Space Programs

Early Soviet Programs

What were the first Soyuz missions?

Soyuz 1, launched on April 23, 1967, was composed of three sections: an orbital module, a descent module, and a compartment containing instruments, engines, and fuel. Sadly, the mission was plagued with problems and ended in tragedy as its parachutes failed to open just before landing. The spacecraft crashed to Earth, and cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov (1927–1967) was killed. Future Soyuz missions were more successful. Soyuz 3 carried cosmonaut Georgi Beregovoy (1921–1995) into space and back safely. Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 successfully launched in January 1969, and the cosmonauts, Aleksey Yeliseyev (1934–) and Yevgeni Khrunov (1933–2000), each performed space-walks and switched vehicles, accomplishing the first-ever crew transfer in space.


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