"This is Sirius. We are in a hopeless position. Ice covered, we fall. Two of my comrades are in a bad state. I finish, soon there will be a blow." On January 30, 1934, the Soviet stratospheric balloon Osoaviakhim-1 crashed.
Stratospheric balloon "Osoaviakhim-1" and its crew
This was the first winter flight of a stratospheric balloon in the history of aeronautics. The big risk seemed justified at first. Three stratonauts climbed to a height that no one in the world had ever taken: 22 kilometers, and held on for 12 minutes. And then abnormal situations began to arise.
The stratospheric balloon was built in 1933 and named after the Society for the Assistance to Defense, Aviation and Chemical Construction. Osoaviakhim-1 had the best instruments for studying the stratosphere, its sealed gondola had good thermal insulation, it took 180 kg more ballast for maneuvers than needed, and an experienced aeronaut was appointed as the crew commander. We started from Kuntsevo near Moscow. For three hours the radio broadcasts were vigorous: "Altitude 15,000 m", "We are observing cosmic rays", "Three air samples taken", "Altitude 20,600". The last thing they heard in Moscow was "we turn on the cartridges to absorb carbon dioxide." The connection was interrupted. The message of a stalemate was accidentally caught by a radio amateur 560 km from the starting point.
Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov in open space. March 18, 1965
The crashed stratospheric balloon was found at five o'clock in the evening in one of the regions of Mordovia. From the report of the special commission, it followed that the catastrophe happened suddenly, the stratonauts did not manage to open the gondola hatch and escape by parachute, they died from a strong impact on the ground.
Dead but first
The tragedy of "Osoaviakhim" was restored according to the logbook. "There are several reasons for the death," says Dmitry Sobolev, candidate of technical sciences:
“The stratospheric balloon was kept at a high altitude for too long, and its shell cooled down. It began to descend, but almost all of the ballast was spent on an ever higher ascent - there was nothing to extinguish the rate of descent. There is another version: the sun's ultraviolet radiation played a fatal role. - for a long stay, in fact, already in space, the tightness of the rubberized shell was broken - it could begin to let air through under the influence of sunlight."
Universe in ultraviolet
According to Dmitry Sobolev, there was also an initial reassessment of the capabilities of the stratospheric balloon - it should have been improved. But I really wanted to set a new world record, click on the nose of the Belgian record-holder Auguste Picard and show his superiority over the Americans, who began work on stratospheric balloons and were eager to achieve world achievements. The brave Soviet madmen were five years ahead of everyone.