Yuri Viktorovich Romanenko (cyrillic
Юрий Викторович Романенко), Soviet cosmonaut, was born August 1, 1944
in the settlement
. His father was a seaman
. After finishing his high school
education he became a concrete worker
, then by metal craftsman
. In 1962
he entered into the Chernigov Higher Military Aviation Pilot School
. After graduating in 1966
he became a flying instructor in the Soviet Air Force
. He became a member of the Communist Party
. In 1970
he was selected as a cosmonaut.
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 on the backup crew for Soyuz 25. This was meant to be the first mission to dock with Salyut 5. However it was unable to achieve a hard dock due to a faulty mechanism on the Soyuz. As such the craft was only in orbit for two days.
His first flight was Soyuz 26 which docked with Salyut 6. Launched December 10, 1977, it lasted until January 16, 1978, when Georgi Grechko and Romanenko landed in the Soyuz 27 spacecraft. The crew broke the space endurance record of 84 days that had been set by the Skylab 4 crew. They also performed the first EVA by a Russian crew in 9 years when they went 'outside' to check whether the docking apparatus had been damaged by the aborted Soyuz 25 mission. It was the first time that the Soviets had admitted that Salyut 6 had two docking ports.
The two docking ports allowed the Russians to launch a Progress freighter to the station. This contained supplies that would keep the station in orbit for longer than if it had to rely on what was launched with it. The Progress also transferred fuel to the station, the first time an in-orbit refuelling had occurred.
He was on the backup crew for Soyuz 33, an Intercosmos mission. Carrying the first Bulgarian cosmonaut it was meant to dock with Salyut 6 was a main engine malfunction error occurred forcing the docking to be aborted and a mission of only 2 days.
On September 18, 1980, Soyuz 38 launched carrying Romanenko and Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez the first Cuban cosmonaut. They docked with Salyut 6 for a week long stay. By this time the station had been in orbit for over 1000 days and no longer had to new car smell that some of the first occupants said that it had. Some 20 joint experiments were conducted during the visit, including the growth of the first organic monocrystals in space using Cuban sugar.
Romanenko next two assignments were both backup crews. The first was Soyuz 40 which was the last flight of the old Soyuz 7K-T spacecraft. It carried Dimitri Prunariu from Romania and Leonid Popov to Salyut 7. The second was Soyuz T-7. This was only a visting crew mission and as such was only a week long.
Romanenko last flight was Soyuz TM-2 with Aleksandr Laveykin. This was the second expedition to Mir. During the flight he and Laveykin performed three EVAs. The first was unscheduled after Kvant-1 was unable to dock successfully with the Mir Core. They found a small rubbish bag was still in the docking port. The second installed the third solar array on the station and the third EVA finished the installation.
Laveykin developed a heart irregularities which meant that he returned to Earth with the visiting crew of Soyuz TM-3. He as replaced by Alexandr Alexandrov. The only other visitors to the station during Romanenko's stay was the crew of Soyuz TM-4, carrying Mir Expedition 3. Romanenko, Alexandrov and Anatoli Levchenko (who had launched with Soyuz TM-4) returned home in the Soyuz TM-4 capsule.
Romanenko's flight had lasted from February 5, 1987 until December 29, 1987. This stay of 326 days, 11 hours and 38 minutes was the longest at that time and the third longest of all time. The record was in fact broken by the Soyuz TM-4 crew.
In all he spent 430 days, 18 hours and 21 minutes in space over three missions. This is the tenth most accumalated time. He also has a total EVA time of 10 hours and 17 minutes over four EVAs.
After his last flight he became the Director of the Soviet Shuttle Program. He retired October 11, 1988. He became involved in social causes and was a member of the Moscow Branch of the All-Union of Leninist Communist Union of Youth. He is also on the Board of Trustees for a fund set up to support the victims of the Moscow Theatre Siege.
He was twice a Hero of the Soviet Union (by decrees of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on March 16, 1978 and on September 26, 1980), has three Orders of Lenin and an Order of the Red Star. He is also a Hero of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1978) and Hero of Republic of Cuba (1980). He is an honourary citizen of Kaluga, Buzuluk (Russia), Arkalyk, Dzhezkazgan (Kazakhstan), Bratislava (Slovakia), Prague (Czech Republic), Houston (USA).