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Subject: Nikolai Rukavishnikov, Russian Astronaut


Author:
Dies at 70
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Date Posted: October 27, 2002 4:39:52 EDT

Nikolai Rukavishnikov, a Soviet astronaut who made three trips into space and encountered hair-raising problems twice, died of a heart attack last Saturday, the Russian press reported.

Mr. Rukavishnikov's first space voyage was in 1971 aboard the Soyuz 10. The craft docked with the Salyut 1 space station, but the crew was unable to enter, apparently because of a faulty hatch, and the mission was aborted, lasting less than two days.

In 1974, he spent nearly six days in space as part of an American-Soviet project.

His last mission, on Soyuz 33 in 1979, turned into a white-knuckle space drama. The craft was to dock with the Salyut 6 station but an engine failure left it unable to maneuver. The same engine was to have sent the spacecraft back to Earth.

Mr. Rukavishnikov was able to fire up a backup engine, which also did not work properly but was able to return him and a Bulgarian astronaut safely.

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