Return to Soyuz 29 (thing)

[Soyuz] 29 was a [Soviet] space mission, launched in [1978]. It carried two [cosmonaut]s ([Vladimir Kovalyonok] and [Aleksandr Ivanchenkev]) from Launch Complex 1 at the [Baikonur] [Baikonur cosmodrome|cosmodrome] to the [Salyut] 6 space station, launching on [June 15, 1978] and docking at the forward docking port of Salyut 6 the next day. It did not return with the same crew, however; the Soyuz 31 was launched on [August 26th, 1978] and docked a day later. It carried [Valeri Bykovsky] and [Sigmund Jähn], the latter of the [German Democratic Republic]. They returned a week later, undocking on September 3 in Soyuz 29 and landing that same day safely. This ends the official Soyuz 29 mission, spanning some two and half months and two different crews.

The reason for the capsule swap is that the original crew was scheduled to stay on board the station until November of that year. However, that mission duration exceeded the 'usable lifespan' of the Soyuz spacecraft; as a result, new capsules had to be ferried up to the station by additional crews. The [Union of Soviet Socialist Republics|Soviet Union] used this as an opportunity to staff the station up to four cosmonauts for short periods of time (typically a week) and to offer some of these 'extra seats' to [Eastern Bloc] states for diplomatic and publicity purposes.

During their stay, Kovalyonok and Ivanchenkev performed a two-hour [spacewalk] to retrieve samples stored on the outside of the station. In addition, they performed a week-long de-mothballing procedure on arrival (the station had been powered down since earlier that year), installed equipment brought with them, and undertook numerous scientific and engineering experiments. Kovalyonok and Ivanchenkev returned to Earth on [November 3, 1978] in the Soyuz 31 capsule, landing southeast of [Dzhezkazgan] in [Kazakhstan]. The Soyuz 29 capsule ended up on display in Germany due to its carrying the (first) GDR cosmonaut home. It can be seen today in the [Deutsches Museum] in [Munich].


Mission [Call Sign]: [Photon]
[Satellite ID]:1978-61A
Total Duration: 79 days, 15 hours, 23 minutes