Most astronauts have agreed that once you leave Earth, nothing is ever the same once you return. You're a changed man or woman — for better or worse. But while this transformation was merely psychological for most space voyagers, this idea was all too real for cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev. When he set out on his journey, he thought he knew exactly what Earth would look like on his return. But after an unforeseen shift in power, he began to wonder if he'd ever make it home safely.
Up and away
The year was 1991 when 33-year-old flight engineer Sergei Krikalev left for the Mir space station from a base in Kazakhstan. In spite of all his training, Krikalev had no way of preparing for the twist his journey was about to take.
At the time, the Mir space station needed some heavy maintenance, so Krikalev, the brainy engineer, was assigned to conduct repairs and experimental spacewalks at the station. In the beginning of his trip, he wasn't alone.
Cosmonaut Anatoly Artsebarski, and Britain's first astronaut, Helen Sharman, went along with Kikalev for the journey. Both of them, however, wound up leaving Kikalev before disaster struck.
The best-laid plans...
See, Krikalev was only supposed to be in space for 5 months — a quick jaunt, more or less. But after a slew of unexpected happenings plagued Earth, his trip became...complicated.