First Person to Die During a Space Mission: Vladimir Komarov

We always listen to humanity’s space adventure with its bright aspects and successes because success stories have always been good propaganda material. Today we will tell a section of the dark side of this breathless adventure. The story of the first person to die on a space mission…

SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, recently successfully sent its own space shuttle Crew Dragon to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken made history as the first humans to be sent into space by a private company. However, there is much that has lived up to this historic mission. An important part of these are failures and lost lives.

Despite all the failures, we continue to remember the history of space with success. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to go into space, are some of these, but some of them are not the achievements known to you today, but the not-so-mentioned darkness of the Cold War and the space race in the 1960s. We will explain the part. between the USA and the USSR in the space racethe story of only one of the people whose life was sacrificed for propaganda… Cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Komarov, the first human to die on a space mission we will know.

A high-ranking soldier, a pilot, a father, a wife:

by full name Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov He was born in Moscow in 1927. Valentina Yakovlevna married in 1950 while continuing her career as a successful officer-pilot in the Soviet Air Force. He had two children, Yevgeny and Irina. He started his undergraduate education even though he was dealing with a lot of workload of pilots in the air force. in 1959″Zhukovsky Air Force AcademyHe graduated from. Next “Air Force State Red Banner Scientific Research InstituteHe was assigned to ”and continued his duty in the army as an experienced colonel pilot.

Komarov in health tests

Vladimir Komarov, was one of the most qualified pilots selected by the Soviet Space Command in 1960 to the list of the first cosmonauts to go into space. Although his name was withdrawn twice at the beginning of his training for space missions due to his lack of medical qualification, he managed to take part in Vostok 4 space mission in 1962 as a backup for Cosmonaut Pavel Popovic.

He made his first space flight on October 12, 1964. Voskhod 1 space mission He was the commander of the first space flight with more than one person in a single capsule. The other cosmonauts in the crew, Konstantin Feoktistov and Boris Yegorov, made the first space flight in which a doctor and a scientist participated. Moreover the first space flight where people didn’t wear special clothes they have successfully completed. Realizing many firsts with this successful mission, the USSR, before the “Gemini Project” of the USA first multi-man space flight achieved great success and propaganda leverage in the space race.

The first man in space was a friend of Yuri Gagarin:

USSR Space themed propaganda posters

When the calendars show 1966 Leonid Brezhnev, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme SovietWork has begun for the Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 2 missions, which . Soyuz 1‘s mission plan; It was to settle into the orbit of the world with a single-person flight and then meet in space with the three-person Soyuz 2 spacecraft to be sent. Two of the cosmonauts sent with Soyuz 2 would spacewalk to Soyuz 1 and complete their spaceflight and return to Earth.

Soyuz 1 as a duty Vladimir Komarov and as a substitute his friend from training Yuri Gagarin chosen. It was realized, still in the engineering phase, that the design of Soyuz 1 did not allow a cosmonaut to safely exit or enter the ship. Despite this, it was said that Komarov would be safe and the work continued.

Soyuz 1

Then Komarov and Gagarin, who started ground work, found 203 technical faults together with the technicians. Stating that the spacecraft is indistinguishable from a coffin They wanted the mission to be postponed, but making such a request in the Soviet chain of command at that time was a very dangerous step. No one from the authorities dared to voice this. The only person who could say this was the chief designer of the Soviet Space Command, Sergey Korolev, who had recently died. His replacement, Valentin Mishin, was not qualified for this task and never shared this situation with the authorities because he was too afraid of political pressure and losing his place.

The joint struggle of Komarov and Gagarin, who do not want to fall victim to the political space race:

Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov

As the first man in space Yuri Gagarin, considered a folk hero He reached out to KGB (Soviet State Security Committee) employee and friend Venyamin Russayev for the cancellation of the mission. Russayev sent a ten-page letter to the then-president Brezhnev. This letter never reached Brezhnev. Anyone who heard of the letter was punished with demotion, dismissed, or exiled to Siberia.


Although everyone told Komarov to resign, who shared his situation with his close circle, Komarov refused to withdraw, knowing that he would die. Had he withdrawn, his friend Yuri Gagarin would have gone, and this time he would have died. Also, resigning was against the basic principles of his military training. Brave Cosmonaut under these conditions Vladimir Komarov, Soyuz 1 He continued to work for his post.

His friend Yuri Gagarin wanted him out because he was a folk hero and was sure that the mission would be canceled when he took office. He believed that the Soviet authorities would not let him die, fearing the public’s reaction. Despite his best efforts, Gagarin could not persuade his friend.

A devoted friend before becoming a folk hero for his country, Komarov is sent into space without a test flight:


Despite all these known problems, the Soviet Space Command decided to complete the mission under the pressure of the chain of command and the upcoming 50th anniversary. Work proceeded quickly. For the first time in the history of the USSR, a spacecraft was sent into space without a test flight. Soyuz 1 was sent into orbit on April 23, 1967, as the first manned spacecraft to be launched at night from the “Baykonur Cosmodrome” in what is now Kazakhstan. profusely propagated to the Soviet people Soyuz 1 and Commander Cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Komarov sent off into space like a star.

A complete disaster:

Soyuz 1 just before launch

Successfully progressing from launch to orbit, when Soyuz 1 reaches orbit to a complete disaster transformed. First, one of the two solar panels that powered the spacecraft did not turn on. This meant that the spacecraft would operate at half power. Navigation systems and thrusters are broken. Komarov although the thrusters used to steer the vehicle are broken succeeded in orbiting however, the condition of the spacecraft was quite critical.

Initially, the Soyuz 2 crew offered for the rescue mission. Authorities rejected this offer because the door of Soyuz 1 is not suitable for entrance and exit, and the same problems are likely to be seen in Soyuz 2. The second stage of the mission, the launch of Soyuz 2, was immediately canceled and Komarov was ordered to return.

Coming home: a strap on a star

Before leaving orbit Komarov He had spoken to his wife. Later, Soviet Prime Minister Alexsey Kosigin told Komarov that he was a hero and that his country was proud of him. Trying to align his vehicle with the Sun to return to orbit before leaving orbit, Komarov due to out-of-function thrusters however, he succeeded on his 19th attempt and was sure to kill himself while riding. Soyuz 1 The spacecraft began its descent.

Soyuz 1 crash site

The automatic parachute did not open after entering the atmosphere. Then he opened the reserve parachute, but the spare parachute also got entangled in the capsule and became useless. This journey of 1 day, 2 hours and 47 minutes, which is a series of failures, Soyuz 1 and inside Cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir KomarovIt ended with a meteor crashing 65 km east of the city of Orsk in Orenburg Oblast. It is estimated that the speed of the fall is about 50-200 m/sec, and the pressure that occurs when it hits the ground is about 200 G.

There are some of the allegations in Istanbul:

Pravna Newspaper Komarov news

At that time US National Security Agency (NSA) officers in Istanbul to gather intelligenceAs the Soyuz 1 passed over Turkey, they allegedly tuned into their frequencies and listened to conversations between Komarov and Soviet officials. In the speech Komarov allegedly made using a videophone before falling, he cried and told the Soviet authorities. “Damn whoever put me in this goddamn car!” He is said to have cursed and insulted.

The allegations were made jointly by independent documentary filmmaker Jamie Doran and science historian Piers Bizony.Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri GagarinIt is in the book “. As a source for the allegations, the statements of the historian and science writer Yaroslav Golovanov, published in Pravda, the official newspaper of the USSR, about Gagarin’s attempt to replace Komarov by wearing clothes before the flight, are cited. The information shared by former KGB officer Venyamin Ivanovich Russayev and the narratives of Peryy Fellwock, who was in Istanbul as a NSA officer at that time, have an important role in shaping the allegations.

The famous American space historian Prof. Asif Azam Siddiqi lied, stating that video phones began to be used in space technologies in 1968. Yaroslav Golovanov, on the other hand, denied the allegations, stating that he had never written such a thing in Pravda or any other medium. Considering Komarov, who was raised as a true communist in the army he entered at a young age, and who was formed with a sense of duty and love for the sky, it is a matter of debate how much these claims reflect the truth.

The Soviet authorities, who pushed Komarov to death, after the incident, at the head of Komarov:

Komarov's body

Because of the political pressures of the USSR administration and the negligence of the Soviet authorities Soyuz 1 died in the disaster Komarov‘s funeral was held with an open coffin ceremony in line with the will he left before his mission. According to many, this will Komarov, who is sure that he will die It is considered his final insult by showing the Soviet authorities what they had caused.

Two tombs of Komarov

A part of Komarov’s body, which was collected from the accident site, was buried in a niche of the Kremlin Palace in Red Square, next to other Soviet elders. The official funeral was held on April 26, 1967 in Moscow’s Red Square. Cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov He is sent off as a hero by the Soviet people. After the ceremony, the fragments of the ship, which were excavated from the ruins in the accident area, were buried in the accident area and a monument was built there.

A crater on the Moon and an asteroid were named after Komarov:

plaque on the moon

After his death, he was honored with the Soviet Hero Medal and the Order of Lenin twice. a crater on the moon and Asteroid 1836 Komarov, discovered in 1971 has been named. It is also named after the city of Komarovsky, a military closed city in the Orenburg Oblast, where it fell, and a pilot school in Yeisk, Krasnodar Krai. The French Federation of International Aviation (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) gave the VM Kolarov With his diploma, he keeps the name of the hero cosmonaut alive.

Komarov’s story was performed in Turkey and by Turkish artists, even as a play:

mehmet baydur

In our country, Komarov’s life and Soyuz 1 flight were written by the playwright Memet Baydur and staged many times. The name of the two-act play is “Vladimir Komarov“Stop.

His name is also on the memorial plaque left at the “Hadley-Apennine” landing site in memory of the astronauts and cosmonauts who lost their lives in space during NASA’s “Apollo 15” Moon mission in 1971. Contrary to popular belief, this plaque was not left by Neil Armstrong, but by NASA astronauts David R. Scott and James B. Irwin. This plaque will remain there forever, along with the figurine left at the bottom representing a fallen astronaut or cosmonaut.


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