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Salyut 7 Crisis (1983: Doomsday)

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The Salyut 7 Crisis was a crisis caused by Doomsday, resulting in the immediate cut-off of supplies and resources between the Earth and the Salyut 7 space station.

Salyut 7

The crew carried with them no photo images of the station. It must also be assumed that all photographic images were either destroyed during Doomsday, or are currently inaccessible. As a result, this is currently the only image available, reconstructed by trained artists, from the minds of the surviving crew.

Pre-DoomsdayEdit

When Soyuz T-7 detached from Salyut 7 on the 10th of December in 1982, the station would be unmanned for for over six months. Soyuz T-8 had been meant to dock in April, but was forced to return after almost using the propellant past a limit that would be required for a safe de-orbiting. Soyuz T-9 would successfully launch and dock in July, bringing with it:

  • Vladimir Lyakhov - Commander
  • Aleksandr Pavlovich Aleksandrov - Flight Engineer

Both were meant to return with the results of experiments conducted upon Salyut 7 in the Merkur Capsule, which would soft-land in Central Asia. The FGB component would then be de-orbited and burn up in the atmosphere.

DoomsdayEdit

Earth Doomsday

Earth, as seen by the Salyut 7, during Doomsday

On September 26, 1983, the two cosmonauts had been expecting relief from Soyus T-10, however, in the early morning of that day, the events of that day prevented the launch. Instead the cosmonauts had by far the most horrific view of the events. Not having received any warning from Kaliningrad, it only dawned on them after a short while what they were truly seeing unravel upon the Earth's surface.

"We knew that our families were gone," said Aleksandr Aleksandrov, in an interview documenting the events, "One look at the ever expanding light across the Motherland was enough to tell us there was going to be no returning home. I spent most of that day watching the world destroy itself.......ever......so slowly.......wishing that it would just stop. Vladimir was at the communications, trying to communicate hopelessly with Kaliningrad.......Kennedy......anywhere he thought a signal could possibly be returned. Those images........those I knew which brought death upon our peoples........they will forever be seared into my mind...."

Lyakhov the next day ordered an SOS to be constantly broadcast over the radio, in hopes that it would be picked up by someone, somewhere. The two men began to debate as to what to do with the station. With no response from Kaliningrad, strict protocols would have to be followed to keep the station out of enemy hands. Seeing what seemed to be world-wide war beneath them, they knew that action needed to be taken to assure complete destruction of all classified equipment. Lyakhov resolved to bring the station down over open sea manually if need be, insisting that Aleksandrov leave in the Soyuz craft. Both men, though, hoped that the self-destruction sequence would work.

Together they waited for a response from earth.

"Salyut 7......Come In.....Salyut 7?"Edit

A responding message came surprisingly quick, on September the 28th:

“Salyut 7………..come in……….Salyut 7………….this is STADAN CRO………..I repeat………this is STADAN CRO………at Carnarvon in Australia. Please respond.”

What had been feared as total isolation by the crew was happily abandoned in hopes of returning to Earth. It was found that a large part of the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network had survived, though some had been lost, either by direct destruction or abandonment, specifically those in South Africa, England, and the United States. The Canberra government of Australia, though still coping with having gone through a nuclear war, realized that the Cosmonauts were living on borrowed time. As a result, it was the one event that was devoted more time than reconstruction in the early years of Post-Doomsday Australia.

Plans were made for a soft-landing in the Australian outback, within the states of New South Wales and Victoria. This would allow for the easy relocation of the Soviet crew from the landing site to Canberra, where they would be kept under guard until it was decided by the government what to do with them. Though realizing that the Soviet Union would not likely exist, and these men and women had nothing to do with the war, there were still feelings within some members of Parliament that they were the enemy.

A Fateful DecisionEdit

From an interview with Aleksandr Aleksandrov:

“We knew that the Australian Government……..what was left of it…….was prepared for us to land in somewhere near Canberra. We also quickly came to the conclusion that fuel would be added to the Soyuz spacecraft from those of the space station…….to allow easy movement and operation….considering there was only going to be one possible attempt at a landing….and our comrades in Kaliningrad would no longer be able to track our movements in case we fell off course.”

“ I argued with Vladimir that he need not die with the station. A controlled re-entry was possible using the on-board equipment. He argued that the state of the computers was not sufficient for such accuracy. In fact, he did not trust the timers for the explosives either. I feared that he had gone mad, but left him to his fate as I climbed in craft that would deliver me to safety.”

“I was only to take the scientific materials we had been meant to bring back…….more as an act of remembrance. We fueled the Soyuz and were prepared to launch by October fourth…….making sure to remain in touch with the Aussies.”

End of the CrisisEdit

From an interview with Aleksandr Aleksandrov:

“I entered the capsule and prepared procedures before detachment from the Salyut 7 station. Before closing the hatch…….I looked at Vladmir one final time…..hoping that he had changed his minds. Instead…..I was met with a simple response from Vladimir “You make sure that I do not die in vain, Aleksandr. Make sure you make it back home in one piece. And pray that the next world learns from the lessons of the first.”

The Soyuz T-9 would successfully undock and then land in the grasslands of western New South Wales.

AftermathEdit

From an interview with Aleksandr Aleksandrov:

“Later……sometime after the landing…..I would find that the craft landed just inside of the Australian state of New South Wales…..some twenty……thirty miles northwest of Wilcannia. I waited for about a day before anyone arrived…..which turned out first to be the local police. It was through him that the government was finally able to send a proper recovery team. They had apparently lost us on reentry and feared that we had burned up in the atmosphere…….that I had perished.”

“The Australians came and threw me into a military truck…..all the while removing the scientific equipment….papers….and moving them into a separate truck. I was then taken to a facility…..I still do not know where……where I was questioned on a whole variety of issues. They desired to know who I was……my rank……my mission….if I were a spy…..information that I thought trivial considering the world-wide situation. I would be kept in that prison until December twentieth….when a member of the Australian government…….I think his name was John Button……..came and saw how I was being treated. After berating the military commandant…. He ordered my immediate removal from the facility…..and put me into special housing in Canberra.”

“It was from there we learned that the Salyut seven had crashed into the Pacific only a month before. Apparently……..As planned Vladimir purposefully de-orbited the station shortly after I left. It would not have lasted into the summer of nineteen eighty four…..but he was a man of honor, and of duty….”

“My life has become less scrutinized by the Australian government….though I have not seen any of the materials we brought back from the station since we landed in this country. I had considered returning to the Soviet Union….or what is now known as the Union of Sovereign Socialist Republics….but my political views have moderated considerably... Communications are still not what they used to be….I fear. Mail certainly is not reliable anymore……but what can you do? I decided to make the best of my adopted homeland... I merely am a public servant…….running the Canberra Post Office. I also am a writer…..having worked upon the history of this Salyut seven crisis…….and also what information could be made from the nuclear exchange that nearly ended out world about twenty six years ago. Thinking about that day….I am only glad that I was not upon the Earth when those events unfolded. Still…..the suffering one feels……when watching a planet they called home being ripped asunder…..that is a curse that I could wish upon no man. That is for me alone to bear.”

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