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Cosmonaut Makarov

Oleg Makarov was a Soviet cosmonaut. He flew three missions into space, plus one aborted mission.

Makarov was born on 6 January 1933 in Udomlya. After initial work as an engineer on the Soviet space programme, he began cosmonaut training in 1966.

Cosmonaut Makarov’s first flight in 1973 on Soyuz 12 was a worrying one. Two and a half years previously, the Soviet space programme had been suspended after an accident known as the Soyuz disaster. Three cosmonauts – Vladislav Lovkov, Georgi Dobrovolski and Viktor Patsayev – were killed when their capsule depressurized just before re-entry.

Soyuz 12 was, therefore, a brief mission in which Makarov flew with Vasili Lazarev for just two days to test the new Soyuz design. Thankfully, all went well with the flight and the crew returned to earth without incident.

Makarov’s second launch in 1975 was even more harrowing. Together again with Lazarev, the flight went well for the first 288 seconds, until the rocket’s booster failed to separate properly. The flight was rapidly aborted, and Soyuz 18a and its crew returned safely to earth.

In 1978, Makarov made it into space for the second time, however, when he flew Soyuz 27 to the Salyut space station, and returned five days later on Soyuz 26.

Makarov’s final flight into space was on the Soyuz T-3 in 1980. Its mission to make repairs to Salyut 6 was uneventful and Makarov returned to earth for the final time after logging 20 days, 17 hours and 20 minutes in space.

For his achievements, Cosmonaut Oleg Makarov was made Hero of the Soviet Union (twice) and received the Order of Lenin (four times). He continued to work on the space programme until his retirement, including work on the Mir space station and the Buran space shuttle.

Cosmonaut Makarov died on 28 May 2003, of a heart attack.

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