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  Soyuz and use of Kontakt docking system

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Author Topic:   Soyuz and use of Kontakt docking system
Jim_Voce
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Posts: 106
From:
Registered: Jul 2016

posted 10-13-2017 04:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Voce   Click Here to Email Jim_Voce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The "Igla" docking system was the standard system used on Soyuz spacecraft for many years starting in 1967.

But for the manned Soyuz lunar landing missions in the 1969 to 1971 period, the Kontakt docking system was suppose to be used. The Kontakt system had a major advantage over the "Igla" system in that the Kontakt system used a clasping mechanism on the Soyuz active spacecraft to nab at a rather large surface area of the nose of the Soyuz passive vehicle (in this case the Soyuz lunar module).

Igla by comparison had a needle like docking mechanism on the active Soyuz that needed to be precisely lined up with the entry point on the passive docking mechanism of the passive Soyuz.

The Kontakt docking system seems to have been a simpler system but was not ready for the first Soyuz missions. So the Igla system was used instead.

Does anyone know what the development problems were with the Kontakt system and why it fell behind schedule?

kyra
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Posts: 565
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 10-14-2017 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kontakt was developed exclusively for the lunar program. The reasons for not launching this hardware relate to the larger problems in the program, namely the N-1 failures.

Potential success with DOS Salyut station using the proven Igla system was in easy reach, so it was given priority while the larger moon program was sorted. After the Apollo success, the support for the Soviet lunar program gradually faded.

After the program was cancelled the Kontakt hardware was obsolete, so it was not repurposed into other programs.

Jim Behling
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Posts: 1161
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 10-14-2017 10:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Igla is not the docking interface hardware but the radio/avionics system used during rendezvous and docking. The interface hardware was called probe and drogue and didn't have a documented formal name.

Kontakt used manual optical tracking for rendezvous and docking, which was lighter than Igla.

Probe and drogue did not require precise alignment, it could handle some misalignment. Just not as much as Kontakt.

Kontakt used external EVA for crew transfer, that is why it was discontinued.

Kontakt was only for the lunar missions and the probe and drogue were always intended for the basic vehicle.

Jim_Voce
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Posts: 106
From:
Registered: Jul 2016

posted 10-17-2017 11:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Voce   Click Here to Email Jim_Voce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you Mr. Behling for the excellent analysis.

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