Saturday, 28 March 2015

Cosmonaut Callsigns (A List)

For years, I've been seeing mentions of Soviet and Russian spacecraft being linked with their crews' radio callsigns, rather than naming the vessel. And for years, I assumed I'd be able to find a definitive list of all of these callsigns, somewhere. But I now get the impression that no such list exists (in English, at least), and so I've decided to draw it up for myself. Please do let me know if there's anything to add or correct, preferably with good sources I can trust for future additions.

I've put the callsigns in alphabetical order, along with the number of vessels that callsign has been applied to (or, if you like, the number of vessels that cosmonaut commanded under that callsign). I have assumed, though can't find clear confirmation yet, that if a vessel goes up with one commander, docks, swaps crews, and comes down with a different commander, that it will use both commanders' callsigns at some point. All sources I've seen only ever seem to list the launching commanders' callsigns.

I'm also uncertain about the interaction of crew callsigns and space stations (the Salyuts and Mir). As far as I can tell, crew callsigns have never been applied to the stations hosting the crew, but this is sketchy.

There are some complications with transliteration between Cyrillic and  Roman alphabets, and I hope I'm giving the best possible versions. I only know enough to know that I'm probably getting something wrong. I plan to add all the Cyrillic spellings to this table at a later point, so anyone who knows better can correct me.

Obviously, there's some overlap between themes, especially between astronomy and mythology, but also between a lot of the geographical features. I've aimed to identify the intended theme as accurately as I can find, but finding isn't always easy.

The two big meta-themes seem to be "shit we can spot out the window from space" and "vaguely sciencey shit", with a smaller number of interesting exceptions.

[EDIT: Two sources I've found most useful are this discussion thread, and this list (in Russian). The latter illustrates clearly (in Russian) how the junior crew are assigned sub-callsigns per mission.]

Reminders to self: Add column for cyrillic, and wiki links for cosmonauts.

Callsign Cosmonaut Number
English translation Theme
Agat Yuri Malenchenko 5 Agate Mineral
Almaz Pavel Belyayev 1 Diamond Mineral
Gennady Padalka
5 Altair Astronomy
Alexander Misurkin
1 Altair Astronomy
Vladimir Shatalov
1 Amur River
Oleg Kononenko
2 Antares Astronomy
Georgi Shonin
1 Antaeus Mythology
Argon Georgi Beregovoi 1 Argon Element
Astrei Anton Shkaplerov 2 Astraeus Mythology
Baikal Boris Volynov 2 Baikal Lake
Basalt Sergei Krikalev 1 Basalt Mineral
Berkut Pavel Popovich 2 Golden Eagle Bird
Borei Sergei Ryazanski 1 Boreas Mythology
Buran[1] Anatoli Filipchenko 2 Blizzard Meteorology
Burlak Aleksey Ovchinin 1 Barge-hauler Person[14]
Chayka Valentina Tereshkova 1 Seagull Bird
Cheget Vladimir Vasyutin 1 Cheget Mountain
Derbent Viktor Afanasyev 5 Derbent City
Dnepr Leonid Popov 5 Dnieper River
Donbass Alexander Volkov 2 Donbass Region
Dunay Genadi Sarafanov 1 Danube River
Elbrus Anatoli Berezovoy 2 Elbrus Mountain
Eridan Sergei Volkov 3 Eridanus Astronomy
Favor Sergey Ryzhikov 1 Mount Tabor Mountain
Foton Vladimir Kovalyonok 4 Photon Particle
Fregat Valery Korzun 1 Frigate Nautical
Granit Vladimir Shatalov 2 Granite Mineral
Ingul Alexander Kaleri 2 Inhul River
Irkut Anatoli Ivanishin 1 Irkut River
Jupiter Yuri Malyshev 3 Jupiter Astronomy
Karat Pavel Vinogradov 2 Carat Mass Unit[2]
Kavkaz Pyotr Klimuk 3 Caucasus Mountain
Kazbek Oleg Novitskiy 2 Kazbek Mountain
Kedr Yuri Gagarin 1 Siberian Pine[3] Tree
Kristall Talgat Musabayev 3 Crystal Material
Mayak Leonid Kizim 4 Beacon Navigation
Okean Vladimir Titov 3[4] Ocean Water
Olimp Fyodor Yurchikhin 3 Olympus Mountain
Orion[5] Valery Kubasov 2 Orion Mythology
Oryol Gherman Titov 1 Eagle Bird
Ozone Anatoly Artsebarsky 1 Ozone Meteorology
Pamir Vladimir Dzhanibekov 6 Pamir Mountain
Parus Roman Romanenko[6] 2 Sail Nautical
Persei[7] Nikolai Budarin 1 Perseus Astronomy
Proton[8] Vladimir Lyakhov 5 Proton Particle
Pulsar Oleg Kotov 3 Pulsar Astronomy
Radon Vyacheslav Zudov 1 Radon Element
Rassvet Valery Tokarev 1 Dawn Astronomy
Rodnik Anatoly Solovyev 6 Spring Water
Rubin Vladimir Komarov 2 Ruby Mineral
Rusich[13] Yuri Lonchakov 1 Russian Demonym
Saturn Nikolai Rukavishnikov 1 Saturn Astronomy
Sirius Vasili Tsibliyev 2 Sirius Astronomy
Skiph Yuri Onufrienko 1 Scythian[9] Demonym
Sokol Andrian Nikolayev 2 Falcon Bird
Soyuz Alexei Leonov[10] 1 Union Political
Taimyr Yuri Romanenko 5 Taymyr River
Tarkhany Aleksandr Samokutyayev 2 Tarkhan Demonym
Terek Viktor Gorbatko 3 Terek River
Tian Shan Salizhan Sharipov 1 Tian Shan Mountain
Tsephi Maksim Surayev 2 Cepheus Astronomy
Uragan Vladimir Dezhurov 1 Hurricane Meteorology
Ural Vasili Lazarev 2 Ural Mountain
Uran Yuri Gidzenko 6 Uranus[11] Astronomy
Utyos Aleksandr Skvortsov 2 Cliff Geology
Varyag Dmitri Kondratyev 1 Varangian Demonym
Vityaz Alexander Viktorenko 5 Knight Mythology
Vostok[12] Mikhail Tyurin 2 East Navigation
Vulkan Gennadi Manakov 2 Volcano Geology
Yantar Georgi Dobrovolski 1 Amber Mineral
Yastreb Valery Bykovsky 4 Hawk Bird
Yenisei Sergei Zalyotin 3 Yenisei River
Zenit Aleksei Gubarev 2 Zenith Navigation

1. Not to be confused with the shuttle Buran. Anyone know what the plan for crew callsigns was going to be if Buran had become operational?

2. Possible mistranslation?

3. Often mistranslated as 'cedar' or 'Siberian cedar', just because it sounds a bit similar.

4. Arguably 4 vessels, if you count the unsuccessful launch of Soyuz T-10a.

5. Not to be confused with the Apollo 16 LM, nor the new MPCV.

6. I can't seem to find a good reference now, but I remember reading years ago that Roman Romanenko had wanted to re-use his father Yuri's callsign of Taimyr, but this was overruled. Even so, I still keep finding sources that apply that callsign to him, instead of Parus.

7. I struggled to find this one, and got only a single reference on some unofficial forums. Confirmation would be nice.

8. Not to be confused with the Proton rocket.

9. Possible mistranslation, as this also seems to translate to skiff (as in the boat type, which would fit well with Fregat) and scythe (as in the agricultural tool, which seems out of place on this list).

10. Soyuz is a special, unusual case, and arguably was the name of the vessel (with the mission code of Soyuz 19), regardless of which cosmonauts were assigned to it, and not the callsign of its commanding cosmonaut. However, since Leonov never commanded any other mission, this does appear to be his de facto callsign either way. The name does translate to Union, but in this case, this callsign was definitely named after the vessel class, the Soyuz, and not after the Soviet Union (which is what the class was named after, so it's not maximally simple).

11. Possible mistranslation, as Uran also means uranium.

12. Not to be confused with the Vostok spacecraft.

13. Note discussion about this one in the comments.

14. Burlaks arguably fit into several categories (e.g. rivers, navigation, water, maybe even demonyms), but not into any one especially well, so I'm assuming for now that it's better to put that name into a new category of its own.

15. Altair appears to be the first callsign transferred from one commander to another, when Padalka retired not long before he was scheduled to command Soyuz MS-06. Misurkin took over the mission, and apparently also the callsign.