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Here's a look at something from the other side of the Iron Curtain, seen at the USSR Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. September 1967. Both the USA and USSR pavilions were full of wonderful things from the space programs. It was like stumbling into Aladdin's Cave for this 15 year old.

ussr-cosmonaut-couch.jpg

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With all of its challenges and incredible problems, the decade of the 1960s was a remarkable time to come of age.

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It's still a marvel to me that the Soviet Cosmonauts landed their capsules on terra firma and not in the oceans.  No deep ocean splashdowns for them.  Strangely, 1967 was a very bad year for both space programs.  Apollo One exploded on the launching pad at the Kennedy Space Center on January 27 killing Astronauts Grissom, White and Chafee in what amounted to a holocaust in the capsule.    On April 24 of 1967, Vladimir Komorov was the first to be killed in actual space flight when his Soyuz One capsule's parachute failed to open during re-entry.  Both were tragic and terrible accidents which set back each programs goals and plans.  Both nations had wonderful space program exhibits at Expo that gave visitors a chance to learn that whether they were astronauts or cosmonauts, they were incredibly courageous men.

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Yes, electrical fire in a pure oxygen pressurized capsule.  Horrible.  After that they switched to a mix atmosphere that was a lot less combustible.

I remember where I was when it came over the radio, just like remembering where I was when the announcement came through about the Kennedy assassination.

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Oh, that's right, Bill.  I knew that.  I remember the horror of what happened to those three men trapped inside that capsule.  It was during a test.  It was the same year as Expo, of course, and there was a 50th year commemoration at the Kennedy Space Center in January.  It's strange, sometimes, what we remember.  It was a snow day and I was in grade nine.  I heard the news while watching television.  I still shudder when I think of the three unfortunate and courageous astronauts.

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