Soyuz 22

Soyuz 22 mission is the designation for the flight of a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft. It was the 39th flight in the Soviet Sojusprogramm. After the Apollo - Soyuz Test Project, the Soviet Union had the unused spacecraft Soyuz 22 backup left. Since this is significantly different from the standard version to supply the Salyut space stations, a special mission was chosen instead of a conversion of the spacecraft.


Home team

  • Valery Fedorovich Bykowski ( second space flight), Commander
  • Vladimir Viktorovich Aksenov ( first space flight), flight engineer

For this mission, cosmonauts were selected that were not specifically designed for the stay on board a space station. Bykowski was a member of the first cosmonaut group of the Soviet Union and was 14 years earlier with Vostok 5 at All. Aksenov was encountered only in 1973 for cosmonaut corps and had previously served in any replacement or support team.

Backup crew

  • Yuri Vasilievich Malyshev, Commander
  • Gennadi Mikhailovich Strekalow, Flight Engineer

The support team consisted of Leonid Ivanovich Popov and Boris Dmitrievich Andreyev.

Mission overview

The selected orbit ( orbital inclination 64.75 ° ) was unusual for a Soyuz spacecraft. Such an orbit has not been used since the Voskhod flights. The reason was to achieve a maximum coverage of the GDR territory. At the point where normally found in Soyuz ships docking port, Soyuz 22 was equipped with a 175 -pound multispectral camera MKF 6. This was from VEB Carl Zeiss Jena. Thus, about 2500 shots in the visible and infrared spectral range from large parts of the USSR and the entire East German territory were made.

Two adaptations of the orbit were made ​​, both in 24 hours after the start. After the first path correction during the fourth orbit, the orbital height was between 280 km and 250 km. The second ignition of the engine during the sixteenth orbit resulted in a nearly circular orbit between 257 km and 251 km altitude.

The official task was to review and improve methods of Erduntersuchung in the interest of the economies of the USSR and the GDR. The camera had used six lenses - four visible and two infrared light. It is a 165 km wide strip of the earth's surface was examined in each case. This means that within ten minutes of an area could be taken up by half a million square kilometers. The MKF 6 provided a combination of photogrammetry and spectrometry. The focal length was 125 mm, the observed spectral ranges 460-500 nm, 520-560 nm, 580-620 nm, 640-680 nm, 700-740 nm, 780-860 nm on films with a size 56 mm x 81 mm were recorded.

As a side note, it should be noted that at the same time, the NATO maneuvers took place " Exercise Teamwork " in Norway. By deviating from the orbit of the Almaz stations train capable of great parts were flown over from Norway, so that might recordings of the maneuver area (estimated resolution 10-20 meters) were made. Statements on this are not available.

The first test photos were taken of the Baikal- Amur Mainline, which has just been built. On the third day, the cosmonauts photographed an area of ​​Siberia to the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and the northern USSR.

The crew examined on the fourth day the Earth's atmosphere and made to recordings of moonrise and sunsets while they circled the earth. This allowed them to see how clean the windows of the spaceship were. More photos followed by Central Asia, Kazakhstan and Siberia with a focus on geological and glaciological formations as well as agriculture.

On the fifth day Azerbaijan, the southern Urals, again, BAM and Western Siberia were the focus. At the same time a plane flew with a second camera on the sites. Later they compared the pictures taken together.

The Soviet news agency TASS reported on the sixth day of the mission that recordings were made of areas that had never been the object of space photography, such as parts of Siberia, the northern and the European USSR.

During the last day of the mission focused on the GDR. An aerial view of aircraft of type Antonov An -30 flew over the area with an identical camera as Soyuz 22 had them. Furthermore, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Siberia and south-western parts of the Soviet Union were once again photographed in order to compare them with earlier made photographs.

The crew had to take apart the camera at the end to get to the filters (blue, green, orange, red, purple and black) to arrive. The filters were used to calibrate the recordings later. The expansion took several hours to complete.

In addition to the Erdaufnahmen the crew conducted during the week-long mission by a series of biological experiments. So was a small centrifuge on board, was investigated with the how plants grow in artificially generated gravity. They also studied the effect of cosmic rays that pass through the eye. This effect was first noticed by Apollo astronauts during their rest periods. They saw bright flashes, as they closed their eyes. This was caused by the cosmic rays actually passing through the eye. Soyuz 22 was also a small aquarium on board, so that the crew could track the growth of the fish.

After a highly successful mission, the cosmonauts took the movies from the camera and stowed it with other things that should return to the earth in the return module. The entry into the Earth's atmosphere and landing were made easily.

The crew had photographed a total of 30 areas and made ​​across each spectral channel 2,400 shots. None of the cartridge was faulty, and all recordings were of good quality. It has been said that agriculture, cartography, hydrology, mineralogy, and would benefit from the results.