Encyclopedia Astronautica

Russian logistics spacecraft. Study 1977. Capsule designed to return film and data materials from the Almaz military space station.

The capsule could be loaded manually by cosmonauts aboard the station, or film could be loaded automatically when the station was unmanned.

The capsule came in two parts: a re-entry protection shell, and an internal payload.

At capsule ejection the Almaz pointed down at an 8:00 angle from the horizontal. The capsule was ejected at a 5:00 angle. After separation it spun up, fired the retro, and then spun down, all at the 5:00 angle. It then separated the retro assembly. Following reentry, it deployed a small drogue chute, followed by a main chute. The reentry shell was separated before the main chute, and only the internal payload landed separately.

The outer heat shield was as follows:

       Lift eye-bolts (4)        ------------------
                /           /\      Gone         |
            O               --    /              |
             \             |  |                  | 1
                          /|  |\                 | 3
           ---     --------------------    ----  | 5
         C  |      --------------------      |   | 0
         a  |       \                /       |   |
         p  |       |               |      8 |   |
         s  |       |               |      3 |   |
         u  |       |               |      8 |   |
         l  |       |               |        |   |
         e  |        \             /         |   |
           ---         -----------       -----------
                    |---------------|   Payload volume ....  90 cu cm
                   |-----------------|  Payload mass ......  120 kg
The interior section was:
                                        ____ beacon
                         ________   o
                    |o| /      |o|\||
                    |o|        |o|  |  ---- cloth covered
                    |               |
                    |               |  ---- cloth covered
                     \             /

The return capsule from Salyut 5 was sold at a Sotheby's auction in the early 1990's. The shell shad a dent in the bottom: not very big, surprisingly. Internally, there was the label with the serial number 11F76-0505. This Earth Return Capsule was launched into space with the Salyut 5 space station on 22 June 1976 and returned to earth on 26 February 1977. The estimated price was $80,000-$100,000. The actual price as sold was $48,875. The engineers at the auction indicated that the plan was to eventually have six of these return capsules on board each Almaz.

AKA: 11F76.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
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
  • Chelomei Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Chelomei Design Bureau, Reutov, Russia. More...

  • Voevodin, Sergey A, "Sergey A. Voevodin's Reports", VSA072 - Space Apparatus, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Wood, D, Almaz Return Capsule, Internet posting, 23 May, 1996..

KSI Chronology

1977 February 26 - .
  • Salyut 5 jettisons earth return capsule - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: KSI. Summary: The Earth Return Capsule serial number 11F76-0505 was successfully recovered. During the 1990's it was auctoned off at Sotheby's for $48,875..

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