Veteran cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov dies at 93 years old

Cosmonaut Vladimir Aleksandrovich Shatalov, one of Russia’s most renowned space explorers, passed away at the age of 93 on Tuesday (15). The information was communicated by the country’s space agency, to Roscosmos.

Shatalov gained renown by participating in three successful manned missions during the Cold War period.

One of them, in particular, was a pioneering spirit: the first time that two space vehicles performed a manual docking and allowed people to go from one spacecraft to another, in an experiment to create a space station.

Successful career

Born in 1927 in a province of the then Soviet Union that is now a territory of Kazakhstan, Shatalov participated in World War II by building fortifications, soon after being integrated into the region’s army. He graduated from the Kachinsk Military Aviation School and the Air Force Academy, serving as a flight instructor, pilot and squadron commander for the next two decades.

On January 14, 1969, he went solo into space on his first and most important space mission: Soyuz 4. Manual docking was performed with Soyuz 5, with two cosmonauts passing to Shatalov’s spacecraft via spacewalk after the procedure. .

The United States couldn’t do the same thing until two months later — a long period in terms of the space race.

An illustration of the coupling between the Soyuz.
An illustration of the coupling between the Soyuz.Source: Wikimedia Commons

The cosmonaut also commanded the Soyuz 8 mission in October 1969, which marked the first time that three different teams and ships of the Soyuz family had been in space. Soyuz 10, from April 1971, had technical problems in the docking, but it was the first official mission to a space station, Salyut 1.

His space career over, he took command of the Cosmonaut Gagarin Training Center for four years, officially retiring from military life in 1992.

Shatalov.
Shatalov.Source: Spacefacts

Shatalov received several awards, including the Order of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, and the 3rd Degree Order for Service to Motherland in the Soviet Armed Forces.

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