Konstantin Petrovich Feoktistov

Great designer and famous cosmonaut Feoktistov played one of the most important roles in starting the DOS programme. In June 1974, soon after Mishin's dismissal, Glushko named Feoktistov as one of his deputies - a post he held until May 1990. In the summer of 1975 he worked as flight director for the second crew of Salyut 4, although only briefly. His principal task was the design of the 'Soyuz T' crew ferry and the automated 'Progress' cargo ship, but he also contributed to improved forms of the DOS, including Salyut 6 and the legendary Mir.

In October 1964 Feoktistov became the first space engineer to fly in space, when he was a member of the first Voskhod mission. Four years later he was a serious candidate for the one-man Soyuz 3 flight, but at that time the Air Force did not wish to allow civilians to pilot spacecraft. In the period May to October 1980 he trained to perform extensive maintenance on the thermal regulation system of Salyut 6 in order to extend the use of that station. He was to fly this Soyuz T-3 mission with Leonid Kizim (TsPK, commander) and Oleg Makarov (NPO Energiya). However, in October, less than a month before the scheduled date of launch, he was replaced by Gennadiy Strekalov. Although the official explanation was that Feoktistov had a medical problem, he insists otherwise: ''It was the Air Force. I have battled them all the time. You see, I thought that those who knew most about cosmonautics should be the ones to fly. In fact, the point was reached at which the leader of the mission should have been a cosmonaut-engineer, not the spacecraft's commander. However, the soldiers did not like this idea.'' In October 1987, aged 62, he left the ranks of the cosmonauts. Yuriy Semyonov was once Feoktistov's boss on the DOS programme, but under Glushko was assigned to direct the development of the Buran space-plane. Feoktistov, who never held back in criticising the direction of the space programme, condemned this project. Semyonov never forgave him, and in May 1990, shortly after Semyonov was appointed head of NPO Energiya, Feoktistov drew his 35-year career as a spacecraft designer to an end and moved to Moscow's Higher Technical School (MVTU) Bauman. Many of the leading figures in Soviet rocketry and space technology came from Bauman - among them Feoktistov, who got his PhD there in 1967. He retired in 2005.

Feoktistov authored over 150 scientific papers and also several books. In Seven Steps to the Sky, published in 1984,9 he wrote of a manned flight to Mars. As time went by he grew ever more critical of the space programme. Given that Feoktistov

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dedicated his best years to the development of space technology his autobiography, Life Path, published in 2000,10 was written in a curious, sometimes sarcastic style.

Regarding the role of the International Space Station (ISS), whose lineage can be traced back to his own DOS work, and the future of manned space flight in general, he states:

People should not work on this subject just now. There is nothing interesting at the ISS - or in space. There is no serious research. We and the Americans have both spent so much time and effort on manned fights and space stations, but the attainment of the main goal is not linked to these projects. However, the Hubble telescope has offered a great amount of new information. People should work in the areas where results can be obtained. The future belongs to

"There is nothing interesting at the ISS - or in space." Having devoted his career to the design of manned spacecraft, Konstantin Feoktistov (here between cosmonauts Makarov and Kizim) later became a critic of manned space flight.

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automated stations. Manned cosmonautics lacks any practical sense and it will not have any meaning, not now, not in future times.

From three marriages Feoktistov has the largest family among all Soviet/ Russian cosmonauts: comprising one daughter and three sons - one of whom was born in 1982 when Feoktistov was 56. He is the oldest of the still-living Soviet cosmonauts to have flown in space. A crater on the far side of the Moon, 19 km in diameter, was named in his honour. In February 2006 he celebrated his jubilee 80th birthday.

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