The Soviet Union may launch a new manned mission to link up with a station-and-satellite complex created in orbit last month, a veteran cosmonaut hinted. Alexander Ivanchenkov, who has taken part in two Soviet space missions, told a press conference that a life-support system had been mounted aboard the satellite, which docked on June 19 with the orbiting Salyut 6 laboratory.
The satellite, Cosmos 1267, was one of a new range of independently maneuverable modules and carried an energy supply system, he said.
Mr. Ivanchenkov's disclosures were the clearest indication yet of the role of the 10-ton satellite. Initial Soviet reports after the launching provided scant details. Officials said it was intended to test elements of future spacecraft design and to explore "methods of assembling orbital complexes of great weight an d size."