Academy of Sciences Cosmonaut Group

At the time of Katys' experiment being assigned to Voskhod, Mstislav Keldysh, the President of the Academy of Sciences, had decided to form a dedicated cosmonaut group at the academy and to authorise a selection of candidates from the fields of biology, astronomy and physics, organised by the AN's Gennady Skuridin. When Katys finally lost his chance of flying in space, he became involved with the academy's cosmonaut group and its plans to participate in both the 7K-OK Soyuz Earth observation programmes and the L-l lunar programme.

The search for suitable, qualified scientists to fulfil the role began at the end of April 1966, and resulted in eighteen potential candidates, seven of whom were from the Institute for Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation of the AN (IZMIRAN). Medical examinations were completed at the Central Military Scientific Research Aviation Hospital (TsVNAIG), from which only four were passed for further consideration in November 1966. In May 1967, authorisation was finally given to allow civilian institutes to select their own cosmonaut detachments. The final selection for the AN team therefore came on 22 May 1967. A year later, in May 1968, Katys was named as commander of the group. The members of this initial (and, to date, only) AN cosmonaut group were:20

Gulyayev, Rudolf, 33, was born on 14 November 1934 in Izhevsk into a family of teachers. A graduate of the Astronomical Division of the Faculty of Physics at Moscow State University, he joined IZMIRAN in Troitsk, near Moscow, where he was assigned at the time of passing the cosmonaut selection process.

Kolomitsev, Ordinard, 33, was born in Tula on 29 January 1935. His father was serving in the military forces. A graduate of the Radio Physics Faculty at Saratov State University, he joined IZMIRAN directly. An experienced polar explorer, his pre-cosmonaut experience included three Soviet Antarctic expeditions, logging over four years and four months in total and working at the Vostok intercontinental station and at the Southern Geomagnetic Pole. For this work, Kolomitsev was awarded the "Sign of Honour'' order, as well as the title "USSR Honoured Polar Serviceman''.

Fatkullin, Mars, 28, was born on 14 May 1939, the son of a local executive of Tartar origin, in the village of Staroye Shaymurzino, Drozhzhanovsk Raion, Tartarian Autonomous Republic. A graduate of the Kazan State University, he joined IZMIRAN and gained his CTSc degree in 1965.

Yershov, Valentin, 40, was born on 21 January 1928 in Moscow. His father was an officer in the NKVD (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs) and was supposedly killed by members of the same NKVD in 1945. After graduating from the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI) as a rocket scientist, Yershov worked at the KB-1 design bureau in Moscow under Sergey L. Beriya on guidance systems for missiles. After a year, he moved to P.D. Grushin's KB-1 design bureau, where he was employed on surface-to-air missiles. He joined the Institute of Advanced Mathematics (headed by Mstislav Keldysh) in 1956, specialising in spacecraft navigation. His work in this field was recognised when he co-proved a theory in the specialised field of statistics of independent measurements, which became known as the Elwing-Yershov theorem.

The principal reason for the four men's selection was most likely their specialisations. After selection, Gulyayev, Kolomitsev and Fatkullin would work on the investigations of solar-terrestrial relationships, while Yershov would became involved in the development of navigation systems for the planned circumlunar missions.

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