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A Soviet cosmonaut who spent a record 211 days in space last year slept badly much of the time and longed for his home and family, according to excerpts from his personal diary. The extracts, published in the Communist Party daily Pravda, showed that Valentin Lebedev found most of the mission an intense strain which was relieved only by the fascination of watching the Earth spin slowly by. Such a frank portrayal of life in orbit is extremely rare in the Soviet media, which tend to depict cosmonauts as heroic, almost superhuman figures.

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