Valeriy Nikolayevich Kubasov

After training for missions which never flew to the first three DOS stations, in May 1973 Kubasov was assigned with Leonov to the Apollo-Soyuz programme. After the two spacecraft were docked, Thomas Stafford and Donald Slayton transferred through the special airlock to the hatch of Soyuz 19, where the historic handshake between men of the rival space-faring nations occurred. Meanwhile, their colleague Vance Brand remained in the Apollo. The cosmonauts had prepared a surprise for their guests: ''We knew that after the docking we would have lunch on our ship with the Americans, so we decided to entertain them. We had brought several samples of Stolichnaya vodka, and once in space we glued these to juice and soup tubes. When ready to eat, we put these 'rarities' on the table. After a moment of confusion, the astronauts started to cheer like kids! Of course, they realised that this was a Russian tradition ... And on trying it, they laughed heartily.'' After spending two days in the docked configuration, the spacecraft separated on 19 July and the Soyuz returned to Earth two days later.

In August 1977 Kubasov began to train for his third space flight, which was to be to deliver a foreign cosmonaut to Salyut 6 for the Interkosmos programme. Initially, he was commander of the backup crew for the Polish flight but in November 1978 he was given command of the first crew for the Hungarian flight, making him only the second civilian cosmonaut to be given command of a Soviet spacecraft (the first such assignment having gone to Rukavishnikov). The plan was that the Hungarian flight should be in May 1979, but when Rukavishnikov's mission in April ran into difficulties the Hungarian flight had to be cancelled to enable an unmanned Soyuz to be sent up to the station to replace the aging ferry which was docked there. As a result, Kubasov and Bertalan Farkash did not launch until 26 May 1980, and then it was on Soyuz 36. The next day Kubasov became the first cosmonaut-engineer to dock a spacecraft with a station. During their week-long visit to Leonid Popov and Valeriy Ryumin, he achieved his ten-year-old dream of working on board a Salyut station.

Kubasov had hoped to make further flights, but it was decided that henceforth the spacecraft commanders must be military cosmonauts. Having been a cosmonaut for 15 years and made three flights he argued that he could not accept flying under the command of an inexperienced military cosmonaut, and in July 1981 he declined to be a candidate for further flights. He managed the training of cosmonaut-engineers for ten years, then worked on the design of life support systems,

Valeriy Nikolayevich Kubasov 377

After the fiasco of DOS-2 and DOS-3, Valeriy Kubasov and Aleksey Leonov were nominated as the prime crew for the Soviet element of the Soyuz-Apollo mission.

Bertalan Farkash

On his third and final space flight, Kubasov was commander of Soviet-Hungarian crew with Bertalan Farkash. They spent a week on Salyut 6 in May 1981, thereby fulfilling Kubasov's dream of visiting a space station. Here they undergo water training.

biological-medical and thermal regulation equipment. He resigned as a cosmonaut in November 1993 but stayed at NPO Energiya for another four years as a scientific consultant. He has authored one book and co-authored two others. He is currently writing a book about the joint Soyuz-Apollo mission. He periodically goes hunting and although over 70 years of age still plays tennis very well.

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