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PASSINGS: Konstantin Feoktistov

Konstantin Feoktistov, spacecraft designer and cosmonaut, dies at 83

November 23, 2009
  • Ria Novosti / European Pressphoto Agency
Ria Novosti / European Pressphoto Agency (ktiznnc20091122173354 )

Konstantin Feoktistov

Spacecraft designer and cosmonaut

Konstantin Feoktistov, 83, a spacecraft designer and cosmonaut who was a member of the first three-man crew to fly in space, died Saturday in Moscow, the Russian space agency announced. No cause was given.

Feoktistov was aboard Voskhod 1 in October 1964 as part of the first group space flight in history. He also played a key role in the development of the Voskhod.

"I had many enemies who did not want me to make that flight," Feoktistov told the Boston Globe in 1998. "Once we took off, I remember thinking 'That's it. No one can get me off this spaceship now!' For me, it was a thrill to ride that beast."

Approval for his flight met with resistance from the Politburo because Feoktistov was not a Communist Party member at the time. It was his only space flight.

Feoktistov, who was born in 1926, helped design Soviet space ships and stations such as Mir, Progress and Soyuz. He was critical of the cost of space flight.

"We got what we planned from the Mir, but we never got all we hoped," he told The Times in 1999. "The technical achievements we made in space are successes for engineers. But it's not an achievement for taxpayers, who paid their money for us engineers to play around with our gadgets and enjoy ourselves."

After leaving the space program, Feoktistov taught at Moscow State Technical University.

-- times staff reports

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