The commander, 43-year-old Georgi Dobrovolsky (pictured), would oversee Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev in the Soviet’s attempt to regain space dominance. Though they were a back-up crew, each was an experienced cosmonaut in his own right.
Still, experienced as Dobrovolsky and his crew were, they hadn’t received the same training the original crew had. They’d trained for only four months before launch time, but nevertheless, the Soviets felt they were ready for action.
Soon enough, the Soyuz 11 took off with no problems and arrived at the Salyut 1 space station with its crew intact. Now came the difficult part: the cosmonauts had to dock the ship and actually set foot on the space station.
Slowly and steadily, Dobrovolsky and the Soyuz 11 crew did what the the Soyuz 10 team couldn’t: they successfully docked their spacecraft in the space station. Then, as soon as they stepped aboard, they encountered a major problem.
The Salyut 1 space station smelled bad—like something was on fire. Right away, the Soviet crew retreated back to the Soyuz 11 for 24 hours and made repairs to the station’s ventilation system. Eventually, the Salyut 1 was made habitable… or so they thought.