It’s getting dark, and Vladimir Dzhanibekov is cold. He has a flashlight, but no gloves. Gloves make it difficult to work, and he needs to work quickly.
In 1985, the Soviet space station Salyut 7 underwent a catastrophic electrical failure while no-one was aboard. The ground lost all contact with it, and it was drifting silent and derelict through space -- and they could not afford to lose the station. So they mounted a rescue mission, stripping a ship to the bare minimum so they could load up extra tools, food, and water, and sent two cosmonauts up to do what had never been done before: "docking with a non-cooperative object," boarding a dead ship, and trying to repair it before it crashed or they ran out of air and water.
The history of what they did was scattered, and (this being the USSR) much of it kept secret; but it has finally been pieced together almost completely, and you can here find out how two crazy bastards flew up into space, boarded a ship that for all they knew was about to fall apart around their ears, and repaired it.
via +Lauren Weinstein