Soyuz 24

Soyuz 24 (Russian: Союз 24, Union 24) was a 1977 Soviet mission to the Salyut 5 space station, the third and final mission to the station, the last purely military crew for the Soviets and the final mission to a military Salyut.[2] Cosmonauts Viktor Gorbatko and Yuri Glazkov re-activated the station after toxic fumes had apparently terminated the mission of Soyuz 21, the previous crew.

Soyuz 24
COSPAR ID1977-008A
SATCAT no.9804
Mission duration17 days, 17 hours, 26 minutes
Orbits completed285
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-T/A9
ManufacturerNPO Energia
Launch mass6,800 kilograms (15,000 lb)
Crew size2
MembersViktor Gorbatko
Yuri Glazkov
CallsignТерек (Terek -
"Terek River")
Start of mission
Launch dateFebruary 7, 1977, 16:11 (1977-02-07UTC16:11Z) UTC
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5[1]
End of mission
Landing dateFebruary 25, 1977, 09:38 (1977-02-25UTC09:39Z) UTC
Landing site37 kilometres (23 mi) NE of Arkalyk
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude184.7 km (114.8 mi)
Apogee altitude346.2 km (215.1 mi)
Inclination51.65 degrees
Period89.52 minutes
Docking with Salyut 5
Soyuz programme
(Crewed missions)

They performed biological and materials experiments while on board. Other presumed activities included photographic reconnaissance, and finishing tasks the previous crew was forced to abandon when their mission abruptly ended. The Soyuz 24 crew landed after spending 18 days in space, and the Salyut station was de-orbited six months later.


Position Cosmonaut
Commander Viktor Gorbatko
Second spaceflight
Flight Engineer Yuri Glazkov
Only spaceflight

Backup crewEdit

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Anatoli Berezovoy
Flight Engineer Mikhail Lisun

Reserve crewEdit

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Vladimir Kozelsky
Flight Engineer Vladimir Preobrazhensky

Mission highlightsEdit

Cosmonauts Gorbatko and Glazkov were the back-up crew for Soyuz 23, which failed to dock with Salyut 5 several months earlier.[3] Soyuz 24 was launched 7 February 1977, and successfully docked with the orbiting space station the next day. However, the crew did not immediately enter the station, atypically having a sleep period first and delaying their entry by some 11 hours.[3] Observers speculate that problems with fumes which may have caused the Soyuz 21 crew to leave were resolved or dealt with by the new crew.[3] They entered the station wearing breathing apparatus and made numerous tests of the atmosphere before apparently concluding conditions were safe and removing their breathing devices.[4]

Observers speculate that the flight had a specific objective and was not meant to be a long-duration mission. In any case, fuel for the station to maneuver was too depleted to attempt a long mission.[3]

The crew continued the research started by the Soyuz 21 crew,[4] performed Earth resources work, biological and materials experiments. But, being a part of the Almaz military Salyut program, other unrevealed projects were likely carried out. The flight would prove to be not only the final flight to a military Salyut station, but also the final all-military crew to be launched by the Soviets.[4]

On 21 February, the crew performed an air-changing experiment, shown on TV, slowly venting air from one end of the station to the other while releasing 100 kg of air from tanks in the docked Soyuz orbital module. This was a test of the future air replenishment techniques to be carried out with Progress transports in subsequent space stations.[3]

They began to activate the Soyuz on 23 February, deactivate the space station, and undocked and landed near Arkalyk on 25 February. The Soyuz landed in a blowing snowstorm and recovery crews could not locate the capsule. As it turned out, the search and rescue beacon was unable to deploy due to being jammed shut from snow, so Berezovoy had to free it by hand. The next day, the Salyut released a capsule which was recovered on Soviet territory, containing exposed film and experiments carried out by the two crews who crewed the station.[3][4] The station itself was deorbited on 8 August.

Mission parametersEdit

  • Mass: 6,800 kg (15,000 lb)
  • Perigee: 184.7 km (114.8 mi)
  • Apogee: 346.2 km (215.1 mi)
  • Inclination: 51.65°
  • Period: 89.52 minutes


  1. ^ "Baikonur LC1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  2. ^ The mission report is available here:
  3. ^ a b c d e f Newkirk, Dennis (1990). Almanac of Soviet Manned Space Flight. Houston, Texas: Gulf Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87201-848-2.
  4. ^ a b c d Clark, Phillip (1988). The Soviet Manned Space Program. New York: Orion Books, a division of Crown Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-517-56954-X.