Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Monument a Day #20 - First Ukrainian Cosmonaut Pavlo Popovych (1930-2009)

Pavlo Romanovych Popovych
This plaque marks the building where Pavlo Popovych attended trade school from 1946 to 1947

Pavlo Romanovych Popovych was the first Ukrainian cosmonaut to go into space. He was born in Uzyn just outside of Bila Tserkva on October 5th, 1930. During WW II, the Germans occupied Uzyn, and burned documents including Popovych's birth certificate. After the war, these were restored through witness testimony, and although his mother knew that he was born in 1929, two witnesses insisted that Popovych was born in 1930, and so this became his official year of birth.

During the past few years, he lived in Crimea (southern Ukraine). Popovych had spent almost 60 years of his live in Moscow, but never forgot Ukraine. For several years he headed the Slavutych society of Ukrainian culture, and made a great contribution to the opening of the Ukrainian Culture Center on Stary Arbat in Moscow. "I am proud that I am a Ukrainian. Addressing the audience, I always say that I am the first Ukrainian cosmonaut," he used to tell the press. The first time he went into orbit was in 1962 as a pilot of the Vostok-4 spacecraft. His second flight took place 12 years later, when he headed the crew of Soyuz-14. He finished his service as the deputy head of the cosmonaut training center in charge of research work (1982-1988).

The building where he attended trade school to become a carpenter, is marked by a plaque with his likeness here in Bila Tserkva. He just passed away on September 29th, 2009 at the age of 79.

This plaque is located at: 49°48'13.65"N 30° 7'27.86"E

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