Zaikin was born in Yekaterinovka, Rostov Oblast, Russia. He graduated from Military Fighter Pilot School, Armavir (Krasnodar Krai) and Frunze (now Bishkek), in 1955. He was selected for the cosmonaut training in 1960, as one of a group of the twenty Air Force pilots who would train as the first cosmonauts.
Zayikin was assigned as backup commander for Voskhod 2. He then went on to graduate from the Zhukovsky Military Engineering Academy, Monino, in 1968. He left the space service on medical grounds (stomach ulcer) while training for Soyuz missions on October 25, 1969. He then became an instructor and lead engineer at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center.
He left the space programme in 1982, and retired from active military duty in 1987.
He is married with two children.
Zaikin died of natural causes on October 20, 2013, as reported by Star City, the Yuri Gagarin Training Centre.
- Burgess, Colin & Rex Hall. The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team: Their Lives, Legacy, and Historical Impact. Berlin: Springer, 2009. 74-76.
- Hall, Rex & David Shayler. The Rocket men: Vostok & Voskhod, The First Soviet Manned Spaceflights. Berlin: Springer, 2002. 258.
- Hall, Rex & David Shayler. The Rocket men: Vostok & Voskhod, The First Soviet Manned Spaceflights. Berlin: Springer, 2002. 309.
- Hall, Rex D., David J. Shayler, & Bert Vis. Russia's Cosmonauts: Inside the Yuri Gagarin Training Center. Berlin: Springer, 2005. 124.
- "Dmitri Zaikin, Early Soviet Cosmonaut Who Never Flew in Space, Dies at 81". Space.com. Retrieved 2013-10-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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