Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 62

Soyuz 27

Soyuz 26


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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  10.01.1978
Launch time:  12:26 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  190 - 237 km
Inclination:  51,57°
Docking Salyut 6:  11.01.1978, 14:05:54 UTC
Undocking Salyut 6:  16.03.1978, 07:58 UTC
Landing date:  16.01.1978
Landing time:  11:24 UTC
Landing site:  265 km W of Tselinograd

walkout photo

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Dzhanibekov  Vladimir Aleksandrovich  Commander 1 5d 22h 58m  94 
2  Makarov  Oleg Grigoriyevich  Flight Engineer 2 5d 22h 58m  94 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Dzhanibekov
2  Makarov
1  Romanenko
2  Grechko

Animations: Soyuz

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Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Kovalyonok  Vladimir Vasiliyevich  Commander
2  Ivanchenkov  Aleksandr Sergeyevich  Flight Engineer


Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing with Soyuz 26 capsule 265 km west of Tselinograd.

The main goal of the mission was to swap Soyuz craft with the orbiting crew.
The Salyut 6 station required refueling by mid-January 1978, and this was to be accomplished by a new unmanned supply tanker, Progress. But the tanker had to dock at the aft port where the propellant line connections were, and Soyuz 26 was docked there. Mission control was not yet willing to attempt to redock the Soyuz at the other port, a now-standard practice. Accordingly, a new crew was sent up on another Soyuz spacecraft to dock at the forward port, and depart in the parked Soyuz 26 spacecraft.
On January 11, 1978 Soyuz 27 docked without incident at the front port carrying cosmonauts Oleg Makarov and Vladimir Dzhanibekov, who formed the first visiting crew in the Soviet space station program (or, for that matter, in any space station program). Vladimir Dzhanibekov noticed that as he and Oleg Makarov approached the station in Soyuz 27, they were slightly off-course, but he allowed the automatic system to continue and, with 7 meters (23 ft) to go, it corrected the slight alignment error. To the relief of mission control, Soyuz 27 successfully docked at the forward port. For the docking, the first resident crew withdrew to their Soyuz 26 spacecraft and sealed the hatch into Salyut 6 behind them. This was done in the event of a depressurization emergency associated with the docking of Soyuz 27.
The Soyuz 27 crew then encountered their first problem - a balky hatch that opened suddenly and sent Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Oleg Makarov tumbling backwards. The Salyut crew dove into the Soyuz and hugged their first visitors.
There was also some concern that stresses and vibrations produced when the 7-ton Soyuz 27 spacecraft contacted the front port might transmit through Salyut 6, forcibly uncoupling Soyuz 26 from the rear port. The Soyuz 27-Salyut 6-Soyuz 26 combination massed about 33,000 kg and featured seven compartments: two descent modules, two orbital modules, the transfer compartment, the work compartment, and the small aft intermediate compartment. The four cosmonauts conducted many experiments, including Rezonans, which was designed to determine if resonant frequencies might threaten the structural integrity of the three-spacecraft combination. The experiment called for the cosmonauts to jump around Salyut 6 on command from the TsUP. The guest crew spent 5 days on Salyut 6, then returned to Earth in Soyuz 26, leaving the fresh Soyuz 27 spacecraft for the first resident crew. This was the first of many such spacecraft swaps.
The visiting crew brought supplies such as food, books and letters, equipment and a French biological experiment called "Cytos", and Vladimir Dzhanibekov, an electronics expert, inspected the station's electrical system. On January 13, 1978 the crews performed for the first time the now-routine exchange of seat liners and centering weights in their respective Soyuz craft. The liners are custom molded for each space traveler, and are needed for launch and landing, and the weights are needed to ensure a proper center of mass for the returning craft so it does not undershoot or overshoot the landing target. While the main reason for the Soyuz swap was to free the aft port for the Progress, another reason was that extended exposure to space of the vehicle leads to degradation of its engine and propellant seals.
A now-standard experiment called "Rezonans" was carried out, which tested the stresses of the multi-spacecraft structure by simply having the cosmonauts jump up and down.
Cosmonauts Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Oleg Makarov returned to earth in the Soyuz 26 spacecraft after spending five days on the station.

One piece of information that the visiting crew didn't immediately tell the station crew was that Georgi Grechko's father had died ten days earlier. Psychologists had decided such knowledge was not in the best interests of a cosmonaut spending several months in space. Oleg Makarov and Vladimir Dzhanibekov informed Commander Yuri Romanenko, however, who assumed the responsibility of telling Georgi Grechko when they landed. Years later, Georgi Grechko said in an interview that he also thought the decision was the right one.

The four cosmonauts conducted many experiments, including Rezonans, which was designed to determine if resonant frequencies might threaten the structural integrity of the three spacecraft combination (Soyuz 26, Salyut 6 and Soyuz 27). Additional work were photography of the Earth surface, solar observation and astronomical experiments.

Photos / Drawings


Last update on November 23, 2013.