Status: Deceased; Active 1960-1961. Born: 1937-02-16. Died: 1961-03-23. Birth Place: Kharkov.
Graduated from Higher Air Force School. Cosmonaut training April 1960 - 23 March 1961. Killed in a fire in a spacecraft simulator run using a pure oxygen atmosphere, 23 March 1961. A lunar crater was named after him. His accident had a profound effect on future design of Soviet manned spacecraft, which avoided pure-oxygen atmospheres.
The group was selected to provide pilot astronauts for the Vostok manned spaceflight program.. Qualifications: Military jet aircraft pilots under 30 years of age; under 170 cm tall; under 70 kg in weight.. While the Americans sought mature test pilots for their first spaceflights, the Soviets recruited young pilots with the intent of training them for a career as spacemen. There were 3,000 applicants following interviews with medical doctor teams that toured Soviet air bases beginning in August 1959. 102 were called for physical and psychological tests. 8 of these were selected, but then Chief Designer Korolev said he wanted a pool three times larger than the American Mercury cadre. Of the 20 selected, 12 would fly in space. Of the 8 that did not, 1 died in a ground fire in training; 3 were dismissed for disciplinary reasons; and 4 left following injuries in training.
At Tyuratam in the morning, LII engineers brief the cosmonauts on correcting the Globus instrument in flight, which indicates their position over the earth. Korolev checks in for a few minutes to make sure the cosmonauts have everything they need. In the evening the news of the death of cosmonaut Bondarenko reaches the cosmodrome. He died on the tenth day of a 15-day endurance experiment in a pressure chamber at IAKM when a fire broke out in the pure-oxygen cabin. Kamanin blames his death on IAKM's poor organisation and control of the experiment.
Kamanin is having to take a lot of time preparing the paperwork for awards and promotions to be made as a result of Gagarin's flight. Of 500 VVS staff connected with the flight, 200 are to receive recognition of one kind or another. In the evening the VVS Military Soviet convenes to take testimony on the death of cosmonaut Bondarenko. It is found there were serious defects in the organization of the tests conducted at IAKM.