Now safely on the Salyut 1 (sans the burning smell), the cosmonauts went to work. Their mission was to study the effects zero gravity had on the human body, among other things. Part of their research included running on a treadmill aboard the space station.
And what was a little space-age propaganda without regular television broadcasts? Dobrovolsky and his crew starred in televised progress reports that the USSR and countries all over the planet broadcasted to their citizens. Then, 11 days in, the crew encountered another issue.
Again, the Soyuz 11 crew smelled something bad, and this time, smoke accompanied the stench. Luckily, any panic didn’t last long, as the crew was able to quickly locate the source of the smoke—a malfunctioning part—and fix the problem. All good, right? Well…
All in all, the crew spent 23 days aboard the Salyut 1, beating the previous record for time in spacial orbit by five days. With a record in hand and 141 separate experiments completed, it was time for Dobrovolsky, Volkov, and Patsayev to return home.
The Soviet crew gathered up all of their research—notes, recordings, and more—and loaded it onto the Soyuz 11. All in good health, they boarded their ship, undocked from the station, and readied the ship for re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. That’s when everything went wrong.