Oleg Grigoryevich Makarov (cyrillic
Олег Григорьевич Макаров) was born January 6, 1933
in the city of Udomlya
. He graduated from the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School
, and went to work at the Korolev Design Bureau
working on the Vostok
spacecraft. His work involved the development of the cosmonaut's control panel and instruments for the first manned flights. He rose from an engineer to a Deputy Head
. He joined the Communist Party
. In 1966
, Makarov was selected as a cosmonaut
He was first assigned to the lunar landing program. He was then selected for the first circumlunar flight along with Aleksei Leonov. The mission was cancelled after the success of Apollo 8 and also because of the continuing problems that the spacecraft was having.
He was then assigned to a succession of missions that never flew. He was to be on the crew of the first test of the Kontakt rendezvous/docking system of the LK lunar lander. He was then to be on the second mission to the the second Salyut space station. What would have been Salyut 2 was destroyed during launch. After the loss of the station all the crews were moved onto the third space station. These missions were also cancelled after the space station (called Cosmos 557 by the Soviets) failed in orbit.
His first spaceflight was Soyuz 12 launched September 27, 1973 also with Vasili Lazarev on board. This mission tested out the newly improved Soyuz spacecraft after the fatal Soyuz 11 mission. It featured batteries instead of solar panels and only had space for two crewmembers, who now wore spacesuits.
His next flight was to be Soyuz 18 again with Lazarev, but things went horribly wrong. It launched perfectly on April 5, 1975 for what was expected to be a record 60 day stay at Salyut 4. But during second and third stage seperation, only 3 of the 6 locks released while the third stage still ignited. The crew could not initiate abort and the ground couldn't see the gyrations in their telemetry.
Finally, seven seconds later an automatic computer on board initiated an abort and the Soyuz finally was separated from the rocket at 192 km up (or as the official Soviet report said "the parameters of the carrier rocket's movement deviated from the pre-set values, and an automatic device produced the command to discontinue the flight and detach the spaceship for return to Earth").
They endured a reentry that reached 20.6 G and landed the China-Mongolia border region, 80 km from Soviet territory (officially it was said to be in the Altai mountains). The crew were recovered by a Soviet forces, all without the Chinese being informed. The capsule was retrieved the next day.
All this occurred three months before the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. It further heightened the fears of some people in the US that the Soyuz spacecraft was not safe. After some 'encouragement' the Soviets finally revealed that it was an early version of the rocket that "less diligently checked" than the one that would be used by Soyuz 19.
His next flight was Soyuz 27 launched January 10, 1978. Makarov and Vladimir Dzhanibekov docked with the Salyut 6 space station for a 6 day stay. It was the first time that three spacecraft had been docked together, with the Soyuz 26 spacecraft still attached. The four person crew tested the strength of the complex by 'jumping' up and down. They declared it to be safe. Dzhanibekov and Makarov performed experiments and then landed on the month old Soyuz 26 spacecraft.
His was on the backup crew for the Soyuz T-2 mission. This was the first manned flight of the new model of the Soyuz spacecraft. It featured solar panels and three crew positions, all wearing spacesuits.
Makarov was on the next flight, Soyuz T-3. Launched November 27, 1980, it also carried Leonid Kizim and Gennadi Strekalov. The three men docked with Salyut 6 for a busy 12 days and when they returned it was said that Makarov's two companions had "suffered a certain amount of tension", but that the more-experienced Makarov was less affected.
In all he spent a total time of 20 days, 17 hours and 20 minutes in space over three flights.
After leaving the cosmonaut corps in he continued to work for Korolev Design Bureau now called RSC Energia, both in the Mir space station program as well as the Energia-Buran developement. Makarov's hobbies included chess, hockey, the theatre and travelling.
He died on May 28, 2003 of a heart attack, aged 70. He was married with two children.
He was a Hero of the Soviet Union twice, received the Order of Lenin four times. He was an honourary citizen of Yakutsks (Russia) and Dzhezkazgan (Kazakhstan).