I am trying to find out if Salyut space stations had windows or not. If they had, how big were they?

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    $\begingroup$ According to this report Salyut 7 had about 20 windows. This diagram looks like they were about as big as Soyuz windows, possibly a bit smaller $\endgroup$ – KarlKastor Apr 29 at 22:37
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    $\begingroup$ So many windows! I've just asked Did Valentin Lebedev or any another Salut cosmonaut actually get suntanned for fun and/or for science? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 30 at 0:24
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    $\begingroup$ There were considerable differences between the various Salyuts. In particular, the last two (6 and 7) were larger and had docking ports at both ends. I don't know enough about the windows to write a proper answer, but it will not be the same for the entire series. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Apr 30 at 0:41
  • $\begingroup$ It makes sense that they wouldn't have a whole bunch of windows as they're more risky than the carefully layered protection around spacecraft. $\endgroup$ – James Ervin May 4 at 22:45
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    $\begingroup$ @JamesErvin Well that's Russian philosophy vs US. Russians love their windows! They came a cropper when it came to safety rating via NASA standards on the ISS. Russians built their modules (with windows) for 3-5 year lifespan, NASA wanted 15. $\endgroup$ – blobbymcblobby May 15 at 0:26

Descriptions for Salyut 1 through to Salyut 7 describe 20 portholes. At least 2 were on the transfer compartment (for Mir, at least 7 between Salyut 3-6). The rest seemed distributed in the floors and ceilings, usually either covered with a door or were for instruments.

7 differed in having 2 port holes for UV radiation, extra large window for astronomy, 2 rear facing window for docking.

Between the central command post and the astronomy post, they share between 3-4 windows, some with astro-navigation instruments and some clear.

The last iteration, so far, of the Soviet/Russian DOS series is the Zvezda, and this has 13-14 windows, again with 2 in the sleeping compartments (as it was for Mir, with 1-2 inbetween them in the central floor, previously occupied by the large telescope equipment for Earth observation).

As for sizes, this varied greatly - some were sized for the instruments using them. The two windows in the sleeping compartments were a good size when introduced (7, Mir and Zvezda).


Salyut transfer compartment

This photo is of inside the transfer compartment which compares favourably with the illustration below.

These show that in the 1st to 2nd generation Salyuts, there were around 7 windows in the transfer compartment alone. Visible here is that this section had the secondary controls for the orientation of the station. Also visible here is the EVA hatch behind the cosmonaut, and one of a pair of windows above him. Out of sight are a pair of windows below him.

possible balashova illustration


This shows 2 windows in the floor of the transfer compartment and 2 windows on the wall to the right. The topmost window on the wall is covered with an astro navigation telescope, the rearmost window on the floor is covered with a camera. Cosmonaut in the foreground has his leg over the near most floor window.


Transfer compartment again, 2 windows left wall, again topmost has astro nav telescope mounted, the gridded platform is the foot restraint for EVA, above the cosmonaut are 2 windows, below are 2 windows, behind the cosmonaut is the EVA hatch and near most window, right wall is at photo right frame edge.


Cutaway of Operations compartment shows two windows in the ceiling.

tilted station

In this shot, the whole station has been rotated in its cradle, presenting its belly.

Minimum 2 windows in Operations (maybe 3) and 2 large windows in conical section between Operations and large Scientific compartment.

Largest window in that section was for a topographical camera.

Inside, these would be in the floor, sometimes covered up.

agat-1 mirror

The huge hole in the bottom of the scientific section was for the Agat-1 camera, essentially a huge mirror lens/telescope assembly.

Aligned with the huge Agat-1 camera hole in the Scientific compartment is the high definition stills and video camera, wide-format photographic film, 420 mm wide. For the tv channel, 530mm wide film was used. Any of the film developed aboard could then be presented and transmitted via tv.

The assembly had a height of 6.5m and weighed 4tons.


Operations compartment floor also held the observation periscope (which would account for a window spot).

This is likely to be the Falcon-1 periscope, to be used for viewing aspects of the station, and for Earth observation.

nr-23 autocannon

The Sokol-1 is a companion to the NR-23 cannon on Salyut-3, along with an Infrared detector to locate anti-satellite launch targets.

The cosmonauts claimed to have used this to observe Skylab.

training salyut

In this training Salyut you can see the window next to the EVA hatch in the transfer compartment.

tilted station2

In this picture the station has been rotated in its cradle and you are looking at the ceiling, again showing the 2 windows with the antenna for the Igla docking system folded over the top. The vacuum insulation has not yet been fitted.

For Almaz the living compartment is described as having 4 windows for recreational use, along with a sofa, hot and cold water, swinging beds, shower, toilet and tape deck for recording and playing music and a small library to go along with it.

No less than 14 cameras were carried, many fixed to the numerous windows.

The description of the data they got from those early cameras was interesting:

When Almaz passed overhead and dumped its photographic load, the tv screens burst into life, and showed:

...like a parade, there were New York skyscrapers, in which you can count the number of floors and the number of windows on a floor...

...even the ropes are visible at the Brooklyn Bridge.

...the airfield, you can count the planes and determine their type, or read the numbers

Some of the windows on a Salyut:


Not the early salyuts, but these are window positions on Zvezda, the ISS SM.


Some references:

Mir heritage

Diary of a cosmonaut

NASA description of Salyut 1

Leaving Earth


  • also from years of studying the Soviet/Russian space program for interest/work. hth
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    $\begingroup$ Could you add references to those descriptions? $\endgroup$ – zabop May 3 at 15:52
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    $\begingroup$ Paragraphs and in Mir Hardware Heritage refer to Salyut windows although little detail is provided. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble May 3 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ I know, I never found a singular source for subjects such as these, short of going somewhere to look at the actual object myself, unfortunately. $\endgroup$ – blobbymcblobby May 3 at 21:12

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