Vyacheslav Dmitriyevich Zudov (cyrillic Вячеслав Дмитриевич Зудов) was born January 8, 1942 in the village of Bor, Russia. He spent his childhood in the village of Alferovo. His family moved to Electrostal in the Moscow region where he attended High School until 1960. Then he attended the Balashovskoe Military Aviation School for Pilots. He entered into the Soviet Air Force where he flew Military Transport aircraft. He was selected as a cosmonaut for the 965 intake.

He was assigned to a series of backup and support crews, all missions to the Almaz space stations (Soyuz 14, Soyuz 15 and Soyuz 21).

His first and only flight was Soyuz 23 launched October 14, 1976 and was meant to be the second mission to Salyut 5. The mission was completely nominal up until the point when the crew were 40 metres from the station. At this point the Mission Control overrode the automatic system and stopped the approach because the spacecraft was going too fast. It was decided to return the crew to Earth. The reentry was not controlled properly and the crew landed in the frozen Lake Tengiz.

The parachute became wet and dragged the capsule underwater and upside down. The next problem facing the crew was that there was no way for fresh air to get into the capsule so they would have to use the regeneration equipment. This was not designed to operate for longer than a couple of hours. Rozhdestvensy worked out a way to save the equipment by only turning it on when they began to feel themselves becoming faint.

The shoreline of the lake was swampy preventing amphibious vehicles reaching the capsule that had landed 2 km from the shore. It was decided that the only way to rescue the crew was to hook the parachute up to a helicoptor and try to somehow dragged it too shore. This was accomplished by having a diver jump into the freezing lake and hook a line to the capsule. The helicoptor then dragged the capsule for over 5 km to solid land.

He was assinged to two more backup crews after this flight (the higher ups probably felt that he was somehow responsible for the problems that occurred on Soyuz 23). The first backup crew was Soyuz 35, which carried two cosmonauts to Salyut 6 for a six month stay. The other mission was Soyuz T-4 which carried another crew to Salyut 6 for a 74 day stay.

He continued to work in the cosmonaut program. He trained other crews and worked in Mission Control. He went onto to become the head of the Cosmonaut Corps. After retiring in 1987, he became a commercial scientist.

He was a Hero of the Soviet Union (by Decree of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on November 5, 1976) and has one Order of Lenin. He is an honourary citizen of the Pine forest, Gagarin, Kaluga (Russia), Arkalyk, Dzhezkazgan (Kazakhstan).

  • http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/cosmonauts/english/zudov_vyacheslav.htm
  • http://www.space.hobby.ru/astronauts/zudov.html
  • http://www.astronautix.com/astros/zudov.htm

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