SOYUZ 13 AND THE FLIGHT OF THE ORION 2
ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY

With a pedigree of over 50 years, the Soyuz spacecraft is widely associated with a space station crew transport and rescue vehicle and, in its unmanned version Progress, as cargo freighter. A variant of Soyuz was also to have been the main spacecraft in the Soviet’s attempt to place cosmonauts on the moon. However, in one of the lesser known roles, just four of over 120 manned Soyuz mission to date were flown as a small ‘laboratory’ for experiments and engineering studies. One of these scientific Soyuz missions is recalled in this presentation. In December 1973, at a time when the Soviet manned space station programme was recovering from tragedy and a series of setbacks, Soyuz 13 conducted a one-week mission devoted to astronomical research using the Orion 2 astrophysical observatory. This presentation is very suitable for astronomy groups, offering a different slant on astronomical research, reviewing the hardware and highlights from the mission which provided a much-needed success in the resumption of Soviet space station operations. There is also a summary of follow-on programmes and plans.
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Soyuz 13 and the flight of the Orion