RUSSIAN SPACE EXPLORATION -- Salyut 6, 10 December 1977 - 16 March 1978. "Cyclogram" time-chart of the Salyut 6 mission.
Oblong time-chart drawn and written in many-colored markers on graph paper, 306 x 1004 mm. (Some clean separations along folds.) Matted and framed. Provenance: Cosmonaut Georgi Grechko (sold Sotheby's New York, Russian Space History, 11 December 1993, lot 122).
AN ASTONISHING VISUAL RECORD OF THE SALYUT 6 MISSION: at 96 days, the longest manned space-flight to its date. Cosmonaut Georgi Grechko and Romanenko organized the chart before launch so that "in a single view it would reveal the entire flight program. We thought it would be handy and convenient to have such a chart aboard the space station." Once in space, the chart proved a grim reminder of the many days ahead: "it came to be quite unpleasant." They changed their design of the cahrt to make it less depressing by subdividing the program into marked weeks, and added the marks ¼-, 1/3-, ½-way dates, etc, "but this dodge did not help us much." They also folded the chart like an accordion and unfolded it so that the visibly uncolored portion would never be visible for more than 15 days at a time. "This made us more comfortable in this flight of world-setting duration."
"Their cyclogram eventually measured the demanding passage of time with fully eight methods, all plodding along in parallel: phases of the moon, holidays, weeks (red tick marks), fraction of total flight, dates (each newly completed day was colored with a red triangle), elapsed days, total weeks to go and total weeks finished" (Tufte). Their redesign will "remain forever the first to redesign an information display while in outer space. Transitions between day and night are shown by contours outlining gray bands of darkness and yellow bands of daylight, as the vertical axis shows the time of a single orbit (91 minutes, starting at the equator). This grid plots time by time: orbit time in minutes (vertical) by trip time in days (horizontal). For example, on the 84th day reading up, one full orbit around Earth consisted of 20 minutes of daylight. All told, the cosmonauts experienced some 1500 sunrises and 1500 sunsets during their mission" (Tufte, Visual Explanations, pp.92-95).