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Astronomy - Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Sciences | The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team - Their Lives and Legacies

The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team

Their Lives and Legacies

Burgess, Colin, Hall, Rex

Jointly published with Praxis Publishing, UK


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  • A complete, authoritative and objective history of the lives, selection, training and experiences of the first group of twenty cosmonauts selected by the Soviet Union
  • Includes the biographies and experiences of the eight cosmonauts from the first group from 1960 who, for various reasons, did not get to fly into space
  • Tells the full story of the need and urgency to select an initial group of Soviet Air Force cosmonauts
  • The definitive and up-to-date resource for information on that first group of cosmonauts
  • Based on key interviews conducted over several years by co-author Rex Hall and Space Researcher Bert Vis at the cosmonaut training centre, Moscow-Star City
  • A valuable resource and point of reference for all serious students of space flight history

The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team will relate who these men were and offer far more extensive background stories, in addition to those of the more familiar names of early Soviet space explorers from that group. Many previously-unpublished photographs of these “missing” candidates will also be included for the first time in this book. It will be a detailed, but highly readable and balanced account of the history, training and experiences of the first group of twenty cosmonauts of the USSR. A covert recruitment and selection process was set in motion throughout the Soviet military in August 1959, just prior to the naming of America’s Mercury astronauts. Those selected were ordered to report for training at a special camp outside of Moscow in the spring of 1960. Just a year later, Senior Lieutenant Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Air Force (promoted in flight to the rank of major) was launched aboard a Vostok spacecraft and became the first person ever to achieve space flight and orbit the Earth.

Content Level » Popular/general

Keywords » Astronautics - Russia in space - Soviet Air Force - USSR in space - poyekhali - soviet cosmonaut history - space exploration - vostok spacecraft - yuri gagarin

Related subjects » Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Sciences - Mechanical Engineering - Popular Astronomy

Table of contents 

Sparking the Space Age.- A few good Soviet men.- Russia’s future spacemen.- Training days.- Selecting the first cosmonaut.- “Poyekhali”: A man in space.- Vostok flights continue.- The “missing” cosmonauts: Rumour and reality.- First woman of space.- A tragedy, and Gagarin’s final flight.- Pushing the limits.- Orbits of co-operation and the end of an era.

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