Selecting the first cosmonaut

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


By the middle of January 1961, the elite group known as the Vanguard Six or primary cosmonauts—Bykovsky, Gagarin, Nelyubov, Nikolayev, Popovich, and Titov—had satisfactorily completed their three-day simulator tests, while at the same time concluding a series of exhaustive parachute and recovery training exercises. General Kamanin then informed the six men that over the next two days they would be undergoing a final and comprehensive “state examination” in order to judge each man’s abilities and preparedness to fly. In less couched terms, this was it—the gold ring on the cosmic roundabout. The results of the exercise would be carefully evaluated by a special interdepartmental commission under the auspices of Kamanin. They would review all the results and from these apply a ratings list numbering the men from one to six, thus determining which of the cosmonaut candidates best deserved the unrivalled honour of being the Soviet Union’s first man in space.


State Commission Chief Designer Isolation Chamber Soviet Space Ejection System 
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© Praxis Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK 2009

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