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Andriyan Nikolayev in 1976
5 September 1929|
Shorshely, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Died||3 July 2004
Cheboksary, Chuvashia, Russia
|Andriyan Grigoryevich Nikolayev|
|Rank||Major General, Soviet Air Force|
Time in space
|21d 15h 20m|
|Selection||Air Force Group 1|
|Missions||Vostok 3, Soyuz 9|
Nikolayev flew on two space flights: Vostok 3 (effectively becoming the third Soviet cosmonaut) and Soyuz 9. His call sign in these flights was Falcon (Russian: Со́кол). On both, he set new endurance records for the longest time a human being had remained in orbit. He also served as backup for the Vostok 2 and Soyuz 8 missions. On 22 January 1969, Nikolayev survived an assassination attempt on Leonid Brezhnev, undertaken by a Soviet Army deserter, Viktor Ilyin. He left the cosmonaut corps on 26 January 1982.
In the early days of space travel, it was usual to place trainee astronauts into isolation chambers to see how long they could last alone. They sat in silence unable to gauge time. Many men cracked. One cosmonaut, Andriyan Nikolayev lasted the longest – four days – and became known as the Iron Man.
On 3 November 1963, he married Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to fly in space (see Vostok 6). They had one daughter, Elena Andriyanovna (now a Doctor of Medicine), before their marriage collapsed. However, it was not until 1982 that they divorced.
In 2004, Nikolayev died of a heart attack in Cheboksary, the capital of Chuvashia in Russia. A scandal ensued. His daughter, who lives in Moscow, desired that he be interred in the cemetery at Star City. The president of Chuvashia had other ideas. After a farewell ceremony in Cheboksary, Nikolayev was buried in his native village of Shorshely. He has no family living in the republic. Plans are in the works to move the body to Star City.
Nikolayev was also a keen skier:
- "Service in the Air Force made us strong, both physically and morally. All of us cosmonauts took up sports and PT seriously when we served in the Air Force. I know that Yuri Gagarin was fond of ice hockey. He liked to play goal keeper. Gherman Titov was a gymnastics enthusiast, Andriyan Nikolayev liked skiing, Pavel Popovich went in for weight lifting. I don't think I am wrong when I say that sports became a fixture in the life of the cosmonauts."
Andriyan Nikolayev was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union (twice), Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Star, numerous medals, and foreign orders. He was also bestowed a title of the Hero of Socialist Labor of Bulgaria, Hero of Labor of Vietnam, and Hero of Mongolia. The lunar crater Nikolayev is named after him.
- Hero of the Soviet Union, twice (18 August 1962, 3 July 1970)
- Order of Lenin (18 August 1962)
- Order of the Red Banner of Labour (15 January 1976)
- Order of the Red Star (1961)
- Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, 3rd class (30 May 1988)
- Medal "For Strengthening Military Cooperation" (18 February 1991)
- USSR State Prize (1981)
- Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR
- Hero of Labour (1965, Mongolia)
- Order of Sukhbaatar (1965, Mongolia)
- Hero of Socialist Labour (Bulgaria)
- Order of Georgi Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
- Order of Cyril and Methodius (Bulgaria)
- Hero of Socialist Labour (Vietnam, 1962)
- Order "State Banner IRR" (Hungary, 1964)
- National Order of Nepal (1963)
- Order of the Star of Indonesia, 2nd class
- Order of the Nile (Egypt)
- Honorary Citizen of the Chuvash Republic, Petrozavodsk (1980), Karaganda and Smolensk
- Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR (1962)
- А.Г.Николаев "Космос без границ", Мускав, 1979.
- Bykovsky quoted in Gavrilin, Vyacheslav Sportsmen of the Soviet Union. pp. 26–7