A microgravity laboratory for hire
Soyuz-TM 8 was launched on schedule, on 6 September 1989. A new aspect of the television coverage was the advertisements erected around the pad and emblazoned on the rocket’s shroud. As expected, Alexander Viktorenko was the commander, but he was, after all, accompanied by Alexander Serebrov. On their final approach two days later, they saw the complex start to oscillate when their ferry was only four metres off the rear port, causing the Kurs to abort. Viktorenko took over, withdrew twenty metres, inspected the docking port, and then closed in and docked without incident. An hour later, they opened the hatches, entered the complex and began the long process of returning it to life. Immediate maintenance involved the replacement of another three nickel-cadmium batteries that had been sent up on Progress-M 1 to further ameliorate the degraded power system. Then several days were spent loading and verifying new software that would enable the attitude-control computer to deal with the offset centre of gravity that would result when the first module was swung off axis. During this first week, the only active research was that using the remotely controlled X-ray telescopes, but by mid-month they had installed the Gallar furnace from Progress-M 1 in Kvant 1. This was an improved form of the Korund-IM, and on its first test it produced a monocrystal of cadmium selenide semiconductor.
KeywordsBase Block Gallium Arsenide Solar Panel Orbital Module Cargo Ship
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