir Hardware Heritage, NASA RP-1357, 1995)
Soyuz TM-3 arrived at the station and docked to the aft Kvant port. It would remained docked to the station from July 22-December 29, 1987. The Visiting Expedition observed Syria and conducted materials processing experiments. Syrian guest cosmonaut Mohammed Faris and Soviet cosmonaut Alexandr Viktorenko returned to Earth in Soyuz TM-2 with Alexandr Laveykin, who was diagnosed by ground-based doctors as having minor heart problems. He was replaced by Alexandr Alexandrov, who had arrived aboard Soyuz TM-3.
The crew entered Soyuz TM-3 on 30 July and flew it around to the forward port of the station, clearing the aft port for the next logistics flight. The Progress 31 remained docked to the aft port of the station from August 5-September 21, 1987. On August 10 the astrophysical instruments on Kvant became the first to detect X-rays from Supernova 1987a. On August 31 the cosmonauts conducted a preplanned emergency evacuation drill, retreating to Soyuz TM-3.
Progress 32 arrived at the station and remained docked to Kvant's aft port from September 26-November 17, 1987. At 0409 UT on November 6, Progress 32 backed away from Mir to 2.5 km. It redocked at 0547 UT, in a test designed to study ways of reducing the amount of fuel used during approach and docking operations. It was replaced by Progress 33 from November 23-December 19, 1987
By late in the year, investigators in Britain and Holland noted sporadic problems with their TTM wide-angle X-ray camera and with ESA's Sirene 2 gas-scintillation proportional counter. They queried the TsUP in Moscow as to whether crew activity could be causing interference with the instruments. Cosmos 1897, was a communications relay satellite of the Altair/SR series, designed to increase the amount of time Mir could be in touch with the TsUP on each orbit. It was launched on November 26 and stationed in geosynchronous orbit at 95° E. At the same time, fatigue had reduced the cosmonauts' workday to 4.5 hr.
Soyuz TM-4 docked with Mir at 12:51 GMT 23 December. It brought the EO-3 crew together with Buran test pilot Levchenko on a space indoctrination flight. Romanenko and Aleksandrov returned aboard Soyuz TM-3 together with Levchenko on December 29, 1987 09:16 GMT. They landed near Arkalyk. Romanenko had set a new space duration record.
Soyuz TM-3 Chronology
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