Romanovich Popovich (October 5, 1930 September
29, 2009) was a Soviet cosmonaut.
was the 4th Cosmonaut in space, the 6th person in orbit,
and the 8th person in space.
was born in Uzyn, Kiev Oblast of Soviet Union (now Ukraine)
to Roman Porfirievich Popovich (a fireman in a sugar factory)
and Theodosia Kasyanovna Semyonov. He had two sisters
(one older, one younger) and two brothers (both younger).
World War II, the Germans occupied Uzyn, and burned documents
including Popovich's birth certificate. After the war,
these were restored through witness testimony, and although
his mother knew that he was born in 1929, two witnesses
insisted that Popovich was born in 1930, and so this became
his official year of birth.
1941 to 1945, he lived in the occupied territory. After
its liberation from the Fascist troops, he continued his
1947, he left vocational school in Bila Tserkva with qualifications
as a carpenter. In 1951, Popovich graduated
as a construction engineer from a technical school in
as well as receiving a pilot's degree.
1954, he joined the Young Communist League.
was married to Marina
Popovich, a retired Soviet Air Force colonel,
engineer, and legendary Soviet test pilot who has been
outspoken about UFO reality. They had two daughters. They
later divorced, and Popovich married Alevtina Oshegova.
was also a keen weight lifter:
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".
was also a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian
Soviet Socialist Republic 6th-11th convocations.
his retirement in 1993, he lived in Moscow.
died in a hospital in Gurzuf where he had been taken following
a stroke on 29 September 2009. Brain hemorrhage was cited
as the cause of death. He is buried in Moscow.
1952, he graduated from a course at the Stalingrad Military
Aviation School near Novosibirsk. He then went on to train
at the Military Officers of the Air Force Aviation Training
School in Grozny, until 1954 when he joined the Soviet
Air Force. From 1954 through 1959, Mr. Popovich served
in the Military Air Force as a fighter pilot.
1959, he was invited by the specialized medical commission
to join the 1st pilot and cosmonaut detachment. In 1960,
he was selected as one of the first group of twenty air
force pilots that would train as the first cosmonauts
for the Soviet space program. The training took place
between March 1960 and January 1961, and Popovich passed
his final exams in Cosmonaut Basic Training on 17/18 January
1961. He was appointed as an astronaut on 25 January 1961.
was considered as a strong candidate for the first spaceflight
- but while Yuri
Gagarin was ultimately chosen for the Vostok
1 flight, Popovich served as the flight's capcom.
May to August 1961, he trained to fly on spacecraft "Vostok-2"
in a group of astronauts, followed (between September
and November 1961) with training to fly "Vostok-3".
This flight was cancelled. Between November 1961 and May
1962, he trained as a pilot for "Vostok-4".
Between June and August of that year, he received further
training in the maintenance of this spacecraft.
commanded the space flight Vostok 4 in 1962 which, along
with Andrian Nikolayev on Vostok 3, was the first time
that more than one manned spacecraft were in orbit at
the same time. His call sign for this flight was Golden
January 1964, he became a cosmonaut instructor, becoming
deputy commander to the 2nd group of cosmonauts.
was selected to command one of the Soviet Union's planned
moon landings, and trained for this between 1966 and 1968,
when the Soviet moon landing plans were scrapped.
1968, he was selected as captain for Soyuz 2, but after
the death of Vladimir Komarov during the reentry of Soyuz
1, Soyuz 2 was launched without a crew.
1969, he was a senior cosmonaut
and became (by
the Chief of cosmonaut training.
1974, he commanded his second (and final) space flight
Soyuz 14 in 1974. Again, his call sign for this flight
was Golden eagle. This flight was the first to the Salyut
3 space station.
these flights, he was awarded the title "The
Hero of the Soviet Union", Major-General
of Aviation. Mr. Popovich was also recognized by the presentation
of awards such as two "Orders
of Lenin", "Order
of People Friendship", "Order
of the Red Star" and many others.
1977, he received a post-graduate
degree in technical sciences.
March 1978, he was on duty in the Flight Control Center
for Vladimír Remek's flight aboard Soyuz 28.
1978, he was the deputy chief
of the Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center responsible
for research and testing work. From 1980 to
1989, he was Deputy chief of the Cosmonaut Training Center.
In January 1982, he was removed from the list of active
cosmonauts, so that he could serve as Deputy Chief for
Scientific Testing and Research at the Center.
are from Space Encyclopedia ASTROnote,
unless otherwise noted
From 1992: Chairman of the Boxing Federation of
From 1994: President of the Yuri Gagarin Foundation;
President of the Social Support for Veterans of the Armed
Forces of the Union
From 1996: Member of the Editorial Board of Space
From 1998: Member of the Editorial Board of the
All-Russia scientific and technical magazine Flight
From 1999: President of the Ukrainian Union of
Member of the Writers' Union of Russia.
President of the Association of Space Museums of
Honorary President of the International Association
of Veterans of Physical Education and Sport (MAFIS)
Honorary Chairman of the Society of Ukrainian Culture
1984, Popovich joined the Russian
Academy of Sciences' newly created All-Union
Investigation Committee for Anomalous Aerial Phenomena
and became head of the Academy's UFO Commission.
the 2002 SciFi Channel documentary Out
of the Blue, Popovich relays a sighting
of a UFO next to the airplane he was travelling aboard
as he was returning home from Washington D.C. with a delegation
of scientists. The UFO was seen by everyone on board the
plane. It was perfect triangle shaped and emitted a very
bright, white light at a distance of about 1.5 kilometres
and an altitude about 1,000 metres above the airplane.
The object had an estimated speed of 1500 km/h, travelling
parallel to the airplane, passed and overtook the plane
in about 30 to 40 seconds.
was the president of the UFO association of Russia.
are from Space Encyclopedia ASTROnote,
unless otherwise noted
I Flew in the Morning (1974)
Tested in Space and on
Endless Road Universe
Robinson of the Universe
"Space - My Job"
"Conquest of Infinity"
"... 3, 2, 1!"
of the Galaxy"
"Mysteries of the
"Forward - to the
Sources of the Past"
MUFON 1992 International UFO Symposium