Valery Bykovsky was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew three manned space mission space flights: Vostok 5, Soyuz 22, and Soyuz 31. He was born Valery Fyodorovich Bykovsky on August 2, 1934 in Pavlovsky Posad in Moscow. In 1951, he graduated from middle school and entered Kachinsk’s Myasnikov High Aviation School. After graduation in 1955, he served with the Soviet Air Force.
In 1960, Bykovsky was accepted into the Soviet cosmonaut unit and then underwent the full space preparation course and trained for space flight. In August 1962, he was assigned as the reserve crew member for the Vostok-3 flight, and exactly one year later, he performed his first flight as commander of the space ship Vostok-5. His next training was in preparation for the Soviet Lunar program. In April 1967, Bykovsky was the commander of the reserve crew for the planned Soyuz-2 flight; however, Soyuz-1 encountered problems and crashed, so the launch of Soyuz-2 was cancelled.
Bykovsky made his second flight to space on September 15, 1976. He served as commander of the space ship Soyuz-22 together with Vladimir Viktorovich Aksenov. After over seven days in space, the mission landed safely. In 1977, Bykovsky began preparations for the Intercosmos program for co-operation with socialist countries. He embarked on his third space flight on August 26, 1978 as commander of the space ship Soyuz-31. The cosmonauts worked onboard the orbital complex Salyut-6 – Soyuz-29 – Soyuz-30 together for a week in space.
In 1988, Bykovsky left the cosmonaut team, and subsequently spent three years as the Director of the House of Soviet Science and Culture in Berlin. He retired in 1991. During his life, Bykovsky was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Star, and numerous other medals and foreign orders.