Soyuz 15
Mission typeDocking with Salyut 3
OperatorExperimental Design Bureau (OKB-1)
COSPAR ID1974-067A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.07421
Mission duration2 days 12 minutes 11 seconds
Orbits completed32
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSoyuz 7K-T No.4
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-T/A9
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau (OKB-1)
Launch mass6570 kg [1]
Landing mass1200 kg
Crew size2
MembersGennady Sarafanov
Lev Dyomin
CallsignДунай (Dunay - "Danube")
Start of mission
Launch date26 August 1974, 19:58:05 UTC
Launch siteBaikonur, Site 1/5[2]
ContractorExperimental Design Bureau (OKB-1)
End of mission
Landing date28 August 1974, 20:10:16 UTC
Landing site48 km at the southwest of Tselinograd
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[3]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude254.0 km
Apogee altitude275.0 km
Period89.60 minutes
Salyut program insignia.svg

Salyut program insignia  

Soyuz 15 (Russian: Союз 15, Union 15) was an August, 1974, crewed space flight which was to have been the second mission to the Soviet Union's Salyut 3 space station with presumably military objectives.[4]

Launched 26 August 1974, the Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the station, but cosmonauts Gennady Sarafanov and Lev Dyomin were unable to dock because the electronics in the Igla docking system malfunctioned. Without sufficient fuel for prolonged attempts at manual docking, the mission had to be abandoned. The cosmonauts powered down all nonessential systems in the Soyuz and waited until the next day for reentry.[5] The crew landed 28 August 1974. Analysis of the launch window was cited by observers for concluding a flight of 19 to 29 days had been planned.[5]

In the event of the failure, official TASS statements merely claimed that the mission was intended to practice docking maneuvers with the Salyut 3 station.[4] They also said that a new automatic docking system was tested which would be used on future Progress transport craft.[5]

The failed mission exposed a number of serious design flaws in the Soyuz 7K-T spacecraft, namely its lack of reserve propellant and electrical power for repeated docking attempts. In addition, the Igla docking system was found to be in major need of improvement. Since it was impossible to carry out these changes before Salyut 3 finished its operating lifespan, they had to wait for future space stations. The backup spacecraft for the Soyuz 15 mission was placed in storage and later flown as Soyuz 20 despite being past its intended shelf life.


Position Cosmonaut
Commander Gennady Sarafanov
Only spaceflight
Flight Engineer Lev Dyomin
Only spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Boris Volynov
Flight Engineer Vitaly Zholobov

Reserve crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Vyacheslav Zudov
Flight Engineer Valery Rozhdestvensky

Mission parameters


  1. ^ a b "Display: Soyuz 15 1974-067A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Baikonur LC1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Trajectory: Soyuz 15 1974-067A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ a b Clark, Phillip (1988). The Soviet Manned Space Program. New York: Orion Books, a division of Crown Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-517-56954-X.
  5. ^ a b c Newkirk, Dennis (1990). Almanac of Soviet Manned Space Flight. Houston, Texas: Gulf Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87201-848-2.