Horlivka – Birthplace and Home of Cosmonaut Alexander Volkov
Horlivka is an interesting city linked closely to the large town of Barnsley in South Yorkshire in England. With a population of over 292,000 people, it is most famed as the main center for coal mining and the chemical industry in Ukraine. The city of Horlivka lies within the Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine.
There is not much when it comes to an ‘incredible historical background’, nonetheless, Horlivka was founded in 1867 by the young Pyotr Gorlov, born in 1839 in Irkutsk. Gorlov was most famed for his career as a geologist and an engineer who had a large influence resulting from the exploration of the many mines existing in the Donbas region in Ukraine at the time. At the start of Gorlov’s interest in the area it was considered not much more then a series of mining camps which had expanded at quite a rate since the 1930s. However, today most of these mines have been closed down, resulting in a reduction of the city’s population by a staggering 10% since the 1990s.
One of the most famous people to come from the Horlivka area is Alexander Volkov, a Soviet-Russian cosmonaut, commander of the Cosmonaut team at the Russian training centre for cosmonauts. He was born in May 27, 1948 and by the time he was 22 had graduated from the ‘High Military Aviation School’ which was named after the famous S. I. Grivteev in 1970. From here his career took him to the position of Colonel. Volkov was a renowned cosmonaut-researcher who had the great privilege of boarding the orbital research complex known as “Soyuz T – 14″.
From November 28, 1998 to April 27, 1989, Volkov made his second space flight as Commander of the Soviet-French team that would board “Mir”, an orbital research complex. It was during this specific flight that an important scientific research program was performed along with the Soviet–French program and fellow cosmonaut researcher, Jean-Louis Cretien. Again in October 2, 1991 Volkov made his third flight as Commander. The programs were implemented with the Russian-German and Soviet-Austrian groups, along with fellow cosmonauts, Klaus Ditrih Flade and Frants Fibek.
It was from these three flights that Alexander Volkov was awarded an impressive rank of “Hero of the Soviet Union” , “Space Pilot of the USSR”, “Order of October Revolution”, “Order of Lenin” and the “Golden Star” medal for heroism and courage. It was through his work as Commander that prepared Russia as well as foreign cosmonauts for the many future flights that were to take place to space station “Mir” and “New International Space Station”.