Science: Cosmic Champs

A space mark for the Soviets

The scenes were all too familiar to Americans: the crew drifting down under a huge striped parachute, mission controllers jubilantly congratulating one another. But it was a Soviet, not a U.S., space triumph that was being celebrated last week—the homecoming of Cosmonauts "Volodya" and "Sasha." Smashing all space endurance records, the Soviet Union's latest heroes, Vladimir Kovalenok, 36, and Alexander Ivanchenkov, 38, had returned safely to earth after nearly 140 days in space.

Soviet TV did not show any live pictures of the touchdown on a plain in Kazakhstan or the wobbly emergence of the men from...

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