13 March 1986 12:33 GMT. Landing Date: 1986-07-16 12:34:00 PM. Flight Time: 125.00 days. Alternate Name: Soyuz T-15. Flight Up: Soyuz T-15. Flight Back: Soyuz T-15. Call Sign: Mayak (Beacon ). Crew: Kizim, Solovyov Vladimir. Backup Crew: Aleksandrov, Viktorenko. Program: Mir.
Of note: First spacecraft to fly between two space stations. Mir Main Expedition EO-01. Epic repair mission. The crew, consisting of ship's commander L D Kizim and flight engineer V A Solovyov first docked with the Mir orbital station to conduct scientific and technical studies and experiments. Mir then maneuvered 17 April to match Salyut 7's orbit at 4000 km separation, then again on 4 May to catch up. After six weeks aboard Mir, Soyuz T-15 undocked on 5 May, then rendezvoused and manually docked with the inoperative Salyut 7 station. This was the only flight in history by a single spacecraft between two space stations. The Salyut-7 station was found to be ice bound and without electrical power. The crew repaired the station, regaining power, heat, and environmental control. The also removed experimental results left behind by last crew. Soyuz T-15 undocked Salyut 7 on 25 June, and redocked with Mir on 26 June, delivering 400 kg of scientific material from Salyut 7, including a multichannel spectrometer. Following further work aboard Mir, the crew landed 55 km NE Arkalyk on July 16, 1986 at 12:34 GMT. No crew ever revisited Salyut 7; it made an uncontrolled reentry over Argentina.
Narrative (adapted from D S F Portree's Mir Hardware Heritage, NASA RP-1357, 1995)
Kizim and Solovyov stayed aboard Mir in two stints (52 days and 21 days) separated by a visit to Salyut 7 (51 days). Total time in space was 124 days. Following launch the crew first docked with Mir on March 15, 1986. The Soviets intended to dock Soyuz T-15 with Mir’s forward port, leaving the aft port free for arriving Progress spacecraft. However, Soyuz T-15, like its Soyuz-T precursors, was equipped with the Igla approach system, not the Kurs system used on Mir’s front port. Soyuz T-15 approached Mir from behind. At 20 km Soyuz T-15’s Igla system acquired its counterpart on Mir’s aft port. At 200 m the Igla system was shut off, and the EO-1 crew manually manoeuvred around the station to dock at the front port. They used the same laser range finder used by Soyuz T-13 to dock with the uncooperative Salyut 7 station in 1985.
The Progress 25 resupply ship was docked to Mir from March 21-April 20, 1986. Meanwhile the first tests of the Soviet data and voice relay system, the Altair/SR system, were conducted on March 29 using Mir’s large aft antenna and the geosynchronous (95° E) Cosmos 1700 satellite. Rezonans tests. The EO-1 crew conducted Rezonans tests of the Soyuz T-15- Mir base block-Progress 25 complex on March 31. The EO-1 crew subjected the Mir base block-Soyuz T-15 assemblage to further Rezonans tests after the departure of Progress 25. They also for the first time placed Mir in gravity gradient stabilisation mode, with its long axis pointed toward the center of the Earth, and tested the station’s atmosphere.
Progress 26 was docked to the station from April 26-May 5, 1986. Meanwhile the EO-1 crew prepared for the transfer to Salyut 7. The EO-1 crew loaded Soyuz T-15 with their personal belongings, plants grown on Mir, and other items, in case an abort meant they could not return to Mir. Salyut 7 was then about 4000 km ahead of Mir in a lower orbit. On May 4 Mir was lowered by 13 km to speed the approach to Salyut 7 and conserve Soyuz T-15’s limited fuel supply for the transfer. Soyuz T-15 separated from Mir when Salyut 7 was 2500 km away on May 5. The crossing required 29 hr. The crew successfully docked with the inert Salyut 7 on May 6 and brought the station back to life. On May 28 the EO-1 crew climbed outside of Salyut 7 to retrieve space exposure experiments and test the Ferma-Postroital ("girder-constructor") device. A deployment canister converted a folded girder cartridge into a 15-m girder in only a few minutes. The girder was retracted by reversing the process at the end of the EVA. The EVA lasted 3 hr, 50 min.
On May 31 Kizim and Solovyov attached measurement devices to the top of the retracted girder, then re-extended it with an aim toward studying its rigidity. They then used an electron gun to weld several of the girder’s joints. The EVA lasted 5 hr.
The EO-1 crew removed 20 instruments with a total mass of 350-400 kg from Salyut 7 before returning to Mir on June 25. Between August 19 and August 22, engines on Cosmos 1686 boosted Salyut 7 to a record-high mean orbital altitude of 475 km to forestall re-entry. Atmospheric drag took its toll, however, and the station re-entered over South America 54 months later. Pieces of Salyut 7 and Cosmos 1686 were found in Argentina.
While Soyuz T-15 was away, Soyuz TM-1 docked to Mir from May 23-29, 1986. Just as Soyuz-T represented a Soyuz upgrade for Salyut 7, Soyuz-TM represented an upgrade for Mir. Soyuz TM-1 arrived unmanned at the unoccupied station and remained for 9 days. The Progress 26 freighter was automatically commanded to depart the station on 22 June. Mir manoeuvred twice June 24-25, raising its orbit slightly and moving closer to Salyut 7. On June 25 Soyuz T-15 undocked from Salyut 7 and began the 29-hr journey back to Mir. The docking with Mir was uneventful. On July 3 Kizim surpassed Valeri Ryumin’s record for time spent in space. On July 6 he became the first human to spend a full year in space. The EO-1 crew spent their last 20 days on Mir conducting Earth observations.
Mir EO-1 Chronology
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