Fifty years ago | July 1, 1971 Archives

Soyuz cosmonauts return dead

[Moscow, June 30] The three Soyuz cosmonauts died to-day under mysterious circumstances while returning to earth, turning their record-setting 24-day space odyssey into the worst tragedy in more than a decade of spacefaring by man ... The cosmonauts whose tragic end plunged the world in sorrow were Lt. Col. Georgi Debrovolsky, Flight Engineer Vladislav Volkov and Test Engineer Viktor Patsayev.

… The trio, who had been in space for more than three weeks, separated from the Salyut orbital station last night for the return to earth. The return flight was going according to plan when radio contact was lost after the ship’s braking system for re-entry to the atmosphere was switched off. Soyuz-11 was slowed down by the atmosphere and the parachute system put into operation before landing. The soft engines were fired according to plan and the craft landed smoothly in the preset area...

A helicopter-borne recovery crew, who landed simultaneously with the Soyuz-11, opened the hatch and found the three cosmonauts in their seats, with no sign of life.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 3:05:36 AM |

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