Roscosmos on facebook shared this video of Buran, Russia’s answer to the space shuttle, on its only flight on 15 November 1988. The 3 hour and 25 minute unmanned test flight launched and landed at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Unfortunately, this one was destroyed when the hangar it was in collapsed.
I almost forgot about Soyuz 11! Today in 1971 the crew of Soyuz 11; Georgi Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev; died during landing as a result of their Soyuz depressurizing (among other problems). They were the first crew to stay on a space station, Salyut 1.
This photo is after the press conference that confirmed Volkov, Dobrovolsky and Patsayev as the Soyuz 11 crew. The original crew was taken off when it was discovered on a X-ray that crew member Valery Kubasov might have tuberculosis. Left to right: Volkov, Dobrovolsky, head of cosmonaut training Nikolai Kamanin, Patsayev, Vladimir Shatalov and Nikolai Rukavishnikov, both of the Soyuz 10 crew.
Soyuz TM-5 launched on this day in 1988 (June 7). It carried Anatoly Solovyov, Viktor Savinykh and Bulgaria’s Aleksandr Aleksandrov to Mir. Aleksandrov was Bulgaria’s second cosmonaut, but the first one to get into a space station. The first, Georgi Ivanov, was not able to dock to the Salyut 6 station in 1979. Bulgaria was the only country in the Interkosmos program to send more than one person into space.
"Communists blaze the trail to the stars" A stamp set from 1964 commemorating the Soviet Union’s space firsts: first satellite (Sputnik-1957), first pennant on the moon (Luna 2 carried two to the moon-1959), first picture of the dark side of the moon (Luna 3-1959), first man in space (Yuri Gagarin-1961), first group flight (Vostok 3 and 4-1962) and first woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova-1963).
Today is International Women’s Day! Despite having the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova in 1963, Russia has only sent two other women into space. Svetlana Savitskaya made a trip to Salyut 7 in 1982 and became the first woman to perform a spacewalk in 1984. Yelena Kondakova was the first woman to be part of a long-duration mission on Mir in 1994. These were just those that made it into space, there were many other women selected.
Yelena Serova and Anna Kikina are part of the active group of cosmonauts. Serova will be part of ISS expeditions 41 and 42 starting in Sept 2014. Kikina is new, she was selected in Oct 2012 and is in basic training for the next two years.
The Soyuz 9 crew, Andriyan Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyanov, played the first chess game across space. They played against Earth, a team that consisted of Nikolai Kaminin, head of the Cosmonaut Training Center and cosmonaut Viktor Gorbatko. The game was played on a day off for the crew and ended in a draw. You can see how the game was played here. (June 1970)
The flight of Soyuz 38 had the first black person in space aboard, Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez. He flew as part of the Interkosmos program, which allowed nations friendly with the Soviet Union to fly in space. The crew, including commander Yuri Romanenko, spent time on the Salyut 6 station. (18-26 September 1980)