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Soviet Cosmonaut to Return to Earth Tuesday, Official Says

December 26, 1987|From Reuters

MOSCOW — Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko, who has spent a record 323 days in space, will return to Earth from the space station Mir on Tuesday with his crew mate Alexander Alexandrov, a Soviet space official said Friday.

The announcement by Alexei Leonov, deputy chief of the cosmonaut training center, was the first time Soviet officials have given a firm date for Romanenko's return. Earlier they had indicated he would return about Dec. 31.

Leonov told a news conference at the Foreign Ministry that Romanenko, 43, would not be expected to take part in another space mission for the next year.

Romanenko, Alexandrov and three other Soviet cosmonauts who joined them this week are aboard the Mir orbiting space station.

Vladimir Titov, Musa Manarov and Anatoly Levchenko docked their Soyuz spacecraft with Mir on Wednesday.

Levchenko will return to Earth with Romanenko and Alexandrov.

The official Communist Party newspaper Pravda said Friday that Levchenko, a test pilot, will immediately be placed in a plane to test his ability to manage the controls after returning to conditions of gravity from weightlessness.

Leonov also gave details of plans for a Bulgarian cosmonaut, Alexandrov Panayotov, to join the Mir complex on June 21 next year for a 10-day mission.

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