Researchers identified cardiovascular disease as the most common cause of death among cosmonauts, specifically Soviet and Russian.

A comprehensive study conducted by a group of Russian medical institutions recently identified cardiovascular disease as the single most common cause of death among cosmonauts, specifically Soviet and Russian cosmonauts.

The finding comes coinciding with a Space Daily report that humanity is marking next month its 60th anniversary of its first expedition into space, with more than 560 people from about 41 nations reaching low orbit on Earth, traveling outside low orbit Earth, or even reaching the Moon since the historic 1961 flight of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

The report, which the Izmerov Research Institute of Occupational Health, Institute of Biomedical Problems and Burnasyan Federal Medical Biophysical Center compiled data of about 118 Soviet and Russian cosmonauts kept under observations for a period stretching from January 1960 through December 2018. During this period, 37 cosmonauts passed away because of different causes.

Deaths of Cosmonauts

The Russian study found that about 48.65 percent of the 37 cosmonauts died due to cardiovascular diseases, with another 27.03 percent, dying because of malignant neoplasms or cancers.

Around 16.22 percent of mortalities were the result of external causes like accidents. Other causes accounted for about 5.41 percent of mortalities. A single case has an unidentified reason for the mortality. Furthermore, the median age of mortality is approximately 64 years, accounting for all causes.

On Saturday is Gagarin’s 53rd death anniversary. He is the first human to enter space. On March 27, 1968, the MiG-15 UTI of this Russian cosmonaut crashed while it was aboard a training flight outside Moscow, killing him and Vladimir Seryogin, a flight instructor. He was 34 at the time he passed away.

From that time, six other Russian and Soviet cosmonauts have died in accidents. One of them was Vladimir Komarov who perished in 1967 when the Soyuz 1 mission’s parachute failed to open.

Following the said incident in 1971, three other cosmonauts Vladislav Volkov, Viktor Patsayev and Georgy Dobrovolsky died during reentry after they undocked from the Salyut 1 space station.

Then, respectively in 1961 and 1993, Valentin Bondarenko and Sergei Vozovikov both died due to accidents while on training.

Russian Researchers’ Conclusion

In their research, the study authors concluded that since all of the deceased cosmonauts were said to be active during the cosmonautics’ period of dawn, meaning their flights were short in general, information to analyze the effect of space flight on health in the long run is lacking.

Russia and the Soviet Union both account for almost 51 percent of time spent in space, in all, recording more than 29,100 days in orbit because space flights started.

Out of 34 Russian and Soviet cosmonauts who have spent 365 days or longer in orbit, 24 are retired while two are deceased. The remaining cosmonauts have remained active to date.

The study authors are expected to present their complete results during the 23rd Humans in Space Symposium in Moscow from April 5 to 8, 2021.

NBC News has a related report about Gagarin on its YouTube video below:

Originally published at Science Times