Yevgeni Vassilyevich Khrunov (cyrillic Евгений Васильевич Хрунов) was born September 10, 1933 in the city of Prudy, Volovsky District, Tula Region, south of Moscow. He graduated from the Bataisk Air Force School in 1956 and became a figher pilot in the 86th Air Guards Regiment, 199th Air Division of the 48th Air Army in Moldavia. He was selected in the first cosmonaut group in 1960.

His first major assignment was as a communications operator (capcom) during the first manned spaceflight, Vostok 1. He was then selected as one of the candidates for the Vostok 5/6 joint flight. Vostok 5 would launch first, followed the next day by Vostok 6. They would come within a couple of miles of each other (though this was due solely to the launching as the Vostok capsule had no ability to change its orbit except for reentry). In the end the flight Vostok 5 spot went to Valeri Bykovsky.

Khrunov next assignment was as backup crew member for the Voskhod 2 flight. During this flight Alexei Leonov became the first person to walk in space. Khrunov was also assigned to the Vostok 12 flight. This never took place but was supposed to be a solo flight to test extravehicular activity. He was also the proposed prime crew member for Voskhod 6, which would have included an EVA to test the UPMK 'jet belt'.

His next assignment was again for a mission that never got off the ground. He was to be one of the two crew members to transfer from Soyuz 2 to Soyuz 1 during the maiden flights of the Soyuz spacecraft. But after rain at Baikonur and problems that Soyuz 1 faced in orbit, the mission was aborted before it launched.

Although many cosmonauts have said that they were involved in the Soviet Lunar Landing program, it is believed that Khrunov was actually trained to be on one of the flights. Other cosmonauts training included Yuri Gagarin and Valeri Bykovsky.

Finally 9 years after being selected Khrunov made his first flight. He was one of the three crew members launched on the Soyuz 5 which docked with Soyuz 4, accomplishing the original mission of the Soyuz 1/2 flights. Also on board Soyuz 5 were Boris Volynov and Aleksei Yeliseyev. Yeliseyev and Khrunov performed an EVA and transfered to Soyuz 4 were they reentered with Vladimir Shatalov.

This was Khrunov's only spaceflight. He was the proposed prime crew for a Soyuz test flight of the Kontakt system designed for the lunar orbit rendezvous and docking of the LOK lunar orbiter and LK lunar lander. The system was to be mounted on two Soyuz and tested in Earth orbit. He was also the backup commander for the Soyuz 38 flight which launched the seventh Intercosmos mission. He left the cosmonaut program December 25, 1980. He decided to return to the Air Force. He worked as a researcher on the staff of the NII-30 Chkalovskaya military research institute. He was appointed to the Chief State Committee for foreign economic relations, until October 1989.

After retirement he lived in Ostankino, a Moscow neighborhood where one of the landmarks is a monument depicting a rocket soaring aloft on a tail of smoke. Sadly, he died May 19, 2000 after a heart attack.

Khrunov published several books, including textbooks on astronautics such as Man as an Operator in Open Space (1974); a science fiction novel, The Way to Mars; and an autobiography, The Conquest of Weightlessness (1976). He is also the subject of a book, Cosmonaut, Son of the Land of Tula (1970).


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