Photo: RIA Novosti/Photo Researchers Inc.

Gizmodo posted this fascinating and very sad story of a Russian cosmonaut in the 1960′s named Vladimir Komarov who literally went into space knowing that he would not be coming back to Earth alive. The spaceship he was in, the¬†Soyuz 1, was found to have structural problems and many people knew of the dangers but dare not stand up to then leader of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev who demanded the flight.

The story which NPR summarizes is picked up from a book by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony called Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin.

That’s one scary photo above. Maybe I need to reconsider my future trip to space (although I know it’s nowhere near as dangerous as the flight Komarov took above).