On April 12, 1961, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the world’s first cosmonaut to fly to outer space. “Yuri Gagarin the first human in space.”
1. Yuri could not be the first man in space
Before the spacecraft, Yuri Gagarin was seen off by two stands-in. They were German Titov and Grigory Nelyubov. Unlike Gagarin and Titov, Nelyubov did not put on a spacesuit but was ready to fly in case of special circumstances.
2. Yuri’s farewell letter to his wife
Two days before the flight into space, Yuri Gagarin wrote a farewell letter to his wife in case there was a catastrophe. In 1961, this letter was not required. His wife, Valentina, got this letter after the air crash on March 27, 1968, in which Yuri died.
3. No manual mode in the flight “Vostok 1”
The flight of the “Vostok 1” was held in the fully automatic mode. This was due to the fact that no one could give a guarantee that the cosmonaut would keep the working capacity in conditions of weightlessness. In the most extreme case, Yuri Gagarin could use a special code that allowed to activate the manual control of the spaceship.
4. Three different pre-launch appeals
Initially, three different pre-launch appeals of the “first cosmonaut to the Soviet people” were recorded. The first was written by Yuri Gagarin, and two more – by his stands-in, German Titov and Grigory Nelyubov. Moreover, three texts of the TASS report on the first space flight were prepared: in the case of a successful flight, in the case of an astronaut’s search, and also in the case of a catastrophe.
5. An unexpected incident
Before the flight of the “Vostok 1,” an unexpected incident took place: checking-up of the tightness of the sensor on the hatch did not give the signal. Since there was very little time left before the start, such a malfunction could lead to the delay of the launch. Then the leading designer of the “Vostok 1,” Oleg Ivanovsky, acting quickly, checked and adjusted the sensor and shut the hatch in the proper way. The test was successful, and the launch was carried out at the scheduled time.
6. The final stage of the flight
The fact is that before Gagarin, no one had a clear idea of how the spacecraft would look through the dense layers of the atmosphere during descent. That is why, Gagarin, like every pilot, seeing in the porthole a raging flame, suggested that the spacecraft was engulfed by a fire and in a few seconds he would perish. Now, the cosmonauts are ready for this bright and impressive spectacle, which Gagarin saw.
7. Missing part
The well-known shots the talks of Yuri Gagarin and chief designer Sergey Korolev at the command post in the cabin of the ship are an imitation made in a later period. At the time of a real start, they were just too busy for it. Later, the missing chronicle was decided to be recreated, asking Gagarin and Korolev to repeat the same words that they told on April 12, 1961.
8. No decent landing
However, because of landing outside the ship, the International Aeronautical Federation refused to register a record flight. And then the Soviet representatives announced that the first cosmonaut had landed in the cabin. The actual circumstances of the landing were officially recognized only in 1964.
9. USSR inscription
In some photos, there is the inscription “USSR” on the astronaut’s helmet. On other photos, it does not exist. Hero of the Soviet Union, test pilot Mark Gallai wrote that the inscription appeared at the last moment. Allegedly, 20 minutes before Gagarin’s departure for the start, they remembered about the spy flight of American Powers that had happened before and decided to put the letters “USSR” on the helmet, so that the astronaut would not be believed to be a saboteur.