MOSCOW — A Soviet cosmonaut who has spent nearly six months in orbit will return to Earth next week because he shows signs of what might be a serious heart problem, officials said today.
The announcement about Alexander I. Laveikin came shortly after a three-man crew successfully docked its Soyuz TM-3 capsule with the Mir space station, where Laveikin and Yuri V. Romanenko have been living since February.
The capsule blasted off from Soviet Kazakhstan on Wednesday with two Soviet cosmonauts and Syria's first space traveler. It linked up with the Mir station over the Soviet-Mongolian frontier about 7:30 a.m. Moscow time.
Deputy Flight Director Viktor D. Blagov told reporters in Moscow that Laveikin, a 35-year-old flight engineer who is on his first space mission, had developed an abnormal electrocardiogram.