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Poland’s only cosmonaut dies at age 81.

Poland’s only cosmonaut, Gen Mirosław Hermaszewski, who circled the Earth in a Soviet spacecraft in 1978, has died. He was 81.

The retired air force pilot’s death on Monday (12) was announced via Twitter by his son-in-law, European Parliament member Ryszard Czarnecki. He later told Polish media outlets that Hermaszewski died at a hospital in Warsaw of complications from a surgery he had undergone in the morning.

Hermaszewski became a national hero thanks to his trip to space. For nine days in June and July 1978, he 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.

Hermaszewski (right) with Soviet cosmonaut Pyotr Klimuk, with whom he orbited Earth 126 times.

In an 2018 interview with the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Hermaszewski said his biggest fear during the flight was that their spacecraft would be struck by a meteor. His and Klimuk’s senses were sharpened, catching even the smallest sound, he said.

Hermaszewski travelled into space as part of the Soviet Union’s Intercosmos programme, 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.

Source: www.theguardian.com

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