Today marks the anniversary of Jugderdemidiin Gurragchaa’s trip to space. The Mongolian man was the pioneer of his nation, and the first to attain this goal. The Soviet-manned space flight, Soyuza 39, took him and his crew of seven other cosmonauts to rendevous with the Soviet Space Station, Salyut-6 for an eight-day stay.
Gurragchaa, nicknamed Gurr, went as a Research Cosmonaut. The former Air Force captain and engineer performed several scientific experiments focused on earth science while onboard the space station. After successfully completing 124 orbits of the planet, the cosmonauts came home to Earth.
After his triumph, he was awarded the nation’s highest distinction, “Hero of the Soviet Union”. His accomplishments were also immortalized in a mural of his flight. The Zaisan Memorial commemorates the continuing friendship between Russia and Mongolia. Later in his career, Gurragchaa rose in rank to chief of staff of air defense and eventually Mongolian Defense Minister.