General Pham Tuan’s space flight excited students

General Pham Tuan's space flight excited students 1
General Pham Tuan's space flight excited students 1

Hundreds of students in Ho Chi Minh City sat packed in the hall of Polytechnic University (Ho Chi Minh City National University) on May 19, to meet hero Pham Tuan – the first Vietnamese and Asian to fly in.

Lieutenant General Pham Tuan.

Air Force Lieutenant General Pham Tuan was born in 1947. At the age of 30, he was sent to the Soviet Union to study at the Gagarin Air Force Academy.

It only took him a year and three months to prepare, including technical training and physical training, for the flight.

On July 23, 1980, along with Soviet astronaut Viktor Vassilyevich Gorbatko, Pham Tuan was launched into space from the Baikonur cosmodrome on the Soyuz 37.

He said, when the ship was just launched, people lost the earth’s gravity so their blood did not circulate normally but went to the head more than to the feet.

The spacecraft took 9 minutes to reach orbit and a day later the space station was assembled.

Flying near Moscow, arriving at the communications station, the two pilots received orders from the ground handling unit to calmly wait for instructions.

Traveling and working on spacecraft is very difficult.

General Pham Tuan's space flight excited students

Mr. Viktor Gorbatko (left) and Pham Tuan.

After briefly sharing about the space journey, he received many questions from students and even children who were curious about the journey.

A high school student asked about unforgettable memories on this spaceship, while a six-year-old girl made the hall laugh and clap when wondering: `On the spaceship, do you think the earth is round or not?`

The pilot’s homeland is earth

Mr. Tuan said that as a human being on earth, everyone wants to fly to the sky once, while he himself is a pilot and longs to fly to space.

`At that time, it was not Vietnam, the Soviet Union or any other country, but the earth was the homeland of pilots. The happiest thing for a pilot is to have a few minutes to rest and think after work.

Pham Tuan stayed in space for 7 days, 20 hours and 42 minutes.

Referring to his companion – the hero Gorbatko – General Tuan always affectionately called him teacher.

`Early last year, we met in Vietnam. He confided that this might be his last trip to our country because his health was weak. Unexpectedly, that premonition came true,` Mr. Tuan said sadly.

General Pham Tuan's space flight excited students

Lieutenant General Pham Tuan interacts with students.

At the end of the conversation, General Tuan said that life in space is harsh, so in addition to technical qualifications, space pilots must have persistent will and a strong mentality.

Pham Tuan was born on February 14, 1947 in Quoc Tuan commune, Kien Xuong district, Thai Binh province.

On the night of December 27, 1972, he shot down an American B52 plane, becoming the first person to shoot down this type of plane from the air and return safely.

Together with Soviet cosmonaut Viktor Vassilyevich Gorbatko, he was launched into space from the Baikonur cosmodrome aboard Soyuz 37 on July 23, 1980 and returned to earth on July 31, 1980.

He was awarded the title Hero of Vietnamese Labor in 1980 and became one of the first foreigners awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin.

In 1989, Pham Tuan was Deputy Political Commander of the Air Force, then was promoted to Lieutenant General, holding the position of General Director of the General Department of Defense Industry under the Ministry of National Defense.

Manh Tung

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