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July 2, 1940 |
|Time in space||1d 23h 01m|
|Selection||1978 Intercosmos Group|
Major general Georgi Ivanov Kakalov (Bulgarian: Георги Иванов Какалов; born July 2, 1940) is a retired Bulgarian military officer and the first Bulgarian cosmonaut. He was a member of the National Assembly of Bulgaria in 1990.
Early life and military career
Born in Lovech, Georgi Kakalov attended the Military Air-force School in Dolna Mitropolia. After completing the five-year program, he served in the Bulgarian People's Army as a military pilot. A few years later he became an instructor and head of a division.
As soon as he entered the Soviet International Space Programme Intercosmos in 1978, he had to change his family name to Ivanov, because his original surname Kakalov occasionally had negative connotations in Russian. After intensive training, Ivanov was selected for the fourth mission under the Intercosmos program.
He, along with Soviet cosmonaut Nikolai Rukavishnikov, was launched into space as part of the Soyuz 33 mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 10, 1979, at 17:34 (GMT). The scientific program for the flight was prepared entirely by Bulgarian scientists, along with some of the equipment.
Though take-off was smooth, the mission was a disaster, with severe damage of the engine preventing docking in orbit to Salyut 6 orbital station as it was initially planned. A premature return to Earth became the only possible decision for Ivanov and Rukavishnikov. Due to some additional technical problems landing was difficult to endure-more than 9Gs. When Soyuz 33 finally landed, it was 320 km southeast of Dzhezkazgan. It completed 31 orbits, and was in space for 1 day, 23 hours and 1 minute.
Ivanov was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union on April 13, 1979  Georgi Ivanov earned a Ph.D. in space engineering. He was elected to the National Assembly and took part in the creation of the new democratic Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.
Since 1993, Ivanov has been the executive director of Air Sofia Ltd.
Ivanov was married to Natalya Rousanova; they have one daughter, Ani (born 1967), until 1982 when they divorced. Now he is married to Lidia and they have one son, Ivan (born 1984). His hobbies include skiing, fishing and golf. Ivanov is a Member of the ASE — Association of the Space Explorers. He founded the Future in Space Foundation.
Honours and awards
- Hero of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (1979)
- Order of Georgi Dimitrov (1979)
- Order of Stara Planina, 1st class with Sword (2004)
- Hero of the Soviet Union (1979)
- Order of Lenin (Soviet Union) (1979)
- Medal "For Merit in Space Exploration" (Soviet Union)
- Honorary citizen of Lovech (29 April 1979)
- Space for two Bulgarians, The Sofia Echo, 1 April 2011
- (Russian)Biography at the website on Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia