Cosmonaut Vladimir Komorov-
I can say that I have NEVER heard of this great man and his NOBLE sacrifice until today-great story, by the way-
So I asked a few Russians, young and old, what the deal was. No one I know has EVER heard of Cosmonaut Vladimir Komorov and his ghastly sacrifice...
And THAT, the Soviet Union being what it was back in 1967, makes the story all that more compelling.
Vladimir Komorov-"Komorov" means "of Mosquito"- was a Cosmonaut in the early days of the Russian Space Program, apparently favored by Space Genius and Rocket Designer Sergei Korolev.
Komorov was the best friend of well-known Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
Being in the Russian Space program was no easy task for Komorov. He was declared unfit for training time and again, and did not meet the initial height and weight requirements.
But the man persevered and was soon the #2 Cosmonaut in the program, with best friend Gagarin in the #1 spot.
These men drank together, socialized together and flew together for nearly seven years.
Then came the rapid push by Russian High Command and Leonid Brezhnev for the Soviet Union to be the first to orbit a man around the Moon.
But the craft that was tasked with the job was unfit.
That craft was the famous SOYUZ ONE.
Gagarin REFUSED to fly Soyuz One. He wrote letters to High Command detailing each and every defect and his serious misgivings, but all who handled the letter as it made it's way up the chain of command to the desk of LEONID BREZHNEV, Premiere of the Soviet Union, soon found themselves headed for SIBERIA.
The UNSAFE craft was pressed into service, with the dubious honor of manning the craft going to either Gagarin or Komorov.
Komorov insisted on going to save his best friend from a grisly fate. There were over 150 defects in the SOYUZ craft, as detailed by Gagarin and Komorov.....
Komorov knew that there could be no refusal. It was either himself or Gagarin. On that fateful day in 1967, Komorov suited up and headed for the doomed vehicle.
Yuri Gagarin showed up and DEMANDED to be the one to go, but he was too late.
Komorov blasted off into space and immediately began encountering problems.
He had extreme trouble in simply orienting the Soyuz Spacecraft with the SUN...
The Solar Panels would not deploy....
The Air Conditioning did not work, it was STIFLING, MISERABLY hot.....
High Frequency Communication Antennas would not function...
Unreliable information was being received and transmitted due to the failure of the HF antennas...
After 5 hours and 19 orbits around the Earth in Soyuz One, the mission was aborted and Komorov began to re-enter the Earths atmosphere...
As gravity greedily sucked the struggling craft towards the Earth, the parachutes of the rapidly descending Soyuz 1 failed to deploy.
There supposedly exists, on NPR (National Public Radio), an INTERCEPTED transmission of Komorov's last CURSES as his craft slammed into the Earth at five times the speed of sound.
What you see before you is all that remained of him.
Rumour has it that Yuri Gagarin tossed a drink into the face of Leonid Brezhnev the next time the two met, but Soviet Russia being what it was in 1967, I highly doubt it...
But I SO hope that it is true.