Valentin Lebedev became first cosmonaut to visit Norilsk
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Valentin Lebedev became first cosmonaut to visit Norilsk

April 16, 2021

In 1977, the city named the USSR pilot-cosmonaut its honorary citizen.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Valentin Lebedev made his first space flight in 1973 as a flight engineer on the Soyuz-13 spacecraft. On his first visit to Norilsk, the Hero of the Soviet Union took part in the presentation of state awards for the Komsomol anniversary. According to the tradition of those years, the cosmonaut was enrolled in the brigade of the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant under construction.

The second visit of the twice Hero of the Soviet Union was directly related to Nadezhda, where in 1985 the All-Union Friendship Melting was carried out. One of the event host was the foreman of the converter workers from the Nadezhdinsky metallurgical plant Anatoly Grigoriev, who was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor together with the plant director Johnson Hagazheev.

Valentin Lebedev by that time had already visited the space for the second time. In 1982, he took part in the flight entered in the Guinness Book of Records. Its duration was over 211 days.

On April 14, 2021, the USSR pilot-cosmonaut, doctor of technical sciences, honorary citizen of Norilsk (and many other cities) turned 79 years old.

The second space guest, Georgy Grechko, also visited Taimyr twice, in 1978 and 2005. His second flight into the space lasted 96 days, from December 10, 1977 to March 16, 1978.

The cosmonauts of the Salyut-6 orbital station chose the name of the Taimyr peninsula where Norilsk is located as their call sign. One of the ‘Taimyrs’ became a guest of Norilsk and Dudinka six months after returning to Earth.

Georgy Grechko was invited to celebrate the Komsomol round date. Despite the fact that only nine hours were allotted for that visit to Norilsk, he managed to see a lot.

In the First House of Norilsk at the Zero Point, the cosmonaut put down a historical note: “To the pioneers of Taimyr, who put the wealth of this land the at service of the Motherland, from the ‘Taimyrs’ – the pioneers of the Cosmos with boundless respect! Pilot-cosmonaut of the USSR, twice Hero of the Soviet Union G. Grechko”.

The Nornickel Polar Division archive contains Norilsk photographs of another space pioneer – pilot-cosmonaut Vyacheslav Zudov.

The spacecraft commander completed his space mission on Soyuz-23 45 years ago. This flight in October 1976 turned out to be dramatic: due to the failure of the docking system, the crew of the spacecraft was forced to return to Earth two days after launch.

When landing in dramatic conditions, cosmonauts Vyacheslav Zudov and Valery Rozhdestvensky demonstrated courage and heroism, for which they were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Probably, at the meetings in Norilsk as part of the Izvestia newspaper propaganda visit, the cosmonaut talked about the unique operation to rescue them.

Read other materials of our photo project in the History spot section.

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Text: Varvara Sosnovskaya, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division photo archive

April 16, 2021

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