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Shuttle-Mir Background - Early Space Stations

Before Shuttle-Mir, U.S. long-duration experience was limited to the Skylab program in 1973-74. Skylab was a converted Saturn V third stage that was launched on a Saturn booster. This spacecraft hosted three crews over an eight-month operational period, with the longest stay being 84 days.

Russia's first space station, Salyut 1, was launched in 1971 with only one docking port and could not be resupplied or refueled. Over six years, Salyut supported six crews. The second generation Salyuts had two docking ports. Unmanned Progress freighters would transfer fuel and supplies to the station. This program hosted 26 crews with the longest stay time of 237 days.

Related Links:
More on Soviet/Russian Spacecraft
Long-Duration Spaceflight
Mir Hardware Heritage

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