First Flight: 4/10/1979
Last Flight: 4/10/1979
Major general Georgi Ivanov Kakalov (Bulgarian: Георги Иванов Какалов; born July 2, 1940) is a Bulgarian former military officer who was the first Bulgarian cosmonaut.
Ivanov, along with Soviet cosmonaut Nikolai Rukavishnikov, was launched into space as part of the Soyuz 33 mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 10, 1979, at 17:34 (GMT). The scientific program for the flight was prepared entirely by Bulgarian scientists, along with some of the equipment.
Though take-off was smooth, the mission was a disaster, with severe damage of the engine preventing docking in orbit to Salyut 6 orbital station as it was initially planned. A premature return to Earth became the only possible decision for Ivanov and Rukavishnikov. Due to some additional technical problems landing was difficult to endure-more than 9Gs. When Soyuz 33 finally landed, it was 320 kilometres (200 mi) southeast of Dzhezkazgan. It completed 31 orbits, and was in space for 1 day, 23 hours, and 1 minute. The flight remains the only example for manual landing and is thus quoted in every astronautic textbook.