Cardiovascular disease was is the single most common cause of death among Soviet and Russian cosmonauts, a comprehensive analysis by a group of Russian medical institutions has determined.
The report, compiled by the Izmerov Research Institute of Occupational Health, Burnasyan Federal Medical Biophysical Centre, and Institute of Biomedical Problems was compiled using the data of 118 Soviet and Russian cosmonauts kept under observation over a period stretching between 1 January, 1960 and 31 December 2018. During this time, 37 cosmonauts passed away from a variety of causes.
The study found that 48.65 percent of the 37 died from cardiovascular diseases, with another 27.03 percent succumbing to malignant neoplasms (cancers). Exactly 16.22 percent of deaths were the result of external causes (accidents). "Other" causes accounted for 5.41 percent of deaths, with the cause of death undetermined in one case. The median age of death is 64.4 years, accounting for all causes.crashed during a routine training flight outside Moscow, killing him and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin. Gagarin was 34 at the time of his death.
Since then, six other Soviet and Russian cosmonauts have perished in accidents, among them Vladimir Komarov, who died in 1967 when the parachute of the Soyuz 1 mission failed to open. In 1971, cosmonauts Georgy Dobrovolsky, Viktor Patsayev, and Vladislav Volkov were killed during reentry after undocking from the Salyut 1 space station. Valentin Bondarenko and Sergei Vozovikov died in accidents during training in 1961 and 1993, respectively.
In their study, the researchers concluded that because all of the deceased cosmonauts were active during the period of the dawn of cosmonautics (meaning their flights were generally short), information to assess the impact of space flight on health in the long-term is lacking.
Researchers are expected to present their complete findings at the 23rd Humans in Space Symposium in Moscow between 5 and 8 April.