Valeri Viktorovich Ryumin (cyrillic Валерий Викторович Рюмин), Soviet cosmonaut, was born August 16, 1939
in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur
. He attended the Kaliningrad Mechanical Engineering Technical College
where he graduated from in 1958
with the specialty "Cold Working of Metals
". He was then draft
ed into the Soviet Army
where he served as a tank commander
. He then attended the Department of Electronics and Computing Technology
of the Moscow Forestry Engineering Institute
, where he graduated from in 1966
with the specialty "Spacecraft Control Systems
From there he went to Rocket Space Corporation Energia (NPO Energia). Among the positions he held were Ground Electrical Test Engineer, Deputy Lead Designer for Orbital Stations, Department Head, and Deputy General Designer for Testing. He was selected as a cosmonaut for the 1973 intake.
His first mission was Soyuz 25. This was meant to be the first mission to dock with Salyut 5. However it was unable to achieve a hard dock due to a faulty mechanism on the Soyuz. As such the craft was only in orbit for two days.
He then moved to the backup crew for Soyuz 29. This was the second long duration flight to Salyut 6. When it landed it carried the first East German astronaut, Sigmund Jähn, and the capsule now resides in Dresden, Germany.
Ryumin second flight was Soyuz 32. This was a long duration flight at 175 days in space. They received no visitors during their stay however. This was because of an engine failure on Soyuz 33. As there was not enough time to train a new crew to fly up a fresh Soyuz spacecraft, the crew returned on Soyuz 34, which had been launched unmanned. The main purpose of the mission was refurbishment, as the station was at that time already one and a half years old.
It was on the flight that Ryumin performed his first EVA. The crew had been using the KRT-10 radio telescope and jettisoned it on August 9, 1979. However it became tangled on objects protuding from the space station. So an EVA had to be performed in order dislodge the station and antenna.
Ryumin was next in space April 9, 1980 on Soyuz 35. This time he was in space for 184 days with Leonid Popov. They received three visits by crews during the flight - Soyuz 36, Soyuz T-2 and Soyuz 37. During the flight, about a quarter of their waking hours were spent on refurbishment, as during their stay the station marked its 1000th day in orbit.
After landing he moved into training and management and from 1981 to 1989, Ryumin was flight director for the Salyut 7 space station and the Mir space station. Since 1992, he has been the Director of the Russian portion of the Shuttle-Mir program. As such he managed to get himself assigned to a Shuttle mission so that he could inspect the station that he had managed for its entire lifetime.
It would not be until June 2, 1998 that Ryumin flew again this time on STS-91. This was the final docking of the Shuttle with the Mir Space Station. The crew returned Andrew Thomas who had spent 130 days living on Mir.
In all he spent 371 days, 17 hours and 24 minutes in space over four missions, performing one EVA lasting 1 hour and 24 minutes.
He is married to cosmonaut Yelena Kondakova and they have three children.
He is twice a Hero of the Soviet Union (by decrees of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on August 19, 1979 and on October 11, 1980), has three Orders of Lenin. He is also a Hero of the Hungarian People's Republic (1980) and Hero of the Republic of Cuba (1980). He is an honorary member of the International Academy of Astronautics (1980).