Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev
19 June 1933
|Died||29 June 1971 (aged 38)|
|Awards||Hero of the Soviet Union|
Time in space
|23d 18h 21m|
|Selection||1968 USSR Civilian Specialist Group 3|
Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev (Russian: Ви́ктор Ива́нович Паца́ев; 19 June 1933 – 29 June 1971) was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 11 mission and was part of the third space crew to die during a space flight. On board the space station Salyut 1 he operated the Orion 1 Space Observatory (see Orion 1 and Orion 2 Space Observatories); he became the first man to operate a telescope outside the Earth's atmosphere.
After a normal re-entry, the capsule was opened and the crew was found dead. It was discovered that a valve had opened just prior to leaving orbit that had allowed the capsule's atmosphere to vent away into space, suffocating the crew. One of Patsayev's hands was found to be bruised, and he may have been trying to shut the valve manually at the time he lost consciousness.
Patsayev's ashes were interned in the Kremlin Wall on Red Square in Moscow. He was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, the Order of Lenin and the title of Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR. The lunar crater Patsaev and the minor planet 1791 Patsayev are named for him.
An account of Patsayev's life and space career appears in the 2003 book Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon by Colin Burgess.
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