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, Vladimir
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.
The landing then was without