Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing
110 km northeast of Tselinograd. Following a one day solo flight Soyuz 17
docked with the space station
January 12, 1975, which had been launched 3 days earlier.
Salyut 4 was
in an unusually high circular orbit of 350 km (220 mi) when Soyuz 17 docked
with the station. Salyut designer Konstantin
said this was to ensure propellant consumption
would be half of what was needed for lower-altitude Salyuts.
transfered into the space station and stayed 29 days there. The crew worked
between 15 and 20 hours a day, including their 21/2 hour exercise period. One
of their activities included testing communication equipment for tracking ships
and contacting mission control via a Molniya satellite.
astronomical experiments were performed. The crew discovered that the main
mirror of the solar telescope had been ruined by direct exposure to sunlight
when the pointing system failed. They resurfaced the mirror and worked out a
way of pointing the telescope using a stethoscope, stopwatch, and the noises
the moving mirror made in its casing.
On January 14, 1975, a ventilation
hose was set up from Salyut 4 to keep the Soyuz ventilated while its systems
were shut down. On January 19, 1975 it was announced that ion sensors were
being used to orient the station, a system described as being more
A new teleprinter was used for communications from the ground
crew, freeing the Salyut crew from constant interruptions during their
The landing occured in a snowstorm with winds of 72