Soyuz 24 was launched February 7, 1977
on a mission to dock with the Salyut 5
space station. Its main objective was to investigate the atmosphere
on the station to see if it was in fact toxic and had an effect
on the crew of the Soyuz 21
contributing to the problems they had at the end of their flight.
On board were Viktor Gorbatko and Yuri Glazkov. Their callsign for the mission was Terek (Terek - river in the Caucasus).
The crew of Soyuz 21 had experienced pyschological and physical problems during their stay on the station. Although it was thought that this was mainly due to them becoming emotional, not following their physical training, and developing an unreasonable desire to return to earth, there was speculation that maybe some fuel had leaked into the living areas.
This prompted the Soviets to design equipment that could be used to completely change the air of the station by venting the atmosphere through the airlock. The equipment involved compressed air being released which created a 'breeze' that blew the contaminated air out of the airlock.
When the crew arrived they found that the station atmosphere was completely fine and free of any toxins. It was decided to perform the 'experiment' anyway to prove that it was possible in case the need ever arose in the future aboard other stations.
The equipment involved compressed air being released which created a 'breeze' that blew the contaminated air out of the airlock.
Because of this the planned EVA was cancelled. The last EVA on a Russian mission had been Soyuz 5 in 1969 and the next EVA was not until December 1977. The mission was short by space station standards at only 18 days. The Soviets said however that it was busy and successful mission, accomplishing nearly as much as the earlier Soyuz 21's 50 day mission.
The landing took place on February 25 when the capsule touched down 36 km northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan.
It was the last mission to Salyut 5. The program had used up the three Soyuz spacecraft assigned to it and NPO Energia said that it would take longer than the fuel reserves on Salyut 5 to manufacture a new one. As such Salyut 5 ejected it film return capsule the day of Soyuz 24's undocking and was the station was deorbited August 8, 1977.