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Soyuz-11 Soyuz spacecraft
Mishaps of the Space Age
1971: Soyuz 11

At the end of their mission aboard Soyuz 11, cosmonauts Viktor Patsayev, Georgi Dobrovolsky, and Vladislav Volkov fired the explosive bolts to separate the re-entry capsule from the other stage of their spacecraft. The explosion knocked open a valve. One hundred miles above the Earth, the capsule was suddenly exposed to the surrounding low pressure of space. Patsayev tried to close the valve by hand but failed. Air inside the spacecraft quickly leaked away, causing an abrupt loss of pressure and the death of all three cosmonauts.

Soyuz-11 crash site Soyuz 11 crash site: rescuers giving CPR to cosmonauts.

Continue: 1986

Photos (1) NASA; (2) courtesy of the Ultimax Group, Inc. and VideoCosmos, Ltd.

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