Soyuz 1

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Soyuz 1 (Russian: Союз 1, Union 1) was a manned spaceflight of the Soviet space program. Launched into orbit on April 23, 1967 carrying cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Komarov, Soyuz 1 was the first flight of the Soyuz spacecraft. Komarov was killed when the spacecraft crashed during its return to Earth after a mission beset with mechanical problems. This was the first confirmed in-flight fatality in the history of spaceflight.

Contents

Crew

Backup crew

Mission parameters

Background

Soyuz 1 was the first manned flight of the first-generation Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft and Soyuz rocket, designed as part of the Soviet lunar program. It was the first Soviet manned spaceflight in over two years, and the first Soviet manned flight following the death of the Chief Designer of the space program Sergey Korolyov. Komarov was launched on Soyuz 1 despite failures of the previous unmanned tests of the 7K-OK, Cosmos 133 and Cosmos 140. A third attempted test flight was a launch failure; a launch abort triggered a malfunction of the launch escape system, causing the rocket to explode on the pad. The escape system successfully pulled the spacecraft to safety.[3]

Prior to launch, Soyuz 1 engineers are said to have reported 200 design faults to party leaders, but their concerns "were overruled by political pressures for a series of space feats to mark the anniversary of Lenin's birthday." It is not clear how much of this pressure resulted from the need to continue beating the United States in the Space Race and have Soviets first on the Moon, or to take advantage of the recent setbacks in the U.S. space program with the Apollo 1 disaster.

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