Vladimir Aleksandrovich Shatalov (cyrillic
Владимир Александрович Шаталов) was born December 8, 1927
in the northen Kazahkstan
city of Petropavlovsk
. He joined the Soviet
cosmonaut program as a member of the 1963
His first assignment was as a member of the Spiral project. Spiral was a project to develop a one man spaceplane that used an air breathing rocket. The spaceplane would have been used for deploying payloads in Earth orbit from a reusable platform.
He was the proposed backup crew for both the Voskhod 3 and 4 missions. Both were long duration (19+ days) and would have tested the effects of zero-gravity on the human body. Voskhod 4 would have also featured an artificial gravity experiment, unreeling a tether between the Voskhod spacecraft and the Block I final rocket stage.
His first real assignment came when he was the backup for the Soyuz 3 flight. Soyuz 3 was meant to dock with Soyuz 2 but this failed when Georgi Beregovoi repeatedly put the spacecraft in an orientation that nulled the automatic docking system. He used nearly all his orientation fuel in three attempts.
Shatalov first spaceflight was on Soyuz 4. He docked with the Soyuz 5, and then Yevgeni Khrunov and Aleksei Yeliseyev transferred across. They safely reentered and were recovered January 17, 1969 after a nearly 3 day flight.
He was a member of both the Soyuz 6 and 7 crews, while being a prime crew member for the Soyuz 8 flight. Soyuz 8 was to have docked with Soyuz 7 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However the rendezvous systems on all three failed due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission.
Shatalov was the proposed prime crew for a test flight of the Kontakt rendezvous system that was to be used by the lunar landing spacecraft. He would have been on the active spacecraft during the second test of the system. Two Soyuz would have been modified to test the system but the missions were cancelled after the failure and eventual cancellation of the N1 lunar landing program.
His last spaceflight was Soyuz 10, launched April 23, 1971, which was meant to be the first space station flight. The spacecraft managed to soft dock with the Salyut 1 but hard docking could not be achieved because of the angle of approach. It was found after the flight that the crew had no way of judging their range or angle during a manual docking. They were forced to reenter and during the landing, the Soyuz air supply became toxic. The crew survived but Nikolai Rukavishnikov did become unconscious during the descent through the atmosphere.
Shatalov flew three times and was in space for a total of 9 days 21 hours and 50 minutes.
After his final flight he became Commander of Cosmonaut Training until 1987 when he became the Director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre from then until 1991.
He was twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, has three Orders of Lenin and an Order of the October Revolution. He won the State Premium of the USSR in 1981. He is an honourary citizen of Kaluga, Petropavlovsk, Nalchik, Kurgan (Russia), Karaganda (Kazakhstan), Prague (Czechoslovakia]), Houston (USA). He also has a crater on the moon named after him.