Vladislav Volkov


Vladislav Volkov
Kosmonaut Vladislav Volkov.jpg
Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov

(1935-11-23)23 November 1935
Died29 June 1971(1971-06-29) (aged 35)
AwardsHero of the Soviet Union (twice)
Space career
Time in space
28d 17h 01m
SelectionCivilian Specialist Group 2, 1966
MissionsSoyuz 7, Soyuz 11

Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov (Russian: Владисла́в Никола́евич Во́лков; 23 November 1935 – 29 June 1971) was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 11 missions. The second mission terminated fatally.[1][2] Volkov and the two other crew members were asphyxiated on reentry, the only three people to have died in outer space.


Volkov graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute, 1959.[3] As an aviation engineer at Korolyov Design Bureau, he was involved in the development of the Vostok and Voskhod spacecraft prior to his selection as a cosmonaut. He flew aboard Soyuz 7 in 1969.

Volkov, on his second space mission in 1971, was assigned to Soyuz 11. The three cosmonauts on this flight spent 23 days on Salyut 1, the world's first space station. After three relatively placid weeks in orbit, however, Soyuz 11 became the second Soviet space flight to terminate fatally, after Soyuz 1.

After a normal re-entry, the Soyuz 11 capsule was opened and the corpses of the three crew members were found inside.[4] 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, causing Volkov and his two flight companions to suffer fatal hypoxia as their cabin descended toward the earth's atmosphere.[5]

Awards and remembrance

Vladislav Volkov was decorated twice as the Hero of the Soviet Union (first on 22 October 1969 and posthumously on 30 June 1971). He was also awarded the two Orders of Lenin and the title of Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR.[1] His ashes were interred in the Kremlin Wall on Red Square in Moscow.[6]

The lunar crater Volkov and the minor planet 1790 Volkov are named in his honor. A street in Moscow is named after him.

The "Yeniseyles" Soviet research/survey ship was renamed "Kosmonavt Vladislav Volkov" in his honor in 1974.[7]

A tomato variety from Ukraine was named Cosmonaut Volkov in his memory by his friend the space scientist and gardener Mikhailovich Maslov.[8]

Volkov is an honorary citizen of Kaluga and Kirov.[2]

1973 to 2015 the Pilotcosmonaut-Volkov-Award (later Volkov-Cup)[9] was given for the best sportsacrobatics, since 2016 called Zolotov-Cup; while alive, Volkov had become the first chairman of the Soviet Society of Sportsacrobatics in 1970.[10]

In Russia in Space, Brian Harvey described a fleet of communication vessels or "comships", used to track Soviet space missions. The fleet included a ship known as the Vladislav Volkov, built during the 1970s. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, several of the fleet's ships were either sold to other governments, or left idle in harbor.[11]

An account of Volkov's life and space career appears in the 2003 book Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon by Colin Burgess.

Media depictions

In the movie Virus, an alien intelligence inhabits the computer system of the research vessel "Akademic Vladislav Volkov" via a transmission from space.


  1. ^ a b "Vladislav Volkov". warheroes.ru (in Russian).
  2. ^ a b Volkov at peoples.ru
  3. ^ "Volkov". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  4. ^ Kluger, Jeffrey (31 January 2013). "Soyuz 11: Georgi Dobrovolski, Victor Patsayev, Vladislav Volkov". Time magazine. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  5. ^ "The Crew That Never Came Home: The Misfortunes of Soyuz 11". Space Safety Magazine. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  6. ^ Ivanovich, Grujica S. (2008). Salyut – The First Space Station: Triumph and Tragedy. Springer. p. 351. ISBN 9780387739731.
  7. ^ "KOSMONAVT VLADISLAV VOLKOV". Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Cosmonaut Volkov Tomato". seedlibrary.org. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  9. ^ https://www.riesa.de/deu/_presse/media/Kopie1_RIE_38-2016.pdf (in German)
  10. ^ Владислав «Вадим» Николаевич Волковhttp://www.astronaut.ru/as_rusia/energia/text/volkov.htm?reload_coolmenus (in Russian)
  11. ^ Harvey, Brian (2001). Russia in Space: The Failed Frontier?. Springer. pp. 210–211. ISBN 9781852332037.