There have been a number of casualties in various space flights. Some lost their lives in space while others were unfortunate enough to become a victim of some misfortune, even before reaching the space. Here we take a look at the top 10 astronauts who lost their lives during mission!
10. Vladimir Komarov:
The Russian astronaut Vladimir was a test pilot for soviet and an aerospace engineer, who was selected to the first group of cosmonauts in the year 1960. He was appointed as the commander of the Soyuz 1 in 1967 as a backup cosmonaut to Yuri Gagarin. In July 1996, he went to space in Soyuz 1 space shuttle which however, became the cause of his death. During its return journey back to earth, the main parachute did not deploy properly resulting in the crash-landing of the shuttle, thereby killing Vladimir. After his death, he was awarded with the ‘Order of Lenin’ and ‘Order of Hero of Soviet Union Honors.
9. Georgi Dobrovolski:
George was a Soviet cosmonaut who was chosen as a part of the second Soviet crew. This Soviet cosmonaut too was unfortunate to lose his life, after Vladimir Komarov, during his space flight in Soyuz 11. The shuttle had landed safely on land but when the cabin was opened the crew members were found dead. Later, it was realized that just after entering the earth’s orbit, a valve had opened, due to which the atmosphere of the capsule had escaped into the space suffocating the crew members to death. He was posthumously awarded the honor of ‘Order of Lenin’, ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ and ‘Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR’.
8. David M Brown:
David was a navy captain in United State Nation and later on becoming a NASA Astronaut. He was born in Arlington and completed his higher studies from William and Mary College and pursued his B. Sc in biology. Along with his college he used to act in Circus as an acrobat. After completing his internship from the Medical University in Carolina he joined the Navy as a surgeon. In 1996, he was selected and trained by NASA and later on he was qualified as a mission specialist for STS-107 however he had to meet the same ill-fate as all other six crew members of Columbia Space Shuttle.
7. Laurel Clark:
Laurel Blair Salton Clark was an expertise NASA Astronaut and United States Navy Captain. She joined the Aerospace Medical Association as a surgeon along with her husband Jonathan Clark. She was chosen as a mission specialist in the Columbia Space Shuttle Mission where she along with her six crew members perished during re-entry of its Spaceflight. She used to conduct several biography experiments which include gardening in space etc. She also got the chance of handling VMA-211 Squadron where her squadron won Marine Squadron Attack award due to her deployments like one overseas to the Pacific, medicine in an austere environment etc.
6. Ilan Ramon:
Ilan Ramon was the first Israeli astronaut who was earlier a fighter pilot and Colonel in Israeli Air Force. He was a payload expertise of STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia Mission in which he along with his six crew members lost their lives. He completed his B. Sc in electronics and computers from Tel Aviv University. When he was in Israeli Force he used to fly continuously for thousands of hours. In 1997 he was selected for space shuttle mission, where his prime focus was to look after a multispectral camera that records aerosols. He was honored with ‘Operation Peace of Galilee’ and ‘Congressional Space Medal Of Honor’.
5. Ronald Ervin McNair:
Ronald McNair was an African-American engineer, scientist and NASA astronaut who died during the launch of Space Shuttle Challenger in the year 1986. McNair was chosen as one of the thirty-five candidates from a group of ten thousand astronauts in the NASA astronaut program. In 1984, he successfully flew on Challenger for STS-41-B as a mission specialist, making him the second Afro-American to go to space. Following this mission, he was chosen for STS-41-L which faced a component malfunctioning leading to an explosion of the spacecraft killing all the seven crew members. In his honor, a crater on the moon is named as McNair.
4. Christa McAuliffe:
Christa was an American teacher and also a part of a crew whose members were killed in the Space Shuttle disaster. She also participated in the NASA Teacher in Space Project and became a member of the STS-51-L mission. She planned to conduct scientific experiments in areas like chromatography, magnetism, hydroponics and Newton’s laws and teach lessons from Shutter Challengers in the space which would be directly telecasted to millions of school children. On January 28 1986, the seven membered crew boarded the spacecraft and just 72 seconds after its launch, it exploded into crashes killing Christa along with the other six members. This spreads a shock wave in the whole of America and she was posthumously awarded the title of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
3. Rick D. Husband:
Rick Husband was an astronaut of American origin who was also a United States Air Force Colonel and the space shuttle commander of Columbia. In 1994, husband was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate who was then sent to the Johnson Space Centre for training. He flew on STS-96 successfully in 1999 where he stayed in space for 10 days to perform the first docking with the International Space Station. Following this mission, he was made the commander of the crew of STS-107 in 2003 which was a sixteen days long program with the aim of improving life on earth. However, Columbia met its sad end on February 1, 2003 when the spacecraft disintegrated upon re-entry into the earth killing Husband and all other crew members.
2. Kalpana Chawla:
Kalpana Chawla was an Indian-American astronaut who flew on Columbia as a mission specialist and was one of the seven victims of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in the year 2003. She joined NASA in 1995 as a NASA Astronaut Corp. She first flew on Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and a primary robotic arm operator and traveled 10.4 million kilometers in the space, which is as much as traveling 252 times around the earth. She holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman to go to space. She was posthumously honored with Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Distinguished Service Medal and NASA Space Flight Medal.
1. Michael P. Anderson:
Michael was a Lieutenant Colonel in United States Navy. He was selected by NASA in 1994 and then reported to the Johnson Space Centre where he was trained for one year. Then he went for two missions: STS-89 and STS-107 logging 593 hours in space. However the second mission proved fatal for him as the spacecraft explodes during re-entry into the earth, 16 minutes before the scheduled landing. He was posthumously awarded with ‘Congressional Space Medal of Honor’.