Orbital Focus - International Spaceflight Facts and Figures
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Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5

Tyneside, UK
2024 Apr 22
Monday, Day 113

Curated by:

Soyuz 5 Commander

Boris Volynov was born in Irkutsk, finishing school in Prokopyevsk, Siberia. He graduated from the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy in 1968. Boris is an old-timer in the cosmonaut team which he joined at the same time that Yuri Gagarin did. He doubled for Valeri Bykovski, and was Georgi Beregovoi's second backup.

='Volynov'A happy smile lights up the face of Boris whenever someone mentions the Siberian taiga, which Boris learned to love in his childhood days. His fondest memories are associated with the taiga and Prokopyevsk where he lived for many years with his mother. They moved there before the war. It was not easy for the young woman to raise her son all by herself. She was trained as a paediatrician, but since the small town needed a traumatologist she learned a new profession. During the war she worked as a surgeon. A Merited Physician of the Republic, Mrs. Volynov is now retired.

After schooling, Boris applied to the regional Komsomol Committee for a letter of recommendation to a fighter pilot school. The Committee readily gave its support as Boris was known as an honest and brave fellow and a good athlete. As a cadet, Boris realised that he had a long way to go before he became a flier. In the meantime there was the tedious daily routine - drills, guard duty, kitchen details. He was getting letters regularly from his schoolmate Tamara, which helped him a great deal. Tamara had finished school with a gold medal and was enrolled in a metallurgical institute.

His first solo flight gave him little satisfaction: Boris felt neither joy nor excitement. But later flights were more memorable. His instructor, Veniamin Reshetov, was not much older than Boris but had had considerable flying experience. He infected Boris with his love for flying. Major Ivanov, a war veteran, made a real fighter pilot of him. At that time Boris wrote home: "I have saddled my first mustang. Tamara, I miss you. Come at your earliest."

In 1957 she came to him bringing a small suitcase, the engineer's diploma and, what was most important, her love. To find a flat close to the airdrome was quite a problem, but the young people managed it. They recall with a warm feeling the days spent in the tiny attic where they began their married life. Tamara worked at the local engineering plant first as an assistant foreman of the forge shop and later as the foreman.

Sometime later she returned to Prokopyevsk to be with her mother for the birth of her child. Boris went to the post-office every day asking about the telegram. It finally came: "Congratulations on the birth of your son Andrei." Tamara rejoined her husband in 1958.

Soon Boris entered a new and exciting career. With an excellent reference given by Major Ivanov, his Squadron Commander, Boris left his regiment to join the cosmonaut team. He did not tell Tamara where he was going. He just said good bye and asked her to wait patiently. And wait patiently she did, while he trained in parachute jumping with Yuri Gagarin and Herman Titov.

Everyday routine in the cosmonaut team held no surprises for the pilots training for space flight. Only the isolation chamber inspired some kind of awe. "Well, let's get it over with!" Valeri Bykovski exclaimed stepping into the mysterious chamber. Boris remembered that the trees were leafless when he walked into the isolation chamber and its door closed on him. When he was let out, he saw the smiling faces of his friends and smelled cherry blossom.

As Valeri Bykovski's backup Boris Volynov was ready or the space flight in 1963. When he did not fly he continued training tirelessly. Six years later he became commander of Soyuz-5.
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