Walking on an Alien World: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 2)

A mere four years after humanity’s first spacewalk, EVA and space suit technology advanced sufficiently to permit Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the Moon. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, yesterday, on 18 March 1965, humanity became an “extravehicular” spacefaring civilization for the first time, when 30-year-old Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov ventured outside […]

'Is My Hair Gray?': The Story of Soyuz 4 and 5 (Part 2)

Possible scenario for how the ill-fated re-entry of Boris Volynov may have occurred. Soyuz 5 began its fall from orbit with the descent module’s hatch facing into the direction of travel, thus exposing the least-protected part of the spacecraft to the most extreme thermal stresses. Image Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

To Yevgeni Khrunov the first […]

'For the Tenth Time': The Story of Soyuz 4 and 5 (Part 1)

Artist’s concept of the EVA transfer of cosmonauts Yevgeni Khrunov and Alexei Yeliseyev from Soyuz 5 to Soyuz 4 in January 1969. Image Credit: Orbiter-Forum

At first glance the flight of Soyuz 4 seemed certain to suffer misfortune. Its lone pilot, Vladimir Shatalov, arrived at the Baikonur launch pad in the desolate steppe of […]

The Crew That Never Came Home: The Misfortunes of Soyuz 11 (Part 2)

The tragic crew of Soyuz 11 – Georgi Dobrovolski (left), Vladislav Volkov (right) and Viktor Patsayev (background) – should be remembered as the first men to occupy a true space station and the men who established an empirical space endurance record of more than 23 days. Their legacy is that they laid the foundation […]

The Crew That Never Flew: The Misfortunes of Soyuz 11 (Part 1)

Grainy image from the departing Soyuz 11 mission in June 1971, showing Salyut 1. This was one of the last close-up views of the world’s first space station. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

More than 40 years ago, the world’s first space station—Salyut 1, a “salute” to Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space—was launched into […]

'Tense and Magnificent': The World’s First Space Station (Part 2)

 

Artist’s concept of Soyuz 10 approaching the Salyut 1/DOS space station in April 1971. Image Credit: Roscosmos

Two years after the United States landed the first men on the Moon, the Soviet Union was ready to stage its own spectacular—the launch of the world’s first Earth-orbiting space station—in response. As described in yesterday’s […]

'The Main Road': The World’s First Space Station (Part 1)

Artist’s concept of Soyuz 10 approaching the Salyut 1/DOS space station in April 1971. Image Credit: Roscosmos

When Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon in July 1969, the people of the Soviet Union did not see the live coverage of his historic steps. It was a decision later condemned by cosmonaut Alexei […]