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Today in 1969 – The Soviet Union Launches Soyuz 5

15. January 2010 by Admin 0 Comments

Among the Soviet Union’s pioneering endeavors in space exploration, 41 years ago it launched Soyuz 5 into orbit, the first-ever docking of two manned spacecraft. Soyuz 5 also was the first mission to ever transfer crew from one space vehicle to another (Soyuz 4). The mission lasted 3 days and only brought back 1 of its original 3 man crew (2 stayed behind to gather data).

The flight was also memorable for its dramatic re-entry. The craft's service module did not separate, so it entered the atmosphere nose-first leaving cosmonaut Boris Volynov hanging by his restraining straps. As the craft aerobraked, the atmosphere burned through the module. But the craft righted itself before the escape hatch was burned through. Then, the parachute lines tangled and the landing rockets failed, resulting in a hard landing which broke Volynov's teeth.