Yuri Malenchenko became the first to get married in space when he married Ekaterina Dmitriev while he was in orbit. Despite being a Russian citizen, Malenchenko married Ekaterina Dmitriev, a United States citizen of Russian descent, while on a mission to the International Space Station in 2003. They married via a satellite video link.
Malenchenko and Dmitriev met at a party commemorating the first manned space flight. Both were born in the erstwhile Soviet Union. They migrated to the United States when they were four. Malenchenko is a cosmonaut who has made five space missions and spent eight27 days and nine hours in orbit. He holds Russia’s highest award, the Hero of the Russian Federation. Malenchenko earned his title as the second-longest space cosmonaut, after Yuri Gagarin.
A video conference was set up for the wedding and a life-size cutout of Malenchenko greeted the guests at the reception. A wedding ring was delivered to the ISS on a Progress cargo spacecraft. The groom and bride wore classic wedding dresses and were accompanied by Ed Lu, a fellow astronaut, as their best man.
Aside from their wedding, Dmitriev and Malenchenko will also host a religious ceremony in Russia next June. They have selected a church in Yaroslavl to hold their wedding. In the meantime, the Russian Aerospace Agency has approved the wedding, but has strict rules regarding marriages by military officials.
The Russian Aerospace Agency said that male cosmonauts who are active officers must have permission to marry a foreigner. This would mean that other cosmonauts would not be able to get married in space. The couple was granted permission by Russian officials and their marriage was approved on July 17. They were also issued a marriage license.
After the wedding, Malenchenko returned to the Earth to see his bride. They were married by video link, but the marriage wasn’t publicly announced. Malenchenko’s career was predicted to end after the wedding. But his career was extended to the end of October. He went on two more ISS missions after 2007, but returned to the Earth to see his bride in October.
Despite the Russian Aerospace Agency’s objections, the couple was allowed to marry. Dmitriev and Malenchenko had been in Yaroslavl, a city north of Moscow, when they met. Ekaterina was born in the former Soviet Union and was raised in the United States. The couple had been married in Yaroslavl before they moved to Russia.
While Malenchenko was in orbit, he performed multiple space walks and spacewalks. He had also been in orbit for four months in 1994. He was also the first cosmonaut to perform a proxy marriage ceremony. In 2003, he married Ekaterina Dmitriev, who was born in the former Soviet Union, but had moved to the United States.
The wedding was not broadcast on NASA television and Malenchenko’s career was predicted to be over. But the couple had a memorable wedding and it paved the way for future space weddings.