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Old 11-06-2011, 02:40 AM   #1
4throck
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Default Early Soyuz real(?) green, olive or gray color

In the thread regarding the development of a TKS addon, it was discussed again the question of the real color of early Soviet spacecraft (not only Soyuz).

Since it is an interesting matter, I'm opening this topic so that we can discuss it properly.

To start, I'll post some reference material.


Text descriptions:
http://history.msfc.nasa.gov/apollo/..._Press_Kit.pdf
on page 40: "The Soyuz modules are externally protected with shield
vacuum heat insulation of green color."

Unsourced statement from http://www.capcomespace.net/dossiers...ique/index.htm:
"Le Soyouz utilisé pour la mission commune avec Apollo en 1975 était vert foncé pour des raisons optiques." - (my translation: ASTP Soyuz was green for optical reasons)

Photographs from Apollo:

ASTP


ASTP



Soviet photographs:

Salyut 4


Salyut 7 EVA


Salyut 7


Soyuz 9 a

Soyuz 9 b


Soyuz 10

Voskhod 2 a
Voskhod 2 b

My personal opinion is that the greenish tint is real, but not so saturated as on most photos. Most of the soviet photos have indeed large color errors. The last two Voskhod images are an excellent example, both showing completely incorrect color tones.

Please feel free to post more images.

Last edited by 4throck; 11-06-2011 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:45 AM   #2
MaverickSawyer
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That Salyut 4 pic has green-lit walls. That may be contributing to the color...
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:47 AM   #3
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This is interesting, I'd never thought of the possibility of a colour error making craft appear slightly different to the colouring they actually are. There are surviving early Soyuz that have been photographed with modern (mostly) perfect colour technology though, right?
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:49 AM   #4
MaverickSawyer
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Before or after flight? We're mainly looking at the thermal blankets, and those aren't carried through reentry.
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:55 AM   #5
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It is undoubtely green on the ASTP photographs. It depends of the properties of the insulation material I think, it's specularity, emissivity... Those can have changed as the material has probably been refined over the years. On the recent TMA, there is still a tint of green, maybe shifting on the olive (green+gray).

Now of course the argentic photographs taken during ASTP can't really be compared to the numerical hi-res stuff we are used to with the ISS, IMHO.

Also, it depends of other factors : angle of the Sun, very low emissivity of the Apollo spacecraft hull, Earthlight, Moonlight, etc... Complex stuff.


Soyuz T-5 spacecraft (foreground) docked with the Salyut 7 space station, as photographed in orbit from Soyuz T-6.

Last edited by N_Molson; 11-06-2011 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverickSawyer View Post
 That Salyut 4 pic has green-lit walls. That may be contributing to the color...
I don't think the walls are really green - it's the film or camera being too green-sensitive.

Hard topic. The posted images seem to point both ways. Different insulation blankets on different spacecraft? I suppose the only way to get a concrete answer is to ask some cosmonauts or engineers who worked with the actual vehicles.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izack View Post
 I don't think the walls are really green - it's the film or camera being too green-sensitive.
Sorry if I wasn't clear. That's what I meant. I was pointing out that the light grey walls were in fact green, a sign that the image is not accurate. The Voskhod 2a picture seems to suffer the same problem.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:38 AM   #8
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Voskhod spacecraft didn't carry any thermal blankets yet, so their body's colour can be anything (except for the return capsule, which, of course, had appearance of polished metal).
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:31 PM   #9
4throck
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I've tried to correct the images in Photoshop. I used a technique that will equalize the image histogram for known white object on the image. Depending on the actual good information on the image, the rest of the colors will either saturate, desaturated or just become random color noise.
As most soviet photos are in reality magazine or book prints, this kind of technique is the best way to at least know what was neutral gray on specific photo.

Let's start with Voskhod:




I used the top of the last rocket stage as white reference. If worked better on the second image, but on both, it is clearly visible that the only color is only on the cylinders and equipment module. The rest are just color imbalances due to poor lightning temperature, film, exposure and print.


As for Salyut 7, all photos match when processed:





There is a bluish tint to some of the shadows, probably from earthshine. For white reference I used the radiators and on the last image the docking target.
Two interesting things here: the front of Salyut is clearly green when seen head on, but grey on the other 2 images. Both Soyuz look dark grey.

And now for ASTP:


Again, used the radiator for white reference. The Soyuz looks less green. This is not a processing artifact, because if you look at the periscope, it remains "Russian green". Interesting because I've posted a reference to the ASTP Soyuz being green on purpose....

Anyway, both the ASTP green and Salyut 7 green when viewed from the front look quite similar. Indeed, this is not a simple question.


I've also been researching about Soviet standard paints. There is something called "soviet green"... used on Stalin's limo ! It does look kind of gray under a bright sun.


1949 ZIL ZIS-110 limousine that belonged to Joseph Stalin



Now... is there some cultural issue here? I'm assuming the grey and green mean the same everywhere. Is there some different perception in Russia?
For example, in my country most people with say "Roxo" (Purple) but mean in fact Violet "Violeta"....

Last edited by 4throck; 11-06-2011 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:19 PM   #10
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Sadly we only have a simple lightning model for Orbiter, no chance to have all the physical beauty of textiles (Possible in real time, but usually done only for raytracers).

Still, I am not sure why ASTP has a greenish tint there. The rest of the images had been still a bit strong on the blue color (look at the glow at the ceiling in one), but the trend was pretty good.

I don't think there had been a silent change in the insulation between Soyuz spacecraft, and otherwise, it is still done by the same manufacturers today, as it had been for Soyuz 1.

Maybe the ASTP image had been photographed with a strong earthshine, not sure how this would effect the textile. But the charcoal colored spacecraft in the remaining pictures look really like todays.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:13 AM   #11
4throck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urwumpe View Post
 ...I don't think there had been a silent change in the insulation between Soyuz spacecraft, and otherwise, it is still done by the same manufacturers today, as it had been for Soyuz 1.

Maybe the ASTP image had been photographed with a strong earthshine, not sure how this would effect the textile. But the charcoal colored spacecraft in the remaining pictures look really like todays.
Completely agree with the last paragraph. The Salyut photos show the Soyuz exactly the same as today, dark grey.

Also agree regarding ASTP, it is strange to change the material just for that flight, although it is the only flight were a change is mentioned...
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:58 AM   #12
Izack
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Maybe they coloured it green to live up to American expectations of green spacecraft.

But seriously, would they have coloured it differently because it was such a high publicity mission?
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4throck View Post
 Now... is there some cultural issue here? I'm assuming the grey and green mean the same everywhere. Is there some different perception in Russia?
Russian Wikipedia says 'no':
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:34 PM   #14
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Extremely interesting. On the "green" article, there's a table with "common shades of green" (as translated by Google).
Some of those ("lime", "aquamarine", "turquoise"), to me, would be called cyan or blue.

OK, no confusion between grey and green, but perhaps some (at least in translations) regarding green/blue.

---------- Post added at 22:34 ---------- Previous post was at 22:25 ----------

Well, I found this:

http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/c...IF&classic=YES

Complete description and analysis of Mir's thermal insulation, comparison with new and space weathered samples, reflectivity according to angle and wavelength and photos. There are three different insulation materials considered, interesting.

If someone wants a nice reading for tonight... go ahead !

Last edited by 4throck; 11-07-2011 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:46 PM   #15
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Another nice find:

http://visualrian.ru/en/site/gallery/#622971/context[q]=soyuz



The image colors are not completely balanced but there's at least some white reference. Both spacecraft (from 1971) are greenish, but subdued.
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