Encyclopedia Astronautica
37KB



buba37kb.jpg
37KB
37KB instrumentation payload carried aboard first Buran flight. This module is closely related to the Kvant module on Mir and a similar x-ray astronomy module that Buran would have flown to Mir if it had not been cancelled.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian manned space station module. One launch, 1988.11.15. Carried in the payload bay of the Buran space shuttle. They could remain attached to the bay or (modified to the 37KBI configuration) be docked to the Mir-2 station.

Development of a new kind of Soviet space station module, designated 37K, was authorized on 17 September 1979. The basic 37K design consisted of a 4.2 m diameter pressurized cylinder with a docking port at the forward end. It was not equipped with its own propulsion system. The original authorization was for a total of eight 37K's of various configurations:

  • Three 37KB modules. These would be carried in the payload bay of the Buran space shuttle. They could remain attached to the bay or (modified to the 37KBI configuration) be docked to the Mir or Mir-2 space stations using the Buran manipulator arm.

  • One experimental 37KE (using a surplus FGB module of the cancelled Chelomei TKS manned ferry as a tug) which would be docked to the front port of the Salyut 7 space station.
  • Four 37KS modules for Mir. These would be delivered and docked to the station by a new lighter weight FGO tug.

The 37KB modules, similar to the Kvant module of the Mir space station, were to be standard on the early Buran flights. They would serve a function similar to the Spacehab modules on the shuttle, providing pressurized storage and equipment racks for payloads taken aloft on solo Buran flights. 37KB s/n 37070 was the only one of four built to actually fly. It was delivered to Baikonur in February 1986, and primarily contained instrumentation to measure the performance of the orbiter and its structure on its first flight - over 6000 data points were monitored. In addition, it was equipped with batteries to provide electrical power to Buran in the absence of the usual fuel cells.

Three 37KB modules were built - two flight articles and a spare. Following the initial flight tests using the 37KB, it was planned that s/n 37271 and the flight spare would be converted to the 37KBI configuration, which could be docked to the Mir and Mir-2 stations. In 1989 the planned utilization of the 37KB modules for Buran was as follows:

  • Flight 2 (2K1) - fourth quarter 1991 - first flight of second orbiter, one to two days unmanned, with 37KB s/n 37071.

  • Flight 3 (2K2) - first or second quarter 1992 - second orbiter, seven to eight day unmanned flight with payload 37KB s/n 37271. The orbiter would open the payload bay doors, operate the manipulator arm, dock with Mir, and return to earth.

  • Flight 4 (1K2) - 1993 - unmanned, second flight of first orbiter, 15-20 days with 37KB s/n 37270

  • Flight 5 (3K1) - 1994 or 1995 - first flight of third orbiter. First manned flight; the third orbiter was the first outfitted with life support systems and ejection seats. Two cosmonauts would deliver the 37KBI module to Mir, using the Buran manipulator arm to dock it to the station's Kristal module.

External events were catching up with these projects - the economy and political system in the Soviet Union had begun its rapid disintegration. The ambitious plans for a Mir-2 space station were being downgraded constantly. By the autumn 1991 it was proposed that a 'Mir 1.5' station would be equipped with 37KB modules, delivered by Buran, in place of the huge modules previously envisioned. Under this plan, the DOS-8 Mir base block would be orbited in 1994, towed to Mir by Buran, and attached to the DOS-7 base block already in orbit since 1986. During the two year period of joint operation of both base blocks, Mir would deliver an experimental 37KBT module equipped with biotechnology experiments. DOS-7 would then be deorbited, beginning the start of a four year assembly process of the Mir-2 station. DOS-8 would be equipped by Buran with 37KBE power modules and two operational 37KBT biotechnology modules. Buran could swap the 37KBT modules and return them to earth for removal of the products produced and outfitting for reuse.

Work on the 37KB modules was finally stopped completely when further Buran funding was ended in 1993.

Characteristics

Habitable Volume: 37.00 m3.

Gross mass: 7,150 kg (15,760 lb).
Height: 5.10 m (16.70 ft).
Span: 4.10 m (13.40 ft).
First Launch: 1988.11.15.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Energia The Energia-Buran Reusable Space System (MKS) began development in 1976 as a Soviet booster that would exceed the capabilities of the US shuttle system. Following extended development, Energia made two successful flights in 1987-1988. But the Soviet Union was crumbling, and the ambitious plans to build an orbiting defense shield, to renew the ozone layer, dispose of nuclear waste, illuminate polar cities, colonize the moon and Mars, were not to be. Funding dried up and the Energia-Buran program completely disappeared from the government's budget after 1993. More...
  • Kvant The Kvant was the Soviet third generation light launch vehicle planned to replace the Kosmos and Tsyklon series. Unlike the vehicles it was to replace, the booster used non-toxic 'environmentally friendly' liquid oxygen/kerosene propellants. Although such a light launch vehicle was on Space Forces wish lists since 1972, full scale development was again deferred due to the crash effort on Soviet 'star wars' in the second half of the 1980's. RKK Energia marketed the vehicle design from 1994 to 2001, but could find no source for development funds. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Energia The Energia-Buran Reusable Space System (MKS) began development in 1976 as a Soviet booster that would exceed the capabilities of the US shuttle system. Following extended development, Energia made two successful flights in 1987-1988. But the Soviet Union was crumbling, and the ambitious plans to build an orbiting defense shield, to renew the ozone layer, dispose of nuclear waste, illuminate polar cities, colonize the moon and Mars, were not to be. Funding dried up and the Energia-Buran program completely disappeared from the government's budget after 1993. More...
  • Energia/Buran Design version of Energia, with the reusable Buran manned spaceplane mounted to the side of the core. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Buran The Energia-Buran Reusable Space System (MKS) had its origins in NPO Energia studies of 1974 to 1975 for a 'Space Rocket Complex Program'. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Borisov, A, "'Buran' - polyot v nikuda?", Novosti kosmonavtiki, 1998, Issue 23/24, page 68..

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...

37KB Chronology


1979 September 17 - .
  • 37K space station module authorised - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: 37KB; 37KS; NPG; 37K-Mir; LO; Kvant. The basic 37K design consisted of a 4.2 m diameter pressurised cylinder with a docking port at the forward end. It was not equipped with its own propulsion system. The original authorisation was for a total of eight 37K's of various configurations. Of these, only the 37K-E (Kvant module of Mir) and the 37KS (instrumentation module in Buran) would fly.

1988 November 15 - . 03:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC110L. LV Family: Energia. Launch Vehicle: Energia/Buran. LV Configuration: Energiya/Buran 1L.
  • 37KB module s/n 37070 - . Payload: 37KB s/n 37070. Mass: 7,150 kg (15,760 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: UNKS. Program: Buran. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: 37KB. COSPAR: 1988-100xx.

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