A Salyut to Space Stations, Old and New

April 19, 1971: The USSR launches the first space station, Salyut-1. Salyut-1 launched unmanned. Its first inhabitants arrived on June 7, 1971, as part of the Soyuz-11 space mission. The cosmonauts lived on Salyut-1 until June 30, at which time they attempted to return to earth, but perished when their capsule accidentally depressurized shortly before re-entry to earth’s atmosphere. Six months later, Salyut-1 ran out of fuel and “de-orbited” (essentially suffering the same fate as its original human crew). As a space station, Salyut-1 didn’t offer much room. It measured only 20 meters long and 4 meters in diameter at its

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