Vladimir Aleksandrovich Dzhanibekov (cyrillic Владимир Александрович Джанибеков), Soviet Cosmonaut, was born May 13, 1942 in the remote area of Iskandar in the Tashkent region, Uzbekistan. He changed his surname from Krysin when he became a cosmonaut. His family moved to Tashkent soon after his birth. In 1960 he entered into the Leningrad University to study physics, where he became involved in flying, something that he had always been interested in. In 1961 he decided to enrol in the V. M. Komarov Higher Military Flying School at Yeisk. Four years later he graduated and became a flying instructor in the Soviet Air Force. In 1970 he was selected as a cosmonaut. This was the same year that he joined the Communist Party.

He was first assigned to the support crew for the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. As such he was on the support crew for the Soyuz 16 flight which tested the new version of the Soyuz spacecraft that was to be used on the actual ASTP flight. He was then on the backup crew for Soyuz 19.

He then moved into the Salyut program. He was to have been on the next flight after Soyuz 25, if it had successfully docked with Salyut 6. But after the failed docking it was decided that all future flights must have at least one crew member who has flown before. This meant that original crew for the follow on flight of Dzhanibekov and Pyotr Kolodin (who never did fly in space) had to be changed to Oleg Makarov.

After all this shifting around, Dzhanibekov first flight was Soyuz 27 launched January 10, 1978. Makarov and Dzhanibekov docked with the Salyut 6 space station for a 6 day stay. It was the first time that three spacecraft had been docked together, with the Soyuz 26 spacecraft still attached. The four person crew tested the strength of the complex by 'jumping' up and down. They declared it to be safe. Dzhanibekov and Makarov performed experiments and then landed on the month old Soyuz 26 spacecraft.

Dzhanibekov next mission was Soyuz 39, the fifth Intercosmos mission which carried the first Mongolian cosmonaut, Gurragcha Jugderdemidiin, to Salyut 6. By this time the staion had lasted twice the original time it was supposed to and had lost the new car smell that it had during the first flights. As such the mission was mainly propaganda related. Due to the fact that the Soyuz 39 spacecraft was the old design they did not swap spacecraft with the long duration crew.

Soyuz T-6 launched June 24, 1982. Dzhanibekov, Jean-Loup Chretien and Aleksandr Ivanchenkov. Chretien, from France, was the first person from a non-communist country to fly on a Russian spacecraft. The mission almost ended in tragedy when the onboard computer crashed halfway through rotating the spacecraft. They were tumbling end over end and approaching the station at 23 feet per second. Fortunately they missed the station by 30 feet. They made another docking attempt, this time successful. With the opening of the hatches, it was the first time that five people had been in the same spacecraft. After a week on the station, the crew of Soyuz T-6 returned to Earth.

His next flight was Soyuz T-12 launched July 17, 1984. Dzhanibekov, Svetlana Savitskaya and Igor Volk docked with Salyut 7. Volk was actually a cosmonaut in the Buran Space Shuttle program but was selected to fly a Soyuz mission in order to have some spaceflight experience. Soyuz T-12 carried a special clamp that could apply five tons of pressure, after a leak had developed in the Salyut 7 fuel system. The clamp was applied to a line in the fuel system a week after the Soyuz T-12 crew left.

During the flight, he performed his first EVA. He and Savitskaya exited the airlock of Salyut 6 on July 25 to test a welding techniques. They used the Unified Manual Instrument to cut and weld titanium and stainless steel and to solder tin and lead. The EVA was mainly for propaganda purposes as it upstaged the plan EVA by American Kathryn Sullivan during a Shuttle mission. Soyuz T-12 was 12 days long. This was longer than usual as Dzhanibekov had to train the Resident crew of the station how to use the clamp in their next EVA.

Dzhanibekov last flight was Soyuz T-13. On this mission, he and Viktor Savinykh main objective on this flight was to reactivate the now inert Salyut 7. The station had fallen silent after an electrical sensor had failed. This sensor detected whether a battery was charged. Because of this each battery just drained down and did not recharge from the solar panels.

Dzhanibekov managed to guide the spacecraft in for a near perfect docking. It was the first time that the Russians had docked with an inert spacecraft, and a spinning one at that. On entering the station they found that it was freezing cold. Their breath froze into ice cystals and ice encrusted the walls of the station. The air also was stale and smelled like a cellar according to Dzhanibekov. They estimated the temperature to be around -10°C. They spent the next week reactivating the station, which had no working ventilation meaning that CO2 pooled around their heads. They could work for no more than 40 minutes before they had to retreat to the warmth of the Soyuz. A Progress freighter was launched a fortnight after they docked carrying supplies and new batteries. On August 2, 1985, the crew performed an EVA. During the five hour spacewalk they installed the third set of extension strips to the stations solar panels.

The replacement crew launched on September 18, 1985. However it was not a standard crew rotation. Vladimir Vasyutin and Aleksandr Volkov stayed on the station with Savinykh, while Georgi Grechko and Dzhanibekov returned to Earth in the Soyuz T-13 spacecraft.

In all Dzhanibekov had spent 145 days, 15 hours and 56 minutes in space over five missions. He had also performed two EVAs with a total time of 8 hours and 35 minutes.

After leaving the cosmonaut program in 1986, he became involved in politics. He was the Deputy to the Supreme Soviet of Uzbek SSR from 1985 until 1990. He is also interested painting and his works, predominantly about space have been shown in several exhibtions.

He also became interested in ballooning, and flying around the world. He made only one flight though, that lasted only 30 minutes. He, Larry Newman and Don Moses lifted off in Earthwinds on January 13, 1993 but couldn't penetrate a strong inversion layer and tore the ballast balloon on a mountain peak.

He is twice a Hero of the Soviet Union (by decrees of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of March 16, 1978 and on March 30, 1981), has five Orders of Lenin and an Order of the Red Star. He is also a Hero of the Mongolian People's Republic and has the Mongolian Order of Sukhe-Bator. He also has the Legion of Honour from France. He is an honourary citizen of Gagarin, Kaluga (Russia), Arkalyk (Kazakhstan), Houston (USA).


  • http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/cosmonauts/english/dzhanibekov_vladimir.htm
  • http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Salyut6/S39.htm
  • http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Salyut6/S27.htm
  • http://www.astronautix.com/astros/dzhbekov.htm
  • http://www.balloonlife.com/publications/balloon_life/9711/rtwretro9711.htm
  • http://groups.google.co.nz/groups?selm=9505221540.AA07052%40urania.harvard.edu&oe=UTF-8&output=gplain
  • http://books.nap.edu/books/0309085489/html/index.html

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