December 5, 1947 |
Gurvanbulag, Bulgan, Mongolia
|Other occupation||Flight engineer|
|Time in space||7d 20h 42m|
|Selection||1978 Intercosmos Group|
Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa (Mongolian: Жүгдэрдэмидийн Гүррагчаа; Russian: Жугдэрдэмидийн Гуррагча, [ʒuɡdʲɪrdʲɪmɪdɪjn ɡurakt͡ʃə], born December 5, 1947) was the first Mongolian and the second Asian in space. He was Mongolia's defense minister from 2000 to 2004.
Early life and spaceflight
He was selected as part of the eighth Intercosmos program on March 1, 1978. His backup was Maidarzhavyn Ganzorig. Gürragchaa, along with Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov, departed from Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 22, 1981. They docked with Salyut 6. While in orbit, Dzhanibekov and Gürragchaa carried out experiments on earth science. After 124 orbits and 7 days, 20 hours and 42 minutes in space, Gürragchaa and Dzhanibekov landed 170 km southeast of Dzhezkasgan.
After Mongolia removed the Communist-era ban on clan names in 1997, and unable to identify his original clan heritage, Gürragchaa chose the clan name Sansar – Mongolian for "cosmos". Clan names have only symbolic significance today and should not be confused with western style "family names", which are unknown in Mongolia. (See Mongolian names for details.)
Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union on March 30, 1981. The Zaisan Memorial, a monument south of Ulaanbaatar dedicated to Russian–Mongolian friendship, includes a mural which depicts amongst its scenes Gürragchaa's 1981 flight.
Before becoming minister of defense, Gürragchaa worked as the chief of staff of air defence for the Mongolian Armed Forces. He is married and has two children.