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  Space Cover 416: Vladimir Komarov

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 416: Vladimir Komarov

Posts: 1449
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 05-07-2017 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 416 (May 7, 2017)

Space Cover #416: Vladimir Komarov

Just over 50 years ago the second space tragedy of 1967 happened when Soyuz 1, carrying cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov crashed after re-entry on April 24, 1967. This first manned flight of Soyuz was rushed to the launch pad by the Soviet government despite failures in all three prior unmanned test flights, and having a list of 203 design faults identified prior to the flight. During the flight, Soyuz 1's left solar array did not deploy and obscured some of the navigation equipment. Additional failures in the communications system and attitude control systems warranted a manual retrofire and re-entry the day after launch. Komarov performed the re-entry correctly, however both the prime and backup parachutes failed. The capsule slammed into the ground near Karabutak, Province of Orenburg in the present-day Russian Federation, killing Komarov instantly.

The memorial cover above was prepared by Robert Rank and postmarked at Satellite Beach, FL on the date of Komarov's death. Now, the purists out there probably just harrumphed at a cover postmarked a whole hemisphere away from the event. However, there are no covers from Karabutak (that I know of) for this event. In fact, the only non-backdated Soviet Soyuz 1 landing covers that I know of were postmarked in Tartu (now in Estonia), about 2500 miles from Karabutak, still a long ways away. And I don't have a Soyuz 1 Tartu cover, so above is as good as I've got...

However, if any of you have Soyuz 1 Tartu covers, or any other Komarov-related covers, let's post them to honor an incredibly brave cosmonaut who made the ultimate sacrifice. As always, I'll be glad to host your images if you can't – just email them to me.


Posts: 178
From: Boston MA, USA
Registered: Jun 2015

posted 05-07-2017 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Around a month ago, towards 50th anniversary of Soyuz 1 disaster, Russian ITC Marka issued a commemorative card and a special cancellation was held by Russian Post in Moscow.

As usual some private designs appeared like this crafted in cooperation by Igor Grishin and Alexander Pribytkov.

Just to mention - due to Soyuz 1 malfunctions, a Soyuz 2 flight crewed by Bykovsky, Khrunov and Yeliseyev was cancelled that eventually saved lives of the crew – the spaceship had the same landing system design. They had to perform the first ever docking crew transfer. The same exercise was later done by redesigned Soyuz 4 and 5 spaceships.


Posts: 110
From: Arlington, TX
Registered: Aug 2014

posted 12-31-2017 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cvrlvr99   Click Here to Email cvrlvr99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was researching for a talk I'm giving in Birmingham, AL in February and ran across a really surprising story about the Soyuz 1 crash. Beforehand the cosmonauts were trying to delay this launch. They protested that it was a deathtrap and gave their reasons. But the powers that be insisted that it be flown then, due to the U.S. setback with the Apollo fire and Apollo 7 being readied.

Komarov did not want to go but his back up was Gagarin who was a close friend. He couldn't talk Gagarin into turning down the flight if he, Komarov, did. So he wrote his will and in it he stated that he wanted his body, in whatever shape it was when he died, to be openly placed and not in a closed coffin. I think that he wanted to show the higher ups that they had killed him.

He bid his goodbyes knowing that he was going to die. There was a photo of a charred mound on a tablecloth, that looked to be about 3 to 3 1/2 feet long, about 2 feet wide and about a foot high. People were standing around it and it was identified as the body of Komarov. I have Tartu covers for both the launch and the crash of Soyuz 3.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 38553
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-31-2017 09:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ray, that story can be traced back to a singular, unreliable source and has been roundly discredited by a number of respected historians.

Komarov would not have flown a spacecraft he didn't have confidence in. He didn't sacrifice himself to save Gagarin.


Posts: 1449
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 01-01-2018 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is Ray's Tartu Club cover for the Soyuz 1 crash that he mentions above.

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