Credit: Yves Dejardin Collection - Yves Dejardin Collection
Status: Deceased; Active 1960-1963. Born: 1930-01-21. Died: 1990-09-15. Birth Place: Malinovka.
Graduated from Zhukovsky Air Force Military Engineering Academy, Monino, 1963 Major, Soviet Air Force Cosmonaut training April 1960 - 1961. Left with Anikeyev and Nelyubov after alcohol incident. Continued service as an Air Force pilot until 1969. From 1970 to 1977 he worked in a state institute in Oryol and then until 1987 in the reserves. Died in Oryol (?), Russian SFSR.
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.
They also, on the basis of the recent examinations and interviews, clear the rest of the cosmonaut trainees for flight except for Rafikov, Filatev, and Zaikin, who passed the examinations but had not yet completed all the tests and training. Moskalenko has given approval for a Soviet film team to go to Tyuratam and film preparations for the flight. At the Presidium meeting Khrushchev had questioned what would be done if the cosmonaut reacted poorly in the first minute of the flight. Korolev answered in his deep voice: 'Cosmonaut are extraordinarily trained, they know the spacecraft and flight conditions better than I and we are confident of their strength'. The flight is still seen as very risky - of seven Vostoks flown unmanned so far, five made it to orbit, three landed safely, but one did not. On the other hand, both recent Venera launch attempts reached low earth orbit.
Cosmonauts Nelyubov, Anikeyev and Filatyev were arrested drunk and disorderly by the militia at Chkalovskiy station. This was not the first time. The VVS hierarchy wants them all dismissed from the cosmonaut corps. Gagarin says that only Filatyev should be fired. Kamanin would prefer to see all three go, but cannot afford to lose 25% of his flight-ready cosmonauts. He would hope to at least keep Nelyubov, who was a candidate for the third or fourth Vostok flights, but did not perform well on the centrifuge.
A fight ensues over the release of the motion picture film of the flight. The Kremlin leadership still does not want to show the 'secret' launch cadres, rocket and spacecraft configurations, etc. There is also conflict with the planned dismissal of cosmonauts Nelyubov, Anikeyev, and Filatyev, with the flown cosmonauts using their connections with the political hierarchy to try and overturn the decisions of their military commanders. Finally, Tereshkova started a campaign to get a posthumous Hero of the Soviet Union medal for cosmonaut parachute trainer Nikitin. This particularly irritated the military command since as far as they were concerned Nikitin died due to his own error and killed another parachutist in the process. In no way was this deserving of a medal, but the award would convey significant financial benefits to his family and Tereshkova fought on. This was indicative of the quick turnaround celebrity brought to the cosmonauts - from obedient junior officers, anxious not to lose a chance for a spaceflight, to aggressive campaigners, willing to take on even members of the General Staff for what they thought was right.