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Almaz

Soviet military space station program / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Almaz (Russian: Алмаз, lit.'Diamond') program was a highly secret Soviet military space station program, begun in the early 1960s.

Line drawing of an Almaz space station
Almaz space station at VDNKh (Russia)

Three crewed military reconnaissance stations were launched between 1973 and 1976: Salyut 2, Salyut 3 and Salyut 5. To cover the military nature of the program the three launched Almaz stations were designated as civilian Salyut space stations. Salyut 2 failed shortly after achieving orbit, but Salyut 3 and Salyut 5 both conducted successful crewed testing. Following Salyut 5, the Soviet Ministry of Defense judged in 1978 that the time and resources consumed by station maintenance outweighed the benefits relative to automatic reconnaissance satellites.[not verified in body]

The space stations' cores were known internally as OPS (Russian: ОПС, GRAU index 11F71 and 11F71B), from "Orbital Piloted Station" (Russian: Орбитальная Пилотируемая Станция).[1] As part of the Almaz program, the Soviets developed several spacecraft for support roles—the VA spacecraft, the Functional Cargo Block and the TKS spacecraft—which they planned to use in several combinations.[2][3] The heritage of the Almaz program continues, with the ISS module Zarya being one example.[vague]