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The Soviet space program had been progressing at such a breakneck pace in order to beat that of the Americans. As such, many safety issues were either glossed over or not properly handled, and several of the spacecraft designed during the early era of Soviet flight were quite dangerous to their cosmonauts. The fatal accident aboard Soyuz 1 lead to a series of changes being made to the other Soyuz capsules that had been scheduled to follow it into orbit. The capsule itself had been criticized for what engineers considered to be more than 200 design flaws. Following the crash, wherein the capsule impacte the ground at the speed of 40 meters per second, the Soyuz program was put on hold for 18 months in order to completely refurbish the waiting vehicles.


The second Soyuz craft that was launched was unmanned, and it became the first successful unmanned Soyuz mission. The third mission once again placed a cosmonaut inside that type of capsule, and the occupant, Georgi Beregovoi was able to safely return to the Earth.