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Author Topic: 50 Years of Spaceflight: April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin First Human to Orbit Earth  (Read 1574 times)
RandallS
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« Topic Start: April 12, 2011, 01:50:59 pm »

Many people remember April 12th as the anniversary of the first shuttle flight, forgetting that it is also the anniversary of the very first manned spaceflight. In perhaps the second greatest achievement of the old USSR -- the first being beating back the Nazi Invasion of WWII -- Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth with a flight that lasted just over 100 minutes on April 12, 1961. He was 27 years old.

Here are a couple of Youtube videos on the flight of Vostok 1. (Here is some info on the spacecraft.)


Before the launch, Gagarin recorded the following address (translated to English here). I don't know if he wrote it or if it was written for him.

Quote
"Dear friends, both known and unknown to me, fellow Russians, and people of all countries and continents, in a few minutes a mighty spaceship will carry me into the far-away expanses of space. What can I say to you in these last minutes before the start? At this instant, the whole of my life seems to be condensed into one wonderful moment. Everything I have experienced and done till now has been in preparation for this moment. You must realize that it is hard to express my feeling now that the test for which we have been training long and passionately is at hand. I don't have to tell you what I felt when it was suggested that I should make this flight, the first in history. Was it joy? No, it was something more than that. Pride? No, it was not just pride. I felt great happiness. To be the first to enter the cosmos, to engage single handed in an unprecedented duel with nature - could anyone dream of anything greater than that? But immediately after that I thought of the tremendous responsibility I bore: to be the first to do what generations of people had dreamed of; to be the first to pave the way into space for mankind. This responsibility is not toward one person, not toward a few dozen, not toward a group. It is a responsibility toward all mankind - toward its present and its future. Am I happy as I set off on this space flight? Of course I'm happy. After all, in all times and epochs the greatest happiness for man has been to take part in new discoveries. It is a matter of minutes now before the start. I say to you, 'Until we meet again,' dear friends, just as people say to each other when setting out on a long journey. I would like very much to embrace you all, people known and unknown to me, close friends and strangers alike. See you soon!"

Yuri Gagarin was made a Hero of the Soviet Union for this flight (and quickly promoted from lieutenant to colonel in the Soviet Air Force. He was discouraged (and after the Soyuz 1 crash, banned) from making any further flights as the Soviet government was afraid of losing their hero in an space accident. Despite this, he was killing when his MIG-15 crashed on a routine training flight on March 27, 1968.

In honor of Yuri Gagarin and the USSR historical achievement, here's the USSR's National Anthem from Youtube.  Most older members (especially American members) are probably only familiar with the first part of it from hearing that part played at Olympic games when a Soviet athlete won a gold medal. Younger people have probably never heard any of it. This version has the lyrics and an English translation.

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RandallS
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« Reply #1: April 12, 2011, 08:37:25 pm »



Here's an interesting article on the Soviet doctoring of cosmonaut photos from the time around Yuri's flight. By today's standard's, these are pitful with things like people edited out but there shadows left in.

Soviet Space Propaganda: Doctored Cosmonaut Photos
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Randall
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RandallS
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« Reply #2: April 12, 2011, 09:13:12 pm »



I've been asked for the words to the current Russia National Anthem. As the first post-Communism anthem was unpopular, the current one uses the same music as the Soviet one but with much different words:

Quote
In Russian:
Россия – священная наша держава,
Россия – любимая наша страна.
Могучая воля, великая слава –
Твоё достоянье на все времена!

Chorus:

    Славься, Отечество наше свободное,
    Братских народов союз вековой,
    Предками данная мудрость народная!
    Славься, страна! Мы гордимся тобой!

От южных морей до полярного края
Раскинулись наши леса и поля.
Одна ты на свете! Одна ты такая –
Хранимая Богом родная земля!

Chorus

Широкий простор для мечты и для жизни
Грядущие нам открывают года.
Нам силу даёт наша верность Отчизне.
Так было, так есть и так будет всегда!

Chorus

In English:
Russia – our holy nation,
Russia – our beloved country.
A mighty will, great glory –
These are yours for all time!

Chorus:

    Be glorious, our free Fatherland,
    Age-old union of fraternal peoples,
    Popular wisdom given by our forebears!
    Be glorious, our country! We are proud of you!

From the southern seas to the polar lands
Spread our forests and fields.
You are unique in the world, one of a kind –
Native land protected by God!

Chorus

Wide spaces for dreams and for living
Are opened for us by the coming years
Our loyalty to our Fatherland gives us strength.
Thus it was, thus it is and always will be!

Chorus
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