Viktor Patsayev

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Viktor Patsayev
Виктор Пацаев
Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev

(1933-06-19)19 June 1933
Died30 June 1971(1971-06-30) (aged 38)
Resting placeKremlin Wall Necropolis
AwardsHero of the Soviet Union
Space career
Time in space
23d 18h 21m
Selection1968 USSR Civilian Specialist Group 3
MissionsSoyuz 11

Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev (Russian: Виктор Иванович Пацаев; 19 June 1933 – 30 June 1971)[1] was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 11 mission and was part of the third space crew to die during a space flight. On board the space station Salyut 1 he operated the Orion 1 Space Observatory (see Orion 1 and Orion 2 Space Observatories); he became the first man to operate a telescope outside the Earth's atmosphere.

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] One of Patsayev's hands was found to be bruised, and he may have been trying to shut the valve manually at the time he lost consciousness.

Patsayev's ashes were interred in the Kremlin Wall 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. The lunar crater Patsaev and the minor planet 1791 Patsayev are named for him.[5]

Further reading[edit]

An account of Patsayev's life and space career appears in the 2003 book Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon by Colin Burgess.


  1. ^ "Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev". 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. ISBN 9780387739731.
  5. ^ "Patsayev". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.