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Thread: First Human Orbits the Earth! - 50 Years Ago April 12

  1. #1 First Human Orbits the Earth! - 50 Years Ago April 12 
    Comet Dust Collector Moderator
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    50 years ago April 12, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth (though technically not the first spaceflight).

    Not the first spaceflight you say? Yep, because he ejcted and parachuted to earth (landing about 10 minutes later). The FAI rules in 1961 required that a pilot must land with the spacecraft to be considered an official spaceflight for the FAI record books. At the time, the Soviet Union insisted that Gagarin had landed with the Vostok; the government forced the cosmonaut to lie in press conferences, and the FAI certified the flight. The Soviet Union admitted in 1971 that Gagarin had ejected and landed separately from the Vostok descent module.

    So technically, the first "apaceflight was actually Alan B Shepard in Mercury-Redstone 3!

    Still, it was a great achievement, which terrified the US (falling behind in the Space Race again? OMG), eventually motivating the commitment by the US for the Apollo missions to the Moon (and back )

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vostok_1

    http://www.astronaut...hts/vostok1.htm

    http://www.astronaut...ject/vostok.htm


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  3. #2 Re: First Human Orbits the Earth! - 50 Years Ago April 12 
    . DrRocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne

    So technically, the first "apaceflight was actually Alan B Shepard in Mercury-Redstone 3!
    Great !

    I attended an AIAA meeting several years ago. Whole looking at an exhibit I glanced at the gentleman by my left elbow. He was Alan Shephard.


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    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
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    You can meet some other space veterans at the Starmus festival on the canary islands. A bit expensive though.
    http://www.starmus.com/en.php?lang=en
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  5. #4 Re: First Human Orbits the Earth! - 50 Years Ago April 12 
    Forum Freshman BlueBook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne
    50 years ago April 12, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth (though technically not the first spaceflight).
    Russia just got burned to ashes... Lol, how could've they let that one escape, though? I mean, even though it was the first flight, they still should've seen this coming I believe. (I don't know the details of the flight. Was Gagarin parachuted for no reason or was there danger of him getting damaged if he landed normally?)
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  6. #5 Re: First Human Orbits the Earth! - 50 Years Ago April 12 
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    [quote="BlueBookRussia just got burned to ashes... Lol, how could've they let that one escape, though? I mean, even though it was the first flight, they still should've seen this coming I believe. (I don't know the details of the flight. Was Gagarin parachuted for no reason or was there danger of him getting damaged if he landed normally?)[/quote]

    The soft landing system had not been completed in time. The capsule hit the ground at full terminal velocity (several hundred mph), and left several large dents in the ground. An occupant would have been pulverized.
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