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 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 spaceflight twice while he was in the program, but his perseverance and superior skills and his knowledge as an engineer allowed him to continue playing an active role. During his time at the Cosmonaut Training Center, he contributed to space vehicle design, cosmonaut training and evaluation and public relations. He was eventually selected to command the first Soviet multiman Voskhod 1 ...more on Wikipediasee more on Vladimir Komarov
Georgiy Timofeyevich Dobrovolsky was a Soviet cosmonaut who died in outer space. ...more on Wikipediasee more on Georgy Dobrovolsky
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 telescope outside the Earth’s atmosphere. After a normal re-entry, the capsule was opened and the crew was found dead. It was discovered that a valve had opened just prior to leaving orbit that had allowed the capsule's atmosphere to vent away into space, suffocating the crew. One of Patsayev's hands was found to be bruised, and he may have been trying to shut the valve manually at the time he lost ...more on Wikipediasee more on Viktor Patsayev
Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 11 missions. The second mission terminated fatally. ...more on Wikipediasee more on Vladislav Volkov