1. The first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had an understudy German Titov. More precisely, they both had the same training and equal chances for flying. In the end Gagarin was chosen. And German Titov became the second cosmonaut. The youngest one. The first person who completed a long flight (more than a day). But still the second.
2. The morning of April 12, 1961 – waking up of cosmonauts Yuri and German and preflight meeting went smoothly.
Yuri Gagarin (From the archives of RGANTD / Roscosmos)
3. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin with the accompanying people took a bus to head to the launch pad. Coming out of the bus, Yuri got surrounded by people who were very emotional and did not want to let him go.
Yuri Gagarin before the launch of the spaceship “Vostok” (from the archives of RGANTD / Roscosmos)
4. Last inspection. Go! During the launchGagarin said the immortal phrase: “Let’s go!”
5. After the launch there was a very unpleasant moment when there was no communication for a while. But to many participants it felt like a lifetime.
6. On April 12, 1961 the Soviet spaceship-satellite “Vostok” was launched to orbit of the Earth by Yuri Gagarin.
7. The world’s first manned spacecraft made one revolution around the Earth.
8. The duration of the first flight of the spacecraft with an astronaut was 1 hour 48 minutes.
9. The alias of the first cosmonaut was “Cedar”.
10. The spacecraft “Vostok” landed on the territory of Russia in the Saratov region.
11. At an altitude of several kilometers from the earth Gagarin catapulted from the landing spacecraft and landed on the ground on a parachute next to the ship.
12. Already on the evening of April 12, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin returned to the place of the launch. Short reports. Joyous greetings. Champagne. But only symbolically. At 11 pmeveryone went to bed – everyone was exhausted, so great was the tension on the day of the flight.
13. A few weeks later, in late April, the “Peace Mission” began – the first foreign trip by Yuri Gagarin. The whole world wanted to see the first cosmonaut. “Peace Mission” lasted for two years (with interruptions), and Yuri visited about 30 countries.
14. Next – new flights into space, in the preparation of which the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took an active part.
15. There is a story that after the death of Chief Designer Sergei Korolev (the founder of practical astronautics) in 1966 Gagarin was handed ashes after the cremation of the designer. Gagarin had a secret idea, which was supported by other Soviet cosmonauts, to send the ashes of Korolev to the Moon. Someone from Soviet cosmonauts, who will be the first on the moon, would have to dig a grave and put their Korolev ashes, so that the Main Space Dreamer rested about next to stars. After the death of Gagarin a special capsule containing Korolev ashes was never found.
Yuri Gagarin with his daughters (Roscosmos)
16. Another fact: Yuri Gagarin offered to rebuild the Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow, which was blown up during Stalin’s era. Such inexcusable “heresy” in the Soviet period … caused a deafening applause at an official event. And no one could say anything against it, because the proposal came from the first cosmonaut. [The Church of Christ the Savior is the largest religious building in Russia (1839-83), erected in memory of Russian soldiers who died in the war with Napoleon. Blown up in 1931, restored in 1994-97]
17. Yuri Gagarin died on March 27, 1968 while piloting an aircraft MiG-15UTI. He was on the plane with an instructor, a commander of a special regiment, a very experienced pilot Vladimir Seregin.
18. There are countless versions of the death of Yuri Gagarin, including crazy ones: the death of Gagarin – machinations of the KGB; Gagarin was not really on the plane; Gagarin was killed, but earlier, during a launch of a secret spaceship; Gagarin drank at least a glass of vodka before the flight; Gagarin himself jerked the steering wheel, causing the airplane to spin; Gagarin’s plane collided with a ball-tip and other baseless assumptions.
19. Only in 2013 cosmonaut Alexei Leonov received permission to talk about classified findings of a government commission. They are very different from the officially published version. In reality, in the area of flight of Gagarin aircraft there was another plane – Su-15 –the pilot of which blatantly violated flight rules and received instructions. He changed his prescribed tier and dropped by 450 meters. And upon discovering his mistake he returned to his tier. While doing that his plane flew just meters away from the aircraft of Gagarin, knocking it into a deep spiral. Gagarin’s plane made just 1.5 turns and at the exit from a spiral collided with the ground.
20. The name of the pilot, who caused the tragedy, was not reported. He’s still alive, he is more than 80 years old and he now has serious health problems. Why was he covered all these years?
Yuri Gagarin’s smile conquered the whole world.