The VBK-Raduga capsule is a reentry capsule
Reentry capsule
A reentry capsule is the portion of a spacecraft which returns to Earth following a space flight. The shape is determined partly by aerodynamics; a capsule is aerodynamically stable falling blunt end first, which allows only the blunt end to require a heat shield for atmospheric reentry. Its shape...

 that was used for returning materials to Earth's surface from the space station
Space station
A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight by its lack of major propulsion or landing...

Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

. They were brought to Mir in the Progress-M
Progress spacecraft
The Progress is a Russian expendable freighter spacecraft. The spacecraft is an unmanned resupply spacecraft during its flight but upon docking with a space station, it allows astronauts inside, hence it is classified manned by the manufacturer. It was derived from the Soyuz spacecraft, and is...

 cargo craft's dry cargo compartment. For return, the capsule would be substituted for the Progress' docking probe before it left the space station, and then after the Progress-M performed its deorbit burn the capsule was ejected at 120 km altitude to reenter the atmosphere independently. It would then parachute to a landing area in Russia.

Each Raduga is about 1.5 m long, is 60 cm in diameter, and has a mass of about 350 kg empty. It can bring about 150 kg of cargo back to Earth. Use of the Raduga reduces Progress-M's cargo capacity by about 100 kg, to a maximum of about 2400 kg.
The European Space Agency
European Space Agency
The European Space Agency , established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 18 member states...

 was studying a very similar system, called PARES
Pares may refer to:* Bernard Pares , alumnus of Trinity College, Cambridge* Pares, Antigua and Barbuda* Pares , a dish originating in the Philippines...

 (Payload Retrieval System), for use in combination with the Automated Transfer Vehicle
Automated Transfer Vehicle
The Automated Transfer Vehicle or ATV is an expendable, unmanned resupply spacecraft developed by the European Space Agency . ATVs are designed to supply the International Space Station with propellant, water, air, payload and experiments...

Capsule Launch date Carried by Notes
VBK-Raduga 1 September 27 1990 Progress-M 5
VBK-Raduga 2 March 19 1991 Progress-M 7 Lost on reentry
VBK-Raduga 3 August 20 1991 Progress-M 9
VBK-Raduga 4 October 17 1991 Progress-M 10
VBK-Raduga 5 April 19 1992 Progress-M 12
VBK-Raduga 6 August 15 1992 Progress-M 14
VBK-Raduga 7 March 31 1993 Progress-M 17 Capsule returned by Progress-M 18
VBK-Raduga 8 August 10 1993 Progress-M 19
VBK-Raduga 9 October 11 1993 Progress-M 20
VBK-Raduga 10 March 22 1994 Progress-M 22
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.