space Astronauts Who Died in Flight  

Mike Rothschild
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Since the beginning of manned space flight, 18 astronauts have died during actual missions. Given the hundreds of manned flights that have been attempted, it's amazing that so few astronauts and cosmonauts have died in space. Every precaution is taken when launching a mission with a human crew, but mistakes do happen - and can have devastating consequences.

Most space flight deaths take place either during the launch phase or re-entry. This is the most dangerous time, when huge amounts of fuel are burned, or a craft comes back into the atmosphere. The two worst disasters in space flight history, the destruction of the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia, both took place in these critical times - leading to most of the astronauts who died in space on this list.

Here are all 18 of the people who died in space - the deaths that have occurred on manned space missions.
Vladimir Komarov is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Astronauts Who Died in Flight
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Died on April 24, 1967, in the re-entry crash of Soyuz 1.

Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov was a Soviet test pilot, aerospace engineer and cosmonaut in the first group of cosmonauts selected in 1960. He was one of the most highly experienced and well-qualified candidates accepted into "Air Force Group One". Komarov was declared medically unfit for training or ...more

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Georgy Dobrovolsky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Astronauts Who Died in Flight
Photo: Freebase/Fair use

Died on June 30, 1971. Suffocated in space with two other cosmonauts when a vent valve on Soyuz 11 opened as the craft was leaving space station Salyut 1.

Georgiy Timofeyevich Dobrovolsky was a Soviet cosmonaut who died in outer space. ...more

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Viktor Patsayev is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Astronauts Who Died in Flight
Photo: Public Domain

Died on June 30, 1971. Suffocated in space with two other cosmonauts when a vent valve on Soyuz 11 opened as the craft was leaving space station Salyut 1.

Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 11 mission and had the unfortunate distinction of being part of the second crew to die during a space flight. On board the space station Salyut 1 he operated the Orion 1 Space Observatory, he became the first man to operate a ...more

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Vladislav Volkov is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Astronauts Who Died in Flight
Photo: Freebase/Fair use

Died on June 30, 1971. Suffocated in space with two other cosmonauts when a vent valve on Soyuz 11 opened as the craft was leaving space station Salyut 1.

Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 11 missions. The second mission terminated fatally. ...more

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