© 2005

Russia’s Cosmonauts

Inside the Yuri Gagarin Training Center


Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Table of contents

About this book


With the aid of unique photographs, first-hand interviews and historical resources, Rex Hall, Dave Shayler and Bert Vis explain, for the very first time, how Russian citizens have been selected and trained to fly in space, and how these procedures have changed during the past 40 years. The authors also describe the evolution of the often overlooked ground support infrastructure and how the role of cosmonauts has changed from the very earliest days of the Gagarin era, through the demise of the Soviet Union, to the era of international co-operation and collaboration on programmes such as the International Space Station.

The book will provide much important background information and insight to the operational Soviet/Russian manned space programme, already covered in other Springer-Praxis titles, but revealing information and facts not covered elsewhere, and providing a unique reference source for all those who wish to understand the changing role of Russian cosmonauts in today’s global space programme.


evolution illustration information simulation space structure

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.LondonUK
  2. 2.Astro Info ServiceHalesowen West MidlandsUK
  3. 3.Dutch Fire ServiceDen HaagThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors


From the reviews of the first edition:

"With the downfall of the Soviet Union … the history of the ‘other’ manned space program could have been lost forever. That this can no longer occur is due in no small part to enthusiasts like the authors of this book. Diligently they have gathered together a host of appropriately-monochrome photographs, maps and detailed information concerning the Soviet space effort … . it’s a significant printed resource. Doubtless it will soon be scanned and on the web itself." (Duncan Steel, Australian Physics, Vol. 43 (4), 2006)

"The book provides important background information and insight to the operational Soviet/Russian human space program … revealing information and facts not covered elsewhere and providing a unique reference source for those who wish to understand the changing role of Russian cosmonauts in today’s global space program." (Quest, Vol. 13 (4), 2006)

"This comprehensive account of the once-secret centre is written by three of the leading western authorities on the Soviet-Russian human spaceflight programme. … One of the strengths of the book is the inclusion of numerous photographs of training-centre facilities … . Also of value for spaceflight enthusiasts are the detailed appendices of the individuals and crews who have trained there … . This book is recommended for anyone who wants an in-depth look at the centre that trained the world’s first human space explorers." (Peter Bond, The Observatory, Vol. 126 (1194), 2006)

"What was the philosophy behind the Soviet Space Program? These questions and very many more are answered in this superb history of the Soviet/Russian cosmonauts and the training centre popularly known as Star City. … The work is based on extensive research of English and Russian language written sources … . The author’s wide experience is reflected in the breath and depth of this history. Noteworthy points include a definitive identification of all cosmonaut recruits." (John O’Dwyer, Tiros Space Information, Vol. 31 (9), 2006)

"There was a time when the Russian space effort was shrouded in the utmost secrecy. … But Hall, Shayler and Vis leave no detail to the imagination. Cosmonaut squads, simulation rooms and accommodation buildings are all listed, and their histories explained. There’s a good index too – Russia’s Cosmonauts is remarkable for its depth of research. … this is a highly reliable book for reference purposes. … You must definitely put this in your library if you’re a serious space fan … ." (Piers Bizony, BBC Focus, April, 2006)

"It is the result of a tremendous amount of research, and the authors have been able to visit Star City … where the cosmonauts are trained, as well as others who have been to the Russian space stations. … The reference lists are excellent. This is essentially a book for specialists. … to the serious researcher it will be an invaluable work of reference." (Patrick Moore, BBC Sky at Night, February, 2006)

"The authors explore how Russian citizens have been selected for spaceflight and how the process has evolved in the past forty years. They are well-versed in this sub-genre of spaceflight literature, having followed the Soviet space programme for many years, and this book is a valuable addition to the field. … The book is illustrated with black-and-white photographs and line drawings, and is well referenced. … This book represents an important addition to the ‘ongoing documentary’ of manned spaceflight." (, May/June, 2007)