When you think about space stations, which ones come to mind first? You might think Skylab, the International Space Station (ISS), or maybe Russia’s Mir. But before any of those took to the heavens, there was Salyut. Russia’s Salyut 1 was humankind’s first space station. The ensuing Salyut program lasted fifteen years, from 1971 to 1986, and the lessons learned from this remarkable series of experiments are still in use today in the International Space Station (ISS). The program was so successful at a time when the US manned space program was dormant that one could say that the Russians lost the Moon but won the space race. The Salyut program’s origins stem from a little know space race within Russia in the 1960s. On the one side was the OKB-52 design bureau which worked on putting up a military space station. On the other side was the OKB-1 which sought to do the same but for civilian science purposes. The military had an early lead with their Almaz space station cores. In an effort to catch up, the civilians combined the Almaz hull with their own systems from their Soyuz spacecraft and added more solar panels. These were designated DOS (Durable Orbital Station) stations. The ...