Status: Deceased; Active 1960-1963. Born: 1933-02-12. Died: 1992-08-20. Birth Place: Liski, Voronezh.
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.
Vershinin approves the removal of Rafikov and Anikeyev from the cosmonaut group. In the night of 12-13 March they left the base without permission and went to the Moskva Restaurant Rafikov is not happy with his wife, and talks of divorce all the time. During holidays in Sochi last May he spent time with many women, and beat his wife when she complained about it. Titov, Rafikov, and Anikeyev have all come to the notice of the Chief of Staff.
Rafikov is dismissed effective immediately. He says he is sorry, but believes that blame should be shared collectively. He says the escapades of Gagarin and Titov encouraged him and Anikeyev to do the same. He says that his wife and five-year-old son want to stay with him. His pleas are to no avail. Meanwhile the cosmonauts still support limiting the next flights in space to two days, but Korolev is training Nikolayev and Popovich for three days anyway.
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.