Vladimir Komarov was a key figure in the early days of the Soviet space program, and his legacy still resonates today. He was a pilot, engineer, and astronaut who played a pivotal role in the development of spaceflight technology and exploration.
Komarov’s first mission into space was on Voskhod 1 in 1964. It was a groundbreaking mission, as it was the first time multiple people had been sent into space together. Komarov served as the mission commander, a role that he took very seriously.
“Komarov was very focussed and driven,” says Yuri Gagarin, the first human to journey into outer space. “He was a brilliant engineer and a dedicated pilot. He was the perfect choice to lead the Voskhod mission.”
Komarov’s skills as a pilot and engineer were put to the test during the Voskhod mission. The spacecraft was designed to carry three crew members, but due to technical issues, the cabin was too small for three people to wear spacesuits. This meant that only two crew members were able to don spacesuits during the mission, while the third had to remain in the spacecraft without protection.
Throughout the mission, Komarov displayed a calm and collected demeanor, despite the challenges. He and his crewmate, Konstantin Feoktistov, carried out a series of experiments and observations from orbit, and they returned to Earth safely after just under one day in space.
Komarov’s bravery and success earned him praise and admiration from his colleagues and from the Soviet government. He immediately began training for his second space mission, the historic Soyuz 1 mission.
Soyuz 1 was a pivotal mission for the Soviet space program. It was the first manned mission on a new and untested spacecraft, and it was intended to pave the way for future spaceflights. Komarov was selected as the solo pilot for the mission due to his experience as a test pilot, his engineering expertise, and his successful record on the Voskhod mission.