Yuri Malenchenko was married to Ekaterina Dmitriev, a U.S. citizen, while in orbit. Malenchenko is the second-longest space cosmonaut. He was born in 1961, and spent over two years in orbit. Malenchenko went on five space missions, and holds Russia’s highest award.
In August 2011, Malenchenko stayed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for another two years, after which he returned to Russia to prepare for his next space mission. He also served as a flight commander for two ISS missions. After 2012, he went on two more ISS missions. However, he and his wife were scheduled to return to earth to see each other in October. Malenchenko’s cosmonaut career was slated to come to an end. But his marriage had the blessing of the Russian government, and the couple was issued a marriage license.
Yuri Malenchenko and Ekaterina Dmitriev got married by video link from the International Space Station. During the ceremony, the couple held a proxy marriage ceremony. This was the first space wedding in history. Guests enjoyed Italian and Russian delicacies during the reception.
The couple exchanged vows on October 21, 2011, while Yuri was on a mission that would take him 402 kilometers over New Zealand. In the beginning of the ceremony, Yuri played Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” for Ekaterina. His bow tie was a symbol of the occasion. In addition to his wedding ring, Malenchenko was wearing his flight uniform. The ring was gold and set in shapes.
Ekaterina Dmitriev was at NASA’s headquarters in Houston, Texas. She was joined by a friend who stood in for Yuri. Before the ceremony began, Ekaterina and Malenchenko held a video conference with their families. The conference was classified as a private family conference, but not broadcast on NASA television. After the ceremony, Ekaterina and Malenchenko were given a blessing by Colonel General Vladimir Mikhailov, the commander of the Russian Air Force. The couple was then given a marriage license.
The Russian Aerospace Agency had tried to convince Malenchenko to postpone the wedding, but he refused. He said he could not afford to delay his marriage. His career was expected to end when he returned to Earth. But Malenchenko and his wife were granted a marriage license on July 17, 2011, which allowed them to get married in space.
Malenchenko and Ekaterina got married in Yaroslavl, Russia. The city is home to traditional Russian architecture. The wedding took place in a space-themed room, featuring a life-sized cutout of the groom and a giant fruit bowl. The fruit bowl was made of forms of the space station, and it had the groom in it. The bride walked down the aisle to David Bowie’s “Absolute Beginners” as the groom blew a kiss to her.
Malenchenko and Dmitriev will marry in Russia next June, and their kids will enjoy an orbital wedding. According to a Russian friend, the couple’s children were thrilled with the ceremony. They said they were also impressed by the giant fruit bowl.