Hermaszewski in the late 1970s
15 September 1941|
Lipniki, Reichskommissariat Ukraine, German-occupied Poland
|Rank||Brigadier general, Polish Air Force|
Time in space
|7d 22h 02m|
|Selection||1976 Intercosmos Group|
Mirosław Hermaszewski (born September 15, 1941) is a retired Polish Air Force officer and cosmonaut. He became the first (and to this day remains the only) Polish national in space, when he flew aboard the Soviet Soyuz 30 spacecraft in 1978.
Early life and education
Mirosław Hermaszewski was born into a Polish family in Lipniki, formerly in the Wołyń Voivodeship of Poland, but at the time part of Reichskommissariat Ukraine, and since the end of the Second World War in Ukraine. He is a survivor of the Volhynian massacres during which Ukrainian nationalists murdered 19 members of his family, including his father. Hermaszewski narrowly escaped death himself when the Ukrainian Insurgent Army attacked Lipniki on the night of 26–27 March 1943. After the incorporation of former Polish territory into the Ukrainian SSR at the end of the war, what was left of Hermaszewski's family were deported to Wołów near Wrocław, where he completed elementary and high school.
In 1965, he graduated from the military pilot school in Dęblin. In 1978, he was chosen from almost 500 Polish pilots to take part in the Intercosmos space program. Together with Pyotr Klimuk, he spent almost eight days on board the Salyut 6 space station (from 17:27 on 27 June to 16:31 on 5 July 1978). During their time in orbit, they carried out various geoscience experiments and photographed the Earth.
They landed 300 km west of Tselinograd. Hermaszewski was awarded with the Hero of the Soviet Union title for his participation in the mission. He later became President of the Polish Astronautical Society (1983–89).
During the period of martial law in Poland, Hermaszewski was named as a member of the Military Council of National Salvation without his consent or knowledge. He was studying in Moscow at the time and although he was ordered to return to Warsaw when martial law was declared in December 1981, after two weeks he was released to continue his studies. He was subsequently appointed as commander of the Fighter Pilots School in Dęblin. In 1988, he was promoted to general.
Between 1991 and 1992, Hermaszewski served as second-in-command of the Polish Air Force and Air Defence. He is currently retired.
He is married to Emilia Hermaszewska and has two children, Mirosław (born 1966) and Emilia (born 1974).
Honours and awards
- Order of Polonia Restituta – 2003
- Order of the Cross of Grunwald 1st Class – 1978
- Cross of Merit
- Medal of the 40th Anniversary of People's Poland
- Gold Medal of the Armed Forces in the Service of the Fatherland
- Silver Medal of the Armed Forces in the Service of the Fatherland
- Bronze Medal of the Armed Forces in the Service of the Fatherland
- Gold Medal of Merit for National Defence
- Silver Medal of Merit for National Defence
- Bronze Medal of Merit for National Defence
- Aviator badge
- Parachutist Badge
- Honorable title and an Order of "People's Poland Cosmonaut" – 1978
- Honorable title and an Order of "People's Poland Military Pilot Merit" – 1978
- Gold Order of Merit of Lower Silesia - 2013
- Janek Krasicki Gold Order – 1978
- Order of the Smile – 1986
- Gold Star Hero of the Soviet Union (nr 11301) – USSR, 1978
- Order of Lenin – USSR, 1978
- Medal "For Merit in Space Exploration" – Russia, 2011
- Honorable Citizen of Frombork – 1983
- Honorable Citizen of Wołów – 2011
- Mirosław Hermaszewski – pierwszy Polak w kosmosie.
- "Hermaszewski wspomina historię swojej rodziny podczas rzezi wołyńskiej" [Hermaszewski recalls history of his family during Volhynian slaughter] (in Polish). 11 July 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Biografia" [Biography] (in Polish). 20 April 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
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