Soyuz 23: Soviet surprise splashdown!

Soyuz 23The Soviet Union’s Soyuz 23 mission lifts off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, intended for a stay of up to three months at the Salyut 5 space station. A serious malfunction of the automatic rendezvous gear forces an abort of the docking with the station, and cosmonauts Vyacheslav Zudov and Valery Rozhdestvensky are recalled to Earth, ending their orbit after just two days. But blizzard conditions near the landing site blow the Soyuz crew capsule off-course, resulting in the first-ever splashdown of the normally land-locked Soviet space program as Soyuz 23 plunges through the frozen surface of a lake. With their vehicle intact and functioning, the cosmonauts have to wait nine hours underwater for rescuers to bring the capsule to dry land.