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After some casual reading around on the internet I got to the accidents that have occurred over the years in space exploration.

I got to wondering that while I know that astronauts have died during launch or return I could not find any that happened in orbit. The deaths that I could find were either during launch or the return descent.

My question is : Have any astronauts/cosmonauts died in space?

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    $\begingroup$ There were no astronauts at all at a high earth orbit. All Apollo astronauts on their way to the Moon and back did not enter a high Earth orbit. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Mar 18 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ You should avoid the words "high earth orbit" if you think of a different orbit at a much lower altitude than above 35,786 km. A high earth orbit is defined above a geosynchronous orbit. Orbits with some hundreds of kilometers are desiginated as low Earth orbits between 160 and 2000 km height. You may just remove the word high if you think of any Earth orbit. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Mar 18 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ space.stackexchange.com/a/17735/12102 $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 18 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ space.stackexchange.com/questions/32555 $\endgroup$ – Dave Gremlin Mar 18 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ This was asked on History SE less than a month ago. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Mar 18 at 18:20
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The only casualties in space (above the Kármán line) are the crew of Soyuz 11 who were still in orbit when they died but about to reenter the atmosphere. All other casualties like Komarov in Soyuz 1 or the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster were during reentry well below the Kármán line.

The Soyuz 11 was about to land so you may count that as "during return descent" if you want to. So far no one died while in orbit and not about to land, luckily.

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    $\begingroup$ "Luckily" well part of it is luck, I suppose. Most of it, I'd say, is incredible detail in engineering and quality assurance. $\endgroup$ – corsiKa Mar 18 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ @corsiKa - even with all that engineering, when compared to other transport methods we have, there's a fair helping of luck here I'd suggest. $\endgroup$ – The_Sympathizer Mar 19 at 3:59
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    $\begingroup$ @The_Sympathizer I'd say it's a fair helping of highly-trained-professional cautiousness and expertise compared to other transport methods. $\endgroup$ – Alex Mar 19 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Zaibis: I don't understand what you mean regarding some broken part (the valve that opened during separation?). The question is about whether people have died in space. The answer is: according to the international definition of space being above the Kármán line, three people have died above that height, thus in space. They were dead before the Soyuz descended below the Kármán line. That was during return descent so whether OP wants to consider this as an answer to their question as phrased is up to OP (which is what my last paragraph was about). $\endgroup$ – DarkDust Mar 19 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Zaibis: A valve opened during separation of the Soyuz because explosives fired at the same time instead of one after another. The cosmonauts died within at most 2 minutes after the valve opened. This happened in 168km height. For reference a landing profile of TMA-19: from separation in 140km to 100km takes about 3 minutes. If you have further questions, please ask a question to get more details, comments here are not intended for discussions like these. $\endgroup$ – DarkDust Mar 19 at 14:31
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If you count nonhuman astronauts, then yes, many animals have died in space.Laika was not the first, but was probably the most famous.

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    $\begingroup$ what do you mean, "not the first"? $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Mar 18 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Hobbes read animals in space, the link is in the Laika article. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Mar 18 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ If you want to expand the definition to include microbes, there's probably some still living (and dying) aboard the Voyager probes... $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Mar 19 at 13:28
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    $\begingroup$ There's also the bunch of plants sent into space. $\endgroup$ – Nav Mar 19 at 15:12
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Well, no. I mean, technically, yes, a few have perished on the outer side of the limits of what we define as "space", as User Darkdust notes, but no one's died except during launch and reentry. Definitely no "lost in space" incidents. It all depends on how one defines "space", namely how far the boundary is from the surface (50 miles was considered at at least one point: https://www.livescience.com/63166-outer-space-border-karman-line.html), but no deaths occured in a way that people imagine when they imagine dying in space.

Interestingly, I believe there is one super-deadly week at the end of February and beginning of March that has seen a bunch of fatalities, if I remember correctly.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you add some more detail and some sources for these claims? At the moment, it's just "Trust me, I'm an anonymous person on the internet!" Who are these "few" who have "technically" died in space? How might one define "space". If you found some actual data, we wouldn't have to care about the quality of your memory about late February and early March. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Mar 19 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ Don't worry, just extend the answer with facts and references what you can hunt on the Internet anywhere. $\endgroup$ – peterh Mar 19 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby My answer was ruined by a glitch halfway through writing it, and when I rewrote it, I forgot to recite that claim. $\endgroup$ – user45266 Mar 19 at 17:25

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