Return to Yuri Romanenko (person)

Yuri Viktorovich Romanenko ([cyrillic] Юрий Викторович Романенко), Soviet cosmonaut, was born [August 1, 1944] in the [settlement] of [Koltubanovskiy], [Russia]. His father was a [seaman]. After finishing his [high school] education he became a [concrete worker], then by [metal craftsman]. In [1962] he entered into the [Chernigov Higher Military Aviation Pilot School]. After graduating in [1966] he became a flying instructor in the [Soviet Air Force]. He became a member of the [Communist Party] in [1965]. In [1970] he was selected as a cosmonaut.

He was first assigned to the support crew for the [Apollo Soyuz Test Project]. As such he was on the support crew for the [Soyuz 16] flight which tested the new version of the Soyuz spacecraft that was to be used on the actual [ASTP] flight. He was then on the backup crew for [Soyuz 19].

He then moved into the [Salyut] program. He was on the backup crew for [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.

His first flight was [Soyuz 26] which docked with [Salyut 6]. Launched [December 10, 1977], it lasted until [January 16, 1978], when [Georgi Grechko] and Romanenko landed in the [Soyuz 27] spacecraft. The crew broke the space endurance record of 84 days that had been set by the [Skylab 4] crew. They also performed the first [EVA] by a Russian crew in 9 years when they went 'outside' to check whether the docking apparatus had been damaged by the aborted [Soyuz 25] mission. It was the first time that the Soviets had admitted that [Salyut 6] had two docking ports.

The two docking ports allowed the Russians to launch a [Progress] freighter to the station. This contained supplies that would keep the station in orbit for longer than if it had to rely on what was launched with it. The Progress also transferred fuel to the station, the first time an [in-orbit] refuelling had occurred.

He was on the backup crew for [Soyuz 33], an [Intercosmos] mission. Carrying the first [Bulgarian] cosmonaut it was meant to dock with [Salyut 6] was a main engine malfunction error occurred forcing the docking to be aborted and a mission of only 2 days.

On September 18, 1980, [Soyuz 38] launched carrying Romanenko and [Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez] the first Cuban cosmonaut. They docked with [Salyut 6] for a week long stay. By this time the station had been in orbit for over 1000 days and no longer had to [new car smell] that some of the first occupants said that it had. Some 20 joint experiments were conducted during the visit, including the growth of the first [organic monocrystals] in space using [Cuban sugar].

Romanenko next two assignments were both backup crews. The first was [Soyuz 40] which was the last flight of the old [Soyuz 7K-T] spacecraft. It carried [Dimitri Prunariu] from Romania and [Leonid Popov] to [Salyut 7]. The second was [Soyuz T-7]. This was only a visting crew mission and as such was only a week long.

Romanenko last flight was [Soyuz TM-2] with [Aleksandr Laveykin]. This was the second expedition to [Mir]. During the flight he and Laveykin performed three [EVA]s. The first was unscheduled after [Kvant-1] was unable to dock successfully with the [Mir Core]. They found a small [rubbish bag] was still in the docking port. The second installed the third solar array on the station and the third EVA finished the [installation].

Laveykin developed a [heart irregularities] which meant that he returned to Earth with the visiting crew of [Soyuz TM-3]. He as replaced by [Alexandr Alexandrov]. The only other visitors to the station during Romanenko's stay was the crew of Soyuz TM-4, carrying Mir Expedition 3. Romanenko, Alexandrov and [Anatoli Levchenko] (who had launched with Soyuz TM-4) returned home in the Soyuz TM-4 capsule.

Romanenko's flight had lasted from [February 5, 1987] until [December 29, 1987]. This stay of 326 days, 11 hours and 38 minutes was the longest at that time and the third longest of all time. The record was in fact broken by the [Soyuz TM-4] crew.

In all he spent 430 days, 18 hours and 21 minutes in space over three missions. This is the tenth most [accumalate]d time. He also has a total EVA time of 10 hours and 17 minutes over four EVAs.

After his last flight he became the Director of the [Buran|Soviet Shuttle] Program. He retired [October 11, 1988]. He became involved in social causes and was a member of the [Moscow Branch] of the [All-Union of Leninist Communist Union of Youth]. He is also on the Board of Trustees for a fund set up to support the victims of the [Moscow Theatre Siege].

He was twice a [Hero of the Soviet Union] (by [decree]s of the [Supreme Soviet] of the [USSR] on [March 16, 1978] and on [September 26, 1980]), has three [Order of Lenin|Orders of Lenin] and an [Order of the Red Star]. He is also a [Hero of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic] (1978) and [Hero of Republic of Cuba] ([1980]). He is an honourary citizen of [Kaluga], [Buzuluk] ([Russia]), [Arkalyk], [Dzhezkazgan] ([Kazakhstan]), [Bratislava] ([Slovakia]), [Prague] ([Czech Republic]), [Houston, Texas|Houston] ([United States of America|USA]).