From 1966 to the present, he has been employed at the Rocket Space Corporation Energia, holding the positions of: Ground Electrical Test Engineer, Deputy Lead Designer for Orbital Stations, Department Head, and Deputy General Designer for Testing. He helped develop and prepare all orbital stations, beginning with Salyut-1.
In 1973, he joined the RSC Energia cosmonaut corps. A veteran of three space flights, Ryumin has logged a total of 362 days in space. In 1977, he spent 2 days aboard Soyuz-25, in 1979, he spent 175 days aboard Soyuz vehicles and the Salyut-6 space station, and in 1980, he spent 185 days aboard Soyuz vehicles and the Salyut-6 space station.
From 1981 to 1989, Ryumin was flight director for the Salyut-7 space station and the Mir space station. Since 1992, he has been the Director of the Russian portion of the Shuttle-Mir and NASA-Mir program.
In January 1998, NASA announced Ryumin's selection to the crew of STS-91, the final scheduled Shuttle-Mir docking mission, concluding the joint U.S./Russian Phase I Program. STS-91 is scheduled for a May 1998 launch.
Manned two crew. Unsuccessful mission. Failed to dock with Salyut 6. Recovered October 11, 1977 3:25 GMT.
Manned two crew. Docked with Salyut 6. Placed on board the Salyut-6 station a crew consisting of V.V. Kovalenko and A.S. Ivanchenkov to conduct scientific and technological investigations and experiments. Recovered September 3, 1978 11:40 GMT.
Manned two crew. Docked with Salyut 6. Transported a team consisting of V A Lyakhov and V V Ryumin to the Salyut-6 space station to conduct scientific investigations and experiments and repair work. Recovered June 15, 1979 16:18 GMT. Returned unmanned.
Jettisoned KRT-10 antenna from rear docking port.
Manned two crew. Docked with Salyut 6. Carried crew comprising L I Popov and V V Ryumin to the Salyut-6 station to carry out scientific and technical research and experiments. Returned crew of Soyuz 36 to Earth. Recovered June 3, 1980 15:07 GMT. Landed 140 km SE Dzehezkazgan.
The final shuttle-Mir mission, STS-91 recovered NASA astronaut Andy Thomas from the Mir station and took Russian space chief and ex-cosmonaut Valeri Ryumin to Mir for an inspection tour of the ageing station. This was the first test of the super lightweight Aluminium-Lithium alloy external tank, designed to increase shuttle payload to the Mir / International Space Station orbit by 4,000 kg. At 22:15 GMT Discovery entered an initial 74 x 324 km x 51.6 deg orbit, with the OMS-2 burn three quarters of an hour later circulising the chase orbit. Discovery docked with the SO module on Mir at 17:00 GMT on June 4. NASA equipment was retrieved from the station, and Discovery undocked at 16:01 GMT on June 8, and landed on Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center at 18:00 GMT on June 12.