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Yury Onufriyenko : biography

February 6, 1961 -

Col. Yuri Ivanovich Onufriyenko ( ) (born 6 February 1961) is a Russian cosmonaut. He is a veteran of two extended spaceflights, aboard the space station Mir in 1996 and aboard the International Space Station in 2001-2002.


Onufriyenko was awarded the Hero of Russia medal, the title of Pilot-Cosmonaut of the Russian Federation, the Gold Star Medal of the Hero of the Russian Federation and NASA Space Flight and Public Service Medals. In 1997 he was named a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor.


Onufriyenko was born in Ryasne, Zolochiv Raion of Kharkiv Oblast, Soviet Union (now Ukraine). Onufriyenko and his wife, Valentina Mikhailovna Onufrienko, have two sons, Yuri, born in 1982 and Aleksandr, born in 1990 and one daughter, Elena, born in 1988. He has two older brothers and his parents are deceased. Onufriyenko enjoys tennis, cooking, fishing, chess, and aviation.

Cosmonaut career

Onufriyenko was selected as a cosmonaut candidate in 1989. From September 1989 to January 1991, he underwent a course of general space training. Starting April 1991, he underwent training as a member of test cosmonauts group. Starting March 1994, he entered flight training to be the commander of the stand-by crew of the Mir-18 expedition aboard the Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft and the Mir space station as part of the Shuttle-Mir program.

Mir EO-21

From February 21 to September 2, 1996, Onufriyenko served as Commander of the Mir EO-21 expedition. The Soyuz TM-23 spacecraft carrying Onufriyenko with cosmonaut Yury Usachov lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on February 21, 1996 at 12:34:05 UTC. After two days of autonomous flight, the Soyuz spacecraft docked with the Mir space station's forward-facing port on February 23 at 14:20 UTC. One month later, he and Yuri Usachov were joined by NASA astronaut Shannon Lucid. During Mir-21 Onufriyenko performed numerous research experiments including Protein crystal growth experiments experiments in materials science using high temperature melting oven "Optizon". The new module Priroda, the seventh and final module of the Mir Space Station arrived on April 26, 1996. Its primary purpose was to conduct Earth resource experiments through remote sensing and to develop and verify remote sensing methods. During Mir EO-21 supplies arrived with the Progress M-31 spacecraft. Onufriyenko and Yuri Usachov were joined by French astronaut Claudie André-Deshays after the departure of Shannon Lucid.

On September 2, 1996, Onufriyenko, Usachev and Claudie André-Deshays returned to Earth on board the Soyuz TM-23 capsule. The spacecraft landed at 07:41:40 UTC 108 km south west of Akmola (Tselinograd). Altogether, on board Soyuz TM-23 and Mir, Onufriyenko logged 193 days in space.

Expedition 4

Onufrienko again served as Commander on ISS Expedition 4. Onufriyenko returned to space on board STS-108 mission. Launched on December 5, 2001, at 22:19:28 UTC from the Kennedy Space Center, Endeavour docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on December 7, 2001, at 20:03 UTC. The primary objective of STS-108 was to deliver supplies to and help maintain the ISS. During a 6-1/2 month stay aboard the ISS, the 3 member Expedition 4 crew (Onufriyenko and NASA astronauts Daniel W. Bursch and Carl E. Walz) performed flight tests of the station hardware, conducted internal and external maintenance tasks, and developed the capability of the station to support the addition of science experiments. The Expedition 4 crew returned to Earth aboard STS-111, with Endeavour landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on June 19, 2002. In completing this mission, Onufriyenko logged an additional 196 days in space, for a total of 389 days of spaceflight.


Onufriyenko has performed eight career spacewalks totaling 42 hours and 33 minutes. As of June 2010, he has secured the 11th position in the list of astronauts who have the most spacewalk time. Onufriyenko performed six spacewalks during his stay on board the Mir Space Station and performed another two during his visit to the ISS.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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