Status: Deceased; Active 1960-1962. Born: 1933-09-29. Died: 2000-07-23. Birth Place: Dzhalal-Abad.
Graduated from Higher Air Force School, Syzran, later Samara Cosmonaut training April 1960 - 1961. Left team in 1962 due to training problems. Served as air force pilot in the Afghan War. Later he was instructor pilot in the DOSAAF civil aviation program. Died in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan.
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.
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.