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The Final Communication of Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, Known as the “Man Who Fell From Space”

In 1967, the Soviet Union marked its 50th anniversary. Part of the celebrations included a space stunt that tragically resulted in the death of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, known as “the man who fell from space.”

The intention was to launch two spacecraft into orbit. Soyuz 1, with Komarov on board, was launched ahead of Soyuz 2, which arrived a day later. Subsequently, the vessels would rendezvous, allowing Komarov to perform a spacewalk by transitioning from his spacecraft to Soyuz 2. One of the two astronauts on board Soyuz 2 would then proceed to enter Soyuz 1 before both spacecrafts embarked on their journey back to Earth.

Some argue that several months before the scheduled launch, signs indicated that it would not be successful, despite strong opposition. In the book Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin, Yuri Gagarin and other senior technicians discovered 203 structural issues during their inspection of the craft, some of which could pose a risk if the craft were to be launched into space.

Reportedly, a memo detailing the faults spanned 10 pages. No one dared to deliver the memo to leader Leonid Brezhnev, perhaps out of concern for their own safety.

As per the authors of Starman, who interviewed Venyamin Russayev, the KGB agent responsible for overseeing Gagarin, Komarov’s associates tried to persuade him to decline piloting the spacecraft, believing the outcome would be less dire than certain death (though, as noted by space historians, Russayev’s recollections may have been embellished). However, Komarov understood that withdrawing would result in his friend Gagarin being sent instead. Komarov declined to retreat, fully aware that it would probably result in his demise.

Instead, Komarov planned a small act of retaliation against those who were sending him to his demise. He allegedly requested an open-casket funeral in case of any mishaps.

On the day of the launch, Gagarin deviated from standard procedure by insisting on wearing a pressure suit before descending to the launchpad to converse with Komarov. He may have attempted to postpone the launch in order to have it canceled, but his strategy was unsuccessful. Komarov successfully launched and reached space inside the spacecraft. Upon arrival, complications arose as one of the solar panels malfunctioned, resulting in limited power for his craft.

Upon receiving instructions from the space agency, his capsule initiated a spin during descent. He was unable to control his altitude or orient the spacecraft’s bottom towards the ground, preventing the landing rockets from softening the impact. He fell directly and collided with the ground, comparable to the impact of a 2.8-ton meteorite.

According to Starman, American radio stations in Turkey were able to record Komarov’s final words, “This devil ship!” He expressed frustration with the malfunctioning items before meeting a tragic end.

According to official Soviet transcripts, Komarov’s final words were: “I feel excellent; everything’s in order,” followed by “Thank you for transmitting all of that.” Separation took place.”

As per this account, Komarov tragically plummeted to the ground while ground control endeavored to regain communication.

“Rubin, this is Zarya; can you hear me?” The transcript states, “Over.” “Rubin, this is Zarya; can you hear me?” Finished. Zarya is here; have you read me? End.”

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