Military scientists

In the 1960s, there was a programme of military manned space operations and experiments. These were initially planned for Vostok and Voskhod but never developed to flight status (although the unmanned military version of Vostok, called Zenit, flew for many years20). In addition, plans were formulated to fly military research missions on a military-class Soyuz spacecraft (Soyuz VI), a military space plane (Spiral) and on the military space stations (Almaz) that flew as Salyut 2 (1973), Salyut 3 (1974) and Salyut 5 (1976). The crews for these missions came from among the officers of the Air Force pilot and engineer cosmonaut classes selected in 1960, 1963, 1965 and 1967, and the in-depth military research would follow the initial evaluation flights of Soyuz VI and Almaz. This was similar to the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) programme of the 1960s and the Department of Defense (DoD) Shuttle missions of the 1980s. To support this emphasis in science over engineering, three researchers were chosen with the air force military cosmonaut selection of 1967.21

The selection process for the 1967 group began on 28 February and the order to transfer three researchers to the Soviet VVS (Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily) Air Force selection was issued on 12 April 1967 (Order No. 0369). This was the sixth anniversary of the Gagarin flight, and right in the middle of the selection process for the second group of NASA scientist-astronauts. Engineer-Majors Vladimir Alekseyev, Mikhail

Burdayev and Nikolay Porvatkin all later became involved in the Soyuz VI and Almaz programmes. All three subsequently received their CTSc degrees (and Burdayev also went on to receive a Doctorate of Science - DSc - degree in military science), but all three finally left the programme after many years awaiting a flight assignment. They never flew in space due to a combination of cancellations, delays and changes to the original plans. The order dismissing the three researchers finally came on 20 April 1983, sixteen years after they had been selected. A similar selection was made in America, under the USAF Manned Spaceflight Engineer (MSE) programme in July 1987, when two civilian scientists working for the DoD were assigned to the Strategic Defense Initiative "Starlab" Shuttle/Spacelab mission planned for 1992. Dennis L. Boesen and Kenneth P. Bechis trained for three years, until the programme was eventually cancelled in August 1990.

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