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Igor Borisovich Goncharov Has Died

May 01, 2020

Igor Borisovich Goncharov Has Died

The Russian and international space medicine community is saddened by the recent loss of Dr. Igor Borisovich Goncharov, a renowned Soviet and Russian scientist-physician and an eminent figure in the international history of space medicine. He passed away in Moscow on April 24, 2020, due to an acute infection 2 days after the same disease claimed the life of his beloved son, a well-known Moscow cardiologist.

   Dr. Goncharov was born in Moscow, Soviet Union. He studied at the I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University) and graduated as a general physician in 1967. In the following 3 years, he specialized in trauma and orthopedic surgery at the Sklifosovsky Clinical and Research Institute for Emergency Medicine in Moscow, Russia.  In parallel with a residency, he worked at the Moscow city EMS, as well as conducted extensive research. After successfully defending his first dissertation in 1971, he received a clinical position at Sklifosovsky.
   In 1972, fascinated and inspired by the rapid progression of space exploration, and likely motivated by the June 1971 tragedy of Soyuz-11, Dr. Goncharov applied for a science position at the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP). He faithfully and selflessly worked at IBMP, occupying various clinical, science, and leadership positions. His career transcended the Soyuz, Salyut, Mir, Mir-Shuttle, and ISS Programs. During his early IBMP years, Dr. Goncharov was directly involved in biomedical training of the spaceflight crewmembers and their medical care during orbital missions. He and his colleagues continuously optimized and upgraded the system of medical support – from an onboard pharmacy to biomedical telemetry and remote medical care.  
   Since 1994, Dr. Goncharov served as the Deputy Flight Director for medical support at the Mission Control Center, Moscow, and as a member of the Chief Medical Commission for cosmonaut medical certification. His many scientific contributions addressed the effects of spaceflight factors on human organ systems and on specific aspects of landing, triage, and evacuation of crews. While in charge of an IBMP laboratory and then a department, he led numerous investigations aimed at optimizing nominal and contingency medical care of spaceflight crews, including space telemedicine technologies.
   Dr. Goncharov was well known and respected among his peers in the international space medicine community as an expert in the field and a bearer of amazing operational experience with an exceptionally generous, positive attitude. For his contributions, which included 132 scientific papers, 23 inventions, and 4 patents, he received numerous national and international awards. Among those was the President’s Lifetime Achievement in Space Medicine award, presented at the 79th AsMA Annual Scientific Meeting (2008, Boston, USA).  He received a standing ovation for his remarkable achievements and the tremendous help that he has given to the U.S. participants while in Russia. He was also made an honorary member of the Space Medicine Association. His legacy will live in the ever-growing collective knowledge of operational space medicine.