Share this article

print logo


Pioneering cosmonaut Gherman Titov was the first man to spend so long orbiting the Earth that he fell asleep -- and for the next four decades his sleep was full of dreams about returning to space.

The dreams ended with his death Wednesday at age 65, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning while sitting in the sauna in his apartment. Police said they were treating the death as an accident.

Although Yuri Gagarin had the distinction of being the first man in space, Titov's flight Aug. 6-7, 1961, was so much longer that it solidified the Soviet Union's lead in the space race with the United States. At 17 orbits, he was the first to spend more than a day in space and the first to sleep there. At age 25, he was the youngest man in space -- a record that still stands.

Titov was hailed as a great hero; he later was elected to the Russian parliament.

But his hero status may have frustrated his most passionate desire -- to go back into orbit. After Gagarin was killed in a 1968 plane crash, Titov was banned from further space flights, apparently to avert the loss of another space pioneer.

There are no comments - be the first to comment