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Soviets Launch Third Astronaut for Prolonged Orbital Flight

Aug. 11, 1962 - The Soviet Union launched its third astronaut into space today on what was expected to be a prolonged orbital flight. There were indications that the spaceship, Vostok III, piloted by Maj. Andrian G. Nikolayev (pictured), would stay aloft longer than the one flown by Maj. Gherman S. Titov, who orbited the earth 17 times in 25 hours and 18 minutes. Maj. Titov’s flight took place on Aug. 6 and 7, 1961. With the announcement that the launching had occurred at 4:30 a.m. EST, the Soviet Union called on the U.S. to refrain from further high-altitude nuclear explosions that might endanger Major Nikolayev. The U.S. Government wished the Soviet Union’s third astronaut a “safe flight and a happy landing” and promised not to interfere with him in any way.

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