Vladimír Remek, Czech cosmonaut was born on September 26, 1948
in the city of Ceske Budejovice
. He spent his childhood in this town, located in South Bohemia
. He atttended the High Aviation School
and joined the Czechoslovak Communist Party
during this time. He graduated from their in 1970
, with the rank of lieutenant
and the title "Pilot, Second Class
". He entered into the Czechoslovak Air Force
). From 1972
he studied at the Gagarin Air Force Academy
in the USSR
. Because of this experience he was selected as the Czechoslovakian candidate for the Intercosmos missions, which was first announced in April 1967
. However it was not until a decade
later that the first flights took place.
Remek was selected for the first Intercosmos mission and as such is the first person not from the USA or USSR to be launched into space. Soyuz 28 launched March 2, 1978 and docked with Salyut 6 for a week long stay. During the stay he performed a variety of experiments with the other crew members.
In all Remek spent 7 days, 22 hours and 19 minutes in space.
After the flight he became a icon in Czechoslovakia. He stayed in the Air Force, though he superiors considered him to valuable to risk on missions so he served as the Assistant to the Chief of the Military Research Institute from 1979 until 1985, then until 1989 he served in the Defence Office of Czechoslovakia.
Remek had begun to be disliked by the Communist leadership as divorced his first wife, a daughter of a top communist
functionary. He fell from favour after the fall of the Iron Curtain due to his affliation with the old regime. Some tried to slander his character by printing pictures of him next to the former Communist leader Gustav Husak. However he said in an interview in 2001 that after 1989 the general populance did not instantly start hating him. Many recognised that Soyuz 28 was still historic and that he was treated badly by some just looking to score some political points.
The new leadership gave him a job at the Museum of Aviation and Astronautics after 1989. He quit this in 1995 and moved to Russia. He lives in Nizhny Novgorod working as a director of the CZ-Turbogaz Czech-Russian joint venture.
Some still don't like in the Czech Republic today as he has not denounced the former regime or returned the medals awarded to him. And even though he name was mentioned when the first elections as a possible candidate for President, he is not involved in politics.
In 2001, Remek and two American astronauts, Gene Cernan and John Blaha, were involved in a helicoptor crash in the Czech Republic. Cernan and Blaha both have ancestory in the area. The Mi-8 helicoptor was forced to make an emergency landing Milevsko, 50 miles
south of Prague, after "a decline in both of the helicopter's engines' performance". They had been heading to Bernatice, 60 miles south of Prague, the hometown of Cernan's grandfather.
He is a Hero of Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (March 16, 1978) and has the Czechoslovak Order of Clement Gotvald. He is also a Hero of the Soviet Union (March 16, 1978) and has the Order of Lenin. Before he was even selected for the Intercosmos program he had received the medal "For Service to the Motherland" in 1976. He was also awarded with Gold Medal of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.