“It’s a terrible scene. Komarov burned up. All the instruments burned. We must quickly find out what prevented the main parachute from unlatching.” Chief Designer Mishin after he arrived at the Soyuz 1 crash site.
Around noon on January 14th, Boris Chertok was alone in his office studying a folder of classified mail that had accumulated during the past few days. He had asked not to be disturbed. Suddenly his subordinate ran in and shouted, “Sergey Pavlovich died!”
Chertok responded “Are you out of your mind? Which Sergey Pavlovich?”
“Ours, our Sergey Pavlovich Korolev! His wife telephoned from the hospital!”
Chertok stood absolutely dumbfounded, having no idea what to do next. This can’t be! This really shouldn’t be happening! A few seconds later he called the Kremlin for verification.
From the Control center Yuri Gagarin’s kept the crew informed on everything taking place on the now deserted launching site. Finally the command was given: “Stand by!” Now, It would be a matter or minutes before the launch. Commands followed in quick succession. The flight recorder was switched on, the engines started up. There was not much noise at first. But, after the command “Main Engine” the noise and the vibration grew stronger. The final command came at 07:30 UT “Start!”