View Full Version : First manned flight 55 years ago

2016-Apr-13, 12:48 AM
It is hard to imagine that manned space flight took place 55 years ago - 09:07 Moscow Time on April 12, 1961. And 55 years later we still do what he did - circle the earth:(.

What a lot of us are unaware of was the drama that unfolded as Yuri Gagarin was first launch higher then planned and also the descent back to earth was filled with drama.


On the eve of the new era

The first manned mission of the Vostok was preceded by five years of development work. Out of seven unmanned prototypes of the Vostok spacecraft flown during 1960 and 1961, two spacecraft did not reach orbit due to failures of their launch vehicles and two ships did not complete all their tasks while in orbit. Many veterans of Gagarin's launch later agreed, that in no other time in history would a new spacecraft with such a dismal success rate be certified to carry a human.


Gagarin's launch vehicle blasted off into the cloudless blue sky almost as scheduled, just a fraction of a second before 09:07 Moscow Time on April 12, 1961. For decades, countless books repeated each other, claiming that Gagarin's launch was flawless. Only by the end of the 20th century, did the truth start to emerge. As it transpired, the main engine of the second stage burned around half a second longer than scheduled. As a result, the rocket exceeded its planned velocity sending the spacecraft far too high.

In orbit

Gagarin and his peers on the ground perfectly understood the importance of entering the correct trajectory. The transcripts of radio communications between Gagarin and a ground station in Elizovo in the Kamchatka Peninsula reveal repeated attempts by the cosmonaut to get confirmation on the parameters of his orbit. At one point Gagarin seemingly lost his patience, as he was stonewalled by meaningless replies and questions about his condition by a ground controller, who was either unable or unwilling to provide useful information.

A bumpy ride home

On the way back, everything looked good until the conclusion of the 40-second burn of the braking engine, initiated successfully at 10:25 Moscow Time. The spacecraft started spinning about its axis with very high speed. For decades, the very fact, not to mention the cause of the whole incident with the separation of the capsule and its instrument module remained unknown to the general public.

2016-Apr-13, 02:37 AM
I remember what the Russians released, but it was an outstanding effort, even with the small problems.