Gherman Titov

German Stepanovich Titov (Russian Герман Степанович Титов, scientific transliteration German Titov Stepanovic; born September 11, 1935 in Werchneje Schilino, Altai region, † 20 September 2000 in Moscow, Russia) was a Soviet cosmonaut.


Selection as a cosmonaut

Even as a child German Titov Pilot wanted to be like his uncle. He joined in July 1953 at the age of 17 years, the Soviet air forces in and completed until 1955, the pilot school in Kustanai. From 1957 he served as a jet airplane pilot in the Soviet Army.

When in the summer of 1959, cosmonauts were sought for the upcoming manned space program of the Soviet Union, Titov was one of the 3,000 military pilots that met the minimum criteria. He passed all the tests and was from March 1960 Member of the first cosmonaut group consisted of 20 young men.

Vostok 1

Six pilots, including Titov were taken in January 1961 in the shortlist for the first space flight. In the oral and written examinations on 17 and January 18, 1961 Titov scored along with Yuri Gagarin the best results. On April 4, was officially confirmed that the first spacemen of the Soviet Union was chosen from among the three candidates Titov, Gagarin and Neljubow. Titov learned on 9 April that it had chosen the day before for Gagarin. Titov was nominated as substitute.

In the next few days Titov held always ready to step in for Gagarin, if this should fail in the short term for some reason. However, this was not the case, and so was Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961, Vostok 1, the first man who took a trip into space.

Vostok 2

As a substitute for Vostok 1 Titov was automatically set as the crew for Vostok 2. Under the call sign Oryol ( Eagle) he started on August 6, 1961 with the spacecraft Vostok 2 for the second orbital space flight in history. The flight was technically without problems, Titov was unlike Gagarin even take control of the space ship. At times, Titov but suffered from the hitherto completely unknown space sickness and vomited. At the time of the launch Titov was only 25 years and 11 months old and now holds the record for being the youngest astronaut.

After over 24 hours of flight time Vostok 2 returned back to Earth. As Gagarin left Titov the landing capsule in approximately 7000 meters height with the ejection seat and landed by parachute. Unlike Gagarin but this was officially communicated.

On August 9, 1961 Titov was awarded the Order of Hero of the Soviet Union. As the Soviet space agency after a few months at the International Air Transport Association, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI ) applied for the world record for the longest space flight, this was dismissed. According to the rules of the FAI, the pilot was forced to land with the aircraft. Since Titov but used ejection seat and parachute that record instead went to John Glenn, who in the meantime had performed with Mercury - Atlas 6 flight a space of nearly five hours.

Fame and escapades

After his return Titov was instantly a national hero, the worship was met with in any form.

Titov enjoyed the fame and privileges which he received, but brought up repeatedly by inappropriate behavior in trouble. It caused several car accidents, drunk in public and insulting high-ranking officers. Only its status as a cosmonaut saved him from the consequences.

From April 29 to May 12, 1962 Titov was with Nikolai Kamanin, head of cosmonaut training, on an official visit to the U.S., where they met with President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson, as well as NASA greats such as Wernher von Braun. Astronaut John Glenn showed them the Redstone rocket and Mercury spacecraft, he also invited them to a barbecue at his home. At the World Exhibition in Seattle Titov and Kamanin could visit the space exhibits at the USA Pavilion. Everywhere they were greeted warmly. Indicative of the relationship of the American public to Titov was a banner Titov discovered when he visited the Ford plant in New Jersey, " Titov: Yes! - USSR: No! ".

From the perspective of the Soviet functionaries had Titov had behaved better than expected and was not waived for the eight speeches and press conferences 20 from the official line. However, back in the Soviet Union, he fell back on by indiscipline. He also had a bad influence on his training comrades. Some of the cosmonauts who had not yet completed no space flight, also kicked over the traces and then appealed to the example of Titov.

Critical to Titov it was, as in March 1963 disappeared a folder with classified documents and access passes out of his car. Korolev, the head of Soviet space exploration company, asked him out new passports, Titov made ​​clear, however, that he would come with a renewed negligent loss jail.

Planning for Soyuz and Voskhod

As of February 1964 Titov was a front of four training groups should prepare for the flight with the new Soyuz spacecraft. He was assigned to Shatalov, Scholobow and Irina Solovyova, spare woman from Vostok 6. At the same time he was still in as commander for the upcoming flight of Voskhod 1 week, but was dropped off the list due to his lack of discipline.


In contrast to U.S. astronaut group, which consisted of experienced test pilots with a university degree, the Soviet spacemen were relatively young jet pilots. The Head of the cosmonaut training therefore saw it as necessary that the cosmonauts parallel to their aerospace education studies at the Military Academy of Engineers of the Air Force, " Prof. J. N. Zhukovsky " operated.


As of July 1965 stood Titov before a group of cosmonauts who were to be trained for the new reusable space plane spiral. Besides it belonged in a rotating cast four or five other cosmonauts for the potential spiral occupation. In the flight school Schkalow Titov in 1967 trained as a test pilot. He was re- motivated by this task and enjoyed being on the Air Force Base Vladimirovka to fly aircraft of the types MiG -21, Su -7 and Su -9.

Kamanins offer from March 1967 to enter the Soviet lunar program, refused Titov. He saw his future rather as a test pilot.

However, the Spiral project turns out to be impracticable. In addition, Titov were withdrawn in 1969 for disciplinary reasons for two years driving license and ticket, also representative trips him were denied abroad. In the nine years as a cosmonaut Titov had ten disciplinary offense.

Titov thus saw no future for themselves more as an active pilot.

After the pilot career

On July 17, 1970 Titov left the cosmonaut corps. He was at that time only 34 years old. Titov enrolled at the Voroshilov Military Academy, which he left in 1972 with a degree in military science.

Then Titov worked in the space sector of the Ministry of Defense of the Soviet Union, first as deputy head of the ground station in Monino, from where the military space station Salyut 3 was controlled.

Between 1973 and 1979 he led the development and production of several military space systems.

In 1991 he retired with the rank of Colonel General in the active service of the Army, reaching the highest military rank among the cosmonauts of the Soviet Union or Russia. He then became president of the company Kosmoflot that produced, among other components for the COSPAS- SARSAT satellite system.

In May 1995, he was first elected in the parliamentary elections for the Communist Party of Russia in the Duma, in the elections of 1999 he defended his mandate. Without his help Titov was declared in 1961 after his space flight to the party member.

Titov was married to Tamara Cherkas and had two daughters. Tatiana was born on 23 September 1963 as the first child of a spaceman. German Titov died on 20 September 2000 in his sauna. As a reason, carbon monoxide poisoning or a heart attack Called. He was buried on September 25, with military honors at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Literature and Media

Titov was one of the first cosmonauts, the U.S. journalist gave detailed interviews. From the writings of Wilfred Burchett and Anthony Purdy was created by the U.S. author Martin Caidin 1962 Biography "I Am Eagle ". This was in the western world for a long time the only freely available source of information about the Soviet space program. After his graduation was Titov editorial board member of " Awiatsija i Kosmonawtika ", the monthly journal of the Soviet Air Force. He was co-author of various Soviet and Western publications and was often interviewed by Western journalists.

He is also author of the books " A Million Miles in Orbit" (1961 ), " My Blue Planet " (1977), "Conversations with Cosmonauts of the USSR " (1983) and "On Starry and Earthly orbit " (1987).

Special features and Records

  • Fourth man in space, second man in orbit
  • Youngest man in space
  • First flight for more than 24 hours in space
  • First flight with more than one orbit in space
  • Highest military rank of all Soviet and Russian cosmonauts
  • Father of the first child of a spaceman

Honors and Awards

German Titov received many awards also from communist countries and was represented, among others, two-time winner of the Order of Lenin and winner of the Lenin Prize. In addition, Titov was awarded Hero of the Soviet Union, Hero of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, Hero of Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and Hero of the Mongolian People's Republic. According to him, a lunar crater on the far side and an island in Vietnam is named.

Titov is since 1969 an honorary citizen of Leipzig.