Soyuz 1 - "The crash"

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A new project

Two years before, the last mission was a successfull one that set a new "first" in space exploration history. For the first time a man walked in space, outside his spacecreaft wearing a new special suit that assured him a comfortable environment to live.
Then it was time to change, to built a new multi-pourpose spacecraft that would serve for many years as a safe and reliable space transportation system. It was the Soyuz spacecraft. Soviet astronautics suffered when Sergej Korolyov, the chief designer of all the spacecraft and rocket used by then, died suddenly underoging an operation. The development of the new spacecraft suffered too and only on April 23, 1967 the Soyuz 1 took off from the Baykonur Cosmodrome.
Komarov during training for Voshkod 1 mission

The mission

Plan called for a 03.35 a.m. Moscow time lift off of the Soyuz 1. After a full day in orbit to check all spacecraft's system, Vladimir Komarov would have been joined in orbit by Soyuz 2 piloted by Georgy Beregovoy. Then spacecrafts would have docked and crew of one moved inside the other by a spacewalk.
Unfortunately things went soon wrong after orbit was flawlessly reached. The left solar panel failed to deploy leaving the craft with only half the electrical power nedded to operate correctly all the systems. Only the backup communication system worked, and new failures came after another. At the fifht orbit Soyuz was out of control, Komarov was not able to maneuver it correctly and went on manual control but it failed too. Between the seventh and thirteenth he was out of radio range.
After the thirteenth orbit Komarov spoke again with mission control and he was instructed to fire the retro-rockets on seventeenth orbit. The launch of Beregovoy was cancelled - now it was time to try to get Komarov home.
After de-orbit burn Komarov hardly piloted his craft to a landing site. He survived the reentry but not the terrible impact with ground when parachute failed to deploy making the ship crash at more than 500 km/h. Retro-rockets exploded on impact and a fire engulfed what remained of the Soyuz descent module.
Soyuz 1 crash at more than 500 km/h
Komarov tragically died by a parachute failure
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