Russian Gherman Titov, born in 1935 in Siberia, was the second man to orbit the earth, following shortly after comrade Yuri Gagarin's historic flight in a Vostok-1 spacecraft in April 1961.

Titov took the first flight on the then new Vostok-2 spacecraft on August 7, 1961 some four months after Gagarin's flight. He orbited the planet 17 times in 25 hours before re-entry.

Titovs flight greatly concerned Americans at that time, since NASAs next planned flight - utilising a Mercury-Redstone class vehicle - was capable of at best three orbits.

Titovs successful flight was directly responsible for the cancellation of the Mercury program, effectively accelerating NASAs push to Gemini class spacecraft.

When he took his historic flight at the age of 25, Titov was the youngest man to fly in space at that time.

He was highly decorated, receiving the highest award possible – the order of the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Retiring from his cosmonaut career at the age of 32, he became a test pilot. In 1961 he was honoured again, this time by North Vietnam who featured the Soviet space hero on a postal stamp.

He embarked upon a political career in 1995, being elected to the State Duma.

He has also authored five books focused on space travel -“Seventeen Space Dawns”, “The Planet's First Cosmonaut”, “My Blue Planet”, and “On the Stellar and Earth Orbits”, as well as his autobiography, “I am an Eagle!

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