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Chronicle on Soviet-Cuban Feat, 34 Years Later

arnaldo-tamayo cubadebateI was a first grader at the "Miguel Salcedo" semiboarding school in the town of Antilla, and that morning when I got there early, as usual, I met with a huge stir along the corridors, all my peers wanted to see the first Cuban to have gone to the outer space. Today, 34 years later that memory is still alive, therefore, my inspiration to write this chronicle.

Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, the native on 5th street Oeste, in Guantanamo city, an orphan boy who never met his parents, a common boy, humorous and a little naughty, was the talk of the town.

As his hometown is closer to the US Naval Base he often saw the US war planes fly over his land; since then, the boy began to dream...


Nobody would then think that the 13 year old teen that used to polish shoes and was a carpenter helper, in 1978 would be called on to join the Soviet Union's Intercosmos Program and would then head to the Cosmonaut Training Center in the Eurasian nation.


Twos years later, on the 18th of September, 1980 he flew to the outer space from Baikonur Cosmodrome together with Soviet engineer Yuri Romanenko. It was 15:11. Today, 34 years later, the event is still news.


The Soyuz 38 airship took off from the cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan; the joint Soviet-Cuban crew of Yuri Romanenko and Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez headed for the Salyut 6 orbital complex. Out there, they met with the crew residing over there: cosmonauts Leonid Popov and Valeryi Riumin.


The one week trip allowed making some experiments, afterwards they returned to the Earth on the 26th of September, 1980.


A good deal of the program of research and technological experiments of the mission, that was designed by Cuba's National Academy of Sciences, comprised several scientific tasks, among them the culturing of the first organic monocrystals in microgravity, using Cuban made sugar; medical and biological experiments (even some on researching on the causes of the Space Adaptation Syndrome) and the exploration from the outer space of the territory of the Caribbean archipelago and the continental platform in search of minerals and possible oil deposits.


Once the research program finalized, on the 25th of September, the cosmonauts took to the cosmic ship the materials of the experiments and research made; the following day, they descended and landed on the Earth; Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez thus represented Cuba and Latin America in the outer space.



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