Gherman Titov

Gherman Titov

[tee-tawf, -tof; Russ. tyi-tawf]
Gherman Stepanovich Titov (Герман Степанович Титов) (September 11, 1935September 20, 2000) was a Soviet cosmonaut and the second human to orbit the Earth.


Titov was born in the village of Verkhnie Zhilino in the Altai Region and went to school at the Stalingrad Military Aviation School. After graduating as an air force pilot, he was selected for cosmonaut training in 1960, and from there was chosen to fly the Vostok 2 mission launched in August 6 the following year. The mission lasted for 25.3 hours and accomplished 17 earth orbits. His call sign in this flight was Eagle (Орёл). A month short of 26 years old at launch, he remains the youngest person to fly in space.

In August 1961, he was the first person to suffer from "space sickness" (i.e. motion sickness in space) and was also the first human to sleep in space. He slept roughly for one orbit, and was surprised to awake with his arms floating in the air due to the absence of gravity. After securing his arms under a security belt, he went back to sleep, overslept and awoke 30 minutes later than predicted by the flight plan. He states (vide English version of his biography) that "Once you have your arms and legs arranged properly, space sleep is fine ... I slept like a baby".

Following his space flight, Titov went on to assume various senior positions in the Soviet space programme until his retirement in 1992. In 1995 he was elected to the State Duma as a member of the Communist Party. He died of cardiac arrest in his sauna at the age of 65 in Moscow. He was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery.

Awards and Medals

Gherman Titov was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, two Orders of Lenin, 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. A crater on the far side of the Moon is named after Titov.

Fictional references

In Arthur C. Clarke's 2010: Odyssey Two (and the film adaptation 2010), the opening dialogue/scene features a conversation between Dimitri Moisevitch of the Soviet Space Council and Dr. Heywood Floyd. When Moisevitch informs Floyd that the Soviets will be traveling to Jupiter on their new spaceship named for Alexey Leonov, Floyd is initially puzzled, claiming that he thought the ship was to be named for Gherman Titov. In the book, Moisevitch just mentioned that it had been changed to Leonov; in the film, he replies that Titov has fallen out of favor, though he does not elaborate.


"Some say God is living there [in space]. I was looking around very attentively, but I did not see anyone there. I did not detect either angels or gods. ... I don't believe in God. I believe in man-his strength, his possibilities, his reason."

- Comments at World Fair, Seattle, Washington, May 6, 1962, as reported by The Seattle Daily Times, May 7, 1962, p. 2.


  • G. Titov, M. Calden, I am an Eagle. Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill, 1962.

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