The space race was underway. In 1967, the Soviet Union perceived that it was falling behind. So it rushed a mission to catch up. But it did not turn out well. The result was the cosmonaut who fell from space.
In those days Sergey Korolyov, a Russian scientist and engineer, had just died. He was considered the founder of the Soviet space program. He had left a spacecraft under test: the Soyuz. It promised to take two Soviets to the Moon.
Mission in a hurry
It was thought to attempt to launch two capsules into space. One would be occupied by one astronaut and the other by three. Once in space, the two would be joined together and two crew members from the second capsule would go outside to board the other spacecraft. Vladimir Komarov was the ideal candidate for this plan. He had already had space missions.
Problems did not take long to appear. Various systems on the Soyuk spacecraft began to fail, so much so that the launch of the second capsule was cancelled. From Earth, all efforts were focused on bringing Komarov back alive.
The cosmonaut, with almost inhuman attempts, was trying to keep the capsule stable. His friend Yuri Gagarin took control of the communications console. He guided Komarov to stabilize the spacecraft and ensure its landing on Soviet territory. Despite doing everything he was instructed to do, the spacecraft did not respond.
In one of his last conversations with ground, the astronaut thanked the control crew for their efforts. A few minutes later, communication with ground was interrupted. Komarov had managed to begin losing altitude for his descent.
All that remained was to wait. Until a radio message arrived, where one of the rescue planes had seen the capsule with its parachute deployed. But it was not. It was the astronaut’s craft, but it was falling at 200 kilometers per hour. It was going like a stone, dragging its tangled parachutes. It crashed straight into the ground and immediately started to catch fire. There was no trace of Vladimir Komarov. The cosmonaut who fell from space was a victim of the desperate space race and improvisation.