Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov with his family

Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov with his family

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Credit: SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov with his family. At left, Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov (1927-1967) is walking with his daughter Irina and his wife Valentina Komarov in 1967. Komarov was the first person to die during a space flight. On 24 April 1967, he attempted to land the Soyuz 1 spacecraft on its maiden flight. The spacecraft's parachutes failed to deploy properly on re-entry, and it impacted the ground at 30-40 metres per second, killing Komarov instantly. The landing rockets exploded upon impact. Komarov's remains were returned to Moscow and a state funeral took place on 26 April 1967. The body was cremated and Komarov's ashes were interred in the walls of the Kremlin with other Soviet heroes. Photographed by United Press International.

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