Fatal flight into space

His return from the International space station (ISS), Russian cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko will not forget. “It was much worse than to turn on the car,” he said after landing.

Together with two colleagues Borisenko 10 APR returned in the descent capsule of the spaceship “the Union” after a nearly six-month stay in space. Despite the coarse maneuver of landing in the Kazakh steppe return to the Earth was relatively tolerable. The first landing of the descent capsule “Union” with a man exactly 50 years ago, on the contrary resulted in the collapse, then for the first time a man died during a space mission cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov.

Because the parachute did not deploy as planned, the space capsule Komarova at a speed of nearly 50 meters per second non-stop rushed to the Ground. Punch capacity “Soyuz 1” was carried. For experienced cosmonaut Komarov capsule became a fiery grave. Volunteers digging with shovels in the charred wreckage of the capsule, as seen in the video of the Russian space Agency “Roskosmos”.

The accident of 24 April 1967 was a severe blow to an ambitious Soviet program of space flights. It happened at the peak of competition in space with the US when the space race between East and West were defined by the cold war superpowers.

The Soviet leadership in Moscow at the time proclaimed to be the first to fly around the moon on a managed spacecraft and then land on the Earth’s satellite. Under strong pressure engineers have developed a new type of space ship “Soyuz”, the third model of the controlled ship after the ships “Vostok” and “Voskhod”.

After the tragic death of Komarov worked then the engineer Boris Chertok acknowledged that “what happened to Komarov, it was our mistake. We are too early sent him. “The Union” had not yet ripe”. This requires to conduct more unmanned test flights. Only in the Politburo in Moscow, no one wanted to admit it, commented in 2013, the newspaper “Komsomolskaya Pravda”.

At the beginning of the flight of Mosquitoes encountered serious technical problems. Therefore, the following “Union”, which was supposed to start for a meeting in space and on Earth.

In the end, it was already only about the astronaut in his badly damaged spaceship alive to return to Earth. But when, after many other systems failed and the parachute, there was no escape. “Mosquitoes on conscience of designers,” — said Chertok.

The German astronaut also flew on the “Union”

Despite the tragic first flight and another accident in 1971 that killed three cosmonauts, Soyuz has evolved and has become one of the most successful stories of the Soviet and Russian cosmonautics. Still Russia is using for the exploration of outer space, these rockets, the space capsules of an improved form as the “work horse”. If the rocket “Soyuz” to deliver people into space, it has the same name of the space capsule.

And German heroes of space exploration flew to the stars on rockets “Soyuz”. In 1978, the first German cosmonaut Sigmund Jahn (Sigmund Jähn) was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome on a Soyuz. After this Russian “space taxi” used also Merbold Ulf (Ulf Merbold), Thomas Reiter (Thomas Reiter) and the latest Alexander Gerst (Alexander Gerst). And Gerst the next flight to the ISS in 2018 it is planned to produce with the help of rocket “Soyuz”.

For Russia, the use of the old “Union” is a profitable business. Because after the US in 2011, has suspended its program “space Shuttle”, American and European astronauts have to fly to the ISS on the Soyuz rockets. One of the three places in a close space capsule will cost the USA in 2018-2019 — there and back — almost 82 million US dollars (approximately 77 million Euro).

Moscow-based expert on space flight Igor Marinin convinced that the space capsule “Soyuz” with more than 120 successful manned flights and only two fatal cases to date, one of the most reliable spacecraft. “The rescue crew available at all stages of the flight,” he said in an interview with news Agency dpa.

After the death of Komarov’s Soyuz regularly improve. If you compare today’s type of “Union” (Sojus-MS) with the first model, the 7K-OK tragic flight in 1967, it would be like comparing modern cars with cars a hundred years ago, says editor in chief of the magazine “news of cosmonautics”. In technical terms, a lot has been done.

In the foreseeable future Russia can continue to work with his “Union.” While the uses of the ISS (scheduled for 2024), will fly and “Union,” said Marinin. “And possibly longer. It all depends on the development of a new generation of spacecraft “Federation”. The first unmanned flight “Federation” “Roscosmos” plans for 2021. “Sooner or later they will be replaced by the Union,” says Marinin.