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Gherman Titov

the second Russian to orbit the Earth and youngest person ever to go into space

Gherman Titov

Gherman Stepanovich Titov was born in Verkhneye Zhilino, Siberia, Russia, on September 11, 1935, the son of a schoolmaster. He entered the 9th Military Air School at Kustanai, Kazakhstan in 1953, graduated as a jet fighter pilot from the Stalingrad Flying Academy in 1957, and then served as an Air Force pilot in the Second Leningrad Aviation Region. He married Tamara Vasilevna in 1968, and the couple ultimately had two daughters and one son.

Selected as one of the first six candidates for cosmonaut training in 1960, Titov received the Order of Lenin for an engineering proposal and served as the back-up cosmonaut for Yuri Gagarin's historic flight.

Although he had been denied the chance to become the first human to orbit the Earth, Titov's own flight was itself loaded with firsts. Just shy of his 26th birthday when he was launched aboard Vostok 2 on August 2, 1961, Titov remains the youngest person ever sent into space. During his 25-hour-18-minute, 17-orbit flight, he became the first person to suffer space sickness, the first to sleep in space, and the first to take pictures from space. After his return to Earth he was named a Hero of the Soviet Union and received another Order of Lenin.

Titov's photo of Earth from space
Titov's photo of Earth from space

Titov entered the Zhukovskiy Air Force Engineering Academy in 1962 for formal training as an engineering test pilot, and graduated in 1968. During this period he also headed the cosmonaut team training for flight of the Spiral spaceplane, but was constantly denied an opportunity to return to space. Frustrated by this, he opted for a career at the Soviet Ministry of Defence. After graduating from the General Staff Military Academy in 1972 he became deputy director of the Command and Control Centre of the Office for Space Facilities, where he was involved in the Salyut 3 mission in 1974 and later oversaw the construction of launch vehicles.

After the death of Gagarin in a plane crash in 1968, Titov became the Soviet Union's best known cosmonaut, and in 1988 he welcomed Western reporters for the first time to Russia's equivalent of Cape Canaveral, the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He retired with the rank of Major General in 1992, and from 1995 to 1999 was the member of the Duma for the city of Kolommna, representing the Communist Party.

Gherman Titov was found dead in his Moscow apartment on September 20, 2000, the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Yuri Gagarin

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This page was last updated on 09/18/2018.