[FPSPACE] Komarov's Death (Gagarin Reaction) -- Sensational New (?) Revelations?

Chris Jones clj at panix.com
Fri Mar 18 13:24:28 EDT 2011

On 03/18/2011 12:31 PM, James E Oberg wrote:
> Proper timing for the 50th anniversary, too -- book sales!!!.
> I would advise EXTREME skepticism as a going-in posture

Excellent advice.

> The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on
> fuel;

Is this true?  I've never heard so; dangerously low on electrical power
has been reported, but not fuel.

>      ; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won't work and the
> cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed
> into Earth, his body turning molten on impact.

This seems excessively dramatic (i.e. exaggerated, or false).  I'm not
sure what is meant by "full-speed", but the tangled parachutes did slow
the descent module somewhat, though nowhere near enough for the impact
to be survivable.  And "molten" is also overly dramatic.

> This extraordinarily intimate account of the 1967 death of a Russian
> cosmonaut appears in a new book, /Starman,/ by Jamie Doran and Piers
> Bizony, to be published next month. The authors base their narrative
> principally on revelations from a KGB officer, Venymin Ivanovich
> Rusyaev, and previous reporting by Yaroslav Golovanov in /Pravda/. This
> version — if it's true — is beyond shocking.

             ^^^^^^^^^^^^ !

> The plan was to launch a capsule, the Soyuz 1, with Komarov inside. The
> next day, a second vehicle would take off, with two additional
> cosmonauts; the two vehicles would meet, dock, Komarov would crawl from
> one vehicle to the other, exchanging places with a colleague, and come
> home in the second ship.

Has anyone ever heard that this was the plan?  I've always heard that
the plan was the one that was carried out on Soyuz 4&5:  2nd launch has
three (not two) cosmonauts, two of whom would transfer to the first
Soyuz and return in it.  Is there any evidence that there was a space
suit on Soyuz 1 (certainly Komarov wasn't wearing one when he boarded
Soyuz 1; there's photographic evidence of that).  And as I recall,
donning a space suit in orbit required help from a second crew member,
something Komarov wouldn't have had.  So this whole scenario strikes me
as bogus.

> On launch day, April 23, 1967, a Russian journalist, Yaroslav Golovanov,
> reported that Gagarin showed up at the launch site and demanded to be
> put into a space suit, though no one was expecting him to fly.

Why?  Komarov, who DID fly, wasn't wearing one.  Another strike against
this story.

>                                                  Fellwock described how
> Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin called on a video phone to tell him he was
> a hero.

Why a video phone?  Surely Komarov had no ability to receive video.

> When the capsule began its descent and the parachutes failed to open,
> the book describes how American intelligence "picked up [Komarov's]
> cries of rage as he plunged to his death."

Given that Soyuz has no voice communication from separation of the three
modules until the antenna in the parachute lines are deployed, this also
seems like fantasy.

Very little new concerning Soyuz 1 is reported here, and what is seems
unbelievable, as does so much of what has been reported (really,
rumored) previously.

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