Georgy Dobrovolsky

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Georgy Timofeyevich Dobrovolsky
Georgy Dobrovolsky.jpg
Born(1928-06-01)June 1, 1928
DiedJune 30, 1971(1971-06-30) (aged 43)
Nationality Soviet
Occupation Pilot
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin
Space career
Rank Podpolkovnik, Soviet Air Force
Time in space
23d 18h 21m
Selection Air Force Group 2
Missions Soyuz 11

Georgy Timofeyevich Dobrovolsky (Russian : Гео́ргий Тимофе́евич Доброво́льский; June 1, 1928 June 30, 1971) [1] was a Soviet cosmonaut who commanded the three-man crew of the Soyuz 11 spacecraft. They became the world's first space station crew aboard Salyut 1, but died of asphyxiation because of an accidentally opened valve. They were the first and, as of 2020, the only humans to have died in space.


Dobrovolsky, Viktor Patsayev and Vladislav Volkov flew on the Soyuz 11 mission and were the world's second crew to die during a space flight (after Vladimir Komarov in Soyuz 1).

After a normal re-entry, the capsule was opened and the crew was found dead. [2] 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. [3]

Dobrovolsky's ashes were placed in an urn in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis on Red Square in Moscow. [4] 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.

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  1. "Georgy Timofeyevich Dobrovolsky". Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  2. Kluger, Jeffrey (31 January 2013). "Soyuz 11: Georgi Dobrovolski, Victor Patsayev, Vladislav Volkov". Time magazine . Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  3. "The Crew That Never Came Home: The Misfortunes of Soyuz 11". Space Safety Magazine. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  4. Ivanovich, Grujica S. (2008). Salyut – The First Space Station: Triumph and Tragedy. Springer. p. 351.