Soyuz 26

Soyuz 26 mission is the designation for the flight of a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft to the Soviet space station Salyut 6 It was the first (successful ) visit a Soyuz spacecraft in this space station and the 44th flight in the Soviet Sojusprogramm. The spacecraft was the first long-term crew Salyut 6 EO -1 for the outward journey and was brought back by the team visit Salyut 6 EP-2 to Earth.


Start crew

  • Yuri Viktorovich Romanenko ( first space flight), Commander
  • Georgi Mikhailovich Grechko ( second space flight), flight engineer

Grechko was not in the backup crew, but in the support team for the previous flight. Since after the failure of Soyuz 25, a team was not allowed to consist only of newcomers, he had received in preference to Ivanchenkov, who was re- divided into the backup crew.

Backup crew

  • Vladimir Vasilyevich Kovalyonok, Commander
  • Alexander Sergeyevich Ivanchenkov, Flight Engineer

Kovalyonok was previously commander of the failed flight Soyuz 25, which, had only two months.

The support team consisted of Vladimir Liakhov, Leonid Popov, Valery Rjumin and Valentin Lebedev.

Return crew

  • Vladimir Alexandrovich Dzhanibekov ( first space flight ), Commander
  • Oleg Grigoryevich Makarov ( second space flight), flight engineer

Mission overview

This mission marked another step for permanent stay of cosmonauts in orbit dar. These Salyut 6 was equipped with two docking port. Thus, the Soviet Union was able to achieve some firsts (for example, the initial coupling of three spacecraft ).

The choice of the start time was risky. It was the first launch opportunity after the failure of Soyuz 25, the crew would be in winter at the station, the worst weather for takeoff and landing. The coupling had to be at the rear, untried saver because Soyuz 25 two months earlier (in vain ) would dock at the front adapter.

After the first visit with Soyuz 25 could not be coupled to the front docking port, had to be cleared by a spacewalk whether the second coupling unit is damaged or inoperable. This exit took place on the ninth day of flying. It was the first Russian exit since 1969. For the first time the spacesuit Orlan was used, which is still used in the Space Station. This also was its intensive testing.

This was done in the designated " transition section " front part of the station, which can be locked hermetically to the rest station. After the breathing air was drained, leaving Grechko ( at least partially ) the station and Romanenko remained in used as an airlock transition section. A color TV camera and special tools, the coupling piece was investigated. Damage were not observed. This meant that the fault had been lying on Soyuz 25. The outboard maneuver lasted an hour and 28 minutes.

This action paved the way for pairing with Soyuz 27 with Vladimir and Oleg Makarov Dzhanibekov. With their coupling on January 11, 1978, the first object that was composed of three spacecraft was built. With the visiting team were therefore also performed experiments on the stability of the complex ( generation of oscillations, measurement of resonant frequencies ) performed.

As the mission duration of the first crew exceeded the life of a Sojusraumschiffs, a spaceship exchange was performed on a space station for the first time, a practice that was often practiced later. In this case, they wanted to avoid reconnecting the Soyuz -26 spacecraft to the front piece from the rear. The rear piece but was required for the supply ship Progress since the ports are here to refuel. The necessary work ( reconstruction of the personal allowance seats and space suits, etc. ) were also tested.

Soyuz 26 was thus the first spaceship that had completely replaced in all the team. Part exchange had previously made ​​Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 in 1969.