A Soviet Cosmonaut
by Gordon R. Hooper FBIS
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Colonel Valeri Fyodorovich Bykovsky
The men set to work, and using a special tool, managed to sever the string. Korolyov’s offer worked, as the job was competed in only 13 minutes!
Bykovsky was sealed back in the Vostok, and awaited lift-off. Unfortunately just 30 minutes before launch, a gyro-apparatus block failed, and another postponement was proposed.
However, the chief of the State Commission was concerned that a third delay could adversely affect Bykovsky psychologically, and therefore, after discussions with Korolyov and Mstislav Keldysh, it was decided to replace the failed block and proceed with the launch.
This was done, and the launch was successfully carried out. However, Bykovsky had had to wait in the Vostok for 5 hours instead of the usual 2 hours. This had an effect, as he later revealed when asked to describe his emotions on the launch-pad, awaiting lift-off: “Besides all the usual and solemn impressions, I was dominated by a normal human sensation. I had drunk too much tea and was waiting eagerly for the moment when I could open the spacesuit. This sensation impaired all other emotions!”
He spent two days in orbit before being joined by Valentina Tereshkova in Vostok 6, and during this, the world’s second joint flight, the two cosmonauts regularly relayed TV pictures to Earth, and conversed with each other. Bykovsky returned to Earth after a flight lasting 4 days 23 hours 06 minutes and 00 seconds, setting a new duration record which stood for two years before being broken by the U.S. Gemini 5 crew.
Upon his return, Bykovsky was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and also received the Order of Lenin.
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