Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing
60 km northeast of Arkalyk.
The main goal of the mission was to repair
the faulty Salyut 7 solar array. Once in orbit the Soyuz rendezvous radar
antenna boom failed to deploy properly. Several attitude control maneuvers at
high rates were made but failed to swing the boom out. (The postflight inquiry
later discovered that the antenna had been torn off when the Soyuz payload
shroud separated.) The crew believed the boom remained attached to the
spacecrafts orbital module, and that it had not locked into place.
Accordingly, they shook the spacecraft using its attitude thrusters in an
effort to rock it forward so it could lock. With FCC permission, the crew
attempted a rendezvous using only an optical sight and ground radar inputs for
guidance. During the final approach, which was made in darkness, Titov believed
that the closing speed was too great. He therefore attempted a braking
maneuver, but felt that the two spacecraft were still closing too fast. He
aborted the rendezvous to avoid a crash, and no further attempts were made. The
abortive docking attempts consumed much propellant. To ensure that enough would
remain to permit deorbit, the cosmonauts shut down the attitude control system
and put Soyuz T-8 into a spinstabilized mode of the type used by Soyuz Ferries
in the early 1970s. A premature return to Earth was needed.
then was without problems.