Vostok 3

Vostok 3 was a manned space flight of soviet Wostokprogramms. Together with Vostok 4, the first double flight of manned space travel was undertaken. The cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev remained almost four days in orbit.


  • Andrian Grigoryevich Nikolayev ( first flight )

Backup crew

  • Valery Fedorovich Bykowski

Support team

  • Boris Valentinovich Wolynow


Since the spectacular flights of Vostok 1 and Vostok 2 a few months had passed when in February 1962 the American space program with Mercury - Atlas 6 for the first time achieved a manned orbital space flight. Even if NASA with only three orbits far behind the Soviet achievements (17 orbits ) remained, the Soviets wanted to oppose the thing: a group flight with two Vostok spacecraft at the same time.

The Deputy Prime Minister Dimitri Ustinov demanded by the head of the Soviet space program, Sergei Pavlovich Korolev still a start in March 1962, but this was not carried out on such short notice. Two false starts by unmanned satellites that should be brought into space with the same launcher as the Vostok spacecraft, caused further delays. In the second of these false starts, the rocket exploded shortly after launch and damaged the launch pad, so that extensive repairs were necessary.

As a pilot for Vostok 3 Andrian Nikolayev was selected substitute was Valeri Bykowski.

History of the flight

Vostok 3 finally launched on August 11, 1962 at 11:30 Moscow time clock from the rocket launch site Baikonur and reached after a few minutes the orbit with 166 km perigee and 218 km apogee at an inclination of 65 degrees.

After almost 24 hours Vostok 4 was followed with Pavel Popovich on board. That was the first time that two astronauts were staying in space simultaneously.

The lanes had been carefully calculated so that the two ships approached up to 6 km. The approach was not, therefore by active control of the spacecraft, so that may not be necessarily spoken of a rendezvous.

The distance between the two Vostok spacecraft took accordingly quickly again. Nikolayev and Popovich but were comfortable during the entire flight in direct radio contact with each other.

Vostok 3 completed 64 orbits. The landing took place on August 15, 1962 at 09:52 Moscow time clock in the north of Kyrgyzstan. As usual with the Wostokflügen used Nikolayev the ejection seat and landed on your own parachute. Vostok 4 landed at the same time about 290 km away.


With just four days in space Nikolayev set a new time record and thus quadrupling the previous best. The Americans had reached at that time only five hours from Scott Carpenter with Mercury - Atlas 7.

The group flight of Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 was hailed as a great achievement of Soviet space exploration. Although now it is known that the ships themselves could not be controlled, it is to be regarded as a great power to perform two starts within 24 hours. The transmission of voice and telemetry to two spaceships was also a special performance, finally, there was at that time no communication satellites and the Soviet Union possessed, unlike the U.S. does not have a worldwide network of ground stations.