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Gagarin - 50 Years On  
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13208 posts, RR: 77
Posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4168 times:

12th April marks the 50th anniversary of the first human to be sent into space. (And of the first Space Shuttle launch 20 years later).
A 27 year old Soviet Air Force pilot, Yuri Gagarin, who had the 'Right Stuff', the bravery, the fighter pilot background, the ability to resist the tortuous training (which killed some other would be Cosmonauts in accidents), not too tall for the confines of the Vostok capsule and finally, though out of his control, a very humble background that appealed to the then Soviet leader.

The enabler was the genius rocket designer and driving forces through the treacherous terrain of the USSR political/military/industrial complex, Korolev.
Who had been nearly killed, not like the young Gagarin, by the Nazi invaders, but prior to that by Stalin's insane purges.

In truth, Gagarin was not much of a 'pilot' for his mission, but then that was a complaint his US Counterparts also had, he was a human experiment, even with the dogs, monkeys other creatures launched into space, would a human really be able to cope, physically or mentally?
Serious people asked these questions.

Gagarin proved their concerns misplaced, his inevitable fame/use for propaganda, after his flight showed him very much in one piece with his faculties intact.
Though as usually happened, this fame did later start to get to him, however he was to recover and work to return to spaceflight status.
Like Glenn, like Armstrong later, he was not likely ever to fly in space again however he tried, which made his death in a training aircraft in 1968 all the more tragic and futile.

Had Gagarin not been first, had the sub-orbital flight of Al Shepherd beat Gagarin's orbital flight, it's unlikely that JFK would have had the political and strategic impetus to commit to the Apollo Program.
But then great explorations rarely start from pure altruism, Columbus and others were not dispatched to find out about interesting stuff.

A piece here, the journalist as a young boy caught a glimpse of Gagarin on his UK tour;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...in-first-space-korolev?INTCMP=SRCH

For UK members, BBC4 has a night of space related programming 10th April, related features;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12895822

These people have done a graphic novel about Gagarin;

http://www.yuri-gagarin.com/

[Edited 2011-04-10 10:59:04]

[Edited 2011-04-10 10:59:44]

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4153 times:

I still vividly recall that day, coming home from school (Grade 4), it was early spring in Winnipeg. My mother greeted me at the door holding up the front page of the "Winnipeg Tribune" (RIP, sadly) with enormous 36pt font headline "Reds Put Man Into Space". It was all of the first four or five pages.

I immediately recalled my father getting me on the street in my jammies out early on October 5, 1957 to see Sputnik go overhead Winnipeg. Of course, it was only later that I realised it was the R-7 upper stage that I was seeing, the twinkling being an effect of it tumbling in orbit before it re-entered. But of no consequence to a 6 year old.

Quoting GDB (Thread starter):
A 27 year old Soviet Air Force pilot, Yuri Gagarin, who had the 'Right Stuff', the bravery, the fighter pilot background, the ability to resist the tortuous training (which killed some other would be Cosmonauts in accidents), not too tall for the confines of the Vostok capsule and finally, though out of his control, a very humble background that appealed to the then Soviet leader.

In fact, carefully 'airbrushed' out of Gagarin's official biography was the fact that his mother was a very much bourgeious daughter of a former Czarist oil executive, who read Pushkin and Lermontov to him regularly. Gherman Titov, who was Gagarin's backup, had the temerity to quote these officially (at the time) banned authors whilst doing his centrifuge runs. This may have helped make the choice between Gagarin and Titov that much easier for the powers that were.

For the Soviets, though, Yuri Gagarin was the right man at the right time.

See: "Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin", Jamie Doran, Piers Bizony, Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-0747536888

Quoting GDB (Thread starter):
Like Glenn, like Armstrong later, he was not likely ever to fly in space again however he tried, which made his death in a training aircraft in 1968 all the more tragic and futile.

Gagarin was actually Komarov's backup, IIRC, for Soyuz 1, which of course ended tragically. Had he not been killed in the accident, I do believe Gagarin would have commanded a Soyuz flight later. He was still only about 35 when he died.

As for Glenn, he campaigned in many ways for another shot, once the shuttle program was up and running. Political/PR junkets had already been enabled with the flights of Jake Garn and Bill Nelson. and Christa McAuliffe, to a certain degree. There was even talk before Challenger of sending a network news anchor. Imagine that broadcast.

Neil Armstrong never to my knowledge was looking for another mission after Apollo 11. It was not long after the mission he left NASA, similarly to Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin. Collins, in "Carrying the Fire", does indicate that he was offered command of a moon-landing mission, likely Apollo 17, if he wanted it. But he didn't want to go through another three years on the treadmill with the workload required. And life continued.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4152 times:

A nice summary of this great achievement by a hero of humanity.

On Tuesday, I will make sure to salute Gagarin and Korolev with a glass of vodka.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13208 posts, RR: 77
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4135 times:

connies4ever, I agree that 'Starman' is a good read.

Though out of Apollo 11, only Aldrin for a time, wanted another flight, in reality had their choices been different, I still doubt they'd have got another shot, though the large contraction of NASA's ambitions after Apollo 11 would also have been a factor.
Glenn of course, though his political career, did go again, however he was unofficially out of the running while still at NASA, he had the smarts to realise this and find something else.
NASA did not officially, unless for medical reasons, ground astronauts. Still, those out of favour for various reasons, like Carpenter, later Eisle, Cunningham and Cooper too, found themselves not getting prime mission seats.

While his political masters might have been prepared to keep Gagarin in the loop for later missions, I still doubt if it came to it, he'd have gone on one.
He had become too much of an icon.

Some videos here;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/s.../astronauts/yuri_gagarin/#p00fxdql

[Edited 2011-04-10 11:42:47]

Gagarin's world tour must have inspired many to go into science and space, here a leading space scientist recalls his encounter with him;

http://www.open.ac.uk/openlearn/scie...nd-astronomy/astronomy/yuri-and-me


[Edited 2011-04-10 11:47:31]

User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10898 posts, RR: 37
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4125 times:

I was 10 when Gagarin flew to Space. I still remember it clearly. I followed the flight on the radio.
I was already familiar with Space flight as I took interest in another flying creature before he went off.

I remember when the Russians had sent the dog Laika with the Sputnik.
It so struck me that they had sent a dog to fly in a rocket to Space. She was the first living creature ever sent to Space and a beautiful dog. I was so concerned that she would die during the trip. In fact she was never to come back and died in Space. It made me really unhappy..

RIP Yuri Gagarin
RIP Laika

     



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineEI1989 From Ireland, joined Dec 2010, 50 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4053 times:

Despite not being alive for the birth of space travel, Gagarin's story is inspirational. He was one of a kind who combined immense skill with a cool head and a sense of humour according to accounts. It was one hell of a leap of faith and the fact that the flight involved being ejected from the tiny capsule on descent is mind boggling insofaras the bravery required.

For those who are interested this article is a good overview of Gagarin's story. The man who fell to earth

Here's hoping that our manned explortion of the cosmos will exapnd further beyond Earth in the near future in the spirit of Yuri Gagarin!



The trouble with flying: We always have to return to airports.
User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10898 posts, RR: 37
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3975 times:

"Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!"-Yuri Gagarin

Videos

Poyekhali! - Let's Go!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHxJ_aCm2LY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuxeRNtN160&NR=1&feature=fvwp

RIP Space Hero

     



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10898 posts, RR: 37
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3784 times:

12 April 1961

50 years today

First flight of a human to Space

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU2DhUYZfMU&NR=1

Happy Yuri Gagarin Day to all.

     



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineB595 From UK - Scotland, joined Mar 2009, 306 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3771 times:

Google has changed the artwork on its homepage in tribute to Gagarin and the 1st manned spaceflight, http://www.google.com

[Edited 2011-04-12 00:35:46]

User currently offlinesolnabo From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 852 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3766 times:

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 7):
Happy Yuri Gagarin Day to all.

Second that

     



Airbus SAS - Love them both
User currently onlineIFlyTWA From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 280 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3747 times:

Happy Cosmonautics Day!

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/Madness86/s.jpg

I hope that space travel will greatly advance in the upcoming fifty years.



"To express the excitement of travel" - Eero Saarinen
User currently offlinetu204 From Russia, joined Mar 2006, 1227 posts, RR: 17
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3653 times:

Happy Cosmonautics Day!
From what I know, he was not looking for the limelight, he was someone caught in it. He was a shy guy.
For all of you that believe in fate: he was destined to die. The training flight he was killed on was a training flight for Soyuz 1, where Komarov, despite all his heroic efforts died. Gagarin was the prime crew for that flight. Although it being a very biased source, I have had the pleasure to meet his (now elderly) daughter and she spoke of her father being an honourable man who was very willing to give his life for the advancement of science for the entire world (not just the USSR). He was born to fly and keeping him on the ground after his historic flight would not have gone far. He would have found ways to fly.
The only Soviet/Russian citizen to go from a Sr. Lt to a Lt. Commander in one jump. (bypassing "Major")
RIP Col. Yuriy Alekseyevitch Gagarin



I do not dream about movie stars, they must dream about me for I am real and they are not. - Alexander Popov
User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3588 times:

Quoting tu204 (Reply 11):
The training flight he was killed on was a training flight for Soyuz 1, where Komarov, despite all his heroic efforts died. Gagarin was the prime crew for that flight.

This is simply incorrect. Komarov was selected as the prime crew for Soyuz 1, Gagarin was the selected backup. As well, Komarov was killed on April 24, 1967. Gagarin's flying accident occurred March 27, 1968.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlineredflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4329 posts, RR: 28
Reply 13, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3433 times:

I think 1,000 years from now, when we've colonized other worlds and who knows what form we will exist in, Yuri Gagarin's name will still be renowned. Inasmuch as I'm a diehard patriot of my home flag, I dare say that his feat of being first in space was far more important than Armstrong's feat of being first on the moon. One has to learn to walk first before they can run, and Yuri certainly took those first steps. A pity he perished so young. At least he died doing what he loved - flying.

What amazes me about his life is how humble he appeared to be. Literally just a young lad who did it for the sheer joy of flying. The first of the "Right Stuff".



My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently offlineFerpe From France, joined Nov 2010, 2804 posts, RR: 59
Reply 14, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3425 times:

The real hero was Koroliev who had the idea to use his ICBM R7 to put a man in space. Even more amazing is that his R7 design is still used for the Russian space program today, in a updated form, but with all the principal design features still there. Even more amazing, it has outlasted I don't know how many US rocket generations and is now the only US+Russian mancarrying space rocket!

The worlds first ICBM is also the most reliable rocket ever built, very very strange. Sais something about the chief designers capacity.



Non French in France
User currently offlinetu204 From Russia, joined Mar 2006, 1227 posts, RR: 17
Reply 15, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3229 times:

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 12):
This is simply incorrect. Komarov was selected as the prime crew for Soyuz 1, Gagarin was the selected backup. As well, Komarov was killed on April 24, 1967. Gagarin's flying accident occurred March 27, 1968.

My bad, he was backup. However, at first, he was supposed to be the prime crew for the flight, but got bumped down due to concerns that he had not flown enough in the last year. I cannot base my information on anything but her words, so don't quote it as fact. He was actually training for a spaceflight and was doing so for a while.



I do not dream about movie stars, they must dream about me for I am real and they are not. - Alexander Popov
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