Valentin Vitalyevich Lebedev (cyrillic Валентин Витальевич Лебедев) was born April 14, 1942
in the city of Moscow
. He graduated from the Moscow Sergei Ordzhonikidze Aviation Institute
. He joined a spacecraft Design Bureau and took an active part in the development and testing of new spacecraft systems. In 1974
he received a doctorate in Technical Sciences
. Before this he was selected as a cosmonaut
for the 1972 Civilian Engineer Group.
His first flight was Soyuz 13 launched December 18, 1973. Also on board was Pyotr Klimuk for a week long mission. They tested the new 7K-T spacecraft as well as operating the large Orion 2 Astrophysical Camera, which was fitted instead of the docking apparatus.
He was then assigned the backup crew for the Soyuz 32 flight. This docked with Salyut 6, with the crew staying for 175 days. There were no visitors to the station during the stay after the main engine on Soyuz 33 failed. The Russians launched the unmanned Soyuz 34 spacecraft so the crew could get home.
Lebedev second and last flight was Soyuz T-5, launched May 13, 1982. It also carried Anatoli Berezovoi to Salyut 7 for a 211 day stay. On the fourth day of their mission they released the ISKRA 2 satellite. This was a ham radio satellite designed by the Soviets to upstage the Americans as the first communication satellite released from a manned spacecraft! The crew took over a month to fully recover from the mission, suffering weakness and dizziness.
In all he spent 219 days, 5 hours and 59 minutes in space over 2 missions.
In 1980, Lebedev was preparing for what was to become the longest ever space expedition of 185 days (Soyuz 35) when, shortly before, he injured his leg and was replaced by Valeri Ryumin.
He has twice been a Hero of the Soviet Union and from the USSR Academy of Science he received the Konstantin Tsiolkovsky Gold Medal. He also received the Legion of Honour from France. He an honourary citizen of Fort Worth, Texas.