A research cosmonaut named Abdul Ahad Momand became the first and remains the only Afghan astronaut to this day. In 1988, he flew on the Soyuz TM-6 manned spacecraft to the Soviet research orbital station Mir.
He also read the Quran in zero gravity, and this was recorded on video. It is noteworthy that his colleague, Vladimir Afanasyevich, at that time held the young partner by the legs in order to simplify the shooting process and make a normal recording the first time.
In Afghanistan, he was greeted as a hero: when the cosmonaut was driving from the airport, it seemed that all the inhabitants of Kabul, young and old, lined up along the road, applauded, cried with happiness and threw flowers at the cortege. Afghans considered this the greatest achievement, because their first compatriot visited space.
Having received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, the man worked in the Afghan branch of the Space Research Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences. But in the mid-90s, after the seizure of power in the republic by the mujahideen, Momand, who was on a business trip abroad, could not return home. He wanted to move to Russia, but he was denied not only a visa, but also the restoration of documents obtained during the Soviet era.
Abdul Ahad Momand: biography, early years
The future cosmonaut was born in the village of Sarda, Shangar region, in the province of Ghazni in 1959, on January 1. He is a Pashtun by nationality. There is practically no information in the public domain about Mohmand’s family and childhood.
After graduating from high school, the young man became a student at the Kabul Polytechnic Institute. In 1978, a nineteen-year-old boy was drafted into the army and sent to the Soviet Union, where he received a military education.