Friday, March 18, 2011

A Victim of Communism

I've known for a few years that when the Soviets launched Laika into orbit they had no intention of trying to get her back alive. Now we can see this callus disregard for life extended to human beings as well. In 1967, Vladimer Komarov was launched into orbit on a doomed mission.

From Cosmonaut Crashed Into Earth 'Crying In Rage' at NPR.
The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won't work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, "cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship."
Space flight is dangerous. Anyone who thinks otherwise should never be given any responsibility more important than the channel buttons for his TV. However, there is a line between bad luck and negligence. The damned Soviets knew the capsule was not safe to fly.
The problem was Gagarin. Already a Soviet hero, the first man ever in space, he and some senior technicians had inspected the Soyuz 1 and had found 203 structural problems — serious problems that would make this machine dangerous to navigate in space. The mission, Gagarin suggested, should be postponed.
So why did he climb into a capsule he knew was defective?
Russayev asked, Why not refuse? According to the authors, Komarov answered: "If I don't make this flight, they'll send the backup pilot instead." That was Yuri Gagarin. Vladimir Komarov couldn't do that to his friend. "That's Yura," the book quotes him saying, "and he'll die instead of me. We've got to take care of him." Komarov then burst into tears.
He got into that capsule because he was a brave man who kept faith with his friends.

I've said this before and I guess I get to say it again. The bastards that ran the Soviet Union did not deserve the quality of men who served them.

H/T to The Unwanted Blog

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