Encyclopedia Astronautica
37K-Mir



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37K-Mir
Credit: © Mark Wade
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37K Comparison
Competing concepts for Mir space station modules. From top: Chelomei's TKS module from Almaz, consisting of the FGB tug, VA re-entry capsule, and abort rocket; 37K Kvant laboratory module, with FGB tug as used to dock with aft port of Mir; 37K Kvant laboratory after docking; NPO Energia design for follow-on 37K modules (cancelled); FGB-derived modules actually used.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian manned space station. Cancelled 1983. 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.

Development of a new kind of Soviet space station module, designated 37K, was authorized on 17 September 1979. The 37KS modules for Mir were cancelled in 1983 in favor of KB Salyut designs derived from the Chelomei TKS spacecraft.

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 two configurations: 37KS for use as space station modules for Mir, and 37KB for use with the Buran space shuttle. Design and fabrication reached an advanced phase when it was decided that the separate tug concept resulted in too low a net scientific payload (3 metric tons). Integrating the tug with the module was expected to increase this to 5 metric tons and provide some reserve engine capability at Mir and additional pressurized volume. Accordingly the 37KS modules for Mir were cancelled in 1983. Competitive designs for integrated space station modules were submitted by KB Salyut and NPO Energia. The KB Salyut 77K modules were derived from the cancelled TKS manned ferry. The competing proposal from NPO Energia combined the 37KS module with the engine unit of Mir. In June 1984 the KB Salyut design was selected.

Gross mass: 20,000 kg (44,000 lb).
Payload: 5,000 kg (11,000 lb).
Span: 4.20 m (13.70 ft).
Specific impulse: 305 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • KRD-79 Isayev N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 3.090 kN. Salyut 6, 7and Mir orbital propulsion maneuvering engine. In Production. Probably derived from engine of propulsion system KDU-426. Pressure fed engine. More...

See also
  • 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
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. Development of the Proton began in 1962 as a two-stage vehicle that could be used to launch large military payloads or act as a ballistic missile with a 100 megaton nuclear warhead. The ICBM was cancelled in 1965, but development of a three-stage version for the crash program to send a Soviet man around the moon began in 1964. The hurried development caused severe reliability problems in early production. But these were eventually solved, and from the 1970's the Proton was used to launch all Russian space stations, medium- and geosynchronous orbit satellites, and lunar and planetary probes. More...
  • Proton-K Russian orbital launch vehicle. Development of a three-stage version of the UR-500 was authorised in the decree of 3 August 1964. Decrees of 12 October and 11 November 1964 authorised development of the Almaz manned military space station and the manned circumlunar spacecraft LK-1 as payloads for the UR-500K. Remarkably, due to continuing failures, the 8K82K did not satisfactorily complete its state trials until its 61st launch (Salyut 6 / serial number 29501 / 29 September 1977). Thereafter it reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...

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

Associated Propellants
  • N2O4/UDMH Nitrogen tetroxide became the storable liquid propellant of choice from the late 1950's. Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine ((CH3)2NNH2) became the storable liquid fuel of choice by the mid-1950's. Development of UDMH in the Soviet Union began in 1949. It is used in virtually all storable liquid rocket engines except for some orbital manoeuvring engines in the United States, where MMH has been preferred due to a slightly higher density and performance. More...

37K-Mir 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.

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