Georgi Grechko (Patron)

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Georgi Grechko (Patron)



I count it a privilege that on 1st April 1994 I had the opportunity, together with fellow A.S.S.S. member George Spiteri, to be granted an interview with Cosmonaut Georgi Grechko during a visit he made to Jodrell Bank. During that interview (a transcript of which appears here), he kindly agreed to become Patron of our Society, and I presented him with back issues of “ORBIT”, along with a copy of Harvey Duncan’s “SPACECRAFT & ASTRONOMY INDEX

I’m not ashamed to say that George and I were like two little boys at the end of our meeting with Mr. Grechko, emerging with autographed pictures in our hands, photographs in our cameras and heads full of vivid memories that will not soon go away. Isn’t that what hobbies and interests are all about? Each time we look at a stamp, or see the autograph on a cover, they trigger memories. Or why else is it that we spend hours either preparing our albums, or going through admiring the finished article.

To me that is one of the reasons that the Astro-Space Stamp Society was formed back in 1987, and I can still remember the enjoyment of spending time with our Founder in those early days as things got off the ground and then the thrill of corresponding with others who share my interest in Space, and my hobby of collecting.

You know, I would love to think that we will be able to look back on this event as the beginning of a new era for our Society. I have been saddened over the years to see members join then fall away as the years have passed, especially when their early days with us were full of expectancy.. where is it we have gone wrong? Surely we can’t blame it all on the Recession?

But that’s the past and this is now. Let us look to the future with confidence for what’s to come, and see a Society that our Patron will be proud to be associated with. As a start to that a number of the Committee met together in June to discuss the future of the Society and where we think we’re going. We’ve made a commitment, because we still believe in the reason that the Society was founded in the first place, and we still want to be part of it..

What about you? Please drop any of us a line and let us know what you think..

By Tony Bird

Georgi GrechkoGeorgi Michailovich Grechko was very interested in mathematics and physics at school and later enrolled at the Leningrad Institute of Mechanics, graduating in 1955 with honours, his speciality being computers. He then began work in the Design bureau headed by the late Sergei Korolyov.

He was involved in the computer work which calculated the trajectories for the first Soviet space shots in 1957.He was officially selected to join the cosmonaut team in 1966, and arrived in Star Town on 5th September 1966, along with Kubasov, Volkov and Yeliseyev, and was described as a mild and even-tempered man with a high standard of theoretical training and rich engineering experience.

In his diary, Vladislav Volkov wrote of a cosmonaut selected in 1966, and identified only as “Georgi”, who was severely injured in a parachute jump in the Summer of 1966. Following the accident, he was removed from the programme, although Volkov did not say whether Georgi was permanently crippled or not. It would seen likely that this cosmonaut was in fact Georgi Grechko, and this has bean confirmed by one western report which stares that he actually broke his back, taking more than a year to recover.

Grechko’s first spaceflight came as flight engineer on board Soyuz 17, launched at 0O.43am (21.43 GMT) on 10 January 1975 (Mission call sign “Zenit”, Mission Commander Lt. Col Alexei Alexandrovich Gubarov). This was the first visiting mission to the Salyut 4 space station since its launch on 26th December 1974.It is reported that when they stepped inside the space station they found a notice saying “wipe your feet” placed there by technicians before the Salyut launch. Grechko and Gubarov then spent 30 days on board, carrying out earth resources work and astronomical observations. It is said that there was so much scientific and medical equipment on board that Grechko covered three miles a day floating from instrument to instrument.

His second spaceflight came as flight engineer on board Soyuz 26, launched at 4:19am on 10 December 1977 (Mission call sign “Taimyr”, Mission Commander Lt. Col Yuri Viktorovich Romanenko). They docked with Salyut 6 space station on the 12th December with the objective of examining the stations docking mechanism, as it was felt that it might have been damaged during Soyuz 25’s abortive docking attempts. For the first time the Soviets admitted that the station had a second docking port.

On the 19th December, Romanenko and Grechko began to prepare for a short spacewalk. At 21:36 the side hatch of Salyut opened and Grechko floated outside. This was the first soviet spacewalk for nearly 9 years, and only the third in the Soviet space programme. Grechko examined the cone of the docking unit, and noted that it had not even been scratched by the Soyuz 25 docking attempt. He ensured that the unit was functioning properly, with the result that the Salyut 6 programme was saved

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