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Interkosmos was a space program of the Soviet Union designed to include members of military forces of allied Warsaw Pact countries in manned and unmanned missions. The participation of countries which were not Soviet allies, such as India, Syria and France was a reflection of non-aligned politics during the Cold War.
Begun in April 1967 with unmanned research satellite missions, the first manned mission occurred in February 1978. Interkosmos missions enabled 14 non-Soviet cosmonauts to participate in Soyuz space flights between 1978 and 1988. The program was responsible for sending into space the first citizen of a country other than the USA or USSR; Vladimír Remek of Czechoslovakia. Interkosmos also resulted in the first black and Hispanic person in space, Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez of Cuba, and the first Asian person in space, Phạm Tuân of Vietnam. Of the countries involved, only Bulgaria sent two cosmonauts in space.
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