[meteorite-list] Salyut 7 satelite tanks, information request

From: Alexander Seidel <ase_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:37:34 2004
Message-ID: <3A37E436.21A0F30A_at_planet-interkom.de>

Mike Farmer wrote:
> Hello everyone, I need some information on the Salyut 7 satellite, the
> one that fell in Argentina in 1991. I acquired the 3rd fuel tank from
> this satellite today. I need to know if there is any information source
> on the internet about this particular satellite. I will have a special
> web page built in the next day or two with photos. It is a really nice
> piece, with the bottom burned completely through and the other side in
> pristine condition, there is only one micro meteorite crater that I
> could find though! I would assume that the orientation of the tank on
> the satellite could account for that though. Is this a correct
> assumption? If the tank is on the trailing side of the satellite, would
> it not be far less susceptible to bombardment?

Hello Mike and list,

here is a copy of part of an email that I wrote to Rob Elliott (Fernlea)
earlier this year, regarding the Salyut 7 space station. Rob has got
another one of those tanks in his personal collection.

I hope this helps, and I hope the URLs which I quote are still working:

***begin copied text from my email to Rob Elliott***

First some details from my own source books:

Salyut 7 Designation 1982-33 A
                (meaning component A of the 33rd launch in 1982)
                Launch date 1982 April 19.83
                Orbital inclination to the equator: 51.59 degrees
                (meaning the southern and northern apex points of the
                trajectory were at -51.59 deg lat and +51.59 deg lat,
                so that if you would ever have seen it from your
                Scotland location, it would have been quite far to
                the southern part of your observable skies there..)
                Initial nodal period: 89.16 min (that is 1 earth rev.)
                Initial perigee height: 212 km
                Initial apogee height: 260 km
                Orbital mass: 18.900 kg (?)
                Size: 15 m long, 4.15 to 2.0 m diameter

Cosmos 1686 Designation 1985-86 A
                (meaning component A of the 86th launch in 1985)
                Launch date 1985 September 27.36
                Initial perigee height: 291 km
                Initial apogee height: 312 km
                Orbital mass: approx. 20.000 kg (?)
                Size: 13 m long, 4 m diameter, 16 m wingspan (?)
                (for more detail, see URL below)

Both objects decayed, docked together, on 1985 Oct 2.39

Here is what Mark Wade´s site says about Salyut 7 and the joint flight.
Note the remarks at the end, showing that it was indeed a spectacular

"Second Soviet replenishable long-duration ‘civilian’ space station.
Objectives: Continuation of scientific research on board manned space
complexes in the interests of science and the Soviet national economy;
testing of advanced systems and apparatus for orbital stations.
Continuation of the scientific research in progress on board manned
space complexes in the interests of science and the
national economy; testing of advanced systems and apparatus for orbital
stations. Although of the same design as Salyut 6, technical breakdowns
throughout its life made Salyut 7 a much less productive station.
Replaced finally by Mir. Two different TKS resupply craft, originally
designed for the Almaz military station, docked with Salyut 7 to provide
a larger complex. With the cancellation of Almaz, a
large proportion of the experiments carried out on board had military
objectives. Equipment: - Kristal materials processing furnace - EFO-7
star electrophotometer Improved Oasis plant growth unit - Aelita
cardiovascular diagnostic unit - 24 hr hot water - food refrigerator -
French echography ultrasonic medical system - Korund semiconductor
materials furnace Military experiments: observations of ground aerosols;
ABM intercept; naval exercises; laser pointing/tracking hardware tests.
Major Events: EVA July 30 to demonstrate building materials. Docking of
TKS Kosmos 1443 4 March 1983. Failure of Soyuz T-8 to dock 21 April
1983. Micrometeorite impact on window 27 July. Failure of primary
arrays, causing internal conditions of 65 F and 100% humidity.
Propellant leak 9 September drained 2 of 3 oxidiser tanks and shut down
16 of 32 attitude control thrusters. Soyuz T-10A with crew trained in
erection of new arrays exploded on pad 27 September. EVA's 1 Nov and 3
November to erect auxiliary solar arrays (brought on Kosmos 1443). 4
EVA's in April 1984 to repair propulsion system. EVA May 18 1984 to
erect additional arrays. EVA July 25 1984 (Savitskaya). EVA August 8 to
continue propulsion repairs with new tool. Docking of TKS Kosmos 1686 2
October 1985. Following departure of last crew, space station went out
of control, batteries drained, and dead in space. Visited by Soyuz T-15
7 May 1986 and revived. EVA's May 28 and 31 1986 to erect 15 m long
truss. As of January 1990 out of fuel, unable to manoeuvre, uncontrolled
re-entry expected in three to four years. Re-entered in 1991 with 70 kg
fuel remaining over Argentina. Controllers attempted to control impact
point (set for Atlantic Ocean) by setting Salyut 7/Kosmos 1686 assembly
into a tumble. This however failed and Salyut 7 re-entered February 7,
1991 04:00 GMT. Many fragments fell on the town of Capitan Bermudez, 25
km from Rosario and 400 km from Buenos Aires, Argentina. At 1 am local
time the sky was lit up with hundreds of incandescent meteors travelling
from Southwest to Northeast. At dawn the inhabitants discovered numerous
metal fragments, which seemed to have fallen in distinct groups at
various locations in the city. Luckily no one was hurt in the metallic

You will find this text at the following URL:


Just scroll down. There is a sketch of the Salyut 7 station somewhere,
and you will also find the text just cited, and other links.

Regarding more detail on the Cosmos, please look at these URLs and
scroll the pages down again till you find the references made to this
satellite and it´s mission. Very interesting reading!


***end copied text from my email to Rob Elliott***

Best wishes,
 Alexander Seidel  | Home position on planet Earth: |  
 Dankersstrasse 22 | N53.5917  E9.4670  13m (WGS84) | 
 D-21680 Stade	   | -------------------------------| 
 Germany           | Phone and Fax (+49) 4141 68772 | 
Received on Wed 13 Dec 2000 04:03:50 PM PST

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