The Nightmare of Voskhod 2- page 4 | Space | Air & Space Magazine
A 1965 U.S.S.R. 10 kopek stamp of the first spacewalk. (Eugene Zelenko)

The Nightmare of Voskhod 2

A cosmonaut remembers the exhilaration-and terror-of his first space mission

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(Continued from page 3)

The next morning we woke to the sound of an airplane circling overhead. Above the roar of the engines we could just hear voices in the distance. I took a signal gun and fired a flare. Slowly, a small group of men on skis came into view. Led by local guides, the rescue party included two doctors, a fellow cosmonaut, and a cameraman, who began filming as soon as he saw us.

It was to be another 24 hours before another team of rescuers could chop down enough trees to make a clearing big enough for a helicopter to land. We would have to survive another night in the wild, but this night was a great deal more comfortable than the first. The advance party chopped wood and built a small log cabin and an enormous fire. They heated water for us to wash in a large tank flown in especially by helicopter from Perm. And they laid out a supper of cheese, sausage, and bread. After three days with little food, It seemed like a feast.

By the next morning, we were ready to ski nine kilometers to a clearing where a helicopter was standing by to fly us to Perm. From there we were flown to our launch site at Baikonur, where we disembarked to find a large group waiting for us, headed by Sergei Korolev, our chief, and Yuri Gagarin. At first they looked serious, and seemed confused by our heavy jackets, polar hats, and wolf-skin boots. But as we approached, their faces suddenly broke into broad smiles. We hugged each other, laughed, and joked.

We were then driven in an open-top jeep to the town of Leninsk, followed by a motorcade that stretched for several kilometers. A government committee was awaiting our arrival, ready with many questions about our 26-hour spaceflight. We had to deliver reports on how our mission had gone. Mine was brief and to the point: “Provided with a special suit, man can survive and work in open space. Thank you for your attention.”

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