March 13-July 16, 1986
|Crew & Mission|
Soyuz T-15 was launched on March 13, 1986 within a month following launch of the Mir base block on February 19, 1986. Cosmonauts Leonid Kizim (third mission) and Vladimir Solovyov (second mission) who had flown together aboard Soyuz T-10 as well, docked to the font port of the new station two days later and, as her first crew (with callsign "Mayak"), they were busy activating it over the next 52 days. In that time, they received the Progress-25 (March 21 to April 20, 1986) and Progress-26 (April 26 - June 22, 1986) supply vessels.
On May 5, the cosmonauts undocked Soyuz T-15 from Mir and directed it towards the near-by (2500km!) Salyut-7 station, unoccupied since November 1985 when one of its crewmembers fell ill. They arrived 29 hours later and used the aft port of the Salyut-7/Kosmos-1686 combination for docking. Aboard Salyut-7 - visited for the final time - they stripped some 400 kg of equipment.
Kizim and Solovyev staged two spacewalks outside the old station. The first one was on May 28 and lasted 3 hours and 50 minutes. Tasks included testing of a 15 meter hinged lattice truss, installation of an optical communications instrument and retrieval of French material samples . The second spacewalk was performed on May 31 and lasted 5 hours. During this EVA, the crew installed a vibration measurement device on top of the 15 meter truss, welded its joints and completed installation of the optcial instrument. The cosmonauts performed several experiments aboard the station as well. They left Salyut-7 on June 25 and flew back to Mir.
In the mean time, Mir had been visited by an unmanned Soyuz craft of a new type: Soyuz TM-1 (May 23-29, 1986). When Kizim and Solovyev arrived back at Mir's front port on June 26, 1986, both Soyuz TM-1 and Progress-26 had already undocked. After they had installed the 'recycled' gear from Salyut-7, the cosmonauts returned to Earth in their Soyuz T-15 capsule on July 16, 1986.
|The Real Thing|
The first mission to Mir did not have its own patch. The cosmonauts were launched with the typical Salyut configuration on their Sokol suits: a wedge-shaped Salyut patch on their chest, a Soviet seal on the right sleeve and a CCCP-flag (red felt background, square letters) on the left sleeve. Aboard Salyut-7, they were wearing Salyut-intravehicular suits with a Soviet seal and a square Salyut patch.
On the teleision screens of mission control, the cosmonauts could be seen wearing new type light blue Penguin-suits (distinguished from the earlier Salyut Penguins by the vertical navy colored bars along the chest pockets) during their stay aboard Mir. These Penguins had a Soviet Seal at the upper left chest, a CCCP-flag (silk type, rounded letters) at the left sleeve and a square Salyut logo at the lower right chest. We believe the square Mir-patch was not available for this mission yet. The Orlan-DM spacesuits launched with the Mir base block (or shipped on Progress-25?) for instance, did still have Soyuz-squares as well.
|The Orlan DM EVA-suits|