Writing this book involved extensive research, but it is a logical continuation of my interest in space flight which was sparked by the television series Star Trek when I was only 11 years of age. The idea for this book arose when the Serbian magazine Astronomija (Astronomy) published a series which I wrote detailing the disasters of the space programme, one of which was an account of the Soyuz 11 tragedy.
Seeing in Spaceflight magazine of the British Interplanetary Society a short letter from Praxis Publishing encouraging new authors interested in space to join them, on 10 October 2006 I sent them my first email offering the story of the greatest tragedy in Soviet cosmonautics. To my great delight, they accepted. In the ensuing months, I read all the material available to me on the Salyut space station, ranging from the early releases in 1971 to the most recent books published in Russia, England and America. It would have been very difficult to write this book without the generous assistance and support of enthusiasts in Australia, Russia, Serbia, England, Scotland, Ireland, America, Israel, Spain and Sweden - some of whom have spent decades probing the secrets of the Soviet space programme - and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart. In particular, I am grateful to:
• My love Natasha and our little angels Tijana Sara and Dushan - for their understanding, support, strength, tolerance and endurance during these long months;
• David Harland - for his comprehensive preparation of the manuscript and illustrations;
• Vadim Anosov - for continuous support, and for sharing his knowledge, interest and endless enthusiasm for cosmonautics;
• Marina Dobrovolskiy - for memories of her heroic father;
• Aleksandr Zheleznyakov - for kindly contributing the foreword;
• Svetlana Patsayeva - for sensitive words about her exceptional father, unselfish assistance, and for exclusive access to the materials pertaining to the Soyuz 11 tragedy collected by her mother, Vera Patsayeva, over many years;
• Brian Harvey - for archive materials of the Salyut space station, and for reviewing an early draft of the manuscript;
• Rex Hall - for providing photographs;
• Dmitriy Patsayev - for sharing memories about his father, and also for professional comments;
• Clive Horwood - for continuous support and belief in the project;
• Ivana Lukic - for reviewing my English, providing translations and advice, and for encouragement to work on this project;
• Leon Rosenblum - for information regarding the tracking ships;
• Aleksandar Zorkic - for continuous support, encouragement and help;
• Sven Grahn - for Salyut radio-tracking data;
• Dmitriy Payson - for help in establishing contact with Marina Dobrovolskiy;
• Mark Wade - for providing diagrams;
• Asif Siddiqi - for his support and assistance;
• Peter Pesavento - for providing photographs;
• Slobodan Zlokolica - for archive materials of the Soyuz 11 mission from the National Serbian Library.
During the long and silent nights that I studied the material about the first Salyut space station, glances at my rested and blessed parents Stale and Mila provided me an additional strength. They wholeheartedly supported my love of the heavens. Ten years ago, they proudly assisted the presentation of my first book in Serbia. I know how proud they would have been to see this book too.
Again, to all concerned, I kindly thank you, and bow to the immensity of space! After all, ''we are all made of stars''.
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