TIL Soviet Cosmonaut knew he was doomed before he reentered, and spent his final minutes crying in rage.

TIL Soviet Cosmonaut knew he was doomed before he reentered, and spent his final minutes crying i...

He pretty much knew he was doomed before he blasted off.

Komarov was selected to command the Soyuz 1, in 1967, with Yuri Gagarin as his backup cosmonaut. Both knew the space capsule was not safe to fly, but everyone in space program was terrified of Brezhnev’s reaction to the mission being delayed or scrubbed. Komarov told friends he knew he would probably die. But he wouldn’t back out because he didn’t want Gagarin to die.


As Vladimir Komarov climbed into the transfer van to take the ride down to the pad, he had an air of fatalistic resignation about him. His fellow cosmonauts joshed him, trying to cheer him and get a smile.

It's a horrifying story.

Didn't he request an open casket if he died as well? I had heard he wanted the superiors to see the burnt body.

IIRC, it was someone high up in the chain of command who made it an open casket so that the officers could see what their reckless negligence had caused. There's a famous picture of soviet officers standing around a lump of charcoal (remains of the cosmonaut) that gets posted on reddit once a while with this background information with it.


No, it's a hoax. Komarov was quite calm when they last talked to him. It was impossible to talk to him by radio at reentry due to plasma field and because radio antennas were blasted off from descent module. Soyuz-1 crash was big surprise for everyone. Noone could predict it.

Did anyone ever provide any full transcript of the records? Here is the record in question It's nearly impossible to tell what is being said there even for a native speaker. I can only make out a few words, male voice declares some propaganda message of that flight, “path for communism for mankind” yadda yadda. Then he says his name.

After that goes some message of someone shouting which is normal for that time because of the quality of transmission devices and mics but I can't make out a single word out of it. Then propaganda by same confident voice who just called itself “pilot-cosmonaut Komarov” part is repeated again. I dare anyone who claims it's Komarov shouting to provide transcript on these records.

Claims that mission control knew he was about to die are strange. His mission didn't end with success, one of 2 solar panels did not open and Komarov was unable to open it by rotating his ship. Soyuz quickly started losing its energy so they aborted the mission. After successful retrograde burn (they had some serious issues with Soyuz orientation) everyone was pretty relaxed. When they found nearly completely burned down capsule, everyone was in shock. Also, some claim he burned alive while in reality he died when the capsule hit the ground at like 35—40 m/s.

Here is part of Chertok's book published way after Soviet Union fell http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4110/vol3.pdf (page 641). They learned about the crash only after a few hours.

We managed to find out from our representative at the firing range that, “according to General Kutasin’s report, the search and rescue service located the descent module on its parachute east of Orsk. The State Commission is departing: some for the landing site and some for Moscow.” On behalf of the entire GOGU management, Agadzhanov congratulated and thanked all those involved in the continuous round-the-clock watch and warned that, after a brief rest, by the end of the day each group must submit a report. “Comrades! I request that you all report to the dining hall at 8 a.m. You deserve a good breakfast,” announced the station chief. We accepted his offer with great enthusiasm. Leaving the duty officer to receive communications, we went our separate ways to freshen up before our festive breakfast. Breakfast really was excellent, especially since bottles of Georgian wine from the military brass’ special stash—reserved for the arrival of the entire State Commission at the station—appeared on the table. After satiating the first pangs of hunger and thirst, we finally felt that we could relax. Vying with one another for a chance to speak, each of us spoke about our experiences. We had to “pick apart” the designers of the systems that had put us in this critical situation. If only we had known that morning that we should have been thanking, rather than cursing, the ones whose fault it was that the solar panel had not deployed and the 45K sensor had failed! Gagarin did not pass up the opportunity. Turning to Rauschenbach and me with a cagey grin, he said: “What would we have done without a man on board? Your ionic system proved unreliable, the 45K sensor failed, and you still don’t trust cosmonauts.” We were rather dazed; and admitting our mistakes, we promised to set up control so that a cosmonaut had access to all operations on an equal footing with “the ground.” With our light-hearted debates in full swing, an officer entered and told Gagarin he had an urgent call. “It’s probably Moscow,” someone guessed. “Now we will find out about the arrangements for the reception in Moscow.” About 10 minutes later, Gagarin returned. His usual genial smile was gone. “I’ve been ordered to leave immediately for Orsk. The landing was off- nominal. That’s all I know.” It wasn’t until the end of the day, before we departed for Moscow, that we learned of Komarov’s death. Late in the evening on 24 April, when I returned home, Katya met me with the instructions—call Mishin immediately! From Mishin I learned that a government commission had been formed to investigate the causes of Komarov’s death.

Here are some notes by Kamanin (his diary wasn't supposed to be published, ever) he didn't knew anything about the landing as well http://militera.lib.ru/db/kamanin_np/67.html He even says they were told the parachute worked.

Oh, and by the way this photo http://i.imgur.com/LEGH7q3.jpg They took this pic and cremated him right after that. People who visited the funeral did not see these burned remains but a burial urn.

That picture is the thumbnail, and the very first thing you see once the article is opened, fyi. A couple of other interesting ones are further down.

I can't even begin to imagine the feeling of knowing you are being sent to your death. Especially by someone who knows nothing of(or cares nothing for) the circumstances of your incredibly likely demise.

It's always horrible when engineering gets taken over by politics. The same thing happened when the Challenger exploded.

It would have taken a miracle for him to survive. IIRC, there were a few hundred defects with the spacecraft. It had to be launched on a particular anniversary.

The title sorta makes it sound like his name was Soviet Cosmonaut.

Could be worse though, you could be an innocent person getting the death penalty. At least this guy is remembered as being a brave pioneer.

Did noone read the article!? It specifically states that he requested it before launch.

Yep. And I must admit, I wouldn't have considered the material properties at sub freezing temperatures for a machine that would only operate in south central Florida if I were the guy designing the SRB.

And if the air had been 10 or so degrees warmer, it would have been an uneventful launch

Epic name tho

There's a famous picture of soviet officers standing around a lump of charcoal that gets posted on reddit once a while.

looks at post


I'm horrified that a human being turned into that...

Komarov demanded [an open casket service] personally because he wanted to send a message to the government officials who had caused his death.

That's metal.

And then Gagarin would die in a plane crash a year later...

I recommend the documentary "The Red Stuff", about the early Russian cosmonaut program...

The cosmonauts had a code: If asked if they were feeling good, and they were, they responded with "excellent". If they were asked if they were feeling good, but weren't, they responded with "good". When they inquired to Komarov's condition after the crash, they were informed "The pilot feels unwell."

No, it's not. It's a vacuum. Mass that's not there can't have a temperature.

That's what the article said. It was an interesting read.

Yeah.... I could have done without this part of the internet tonight.

Of course I insisted on reading the whole thing.

Indeed true. Per the article, he demanded it prior to liftoff so his superiors would have to see what they did to him.

It's all in the article, quite a good read

Yes. He couldn't stop the launch, but at the very least, he forced the people responsible for his death to look at what they had done.

That article was bleak as fuck

Semantics. Space itself doesn't have a temperature, but any object in space has a temperature.

Two men were close, Yuri fell into depression and drinking.