google10fa0980c6101c7f.html The Many Faces of Death: DEATH of a Space Hero: Vladimir Komarov, RUSSIA


The stories mentioned on this site are of real deaths (famous or otherwise), and may contain graphic pics, text and/or videos. This site is NOT for the squeamish or Faint of Heart! You have been warned.

Strange as their stories may be, they were flesh and blood once, and were loved by people who knew them. Let's respect the deaths of those who have been mentioned....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

3 DEATH of a Space Hero: Vladimir Komarov, RUSSIA

The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won't work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact... 
 - from the book Starman, by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony

Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov (Russian: Влади́мир Миха́йлович Комаро́в,  16 March 1927 – 24 April 1967) was a Soviet test pilot, aerospace engineer and cosmonaut in the first group of cosmonauts selected in 1960. He was one of the most highly experienced and well-qualified candidates accepted into "Air Force Group One".
His spaceflight on Soyuz 1 made him the first cosmonaut to fly into outer space more than once, and he became the first human to die during a spaceflight—when the Soyuz 1 space capsule crashed after re-entry on April 24, 1967.

The Mission
Once upon a time, there were two Russian cosmonauts, Yuri and Vladimir, who happened to be good friends. One day, USSR leader Leonid Brezhnev decided it would be a neat idea to stage a mid-space rendezvous between two Soviet spaceships.

Soyuz I would carry one cosmonaut into near-Earth orbit, and then a second spacecraft would be launched with another cosmonaut aboard. Those two men would then switch places and the first cosmonaut would return to Earth in the second spaceship. What could possibly go wrong?

In a word, everything.

The mission was doomed from the beginning with a whopping 203 structural problems found prior to launch!

The Crash
Komarov was assigned to the Soviet Soyuz program along with Yuri Gagarin and Alexei Leonov.

Komarov was selected to command the Soyuz 1, in 1967, with Yuri Gagarin as his backup cosmonaut.  During the preparations for the spaceflight, both cosmonauts were working 12-to-14 hour days to prepare for it. One source reports that before boarding the spacecraft, Komarov feared for his life, but he flew anyway in order to spare Gagarin the same fate. 

On orbital insertion, the solar panels of the Soyuz module failed to fully deploy, thereby preventing the craft from being fully powered and obscuring some of the navigation equipment. Komarov reported: "Conditions are poor. The cabin parameters are normal, but the left solar panel didn't deploy. The electrical bus is at only 13 to 14 amperes. The HF (high frequency) communications are not working. I cannot orient the spacecraft to the sun. I tried orienting the spacecraft manually using the DO-1 orientation engines, but the pressure remaining on the DO-1 has gone down to 180." Komarov tried unsuccessfully to orient the Soyuz module for five hours. The craft was transmitting unreliable status information and communications were lost on orbits 13 through 15 due to the failure of the high frequency transmitter which would have maintained radio contact whilst the craft was out of range of the ultra-high frequency (UHF) receivers on the ground.

As a result of the problems with the craft, the second Soyuz module which was to have carried cosmonauts to perform an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) to the Soyuz 1 was not launched and the mission was cut short.

Komarov was ordered to re-orient the craft using the ion system on orbits 15 through 17. The ion engine system failed. Komarov did not have enough time to attempt a manual re-entry until orbit 19. Manual orientation relied on using the equipped Vzor device, but in order to do this, Komarov needed to be able to see the sun. To reach the designated landing site at Orsk the retro-fire would need to take place on the night side of the earth. Komarov oriented the spacecraft manually on the dayside then used the gyro-platform as a reference so that he could orient the craft for a night side retro-fire. He successfully re-entered the earth's atmosphere on his 19th orbit, but the module's drogue and main braking parachute failed to deploy correctly and the module crashed into the ground, killing Komarov.  The capsule was in such a state that rescue crews could not find Komarov when they landed and approached the burning wreckage.  It took them over an hour..

All that was left of Vladimir Komarov was a chipped heel bone and a misshapen molten lump of remains; nonetheless, the state funeral featured an open casket.

The worst part of the story is that Vladimir's sacrifice was in vain. One year later, Yuri was on a routine training flight with another flight instructor when their MIG crashed near the town of Kirzhach. Both men died.

In Leo De Boer's documentary The Red Stuff (2000), Alexei Leonov noted the profound effect that Komarov's death had on the morale of the Cosmonaut corps: "He was our friend. Before his death the press and public had paid little attention to the extreme risks we took."

Monument of Vladimir Komarov on
 Cosmonauts Alley in Moscow
by wiki user MachoCarioca
Before leaving the Moon on Apollo 11, 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. Komarov's name also appears on a plaque left at Hadley Rille on the Moon by the commander of Apollo 15, David Scott, along with a small sculpture representing the "Fallen Astronaut" on August 1, 1971. This plaque and the sculpture represent those astronauts and cosmonauts who died in the quest to reach outer space and the Moon.
On April 25, a response to Komarov's death by his fellow cosmonauts was published in Pravda: "For the forerunners it is always more difficult. They tread the unknown paths and these paths are not straight, they have sharp turns, surprises and dangers. But anyone who takes the pathway into orbit never wants to leave it. And no matter what difficulties or obstacles there are, they are never strong enough to deflect such a man from his chosen path. While his heart beats in his chest, a cosmonaut will always continue to challenge the universe. Vladimir Komarov was one of the first on this treacherous path.



Remembering Vladimir Komarov

It is said that Vladimir Komarov did not go out raging and swearing but rather was cool, calm and collected...

Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die.

- "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
a 1854 narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Source | Source | Source


  1. Please check my tribute to Vladimir on Youtube...

    Great man.A hero.Rest in Peace,Sir!

  2. Great video tribute! Thanks for your interest!

  3. The heroes of space exploration and the courage and dedication to their positions as forerunners to all is still amazing to me to this day. I'm 69 now, so I have seen the beginning of this new venture and seen the loss as well as the successes of these brave mean and women. I will always be in awe of them. They deserve to be remembered and their families deserve to know that we treasured them all.