TKS spacecraft

TKS spacecraft

TKS spacecraft was designed by Vladimir Chelomei as a manned spacecraft launched with Proton rocket alternative to the Soyuz spacecraft to supply the military Almaz space station. Development began in 1965, but by the time the first flight articles were ready the "Almaz programme" had been abandoned. The VA capsule was flown separately on four test missions with two capsules on one booster to test the design, as well as one "all-up" test mission and three resupply missions. It was never flown manned, although in December of 1978 formation of a special group of six cosmonauts was approved for manned missions on board the TKS spacecraft.

The project had further evolved with space station "Modulny" ("Modular") based on the TKS design outline, reworked to dock with Salyut 7, Mir and ISS space stations. This development was designated FGB, or Functional Cargo Block.


The TKS spacecraft is composed of:


TKS SAS for "Sistema avariynogo spaseniya" or "Emergency escape system".


TKS BSO for "Blok Skhoda s Orbiti" or "Deorbit Block".


The pressurized portion of the "'VA" (Russian "Vozvraschaemyi Apparat", "Reusable Re-entry Capsule") re-entry capsule was similar in configuration to the American "Apollo", but 30% smaller. It was derived from earlier capsule designs for the Chelomei's ballistic "Raketoplan" and LOK manned circumlunar spacecraft of the 1960s. Although extensively flight tested, it never flew with a crew on board.


TKS FGB for "Functional Cargo Block" or "Orbital Living and Service Module"."The FGB was entered from the VA capsule via a short tunnel. At the aft end a pilot station was equipped with controls and windows for manual docking with the Almaz space station. The docking port was also located here. Operational TKS would have delivered KSI film return capsules to Almaz stations. These would have been located around the docking port and grappled by a small manipulator arm on the Almaz for transfer to the film capsule airlock for loading.


:Crew Size: 3. :Design Life: 7 days. :Orbital Storage: 200 days. :Typical orbit: 223 km x 266 km at 52 degrees inclination. :Length: 17.51 m (57.44 ft). :Maximum Diameter: 4.15 m (13.61 ft). :Span: 17.00 m (55.00 ft). :Habitable Volume: 45.00 m3. :Mass: 17510 kg (38600 lb). :Payload: 12600 kg (27700 lb). :Main Engine Thrust: 7.840 kN (1763 lbf). :Main Engine Propellants: N2O4/UDMH. :Main Engine Propellants: 3822 kg (8426 lb). :Main Engine Isp: 291 sec. :Spacecraft delta v: 700 m/s (2�290 ft/s). :Electrical System: Solar panels 17 m span 40 m². :Electric System: 2.40 average kW. :Associated Launch Vehicle: Proton 8K82K.


Orbital test missions

:Cosmos 881 and Cosmos 882 - pair of two VA capsules that started jointly and reentered separately:Cosmos 929 - lone flight of full TKS-1 with FGB and VA capsule. Launched 1977-07-17. [cite web |url= |title=Cosmos 929 - NSSDC ID: 1977-066A |publisher=NASA NSSDC] The VA capsule returned to Earth 1977-08-16. The remainder of the spacecraft deorbited 1978-02-02.cite web |url= |title=Largest Objects to Reenter |publisher=The Aerospace Corporation] :Cosmos 997 and Cosmos 998 - pair of two VA capsules that started jointly and reentered separately:Cosmos 1100 and Cosmos 1101 - pair of two VA capsules that started jointly and reentered separately


On April 25, 1981, TKS-2 was launched unmanned as Cosmos 1267. The VA capsule was recovered on 24 May 1981. The FGB docked with Salyut 6 on June 19 after 57 days of autonomous flight. It remained attached to the station until both deorbited and were destroyed on 29 July, 1982.


On 2 March 1983, TKS-3 was launched unmanned as Cosmos 1443. This time, the VA remained attached and the TKS docked to Salyut 7 two days after launch. TKS-3 separated from the station on 14 August. The VA re-entry capsule separated and deorbited itself on 19 September 1983. The VA capsule continued in space for four more days demonstrating autonomous flight, before successfully re-entering on 23 August 1983, landing 100 km south-east of Arkalsk and returning 350 kg of material from the station.


TKS-4 was launched unmanned as Cosmos 1686 on 27 September 1985. In the VA capsule landing systems, the ECS, seats, and manned controls were removed and replaced with a high-resolution photo apparatus and optical sensor experiments (infrared telescope and Ozon spectrometer). The TKS successfully docked with Salyut 7. After 21 November 1985, Salyut 7 was moved to a higher orbit while awaiting the second 'TKS' crew, but control of the station was lost. There were plans to return using the Buran shuttle for inspection, but the first flight of the spaceplane was delayed. Salyut 7 and Cosmos 1686 burned up in the atmosphere together in a fiery show over Argentina on 7 February, 1991.

Further usage

The TKS design, which has never been flown manned, has gone on to provide the basic structure for several space future space station components, such as:

*Kvant-1 tug
*Kvant-2 Mir module
*Kristall Mir module
*Spektr Mir module
*Priroda Mir module
*Polyus (FGB) spacecraft
*Zarya (FGB-1) ISS module
*Russian Research Module (FGB-2) ISS module
*Multipurpose Laboratory Module (FGB-2) ISS module

TKS/Almaz VA capsules are presently being modernized for commercial use, by the private spaceflight company, Excalibur Almaz.


TKS based and descendant spacecraft and modules.

ee also

*Merkur capsule
*Big Gemini - Planned U.S. equivalent to the TKS spacecraft
*Manned Orbiting Laboratory - U.S. Air Force equivalent to Almaz space station
*TKS-Based Spacecraft

External links




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