Georgy Beregovoy

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Georgy Beregovoy
The Soviet Union 1968 CPA 3699 stamp (Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR Georgy Beregovoy and Carrier Rocket Start).png
Born(1921-04-15)April 15, 1921
DiedJune 30, 1995(1995-06-30) (aged 74)
Moscow, Russia
Occupation Pilot
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union (twice)
Space career
Rank Lieutenant General
(Soviet Air Forces)
Time in space
3d 22h 50m
Missions Soyuz 3

Georgy Timofeyevich Beregovoy (Russian : Гео́ргий Тимофе́евич Берегово́й, Ukrainian : Гео́ргій Тимофі́йович Берегови́й; April 15, 1921 – June 30, 1995) was a Soviet cosmonaut who commanded the space mission Soyuz 3 in 1968. [1] At the time of his flight, Beregovoy was 47 years of age: he was the earliest-born human to go to orbit, being born three months and three days earlier than the second earliest-born man in orbit – John Glenn, but later than X-15 pilot Joe Walker who made 2 (or 3, according to USAF definition) suborbital space flights.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although, nowadays, nearly three decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.

Ukrainian language language member of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages

Ukrainian is an East Slavic language. It is the official state language of Ukraine, one of the three official languages in the unrecognized state of Transnistria, the other two being Romanian and Russian. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic script.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.



Beregovoy was born on April 15, 1921, in Fedorivka, Poltava Oblast, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (now Ukraine). He graduated from a school in 1938 at Yenakieve, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. He joined the Soviet Air Forces (VVS) in 1941, and was soon assigned to a ground-attack unit flying the Ilyushin Il-2 "Shturmovik". He flew some 185 combat sorties during the course of World War II and rose quickly through the ranks, finishing the war as a captain and squadron commander. His corps commander was then-colonel Nikolai Kamanin, a celebrated polar aviator and a future head of the cosmonaut training in the Soviet space program, which would turn important later.

Poltava Oblast Oblast in Ukraine

Poltava Oblast is an oblast (province) of central Ukraine. The administrative center of the oblast is the city of Poltava. Most of its territory is part of the historic Cossack Hetmanate. Population: 1,438,948 (2015 est.)

Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic one of fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union (USSR); founding member of the United Nations Organization in 1945

The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, also known as the Soviet Ukraine, was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union from the Union's inception in 1922 to its breakup in 1991. The republic was governed by the Communist Party of Ukraine as a unitary one-party socialist soviet republic.

Ukraine Sovereign state in Eastern Europe

Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.

Following the war, he became a test pilot, and over the next sixteen years test-flew some sixty different aircraft, rising to the rank of colonel and the position of deputy chief of the air force's flight-testing department. In 1962, he applied and was accepted for cosmonaut training, sponsored by his former WWII commader, General Kamanin, who was the head of the cosmonaut training at the time.

In 1956 graduated from the Air Force Academy.

Cosmonaut career

In 1965, Colonel Beregovoy was scheduled to fly the following year in Voskhod 3, but the mission was never launched. [2]

Voskhod programme Soviet spaceflight programme

The Voskhod programme was the second Soviet human spaceflight project. Two one-day manned missions were flown using the Voskhod spacecraft and rocket, one in 1964 and one in 1965, and two dogs flew on a 22-day mission in 1966.

On October 25, 1968, Beregovoy took the Soyuz 3 into outer space: he orbited the Earth for almost four days at altitude up to 252 km. As part of his mission, Beregovoy twice maneuvered his craft into rendezvous positions with the unmanned Soyuz 2 satellite [3] but was unable to establish a direct physical link to the craft [4] before returning on October 30, 1968.

Nonetheless, Beregovoy's flight was in some ways an encouraging success for the Soviet manned space program, [5] and the colonel was celebrated as a hero upon his return. Soyuz 3 was Beregovoy's only spaceflight and soon after it he retired from active duty, having been promoted to Major General.

Later life

At a public ceremony in honor of the Soviet cosmonaut team, Beregovoy was lightly wounded during the 1969 assassination attempt upon Leonid Brezhnev. [6]

Leonid Brezhnev 20th-century General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was a Soviet politician. The fifth leader of the Soviet Union, he was General Secretary of the Central Committee of the governing Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from 1964 until his death in 1982. Ideologically, he was a Marxist-Leninist.

In October 1969, Konstantin Feoktistov and Georgi Beregovoi traveled as guests of NASA throughout the US, visiting any city they chose and the Disneyland amusement park in California - they were joined on the trip by US astronauts as hosts, to include Eugene Cernan, Neil Armstrong and others. Kirk Douglas and others hosted receptions for them in Hollywood - they were protected by Special Agents of the US State Department on request of NASA. Almost every place they went when accompanied by Eugene Cernan, if a band was present the song "Fly Me To The moon" was played - when they visited Disney Park they enjoyed the ride Trip To The Moon, then joked with the US Astronauts that they went to Disneyland and not the moon. It was a trip that all enjoyed and international friendships were made.

Beregovoy took up a position at the Centre for Cosmonaut Training, and in 1972 was made Director of that facility.

He is consultant for the film directed by Arvazd Peleshyan "Our Century" (1983).

After retirement, Beregovoy became a Soviet parliament member representing the Donbas region of the Ukrainian SSR. In this capacity, he reportedly helped Viktor Yanukovych to start a new life, getting his two criminal convictions expunged from the court records. Many years later, Yanukovych became prime minister and then president of modern independent Ukraine.

Georgy Beregovoy died during heart surgery on June 30, 1995, and is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Honours and awards

Georgy Beregovoy was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union twice, first time on October 26, 1944 for his military service during World War II, and second time for his space flight. He was the only Soviet cosmonaut who undertook the space flight being the Hero of the Soviet Union (the highest Soviet distinction) for a previous achievement unrelated to space travel.

He was also awarded:

Foreign awards:


Among many other Russian commemorations Beregovoy is memorialized in Moscow with a statue on Cosmonauts Alley. Beregovoy was celebrated internationally, and received a unique award from the International Aeronautical Federation. At the Federation's 62nd general conference held in Helsinki, Finland, Beregovoy was awarded the first Yuri A. Gagarin Gold Medal for achievements in space; Finnish President Urho Kekkonen was the honorary presenter on July 14, 1968. [7] The award was a new design created in memory of Gagarin who had died the previous March, and it continues to be awarded to this day. [8]

See also

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  1. Clark, Philip (1988); The Soviet Manned Space Program; Orion (Crown Publ.), NY; ISBN   0-517-56954-X. p. 182, "Appendix 3: Cosmonaut Data"
  2. Clark (1988). p. 182: "This mission was cancelled in late 1965; it is uncertain whether Beregovoy would have been the back-up pilot or commander for Voskhod 3."
  3. Clark (1988). See p.49-50: "The initial orbital altitude was announced as 205-225km.... [A] further rendezvous between Soyuz 2 and Soyuz 3 was completed. ... the orbital altudes were announced as: Soyuz 2, 181-231km; Soyuz 3, 179-252km."
  4. Hall, Rex D. & Shyler, David J. (2003); Soyuz, A Universal Spacecraft; Springer/Praxis, Berlin; ISBN   1-85233-657-9. p. 421: "[Beregovoy] tried, but failed, to dock the craft with the unmanned Soyuz 2...."
  5. Clark (1988). p. 50.: "With Soyuz 3, the Soviet manned programme regained its confidence, and its success may have encouraged the Soviets to consider a manned flight around the Moon in December 1968....[O]verall it [Soyuz 3] represented a successful return to manned space missions after a break of eighteen months."
  6. New York Times, January 24, 1969; "Gunman Attacks Car in Kremlin, 2 Wounded": "A fifth astronaut, Major Gen. Georgi T. Beregevoi, who orbited the earth last October, was nicked by flying glass."
  7. New York Times; July 15, 1969; "Borman wins medal for Apollo 8 voyage": "Major General Georgi T. Beregevoi was awarded the Yuri Gagarin gold space medal for his flight in Soyuz 3 on October 26–30, 1968, in which he carried out docking maneuvers with Soyuz 2."
  8. FAI: Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Archived 2010-08-10 at the Wayback Machine (2010): see The Yuri A. Gagarin Gold Medal Archived 2007-10-13 at the Wayback Machine (retrieves Sept. 2010).

Further reading