Any of a series of seven Soviet space stations (of two designs) placed into Earth orbit in the 1970s and early '80s that served as living quarters and scientific laboratories or military reconnaissance platforms. Manned Soyuz spacecraft and robotic Progress cargo ferries routinely rendezvoused and docked with the Salyuts to transfer cosmonauts and supplies. Salyut 1 (launched 1971) was the world's first space station; after staying aboard 23 days, the inaugural crew died while returning to Earth. Salyut 6 (1977), the first with an improved design, was a highly successful scientific station that hosted a series of international visitors. Salyut 7 (1982) was succeeded by Mir.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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