Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov (cyrillic
Владислав Николаевич Волков) was born November 23, 1935
. He attended the Moscow Aviation Institute
and then went on to become an aviation engineer
in the Korolev Design Bureau
. He was then selected as a cosmonaut
for the 1966
Civilian Engineer Group.
His first spaceflight was Soyuz 7 as the flight engineer. Launched October 12, 1969 with commander Anatoli Filipchenko and research-cosmonaut Viktor Gorbatko also on board. Soyuz 7 was to have docked with Soyuz 8 while Soyuz 6 took spectacular film from nearby. Unfortunately all three rendezvous systems failed. Soyuz 7 and 8 did however manage to come within 500 metres of each other.
Volkov was then assigned to the backup crew for the Soyuz 10 flight. This was meant to be the first space station docking with Salyut 1. However a hard dock was not possible as angle of approach was incorrect. It was later determined after the flight that the crew had no way of determining their orientation or range during a manual docking.
He then had the misfortune of being on the backup crew for the Soyuz 11 flight. They were bumped up to the prime crew after Valeri Kubasov, who was on the original prime crew was grounded by physicians few days before launch. It was decided to take off the whole of the prime crew and replace them with their backups.
The new Soyuz 11 crew of Georgi Dobrovolskiy, Volkov and Viktor Patsayev spent nearly one month on the Salyut 1 space station. Equipment aboard Salyut 1 included a telescope, spectrometer, electrophotometer, and television. The main instrument, a large solar telescope, was inoperative because its cover failed to jettison.
After a nearly flawless mission disaster struck on June 30, 1971. After retrofire and out of communication with the ground, they jettisonned their service and orbital modules. This caused a pressure equalisation valve to jerk loose while they were still in space. It was not meant to open until 4 km above the ground. As they were not wearing there spacesuits as there wasn't enough room, the crew died as their atmosphere bled into space. It was the second time that a crew had been killed during a spaceflight.
In all Volkov spent 28 days, 17 hours and 1 minute in space.
He was twice awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union (one for each spaceflight), an Order of Lenin and has the Konstantin Tsiolkovsky Gold Medal from the USSR Academy of Sciences. He is an honourary citizen of Kaluga and Kirov (Russia). He also has a crater on the moon named after him and also minor planet 1790 Volkov.