In May 1982 of the year, the first main expedition set off to space aboard the Soyuz T-7 spacecraft went to the Salyut-5 station. In August, the Soviet woman - cosmonaut (second in the world after Valentina Tereshkova) Svetlana Savitskaya went to the station 1982, and in February-October 1984, six cosmonauts worked at the station simultaneously. It was at “Salute-7” that the expedition composed of Leonid Kizim, Vladimir Solovyov and Oleg Atkov was set at that time an absolute record for the duration of a space flight - 237 days.
Then, for some time, the expeditions to the station were not sent, and on February 11, 1985, the connection with the Salyut-7 station was interrupted. At this time, the station flew in automatic mode, there were no astronauts on board. What happened and why the station stopped communicating? The flight control center could not answer this question. The only thing that could be established was that the station was not completely destroyed. This was found out by using optical means of the anti-missile defense system, which showed that Salyut-7 remains an integral object, that is, it did not undergo total destruction due to any impacts. The Salyut-7 station was of great value, and its possible fall could lead to the most unpredictable consequences. Therefore, the leadership of the Soviet state and the space industry thought about possible ways out of the problem situation.
After much consultation, it was decided to try to save the expensive and valuable space station. The solution to this problem could be achieved in only one way - by sending a rescue expedition to the station. Such examples in the history of world space exploration have not yet been - the Soviet people were again destined to become pioneers in space, this time in saving the space station.
Of course, the operation was very risky. First of all, no one has ever performed such operations before, so the astronauts had neither personal experience nor the opportunity to consult with the “senior comrades”. Secondly, astronauts could collide with a station that lost control, die, or be poisoned by combustion products. After all, on Earth they didn’t even know exactly what happened at the Salyut-7 station. The possibility of a fire at the station was not excluded. However, it was impossible to delay - after about half a year after losing control, Salyut-7 should have started to decline and eventually fall in some place on Earth, perhaps to a large city, an industrial facility, which could cause large human casualties and man-made disaster.
It is clear that the flight to the Salyut-7 station could only be trusted by the most experienced and highly professional cosmonauts to control the space industry. It should have been the best of the best - the color of the national astronautics. Such people were found rather quickly, having studied the entire list of active and suitable by age, health status and professional qualities of Soviet cosmonauts.
The flight engineer of the expedition was approved by Viktor Petrovich Savinykh. By this time he was already 45 years old, and behind him almost twenty years of experience in the space industry. Viktor Petrovich was born in 1940 year and in his youth, he probably didn’t even imagine that he would become an astronaut. He graduated from the Perm Technical College of Railway Transport with the qualification "Technician-Route", served in the railway troops, and after the army entered the optical-mechanical faculty of the Moscow Institute of Engineers of Geodesy, Aerial Photography and Cartography. An excellent graduation from the institute allowed him to get a job at the Central Design Bureau of Experimental Engineering (from 1974, NPO Energia) into a department led by Academician Boris Rauschenbach. Here, Viktor Petrovich worked for twenty years, engaged in the development of control systems for spacecraft.
The station "Salyut-7" Viktor Savinykh knew perfectly. In addition, he already had the experience of flying into space - from 12 March to 26 May 1981, he flew as a flight engineer of the Soyuz T-4 spacecraft, commanded by Vladimir Vasilievich Kovalyonok. Naturally, the choice fell on Viktor Savinykh and this time - five years after his first flight into space, he had to fly again, this time - on the most difficult and dangerous expedition to the “lost” station.
If everything was clear from the very beginning with the candidate for the position of a flight engineer, then discussions were held regarding the candidate for the role of the crew commander. In the end, we decided to dwell on the candidacy of Colonel Vladimir Dzhanibekov. It was also the most experienced Soviet cosmonaut, a brave and resolute man. By the time of the events described, Vladimir Alexandrovich Dzhanibekov was already twice the Hero of the Soviet Union. He was two years younger than Victor Savinykh - born in 1942. His path to the space program was also not "linear." Vladimir Alexandrovich graduated from the Tashkent Suvorov Military School in 1960, but first entered the Physics Department of Leningrad State University and only then passed the entrance exams to the Yeysk Higher Military aviation School of Pilots, which he graduated in 1965. For some time Vladimir Alexandrovich served as an instructor pilot in the air force, and in 1970 he was enrolled in the cosmonaut detachment, where he underwent a full training course and in 1974 became an astronaut in the 3rd department of the EPAS 1st control program. For flights in 1978 and 1981 Vladimir Dzhanibekov received two Golden Stars of the Hero of the Soviet Union.
In the middle of the 1980-s, Colonel Vladimir Dzhanibekov was already the most experienced cosmonaut of the Soviet Union. He made four flights into space, all in the capacity of a spacecraft commander. He returned from orbit in July 1984 of the year, so first he had to check the health of the colonel - whether he could withstand the second most complicated expedition to space, yet it’s not a joke to fly to space so often. When the doctors said that Janibekov could fly, he was officially approved as the commander of the spacecraft crew.
In addition to training the crew, it was necessary to carefully prepare and improve the Soyuz T-13 spacecraft, on which they were to fly into space. First of all, the seat of the third cosmonaut was removed from the ship, as well as the automatic approach system, but a laser rangefinder was installed. The release of space due to the seat of the third cosmonaut carried a completely utilitarian meaning - additional supplies of fuel and drinking water were placed on the ship. To increase the duration of autonomous flight on the ship, special additional air purification regenerators were installed. The maximum possible conditions were created so that the astronauts could be in autonomous flight mode longer in case of any unforeseen situation.
The Soyuz T-13 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur 6 cosmodrome on June 1985 of the year at 10: 39 Moscow time. The launch of the spacecraft was reported by the media of the Soviet Union. But the real purpose of the expedition of Janibekov and Savinykh was not disclosed. Only when the ship had been in space for several weeks did the press gradually begin to announce some details about the unusual expedition of Soviet cosmonauts. Already on 8 on June 1985, the Soyuz T-13 was docked with the detected Salyut-7 station. At the same time, the docking was ensured by the Soviet Union’s missile defense weapons, thanks to which the Soyuz T-13 was successfully hoisted over the Salyut-7.
However, after approaching the station, interesting details began to emerge. It turned out that the solar panel orientation system was not working at the station. Janibekov and Savinykh transferred to the Salyut-7 station. The first reaction of the spacecraft commander was the brief phrase "Kolotun, brothers!" The temperature on the "Salute-7" really dropped very much - approximately to 4 degrees of heat.
It is noteworthy that when 12 on June 1985, Vladimir Djanibekov and Viktor Savinykh, performed the first television report from the Salyut-7 station, they were without headgear. The leadership asked the cosmonauts to take off their hats, because the citizens of the Soviet Union and the world community did not know about the rescue work at the station and the crew had to look like it was everyday, as if nothing had happened. Only when the communication session with the station was completed, were the Janibekov and Savinykh able to get warm headgear again.
The astronauts began to repair the station. It was difficult to work, but experienced specialists did not give up and practically did the impossible. Within a few days, they were able not only to identify a malfunction in the power supply control system, but also to eliminate it. 16 June 1985, the astronauts were able to connect the station's batteries to solar panels, warm up the station and restore its operation. It was a real feat, which the former history of cosmonautics, both Soviet and American, did not know.
23 June to the station "Salyut-7" docked "Progress-24", which delivered water supplies and other goods necessary for astronauts. The next heroic deed of Janibekov and Savinykh was the 2 August 1985 spacewalk, when the astronauts were able to install additional solar elements that increased the working surface. 17 September 1985 of the year launched the Soyuz T-14 spacecraft, and 18 of September he successfully docked to the Salyut-7 station, delivering three more cosmonauts to the station - Vladimir Vasiutin, Alexander Volkov and Georgiy Grechko. During the week, five cosmonauts worked at the Salyut-7 station, and only on September 26, Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Georgy Grechko on the Soyuz T-13 spacecraft returned to the ground.
Vladimir Vasyutin, Alexander Volkov and Victor Savinykh continued working at the station. At first, the expedition commander was Vladimir Vasyutin, but then Viktor Savinykh was appointed to this position. However, under certain circumstances (Vladimir Vasutin’s health problems) they had to interrupt the expedition much earlier than scheduled. Plans for sending the first-ever expedition to the Salyut-7 station, staffed exclusively by female astronauts, also failed. 21 November 1985 of the year Vasyutin, Volkov and Savinykh returned to earth.
For the expedition to Salyut-7, Viktor Savinykh, who by this time had already had a flight into space, received the second Golden Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Dzhanibekov was twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, and he was not given more than two stars to astronauts. Therefore, Dzhanibekov was awarded the Order of Lenin and assigned another military rank - Major General Aviation.
After returning from Salyut-7, Vladimir Dzhanibekov to 1985-1988. commanded a cosmonaut detachment at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, and then, from 1988 to 1997. headed the Department of Theoretical and Research Training of the Cosmonauts Training Center named after Yu. A. Gagarin. In 1997, he became a professor-consultant in the department of space physics and ecology of the radiophysical faculty of Tomsk State University.
Victor Savinykh from 7 to 17 on June 1988 of the year made his third space flight in a crew with commander Anatoly Soloviev and Bulgarian cosmonaut Alexander Alexandrov. In the same year 1988, Viktor Petrovich was elected rector of Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography (MIIGAiK) and held this position until 2007 year - almost twenty years, and in 2007 year he was approved by the president of MIIGAiK. A well-known scientist, Victor Savinykh made a great contribution to the development of the space industry and space sciences. At the same time, Viktor Petrovich is no stranger to social and political activities. Back in 1989-1992. he was a people's deputy of the USSR, then became president of the Association of Russian Universities, and in March 2011 he was elected a deputy to the Legislative Assembly of the Kirov Region.
The expedition to the Salyut-7 station and the performance of repair work on it was one of the most striking triumphs in the history of Soviet cosmonautics, and the cosmonauts Dzhanibekov and Savinykh demonstrated to the world the dedication and highest professional skill of the Soviet specialists.