Valeri Nikolayevich Kubasov (cyrillic
Валерий Николаевич Кубасов) was born January 7, 1935
in the city of Vyazniki
. After finishing secondary school in 1952
, he entered the Moscow Aviation Institute
. On graduating the institute in 1958
, he started to work at a designing bureau
. He is the author of a number
of studies dealing with the calculation
of spaceship trajectories, and is the holder of a Master of Science
. He was selected as a member of the 1966 Civilian Engineer Group
He was the on the backup crew for the never flown Soyuz 2 flight. The mission was to have docked with Soyuz 1 carrying Vladimir Komarov, but was cancelled after the problems that Soyuz 1 experienced and rain at the Baikonur launch site.
His next assignment was again as backup, this time for Soyuz 5. He would have been one of the two cosmonauts who transferred to the docked Soyuz 4.
His first spaceflight was Soyuz 6. Launched October 11, 1969, it was to have docked provided spectacular film of Soyuz 7 and 8 docking. However the rendezvous system on all three failed due to a helium pressurisation problem.
Even though the rendezvous failed the crew were able to complete some of their objectives. They investigated welding in orbit and a vacumn by using the Vulkan welding furnace in the depressurized orbital module.
He was next the backup for the Soyuz 10 flight. This was meant to be the first space station docking with Salyut 1. However a hard dock was not possible as angle of approach was incorrect. It was later determined after the flight that the crew had no way of determining their orientation or range during a manual docking.
He was then to be on the prime crew for the Soyuz 11 flight. The other members of the crew were to be Aleksei Leonov and Pyotr Kolodin. Kubasov was grounded by physicians few days before launch, and the back-up crew ended up going instead. That crew were killed when the spacecraft depressurised during descent after a highly successful 30 day mission.
His was then meant to be on the first mission to the next two space stations. The first was destroyed during its launch, while the second was lost 18 days after launch.
His next flight was on Soyuz 19, the Soviet half of the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. It was the first human spaceflight mission managed jointly by two nations. Soyuz 19 launched on July 15, 1975 also with Aleksei Leonov on board. They docked with Apollo carrying Vance Brand, Deke Slayton and Thomas Stafford on board. The crews spent a few days docked during which time the crews transferred between the two spacecraft performing experiments, but mostly the aim of the exercise was goodwill.
After this flight Kubasov was assigned to the backup crew of the Soyuz 30 flight, the second Intercosmos mission. He was then the commander of the Soyuz 36, the first time a civilian had commanded a Soviet spaceflight. Also on board was Farkas Bertalan from Hungary. After a week on board Salyut they returned home in the six month old Soyuz 35 spacecraft.
This was Kubasov's last assignment. In all he had spent 18 days, 17 hours and 58 minutes in space over three spaceflights.
He then went on to be the Deputy Director of NPO Energiya and he finally retired from the Russian space program November 13, 1993.
He was twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, has three Orders of Lenin. He is also a Hero of the People's Republic of Hungary and has awards from Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and Yugoslavia. He is an honourary citizen of Kaluga, Vladimir, Vyazniki (Russia), Karaganda, Arkalyk (Kazakhstan), New York, Houston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Nashville, Salt Lake City (USA).