The scientific tourist #365 — TKS manned spacecraft

On display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., it’s a TKS manned spacecraft:

TKS Manned Spacecraft

This obscure little gem is a rarely discussed part of the old Soviet human space program.  One constant of that program was that it was bedeviled by internal rivalries and fights over prestige and funding.  So, the TKS was one set of hardware (designed by Vladimir Chelomei) that was developed for human flight, tested, then defunded in favor of another (designed by Sergei Korolyov).

From the placard:

This TKS (Transport Supply Spacecraft) was launched as part of an experimental military space station module, Kosmos 1443, in March 1983. The complex docked with the Salyut 7 space station, and the TKS returned five months later. The spacecraft is fitted with seats for three cosmonauts, but it never had a crew. It was intended to ferry cosmonauts, supplies, and equipment into orbit, but the TKS and military space station programs were terminated in favor of another program.

While the TKS spacecraft and the military space station it would service were never truly operational, the service module that flew behind a TKS capsule was refitted into an FGB — later to become central to both the Mir and ISS space stations.

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