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Monday, March 19, 2018

The anniversary cosmonaut-legends: Georgy Grechko rehabilitated refrigerators and “worked” the Queen

Having survived wartime childhood, becoming a talented physicist, three times to fly into space and still in their 85 to remain in the ranks, showing an example of passionate love for young life… Everything is about twice Hero of Soviet Union George GRECHKO. Today, our favorite astronaut’s anniversary. “MK” asked George Mikhailovich to recall the most vivid moments of his life.

photo: Archive MK

Georgy Mikhailovich, the war caught you in his native Leningrad?

— No, before the war my parents sent me to summer in Chernigov, to the aunt. So war I met in Ukraine, lived during the German occupation. When we were released, I immediately wanted to go to Leningrad, to my mother… But it turned out that for this I, 11‑year-old boy, was first to get help in the government that did not cooperate with the occupiers. And then, having received this help, I had to wait until someone on occasion ferried me home. I very much missed… And since he was pretty independent and rowdy guy, decided to run away from the aunt without waiting for an escort.

— Probably, the meeting was very touching?

— When I knocked on the door and asked “open”, mother didn’t recognize me. As she later recalled, at that moment thought, “the Voice of strangers, but children. If a robber, I can handle him”. It opens, I walk in, throw myself on her neck, and she — at first — to escape. Then finally learned. “Where are your things?” “she asked me. And I didn’t even think about the fact that you had to grab my clothes from my aunt, as one missed her mother around the house.

— Since 1954, after graduating from the Leningrad mechanical Institute, you started working in the famous OKB‑1, Sergei Korolev. Remember, please, the bright cases of the time. In General, how it all began?

— The yard was the year of the 55th or 56th, I worked in EDO and worked as night Director instead of the Queen. Directly sat in his chair and was on duty, despite the fact that behind was a whole day and wanted to sleep badly. And you know, I was asleep. (Laughs.) Only came up with a cunning thing: hanging a chair on the door handle. Had only someone to touch her on the outside as the chair fell, and I jumped. During these night shifts I was given a second day off, which I dedicated to extreme sports: parachute, racing, gliders — I had a very hot temper. Here and jump into one output with a parachute, the scroll in the sling, the parachute opens and becomes unmanageable. The wind carries me into the Volga. It was a death room, and to get out of, I had to do a back flip under the parachute. And my stomach was a spare tire, a spare parachute, and do a back flip because of this it does not work. But you wanna live! After several attempts I managed to turn over through a head and to untangle the parachute.

— What do you remember about Sergey Korolyov? How was he as a leader?

— Sergei Pavlovich everybody. For me, this man cannot be replaced. Feoktistov (Feoktistov, Konstantin — designer of rocket and space technology. — N.In.) was a talented designer, I had a good payroll officer, were and aerodynamics, and engine builders. But separately we wouldn’t have done anything, don’t be uniting with us all the Queen. If not for him, Americans would be the first in space, not us.

photo: Archive MK
Georgy Grechko with his partner, Yuri Romanenko.

— Why do you think the General designer has selected you to the team of cosmonauts in 1966?

— I think, for my professional qualities. For example, once, when we were preparing the rocket for launch, I, a novice employee, who was responsible for the gas station, drew attention to an error in the instructions and told that if I get it right, the rocket will not fly. Could happen almost the same thing that happened on April 27 at the cosmodrome “East”, when automation has canceled the launch. There were probably other reasons about the choice of my candidacy.

— You also immediately prepared for the lunar expedition. Tell us what your training differed from that which took place the other astronauts?

— I was in the third or fourth “moon” after the crew of the Leonov, Makarov, Rukavishnikov, and others We had to learn how to manage complex ship. First it was “L‑1” to fly around the moon, then “L‑3” for landing on the moon. Specificity of training was related to the fact that when returning from the moon overload could be fifteen times. So we can’t be squashed, we had to get into a very thin layer of the atmosphere.

— Once you said that space has always attracted you with its unexplored mysteries. What could unravel?

— Personally, I was able to establish that the Earth’s atmosphere is layered. I found the method when these layers could be observed always. This was important because at that time over Antarctica was the ozone hole, and everyone said that it was formed due to the refrigerant of refrigerators, which destroys ozone. I have proved that through the layered atmosphere to a height of 80-90 km away anything from refrigerators to get can not.

— If you now return to your 20-30 years, you would like to fly into Earth’s orbit?

— I am interested in the space that it is possible to make such scientific experiments, what on Earth is simply impossible. For example, to continue to explore a layered structure of the atmosphere. There are also alloys, for example, from the lung of cadmium and mercury are heavy… On the Ground, how many of them no mix, it will not work, and where these substances weigh the same, that is, equally weigh nothing, the result is excellent. Scientific problems that could be solved in orbit, a lot more.

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