TKS (spacecraft)

The TKS (short for Russian Транспортный корабль снабжения / Transportny Korabl Snabschenija, translated transport ship for supply purposes; GRAU index 11F72 ) was constructed by the Soviet Union in 1969 as a manned, heavy feeder and supply ship for military Almaz- space stations. It weighed fully loaded 20 tons, had a length of 17.51 ​​meters, a maximum diameter of 4.15 meters and extended solar cells a width of 17 meters.


TKS consisted of the orbital section FGB ( Funktionalno - grusowoj block; GRAU index 11F77 ) and the separable return capsule WA ( Woswraschajemyj apparatus; GRAU index 11F74 ). The reusable ( designed for multiple inserts) return capsule WA could accommodate a crew of three men, decreed for emergencies on a lifeguard tower (SAS ) and was similar with its conical shape of the American Apollo Command Module.

Both elements, WA and FGB, had their own control and position control system and could be operated completely autonomously from each other. The capsule WA could ensure the lives of three astronauts for three hours or two orbits. At the start TKS weighed together with the rescue system SAS 21.62 tons. After dropping the rescue system and the payload fairing of the mass was still 17.57 tons after reaching orbit. Of this total, 3822 kg of fuel ( UDMH and nitrogen tetroxide ), the eight tanks (diameter 48 cm, length 3.2 m ) was carried on the outside of the FGB. The payload of the TKS was reported to be 12.6 tons, including the capsule WA. In fact, besides the three cosmonauts around 5.2 tonnes of solid cargo could be carried. This should include costs of material, supplies and consumables, seven capsules of the type KSI belong to the repatriation exposed photographic material.

As a booster rocket Proton -K was provided.

Test flights

From 1976 until 1979 as the return capsule were tested at different flights. On December 15, 1976, the first launch, in which a Proton rocket two WA capsules, Cosmos 881 and 882, carried into orbit. This launch was dedicated to testing the re-entry and landing, two capsules were started simultaneously in order to increase the data yield and better exploit the payload capacity of the proton. The capsules were superposed so that only the upper capsule had a lifeguard tower. More Similar offs followed on August 4, 1977 ( false start ) 30 March 1978 ( Cosmos 997 and 998, successfully ), April 20, 1979 ( engines of the proton off shortly after the ignition is off, the rocket remained undamaged, the rescue system was However, triggered and brought the upper landing capsule away from the rocket) and on 22 May 1979 ( Kosmos 1100 and 1101, successfully ).


TKS 1 was launched unmanned on 17 July 1977 as Cosmos 929, but failed to fly a space station. After several tests and orbital maneuvers the return capsule was separated and then brought back to Earth on August 17, 1977.

TKS 2 was launched on April 25, 1981 unmanned as Cosmos 1267 and docked on 19 June 1981 to the space station Salyut 6 The return capsule returned already on May 24, 1981 back to Earth.

TKS 3 was launched unmanned on 2 March 1983 as Cosmos 1443 with 4 tons of fuel and 2.7 tonnes of payload and other docked two days later with the space station Salyut 7 On 14 August, the ship broke away from the station and the landing capsule brought on August 23, 1983 350 kg cargo from Salyut 7 back to Earth.

TKS 4 should be the first manned flight, but difficulties with the space station Salyut 7 or political reasons prevented this. After the end of the TKS program for manned missions were built from the landing system, seats and onboard controls for the crew, and provided the spacecraft instead of photographic reconnaissance equipment of Defense to be used as a space station module to the space station Salyut 7 to be. TKS 4 was finally launched unmanned on 27 September 1985 as Cosmos 1686 docked to the space station Salyut 7 It remained until the annealing of the space station in Earth's atmosphere on February 5, 1991 associated with these and served the fourth long-term occupation for military experiments.

TKS 5 and 6 were finally revised and used for other tasks. The FGB module of the TKS 5 upgraded in 1987, the module Kwant Mir space station and the FGB module of the TKS 6 was in the technology prototype for systems of missile defense Polyus, which was launched on 15 May 1987 with the first Energia rocket, be used.

Later the technology of the TKS spacecraft served as the basis for the construction of most modules of the Mir space station and the modules Zarya and Multipurpose Laboratory Module of the ISS.


For the planned manned flights six engineers of the design office TsKBM already had undergone the cosmonaut training. In the fall of 1979, four triple - teams for manned TKS flights were compiled. They consisted of a commander and flight engineer of the Air Force, as well as an engineer working at TsKBM each:

  • Team 1: Beresowoi, Glaskow, Makruschin ( starting January 1981 to December 1980 starting Almaz OPS -2 -4, stay 3 months)
  • Team 2: Koselsky, Artjuchin, Romanov ( starting April 1981, stay 4 months)
  • Team 3: Sarafanov, Preobrazhensky, Jujukow ( starting August 1981)
  • 4 crew: Malyshev, Lawejkin ( starting April 1982)

A short time later the teams were changed:

  • Team 1: Glaskow, Stepanov, Makruschin
  • Team 2: Sarafanov, Preobrazhensky, Romanov
  • Team 3: Artjuchin, Beresowoi, Jujukow
  • Team 4: Vasyutin, Rozhdestvensky, Gretschanik

Artjuchin and Glaskow had this experience already aboard a Almaz space station ( Salyut 3 and Salyut 5). Sarafanov and Rozhdestvensky also had experience in space, but their spaceships could not be docked to the space station. Preobrazhensky had already been assigned to a space flight as a substitute.

As part of the preparation team 2 led in November 1979 an eight-day endurance test in an Almaz simulator the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center through.

Following the decision, a TKS spacecraft to send unmanned Salyut 7, the teams were reshuffled in 1982:

  • Team 1: Vasyutin, Savinykh, Volkov
  • Team 2: Alexandrov, Salej, Viktorenko
  • Team 3: Vladimir Solovyov, Serebrov, Moskalenko

The first team worked in 1985 as part of the fourth long-term occupation actually aboard the Salyut 7, however, the use due to illness Wasjutins had to be terminated prematurely.

In spring 1987, the TKS - cosmonaut group was dissolved.