Moscow — USSR: recent spaceflight succeded despite snags
The Soviet Union has confirmed that its latest space mission was indeed marred by problems. But officials nevertheless termed it successful, saying it paved the way for more ambitious future missions.
Problems included fuel leaks on the Salyut 7/Soyuz space complex and an explosion on the launching pad that prevented a relief crew from reaching cosmonauts Vladimir Lyakhov and Alexander Alexandrov. But the two men, appearing relaxed at a Moscow press conference, denied that they were ever in danger.
Gen. Vladimir Shatalov, head of Soviet space training, said Salyut is ''ready to receive new crews.'' The next scheduled flight is a joint Soviet-Indian mission next year.
Western sources had suggested the two cosmonauts were forced to take extraordinary measures - including an unscheduled walk in space - to salvage their mission. The two cosmonauts confirmed that they did take two spacewalks but denied these were prompted by any mishaps.