Soyuz 11

crewed Soviet space mission to the Salyut 1 Space Station

Soyuz 11 was a manned space mission. It was the only mission to live on Salyut 1, the first space station. It was a backup mission of Soyuz 10, which was failed to dock. The mission killed three men in space when it lost air pressure during re-entry of the atmosphere. They were Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev.

Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev, the crew of Soyuz 11
Position Crew
Commander Georgy Dobrovolsky
Only spaceflight
Flight Engineer Vladislav Volkov
Second and last spaceflight
Test Engineer Viktor Patsayev
Only spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Alexey Gubarev
Flight Engineer Vitaliy Sevastyanov
Test Engineer Anatoli Voronov

Original crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Alexey Leonov
Flight Engineer Valeri Kubasov
Test Engineer Pyotr Kolodin

Crew notes


An X-ray testing of the original crew found that Kubasov might have tuberculosis. According to the mission rules, the backup crew replaced the original crew. Dobrovolski and Patsayev never flew to space before. Kubasov and Leonov became the crew to Soyuz 19 for the Apollo-Soyuz in 1975.

Death of crew


On 30 June 1971, after returing to the Earth of the capsule, the recovery team knocked on the side. There was no response. Opening the hatch, they found all three men in their couches, no motion. There had dark-blue patches on their faces and trails of blood from their noses and ears. They brought them out from the capsule. Dobrovolsky was still warm. According to their reports, the reason of death was suffocation.[1]

Soyuz 11 on a 1971 USSR commemorative stamp

The cosmonauts were buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis at Red Square, Moscow near the remains of Yuri Gagarin.[2] US astronaut Tom Stafford was one of the pallbearers. They were also each awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union medal.


  1. Ben Evans (24 April 2013). "The Crew That Never Came Home: The Misfortunes of Soyuz 11". Space Safety Magazine. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  2. Time Magazine (12 July 1971). "Triumph and Tragedy of Soyuz 11". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2019.