Komarov before Soyuz 1 launch, 1967

Komarov before Soyuz 1 launch, 1967

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Credit: SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Komarov before Soyuz 1 launch, speaking at the launch site in Kazakhstan, on 23 April 1967. Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov (1927-1967) was killed during this mission. He launched later the same day, but the spacecraft soon began to spin out of control during its orbits. Komarov's wife was brought to the control centre to say farewell. After 18 orbits, Komarov attempted to perform a re-entry and safe landing on 24 April 1967. The parachutes failed to deploy properly, and he was killed on impact, becoming the first person to die during a space flight. It was later reported that the Soviets had rushed the launch of Soyuz 1 before it was fully ready, timing it to coincide with political celebrations for Lenin's birthday.

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