Titov, Vladimir Georgievich (1947–)
Vladimir Titov is a veteran Soviet cosmonaut of five spaceflights, including three Soyuz and two Space Shuttle missions. Titov was selected as a cosmonaut 1976 and served as commander on Soyuz T-8 and Soyuz T-10 in 1983, and Soyuz TM-4 in 1987. The first two of these missions nearly ended in disaster. On the final approach of Soyuz T-8 to the Salyut 7 space station, Titov realized that the capsule was coming too fast, aborted the rendezvous, and returned to Earth. Then, just 90 seconds before the launch of Soyuz T-10, a valve in the propellant line failed to close causing a fire to engulf the base of the launch vehicle. The automatic abort sequence failed because the wires involved had burned through and launch controllers manually aborted the mission. The Soyuz descent module was pulled clear by the launch escape system, seconds before the launch vehicle exploded, and after being subjected to 15–17g, Titov and his companions landed about 4 km away uninjured.
On his third trip into space, Titov stayed aboard Mir for 365 days 23 hours, setting a new endurance record and exceeding one year in space for the first time. In 1995, Titov was a mission specialist aboard Shuttle STS-63 which docked with Mir on the first flight of the new joint Russian-American program. Again he served in this capacity in 1997 aboard STS-86, NASA's seventh mission to rendezvous and dock with the Mir.