Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space
April 12 was already a huge day in space history twenty years before the launch of the first shuttle mission. On that day in 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (left, on the way to the launch pad) became the first human in space, making a 108-minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft. Newspapers like The Huntsville Times (right) trumpeted Gagarin's accomplishment.
Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space less than a month later.
Scientific cooperation with the Soviet Union dates back to the very beginnings of space flight. The first cooperative human space flight project between the United States and the Soviet Union took place in 1975. The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was designed to test the compatibility of rendezvous and docking systems for American and Soviet spacecraft and to open the way for future joint manned flights.
Since 1993, the U.S. and Russia have worked together on a number of other space flight projects. The Space Shuttle began visiting the Russian Mir space station in 1994, and in 1995 Norm Thagard became the first U.S. astronaut to take up residency on Mir. Seven U.S. astronauts served with their Russian counterparts aboard the orbiting Mir laboratory from 1995 to 1998. The experience gained from the Mir cooperative effort, as well as lessons learned, paved the way for the International Space Station.
In-orbit construction on the Station began in November 1998, and it has been staffed non-stop with international crews since November 2000. The first Station crew, made up of U.S. commander Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, was launched on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The crew returned to Earth on the Space Shuttle Discovery in March 2001. (here)
On 12th April 2011 it will be 50 years to the day since Yuri Gagarin climbed into his space ship and was launched into space. It took him just 108 minutes to orbit Earth and he returned as the World's very first space man.
To mark this historic flight we have teamed up with the astronauts on board the International Space Station to film a new view of what Yuri would have seen as he travelled around the planet.
Weaving these new views together with historic voice recordings from Yuri's flight and an original score by composer Philip Sheppard, we have created a spellbinding film to share with people around the World on this historic anniversary.
We have partnered with YouTube to host a special global premiere of the film on the 12th April.
Check out firstorbit.org
The BBC also has an article about this film - which is a re-creation of what Yuri Gagarin saw on his historic flight - here.
Across the UK events are set to celebrate this anniversary:
Friday 8th April 2011
YuriGagarin50 Press Release
For Immediate Release
Media Reminder: Yuri Walk and 50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s Flight
Tuesday 12th April will be the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic first human spaceflight on 12th April 1961.
Celebrations on the 12th April will commence with a “Yuri Walk” on London’s South Bank. YuriGagarin50 is inviting supporters to gather at 7am in Jubilee Gardens, dressed in Yuri-style orange suits, to toast Gagarin’s launch exactly 50 years on, at 07:07 BST. The walkers will then set off on three orbits along the South Bank, Waterloo Bridge, the Embankment and back over Westminster Bridge. This should last a total of around 108 minutes, the same duration as Gagarin’s flight. The walk is being led by Vix Southgate, the author and illustrator of ‘Yuri Gagarin – The First Spaceman’...
Much more information here.
50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's Flight P... by boazgu
Yuri's eldest daughter, Elena, has given her first ever interview with the BBC, and you can find the transcript on the Guardian of London. It is a very interesting insight into what the Gagarin family life was like both before Yuri's flight into history, and afterward. Go read it here.
|Yuri Gagarin |