Test Cosmonaut Mikhail Burdayev

  • Slava Gerovitch
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology book series (PSHST)


Mikhail Nikolayevich Burdayev was born on August 27, 1932, in Feodosiya, Crimea. In 1956 he graduated with honors from the Mozhayskiy Air Force Engineering Academy. In the years from 1956 to 1959 Burdayev served as a senior technician, then as a squadron engineer at an aircraft carrier; from 1959 to 1969 he worked as a researcher, then a senior researcher at the Central Scientific-Research Institute No. 2 of the Air Defense (2 TsNII) in Kalinin, working on military space topics. In 1963 he defended a dissertation and was awarded the degree of candidate of technical sciences. On April 12, 1967, Burdayev joined the cosmonaut group. From 1967 to 1969 he had general cosmonaut training. In 1969–1970 he trained under the Soyuz-VI military station program, from 1970 to 1972 under the Almaz military station program, and in 1972–1973 under the Salyut (DOS) civilian station program. From 1974 to 1976 Burdayev trained for a Soyuz 7K-S mission as a flight engineer. From 1976 to 1983 he trained under the Soyuz 7K-T program. From 1974 to 1983, Burdayev participated in flight control operations, and from 1983 to 1989 he served as a shift leader of the mission control group at the Cosmonaut Training Center. In 1987 Burdayev defended a doctoral dissertation and was awarded the degree of doctor of technical sciences.
Figure 10.1

Mikhail Burdayev on board a sea ship with a Soyuz landing module in the background, October 1973 (courtesy Mikhail Burdayev).


Space Flight Mission Control Onboard Computer Military Engineer Military Group 
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  1. 1.
    Mikhail Burdayev, Teoriya i raschet spiraley dlya planerov (Moscow: DOSAAF, 1970);Google Scholar
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    On the “five ministers’ order,” see Nikolay Kamanin, Skrytyi kosmos, vol. 3 (Moscow: Novosti kosmonavtiki, 1999), p. 96 (diary entry for July 31, 1967). In May 1966, a cosmonaut group was created at the Central Design Bureau of Experimental Machine Building (later the Energiya Corporation) under the Ministry of General Machine Building. In May 1967, a cosmonaut group was organized at the USSR Academy of Sciences. In March 1972, a cosmonaut group was set up at the Institute for Biomedical Problems of the Ministry of Health. Also in March 1972, a cosmonaut group was created at the Central Design Bureau of Machine Building under the Ministry of General Machine Building (until 1965, under the Ministry of Aviation Industry). The Cosmonaut Training Center was subordinated to the Ministry of Defense.Google Scholar
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    Valeriy Victorovich Ryumin (1939–) and Vladimir Afanasyevich Lyakhov flew on Soyuz 32 to the Salyut 6 space station in February 1979. They returned in June 1979 on Soyuz 34, which was sent to the station in the unmanned mode to pick up the crew. The engine on Soyuz 34 was redesigned to fix malfunctions that caused the failure of the Soyuz 33 mission in April 1979. See Dennis Newkirk, Almanac of Soviet Manned Space Flight (Houston, TX: Gulf, 1990), pp. 200–203.Google Scholar
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    The fire occurred on September 4, 1978, during the Expedition 2 on Salyut 6. See Yuriy Baturin, ed., Mirovaya pilotiruyemaya kosmonavtika. Istoriya. Tekhnika. Lyudi (Moscow: RTSoft, 2005), p. 281.Google Scholar
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    According to Boris Chertok, during the approach, the Argon-16 computer on Soyuz T-2 noted a discrepancy between the predicted and actual velocities, concluded that the automatic rendezvous system was malfunctioning, and shut it off. Malyshev then successfully performed manual approach and docking. See Chertok, Rockets and People: The Moon Race, vol. 4, pp. 507–508. According to another version of events, traceable to Aleksey Yeliseyev, the computer was functioning correctly, but the crew turned it off because they did not trust its recommendations; see Rex Hall and David J. Shayler, Soyuz: A Universal Spacecraft (Chichester: Springer/Praxis, 2003), p. 293; Newkirk, Almanac of Soviet Manned Space Flight, p. 213. Valentina Ponomareva and Viktor Przhiyalkovskiy also discuss this episode in their interviews in this collection.Google Scholar
  14. 38.
    See Mikhail Burdayev, “Application of Hodograph Method to Calculation of Time of Transfer in a Central Gravitational Field,” Cosmic Research 47:2 (2009): 185–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Space Science Board, Science in Space (Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, 1961).Google Scholar

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© Slava Gerovitch 2014

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  • Slava Gerovitch

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