Birthday: March 16, 1927
Died At Age: 40
Sun Sign: Pisces
Also Known As: Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov
Born Country: Russia
Born in: Moscow
Famous as: Pilot
Spouse/Ex-: Valentina Yakovlevna Kiselyova (m. 1950)
mother: Kseniya Ignatyevna Sigalayeva
children: Yevgeny and Irina
Died on: April 24, 1967
place of death: Adamovsky District, Russia
Cause of Death: Aviation Accident And Incident
City: Moscow, Russia
awards: Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR
Order of the Red Star
Order of Lenin
Vladimir Komarov was a Soviet aerospace engineer, test pilot, and cosmonaut. Born in Moscow, Soviet Union, he grew up amidst difficult financial circumstances. His father was a laborer and did many odd jobs to support his family. Vladimir joined a local elementary school but had to quit it due to the German invasion of the Soviet Union during the Second World War. While working as a laborer, he developed a keen interest in the aviation sector. At the age of 15, he joined a local aviation school. Due to the war, the school was transferred to Siberia. In 1949, Vladimir became a lieutenant in the ‘Soviet Air Force.’ He was then enlisted as an ‘Air Force’ pilot. In 1959, he was promoted to the position of engineer-captain. In 1964, Vladimir commanded the ‘Voskhod 1,’ the first spaceflight carrying multiple crew members. He was later selected as the solo pilot of another spaceflight, the ‘Soyuz 1.’ However, the flight crashed due to a faulty parachute during re-entry, and Vladimir became the first man to die in a space flight.
Childhood & Early Life
Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov was born on March 16, 1927, in Moscow, Soviet Union, to Mikhail Komarov and Kseniya Sigalayeva. He grew up amidst poverty. His father worked as a laborer but also did other low-paying jobs to support his family. His mother was a housewife. He grew up with a sister named Matilde.
Vladimir joined a local elementary school and began his formal education while struggling with extreme poverty. He was a good student, and mathematics was his favorite subject.
By the time he stepped into his teenage years, World War II had already started. In 1941, he had to quit school, as the German forces invaded the Soviet Union and all schools in Moscow were shut. Vladimir moved to a nearby village with his family, where he began working as a laborer in a farm.
He had a keen interest in aeronautics ever since he was a child. He often collected pictures and magazines about aircrafts. He studied the structures of aircrafts and made models of his favorite aircrafts.
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Training in Aviation
In 1942, at the age of 15, he joined the ‘1st Moscow Special Air Force School’ to fulfil his dream of becoming an aviator. His enrolment had been fairly easy, since the Soviet government was training more and more pilots then, in the wake of the increasing intensity of World War II. A few months later, Vladimir received the news about the death of his father in a “war action.”
As the war intensified, the school was shifted to Siberia, and the training resumed, too. The academy remained there until the end of the war. Other than aviation, the students were also taught a variety of other subjects, such as zoology and foreign languages.
In 1945, the year the war ended, Vladimir graduated with high honors. However, before he could join the war, Germany had surrendered, thus ending the war.
In order to continue his education in aviation, Vladimir joined the ‘Chkalov Higher Air Force School’ in 1946 and studied there for a year. He later joined the ‘A.K. Serov Military Aviation College’ in Bataisk. He finally graduated college in 1949, and as he was one of the brightest students in the college, he was honored with his pilot’s wings and the rank of lieutenant in the ‘Soviet Air Force.’
In December 1949, he was enlisted as a fighter plane pilot in the ‘Caucasian Fighter Air Division,’ which was based in Grozny, Chechnya. Three years later, he was promoted to the rank of senior lieutenant. Later, he was enlisted as the chief pilot in the ‘Fighter Aviation Regiment.’ He flew fighter planes, working in this position, for the next 2 years.
In the mid-1950s, he pursued aeronautical engineering from the ‘Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy.’ He graduated as an engineer from the institute in 1959. Following this, he was hired as an engineer-lieutenant in the force. He later became a test pilot at the ‘Central Scientific Research Institute.’
He was one of the 3,000 pilots from across the Soviet Union to have tested for the position of cosmonaut candidate in the late 1950s. Back then, the Soviet Union was entering a space war with the United States and was also touching milestones in space technology. Vladimir was one of the 20 candidates to be selected for ‘Air Force Group One.’
Despite the fact that he was more qualified than many other candidates, he could not make it to the final list of six candidates, as he did not meet the required criteria for age, weight, and height. However, he was immensely skilled and technically brilliant. He was thus hired as a cosmonaut.
In May 1960, soon after joining ‘Air Force Group One,’ he underwent a surgery that made him unable to join the training sessions for 6 months. While working at the ‘Space City Cosmonaut Training Center,’ he trained many cosmonauts under him. He also helped the engineers in designing space flights.
The Soviet space flight named ‘Voskhod 1’ was ready to take off in 1964. After enough brainstorming, Vladimir was named the crew commander of the flight. The flight was inspected many times before its launch, Vladimir was given communist relics to take with him to space. The mission was successful. Though it was a small mission that lasted for 24 hours, it gave enough confidence to the Soviets to attempt a longer mission.
Vladimir was later given the command of the ‘Soyuz Mission,’ along with Yuri Gagarin.
In 1967, Vladimir was appointed as the commander of ‘Soyuz 1,’ with Yuri Gagarin as his backup cosmonaut. The cosmonauts knew that the design of ‘Soyuz’ had major flaws and complained about it, but their issues were not addressed properly. However, Vladimir agreed to fly, because had he refused, Yuri would have had to go instead.
Vladimir was the sole pilot in the spacecraft. As ‘Soyuz 1’ was launched in April 1967, Vladimir became the first man to go into deep space twice. The vehicle entered space successfully. However, while making a re-entry, one of its parachutes failed to open even after multiple attempts. Vladimir died in the resulting crash.
He was adorned with many Soviet honors, such as the ‘Order of the Red Star,’ the medal “For Combat Merit,” and the ‘Order of Lenin.’
Personal Life & Death
Vladimir Komarov married Valentina Yakovlevna in October 1950. The couple had two children: Yevgeny and Irina.
He passed away on April 24, 1967, in the crash landing of ‘Soyuz 1.’ He was 40 years old at the time of his death.
He was awarded with the ‘Gold Star Hero of the Soviet Union’ twice, in 1964 and posthumously in 1967.