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Aleksandr Volkov

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Languages: Russian
Geography: Russia & CIS countries
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Aleksandr Volkov is a Russian cosmonaut, Hero of the Soviet Union (1985).

At the age of 13, Volkov witnessed Yuri Gagarin become the first man in space and this inspired him to become a cosmonaut. He joined the Soviet space programme and became a test pilot before realising his dream.

Flew into space three times. First was a trip to Salyut 7 in 1985 (64 days in space) and then twice to the Mir space station in 1988–1989 (151 days) and again in 1991–1992 (175 days). On board the Mir space station, he controlled the docking procedures among other things.

The Soviet Union broke up in 1991 during his second stay on board Mir. At the time Volkov was orbiting Earth on Mir with Sergei K. Krikalev, "the last citizens of the USSR". Having gone into orbit as Soviet citizens, they returned to Earth as Russian citizens.

He worked as Commander of the Cosmonaut Team at the Cosmonauts Training Centre from January 1991 until August 1998. His work was to prepare Russian and foreign cosmonauts for future flights to space stations to Mir and the International Space Station.

He is the father of Sergei Volkov, who became the first second-generation cosmonaut when he was launched aboard Soyuz TMA-12 on 8 April 2008.

Aleksandr Volkov was awarded:

  • Hero of the Soviet Union (1985)
  • Order of Lenin (1985)
  • Order of the October Revolution (1989)
  • Order of Friendship of Peoples (1992)
  • Medal 2nd class of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland (1996)
  • Medal "For Merit in Space Exploration" (2011)
  • Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)
  • Order of Merit 3rd class (Ukraine, 2011)