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Biography of Igor Petrovitch Volk

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Igor Volk was born on April 12th, 1937, a sign of the fate because it will become the cosmonautic day, in the city of Zmiiv oblast of Kharkiv, in the northeast of the Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic.
He went to the primary school N°1 in the city of Zmiiv and to the high school N°16 in the city of Ussuriysk at the extreme East of Russia. In 1954 he graduated from the intermediate high school N°5 of the city of Kursk, oblast of Kursk in Russia. In this time he spent a lot of time in the aero club of Kursk and flew for the first time in 1954.

In 1954 he begins his active military service and in 1956 he becomes graduated, two years ahead of time, of the fighter pilots school of Kirovohrad (КВАУЛ, KVAUL). In 1956 he serves in the patrol of the district of Baku (ПВО, PVO), in Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, by flying on Il-28 and Tu-16. He finishes his period of reservist in 1963 by becoming the oldest reservist lieutenant and in 1987 becomes reservist colonel.

From 1963 till 1965 he trains in the test pilots school: Flight Research Institute of Gromov (ЛИИ, LII) and enter in the Flight Research Center (ЛИЦ, LITs) in 1965. He graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute (МАИ, MAI) in 1969 without stopping his work. From 1995 till 1997 he is the director the LITs and guiding assistant of LII. He quit LII on February 26th, 2002.

He flew more than 7000 hours of which 3500 hours as a test pilot.

  • In 1965 he became test pilot of fourth class.
  • On June 22, 1966 he became test pilot of third class.
  • In 1969 he became test pilot of second class.
  • On November 16, 1971 he became test pilot of frist class.
  • In 1984 he became test pilot of third class.

During his working years he flew on all the types of planes, fighters, bombers and transport aircraft. He has a great dexterity in flight which allow him to end difficult flight conditions shuch as spiraled planes. With his test pilot colleague Anatoliy Lechenko he managed to land a Tu-144 (Soviet version of the Concorde) without engine from 22 km of altitude. He is also the first one in the world to have achieved the Cobra figure on a jet fighter.

Within the "SPIRAL" space plane program he piloted in May, 1976 the EPOS or Mig-105.11 test model. On July 12th, 1977 he integrated the special group of preparation of the Buran program, on August 3rd, 1978 he obtains the authorization from the Medical State Commission (ГМК, GMK) to become a cosmonaut. At the end of 1978 he is choosed to command the pilot team N°1 of test "A" at the center LITs LII. From April, 1979 till December, 1980 he trains to prepare for the space flight in the star city (ЦПК, TsPK), on April 12th, 1982 he is qualified for the flight and becomes a test cosmonaut (status used by the Soviets / Russians to speak about a cosmonaut who has not flown yet). He quits the cosmonaut profession in 1995.

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From September, 1982 till May, 1983 he trains for the space flight as a member of the main crew with Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyov, but due to the arrangement of the flight program of the Saliout-7 station he is removed from the crew.

On December 26th, 1983 begin the trainings for the flight on the spacecraft Soyouz-T. He lift off aboard Soyouz T-12 with Djanibekov and Savitskaya for a mission of 12 days (from 17 till 29 June 1984) on the Saliout-7 space station. He came back on earth aboard Soyouz T-11, duration of the flight: 11d 19h 14m 36s. His code name was Pamir 3. Within the mission, two hours after landing he had to pilot planes, the flighing laboratory Tu-154 (simulator of Buran) and the jet fighter Mig-25 following the route Baikonur-Akhtubinsk-Baikonur, with the goal of studying the capacity to pilot. As Igor Volk said the reason of his flight was to demonstrate the capacity of a cosmonaut to pilot the Buran shuttle after an orbital flight and he managed it perfectly.

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Within the mission program of Buran Igor Volk realized five rollings and thirteen flights in the OK-GLI shuttle. He should have been a member of the first Buran crew (with Rimantas Stankevicius), however for political reasons the first flight of the shuttle was automatic and without crew. A big part of the success of the automatic landing of Buran is due to Igor Volk and his colleagues of the LII to have configured the on-board computer during the tries on the OK-GLI shuttle.

Rolling with the shuttle OK-GLI:

  • 12/29/1984 - speed: 45 km/h (commander).
  • 08/02/1985 - speed: 200 km/h (commander).
  • 10/05/1985 - speed: 270 km/h (commander).
  • 10/15/1985 - speed: 300 km/h (commander).
  • 11/15/1985 - speed: 170 km/h (commander).

Voles avec la navette OK-GLI:

  • 11/10/1985 - 1st flight, altitude 1.5 km, speed 480 km/h (commander).
  • 01/03/1986 - 2nd flight (commander).
  • 05/27/1986 - 3td flight (commander).
  • 06/11/1986 - 4th flight (commander).
  • 12/10/1986 - 7th flight (commander).
  • 12/23/1986 - 8th flight (commander).
  • 02/16/1987 - 10th flight, first automatic landing (commander).
  • 02/25/1987 - 11th flight (second pilot).
  • 06/25/1987 - 13th flight (second pilot).
  • 10/05/1987 - 14th flight (second pilot).
  • 01/16/1988 - 16th flight (commander).
  • 03/04/1988 - 19th flight (commander).
  • 04/15/1988 - 25th flight, last flight (commander).

Titles:

  • Deputy of the council of the Zhykovsky city 1984-1987.
  • President of the council of the USSR tennis federation 1986-1990.
  • President of the planes amateur federation 1988.
  • Executive member of the "green movment" 1989.
  • First vice-president of the Russian cosmonauts federation (RCF), executive president of the RCF 2003-2005.

Honors:

  • Hero of the USSR (June 29, 1984).
  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland, class 4 (April 11, 1997).
  • Order of Lenin (June 29, 1984).
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour.
  • Order of Friendship of Peoples.


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Commemorative stamp of the Soyuz T-12 flight
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Igor Volk, Thomas Reiter and Charlie Duke at the Speyer museum, October 2008
At the Speyer museum, October 2008
At the Speyer museum, October 2008
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