- Mass: 6800 kg (14,991.4 lb)
- Perigee: 198.9 km (123.6 mi)
- Apogee: 275.6 km (171.3 mi)
- Inclination: 51.65°
- Period: 88.95 minutes
Mission highlightsThe Soyuz 28 mission was the first Intercosmos flight, whereby military pilots from Soviet bloc nations were flown on flights of about eight days to a Soviet space station. Pilots from other nations would eventually also fly. The program was a reaction to American plans to fly Europeans on space shuttle missions.
Gubarev and Remek, the first non-Soviet, non-American to travel to space, were launched aboard Soyuz 28 on 2 March 1978, after a three-day delay of unspecified cause. The crew docked with the orbiting Salyut 6 space station, and greeted the occupants Georgi Grechko
Georgy Mikhaylovich Grechko is a retired Soviet cosmonaut who flew on several space flights among which Soyuz 17, Soyuz 26, and Soyuz T-14.Grechko graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Mechanics with a doctorate in mathematics. He was a member of Communist Party of Soviet Union...
and Yuri Romanenko
Yury Viktorovich Romanenko is a former Soviet cosmonaut, twice Hero of the Soviet Union . Over his career, Yury Romanenko spent a total of 430 days 20 hours 21 minutes 30 seconds in space and 18 hours in space walks. In 1987 he was a resident of the Mir space station, launching on Soyuz TM-2 and...
who had arrived on Soyuz 26
Soyuz 26 was Soviet manned mission, used to launch the crew of Salyut 6 EO-1, the first long duration crew on the space station Salyut 6.The Soyuz spacecraft was launched on December 10, 1977, and docked with the space station the next day...
in December. Gubarev and Grechko had previously flown together on Soyuz 17
Soyuz 17 was the first of two long-duration missions to the Soviet Union's Salyut 4 space station in 1975. The flight set a Soviet mission-duration record of 29 days, surpassing the 23-day record set by the ill-fated Soyuz 11 crew aboard Salyut 1 in 1971....
to the Salyut 4
Salyut 4 was a Salyut space station launched on December 26, 1974 into an orbit with an apogee of 355 km, a perigee of 343 km and an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees. It was essentially a copy of the DOS 3, and unlike its ill-fated sibling it was a complete success...
space station in 1975.
The day after the docking, the Soyuz 26 crew celebrated their breaking of the space endurance record of 84 days, set by the Skylab 4
Skylab 4 was the fourth Skylab mission and placed the third and final crew on board the space station. The mission started November 16, 1973 with the launch of three astronauts on a Saturn IB rocket, and lasted 84 days, 1 hour and 16 minutes...
crew in 1974.
The mission's purpose was mainly political. The four crew members aboard Salyut 6 received messages from Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...
and Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák was a Slovak politician, president of Czechoslovakia and a long-term Communist leader of Czechoslovakia and of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia...
, the leader of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...
. It was hoped that the Intercosmos flights would help prop up some of the failing communist regimes in the Bloc. Husák was unpopular in Czechoslovakia after reversing the reforms of his predecessor (who had been ousted by Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...
countries). Romanenko spoke on behalf of the crew saying:
- "We shall apply all our strengths and knowledge to defend the great honour of this international crew, which has started to carry our this joint program of socialist countries' research and utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes."
While the mission had a political purpose, experiments were carried out, including one which monitored the growth of Chlorella seaweed in zero gravity, another which used the on-board Splav furnace to melt glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...
chlorides, and an experiment called Oxymeter which measured oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...
in human tissue.
On 10 March, the Soyuz 28 crew prepared for their return to Earth, packing experiments and testing systems. They undocked from the station and landed 310 km west of Tselinograd later that day.
A joke appeared soon after the mission that Remek's hand had mysteriously turned red. He informed the doctors, the joke goes, that this was because every time he went to touch something, the Soviet crewmembers would slap his hand and yell, "Don't touch that!"