The last words of the crew member of the Soyuz-11 spacecraft Vladislav Volkov, who died half a century ago, on June 30, 1971, while returning from the Salyut orbital station to Earth, have been published. This is stated in declassified documents on website “Roskosmos”.
The last thing they heard from the astronauts on Earth was Volkov’s humorous wish.
In addition, from the transcript of the negotiations, it follows that Volkov (call sign “Yantar-2”), as well as Georgy Dobrovolsky (“Yantar-1”) and Viktor Patsaev (“Yantar-3”) who were with him, closed the hatches, reported the situation and checked time. At the same time, the Zarya measuring point reported on the physical condition of the crew members.
As follows from the decryption, at 21:15 on June 29, 1971, the Mission Control Center gave the crew members the go-ahead to close the transfer hatch with the station, and then to undock. “The separation has passed, the separation has passed … Visually, we observe the discrepancy. The station went to our left, with a U-turn, ”Volkov warned. At the same time, Zarya reported that the landing would take place 10 minutes before sunrise. Volkov also reported that “rain is hanging” on the right: “It flies great, beautiful!” Then he was asked a question about the orientation of the ship relative to the Earth.
In response, the MCC urged not to rush, then Patsaev said that the horizon was already visible on the lower cut of the window. Later, the Descent signal lit up, and Zarya confirmed that everything was correct and said goodbye to the crew until the next communication session.
It was planned that Soyuz-11 would land on June 30 at 02:18 am about a hundred kilometers east of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. At the moment of separation of the descent vehicle from the instrument and orbital compartments at an altitude of about 150 kilometers, radio communication with the astronauts was interrupted. At an altitude of about 100 kilometers, the spacecraft was depressurized, the astronauts tried to fix the breakdown, but they lost consciousness. The opening of the ventilation valve in the descent vehicle became the cause of the disaster. The pressure inside the spacecraft dropped and the astronauts died. The spacecraft with the astronauts entered the dense layers of the atmosphere, the parachute system was triggered and the soft-landing engines turned on. However, the search group, which arrived almost immediately at the landing site, found the astronauts lying in their chairs with no signs of life. The cause of death of the astronauts was “explosive decompression”.
The flight suits could have saved Dobrovolsky, Volkov and Patsaev, but the cosmonauts were without them, since they would not otherwise have fit in Soyuz-11. After the tragedy, the space flight program was stopped for more than two years, and the Soyuz was finalized. Additional measures were established to ensure the safety of the crews, including the mandatory use of Sokol spacesuits during the launch of the spacecraft into orbit and during the return of cosmonauts to Earth. In addition, the crews were reduced to two people.
so many seconds the pressure inside the spaceship dropped
as a result, the astronauts died
Roscosmos notes that this tragic accident was the largest in the history of Russian cosmonautics. The deceased crew members were posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Every year, astronauts, workers in the rocket and space industry and people not involved in astronautics remember the tragic date.