The Third Decade: 1981–1990
The long-duration mission of Soyuz T4 was not originally intended as such but was more the result of rescheduling after the Soyuz 33 docking abort cancelled some international Interkosmos flights, leading to a situation where a Mongolian and a Romanian were still to visit Salyut. The station had fortunately been given a stay of execution by the Soyuz T3 mission. Soyuz T4, set for a mission that would last long enough to accommodate the two Interkosmos missions and verify a new Soyuz spacecraft for a period of extended docking with Salyut, took off at midnight from Baikonur, the second such launch since Soyuz 9. On board were Vladimir Kovalenok, who was already rather familiar with Salyut 6, and his flight engineer, Viktor Savinykh. Though he was a rookie, Savinykh nevertheless had the unique statistic of being both the hundredth person and the fiftieth Soviet to enter space. As the two visiting crews had not trained on Soyuz T and were not qualified to return in one, the resident crew would not have an exchange of vehicle to support an extended-duration mission, so no attempt would be made to exceed the space flight endurance record on this mission.
KeywordsSolar Panel Space Shuttle Crew Member Solar Array Manned Space
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