Soviet Union's non-Communist astronaut dies age 83

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Soviet Union’s only non-Communist astronaut, Konstantin Feoktistov, has died at the age of 83, Russia’s space agency said on Sunday.

Feoktistov, who also designed spaceships and has a crater on the moon named after him, was the only astronaut from the Soviet Union who did not belong to the Communist party -- an unwritten requirement he dodged much to the irritation of authorities.

He was born in the city of Voronezh in southwest Russia and died on Saturday, the space agency said in a statement on its site

A World War Two veteran, Feoktistov went to space in 1964 aboard the Voskhod spaceship, the world’s first group space flight.

He worked as a professor in Moscow until 2005 and helped design the Soviet rockets Soyuz, Salyut and Mir, Russian media reported.

Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Dominic Evans