After graduating from the Kachinskoye Military Aviation School in 1955, Bykovsky joined the Soviet Air Force and became a
pilot and parachute instructor.
Bykovsky's first flight was on Vostok 5, launched 14 July 1963. This was a joint flight
with Vostok 6 and lasted 4 days 23 hours and 6 minutes. Television coverage of flight was viewed world-wide. Problems with
waste management, very high temperatures inside and lower than planned orbit, forced the mission to be shortened by 3 days.
Upon abandonment of the Soviet lunar programme, Bykovsky was re-assigned as Training Manager at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut
Training Centre. He took part in the preparation of all Soyuz flights.
Bykovsky's second flight was on Soyuz 22, launched
15 September 1976. This flight lasted 7 days 21 hours and 52 minutes. The crew carried out extensive Earth resources photography.
The third flight for Bykovsky was a joint Soviet-GDR mission. Launched 26 August 1978, Soyuz 31 docked with the Salyut
6 space-station returning to Earth after 7 days 20 hours and 49 minutes.