Space personalities that I have met

Sven Grahn

Wernher von Braun

Wernher von Braun gave a talk at the International Astronautical Congress in 
Stockholm on August 16 1960. I was a member of the staff (at age 14) and
I wish I could say that I had an intelligent conversation with the great rocketeer, 
but I only had the nerve to ask for his autograph on his paper about the 
"U.S. Carrier Rocket Program".

John Glenn

John Glenn lectures in
lecture hall 187 at the
Royal Institute of
Technology, Stockholm.
John Glenn came to Sweden in the spring of 1966 and, i.a., lectured to the 
students and faculty of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (where I
was a student). I was in the front row and took the picture on the right and
got the astronaut's autograph on the report about his flight. When I asked him
to sign the report he said "Oh, that old book" and wrote his name.

Ron Evans

Apollo 17 Command Module Pilot Ron Evans visits my employer, the 
Swedish Space Corporation in 1976. Yes, it's me in the beard on the right. 
Don't laugh, it was the 70's - and people actually looked like that!

Yuri P Semenov and Vladimir Shatalov

On 8 October 1985, in connection with the International Astronautical Congress in Stockholm, Yuri P Semenov and Cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov visited my employer, the Swedish Space Corporation, and I had the opportunity to attend both a lunch for them and a subsequent meeting. 

At that time Semenov was not a well known figure, and I certainly took notice when he introduced himself as the "Technical Director for the Soyuz-Salyut-Progress Complex". (He became the head of RKK Energia in 1989). Vladimir Shatalov was naturally a well-known cosmonauts since his flights on Soyuz-4, -8, and -10.

During the course of the meeting Mr Semenov (photo on the right: RKK Energia) revealed that Kosmos-1686 lacked a re-entry vehicle.  I also described to Semenov and Shatalov that I tracked Soviet satellites including Salyut and the latest Kosmos-1686. I showed Semenov the frequencies (192 MHz and 142.417 MHz) and Shatalov asked in Russian "What does he receive", to which Semenov replied "Telemetri y sviaz" (Telemetry and voice),

Then Semenov said: 

  • "Did you hear Salyut this spring? We could not hear it, maybe you could have helped!"
To which I replied:
  • "No, I had my last signals on 3 February."
Semenov said:
  • "So you had the same problem as we did"... of course referring to the power problems with Salyut-7
Later I played a recording of Savitskaya's voice and Shatalov (see picture on the right) and Semenov listened very attentively, then Semenov jokingly said:
  • "Next time we fly over Sweden, we will keep quiet!"
I said:
  • "Well if you do, Moscow will not hear Salyut either -  Sweden is so close to the Soviet Union"
Shatalov laughed and said
  • "We shall continue to broadcast like that, it shows that we have nothing to hide and it also gives you an excellent impression of what life in space is like"
I asked:
  • So, I hope you do not mind my listening"
To which Shatalov said:
  • "Not at all"
So, this is the story of how I met these luminaries in the history of space - a long time ago.

Sergei Avdeyev & Christer Fuglesang

I met Russian cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev (extreme right), holder of the space 
endurance record, 747 days in orbit, when he visited my employer (the Swedish 
Space Corporation in Solna, Sweden) on 17 February 2000.  He was accompanied 
by the Swedish astronaut traineee, Christer Fuglesang (extreme left).

Boris Chertok at the IAC 2003 in Bremen

Russian rocket and space pioneer Boris E Chertok (born 1 March 1912) gave a talk on 3 October 2003 about German influence on Soviet rocketry. I got him to sign my copy of the german translation of his book "Rockets and People". Afterwards there was a press conference with, i.a. Jesco von Puttkamer, a von Braun co-worker from NASA. Chertok, in his talk, made a plea för a Nobel prize for Soviet space pioneers. Listen here for a short sample of Chertok's voice recorded with my mobile phone

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