No clever commentary on this one; just an exhortation that you go and read the story of Vladimir Kamarov, Soviet astronaut and best buddy of Yuri Gagarin, and his harrowing death from falling to earth in a space capsule that everyone knew wasn’t fit to fly [via MetaFilter]. Not only does it shine a light on the spectacular levels of wilful ignorance that the Soviet top dogs were willing to engage in if it meant possibly getting a jump on the Yankees, but – if it can be taken as true – it’s also a story of making the ultimate sacrifice to save a friend’s life.
The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won’t work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, “cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.”
Go on, it’s not a long piece – go read it.