Valery Bykovsky

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Valery Fyodorovich Bykovsky
Nationality Soviet
Status Retired
Born (1934-08-02) 2 August 1934 (age 87)
Pavlovsky Posad, Soviet Union
Other occupation
Rank Major General, Soviet Air Force
Time in space
20d 17h 48m
Selection 1960 Air Force Group 1
Missions Vostok 5, Soyuz 22, Soyuz 31
Mission insignia
Vostok5-6patch.png Soyuz 31 mission patch.svg
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin

Valery Fyodorovich Bykovsky (Russian: Вале́рий Фёдорович Быко́вский; born 2 August 1934) is a retired Soviet cosmonaut who flew three manned space mission space flights: Vostok 5, Soyuz 22, and Soyuz 31. He was also backup for Vostok 3 and Soyuz 37.


Bykovsky set a space endurance record when he spent five days in orbit aboard Vostok 5 in 1963 where his callsign was "Hawk" (Russian: Ястреб).[1] Although this flight duration has long since been surpassed by crews of more than one person, to this day it remains the endurance record for a solo spaceflight.

Bykovsky was to have commanded the original Soyuz 2 mission, which was cancelled due to problems with Soyuz 1. After the parachutes failed on that mission, killing Vladimir Komarov, the same problem was found with the Soyuz 2 capsule, which meant if the mission had flown, Bykovsky and his crew would also have been killed.

Many of his later years in the space programme were involved with promoting the Intercosmos programme amongst the world's Socialist nations. He retired in 1988 and then spent three years as the Director of the House of Soviet Science and Culture in Berlin.

Bykovsky was also a keen sportsman:

"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, Andran 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."[2]

Honours and awards

Valery Bykovsky was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union (1963), the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Star, and numerous other medals and foreign orders.



  1. "Call signs of astronauts".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Bykovsky quoted in Gavrilin, pp. 26–7
  3. Hero of the Soviet Union medal.png  Valery Bykovsky at the "Герои страны" ("Heroes of the Country") website (Russian)


External links