Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov

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Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov (Russian: Влади́мир Миха́йлович Комаро́в; March 16, 1927, Moscow – April 24, 1967, Orenburg Oblast) was a Soviet cosmonaut. He was the first Soviet cosmonaut to travel into space more than once, and the first human to die during a space mission, on Soyuz 1.[1]

He was selected to become a cosmonaut in 1960 with the first cosmonaut group. After being the backup for Pavel Popovich on Vostok 4, his first spaceflight was with the Voskhod 1 mission. On his second flight, Soyuz 1, he was killed after re-entry, when the spacecraft crashed owing to multiple failures, including the parachute.

Just before impact, Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin told Komarov his country was proud of him. An American National Security Agency listening post in Istanbul noted Komarov's reply was inaudible,[2] though persistent rumours stated that Komarov died cursing the spacecraft designers and flight controllers.[3] Whatever the truth of the matter, a tape from a West German tracking station bearing some of Komarov's brief phrases was forwarded to the Command-Measurement Complex of the Soviet Union after the disaster and was reported to contain the word "killed", mixed in with Komarov's distraught unclear transmissions, among other flight data recorded on radio by the West Germans. The recording was made, apparently, on one of the last orbits, if not the final one.

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Honors

Komarov's ashes were interred in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis on the Red Square in Moscow. Before leaving the moon, Neil Armstrong's final task was to place a small package of memorial items to honor Komarov, Yuri Gagarin and the Apollo 1 astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee.

The asteroid 1836 Komarov, discovered in 1971 is named in his honor, as is a crater on the Moon. The asteroid and the cosmonaut inspired composer Brett Dean in writing a symphonic piece commissioned by conductor Simon Rattle in 2006. The piece is named 'Komarov's Fall' and can be found on the EMI Classics Album of Simon Rattle's The Planets.

Among other honors, the Vladimir M. Komarov Astronautical Rocketry Club (ARK) in Ljubljana has also borne his name since 1969.

The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale's V.M. Komarov Diploma is named in his honor.

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