With all respect: Was maintaining Salyut-7‘s orbit so as to prevent Earth-bound damage a big deal? If so, what about Mir? Its orbit was allowed to degrade into the atmosphere. As I recall, Mir‘s re-entry caused no Earth-bound damage. And I must believe Mir was larger than Salyut-7.
Or, have I got it all wrong? Perhaps prevention of Earth-bound damage was not the reason for maintaining Salyut-7‘s orbit?
image © CTB Film Company, et al