AKA: Dnepr (Dnieper);Salyut 6 EO-4. Launched: 1980-04-09. Returned: 1980-10-11. Number crew: 2 . Duration: 184.84 days.
Carried the EO-4 long-duration crew comprising L I Popov and V V Ryumin to the Salyut-6 station to carry out scientific and technical research and experiments. During the long-duration mission the EO-4 crew was visited by four visiting crews. International crews with Hungarian, Vietnamese, and Cuban cosmonauts visited the station in June, July, and September. In August a Soviet crew docked in the first manned test flight of the new Soyuz-T model ferry spacecraft. During this period Soyuz 35 was succeeded by Soyuz 36 and then Soyuz 37 as lifeboats for the crew. Three Progress spacecraft resupplied the station.
Narrative (adapted from D S F Portree's Mir Hardware Heritage, NASA RP-1357, 1995)
Valentin Lebedev was scheduled to be Leonid Popov's flight engineer, but he required an operation after injuring his knee while working out on a trampoline. Ryumin, of the last crew to visit Salyut 6, was called in to fill his place. Upon entering Salyut 6, Ryumin noted that the two viewports in the transfer compartment had lost their transparency. The windows also had many chips in them caused by micrometeoroids and orbital debris. The cosmonauts replaced components of the attitude control system and life support system, installed a new caution and warning system, synchronized the station's clocks with those in the TsUP, added an 80-kg storage battery, and replaced air from tanks in Progress 8.
Progress 9 arrived at the station on 29 April, 1980. Before Progress 9, Salyut 6 crewmen had to transfer water into the station in 5-kg containers. Progress 9 featured the Rodnik system, by which crewmen ran a pipe to the station's tanks. The cargo ship transferred 180 kg of water in this manner. Progress 9 departed on 20 May, clearing the port for the arrival of Soyuz 35 with the international visiting crew of Valeri Kubasov and Bertalan Farkas of Hungary. The latter's experiments were in the areas of materials processing, Earth observation, and life sciences.
Soyuz 35 left on 3 June, and the next day the EO-3 crew conducted a port transfer. Soyuz 36 was repositioned by rotating Salyut 6, freeing the aft port for Soyuz-T 2, which arrived on 6 June. Soyuz-T 2. This was a manned test flight of the successor spacecraft to the Soyuz Ferry. Cosmonauts Yuri Malyshev and Vladimir Aksyonov spent only two days on Salyut 6 with the resident crew before returning to earth. .
The EO-4 crew returned to their routine. Popov and Ryumin relied heavily on the running track and bicycle ergometer to maintain their fitness so they could return safely to Earth after their prolonged stay in weightlessness. On June 15 their running track broke, but the cosmonauts avoided repairing it for several days, because 'it meant unscrewing a lot of bolts and would take a lot of time to repair.' However, doctors on the ground ordered them to increase their level of exercise, so they had to repair the track. Also at about this time, the cosmonauts repaired the Kaskad attitude control system, in the process expending a large amount of fuel. From July 24-31, 1980 Viktor Gorbatko and Pham Tuan of Vietnam visited the station, arriving in Soyuz 37, and returned to Earth in Soyuz 36. Tuan's experiments involved observing Vietnam from space, life sciences (including tests of growth of Vietnamese azolla water ferns, with application to future closed-loop life support systems), and materials processing. After the crew had departed, on August 1, Soyuz 37 was repositioned by rotating Salyut 6, freeing the aft port for Soyuz 38.
Ryumin noted in his diary on August 16 that every night before going to sleep the crew activated the Kristall or Splav-01 materials processing furnaces. This was done to reduce the level of disturbance caused by crew movements around the station, improving its microgravity conditions for materials processing.61 Ryumin also commented that Splav and Kristall could not be used at the same time, because they each placed a heavy load on the Salyut 6 power supply. Previous expeditions had operated the furnaces for a maximum of 10-12 hr at a time, but for Salyut 6 Principal Expedition 4, longer melts, of 120 hr and 60 hr, were carried out. The products of these melts were large crystals.
On September 10 Ryumin wrote in his diary that the experiments requiring that Salyut 6 be maneuvered at a cost in fuel were complete, so the station was in a gravity-gradient stabilisation mode at least until the next Progress arrived. In this mode it pointed the aft end of the Soyuz 37 spacecraft toward the Earth. This made Earth observations convenient, as most of the windows not blocked by equipment were located in the transfer compartment and pointed toward Earth. Ryumin also noted that he and Lyakhov had decided to postpone their monthly shower. 'When you begin to think of all the preparatory operations you have to do, and then how many post-shower operations you have to perform, the desire to take a shower diminishes. You have to heat the water, in batches, no less. You have to get the shower chamber, set up the water collectors, attach the vacuum cleaner . . . it takes nearly the entire day just for that shower,' he complained.
From September 19-26, 1980 an international crew again visited the station. The Soyuz 38 docking occurred in darkness. As the spacecraft approached Salyut 6, the Dneipers could see only its 'headlights.' Ryumin filmed ignition and operation of the transport's main engine. Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez of Cuba and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko docked without incident.
Four days after the visiting crew departed, Progress 11 docked, and the EO-4 crew prepared the station for departure. Ryumin reported that his last 10 days on Salyut 6 were very busy. The crew unloaded Progress 11, changed out the station's communications equipment, and mothballed the station. Ryumin considered the communications gear change-out the most serious repair operation the Dneipers had carried out.
Unmanned supply vessel for Salyut 6. Delivery of various cargoes to the Salyut-6 orbital station. Docked with Salyut 6 on 29 Apr 1980 08:09:19 GMT. Undocked on 20 May 1980 18:51:00 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 22 May 1980 00:44:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 3.32 days. Total docked time 21.45 days.
Unmanned supply vessel for Salyut 6. Delivery of various cargoes to the Salyut-6 orbital station. Docked with Salyut 6 on 1 Jul 1980 05:53:00 GMT. Undocked on 17 Jul 1980 22:21:00 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 19 Jul 1980 01:47:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 3.19 days. Total docked time 16.69 days.
Manned two crew. Transported to the Salyut-6 station the sixth international crew under the Intercosmos programme, comprising V V Gorbatko (USSR) and Pham Tuan (Viet Nam), to conduct scientific research and experiments. Returned crew of Soyuz 35 to Earth. Recovered October 11, 1980 9:50 GMT.
Unmanned supply vessel for Salyut 6. Delivery of various cargoes to the Salyut-6 orbital station. Docked with Salyut 6 on 30 Sep 1980 17:03:00 GMT. Undocked on 9 Dec 1980 10:23:00 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 11 Dec 1980 14:00:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 4.23 days. Total docked time 69.72 days.