Georgi Timofeyevich Dobrovolsky (cyrillic
Георгий Тимофеевич Добровольский) was born June 1, 1928
to Timofei Dobrovolsky
and Maria Dobrovolskaya
in the city of Odessa
. He initially wanted to join the Navy
but was turned down and so went to the Air Force
instead. He graduated from the Higher Air Force School and reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Soviet Air Force. He was selected as a cosmonaut for the 1963 intake.
His first assignment was to the support crew for the Soyuz 10 flight. This was meant to be the first space station mission but was unable to achieve a hard dock with the Salyut 1 space station.
Dobrovolsky was then assigned to the backup crew for the Soyuz 11 mission. The original crew of Aleksei Leonov, Valeri Kubasov and Pyotr Kolodin were bumped when it was suspected that Kubasov had contracted tuberculosis. The backup crew of Dobrovolsky, Viktor Patsayev, and Vladislav Volkov were made the prime crew. They launched on June 6, 1971.
During their three week stay the crew investigated aspects of long duration spaceflight and observed the Earth. The living conditions were somewhat difficult and there was even a small fire. There was also a a serious personality clash between the commander Dobrovolskiy - a rookie cosmonaut - and veteran cosmonaut Volkov. For these reasons it was decided to end the mission early, instead of going to the full 28 day length. They undocked after June 29 and prepared to reenter.
The crew were killed however when a pressure equalisation valve opened prematuraly. They were given a large state funeral and are interned in the Kremlin Wall.
In all Dobrovolsky spent 23 days, 18 hours and 21 minutes in space.
Among the awards he received was the highest honour in the USSR, the Hero of the Soviet Union.
He left a wife, Lyudmila, and two daughters, Marina and Natasha, then aged 12 and 4.
As happened in the Soviet Union, many things were named after the dead cosmonaut. One of the tracking ships that was used for relaying telemetry from orbiting spacecraft was named after Dobrovolsky. He also had 1789 Dobrovolsky named after him and a crater on the moon.