Soyuz 13

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Soyuz 13
Mission typeAstronomy
OperatorSoviet space program
COSPAR ID1973-103A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.06982
Mission duration7 days 20 hours 55 minutes 35 seconds
Orbits completed127
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSoyuz 7K-T No.2
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-T
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau (OKB-1)
Launch mass6570 kg [1]
Landing mass1200 kg
Crew size2
MembersPyotr Klimuk
Valentin Lebedev
CallsignКавказ (Kavkaz - "Caucasus")
Start of mission
Launch date18 December 1973,
11:55:00 UTC
Launch siteBaikonur, Site 1/5[2]
End of mission
Landing date26 December 1973,
08:50:35 UTC
Landing site200 km at the southwest of Karaganda, Kazakhstan
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[3]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude225.0 km
Apogee altitude272.0 km
Period89.20 minutes

Vimpel Diamond for entrainment patch

a post stamp depicting the crew 

Soyuz 13 (Russian: Союз 13, Union 13) was a December, 1973, Soviet crewed space flight, the second test flight of the redesigned Soyuz 7K-T spacecraft that first flew as Soyuz 12. The spacecraft was specially modified to carry the Orion 2 Space Observatory. The flight, crewed by Pyotr Klimuk and Valentin Lebedev, was the Soviet Union's first dedicated science mission,[4] and was the first mission controlled by the new Kaliningrad Mission Control Center.[5]


Position Cosmonaut
Commander Pyotr Klimuk
First spaceflight
Flight Engineer Valentin Lebedev
First spaceflight

Backup crew[edit]

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Lev Vorobiyov
Flight Engineer Valeri Yazdovsky

Reserve crew[edit]

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Vladimir Kovalyonok
Flight Engineer Yuri Ponomaryov

Mission parameters[edit]

  • Mass: 6,570 kg (14,480 lb) [1]
  • Perigee: 225.0 km (139.8 mi) [3]
  • Apogee: 272.0 km (169.0 mi)
  • Inclination: 51.60°
  • Period: 89.20 minutes

Mission highlights[edit]

Launched 18 December 1973, the Soyuz 13 crew of Klimuk and Lebedev performed some of the experiments intended for the failed Salyut space stations from the previous year.[5] Unlike Soyuz 12, the craft was equipped with solar panels to allow for an extended mission. Additionally, an orbital module was attached replacing unneeded docking equipment. This module included the Orion 2 Space Observatory (see below).[5]

The crew used a mulispectral camera to measure the atmosphere and pollution.[5] They also tested the Oasis 2 closed ecology system, and harvested protein, yielding 30 times the original biomass. Medical tests were also carried out, including experiments to measure blood flow to the brain.[5]

The crew landed in a heavy snowstorm on 26 December 1973, but were recovered a few minutes later, some 200 km at southwest of Karaganda, Kazakhstan.[5]

During its 8-day mission, Soyuz 13 was in orbit around the Earth at the same time as the U.S. Skylab 4 mission, which had been launched on November 16, and which would remain in orbit until February 8, marking the first time that both the United States and the Soviet Union had crewed missions operating simultaneously. [6]

Orion 2 Space Observatory[edit]

The Orion 2 Space Observatory, designed by Grigor Gurzadyan, was operated by crew member Lebedev. Ultraviolet spectrograms of thousands of stars to as faint as 13th magnitude were obtained by a wide-angle meniscus telescope of the Cassegrain system, with an aperture diameter of 240 mm, an equivalent focal length of 1000 mm, and a 4-grade quartz prism objective. The dispersion of the spectrograph was 17, 28 and 55 nm/mm, at wavelengths of 200, 250 and 300 nm respectively. The first satellite Ultraviolet spectrogram of a planetary nebula (IC 2149 in Auriga) was obtained, revealing lines of aluminium and titanium - elements not previously observed in objects of that type. Two-photon emission in that planetary nebula and a remarkable star cluster in Auriga were also discovered. Additionally, comet Kohoutek was observed.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Display: Soyuz 13 1973-103A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 18 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 13 1973-103A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ 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 d e f g Newkirk, Dennis (1990). Almanac of Soviet Manned Space Flight. Houston, Texas: Gulf Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87201-848-2.
  6. ^ "Skylab 3 Astronauts Wish Russians Luck", Los Angeles Times, December 19, 1973, p. 22 ("The launch marked the first time that Russian and American astronauts were aloft simultaneously." )

External links[edit]

  • G. A. Gurzadyan, Ultraviolet spectra of Capella, Nature, vol. 250, p. 204, 1974 [1]
  • G. A. Gurzadyan, S. S. Rustambekova, Silicon-rich stellar envelope? Nature, vol. 254, p. 311, 1975 [2]
  • G. A. Gurzadyan, A. L. Jarakyan, M. N. Krmoyan, A. L. Kashin, G. M. Loretsyan, J. B. Ohanesyan, Space astrophysical observatory Orion-2, Astrophysics and Space Science, vol.40, p. 393, 1976 [3]
  • G. A. Gurzadyan, Two-photon emission in planetary nebula IC 2149, Astronomical Society of the Pacific Publications, vol.88, p. 891, 1976 [4]
  • H. A. Abt, Spectral types in Gurzadyan's clustering in Auriga, Astronomical Society of the Pacific Publications, vol.90, p. 555, 1978 [5]