Valeri Fyodorovich Bykovsky (cyrillic
Валерий Федорович Быковский) was born on 2 August, 1934
in the city of Pavlovsky Posad
in the Moscow
He was a member of the first cosmonat group selected from the Russian Air Force. He was the backup crew member for the Vostok 3 flight.
His first flight was on Vostok 5. The mission was 4 days 23 hours and 6 minutes long. During the flight he came within a couple of miles of the Vostok 6 capsule that contained Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.
Bykovsky then went in the Soviet Lunar Landing program. He was to be commander of the Soyuz 2 flight that would have docked with Soyuz 1, and performed a crew transfer. But after the rain at the Baikonur launch site aborted the mission, it was decided to bring Soyuz 1 home early. The pressure sensor on the parachute system failed and so the capsule struck the ground at about 200 miles per hour. It was later discovered that the Soyuz 2 capsule had the same problem.
Bykovsky made his second spaceflight on Soyuz 22. This was a special mission, using a surplus Soyuz spacecraft that had been designed for the ASTP program. Instead of the docking system it carried a multi-spectral camera manufactured by Carl Zeiss-Jena. Eight days were spent photographing the earth.
After the cancellation of the lunar landing program, he moved to the Intercosmos program. The program involved co-operation with other socialist countries.
Bykovsky made his third and final spaceflight on Soyuz 31. This was the third Intercosmos flight and carried East German Sigmund Jaehn. They docked with Salyut 6 where they spent a week performing experiments. They then returned to Earth on the Soyuz 29 capsule which had already spent 6 months in orbit.
His last assignment was as backup commander of the Soyuz 37 flight. In all he spent 20 days 17 hours and 47 minutes in space over three spaceflights. He left the cosmonaut program and was Director of House of Soviet Science and Culture in Berlin from 1989 to 1991. He is currently retired.
Awards: Twice awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Hero of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Hero of the People's Republic of Bulgaria. Hero of the German Democratic Republic. Awarded three Orders of Lenin, Order of the Red Star, Order of Karl Marx (GDR), Order Krest Grunvald (Poland), Order of Star (Indonesia), Tsiolkovskiy Gold Medal (USSR Academy of Sciences), Lavo Gold Medal (FAI). Honourary citizen of Kaluga, Rzev (Russia), Burgas, Varna (Bulgaria) and Seradz (Poland).