Soyuz T-12The Soviet Union launches Soyuz T-12 on a mission to space station Salyut 7. Cosmonauts Vladimir Dzhanibekov, Svetlana Savitskaya and Igor Volk visit the station crew and test new equipment during a three-hour spacewalk. Savitskaya becomes the first woman to fly in space twice as well as the first female spacewalker, an assignment that seems to have been devised purely for the political purpose of beating NASA to that first (the American space agency having announced in 1983 that an upcoming shuttle mission would feature a female spacewalker). Volk’s presence aboard the mission ensures that he has spaceflight experience ahead of his next mission, believed to be the first manned flight of the Soviet Buran shuttle. The Soyuz T-12 crew is in space for almost 12 days, returning to Earth on July 29th.

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