Interkosmos program
Интеркосмос Космическая Программа
Interkosmos Kosmicheskaya Programma
Interkosmos patch
Program overview
Purposecrewed and uncrewed space mission for Soviet allies
Program history
First flight
  • Vertikal 1
  • November 28, 1970 (1970-11-28)
First crewed flight
Last flight
  • Interkosmos 26
  • March 2, 1994 (1994-03-02)
Launch site(s)Baikonur

Interkosmos (Russian: Интеркосмос) was a Soviet space program, designed to help the Soviet Union's allies with crewed and uncrewed space missions.

The program was formed in April 1967 in Moscow.[1][2] All members of the program from USSR were given the Hero of the Soviet Union medal or the Order of Lenin. The program included the allied east-European states of the Warsaw Pact, Eastern Bloc, CoMEcon, and other socialist states like Afghanistan, Cuba, Mongolia, and Vietnam. In addition, pro-Soviet non-aligned states such as India and Syria participated,[3][4] and even states such as the United Kingdom, France and Austria, despite them being capitalist states.[5][6]

Following the Apollo–Soyuz, there were talks between NASA and Interkosmos in the 1970s about a "Shuttle-Salyut" program to fly Space Shuttle missions to a Salyut space station, with later talks in the 1980s even considering flights of the future Buran-class orbiter to a future US space station.[7] Whilst the Shuttle-Salyut program never materialized during the existence of the Soviet Interkosmos program, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Shuttle–Mir Program would follow in these footsteps in the mid-1990s and eventually pave the way to the International Space Station.

Beginning in April 1967 with unpiloted research satellite missions, the first crewed Interkosmos mission occurred in February 1978.[6] So called joint crewed spaceflights enabled 14 non-Soviet cosmonauts to participate in Soyuz space flights between 1978 and 1988. The program was responsible for sending into space the first citizen of a country other than the USA or USSR: Vladimír Remek of Czechoslovakia.[5] Interkosmos also resulted in the first black and Hispanic person in space, Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez of Cuba, and the first Asian person in space, Phạm Tuân of Vietnam. Of the countries involved, only Bulgaria sent two cosmonauts in space, although the second one did not fly under the Interkosmos program, and the French spationaut Jean-Loup Chrétien flew on two separate flights.[8]

The Soviet Union also made offers of joint human spaceflight on a commercial basis to the United Kingdom and Japan resulting in the first British and Japanese cosmonauts. In the early 1980s, an offer was made to Finland as well, with test pilot Jyrki Laukkanen mentioned as one of the potential Finnish cosmonauts. The pilots of the Test Flight (Koelentue) refused on the grounds that participation would not benefit the Flight or test pilot activity in any way. No further offers were made to Finland regarding the matter.[9][10]

Crewed missions

  Human spaceflight provider
  refused offer
Date Image Prime Backup Country Mission Pin Space station
2 March 1978 Vladimír Remek[11] Oldřich Pelčák


Soyuz 28
Salyut 6
27 June 1978 Mirosław Hermaszewski Zenon Jankowski


Soyuz 30
Salyut 6
26 August 1978 Sigmund Jähn Eberhard Köllner


Soyuz 31
Salyut 6
10 April 1979 Georgi Ivanov Aleksandr Aleksandrov


Soyuz 33
Salyut 6
(Docking failed)
26 May 1980 Bertalan Farkas Béla Magyari


Soyuz 36
Salyut 6
23 July 1980 Phạm Tuân Bùi Thanh Liêm


Soyuz 37
Salyut 6
18 September 1980 Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez José López Falcón


Soyuz 38
Salyut 6
23 March 1981 Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa Maidarjavyn Ganzorig


Soyuz 39
Salyut 6
14 May 1981 Dumitru Prunariu Dumitru Dediu


Soyuz 40
Salyut 6
24 June 1982 Jean-Loup Chrétien Patrick Baudry


Soyuz T-6
Salyut 7
2 April 1984 Rakesh Sharma Ravish Malhotra


Soyuz T-11
Salyut 7
22 July 1987 Muhammed Ahmed Faris Munir Habib Habib


Soyuz TM-3
7 June 1988 Aleksandr Aleksandrov Krasimir Stoyanov


Soyuz TM-5
29 August 1988 Abdul Ahad Mohmand[12] Mohammad Dauran Ghulam Masum


Soyuz TM-6
26 November 1988 Jean-Loup Chrétien Michel Tognini


Soyuz TM-7
2 December 1990 Toyohiro Akiyama Ryoko Kikuchi


Soyuz TM-11
18 May 1991 Helen Sharman Timothy Mace

United Kingdom

Soyuz TM-12
2 October 1991 Franz Viehböck Clemens Lothaller


Soyuz TM-13

Uncrewed missions

East German postage stamp


In general, most of the films associated with programs are propaganda short TV documentaries from that era. The two exceptions include (largely fictionalised) Interkosmos from 2006, and cooperation document from 2009 (in Polish) titled Lotnicy Kosmonauci ("Aviators-Cosmonauts").[13]

See also


  1. ^ Bergess, Colin; Vis, Bert (2015). Interkosmos - The Eastern Bloc's Early Space Program. New York: Springer Praxis. p. 11. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-24163-0. ISBN 978-3-319-24161-6. LCCN 2015953234.
  2. ^ Matignon, Louis de Gouyon (2019-04-05). "The Interkosmos space program". Space Legal Issues. Archived from the original on 2020-06-22. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  3. ^ "INDIAN JOINS SOVIET PAIR IN 8-DAY SPACE MISSION". The New York Times. 1984-04-04. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  4. ^ Garthwaite, Rosie (2016-03-01). "From astronaut to refugee: how the Syrian spaceman fell to Earth". the Guardian. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  5. ^ a b Sheehan, Michael (2007). The international politics of space. London: Routledge. pp. 59–61. ISBN 978-0-415-39917-3.
  6. ^ a b Burgess, Colin; Hall, Rex (2008). The first Soviet cosmonaut team: their lives, legacy, and historical impact. Berlin: Springer. p. 331. ISBN 978-0-387-84823-5.
  7. ^ Wikisource:Mir Hardware Heritage/Part 2 - Almaz, Salyut, and Mir#2.1.6 Shuttle-Salyut .281973-1978.3B 1980s.29
  8. ^ Pinkham, Sophie (2019-07-16). "How the Soviets Won the Space Race for Equality". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  9. ^ "Jyrki Laukkasesta piti tulla Suomen ensimmäinen kosmonautti – kieltäytyi kutsusta, kun siitä ei olisi ollut mitään hyötyä" (in Finnish). 10 July 2019. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  10. ^ "Jyrki Laukkanen" (in Finnish). Suomen Tietokirjailijat ry. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  11. ^ Roberts, Andrew Lawrence (2005). From Good King Wenceslas to the Good Soldier Švejk: a dictionary of Czech popular culture. Budapest: Central European University Press. p. 141. ISBN 963-7326-26-X.
  12. ^ Bunch, Bryan; Hellemans, Alexander (2004). The history of science and technology: a browser's guide to the great discoveries, inventions, and the people who made them, from the dawn of time to today. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 679. ISBN 0-618-22123-9.
  13. ^ "FilmPolski". Retrieved 10 August 2017.