Thirty-five years ago, the first and so far the only Pole finished his orbital mission.
Miroslaw Hermaszewski flew on the Soyuz 30 mission in 1978. Launch of this mission happened on 27th of June and the landing was on 5th of July. This was a second manned mission in the “Intercosmos”, which allowed to citizens of other countries than USA or Soviet Union to fly to the orbit.
Hermaszewski flew with a Soviet cosmonaut Pyotr Klimuk. The aim of Soyuz 30 mission was an orbital station Salyut 6, where Hermaszewski and Klimuk stayed for over six days. During that time, Hermaszewski performed series of experiments, related to crystal growth, human body in the microgravity conditions and photographs of Poland from space. One experiment, called “Smak” (eng. taste), focused on the sense of taste in microgravity conditions.
The mission has ended on 5th of July, when the Soyuz return capsule landed in Kazakhstan. The first and so far the only manned space mission with Pole has ended. Since that time there have been no Polish project aiming at sending another Pole to the orbit. However, in the meantime, several Americans of Polish descent flew to the orbit, e.g. Scott Parazynski, James Pawelczyk or George Zamka.
It’s important to note here that since the flight of Miroslaw Hermaszewski many significant political and economical changes happened in Europe, which had its impact on the development of space sector, including manned spaceflight.
When will the next Pole fly to space? It seems that it is much more probable that the next Pole will simply pay for his or her suborbital flight. Such a situation could happen within next few years, i.e. once commercial suborbital services are introduced to the market. The orbital flight of Pole seems to be more distant in the future, probably not less than ten years.