Mars Zakirovich Rafikov
|Died||23 July 2000 (aged 66)|
|Occupation||Jet fighter pilot|
|Rank||Soviet Air Force|
|Selection||Air Force Group 1|
On 24 March 1962, Rafikov was dismissed from the cosmonaut corps, officially for "a variety of offenses, including womanizing and 'gallivanting' in Moscow restaurants, and so forth". Other cosmonauts (notably Gagarin) had exhibited similar behavior, but could not be officially disciplined because of their stature and international reputation. Gherman Titov later suggested that the real reason for his dismissal was because he and his wife had divorced.
To protect the image of the space program, efforts were made to cover up the reason for Rafikov's dismissal. His image, like that of others who were dismissed, was airbrushed out of cosmonaut photos. This airbrushing led to speculation about "lost cosmonauts" even though the actual reasons were often mundane.