Q:

How many astronauts have died in space?

A:

Quick Answer

Only three people have actually died in outer space, as of 2014. During the 1971 flight of the Soyuz 11, three Soviet cosmonauts died when a ventilation valve ruptured, asphyxiating the crew and exposing them to the vacuum of space.

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Full Answer

The disasters that destroyed the Challenger and the Columbia space shuttles both occurred inside the Earth's atmosphere. Challenger exploded 73 seconds after lift-off, while Columbia broke apart on re-entry. The 1967 fire that killed the three-man crew of Apollo 1 took place during a ground test of the command module.

The first in-flight fatality on a space mission occurred when the Soyuz 1 capsule crashed in 1967. The descent module, carrying cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, crashed due to a parachute malfunction.

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