In particular, knowledge of current composition of the corps is valuable in judging future directions of their entire manned space programme, by assessing the balance of pilots, engineers, scientists, and other specializations.
My own final major contribution to this mystery is the following list of active rookie cosmonauts which I obtained in March 1989 but which was embargoed from public disclosure until now.
The publication of this complete list was temporarily held back for a number of reasons. First, the material was embargoed by my contract with CBS News, which paid for my visit to Star City as consultant to a news spot later cancelled; a subsequent magazine article about the visit (and containing the list) for "Air and Space" magazine, originally scheduled for December publication, was delayed several issues for purely editorial reasons. Second, the sensitivity of the list was so high that I wanted to distance myself from the point of origin, and also I wanted to allow Soviet officials the opportunity to explain why the list should not be published (four letters to the usually cooperative "Information Group" at Star City went unanswered freeing me from obligations). Questions of ethics were also involved, since we were the first Westerners into these areas and since we were explicitly told that officials did not want the names of future cosmonauts published (but the appearance of most of those names from the works of other researchers in the past year, and subsequent "carte blanche" from Glavkosmos officials that "anything you see you can write about", has dissolved that concern). Lastly, a number of investigators have independently been assiduously pursuing the names and my temporarily withholding the list allowed checking and calibration of sources (comparison with this list indicates that essentially ALL of the names obtained by these other investigators are completely authentic, and this independent verification is a major contribution to our confidence in the material, methods, and individuals involved, especially for future material from the same sources).
The opportunity to obtain this material came on March 3, 1989, when our CBS-TV news team was visiting the gymnasium southeast of the main training complex. While waiting for videotaping of the upcoming Soyuz TM-8 crew (Viktorenko and Balandin at that time), we were placed in the locker room area. There was a small gymnasium on the third floor with a small row of eight lockers, and on the second floor there was a large locker room with almost fifty wooden clothes lockers. Most had hand-lettered name tag, all of the same age. Adjoining the locker room was a small swimsuit locker area, with several names per half-locker, but on those the nametags were inside the doors and I did not have an opportunity to observed closed ones (hence, only a few of the swimsuit locker names were obtained, mostly duplica-tive).
The names were copied quickly and some transcription errors were likely. Also, attaching bolts on the labels often obscured letters or first/middle initials. Altogether, there were forty one labelled clothes lockers on the second floor, and about four to six unlabelled ones. Years of preparation allowed me to quickly make efficient exploitation of this unsought opportunity especially when I saw names such as Grekov, Kozelskiy, Bachurin, and so forth, already made familiar through the research of our powerful unofficial sleuthing team. It took about eight to ten minutes of assiduous (if discrete) scribbling but I am confident that I covered every locker in the room.
|Locker Room List, March 3, 1989, by James Oberg|
|Aвдеев C.B.||Avdeyev||Eng. '85|
|Арцебарский А.П.||Artsebarskiy A. P.||Pilot '85|
|Афанасьев В.||Afanasyev||Pilot '85|
|Бачурин||Bachurin||Pilot '85, Buran|
|Бородай А.С.||Boroday A.S.||Pilot '85, Buran|
|Бурдаев М.||Burdayev M.||Eng. '67|
|Греков Н.С.||Grekov||Pilot '78|
|Дежуров В.Н.||Dezhurov V.N||Pilot '87|
|Евстратов В.||Evstratov V.||????|
|Илларионов В.||Illarionov V.||Eng. '70|
|Исаков В.Т.||Isakov V.T.||Eng. '67|
|Калери А.Ю.||Kaleri A.Yu.||Engineer,'85|
|Козельский В.С.||Koselskiy V.S.||Pilot '67|
|Комов Н.Н.||Komov N.N.||????|
|Корзун В.||Korzun V.||Pilot '83|
|Лисун М.И.||Lisun M.I.||Eng. '65|
|Малечико Ю.И.||Malechiko Yu.I.||Pilot '87|
|Манаков Г.М.||Manakov G.M.||Pilot '89|
|Новиков А.||Novikov A.||????|
|Степанов Ю.Н.||Stepanov Yu.N.||????|
|Степанов Э.Н.||Stepanov E.N.||Eng. '67|
|Суворов А.О.||Suvorov A.O.||????|
|Федоров А.П.||Fedorov A.P.||Pilot '65|
|Фефелов Н.Н.||Fefelov N.N.||Eng. '67|
|Циблиев В.В.||Tsibliyev V.V.||Pilot '85|
|Чекирда И.Ф.||Chekirda I.F.||Pilot '67|
|Юманов Н.||Yumanov N.||????|
This striking absence suggests that there is a different locker room for those with the status of "flown" cosmonauts. There certainly was room in the building, even quite nearby the pool. Future meetings with veteran cosmonauts may be an opportunity to ask directly about this.
The rest of the names were unflown individuals, mostly cosmonauts plus Buran test pilots, plus a few trainers as well. The names can now be compared with Cosmonaut selection information released in recent months and compiled by leading investigators such as Hall, Hooper, Vis, van den Berg, Cassutt, Molchanov, Voyevodin, and others too numerous to mention.
Remarkably, eleven men from the 1960s were still listed as active in early 1989: from 1965, pilot Fedorov and engineers Lisun (retired later that year) and Khludeyev, aged about 48-50; from 1967, pilots Kozelskiy and Chekirda and engineer/navigators Burdayev, Isakov, Stepanov, and Fefelov (estimated ages in the late 40s); from 1970, pilot Isaulov and engineer Illarionov (about 50).
There were only two names from the 1970s: Grekov and Balandin, plus doctors Polyakov and Arzamazov.
The remaining names were from 1980s selections: the 1983 shuttle cosmonaut pilot group (Bachurin, Boroday, Korzun); the 1985 groups (pilots Artsebarskiy, Afanasyev, Tsibliyev, and engineers Krikalev, Yemalyanov, Kaleri, and Avdeyev, but NOT Zautsev), the 1987 pilots (Gidzenko, Dezhurov, Maienichenko), and some of a reported group of 1989 pilots (Manakov is the only name known for sure).
The second set of lockers on the third floor was equally interesting. Of the known Buran pilots, there were Zab-olotskiy, Sultanov, Tolboyev, Tresvyatskiy, and Sheffer (but not Volk, and Stankavicius only had a swimsuit locker), plus Artsebarskiy, Afanasyev, and Manakov (the latter now known to have been the next three rookie pilots), a touching sidelight from the swimsuit lockers: the names Levchenko and Shchukin were still there, indicating that the tags had not been redone for more than a year.
To date, all but eight of the names have been associated with actual cosmonaut selections, or have been identified as trainers. At the same time, selections are suspected but names have not been released. So those eight may include a few men who are not even cosmonauts. They are Borodin, Yevstratov, Komov, Novikov, Petrinchik, Singatulin, Stepanov (Yu.N.), and Yumanov. Repeated specific inquiries to the Information Group at Star City have gone unanswered.
What is the chance that there are other rookie cosmonauts NOT on this list? As far as mainstream pilots and engineers, I don't think more than one or two would have been missed (for example, Yemelyanov was seen on the swimsuit locker but not the clothes locker). As far as scientist, ifs very likely that only specialists with near-term flight assignments are allocated one of the rare lockers, so there could well be a number of doctors, biologists, geologists, chemists, etc., in scientific institutes, designated as trained cosmonaut-researchers, whose names have eluded us.
Many questions of current status remain to be settled. Grekov, for example, has been listed as not on flight status, and Soviet media identified him as an "operator" in mission control during the space motorbike tests; the fact that three more junior pilots have moved ahead of hirrr for mission assignment is not auspicious, but he still has his locker. Kadenyuk and Moskalenko have been listed as 1976 pilots still active, but they have no lockers. Isaulov was thought to be a 1970 pilot later medically disqualified, but he does have a locker. Kolodin, of course, probably had a locker until recently, and Lisun's locker has probably been reassigned following his formal retirement in 1979 (he is now director of the Sergey Korolev Home-Museum in northern Moscow).
Further biographical details are needed, and further analysis of this list is bound to provide us with greater insights into the Soviets' cosmonaut cadre management policies and plans. It is in anticipation of such further good use - and of insights yet to come, as yet obscure - that I respectfully deliver this material and commentary to the British Interplanetary Society.
JAMES E. OBERG Texas, USA
SPACEFLIGHT, Vol. 32, November 1990