Sergei Krikalev was launched into space during a time when the Soviet Union was seeing cracks in their political and economic system. But up and away he went, sent to do repairs on Mir, the Soviet space station. Two others came along with him, Anatoli Artsebarski and Helen Sharman, Britain’s first astronaut. Eight days later, Sharman returned back to earth with the crew who would be replaced by Krikalev and Artsebarski. Five months after that, Artsebarski would go home as well, leaving Krikalev alone in Mir. During his time in space, Krikalev would be oblivious from all the turmoil happening in his country, and the long separation would see him coming back to a whole different world, 311 days after he launched into space.
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