Encyclopedia Astronautica
Soyuz 15



almrext.jpg
Almaz right exterior
Aft view of the Almaz, showing the propellant tanks and the '11F668' article number on its side. While this number was used for Almaz-T radar satellites, this station, stored at MAI, has the internal systems of the Phase 1 Almaz. It may have been the s/n 100 ground simulator converted to an Almaz-T mock-up.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Crew: Demin, Sarafanov. Second phase of manned operations aboard the Salyut 3 military space station, aborted when the Igla rendezvous system electronics failed and no docking was made. Backup crew: Volynov, Zholobov.Support crew: Rozhdestvensky, Zudov.

Soyuz 15 was to conduct the second phase of manned operations aboard the Salyut 3 military space station, but the Igla rendezvous system failed and no docking was made. The two day flight could only be characterised as '... research in manoeuvring and docking with the OPS in various modes, and development of methods for evacuation and landing from space complex in new conditions....' The crew was recovered on August 28, 1974 20:10 GMT.

As Chelomei had complained, Soyuz had no reserves or backup systems for repeated manual docking attempts and had to be recovered after a two-day flight. The state commission found that the Igla docking system of the Soyuz needed serious modification. This could not be completed before Salyut 3 decayed. Therefore the planned Soyuz 16 spacecraft became excess to the program (it was later flown as Soyuz 20 to a civilian Salyut station, even though over its two year rated storage life).

Officially: Conduct of joint experiments with the Salyut-3 orbital scientific station.

AKA: Duna (Danube ).
First Launch: 1974.08.26.
Last Launch: 1974.08.28.
Duration: 2.01 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Demin Demin, Lev Stepanovich (1926-1998) Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Soyuz 15. More...
  • Volynov Volynov, Boris Valentinovich (1934-) Jewish-Russian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Soyuz 5, Soyuz 21. More...
  • Zholobov Zholobov, Vitali Mikhailovich (1937-) Ukrainian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Soyuz 21. More...
  • Rozhdestvensky Rozhdestvensky, Valeri Illyich (1939-) Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Soyuz 23. More...
  • Sarafanov Sarafanov, Gennadi Vassilyevich (1942-2005) Russian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Soyuz 15. More...
  • Zudov Zudov, Vyacheslav Dmitriyevich (1942-) Russian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Soyuz 23. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Soyuz 7K-T/A9 Russian manned spacecraft. 8 launches, 1974.05.27 (Cosmos 656) to 1978.06.27 (Soyuz 30). Version of 7K-T for flights to Almaz. Known difference with the basic 7K-T included systems for remote control of the Almaz station and a revised parachute system. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • MOM Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Ministry of General Machine Building (Moskva, Russia), Moscow, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Almaz The only manned military space station to have ever flown, it served only to prove that manned stations provided no cost-effective substitute to unmanned military satellites. Derivatives of the design continue in service into the 21st Century as modules of the Salyut, Mir, and International Space Stations. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Soyuz 15 Chronology


1974 August 26 - . 19:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511.
  • Soyuz 15 - . Call Sign: Duna (Danube ). Crew: Demin; Sarafanov. Backup Crew: Volynov; Zholobov. Support Crew: Rozhdestvensky; Zudov. Payload: Soyuz 7K-T(A9) s/n 63. Mass: 6,760 kg (14,900 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Demin; Sarafanov; Volynov; Zholobov; Rozhdestvensky; Zudov. Agency: MOM. Program: Almaz. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Soyuz 15. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-T/A9. Duration: 2.01 days. Decay Date: 1974-08-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 7421 . COSPAR: 1974-067A. Apogee: 236 km (146 mi). Perigee: 173 km (107 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Soyuz 15 was to conduct the second phase of manned operations aboard the Salyut 3 military space station, but the Igla rendezvous system failed and no docking was made. The two day flight could only be characterised as '... research in manoeuvring and docking with the OPS in various modes, and development of methods for evacuation and landing from space complex in new conditions....'

    As Chelomei had complained, Soyuz had no reserves or backup systems for repeated manual docking attempts and had to be recovered after a two-day flight. The state commission found that the Igla docking system of the Soyuz needed serious modification. This could not be completed before Salyut 3 decayed. Therefore the planned Soyuz 16 spacecraft became excess to the program (it was later flown as Soyuz 20 to a civilian Salyut station, even though over its two year rated storage life).

    Officially: Conduct of joint experiments with the Salyut-3 orbital scientific station.


1974 August 28 - .
1974 August 31 - .
  • Cosmonaut reunion as Soyuz 15 crew arrives in Moscow. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Demin; Glushko; Mishin; Keldysh; Smirnov; Ustinov. Program: Salyut. Flight: Soyuz 15. Kamanin attends a reunion of cosmonauts on the occasion of the arrival of the Soyuz 15 crew at Chkalovsky Airfield. Demin has flown at the age of 48, the oldest astronaut ever, until Slayton makes his flight. Kamanin talks to Glushko and learns that the N1 has finally been cancelled. The misbegotten project went for eight years only because of the unconditional support of Mishin by Keldysh, Smirnov, and Ustinov. The earliest Soviet lunar landing cannot occur earlier than the Tenth Five Year Plan (e.g. 1980). Kamanin learns that Soyuz 15 was supposed to be a thirty-day flight, but the Igla automatic docking system failed yet again.

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