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Story behind Soviet Union astronaut who was stranded in space for 311 days

Story behind Soviet Union astronaut who was stranded in space for 311 days

Sergei Krikalev was stuck in space for nearly a year.

A Soviet Union astronaut found himself stranded in space for the most peculiar of reasons.

Sergei Krikalev arrived at the Mir space station in May 1991, marking his second trip there, but it turned out to be quite a different experience from his first.

Sergei was joined by Soviet scientist Anatoly Artebarsky and British scientist Helen Sharman on the mission. But seven months into their journey, the Soviet Union dissolved - throwing Kazakhstan’s plight into uncertainty.

As a result of this, Sergei had to stay at the station for ten months due to him no longer having a country; double the length of time he was supposed to.

The reason he had to wait so long was because money had dried out in what was once the newly independent Kazakhstan, so Sergei knew from a financial perspective he wasn't on top of the list to be spending money on.

He said said while on Mir: “The strongest argument was economic because this allows them to save resources here.

"They say it’s tough for me - not really good for my health. But now the country is in such difficulty, the chance to save money must be top priority."

Sergei Krikalev was stranded in space for nearly a year.
NASA

Some of his fellow astronauts managed to make it home in the time he was there, but Sergei didn't want to sacrifice the future of the station.

Eventually, ten months later, Sergei's replacement was sent to Mir so that he could finally come home.

That replacement was German astronaut Klaus-Dietrich Flade, a pilot and trained engineer in his own right.

Sergei - who has been labelled as the 'last Soviet citizen' - landed back down on Earth on 25 March 1992, after 311 days in space.

While you'd think he would want to avoid going back to space in the years that followed, Sergei actually went back several times.

He went on to retire in 2009 with a total logged time of 803 days, nine hours and 38 minutes in space under his belt.

Sergei went over 800 days in space over the course of his career.
NASA

Sergei's story is that impressive that it actually inspired the 2017 film, Sergio and Sergei.

The film's synopsis reads: "A Russian cosmonaut is stranded on the Mir Space Station during the collapse of the Soviet Union."

Sergio and Sergei, which starred the likes of Sons of Anarchy star Ron Perlman and Héctor Noas, currently boasts 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer.

I mean, you know you've officially made it when you get a successful film about yourself.

Featured Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty Images

Topics: Space, News, World News, Science