On 12th April, 1961, a spacehip “Vostok” with a pilot-cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin aboard made its first flight into space. “Vostok” was launched from the space launching site “Baikonur”, at 9:07 of Moscow time. The space ship made a single circle around the Earth and landed at 10:55 near Smelovka village, the Saratov region.
The first cosmonaut in the world
The first Russian cosmonauts:
6 August 1961 — 7 August 1961
11 August 1962 — 15 August 1962
12 August 1962 — 15 August 1962
12 June 1963 — 19 June 1963
16 June 1963 — 19 June 1963
Valentin Bondarenko, a member of the first cosmonauts team, died on 23rd of March, 1961, 19 days before the flight.
According to the training timetable Valentin Bondarenko was about to finish his presence in an anechoic room. Like all other cosmonauts he was tested by loneliness and silence. In the end of the training he made a fatal and so easy mistake. Upon the medical tests he removed all sensors from his body, and wiped these places with cotton wool wetted in alcohol and carelessly threw it away. The cotton wool fell on the spiral of a red-hot electric stove and immediately blazed up. In the atmosphere of pure oxygen the fire spread all over the room. Wool training suit of Bondarenko caught fire too. Due to considerable pressure differential it was not possible to open the anechoic room fast. When it was finally opened Bondarenko was still alive. He said: “Do not blame anyone. It’s only my fault.” Doctors did all possible to save his life but failed.
Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov was the only person aboard “Soyuz-1” launched on 23rd of April 1967. He died during the landing of the spaceship. Gagarin was a backup pilot of Komarov in that flight.
Fragments of the descent vehicle, a movie episode
It was troublesome from the very start: one of the two panels of solar batteries didn’t open, the spaceship “Soyuz” was in lack of electric power. The flight was stopped ahead of time and the ship successfully deorbitted for landing. However, soon after entering thick layers of atmosphere, at the final part of landing, the parachute system had a fault that caused the catastrophe and death of the cosmonaut. It was the first time when a spaceship crew member died during the flight.
Cosmonauts Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Victor Patsaev
“Soyuz-11” – a manned spaceship launched on 6th of June 1971 transported the first crew to the orbital platform “Salyut-1”. The cosmonauts died when were coming back due to depressurization of a descent module on the 29th of June.
Eternal glory to the heroes!
Some photos devoted to space:
Launch of Soyuz-2.16
At the Moscow Aviation Institute
Taking Venera by storm
Radar Station Don-2N
Some photos of how Moscow met Yuri Gagarin on 14th April, 1961 by James Whitmore.