Ahad Momand was born in Sardah, Afghanistan in 1959; he finished
school in Afghanistan and sought to become a pilot. Momand was an
exceptional pilot and was chosen amongst many to be trained for a
flight to space station Mir. Trained as a professional Cosmonaut,
Momand joined the International Group 6 in 1988 and was selected
as part of a group to visit the space station Mir with Lyakhov and
47, a military pilot who has flown in space twice before, but,
Momand, 29, an Afghan air force pilot was the first Afghan in
Momand and Soviet doctor Valery Polyakov were launched into space
Aug. 29 and boarded the orbiting Mir space station two days later.
Polyakov remained aboard, but Lyakhov and Momand undocked the
Soyuz at 2:55 a.m. Moscow time Tuesday (5:55 p.m. CDT Monday) for
the trip home.
stayed on the Mir to monitor the health of two other cosmonauts
who have been in space for more than eight months.
Soyuz capsule is designed for trips to and from space, not for
systems on the globe-shaped capsule were designed to last two
days, meaning that had the cosmonauts not been able to descend,
they would have been in jeopardy by third day.
to a Soviet space official, however, the cosmonauts could have
stretched supplies of oxygen, water and food for up to a week.
After that, the capsule would be like "a lone boat in the
ocean," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
television showed black-and-white videotape taken from the Soyuz
in which the Mir station, whose extended solar panels gave it the
shape of a T, grew steadily smaller as the capsule pulled away.
commentator Alexander Tikhomirov said later, in a somber voice:
are already used to everything going smoothly in space, and some
forget about the danger which space
research entails. And here this once more convinces us how complex
a matter it is and what a huge amount of abnormal situations
awaits cosmonauts in orbit."
began soon after the Soyuz left its dock on the Mir.
to Afghanland.com sources, Controllers
decided to delay another attempt for three hours, Izvestia
reported. During that time, scientists found that sunlight had
interfered with a sensor in an infrared guidance system and a
computer automatically terminated the engine burn.
minutes later, the sensor locked onto its correct target, and the
guidance system worked properly. The engine fired again, but
because the on-board computer had not been reprogrammed, the
capsule was sent on a trajectory for a landing in China, the
cosmonauts stopped the engine manually after three seconds and
tried again, but that time, the engine stopped after six seconds
and the decision was made to wait until next day.
Ahad Momand, the first Afghan in space, and his Soviet crewmate,
Vladimir Lyakhov, touched down at 7:50 p.m. Houston time Tuesday
in Soviet Central Asia. the Soyuz TM-5 space capsule landed 99
miles southeast of Dzhezkazgan, a town on the steppes of the
republic of Kazakhstan in Soviet Central Asia. The town is about
1,365 miles southeast of Moscow.
to the Mir orbital station a Soviet-Afghan crew comprising the
cosmonauts V A Lyakhov, V V Polyakov and A A Momand (Afghanistan)
to conduct joint research and experiments with the cosmonauts V G
Titov and M K Manarov. Returned Manarov, Titov (Soyuz TM-4),
Chretien (Soyuz TM-7) to Earth. Initial orbit 195 X 228 km at 51.
57 deg. Maneuvered to a 235 x 259 km orbit, then docked with Mir
at 05:41 GMT on 31 August at its 339 x 366 km orbit. Moved from
aft to forward port 8 Sept 88. Undocked 03:33 GMT 21 December
1989. Revised software installed as a result of TM-5 abort
overloaded computer. Landing planned for 06:48 aborted. Backup
program used. Orbital Module retained through retrofire. Recovered
December 21, 1988 09:57 GMT. Landed 180 km SE Dzhezkazgan.
Momand at the Airport greeted by fans
Mr. Momand Aboard Space station
Autographed Photo of Mr. Momand
Date: 01 January 1959.
Date: 20 January 1954.
1988 International Group 6.
1988. Number of Flights: 1. Total Time: 8.85 days
of Flights: 1.
was selected for prime crew of Soyuz TM-6, but was replaced by
Momand because of appendicitis; his recent job was Major General
in the Afghan Air force.