Home SCIENCE Salyut 7 – The Forgotten Rescue Of a Dead Space Station

Salyut 7 – The Forgotten Rescue Of a Dead Space Station


In 1985 one of the most audacious space rescue missions was launched by the Soviets to recover a space station that had been dead for months due to an unknown fault. A feat that was unparalleled in space exploration and rewrote the books on what was thought possible: and yet, its story has fallen into obscurity and conspiracy theories.

image/text credit: Curious Droid 

This small lab, orbiting two hundred kilometres (or 120 miles) above the Earth, would go further than any spacecraft before, to become a base for six long-term expeditions. But Salyut-7 would also suffer a series of strange malfunctions, and become the scene of a desperate rescue at orbital velocity.

This is the story Salyut 7 and how the Soviet crew of two, Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Victor Savinikh against the odds rescued it in a daring mission that was the first of its kind in space exploration.In September 1983, a fuel leak was discovered after almost a whole tank was vented into space.


With a 70-80% chance of success, the mission was given the go-ahead.On June 6th 1985 the rescue mission launched, and orbited for two days until it caught up with Salyut-7. As the Soyuz approached more closely, it appeared that the solar panels were misaligned: the electrical systems had completely failed.After the station was returned to service Vladimir Dzhanibekov remained on the station for a total of 110 days.