The story of the executed cosmonaut. Two lives of Konstantin Feoktistov

Plot World history with Andrey Sidorchik

Contemporary Russian cinema about the conquest of space does not shine with diversity & mdash; & nbsp; harsh generals, ready for sacrifices, tough demands of the Soviet leadership, constant risk, the threat of catastrophe hanging over the lives of astronauts.

< h2> “ In 1964 I will fly to the moon ''

The only thing missing is the NKVD and the executed conqueror of space. And the most interesting thing is that there was a shot cosmonaut in Soviet history. And the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs was involved in what happened. But at the time of the shooting, the astronaut was not yet an astronaut & mdash; & nbsp; the flight took place a little over two decades later.

Yuri Gagarin, German Titov, Andrian Nikolaev, Pavel Popovich, Valery Bykovsky, Valentina Tereshkova, Konstantin Feoktistov, Vladimir Komarov, Boris Egorov, Pavel Belyaev, Alexey Leonov & mdash; the first cosmonauts of the USSR

& mdash; Rustem Adagamov (@adagamov) April 12, 2021

This is not some crazy scenario, but the real biography of Konstantin Petrovich Feoktistov , The 8th Soviet orbiter and the first who was a civilian at the time of the flight. How it all began, he himself described in his memoirs: “ I was ten years old when my elder brother Boris brought home J. Perelman's book 'Interplanetary Travel'. Much of it would now look naive. But it was read with interest, and almost everything in it seemed clear to me: both the engine diagram and the rocket diagram. Everything was laid out clearly and accessible to the boy. And as a result, in the tenth year of my life, I made a & ldquo; firm decision & rdquo;: grow up & nbsp; & mdash; I will do spaceships. Even then, a certain excess of decisiveness was revealed. I had no doubt that this would be the case. ''

In the 4th grade, Kostya Feoktistov told his classmate: “ In 1964 I will fly to the moon. '' After watching a Soviet science fiction film about a flight to an Earth satellite, he made a calculation: “Finish school (six years), five years for college and another fifteen years & nbsp; & mdash; seventeen for research, design, ship construction, and flight preparation. ''

“The German stretched out his hand and shot me in the face”

All his ambitious plans could be destroyed by war. Brother Boris, the one who brought the book that determined the fate of Kostya, disappeared in 1941 in the Vyazemsky “ cauldron ''. And the 15-year-old Konstantin, instead of being evacuated, fled to the front, where he was accepted as a scout in the NKVD operational group. For a long time he did not spread about this episode of his biography, keeping a secret, as it should be for a scout.

The teenager conducted reconnaissance in the German rear, pretending to be a street child – there were many such during the war years. Four sorties by Feoktistov were successful, and the fifth was fatal. It all happened on August 11, 1942, in his native Voronezh, in the part that was occupied by the Germans.

“ This time, with a boy of about fourteen, they walked down the street, one after another, at a distance of about a hundred meters. I walked in front. I go out to an intersection and see that patrols are approaching from both sides along the cross street, & mdash; & nbsp; recalled Feoktistov. & Nbsp; & mdash; & nbsp; While they were stopping me, my partner managed to dash into the gateway. Could not run & mdash; & nbsp; shot like a cute one. Come over. One of them, tall, with SS zippers in his buttonholes, grabbed my hand, shouting something, and led me through the arch into the courtyard. He dragged him to a deep hole, put his back to it, took out a pistol (I clearly remembered: for some reason, not Walter, not Parabellum, but our & mdash; & nbsp; TT) and, continuing to shout, waved them in front of my nose. I hadn’t come across the SS before. With ordinary patrols it was easier: they almost got me used to the idea that the Germans would not just kill the boy like that. Suddenly, something changed in the eyes of the German. I did not have time to get scared, I saw only the front sight on the barrel of the pistol, when the German extended his hand and shot me in the face. ''

Soviet cosmonauts. In the first row from left to right: Anatoly Filipchenko, Valery Kubasov, Vladimir Shatalov, Valentina Nikolaeva-Tereshkova, Viktor Gorbatko, Vladislav Volkov, Georgy Shonin, Alexey Eliseev. In the second row from left to right: Pavel Popovich, Boris Egorov, Pavel Belyaev, Alexey Leonov, Georgy Beregovoy, German Titov, Konstantin Feoktistov, Andriyan Nikolaev, Evgeny Khrunov, Valery Bykovsky. Photo: RIA Novosti/Alexander Mokletsov

New life

He fell to the ground, losing consciousness only for a second. Despite the pain, he managed to orient himself, froze and did not utter a sound. The Germans decided that he was dead and left. And Kostya climbed into the trash can and sat there until dark, periodically losing consciousness.

At night, despite being wounded, he managed to cross the river and get to his own. At the hospital, the doctors ascertained & mdash; & nbsp; the bullet went through the chin and neck right through. It was difficult to talk and drink for a long time, but these are trifles. Fate saved his life.

Service in intelligence, and indeed in the army for him was over. After the hospital, Konstantin was sent to his mother, in the Uzbek Kokand. He did not disclose the nature of the injury to his loved ones: why should he be nervous?

In Kokand, Feoktistov graduated from high school, after which he went to enter the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School (MVTU). In 1949, he received a diploma in mechanical engineering.

Stubborn and fanatic

At the defense research institute-4, the newly minted specialist trained with one of the pioneers of Soviet rocket technology Mikhail Tikhonravov . Feoktistov attracted attention for his talent and enthusiasm. Soon he found himself in the famous OKB-1, which was led by Sergey Korolev . Feoktistov was eager to fight again, now in science. He was maximally involved in the first projects of Soviet cosmonautics, playing a crucial role in them.

One of Korolev's associates Boris Chertok wrote: “ Throughout the work on the design of manned spacecraft from '' Vostoks & rdquo; & nbsp; to & ldquo; Soyuz & rdquo; & nbsp; he proved himself to be the '' fastest mind & rdquo; & nbsp; of our designers, with whom I had to work. It was surprising to observe that Korolyov patiently endured stubbornness and sometimes excessive adherence to principles, reaching fanaticism, shown by Feoktistov. ''

The Korolyov's patience was probably due to the fact that his character was similar to that of Feoktistov. Maybe that is why he actively supported the dream of the engineer himself to go into orbit & mdash; & nbsp; Korolev, due to his age and health, such a chance could not be presented. The idea of ​​flying a crew of three here and now was born in Nikita Khrushchev's mind. Boris Chertok recalled how Korolev brought the task to them: “ He went up to the Tereshkova descent vehicle and through the open hatch began to silently carefully examine the interior layout. Then he quickly turned to me and Feoktistov and said: “ Here's a task for you. Instead of one, place three & rdquo; '' here.

Construct the impossible

The real multi-seater ship was at the design stage at that moment, and in order to get ahead of the Americans, they decided to transform the single-seater Vostok. in the triple Sunrise. The main contribution to this 'restructuring' brought in by Feoktistov. There was a catastrophic lack of space in the descent vehicle. The first thing that was discarded was the ejection seat. Instead, they put three regular ones, turned 90 degrees.

At the same time, there was such a shortage of time that there was no time to redo the dashboard. And it is simply impossible to manually control the Sunrise while in a chair. Also when flying Voskhod-1 we had to abandon spacesuits, since three cosmonauts could not fit in them in the cockpit.

October 12, 1964 & mdash; & nbsp; For the first time in the world, the Voskhod multi-seat spacecraft was sent into space. The first space crew: Vladimir Komarov, Konstantin Feoktistov, Boris Egorov.

& mdash; Julia (@JRyzhkova) October 12, 2018

After abandoning the catapult at Voskhod installed a soft landing system, which was triggered before touching the surface. & nbsp; The impulse of the solid-propellant engine block softened the impact.

The life support system remained the same as in the Vostok flights. This meant that the flight time was much less, since oxygen was consumed by three astronauts at once. It was decided that the first flight would last no more than a day (the maximum service life of the ship was two days).

“ The flight to '' Voskhod '' & nbsp; was to a certain extent a rest ''

Until that moment, only the military flew into orbit, and General Nikolai Kamanin , who supervised the cosmonaut detachment, changed the tradition did not want. In addition, in the candidacy of Feoktistov, he was embarrassed by his age (38 years) and his state of health. Judging by Kamanin's diaries, Korolyov literally pushed the candidacy of his engineer.

The crew commander was appointed & nbsp; Vladimir Komarov … Before joining the cosmonaut corps, he worked at the Air Force Research Institute as an assistant to the lead engineer and tester of the 3rd department of the 5th department. Vladimir Mikhailovich had the best engineering training in the cosmonaut corps, so he was better prepared for possible emergency situations than others.

Third in the crew, doctor Boris Egorov , Kamanin didn't like it either: “ Egorov '' a boy, besides, he has poor eyesight and he does not tolerate weightlessness … Unfortunately, this is not my first serious disagreement with Korolev. I didn’t want to quarrel with him, but on this issue it was impossible to yield. ” was approved by Komarov, Feoktistov and Egorov.

October 12, 1964 Voskhod-1 with three cosmonauts took off from Baikonur. Feoktistov, in his book about flight, wrote very calmly: “ Although for me, as a designer, 'Voskhod', which was only a modification of 'East', was already a past stage, and my head was then more occupied with the 'Union'. The flight to the & ldquo; Sunrise & rdquo; & nbsp; was to a certain extent a break from work on the Union. Although the main thing, of course, was the desire to feel for yourself what it is & nbsp; & mdash; flight, weightlessness, how you feel there, how to work. ''

Both Feoktistov himself and Komarov, of course, perfectly understood how risky their mission was. However, both after a day of flight requested an extension for another 24 hours. But they were refused.

Doctors were not allowed into orbit for the second time

Voskhod-1 flight lasted 1 day 17 minutes 3 seconds. When the search group reported that the crew was alive and well, Korolyov said: “ Is it really all over, and the crew returned from space without scratches? I would never have believed anyone that from & ldquo; East & rdquo; & nbsp; you can make & ldquo; Sunrise & rdquo; & nbsp; and three cosmonauts fly into space on it.

While the crew was in orbit, Nikita Khrushchev was removed in Moscow. The official meeting of the cosmonauts in the capital was postponed and took place only on October 19. The crew members of Voskhod-1 reported already before the new leaders headed by Leonid Brezhnev .

Konstantin Feoktistov became a Hero of the Soviet Union, the first Soviet civilian cosmonaut, and also & mdash; the first non-partisan citizen of the USSR in orbit.

And another incident & mdash; & nbsp; at the time of the flight, he was not a member of the cosmonaut corps, Feoktistov was included in it only in 1968. Having stayed with it until 1987, he never flew again. Although in 1980 he was as close as ever to a new flight & mdash; & nbsp; his experience as an engineer was necessary for repairs aboard the Salyut-6 station. However, a month before the start from the crew of the Soyuz T-3 he was taken out by doctors. Leonid Kizim and Oleg Makarov went into orbit with Gennady Strekalov.

The harshest critic

Feoktistov after his flight of “ star fever '' did not suffer, returning to his duties as a design engineer. He was the lead developer of Soyuz, Progress, Salyut space stations. and “ World ''.

Surprisingly, at the same time, Feoktistov himself rather critically assessed the achievements of manned astronautics, believing that most of the tasks assigned to such flights could be solved by automata. In the book The Trajectory of Life he wrote: “ Life has passed, but the problem of orbital stations as a whole has remained unresolved. In essence, this is a question about the life of a person himself in a new world, into which he has penetrated, but does not know why and does not see, does not understand what he can directly do in this world, without remaining at the level of a “ janitor '' & nbsp; or & ldquo; plumbing & rdquo; ''. & nbsp;

In 1990, Feoktistov resigned from the post of Deputy General Designer of NPO Energia. His inherent adherence to adolescence led to conflicts that eventually ended his career as a designer.

“ Mir '', which today is called its main brainchild, Feoktistov called failure, because he could not fully realize his plans: “ Both the equipment and the equipment, as a rule, were unreliable and ineffective … The operating time of a particular instrument, telescope, experimental equipment, correlated with the flight time, turned out to be negligible. And the functions of the crew members at the research station were limited to the functions of control technicians or repairmen. The station was done incorrectly. '' & mdash; & nbsp; & laquo; Buran & raquo; on the part of Feoktistov it was completely derogatory.

The moon remembers

However, he did not suggest completely abandoning manned space. I just thought that it was necessary to look for new meanings and tasks for flights.

Feoktistov's maximalism also affected in full in his personal life & mdash; & nbsp; he was married more than once, he had three sons and one daughter. The youngest of the sons was born when Feoktistov was 56 years old. Sons became engineers, daughter & mdash; & nbsp; architect.

Hero of the Soviet Union passed away in November 2009, 45 years after his space travel. And the memory of him is kept not only by the Earth, but also by the Moon, on the reverse side of which there is a Feoktistov crater.


event_note January 6, 2022

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