Soviet cosmonauts, Leonid Popov and Valery Ryumin, after passing medical checks following their record 185-day space mission, have received a heroes' welcome from family and friends near Moscow.
GV EXTERIOR Soviet cosmonauts Commander Leonid Popov and Flight Engineer Valery Ryumin down aircraft steps at Zvyozdny Gorodok, near Moscow, USSR, while family watch (2 shots)
GV Popov and Ryumin across tarmac, Popov salutes and makes report to Chairman of the State Commission. Two cosmonauts listen as Chairman of State Commission (out of shot) answers
SV Little boy with red flower runs to greet father Ryumin, is lifted up by Ryumin. Popov greets his son.
GV Family members greet two cosmonauts (2 shots)
SVs Photographers and cosmonauts and family pose for them (4 shots)
GV Popov, holding flowers, speaks to reporter and then Ryumin comments
SVs Reporter speaks to Ryumin's son
GV Cosmonauts and sons lay wreaths on the monument to Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Soviet cosmonauts, Leonid Popov and Valery Ryumin, after passing medical checks following their record 185-day space mission, have received a heroes' welcome from family and friends near Moscow. The marathon mission of 35-year-old Commander Popov and 41-year-old Flight Engineer Ryumin was launched on April 9 and ended on October 11 when their Soyuz-37 space capsule parachuted them to earth on the Central Asian Steppe. The previous world record was 175 days in space, set in 1979 by Ryumin and Commander Vladimir Lyakhov.
SYNOPSIS: Commander Popov and Flight Engineer Ryumin returned to Zvyozdny Gorodok, where they live, near Moscow, more than two weeks after their earth landing. They had been under close medical supervision at the Baikonur Cosmodrome while they readjusted to the earth's gravity.
Despite a slight weight increase, both men were reported to be in good health after their lengthy confinement in the cramped Salyut 6 space laboratory. Medical experts said Popov and Ryumin did not seem to have suffered the same general physical deterioration as the crews of previous long-term missions. While performing an arduous programme of scientific experiments on the three-year old space station, the cosmonauts kept fit by exercising regularly.
With the mission behind them, the cosmonauts faced their families for the first time in seven months, and their sons were the first to rush forward.
Within hours of landing on earth, Commander Popov was made a hero of the Soviet Union--the country's highest honour--while Flight Engineer Ryumin was awarded the title for the second time. As an additional honour to Ryumin, who has spent almost a year in space out of the past twenty months, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet decreed that a bronze bust be built in his home town of Komsomolsk Na Amure, in the Soviet far east.
In one important respect the record flight was less arduous than the 1979 Lyakhov and Ryumin mission. During their six months in space Popov and Ryumin received morale-boosting visits from three crews including Hungarian, Vietnamese and Cuban cosmonauts. This was not possible during the previous flight because of a series of technical difficulties. Ryumin, now the world's most experienced spaceman, said he thought man was now capable of longer voyages and he would willingly fly to Mrs. But the Soviet Union, which has sent several unmanned spacecraft to planets, has no immediate plans for manned interplanetary flights.
Later the cosmonauts paid homage to the first man to travel into space when they laid wreaths on the monument to the late Yuri Gagarin--the Russian who first orbited the earth in 1961.