Salyut was the generic term used to describe a series of space stations launched by the Soviet Union during the 1970's and early 1980's. The program was a combination of military and peaceful objectives. The military and peaceful types of stations were developed by different research teams.
Salyut 1, launched on April 19, 1971, stayed in flight for 173.93 days. Salyut 1 was built using components from the Almaz production line, and proven Soyuz components. The Soyuz control panel was used, as was the forward docking mechanism and the aft propulsion module. No major changes were made to the Soyuz components used. The station was supposed to be called Zarya, or 'Dawn,' but that was also the name of a ground control call sign, so to prevent confusion, the name was changed to Salyut 1. This was the first manned orbital space station, but the victory was a tainted one, because the crew of the Salyut 1 mission died during the return to Earth. Salyut 1 was deorbited on October 11, 1971. It was recovered on October 16, 1971.
Salyut 2,3, and 5 had military objectives, and were all equipped with large optical telescopes for reconnaissance imaging of the military installations on Earth.
Salyut 2 was launched on April 3, 1973, and it reached orbit, but depressurized and lost control soon thereafter. Salyut (Cosmos 557), launched on May 11, 1973, lost all of its fuel and spun out of control. It burned up on May 22, 1973.
Salyut 4, Salyut 6, and Salyut 7 were all successful, and each station was an improvement over the previous. The Salyut program allowed the Soviet Union to achieve an unmatched lead over the rest of the world in manned orbital spaceflight and flight duration.
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