Poland’s only cosmonaut Gen Miroslaw Hermaszewski passed away recently at the age of 81. He circled the Earth in a Soviet spacecraft in 1978. Hermaszewski became a national hero thanks to his trip to space. For nine days in June and July of 1978, Hermaszewski and Soviet cosmonaut Pyotr Klimuk circled the Earth in the Soyuz 30 spaceship that docked at the Salyut 6 orbital space station. They went around the globe 126 times.
Interesting things about Gen Miroslaw Hermaszewski:
- Hermaszewski travelled into space as part of the Soviet Union’s Intercosmos program, which offered an opportunity to explore space for countries within the then-Eastern Bloc, under Moscow’s domination or which had ties with the Soviets.
- The first person to blast off as part of the program was Vladimir Remek of then-Czechoslovakia, in March 1978. Hermaszewski followed, while Sigmund Jahn of then-East Germany was the third to fly that year.
- They all trained at the Star City space flight preparation facility outside Moscow. Among other countries that contributed cosmonauts were Hungary, Bulgaria, Cuba, Vietnam, Mongolia, Romania, Syria, Afghanistan and India. France later took part in the program, sending Jean-Loup Chretien in 1982.