vostok-1

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April 12th 1961: Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space

On this day in 1961, the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into outer space. Gagarin, a fighter pilot, was the successful candidate for the mission, being selected by Russian space programme director Sergei Korolev. Russia already had a lead in the Space Race, having launched Sputnik 1 in 1957, which was the first satellite in space. On April 12th 1961, Gagarin left Earth aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft, famously declaring ‘Poyekhali!’ (which means ‘Let’s go!’ in Russian). He spent 108 minutes completing an orbit of the planet. Upon re-entering the atmosphere, Gagarin executed a successful ejection and landed by parachute in rural Russia, to the consternation of locals. Yuri Gagarin became famous worldwide and a Russian hero, being awarded the nation’s highest honour - Hero of the Soviet Union. Gagarin died in 1968 when the training plane he was piloting crashed; his ashes were buried in the walls of the Kremlin.

“Don’t be afraid, I am a Soviet citizen like you, who has descended from space and I must find a telephone to call Moscow!”
- Gagarin to some stunned farmers when he landed

On this day in 1968, Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, died never having gotten to see man touch the surface of another world.

In 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first ambassador of our planet to enter the vastness of space. Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight of the early space race, and Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth before landing safely 108 minutes later.

While flying weightless above Earth’s surface, Yuri Gagarin witnessed a spectacular view of home — forests, deserts, and great plains were surrounded by expansive oceans. Upon viewing the thin blue line of the atmosphere, Gagarin became the first of our inquisitive species to see our planet as it truly is — a vibrant, geologically active world circling a star. Unfortunately, Yuri died seven years later during a jet crash in 1968, never having gotten to see man touch the surface of another world.

We at Penny4NASA urge you to honor the memory of this brave man, as his Vostok 1 mission was the catalyst for every manned spaceflight to date.

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“We have a saying here, when you’re nervous about something, that you have butterflies in the stomach, or butterflies in the tummy. Can you really honestly say that you did not have any butterflies in the tummy before you started?”

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The age of human spaceflight began 56 years ago when Yuri Gagarin launched into space aboard Vostok 1. The 27-year-old Gagarin’s flight lasted 108 minutes during which he completed one revolution of the Earth. Upon his return to Earth, Gagarin toured the world as a beloved Hero of the Soviet Union and praised the world over for his historic accomplishment.

Roughly every six weeks or so the ground track of the International Space Station matches up with that of Vostok 1′s at the same time of day that the historic mission flew. This allows astronauts on board the ISS to see the world almost exactly as Gagarin saw it. 

In 2011, ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli filmed the Earth during one of these orbits as part of a film called First Orbit, created by filmmaker Christopher Riley. Audio of Gagarin’s flight and his conversations with ground control are included in real time to simulate the cosmonaut’s historic journey.

Gagarin? Interesting...

On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first person in world history to fly to outer space. The launch vehicle Vostok with the Vostok-1 spacecraft carrying Gagarin was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome. After 108 minutes of flight, Gagarin landed successfully in the Saratov region, not far from the city of Engels, Russia.

Yuri Gagarin visited about 30 countries on invitations from foreign governments and public organizations.

On March 27, 1968, Yuri Gagarin was killed in a plane crash near the village of Novosyolovo in the Vladimir region, performing a training flight on an MiG-15UTI aircraft under the guidance of an experienced instructor V.S. Seryogin. The causes and circumstances of the plane crash remain unclear until today.

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The Soviet space program is the rocketry and space exploration programs conducted by the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the Soviet Union or U.S.S.R.) from the 1930s until its dissolution in 1991. Over its sixty-year history, this primarily classified military program was responsible for a number of pioneering accomplishments in space flight, including the first intercontinental ballistic missile (1957), first satellite (Sputnik-1), first animal in space (the dog Laika on Sputnik 2), first human in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1), first woman in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova on Vostok 6), first spacewalk (cosmonaut Alexey Leonov on Voskhod 2), first Moon impact (Luna 2), first image of the far side of the moon (Luna 3) and unmanned lunar soft landing (Luna 9), first space rover, first space station, and first interplanetary probe.

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Советская космонавтика относится к ракетной технике и программам исследования космоса, проводимым Советским Союзом (СССР) с 1930-х по 1991 гг.
СССР был первой страной, которая осуществила удачный запуск и вывод на околоземную орбиту искусственного спутника Земли.
Спутник-1 — первый искусственный спутник Земли, был запущен на орбиту в СССР 4 октября 1957 года.
Спутник-2 — второй космический аппарат, запущенный на орбиту Земли 3 ноября 1957, впервые выведший в космос живое существо — собаку Лайку.

Cosmonauts Belka and Strelka - A Soviet postage stamp commemorating the two heroes of Sputnik 5 - the first spaceflight to send animals into orbit and return them safely back to Earth. Launched on August 19, 1960 it paved the way for the first human orbital flight less than eight months later with Vostok 1.

April 12, 1981: STS-1 Columbia, the first Space Shuttle, is launched at Cape Kennedy, Florida.

Columbia orbited Earth 37 times during it’s 54.5-hour mission carrying a two man crew - mission commander John  W. Young and pilot Robert L. Crippen.  The ultimate launch date of STS-1 fell on the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok 1, the first manned spaceflight.

IMAX cameras filmed the launch, landing, and mission control during the flight, for the 1982 film entitled Hail Columbia!

Photo: NASA

On this day In 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first ambassador of our planet to enter the vastness of space. Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight of the early space race, and Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth before landing safely 108 minutes later.

While flying weightless above Earth’s surface, Yuri Gagarin witnessed a spectacular view of home – forests, deserts, and great plains were surrounded by expansive oceans. Upon viewing the thin blue line of the atmosphere, Gagarin became the first of our inquisitive species to see our planet as it truly is – a vibrant, geologically active world circling a star. We at Penny4NASA urge you to honor the memory of this brave man, as his Vostok 1 mission was the catalyst for every manned spaceflight adventure to date.

55 years ago today, Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

In 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first ambassador of our planet to enter the vastness of space. Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight of the early space race, and Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth before landing safely 108 minutes later.

While flying weightless above Earth’s surface, Yuri Gagarin witnessed a spectacular view of home — forests, deserts, and great plains were surrounded by expansive oceans. Upon viewing the thin blue line of the atmosphere, Gagarin became the first of our inquisitive species to see our planet as it truly is — a vibrant, geologically active world circling a star. We at Penny4NASA urge you to honor the memory of this brave man, as his Vostok 1 mission was the catalyst for every manned spaceflight adventure to date.

In 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first ambassador of our planet to enter the vastness of space. Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight of the early space race, and Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth before landing safely 108 minutes later.

While flying weightless above Earth’s surface, Yuri Gagarin witnessed a spectacular view of home – forests, deserts, and great plains were surrounded by expansive oceans. Upon viewing the thin blue line of the atmosphere, Gagarin became the first of our inquisitive species to see our planet as it truly is – a vibrant, geologically active world circling a star. He unfortunately died seven years later during a jet crash in 1968, and today is the anniversary of Gagarin’s accident. With that said, we at Penny4NASA urge you to honor the memory of this brave man, as his Vostok 1 mission was the catalyst for every manned spaceflight adventure to date.

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