Yuri Victorovitch Romanenko
( , Jurij Viktorovič Romanenko; born August 1, 1944, USSR)
is a former Soviet cosmonaut, twice Hero of the Soviet Union (March 16,
1978 and September 26, 1980).
Over his career, Yuri
Romanenko spent a total of 430 days 20 hours 21 minutes 30 seconds
in space and 18 hours in space walks
1987 he was a resident of the Mir
launching on Soyuz TM-2
aboard Soyuz TM-3
. He remained on Mir for
326 days that was the longest stay in space at that time. His son,
is also a cosmonaut,
and has become the third second-generation space traveler on
in May 2009.
Romanenko was born on August 1, 1944 in Koltubanovskiy village in
Orenburg Oblast, Soviet Union.
His father (born 1916) was a senior
commander on military ships, and mother (born 1917) was a combat medic
. His family later moved to Kaliningrad, where he graduated from a secondary school in
His hobbies in school included building model aircraft
and underwater fishing.
After school, he briefly worked as a locksmith
and builder. In 1962 he enrolled to
the Chernigov High Air Force School, Ukraine and
graduated with honors in 1966.
After graduation, he remained
with the School, training the students and practicing as a
candidate cosmonaut. He was cleared for space flights in 1970,
among only 16 other cosmonauts.
His first flight was on December 10, 1977 on Soyuz 26
to the space station Salyut 6
. A two-men crew consisted of Romanenko as
the flight commander and Georgi
as engineer. They spent 96 days and 10 hours on the
orbit, meeting Soyuz 27
, Soyuz 28
and Progress 1
During the mission, Romanenko performed one and half hour long
In his second mission on September 18, 1980, together with the
first Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo
, Romanenko flew Soyuz 38
to Salyut 6
and returned 7 days later. With
this flight, Méndez was the first hispanophone
and first person of African
descend in space.
The third and last flight of Romanenko was on Soyuz TM-2
with Aleksandr Laveykin
on February 6, 1987 to
station. During that mission, Romanenko
spent 326 days aboard Mir, which was the longest stay in space
then. He conducted three space walks, on April 11, June 11 and June
16, 1987 with a total duration 8 hr 48 min. He returned to Earth on
December 29, 1987 in Soyuz TM-3
Romanenko retired from flights in 1988 and became the director of
, which was a Soviet
alternative to the Space Shuttle
program completed one flight in 1988 and was cancelled in
While working in Salyut 6 station in 1977, Grechko and Romanenko
had to perform spacewalks at will to inspect the potential damage
at the station, which precluded docking of Soyuz 25
. At some point, they were both in their
spacewalk suits in the airlock. Romanenko prepared for a spacewalk
and pushed against the wall flying outside, but forgot to attach
his safety cord. Grechko managed to grab the cord with one hand
stopping Romanenko. This accident was dramatized in press due to
the joke of Grechko who implied Romanenko was on the verge of
death. However, the electrical cables attaching Romanenko would
certainly stop him from getting lost into Space.
career he was twice awarded Hero of the Soviet Union (March 16,
1978 and September 26, 1980), the highest decoration of the
Union, and received numerous other awards, including
three times Order of Lenin (1978,
1980 and 1987)), one Order of the
Red Star (1976), Hero of the
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1978) and Hero of the Republic
of Cuba (1980).
Military ranks and skills
Romanenko is a professional pilot. He flew Yak-18
, and had 39 parachute jumps.
His military progression was:
Romanenko has a half-brother Vladimir (born in 1940) and a sister
Olga (born in 1954). He is married and has two sons, Roman
(born on August 9, 1971) and Artem
(born May 17, 1977). Roman is a cosmonaut who flew as the commander
of Soyuz TMA-15
Through most of his life, Yuri Romanenko was keen to underwater
fishing and other aquatic activities. In space, he started
composing and singing his own songs. After the Romanenko-Méndez
flight and retirement of Romanenko in 1988, he and his family were
invited to Cuba, where he was personally met by Fidel Castro.
Knowing that Romanenko was partial to hunting and underwater
fishing, Castro had organized a social tour and had participated in
the fishing, freediving with Romanenko to a 10-meter depth.