Lev Stepanovich Demin (cyrillic
Лев Степанович Демин) was born January 11, 1926
. He graduated in 1945
from Air Force School
and went into a military aviation technical school. He was able to finish the course ahead of schedule and in 1951
enrolled at N. E. Zhukovskogo Military Air Engineering Academy
. He was accepted as a cosmonaut for the 1963
His first assignment was to the backup crew of Voskhod 4. This would have been a 20 day mission involving unreeling a tether between the Voskhod spacecraft and the Block I final rocket stage. All Voskhod flights after Voskhod 2 were cancelled after the near fatal problems encountered.
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, Demin first and only flight launched August 26, 1974. He and Gennadi Sarafanov 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.
Like all cosmonauts he received many awards including the Hero of the Soviet Union (by Decree of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on September 2, 1974), the Order of Lenin and an award of the Red Banner of Labor. He was also an honourary citizen of Magadan, Kaluga, Gagarin, Tambov (all in Russia), and Tselinograd (Kazakhstan).