Soyuz TsPK detachment cosmonaut 1976-1983. Lapot test pilot 1983-1987. Buran test pilot, 1987-on. Working as test pilot, 1989. NASA Payload Specialist, 1996.
In 1971, he graduated from Chernihiv Higher Aviation School, Chernihiv, Ukraine, as a pilot-engineer. In 1976 he was selected to join the cosmonaut team at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Moscow, Russia. He attended test pilot training at GNIKI VVS USSR (State Scientific Research Institute of the Russian Air Force). He graduated in 1977, proficient in test aircraft piloting, aerodynamics, aircraft construction and exploitation. The following year, was spent at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center where he successfully completed general space training. The course included biology, ecology, medicine, meteorology, space geology and geobotany. As a Test Cosmonaut he is trained to perform scientific research, tests and experiments in any of the above-named disciplines, both in-flight and on the ground.
From 1978-1983 he served as a Test Cosmonaut/Pilot in the Multiple Usage Space System Group at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. While there he underwent advanced training in the conduct of in-flight scientific experiments. He is trained in survival techniques, EVA activities, and work in simulated weightlessness. He was involved in experimental investigations and testing of space technology for the Buran reentry vehicle system. He has performed numerous sky dives including some live, in-flight, reporting.
From 1984-1988 he was a Test Pilot at GLIC VVS Russia (former GNIKI VVS USSR) Russian State Test Flight Center, Russian Air Force. During that time, he performed test flights for three State airplane tests on the SU-27, SU-27UB and MIG-25, was promoted to 1st Class Pilot, flight tested the SU-27, MIG-23, MIG-25, MIG-27 and MIG-31 military spacecraft, and performed tests in lowering and landing the "Buran" space ship on MIG-31 and MIG-25.
In 1985, he served as Chairman of the State Committee on SU-27M cockpit design.
In 1990, following the Ukrainian-USSR State Agreement on a Collaborative Space Program, he was appointed to command the Ukrainian space crew. In the following two years, he trained to command Soyuz-TM-S during its docking with unmanned Buran and Mir station (mission was canceled due to financial difficulties), completed the full course of space training for a commander of the SOYUZ-TM, and also took the full course of manual docking of space ships, using special training equipment. In subsequent years, he underwent engineering and flight training courses as commander of the Buran Space System. Using MIG-31 and MIG-25 he mastered and improved the trajectory for lowering and landing the Buran spacecraft.
In 1996, he transferred to the Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, as a scientific investigator developing the collaborative Ukrainian-American experiment in space biology.
OV-102 Columbia was launched on a microgravity science mission. Spartan 201 was released a day late on November 21. However the satellite did not start its automatic orientation maneuver because the crew failed to send it the correct commands prior to release.
Spartan was recaptured by hand, during a spacewalk by Takao Doi and Winston Scott on November 25. Tests of space station tools went well, but the free-flying Sprint camera subsatellite was not deployed due to lack of time.
NASA decided not to redeploy Spartan on this mission. During an EVA on Dec 3, Doi and Scott carried out more tests of the Space Station crane. They also deployed the AERCam/Sprint 'football' remote-controlled camera for a free flight in the payload bay.
Columbia landed on December 5, with a deorbit burn at 11:21 GMT. Touchdown was at 12:20 GMT at Kennedy Space Center.