He could have become the first journalist in space: he passed the tests at the Institute of Biomedical Problems but the flight never happened due to the demise of Sergey Korolev. Yaroslav Golovanov swam in all the oceans of the globe, wrote from 25 countries, from Sakhalin, Kamchatka, the Pamirs, and the Tien Shan. He learned foundry and worked on calculations for a liquid fuel rocket engine of 100 ton thrust. June 2, 1932, is the birthday of our colleague, journalist and science popularizer Yaroslav Kirillovich Golovanov.
Yaroslav Golovanov was born in an artistic family in Moscow: his father was the founder and the first director of the Transport Theater, known today as the Moscow Drama Theater named after N. V. Gogol, his mother – a leading actress in the theater. School years: almost two years in Omsk – his family evacuated and lived in Omsk from the fall of 1941 till the summer of 1943. Against the advice of his parents, who suggested an architectural or a movie college, Yaroslav filed for admission to the Rocket Faculty of the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School (MVTU).
MVTU graduates were able to operate any metal-working machine, learned all types of welding, and foundry. In 1954, Golovanov defended his graduation project “Calculations for a liquid fuel rocket engine of 100 ton thrust”, and started cooperating with the Science Department of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper a year later. He dedicated most of his life to the newspaper and the outer space from that moment.
A copy reader of the Science Department of Komsomolskaya Pravda, Head of the Information Department in the same paper, a roving correspondent, a member of the editorial board, a science observer – Yaroslav Golovanov was one of the most popular and the most read journalists in the country, and wrote a lot on the outer space. Thunder's Blacksmiths, The Truth on the Apollo Program, Studies on Scientists, Studies on Great Things and Great People, The Architecture of Zero-Gravity, Our Gagarin, the Martian, Cosmonaut No. 1 – Yaroslav Golovanov wrote over a thousand articles for newspapers and magazines, and 20 books.
“I’d like to ask the first space crew to set foot on Mars to turn off their TV and movie cameras and not shoot the moment they step onto the Martian sand. They should swear to each other to never tell which one of them actually was the first to set foot on Mars. It’s just human psychology: people may and almost certainly will only remember the first one, which would be unfair as they will all be heroes. I do realize that the first one will find it especially hard to keep his word. I hope he’ll be generous, and believe that he’ll keep his silence as well as his colleagues. The name of the first one cannot be revealed even to wives and children; the secret should be kept to the end and taken to the grave. This would be an example of a true noble spirit and true humanity for generations to come,” that’s what Yaroslav Golovanov said about the space race, about the space that he loved but never got to go to.
Yaroslav Golovanov was awarded the Order of Friendship of Peoples, the Order of the Badge of Honor, the Lenin Komsomol Prize, and prizes of the Journalist Union of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) and the Journalist Union of the Russian Federation. Yaroslav Golovanov died of a stroke on May 21, 2003. He was buried in the Danilovskoye Cemetery in Moscow.