Three Men Lost in Space! The Space Disasters


Three Men Lost in Space The Space Disasters

It was April 19, 1971. The Soviet Union had just launched the world’s first space station into low Earth orbit, named Salyut-1 [Sal-yoot]. Two months later, on June 6, 1971, the Soyuz 11 [Soy-ooz] would make a trip to the orbiting space station with cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolski,[Ghee-ohr-ghee Dough-bro-vole-skee] Vladislav Volkov [Vol-cove], and Viktor Patsayev [Pat-sigh-yev] aboard the spacecraft.

The Soyuz 11 launched into space, and the three cosmonauts boarded the Salyut-1 space station on June 7, 1971, without any trouble, and were there to carry out three weeks of experiments, such as growing Chinese cabbage and bulb onions, taking spectrograms of stars, and snapping some ‘from orbit’ photos of the snow and ice on the River Volga. They were now heroes, famous, and plastered all over Soviet evening television. On June 29th, 1971, with the cosmonaut’s primary mission complete, the Soyuz 11 finally undocked from the Salyut-1, and three hours later, the spacemen fired their ship’s engine to return to Earth.

Vladislav Volkov joked with flight control and asked them to make sure their traditional welcome-home gift of cognac would be waiting for them at the landing site. At twenty-nine minutes before touchdown, and at an altitude of 160 kilometers [100 miles], explosive charges fired as planned to separate the Soyuz 11’s orbital bell-shaped capsule and instrument modules. The space capsule was now the cosmonaut’s only defense against the fiery furnace of re-entry.

But then something unexpected happened…

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