INTERCOSMOS RETROSPECT: 1979 BULGARIA
Soviet manned spaceship "Soyuz-33" was launched from the Baikonur space launch facility on April 10, 1979. It was piloted by the ship's commander Soviet cosmonaut Nikolay Nikolayevich Rukavishnikov and Bulgarian cosmonaut Georgy Ivanov. This was the fourth flight within the scope of the "Intercosmos" program for cooperation between socialist countries. The main objective for this flight included cosmonauts' work onboard the "Salyut-6" - "Salyut-22" orbital complex, which at that time was occupied by Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Afansyevich Lyakhov and Valerij Viktorovich Ryumin. The flight began normally. The cosmonauts checked the operation of the onboard systems and began docking preparations with the orbital complex. When they were several hundred meters away from the station, they suffered an accident with the main engine of the "Soyuz-33" spaceship, which made the docking impossible. The cosmonauts received an order for an immediate return to Earth. On April 12 they activated the spaceship's reserve engine. It operated for less time than necessary. It was able to switch the ship's orbit to a landing trajectory. Nevertheless, the landing was accomplished based on a ballistic trajectory with very strong overload, that at times exceeded 20 g. Fortunately, the cosmonauts safely returned to Earth. The engine accident on the "Soyuz-33" spaceship forced a revision in schedule for future "Intercosmos" program flights. There were two more flights (Soviet-Hungarian and Soviet- Cuban) scheduled for the program, but they were able to take place only a year later.
IVANOV Georgy Ivanov
First cosmonaut from Bulgaria. Georgy Ivanov was born on July 2, 1940 in the city of Lovech. In 1958, he graduated from a middle school in Lovech and entered the Higher Aviation School named after Georgy Benkovski. After graduation in 1964, he served with the Bulgarian Air Force. During his service with the Air Force he mastered several types of combat aircraft. His total flight time is approximately 2,000 hours. In 1978 he was accepted into the Soviet cosmonaut unit (1978 Intercosmos Group # 2) together with Aleksandr Panayotov Aleksandrov. He underwent the full general space preparation course and underwent preparations according to the program "INTERCOSMOS" for cooperation with socialist countries. He made his space flight on April 10 - 12, 1979, as research cosmonaut of the space ship "SOYUZ-33" (call sign - "SATURN-2") together with Soviet cosmonaut Nikolay Nikolaevich Rukavishnikov. Several hours prior to launch the cosmonaut's name was changed based on the joint decision of Soviet and Bulgarian Communist Party leadership. Instead of his real surname KAKANOV, that he was know by for 39 years, he was given the surname of IVANOV, under which he is recognized in the history of space explorations. The flight plan envisioned operation onboard the "Salyut-6" station. This was not implemented due to an accident with the ship's main engine. The docking with the station was canceled, and the crew came back to Earth earlier than scheduled. Their stay in space was 1 day 23 hours 1 minute, and 6 seconds. After 1979, he continued service in the Bulgarian Air Force. He was involved in politics and public life. In 1981 he was elected as a candidate member of Bulgarian Communist Party Central Committee. A little later, he became a deputy of the Great People's Assembly of the Bulgarian Republic. In the late 1980s, after the removal of communists from power in Bulgaria, he retired from the military, and became involved exclusively in political activities. He is currently one of the leaders of Bulgarian Socialist Party (the successor to the Bulgarian Communist Party). He is a member of the Bulgarian Parliament.
Hero of the Soviet Union. Hero of Bulgarian People's Republic. Awarded Soviet Order of Lenin, Bulgarian Order of Georgy Dimitrov, other orders and medals.
RUKAVISHNIKOV Nikolay Nikolaevich
Nikolay Nikolaevich Rukavishnikov was born on September 18, 1932 in the city Tomsk to a railway worker's family. In 1951, he graduated from a middle school and entered the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute. After graduation in 1957, he worked in the OKB-1 (KB Korolev). In 1967 he was accepted into the Soviet cosmonaut unit (1967 Civilian Engineer Group # 2). He underwent the full general space preparation course and trained for space flight on "SOYUZ" type spacecraft. He trained for the Soviet Lunar program. He performed his first flight on April 23-25, 1971, as experiments cosmonaut of the space ship "SOYUZ-10" (call sign -"AMUR-3") together with Vladimir Aleksandrovich Shatalov and Aleksey Stanislavovich Yeliseyev. The flight plan envisioned work onboard the first orbital space station "Salyut". However, due to a failure in the docking system, the work onboard the station was canceled and the flight ended prematurely. His space flight lasted 1 day 23 hours 45 minutes and 54 seconds. Since May 1973 he underwent preparations accoding to the Program ASTP (Apollo-Soyuz Test Project). He made his second space flight on December 2-8, 1974, as an engineering officer of the space ship "SOYUZ-16" (call sing - "BURAN- 2") together with Anatoly Vasilyevich Filipchenko. During the flight they performed testing of the docking module created within the scope of the ASTP Their stay in space was 5 days 22 hours 23 minutes and 35 seconds. In July 1975 he was the member of the backup crew (together with Anatoly Vasilyevich Filipchenko) during the "SOYUZ-19" flight. Since 1976 he underwent preparations according to the program "INTERCOSMOS" for cooperation with socialist countries. In March 1978 he was the member of the backup crew (together with cosmonaut from Czekoslovakia Oldrich Pelczak) during the "SOYUZ-28" flight. He made his third space flight on April 10-12, 1979, as commander of the space ship "SOYUZ-33" (call sign - "SATURN") together with cosmonaut from Bulgaria Georgy Ivanov. The flight was conducted within the scope of the Soviet-Bulgarian project, and envisioned work onboard the "Salyut-6" orbital station. Due to the main engine accident the docking with the station didn't take place, and the spaceship landed ahead of schedule. Their stay in space was 1 days 23 hours 1 minute and 6 seconds. During his three flights Rukavishnikov spent 9 days 21 hours 10 minutes and 35 seconds in space. He underwent training for a joint Soviet-Indian space flight, but due to an illness didn't participate in that flight. In 1984 he left the cosmonaut team. He worked as deputy chief of a department of the Russian Space Company "Energiya".
Twice awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Hero of Mongolia. Hero of Bulgaria. Awarded three Orders of Lenin, Bulgarian Order of Georgy Dimitrov, Mongolian Order of Suhe- Bator, Tsiolkovskij Gold Medal (USSR Academy of Sciences). Honorary citizen of Kaluga, Tomsk (Russia), Karaganda, Arkalyk, Dzhezkasgan (Kazakhstan), Suhe-Bator (Mongolia) and Houston (USA).
("ORBIT", Journal of the Astro Space Stamp Society, Issue № 41, March 1999).