Gennadi Vassilyevich Sarafanov (cyrillic Геннадий Васильевич Сарафанов) was born January 1, 1942 in the village of Sinen'kie in Russia. His family moved to Saratov, where he finished secondary school in 1959. He then entered a Higher Military Aircraft School, where he graduated from in 1964. He flew several different types of aeroplanes in the Soviet Air Force, before being selected as a cosmonaut for the 1965 intake.

He was to have been on the prime crew of the second mission to the Salyut 2 space station. This mission was cancelled after the failure of the first Almaz space station is orbit. All the planned flights were moved onto Salyut 3.

As such, Sarafanov first and only flight launched August 26, 1974, Soyuz 15. He and Lev Demin were launched on the second mission to Salyut 3. All was going well until they were 300 metres from the station. At that point the rendezvous system malfunctioned and sent them at 72 kilometres per hour towards the station. They missed by only 40 metres, but the crew failed to turn off the system. So they made two more runs at the station. The ground finally turned it off leaving them with only enough fuel to land.

In all he spent 2 days and 12 minutes in space.

Among the awards he received was the Hero of the Soviet Union (by Decree of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on September 2, 1974) and the Order of Lenin. He is an honourary citizen of Kaluga, Gagarin (Russia) and Dzhezkazgan (Kazakhstan).

During the 1990s he assisted in the administration of the Shchelkovo suburb of Moscow.


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