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Andriyan Grigoryevich Nikolayev
Adrian G Nikolaiev .jpg
Born September 5, 1929(1929-09-05)
Shorshely, Chuvashia
Died July 3, 2004 (aged 74)
Cheboksary, Chuvashia
Other occupation Pilot
Rank Major General, Soviet Air Force
Time in space 21d 15h 20m
Selection Air Force Group 1
Missions Vostok 3, Soyuz 9
Mission insignia Vostok3-4patch.png

Andriyan Grigoryevich Nikolayev (Chuvash and Russian: Андриян Григорьевич Николаев), (September 5, 1929–July 3, 2004) was a Soviet cosmonaut. Ethnic Chuvash.

Nikolayev flew on two space flights: Vostok 3 (effectively becoming the third Soviet cosmonaut) and Soyuz 9. His call sign in these flights was Falcon (Russian: Со́кол). On both, he set new endurance records for the longest time a human being had remained in orbit. He also served as backup for the Vostok 2 and Soyuz 8 missions. On January 22, 1969, Nikolayev survived an assassination attempt on Leonid Brezhnev, undertaken by Soviet Army officer Viktor Ilyin. He left the cosmonaut corps on January 26, 1982.

Nikolayev was also the first person to make a television broadcast from space, in August 1962. Vostok 3 was part the first dual space flight, with Pavel Popovich on Vostok 4.

In the early days of space travel, it was usual to place trainee astronauts into isolation chambers to see how long they could last alone. They sat in silence unable to gauge time. Many men cracked. One cosmonaut, Andriyan Nikolayev lasted the longest - four days - and became known as the Iron Man.

On November 3, 1963, he married Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to fly in space (see Vostok 6). They had one daughter, Elena Andriyanovna (now a Doctor of Medicine), before their marriage collapsed. However, it was not until 1982 that they divorced.

Andriyan Nikolayev was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union (twice), Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Star, numerous medals, and foreign orders. He was also bestowed a title of the Hero of Socialist Labor of Bulgaria, Hero of Labor of Vietnam, and Hero of Mongolia. The lunar crater Nikolayev is named after him.

In 2004, Nikolayev died of a heart attack in Cheboksary, the capital of Chuvashia in Russia. A scandal ensued. His daughter, who lives in Moscow, desired that he be interred in the cemetery at Star City. The president of Chuvashia had other ideas. After a farewell ceremony in Cheboksary, Nikolayev was buried in his native village of Shorshely. He has no family living in the republic. Plans are in the works to move the body to Star City.

Nikolayev was also a keen skier:

"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,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."[1]


  • Gavrilin, Vyacheslav Sportsmen of the Soviet Union;;
  1. ^ Bykovsky quoted in Gavrilin, p26-7


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