1 Paton Electric Welding Institute of the NAS of Ukraine

Nauka naukozn. 2019, 4(106): 79-101

Section: Science and technology history
Language: Ukrainian
Abstract: The history of the origin and creation of welding technologies in space is presented. Materials of publications, archives and memoirs systematized. In 1963, director of the Paton Electric Welding Institute (EWI) academician B.E. Paton proposed the creation of welding in space. The chief designer of rockets, S.P. Korolev, supported this idea.

The work was carried out in stages. Small vacuum chambers were made in the scientific departments of the EWI. The modes and requirements for arc welding equipment and electron beam welding were investigated in these chambers. Special vacuum stands were made for placement on an airplane for training astronauts. A state of zero gravity of 25–30 seconds was created during the flight of a flying laboratory along the Kepler curve. The employees of the IES turned on the apparatus and observed the welding of the samples. The research results were recorded by filming and oscillography. Based on these studies, requirements were developed for the device for placement on a spaceship and an experiment on welding in space conditions. Scientists solved the problems of molten metal in zero gravity, arc welding in a vacuum. Designers of welding machines solved the problem of reducing weight and energy consumption, reliable operation of automatic control systems.

The world’s first space experiments on welding and cutting metals with a low-pressure arc, arc plasma and electron beam were performed on October 16, 1969 on the “Vulkan” apparatus by test cosmonaut V.N. Kubasov. It was determined that when working overboard as the source of heating, it is most advisable to use an electron beam. Welding in space, history evaluates as another breakthrough in the scientific and technological progress of mankind. In subsequent years, space technologies began to be developed in other countries. A wide research program has been launched in the field of zero gravity physics, materials science, structural engineering, astrophysics, etc.

Keywords: space industrialization, welding in space, history of technology, Paton Electric Welding Institute, spacecraft “Soyuz-6”, astronaut-researcher.


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