|COLONEL YURI GAGARIN|
Born: March 9, 1934 in Klushino / Smolensk Oblast / Russia
Died: March 27, 1968 in Novoselovo / Vladimir Oblast / Russia
Colonel Yuri A. Gagarin was born on a collective farm in
a region west of Moscow, Russia on March 9, 1934. His father was a carpenter.
Yuri attended the local school for six years and continued his education at
vocational and technical schools.
Yuri Gagarin joined the Russian Air Force in 1955 and
graduated with honors from the Soviet Air Force Academy in 1957. Soon afterward,
he became a military fighter pilot. By 1959, he had been selected for cosmonaut
training as part of the first group of USSR cosmonauts.
Yuri Gagarin flew only one space mission. On April 12,
1961 he became the first human to orbit Earth. Gagarin's spacecraft, Vostok 1,
circled Earth at a speed of 27,400 kilometers per hour. The flight lasted 108
minutes. At the highest point, Gagarin was about 327 kilometers above Earth.
Once in orbit, Yuri Gagarin had no control over his
spacecraft. Vostok's reentry was controlled by a computer program sending radio
commands to the space capsule. Although the controls were locked, a key had been
placed in a sealed envelope in case an emergency situation made it necessary for
Gagarin to take control. As was planned, Cosmonaut Gagarin ejected after reentry
into Earth's atmosphere and landed by parachute.
Colonel Yuri Gagarin died on March 27, 1968 when the
MiG-15 he was piloting crashed near Moscow. At the time of his death, Yuri
Gagarin was in training for a second space mission.
MAJOR GENERAL PAVEL POPOVICH
Born: October 5, 1930 in Uzyn, Kiev Oblast, United Kingdomrainian SSR, USSR
Died: September 29, 2009 in Gurzuf, Crimea, United Kingdomraine
Pavel Romanovich Popovich was the 4th cosmonaut in
space, the 6th person in orbit, and the 8th person in space.
He was born in Uzyn, Kiev Oblast of Soviet Union (now
Ukraine) to Roman Porfirievich Popovich (a fireman in a sugar factory) and
Theodosia Kasyanovna Semyonov. He had two sisters (one older, one younger) and
two brothers (both younger).
During World War II, the Germans
occupied Uzyn, and burned documents including Popovich's birth certificate.
After the war, these were restored through witness testimony, and although his
mother knew that he was born in 1929, two witnesses insisted that Popovich was
born in 1930, and so this became his official year of birth.
1947, he left vocational school in Bila Tserkva with qualifications as a
carpenter. In 1951, Popovich graduated as a construction engineer from a
technical school in Magnitogorsk, as well as receiving a pilot's
In 1954, he joined the Young Communist
He was married to Marina Popovich, a retired Soviet Air
Force colonel, engineer, and legendary Soviet test pilot who has been outspoken
about UFO reality. They had two daughters. They later divorced, and Popovich
married Alevtina Oshegova.
Popovich was also a keen weight
"Service in the Air Force made us strong, both physically and
morally. All of us cosmonauts took up sports and PT seriously when we served in
the Air Force. I know that Yuri Gagarin was fond of ice hockey. He liked to play
goal keeper. Gherman Titov was a gymnastics enthusiast, Andriyan Nikolayev liked
skiing, Pavel Popovich went in for weight lifting. I don't think I am wrong when
I say that sports became a fixture in the life of the cosmonauts."
also a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
After his retirement in 1993, he lived in
Popovich died in a hospital in Gurzuf where he had been
taken following a stroke on 29 September 2009. Brain hemorrhage was cited as the
cause of death. He is buried in Moscow.
2002 Out of the Blue (in person), 1997 Strange But True (in person), 1990 Yaoi Jun'ichi UFO shuzai tokuhô dai 3 dan (in person)
MAJOR GENERAL ANDRIAN NIKOLAYEV
Born: September 5, 1929 in Shorshely, Chuvashia, Russia
Died: July 3, 2004 in Cheboksary, Chuvashia, Russia
Andriyan Grigoryevich Nikolayev (5 September 1929 – 3
July 2004) was a Soviet cosmonaut. He was an ethnic Chuvash.
Nikolayev flew on two space flights: Vostok 3
(effectively becoming the third Soviet cosmonaut) and Soyuz 9. His call sign in
these flights was Falcon. On both, he set new endurance records for the longest
time a human being had remained in orbit. He also served as backup for the
Vostok 2 and Soyuz 8 missions. On 22 January 1969, Nikolayev survived an
assassination attempt on Leonid Brezhnev, undertaken by a Soviet Army deserter,
Viktor Ilyin. He left the cosmonaut corps on 26 January
Nikolayev was also the first person to make a television
broadcast from space, in August 1962. Vostok 3 was part the first dual space
flight, with Pavel Popovich on Vostok 4.
In the early days of space
travel, it was usual to place trainee astronauts into isolation chambers to see
how long they could last alone. They sat in silence unable to gauge time. Many
men cracked. One cosmonaut, Andriyan Nikolayev lasted the longest - four days -
and became known as the Iron Man.
On 3 November 1963, he married
Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to fly in space. They had one daughter,
Elena Andriyanovna (now a Doctor of Medicine), before their marriage collapsed.
However, it was not until 1982 that they divorced.
Nikolayev died of a heart attack in Cheboksary, the capital of Chuvashia in
GENERAL GHERMAN TITOV
Born: September 11, 1935 in Altai Krai, Russian SFSR
Died: September 20, 2000 in Moscow, Russia
Gherman Stepanovich Titov (11 September 1935 – 20
September 2000) was a Soviet cosmonaut who, on 6 August 1961, became the second
human to orbit the Earth aboard Vostok 2, preceded by Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1.
Titov was the fourth man in space after Gagarin and Americans Alan Shepard and
Gus Grissom (the latter two made suborbital voyages).
flight finally proved that humans could live and work in space. He was the first
person to orbit the Earth multiple times (a total of 17), to spend more than a
day in space, to sleep in orbit and to suffer from space sickness. He was the
first to pilot a spaceship personally and he made the first manual photographs
from orbit, thus setting a record for modern space photography. A month short of
26 years old at launch, he remains the youngest person to fly in
In his subsequent life Titov continued to work for the
Soviet space program, playing a major role in Spiral project where he trained to
become the first pilot of an orbital spaceplane. However, after the death of
Yuri Gagarin in a military aircraft accident in 1968 the Soviet government
decided it couldn't afford to lose its second cosmonaut, and so Titov's career
as test pilot ended.
Titov served in the Soviet Air Force and become
General-Colonel, and in his final years in post-Soviet Russia he became a
2009 Cosmonaut (Other), 2005 Conquering Space: The Moon and Beyond (Other), 1998 Cold War (in person), 1961 Unser Sandmännchen (in person)