April 24, 1967: Soyuz 1 crashes as it returns to Earth.

Soyuz 1 (Союз 1) was a Soviet manned spaceflight, launched on April 23 and commanded by Vladimir Komarov, a talented pilot who had also previously commanded the milestone Voshkod 1 spaceflight. With the launch of Soyuz 1, Komarov became the first cosmonaut to venture into outer space more than once - and, when it crashed the next day, he became the first man to die on a spaceflight mission.

Prior to its launch, the spacecraft was reported to be full of engineering flaws; however, for various political reasons (the approach of Lenin’s birthday and mounting pressure to ‘beat’ the Americans to the moon), these flaws were overlooked, and Soyuz was launched as planned. Problems naturally ensued, and Komarov was ordered to abort the mission, but this was not a death sentence - had his parachutes deployed properly, he might have lived to command another spaceflight. Unfortunately, one of the aforementioned flaws in the design of Soyuz 1 was apparently in the parachute itself, and, as a result, the reentry module hurtled to the Earth at 140 km/h, exploding into a fireball upon impact. 

In the above audio clip, you can hear Komarov’s last transmission and his “cries of rage” at the “people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.” It is said that Komarov knew, when he accepted the command, that Soyuz 1 might prove fatal - but that he took it so that his back-up pilot (and national hero) Yuri Gagarin would not have to, saying “we’ve got to take care of him.”

  1. izzariel reblogged this from unhistorical
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    "we’ve got to take care of him" I’M FUCKING BAWWWING DAT SACRIFICE ;A;
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  16. soupisnotameal reblogged this from unhistorical and added:
    I had never heard of this at all. Thanks for all of your history lessons!
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