September 29, 2022

On This Day In Space: Aug. 8, 1977: Salyut 5 space station burns up in the atmosphere

On This Day In Space: Aug. 8, 1977: Salyut 5 space station burns up in the atmosphere
On This Day In Space: Aug. 8, 1977: Salyut 5 space station burns up in the atmosphereOn This Day In Space: Aug. 8, 1977: Salyut 5 space station burns up in the atmosphere

On Aug. 8, 1977, the Salyut 5 space station fell out of space and burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Salyut 5 was a Soviet space station and part of the highly-secretive Almaz military space station program. It launched in 1976 and housed two crew of cosmonauts as they conducted military experiments and other scientific research in orbit.  

A diagram of a Soviet Almaz space station, such as Salyut 3 and Salyut 5.

A diagram of a Salyut 5 space station. (Image credit: NASA)

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Originally, four crewed missions were supposed to go to Salyut 5. However, the third crew was unable to dock their spacecraft and had to return home.

The fourth mission had to be canceled because Salyut 5 was starting to run low on propellant for its main engines and attitude control system. Salyut 5 couldn’t be refueled, so it was deorbited and left to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

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