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Soyuz 17

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COSPAR ID  1975-001A
Spacecraft type  Soyuz 7K-T
Period  1.5 hours
Dates  11 Jan 1975 – 9 Feb 1975
Landing date  9 February 1975
Orbits completed  479
Manufacturer  NPO Energia
Apogee  249,000 m
Launch date  10 January 1975
Rocket  Soyuz
Soyuz 17 wwwspacefactsdemissionphotohisoyuz17jpg

Mission duration  29 days, 13 hours, 19 minutes, 45 seconds
Launch mass  6,800 kilograms (15,000 lb)
Members  Aleksei Gubarev, Georgy Grechko

Soyuz 17 (Russian: Союз 17, Union 17) was the first of two long-duration missions to the Soviet Union's Salyut 4 space station in 1975. The flight set a Soviet mission-duration record of 29 days, surpassing the 23-day record set by the ill-fated Soyuz 11 crew aboard Salyut 1 in 1971.


Mission parameters

  • Mass: 6,800 kg (15,000 lb)
  • Perigee: 185 km (115 mi)
  • Apogee: 249 km (155 mi)
  • Inclination: 51.6°
  • Period: 88.8 min
  • Mission highlights

    Salyut 4 was launched 26 December 1974, and Soyuz 17, with cosmonauts Georgi Grechko and Aleksei Gubarev as its first crew, was launched 16 days later on 10 January 1975. Gubarev manually docked Soyuz 17 to the station on 12 January, and upon entering the new station he and Grechko found a note from its builders which said, "Wipe your feet!"

    Salyut 4 was in an unusually high circular orbit of 350 km (220 mi) when Soyuz 17 docked with the station. Salyut designer Konstantin Feoktistov said this was to ensure propellant consumption would be half of what was needed for lower-altitude Salyuts.

    The crew worked between 15 and 20 hours a day, including their 212 hour exercise period. One of their activities included testing communication equipment for tracking ships and contacting mission control via a Molniya satellite.

    Astrophysics was a major component of the mission, with the station's solar telescope activated on 16 January. The crew later discovered that the main mirror of the telescope had been ruined by direct exposure to sunlight when the pointing system failed. They resurfaced the mirror on 3 February and worked out a way of pointing the telescope using a stethoscope, stopwatch, and the noises the moving mirror made in its casing.

    On 14 January, a ventilation hose was set up from Salyut 4 to keep the Soyuz ventilated while its systems were shut down. On 19 January it was announced that ion sensors were being used to orient the station, a system described as being more efficient.

    A new teleprinter was used for communications from the ground crew, freeing the Salyut crew from constant interruptions during their work.

    The cosmonauts began powering down the station on 7 February and they returned to Earth in the Soyuz capsule two days later. They safely landed near Tselinograd in a snowstorm with winds of 72 km/h and wore gravity suits to ease the effects of re-adaptation.


    Soyuz 17 Wikipedia