The two Soviet cosmonauts, Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov, landed in the plains of Central Asia on Monday (21 July) after their historic mission in the Soyuz space craft to link-up in space with the United States spacecraft, Apollo.
The two Soviet cosmonauts, Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov, landed in the plains of Central Asia on Monday (21 July) after their historic mission in the Soyuz space craft to link-up in space with the United States spacecraft, Apollo. Soyuz swung down on it's single parachute near the small town of Arkalyk, some 500 kilometres (300 miles) north east of the Baikonur launch site - so bringing to an end the first international manned venture in space.
The two cosmonauts reported that they were "feeling fine" to the helicopter-borne rescue crews as they descended to earth. Their landing was right on schedule, and for the first time Soviet Television cameras were there to give millions of people round the World live pictures of the descending space ship.
Leonov and Kubaeov had been in space for six days, and during two of those days, their craft had been linked with the three-man Apollo, in the first attempt by the two major powers to team their costly space programmes.
All the television cameras assigned to cover the touchdown were carried on helicopters, and the first sight they caught of the descending Soyuz was as it broke through the cloudy sky about six minutes before the landing was scheduled. In spite of the ward weather, the wind was strong enough to blow the craft 10 kilometres (6 miles) off what would have been a pinpoint touchdown.
About eight feet from the ground, retro-rockets on Soyuz fired at the base of the capsule, slowing it to a virtual halt. Within minutes, dozens of helicopters, trucks and vans were at the scent, and technicians unscrewed the exit hatch to retrieve the two men.