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On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space, the Russian Ministry of Defense published unique documents about the first cosmonauts in our country. The documents are presented in a special multimedia project “Earth Orbits of the Conquerors of Space” on the military department’s internet portal.
On April 12, 1961, the Vostok-1 spacecraft was launched with the first man on planet Earth aboard an orbit near Earth in the Soviet Union. It was piloted by a citizen of the Soviet Union, Major Yuri Gagarin. Thus began a new era in the exploration of outer space – the era of manned spaceflight, at the origin of which our countrymen stood.
Historical documents and photographs convey vividly and emotionally the path that the first participants in the space program had to go to this great achievement.
In a new section on the website of the Russian Ministry of Defense, unique photographs and documents have been published for the first time, including personal files from Air Force officers who were the first to conquer space – Yuri Gagarin, German Titov, Alexei Leonov and others.
Documents from the Military Department’s Central Archives present documents on cosmonauts and leaders of the national space program, frontline officers who became mentors and conveyed their rich combat experience and particles of courage and heroism to them – the head of the training of the first cosmonauts, a participant in the rescue of the Chelyuskinites and Nikolai Kamanin, the brave pilot for long-range bombing, test pilot of jet technology and instructor for the first cosmonauts Mark Gallai, frontline pilot Georgy Beregovoy, war veteran, reconnaissance officer Konstantin Feoktistov, students at the Air Force Special Flight Schools during the war, Vladimir Komovalov, Vladimir Komovov and Georgy Komovalvol.
Visitors to the Russian Ministry of Defense’s website will be able to plunge into the heroic era of space pioneers by reading autobiographies and memoirs written by them with their own hands. Documents submitted for the first time include cosmonaut certificate No. 1, flight missions for the first space flight and combat crew to ensure the launch of the spacecraft, personal files, grade books, performance characteristics, price lists, photographs of flight preparation and training, hot meetings and other documents. , which tells the story of space explorers.
“He loves to fly, he flies boldly and confidently. On flights, he is bold, proactive, enduring,” Yuri Gagarin received such a trait after graduating from the first Chkalovsky Military Aviation School named after KE Voroshilov. According to the final certification of cadet Yuri Gagarin’s total flight time for the future first cosmonaut on the planet was 166 hours, of which 103 hours – on the Yak-18 and Yak-18U pistons, and 63 hours – on the MiG-15 and MiG-15bis jet. From 1957 to 1959, While serving in the 769th Combat Aviation Regiment, Yuri Alekseevich flew an additional 265 hours, of which 145 hours were jet fighter flights, figures from the certification dated November 18, 1959.
In the published personal files of Gagarin, Titov, Leonov, the history of the first division of cosmonauts is clearly traced. For example, in their 1960 service record, the “position” and “military unit” columns are marked: “listener” and “military unit 26266”. At this time, the order of the Commander of Military Unit No. 74479, dated March 11, 1960, to exclude Senior Lieutenant Yuri Gagarin from the personnel list in connection with his departure to a new position in the above-mentioned unit, also applies. On November 10, 1960, they were all awarded the title of “Air Force Parachute Training Instructor”. On January 25, 1961, Senior Lieutenants Yu.A. Gagarin and GS Titov took the post as “cosmonaut”. The long-awaited day was approaching.
As you know, in a TASS report on the first manned flight into outer space, Yuri Gagarin was mentioned as a major. The extraordinary military rank of Senior Lieutenant Gagarin was awarded by order of the Minister of Defense of Soviet Marshal Radion Malinovsky No. 77 on April 12, 1961.
On April 14, he became the first to be awarded the honorary title of “Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR”. German Titov will receive this title on August 9, 1961 for the second manned flight into orbit and Alexei Leonov on March 23, 1965 for the first spacewalk.
Fans of the history of technology will be interested in Alexei Leonov’s personal file to get acquainted with the astronaut’s author’s certificate for the invention of a manual orientation simulator, docking of spaceships and targeted training of the astronaut’s vestibular apparatus. The basic principles of this device are still used in astronautics.
Diplomas and testimonials, in addition to high marks for aviation work, also indicate other interesting facts: “He draws well and has the ability to draw pictures, a member of the editorial staff of a wall magazine, a permanent editor of the satirical magazine Neptune, exemplary draws visual aids … “.
After making the first flights, Yuri Gagarin, German Titov and Alexei Leonov continued their training, as evidenced by a note in their service register from 1968: “He graduated from the engineering department at NE Zhukovsky with a diploma in specialty” manned aerospace aircraft and engines for them. “Judging by Yuri Gagarin’s record book, which is listed at number 1, he knew most of the disciplines (among which, for example, there was a completely new for that time” electronic equipment for spacecraft “) he knew very well. The only subject that required special diligence from Yuri Gagarin was higher mathematics, in which he has a stable “good” throughout his studies.
The section presents a certificate of honor dated June 6, 1977 for assigning the name GAGARIN to planet No. 1772. This document was personally signed by the discoverer of the planet, astronomer Lyudmila Chernykh.
Yuri Gagarin was not only the No. 1 cosmonaut, but also the first commander of the cosmonaut corps, and since 1963 – deputy head of the Cosmonaut Training Center, commander and mentor of the first cosmonauts.
“The crew he led was the foremost in the unit. Has organizational skills, expressed in the ability to submit to officers his will, organize, gather and direct their efforts to perform tasks. When making decisions, he assumes a specific situation, which precludes patterns of solving problems, “writes the certification of his commander for the first cosmonaut on planet Earth, most of whom went through the war crucible and became mentors to several generations of pilots. .
There were a lot of frontline officers among the cosmonauts in the first divisions, leaders of the national space program, who became mentors and passed on their rich combat experience to the conquerors of space. Thus, the section contains documents from Georgy Beregovoy’s personal file, which was a student cosmonaut from the first department, and then a cosmonaut in the second. He made his first orbit flight on October 26, 1968 at the age of 47. Prior to that, he had a brilliant service and combat career as a military pilot. On June 25, 1941, he graduated from the Voroshilovgrad Military Aviation Pilot School. During the war, Beregovoy served in ground attack aircraft.
In the published combat characteristics dated October 23, 1942 for the commander, the commander GT Beregovoy can be read: “… is a young commander who does not yet have sufficient experience in training subordinates, but he himself can serve as an example for subordinates in all types of combat training . “
The skill of the Beregovoy attack aircraft is confirmed by the combat characteristics of September 3, 1943. It states that since March 25, 1943 on the Voronezh front “… comrade. Beregovoi made 28 assists, of which 15 times he led groups from 6 to 9 units and each time he took exactly to the goal. At this time, Georgy Timofeevich was the Deputy Squadron Commander of the 90th Guards Assault Regiment. In accordance with the same characteristics, from March to September, this unit destroyed 158 vehicles with different loads, 27 enemy tanks, shot down 3 enemy aircraft in an air battle of pilots and artillery, destroyed 4 artillery batteries, blew up 2 ammunition depots, 13 vehicles with different loads. “
At the end of the war, Georgy Beregovoy, in the military rank of captain of the guard, became a squadron commander with extensive combat experience and many awards. In particular, he was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st degree, by order of January 14, 1945.
The section also contains documents from veteran and test pilot Mark Gallai’s personal file. Although he did not visit the planet’s orbit, in the first division of astronauts he became an instructor-methodologist in piloting spacecraft.
His combat career began in July 1941, when he became a fighter pilot for the 2nd Separate Air Defense Combat Squadron in Moscow. He took part in the fighting to repel German bombers’ night attacks on the capital. He then fought himself in the bomber. For example, in the award paper dated March 11, 1942, with his presentation to the Order of the Red Banner, it is written: “… as an extensively developed pilot, he quickly mastered the tactics of bombing; in the beginning he flew as a wingman and most recently as a leader. . ” In his description of December 1946 it is noted: “For the excellent execution of combat missions he was awarded two orders of the Red Flag, the medal” For the Defense of Moscow “and has comrade Stalin’s gratitude.”
After the war, Major Mark Gallay began testing a new Soviet jet. On May 1, 1957, to test modern jet technology, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union by decree of the Bureau of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.
Another participant in the Great Patriotic War, Nikolai Kamanin, played a major role in preparing the cosmonauts for the first flight. In 1929 he graduated from the 2nd military pilot school named after OSOAVIAKHIM, which he briefly mentions in his autobiography. He met the war as commander of the 4th Air Brigade in the Central Asian Military District. According to the job description dated July 31, 1941, Kamanin “… during the time of the Air Brigade Commander, he proved to be a fairly strong-willed commander, he can transfer his knowledge to his subordinates.”
From July 1942 until the end of the war, he was at the front. From the certification dated June 1, 1945 for the commander of the 5th attack flight Vinnitsa Red Banner Order of Suvorov, II degree, Order of Kutuzov, II degree, the corps follows: “Under General Kamanin’s command, parts of the corps have come a long way. As part of the 2nd Air Force on the 1st Ukrainian Front, the corps began hostilities from the Oryol-Belgorod operation and marched with battles to Lvov <...> parts of the corps were marked seven times by order of the commander-in-chief. Stalin at his best. The commander’s military credentials are also confirmed by price sheets dated 11 August 1944 and 28 April 1945. In the first case he was awarded the Order of Kutuzov II degree, in the second, since he was already a lieutenant general of aviation, he became the holder of the Order of Suvorov II degree. After the war, he continued to serve in the Air Force.
In the published service protocol for Kamanin for January 10, 1961, in the column “position” it is written: “Deputy Head of Combat Training for Space.” For success in the work in a new area, he was also awarded state awards, which is also stated in the price list for the Order of Lenin dated May 15, 1961, which states, among other things: “Before the flight on April 12, 1961, he personally led the preparation Major Gagarin Yu. A. and reserve cosmonaut captain GS Titov, before launch, at the time of launch and during flight, he maintained radio contact with Major Yu.A. Gagarin, checked his condition and informed him about the flight according to the given program.
The new section of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s website also presents unique archive material from personal files of the participants in the war, the pilot cosmonauts Dobrovolsky, Komarov, Feoktistov and Shatalov.