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V.S. Syromyatnikov, 73; Russian Space Scientist Created Docking System

October 12, 2006|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Vladimir Sergeevich Syromyatnikov, 73, the veteran Russian space scientist whose docking system linked the Soviet Soyuz and the U.S. Apollo space capsules in the 1970s, a system that is still in use, died of leukemia Sept. 19 in Moscow.

Syromyatnikov worked for Energia Space Research Corp. in the space program since before Sputnik first orbited the Earth. He updated the design of his docking system in the 1990s for the meeting of the Mir space station and the Atlantis shuttle at the International Space Station.

His highly reliable electromechanical systems, which included the Androgynous Peripheral Assembly System, the proper name of the docking system, in addition to onboard manipulators and reusable solar arrays, are among the jewels of the Russian space program.

Syromyatnikov, a graduate of a technical university in his hometown of Moscow, was a young engineer for Energia in 1956 when he went to work with Sergey Korolev, chief designer of the intercontinental ballistic missile that in 1957 launched Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite.

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