Gherman Stepanovich Titov (Russian: Герман Степанович Титов; 11 September 1935 – 20 September 2000) was a Soviet cosmonaut who, on 6 August 1961, became the second human to orbit the Earth, aboard Vostok 2, preceded by Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1. He was the fourth person in space, counting suborbital voyages of US astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom.
Titov’s flight finally proved that humans could live and work in space. He was the first person to orbit the Earth multiple times (a total of 17), the first to pilot a spaceship and to spend more than a day in space. He was also the first to sleep in orbit and to suffer from space sickness (becoming the first person to vomit in space).
Titov made the first manual photographs from orbit, thus setting a record for modern space photography. He also was the first person to film the Earth using a professional quality Konvas-Avtomat movie camera, which he used for ten minutes. A month short of 26 years old at launch, he remains the youngest person to fly in space.
In his subsequent life Titov continued to work for the Soviet space program, and played a major role in the Spiral project where he trained to become the first pilot of an orbital spaceplane. However, after the death of Yuri Gagarin in a military aircraft accident in 1968, the Soviet government decided it could not afford to lose its second cosmonaut, and so Titov’s career as test pilot ended.
Titov served in the Soviet Air Force, attaining the rank of colonel-general. In his final years in post-Soviet Russia he became a Communist politician. Despite having been chosen second, after Gagarin, to fly into space, it was Titov who later proposed the Soviet Government regularly celebrate Cosmonautics Day on April 12, the day of Gagarin’s flight.