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45 years since the flight of Bulgaria’s first astronaut Georgi Ivanov

Georgi Ivanov
Photo: Lovech municipality

Three airplanes will overfly Lovech today at around 5.30 PM, as an air salute on the occasion of the 45th anniversary since the flight in space of the first Bulgarian astronaut Georgi Ivanov. The planes will take off from Donla Mitropoliya air base. They will be flown by experienced pilots in wedge formation.

On this date in 1979, the first joint Soviet-Bulgarian flight on board the space ship Soyuz 33 took place, with Russian astronaut Nikolai Rukavishnikov and Bulgarian astronaut Georgi Ivanov. The ship was launched from Baikonur cosmodrome. As it approached the Salyut 6 orbital station, however the ship’s main engine failed. The crew was unable to slow down and maneuver for docking with the orbital station as planned, and decided to use the backup engine to fly back to Earth. The crew of the Soyuz 33 spent 1 day, 23 hours and 1 minute in space. Bulgaria is the 6th country to have sent an astronaut into space.

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