Vostok 1

Vostok 1 (Russian: Восто́к, East or Orient 1) was the first spaceflight of the Vostok programme and the first manned spaceflight in history. The Vostok 3KA space capsule was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 12, 1961, with Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard, making him the first human to cross into outer space.

The orbital spaceflight consisted of a single orbit around Earth which skimmed the upper atmosphere at 169 kilometers (91 nautical miles) at its lowest point. The flight took 108 minutes from launch to landing. Gagarin parachuted to the ground separately from his capsule after ejecting at 7 km (23,000 ft) altitude.

Vostok 1
Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1, as televised to launch control
OperatorSoviet space program
Harvard designation1961 Mu 1
COSPAR ID1961-012A
SATCAT no.103
Mission duration1 hour, 48 minutes[1]
Orbits completed1
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftVostok-3KA No.3
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau OKB-1
Launch mass4,725 kg (10,417 lb)[1]
Landing mass2,400 kg (5,290 lb)
Dimensions2.30 m (7 ft 6.5 in) diameter
Crew size1
MembersYuri Gagarin
CallsignКедр (KedrSiberian pine)[2]
Start of mission
Launch dateApril 12, 1961, 06:07 UTC[3]
RocketVostok-K 8K72K
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5
45°55′13″N 63°20′32″E / 45.920278°N 63.342222°E[4]
End of mission
Landing dateApril 12, 1961, 07:55 UTC
Landing site51°16′14″N 45°59′50″E / 51.270682°N 45.99727°E[5][6]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee169 km (91 nmi)[3]
Apogee327 km (177 nmi)[1]
Inclination64.95 degrees[3]
Period89.1 minutes
EpochApril 12, 1961
Gagarin in Sweden

Yuri Gagarin in Sweden
Vostok programme
Manned flights


The Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States, the two Cold War superpowers, began just before the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, in 1957. Both countries wanted to develop spaceflight technology quickly, particularly by launching the first successful human spaceflight. The Soviet Union secretly pursued the Vostok programme in competition with the United States Project Mercury. Vostok launched several precursor unmanned missions between May 1960 and March 1961, to test and develop the Vostok rocket family and space capsule. These missions had varied degrees of success, but the final two—Korabl-Sputnik 4 and Korabl-Sputnik 5—were complete successes, allowing the first manned flight.


See also Selection and training of the Vostok programme

The Vostok 1 capsule was designed to carry a single cosmonaut. Yuri Gagarin, 27, was chosen as the prime pilot of Vostok 1, with Gherman Titov and Grigori Nelyubov as backups. These assignments were formally made on April 8, four days before the mission, but Gagarin had been a favourite among the cosmonaut candidates for at least several months.[7]:262,272

The final decision of who would fly the mission relied heavily on the opinion of the head of cosmonaut training, Nikolai Kamanin. In an April 5 diary entry, Kamanin wrote that he was still undecided between Gagarin and Titov.[8] "The only thing that keeps me from picking [Titov] is the need to have the stronger person for the one day flight."[9] Kamanin was referring to the second mission, Vostok 2, compared to the relatively short single-orbit mission of Vostok 1. When Gagarin and Titov were informed of the decision during a meeting on April 9, Gagarin was very happy, and Titov was disappointed.[10] On April 10, this meeting was reenacted in front of television cameras, so there would be official footage of the event. This included an acceptance speech by Gagarin.[11] As an indication of the level of secrecy involved, one of the other cosmonaut candidates, Alexei Leonov, later recalled that he did not know who was chosen for the mission until after the spaceflight had begun.[12]

Medical exam

Gagarin was examined by a team of doctors prior to his flight. One doctor gave her recollection of the events in an interview with Russia Today in April 2011: "Gagarin looked more pale than usual. He was unsociable and quiet, which was not like him at all. He would answer by nodding or a short 'yes' to all questions. Sometimes he would start humming some tunes. This was a different Gagarin. We geared him up, and hugged. And I said, 'Yuri, everything will be fine.' And he nodded back."[13]


Vostok spacecraft
Model of the Vostok spacecraft with its upper stage, on display in Frankfurt Airport's "Russia in Space" exhibition

Unlike later Vostok missions, there were no dedicated tracking ships available to receive signals from the spacecraft. Instead they relied on the network of ground stations, also called Command Points, to communicate with the spacecraft; all of these Command Points were located within the Soviet Union.[14]

Because of weight constraints, there was no backup retrorocket engine. The spacecraft carried 10 days of provisions to allow for survival and natural orbital decay in the event the retrorockets failed.

The letters "CCCP" were hand-painted onto Gagarin's helmet by engineer Gherman Lebedev during transfer to the launch site. As it had been less than a year since U2 pilot Gary Powers was shot down, Lebedev reasoned that without some country identification, there was a small chance the cosmonaut might be mistaken for a spy on landing.[15]

Automatic control

Part of the Vostok 1 instrument panel prominently displaying the "Globus" navigation instrument

The entire mission would be controlled by either automatic systems or by ground control. This was because medical staff and spacecraft engineers were unsure how a human might react to weightlessness, and therefore it was decided to lock the pilot's manual controls. In an unusual move, a code to unlock the controls was placed in an onboard envelope, for Gagarin's use in case of emergency.[7]:278 Prior to the flight, Kamanin and others told Gagarin the code "1-2-5" anyway.[16][17]

April 11, 1961

Electrocardiogram of Gagarin
Electrocardiogram of Gagarin recorded April 11, 1961, at 19 hours and 35 minutes. Exhibited at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow.

At Baikonur Cosmodrome on the morning of April 11, 1961, the Vostok-K rocket, together with the attached Vostok 3KA space capsule, were transported several kilometers to the launch pad, in a horizontal position. Once they arrived at the launch pad, a quick examination of the booster was conducted by technicians to make sure everything was in order. When no visible problems were found, the booster was erected on LC-1.[18] At 10:00 (Moscow Time), Gagarin and Titov were given a final review of the flight plan.[18] They were informed that launch was scheduled to occur the following day, at 09:07 Moscow Time. This time was chosen so that when the capsule started to fly over Africa, which was when the retrorockets would need to fire for reentry, the solar illumination would be ideal for the orientation system's sensors.[19]

At 18:00, once various physiological readings had been taken, the doctors instructed the cosmonauts not to discuss the upcoming missions. That evening Gagarin and Titov relaxed by listening to music, playing pool, and chatting about their childhoods.[12] At 21:50, both men were offered sleeping pills, to ensure a good night's sleep, but they both declined.[20] Physicians had attached sensors to the cosmonauts, to monitor their condition throughout the night, and they believed that both had slept well.[21] Gagarin's biographers Doran and Bizony say that neither Gagarin nor Titov slept that night.[22] Chief Designer Sergei Korolev didn't sleep that night, due to anxiety caused by the imminent spaceflight.[19]


At 05:30 Moscow time, on the morning of April 12, 1961, both Gagarin and his backup Titov were woken.[23] They were given breakfast, assisted into their spacesuits, and then were transported to the launch pad.[24] Gagarin entered the Vostok 1 spacecraft, and at 07:10 local time (04:10 UTC), the radio communication system was turned on.[24] Once Gagarin was in the spacecraft, his picture appeared on television screens in the launch control room from an onboard camera. Launch would not occur for another two hours, and during the time Gagarin chatted with the mission's main CapCom, as well as Chief Designer Sergei Korolev, Nikolai Kamanin, and a few others.[24] Following a series of tests and checks, about forty minutes after Gagarin entered the spacecraft, its hatch was closed. Gagarin, however, reported that the hatch was not sealed properly, and technicians spent nearly an hour removing all the screws and sealing the hatch again.[2] According to a 2014 obituary, Vostok's chief designer, Oleg Ivanovsky, personally helped rebolt the hatch.[25] There is some disagreement over whether the hatch was in fact not sealed correctly, as a more recent account stated the indication was false.

During this time Gagarin requested some music to be played over the radio.[26] Korolev was reportedly suffering from chest pains and worried, as up to this point the Soviet space launch rate was 50% (12 out of 24 launches had failed).[27] Two Vostoks had failed to reach orbit due to launch vehicle malfunctions and another two malfunctioned in orbit. Korolev was given a pill to calm him down.[28] Gagarin, on the other hand, was described as calm; about half an hour before launch his pulse was recorded at 64 beats per minute.[29]


Vostok1 big
Launch of Vostok 1
  • 06:07 UT Launch occurred from the Baikonur Cosmodrome Site No.1. Korolev radioed, "Preliminary stage..... intermediate..... main..... lift off! We wish you a good flight. Everything is all right." Gagarin replied, "Let's roll! (Poyekhali!)."[30]
  • 06:09 UT (T+ 119 s) The four strap-on boosters of the Vostok rocket used up the last of their propellant and dropped away from the core vehicle.
  • 06:10 UT (T+ 156 s) The payload shroud covering Vostok 1 was released, uncovering a window at Gagarin's feet, with an optical orientation device Vzor (lit. "look" or "glance").
  • 06:12 UT (T+ 300 s) The rocket core stage used up its propellant and fell away from the capsule and final rocket stage. The final rocket stage ignited.
  • 06:13 UT Gagarin reported, "...the flight is continuing well. I can see the Earth. The visibility is good.... I almost see everything. There's a certain amount of space under cumulus cloud cover. I continue the flight, everything is good."
  • 06:14 UT Vostok 1 passed over central Russia. Gagarin reported, "Everything is working very well. All systems are working. Let's keep going!"
  • 06:15 UT Three minutes into the burn of the final rocket stage, Gagarin radioed, "Zarya-1, Zarya-1, I can't hear you very well. I feel fine. I'm in good spirits. I'm continuing the flight..." Vostok 1 started to move out of radio range of the Baikonur ground station.
  • 06:17 UT The rocket final stage shut down and Vostok 1 reached orbit. Ten seconds later the rocket separated from the capsule.

Time in orbit

Vostok 1 orbit english
Ground trace of Gagarin's complete orbit; the landing point is west of the takeoff point because of the Earth's eastward rotation.
  • 06:18 UT (T+ 676 s) Gagarin reported, "The craft is operating normally. I can see Earth in the view port of the Vzor. Everything is proceeding as planned". Vostok 1 passed over the Soviet Union and moved on over Siberia.
  • 06:21 UT Vostok 1 passed over the Kamchatka peninsula and out over the North Pacific Ocean. Gagarin radioed, "...the lights are on on the descent mode monitor. I'm feeling fine, and I'm in good spirits. Cockpit parameters: pressure 1; humidity 65; temperature 20; pressure in the compartment 1; first automatic 155; second automatic 155; pressure in the retro-rocket system 320 atmospheres...."
  • 06:25 UT As Vostok 1 began its diagonal crossing of the Pacific Ocean from Kamchatka peninsula to the southern tip of South America, Gagarin requested information about his orbital parameters: "What can you tell me about the flight? What can you tell me?". The ground station at Khabarovsk didn't have his orbital parameters yet, and reported back, "There are no instructions from No. 20 [code name for Korolyov], and the flight is proceeding normally." (Ground control did not know until 25 minutes after launch that a stable orbit had been achieved.)
  • 06:31 UT Gagarin transmitted to the Khabarovsk ground station, "I feel splendid, very well, very well, very well. Give me some results on the flight!". At this time, Vostok 1 was nearing the VHF radio horizon for Khabarovsk, and they responded, "Repeat. I can't hear you very well". Gagarin transmitted again, "I feel very good. Give me your data on the flight!" Vostok 1 then passed out of VHF range of the Khabarovsk ground station.
  • 06:37 UT Vostok 1 continued on its journey as the sun set over the North Pacific. Gagarin crossed into night, northwest of the Hawaiian Islands. Out of VHF range with ground stations, communications continued via HF radio.
  • 06:46 UT Khabarovsk ground station sent the message "KK" via telegraph (on HF radio to Vostok 1). This was a code meaning, "Report the monitoring of commands," a request for Gagarin to report when the spacecraft automated descent system had received its instructions from ground control.
  • 06:48 UT Vostok 1 crossed the equator at about 170° West in a southeast direction, and began crossing the South Pacific. Gagarin transmitted over HF radio, "I am transmitting the regular report message: 9 hours 48 minutes (Moscow Time), the flight is proceeding successfully. Spusk-1 is operating normally. The mobile index of the descent mode monitor is moving. Pressure in the cockpit is 1; humidity 65; temperature 20; pressure in the compartment 1.2 ... Manual 150; First automatic 155; second automatic 155; retro rocket system tanks 320 atmospheres. I feel fine...."
  • 06:49 UT Gagarin reported he was on the night side of the Earth.
  • 06:51 UT Gagarin reported the sun-seeking attitude control system was switched on; this oriented Vostok 1 for retrofire. The automatic/solar system was backed up by a manual/visual system; either one could operate the two redundant cold nitrogen gas thruster systems, each with 10 kg (22 lb) of gas.
  • 06:53 UT The Khabarovsk ground station sent Gagarin via HF radio, "By order of No.33 (General Nikolai Kamanin), the transmitters have been switched on, and we are transmitting this: the flight is proceeding as planned and the orbit is as calculated." Vostok 1 was now known to be in a stable orbit; Gagarin acknowledged.
  • 06:57 UT Vostok 1 was over the South Pacific between New Zealand and Chile as Gagarin radioed, "...I'm continuing the flight, and I'm over America. I transmitted the telegraph signal "ON".
  • 07:00 UT Vostok 1 crossed the Strait of Magellan at the tip of South America. News of the Vostok 1 mission was broadcast on Radio Moscow.[31]
  • 07:04 UT Gagarin sent another spacecraft status message, similar to the one at 06:48. This was not received by ground stations.
  • 07:09 UT Gagarin sent another spacecraft status message, also not received by ground stations.
  • 07:10 UT Vostok 1 passed over the South Atlantic, into daylight again. At this point, retrofire is 15 minutes away.
  • 07:13 UT Gagarin sent a fourth spacecraft status message; Moscow received this partial message: "I read you well. The flight is going...."
  • 07:18 UT Gagarin sent another spacecraft status message, not received by ground stations.
  • 07:23 UT Gagarin sent another spacecraft status message, not received by ground stations.

The automatic orientation system brought Vostok 1 into alignment for retrofire about 1 hour into the flight.

Reentry and landing

Gagarin Capsule
The Vostok 1 capsule when it was on display at the RKK Energiya museum. The main capsule, seen in the center of this picture, is now on display at the Space Pavilion at the VDNKh.

At 07:25 UT, the spacecraft's automatic systems brought it into the required attitude (orientation) for the retrorocket firing, and shortly afterwards, the liquid-fueled engine fired for about 42 seconds over the west coast of Africa, near Angola, about 8,000 kilometers (4,300 nautical miles) uprange of the landing point. The orbit's perigee and apogee had been selected to cause reentry due to orbital decay within 10 days (the limit of the life support system function) in the event of retrorocket malfunction. However, the actual orbit differed from the planned and would not have allowed descent until 20 days.[32]

Ten seconds after retrofire, commands were sent to separate the Vostok service module from the reentry module (code name "little ball" (Russian: шарик, romanizedsharik)), but the equipment module unexpectedly remained attached to the reentry module by a bundle of wires. At around 07:35 UT, the two parts of the spacecraft began reentry and went through strong gyrations as Vostok 1 neared Egypt. At this point the wires broke, the two modules separated, and the descent module settled into the proper reentry attitude. Gagarin telegraphed "Everything is OK" despite continuing gyrations; he later reported that he did not want to "make noise" as he had (correctly) reasoned that the gyrations did not endanger the mission (and were apparently caused by the spherical shape of the reentry module). As Gagarin continued his descent, he remained conscious as he experienced about 8 g during reentry. (Gagarin's own report states "over 10 g".)

At 07:55 UT, when Vostok 1 was still 7 km from the ground, the hatch of the spacecraft was released, and two seconds later Gagarin was ejected. At 2.5 km (8,200 ft) altitude, the main parachute was deployed from the Vostok spacecraft. Two schoolgirls witnessed the Vostok landing and described the scene: "It was a huge ball, about two or three meters high. It fell, then it bounced and then it fell again. There was a huge hole where it hit the first time."

Gagarin's parachute opened almost right away, and about ten minutes later, at 08:05 UT, Gagarin landed. Both he and the spacecraft landed via parachute 26 km (16 mi) south west of Engels, in the Saratov region at 51°16′14″N 45°59′50″E / 51.270682°N 45.99727°E. It was 280 km to the west of the planned landing site (near Baikonur).[32]

A farmer and her daughter observed the strange scene of a figure in a bright orange suit with a large white helmet landing near them by parachute. Gagarin later recalled, "When they saw me in my space suit and the parachute dragging alongside as I walked, they started to back away in fear. I told them, don't be afraid, I am a Soviet citizen like you, who has descended from space and I must find a telephone to call Moscow!"

Reactions and legacy

Soviet reaction

Gagarin's flight was announced while Gagarin was still in orbit, by Yuri Levitan, the leading Soviet radio personality since the 30s. Although normally, news of Soviet rocket launches would only be aired after the fact, Sergei Korolev wrote a note to the Party Central Committee, to convince them that the announcement should be made as early as possible:

We consider it advisable to publish the first TASS report immediately after the satellite-spacecraft enters orbit, for the following reasons:

(a) if a rescue becomes necessary, it will facilitate rapid organization of a rescue;

(b) it precludes any foreign government declaring that the cosmonaut is a military scout.[33]

The flight was celebrated as a great triumph of Soviet science and technology, demonstrating the superiority of the socialist system over capitalism. Moscow and other cities in the USSR held mass demonstrations, the scale of which was comparable to World War II Victory Parades. Gagarin was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, the nation's highest honour. He also became an international celebrity, receiving numerous honours and awards.[34]

April 12 was declared Cosmonautics Day in the USSR, and is celebrated today in Russia as one of the official "Commemorative Dates of Russia."[35] In 2011, it was declared the International Day of Human Space Flight by the United Nations.[36]

Gagarin's informal reply Poyekhali! ("Let's roll!") became a historical phrase used to refer to the arrival of the Space Age in human history.[37] Later it was included in the refrain of a Soviet patriotic song written by Alexandra Pakhmutova and Nikolai Dobronravov (He said "Let's roll!" He waved his hand).[38]

The Soviet press later reported that, minutes before boarding the spacecraft, Gagarin made a speech: "Dear friends, you who are close to me, and you whom I do not know, fellow Russians, and people of all countries and all continents: in a few minutes a powerful space vehicle will carry me into the distant realm of space. What can I tell you in these last minutes before the launch? My whole life appears to me as one beautiful moment. All that I previously lived through and did, was lived through and done for the sake of this moment." According to historian Asif Siddiqi, Gagarin actually "was essentially forced to utter a stream of banalities prepared by anonymous speechwriters" taped much earlier in Moscow.[7]:274

American reaction

Officially, the U.S. congratulated the Soviet Union on its accomplishments.[39] Writing for The New York Times shortly after the flight, however, journalist Arthur Krock described mixed feelings in the United States due to fears of the spaceflight's potential military implications for the Cold War,[40] and the Detroit Free Press wrote that "the people of Washington, London, Paris and all points between might have been dancing in the streets" if it were not for "doubts and suspicions" about Soviet intentions.[41] Other US writers reported worries that the spaceflight had won a propaganda victory on behalf of communism.[42][43] President John F. Kennedy was quoted as saying that it would be "some time" before the US could match the Soviet launch vehicle technology, and that "the news will be worse before it's better."[42] Kennedy also sent congratulations to the Soviet Union for their "outstanding technical achievement."[42] Opinion pages of many US newspapers urged renewed efforts to overtake the Soviet scientific accomplishments.[41]

Adlai Stevenson, then the US ambassador to the United Nations, was quoted as saying, "Now that the Soviet scientists have put a man into space and brought him back alive, I hope they will also help to bring the United Nations back alive,"[41] and on a more serious note urged international agreements covering the use of space[41] (which did not occur until the Outer Space Treaty of 1967).

Other world reactions

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India praised the Soviet Union for "a great victory of man over the forces of nature"[42] and urged that it be "considered as a victory for peace."[41] The Economist voiced worries that orbital platforms might be used for surprise nuclear attacks.[41] The Svenska Dagbladet in Sweden chided "free countries" for "splitting up and frittering away" their resources,[41] while West Germany's Die Welt argued that America had the resources to have sent a man into space first but was beaten by Soviet purposefulness.[41] Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun urged "that both the United States and the Soviet Union should use their new knowledge and techniques for the good of mankind,"[41] and Egypt's Akhbar El Yom likewise expressed hopes that the cold war would "turn into a peaceful race in infinite space" and turn away from armed conflicts such as the Laotian Civil War.[41]

World record

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.[7]:283 Although some contemporary Soviet sources stated that Gagarin had parachuted separately to the ground,[44] the Soviet Union officially insisted that he had landed with the Vostok; the government forced the cosmonaut to lie in press conferences, and the FAI certified the flight. The Soviet Union did not admit until 1971 that Gagarin had ejected and landed separately from the Vostok descent module.[7]:283

When Soviet officials filled out the FAI papers to register the flight of Vostok 1, they stated that the launch site was Baykonur at 47°22′00″N 65°29′00″E / 47.36667°N 65.48333°E. In reality, the launch site was near Tyuratam at 45°55′12.72″N 63°20′32.32″E / 45.9202000°N 63.3423111°E, 250 km (160 mi) to the south west of "Baykonur". They did this to try to keep the location of the Space Center a secret.[7]:284 In 1995, Russian and Kazakh officials renamed Tyuratam Baikonur.


Gagarin field
Commemorative monument, Vostok-1 landing site near Engels, Russia

Four decades after the flight, historian Asif Azam Siddiqi wrote that Vostok 1

will undoubtedly remain one of the major milestones in not only the history of space exploration, but also the history of the human race itself. The fact that this accomplishment was successfully carried out by the Soviet Union, a country completely devastated by war just sixteen years prior, makes the achievement even more impressive. Unlike the United States, the USSR had to begin from a position of tremendous disadvantage. Its industrial infrastructure had been ruined, and its technological capabilities were outdated at best. A good portion of its land had been devastated by war, and it had lost about 25 million citizens ... but it was the totalitarian state that overwhelmingly took the lead [in the space race].[7]:282

The landing site is now a monument park. The central feature in the park is a 25 meter tall monument that consists of a silver metallic rocketship rising on a curved metallic column of flame, from a wedge shaped, white stone base. In front of this is a 3 meter tall, white stone statue of Yuri Gagarin, wearing a spacesuit, with one arm raised in greeting and the other holding a space helmet.[45][46][47]

As of September 2018, the Vostok 1 re-entry capsule belongs to the S. P. Korolev RSC Energia Museum in Korolev City[48]. However, during the summer of 2018 it is on a temporary loan to the Space Pavilion at the VDNKh in Moscow.

In 2011, documentary film maker Christopher Riley partnered with European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli to record a new film of what Gagarin would have seen of the Earth from his spaceship, by matching historical audio recordings to video from the International Space Station following the ground path taken by Vostok 1. The resulting film, First Orbit, was released online to celebrate the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight.[49]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Aviation and Space World Records". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Archived from the original on July 26, 2009. Retrieved March 12, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Siddiqi, p.275
  3. ^ a b c "Vostok 1 – NSSDC ID: 1961-012A". NASA.
  4. ^ "Google Maps – Vostok 1 Launch Pad – Gagarin's Start photo". Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  5. ^ "Google Maps – Vostok 1 Landing Site – Monument". Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  6. ^ "Google Maps – Vostok 1 Landing Site – Monument Photo". Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Siddiqi, Asif A. Challenge To Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945–1974. NASA.
  8. ^ Burgess and Hall, p.140
  9. ^ Quoted in Burgess and Hall, p.140-141
  10. ^ Burgess and Hall, p.141. The press said that Titov was so happy for Gagarin that he almost kissed him, but Titov denies this – Burgess and Hall, p.145.
  11. ^ Siddiqi, p.272, also Burgess and Hall, p.142
  12. ^ a b Burgess and Hall, p.151
  13. ^ "Celebrating a star: 50 years since Gagarin's spaceflight". RT International. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
  14. ^ Hall and Shayler, p.148-149
  15. ^ "(russian) "Where did the writing CCCP come from?" with authentic photos". Archived from the original on January 15, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  16. ^ "Oleg Ivanovsky - obituary". The Daily Telegraph. September 21, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  17. ^ Burgess and Hall, p.156
  18. ^ a b Burgess and Hall, p.150
  19. ^ a b Siddiqi, p.273
  20. ^ Burgess and Hall, p.151. During a post-flight press conference on April 15, Alexander Nesmeyanov claimed that Gagarin took a sleeping pill. Also, Siddiqi, p.273, claims that they were both asleep at 21:30 when Korolev came to visit them, but Burgess and Hall, p.151, says Korolev spoke with them at this time.
  21. ^ Siddiqi, p.273; In a post-flight press conference, Gagarin also stated that he slept well.
  22. ^ Burgess and Hall, p.153.
  23. ^ Burgess and Hall, p.153
  24. ^ a b c Siddiqi, p.274
  25. ^ Obituary, Aviation Week and Space Technology, September 29, 2014, p.11-
  26. ^ Siddiqi, p.276; neither Siddiqi, nor Hall and Shayler claim that music was actually played after this request.
  27. ^ Khurana, Sukant (May 4, 2018). "VOSTOK 1 : FIRST MANNED SPACEFLIGHT IN HISTORY". Sukant Khurana. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  28. ^ Siddiqi describes it as a "tranquilizer pill", while Hall and Shayler describe it as a "cardiac pill".
  29. ^ Siddiqi, p.276
  30. ^ Hall and Shayler, p.150
  31. ^ "1961: Soviets win space race". BBC News. April 12, 1961.
  32. ^ a b Руденко М. И. (May – June 2008). "Тогда Юра вернулся на землю не из космоса, а с того света!." интернет-газета "Русская Берёза". Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  33. ^ Harford, James (April 8, 1997). Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat the Americans to the Moon. John Wiley & Sons. p. 169. ISBN 0-471-32721-2.
  34. ^ Pervushin (2011), 7.1 Гражданин мира
  35. ^ Государственная Дума. Федеральный закон №32-ФЗ от 13 марта 1995 г. «О днях воинской славы и памятных датах России», в ред. Федерального закона №59-ФЗ от 10 апреля 2009 г «О внесении изменения в статью 1.1 федерального закона "О днях воинской славы и памятных датах России"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Российская Газета", №52, 15 марта 1995 г. (State Duma. Federal Law #32-FZ of March 13, 1995 On the Days of Military Glory and the Commemorative Dates in Russia, as amended by the Federal Law #59-FZ of April 10, 2009 On Amending Article 1.1 of the Federal Law "On the Days of Military Glory and the Commemorative Dates in Russia". Effective as of the day of the official publication.).
  36. ^ "UN Resolution A/RES/65/271, The International Day of Human Space Flight (12 April)". April 7, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  37. ^ Pervushin (2011), 6.2 Он сказал «Поехали!»
  38. ^ Душенко, Константин (2014). Большой словарь цитат и крылатых выражений (in Russian). Litres. ISBN 978-5-699-40115-4.
  39. ^ 1961 Year in Review. UPI Audio Network. U.S. in Space.
  40. ^ Arthur Krock, "In The Nation; Concentration of Science on Outer Space," The New York Times p. 28, April 14, 1961. "But because of the distrust that now exists among the great nations, and has plunged them into huge programs of deadly rearmament, an achievement by one which carries a clear and direct potential of military supremacy engenders fear of its use.... And so it has become as impossible for either of the groups divided by the Cold War to welcome unreservedly such feats as Major Gagarin's in the opposite camp."
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Opinion of the Week: At Home and Abroad," The New York Times p. E11 (April 16, 1961). Quotes of reactions from many US and international sources.
  42. ^ a b c d "Man in Space", The New York Times p. E1 (April 16, 1961).
  43. ^ Harry Schwartz, "Moscow: Flight is taken as another sign that communism is the conquering wave," The New York Times p. E3 (April 16, 1961).
  44. ^ "The Cruise of the Vostok". Time. April 21, 1961. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  45. ^ "Google Maps – Vostok 1 Landing Site – Monument Park Location – Satellite photo". Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  46. ^ "Google Maps – Vostok 1 Landing Site – Rocket Monument photo". Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  47. ^ "Google Maps – Vostok 1 Landing Site – Yuri Gagarin Statue photo". Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  48. ^ "RSC Energia Museum"
  49. ^ Amos, Jonathan (March 23, 2011). "Movie recreates Gagarin's spaceflight". BBC News. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
  50. ^ Tattoo Archive – Vostok Archived January 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine


  • Colin Burgess, Rex Hall (June 2, 2010). The first Soviet cosmonaut team: their lives, legacy, and historical impact. Praxis. p. 356. ISBN 0-387-84823-1.
  • Rex Hall, David Shayler (May 18, 2001). The rocket men: Vostok & Voskhod, the first Soviet manned spaceflights. Springer. p. 350. ISBN 1-85233-391-X.
  • Антон Первушин (2011). 108 минут, изменившие мир. Эксмо. ISBN 978-5-699-48001-2. (Anton Pervushin. 108 minutes which changed the world; in Russian)

External links

2010 Kazakhstan Cup

2010 Kazakhstan Cup was the 19th season of the annual nationwide cup competition of Kazakhstan since the independence of the country. The competition started on 18 April 2010. Atyrau are the defending champions, having won their first cup last year. The winner of the competition will qualify for second qualifying round of the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League.

2014 Kazakhstan Cup

The 2014 Kazakhstan Cup is the 23rd season of the Kazakhstan Cup, the annual nationwide football cup competition of Kazakhstan since the independence of the country. The competition begins on 22 April 2014, and will end with the final in November 2014. Shakhter Karagandy are the defending champions, having won their first cup in the 2013 competition.

The winner of the competition will qualify for the first qualifying round of the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League.

Baikonur Cosmodrome

The Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakh: Байқоңыр ғарыш айлағы, romanized: Baıqońyr ǵarysh aılaǵy; Russian: Космодро́м Байкону́р, romanized: Kosmodrom Baykonur) is a spaceport located in an area of southern Kazakhstan leased to Russia.

The Cosmodrome is the world's first and largest operational space launch facility. The spaceport is located in the desert steppe of Baikonur, about 200 kilometres (124 mi) east of the Aral Sea and north of the river Syr Darya. It is near the Tyuratam railway station and is about 90 metres (300 ft) above sea level. Baikonur cosmodrome and the city of Baikonur celebrated the 63rd anniversary of the foundation on June 2, 2018.The spaceport is currently leased by the Kazakh Government to Russia until 2050, and is managed jointly by the Roscosmos State Corporation and the Russian Aerospace Forces.

The shape of the area leased is an ellipse, measuring 90 kilometres (56 mi) east–west by 85 kilometres (53 mi) north–south, with the cosmodrome at the centre. It was originally built by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s as the base of operations for the Soviet space program. Under the current Russian space program, Baikonur remains a busy spaceport, with numerous commercial, military, and scientific missions being launched annually. All crewed Russian spaceflights are launched from Baikonur.Both Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, and Vostok 1, the first human spaceflight, were launched from Baikonur. The launch pad used for both missions was renamed Gagarin's Start in honor of Russian Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, pilot of Vostok 1 and first human in space.

Cosmonautics Day

Cosmonautics Day (Russian: День Космона́втики, Den Kosmonavtiki) is an anniversary celebrated in Russia and some other former USSR countries on 12 April. In Poland an "International Day of Aviation and Cosmonautics" (Polish: Międzynarodowy Dzień Lotnictwa i Kosmonautyki) is celebrated on the same day. In 2011, 12 April was declared as the International Day of Human Space Flight in dedication of the first manned space flight made on 12 April 1961 by the 27-year-old Russian Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Gagarin circled the Earth for 1 hour and 48 minutes aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft.

First Orbit

First Orbit is a 2011 feature-length, experimental documentary film about Vostok 1, the first manned space flight around the Earth. By matching the orbit of the International Space Station to that of Vostok 1 as closely as possible, in terms of ground track and time of day, documentary filmmaker Christopher Riley and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli were able to film the view that Yuri Gagarin saw on his pioneering orbital space flight. This new footage was cut together with the original Vostok 1 mission audio recordings sourced from the Russian State Archive of Scientific and

Technical Documentation. The film features the music of composer Philip Sheppard.

Kazakhstan Cup

The Kazakhstan Cup is the main knockout cup competition in Kazakhstan football, run by the Football Federation of Kazakhstan. The tournament was initially founded in 1936 as a competition for clubs in the Kazakh SSR but did not become a proper national competition until 1992.


Kedr (Russian: кедр meaning Siberian pine; Yuri Gagarin's callsign during the Vostok 1 mission) also known as ARISSat 1 and RadioSkaf-2, was an amateur radio minisatellite operated by RKK Energia as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station and RadioSkaf programmes. A follow-up to the SuitSat spacecraft, Kedr was launched to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Vostok 1 mission.

Kedr transmitted 25 greetings in 15 different languages. It also transmitted photos of the Earth, telemetry and scientific data., voice, telemetry and slow-scan television data on a frequency of 145.950 MHz. The satellite was also intended for use in educational programmes. Kedr was a 30-kilogram (66 lb) satellite measuring 55 centimetres (22 in) by 55 centimetres (22 in) by 40 centimetres (16 in). It carried solar cells to generate power, and was expected to operate for six months.For launch, Kedr was stored aboard the Progress M-09M spacecraft, which was launched to resupply the International Space Station. Progress M-09M was launched atop a Soyuz-U carrier rocket flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 01:31:39 UTC on 28 January 2011. It docked with the International Space Station at 02:39 UTC on 30 January.Kedr was deployed from the ISS by Sergey Volkov during an extra-vehicular activity on 3 August 2011 and re-entered Earth's atmosphere on 4 January 2012, having spent 154 days in orbit.

"KEDR" was also used as the suffix for several Russian amateur radio Call signs (for example, RS0KEDR) that were active in 2014 around the 80th anniversary of Gagarin's birth.

Korabl-Sputnik 2

Korabl-Sputnik 2 (Russian: Корабль-Спутник 2 meaning Ship-Satellite 2), also known incorrectly as Sputnik 5 in the West, was a Soviet artificial satellite, and the third test flight of the Vostok spacecraft. It was the first spaceflight to send animals into orbit and return them safely back to Earth. Launched on 19 August 1960, it paved the way for the first human orbital flight, Vostok 1, which was launched less than eight months later.

Korabl-Sputnik 2 was the second attempt to launch a Vostok capsule with dogs on board. The first try on 28 July, carrying a pair named Bars (Snow Leopard aka. Chaika (Seagull)) and Lisichka (Foxie)), had been unsuccessful after the Blok G strap-on suffered a fire and breakdown in one of the combustion chambers, followed by its breaking off of the booster 19 seconds after launch. Around 30 seconds, the launch vehicle disintegrated, the core and strap-ons flying in random directions and crashing into the steppe. Flight controllers sent a command to jettison the payload shroud and separate the descent module, but due to the low altitude, the parachutes only deployed partially, and the dogs were killed on impact with the ground. It was believed that the combustion chamber disintegration was due to longitudinal vibrations. This created a considerable uproar, as the problem, which had plagued earlier 8K72 launches, had supposedly been corrected. It was ultimately traced to deficient manufacturing practices at the R-7 assembly plant. The accident also encouraged the development of an ejector seat for the cosmonaut to escape from the capsule in the event of a launch failure, since the parachutes in the descent module would not be able to open properly until around 40 seconds into launch. This occurred, ironically, one day before the US program suffered a serious setback with the loss of a Mercury capsule.

A commonly circulated film clip depicting a Vostok booster lifting followed by the movement of its shadow on the ground is often assumed to be from Vostok 1's launch; however, it was actually the ill-fated flight of 28 July 1960.

The launch of Korabl-Sputnik 2 occurred on 19 August 1960, using a Vostok-L carrier rocket. Official sources reported the launch time to have been 08:44:06 UTC; however, Sergei Voevodin gave it as 08:38:24. A radio station in Bonn, West Germany, was among the first to pick up signals from the spacecraft, which were confirmed on the third orbit by a Swedish radio station.

The spacecraft carried two dogs, Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, two rats and a variety of plants, as well as a television camera, which took images of the dogs. The spacecraft returned to Earth at 06:00:00 UTC on 20 August, the day after its launch. Telemetry revealed that one dog had suffered seizures during the fourth orbit, and it was decided to limit the first manned flight to three orbits. All of the animals were recovered safely, and a year later Strelka had a litter of puppies, one of which was sent to First Lady of the US Jacqueline Kennedy as a goodwill present from the Soviet Union. President Kennedy's advisers initially opposed taking the dog for fear that the Soviets might have planted microphones in its body to listen in on national defense meetings.

Strelka and Belka were both taxidermied after their deaths and placed on display in the Moscow Museum of Space and Aeronautics.

Korabl-Sputnik 5

Korabl-Sputnik 5 (Russian: Корабль-Спутник 5 meaning Ship-Satellite 5) or Vostok-3KA No.2, also known as Sputnik 10 in the West, was a Soviet spacecraft which was launched in 1961, as part of the Vostok programme. It was the last test flight of the Vostok spacecraft design prior the first manned flight, Vostok 1. It carried the mannequin Ivan Ivanovich, a dog named Zvezdochka ("Starlet", or "Little star"), television cameras and scientific apparatus.

RKK Energiya museum

The RKK Energiya museum is a museum dedicated to the early achievements of Russian space exploration programmes. It is located on the grounds of the RKK Energiya factory in Korolyov, near Moscow.

Amongst the exhibits are the recovered capsule from the Vostok 1 mission with which Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, the Vostok 6 capsule in which Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, the Voskhod 2 capsule from which the first spacewalk was performed by Aleksei Leonov, the Zond 5 capsule which carried two tortoises around the Moon, and the Soyuz 19 capsule used in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

SK-1 spacesuit

SK-1 is an initialism of "Skafandr Kosmicheskiy" # 1 (Скафандр Космический = "spacesuit" or "diving suit for space") is a spacesuit that was developed specially for Yuri Gagarin. As such, it is the first spacesuit ever used. After his successful flight on the Vostok 1 spacecraft, spacesuits of the SK series were used for space flights of other cosmonauts on Vostok spacecraft, in which the cosmonauts would eject and land separately from module.

The SK-1 was used from 1961-1963.

Soviet space exploration history on Soviet stamps

Soviet space exploration history has been well documented on Soviet stamps. These Soviet stamps cover a broad spectrum of subjects related to the Soviet space program. While much of the focus has been placed on the nation's notable "firsts" in space flight, including: Earth orbiting satellite, Sputnik 1; animal in space, the dog Laika on Sputnik 2; human in space and Earth orbit, Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1; first spacewalk, Alexei Leonov on Voskhod 2; woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova on Vostok 6; Moon impact, 1959, and unmanned landing; space station; and interplanetary probe; numerous stamps have paid tribute to more general astronomical topics as well.

The Dignity of Labour

The Dignity of Labour is a 12" vinyl record released in 1979. The tracks were written and performed by The Human League with the line-up Ware, Marsh and Oakey. It was released as the follow-up to their earlier single "Being Boiled" (b/w "Circus of Death") on Fast Product Records, the label that the band released their early singles.

All four parts are instrumental pieces of electronic music, "The Dignity of Labour, Pts. 1-4". These are loosely tied together with a story depicting the construction of the Vostok 1 spacecraft, as well as the launch of the rocket and the pioneering Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into space. The cover art depicts Gagarin, having just landed on earth, about to receive a medal of honour.

At the time of release, the record contained a free single on Flexidisc which featured a recording of the band members and Bob Last discussing whether or not to include a Flexidisc, the benefits and detractions of including a Flexidisc, and what the Flexidisc should contain (in homage to the film Dark Star). Later they talk about Yuri Gagarin, Yuri Gagarin having tea after landing Vostok 1, individual as opposed to group effort and the fact that eventually everyone



The Vostok-K (Russian: Восток meaning "East"), GRAU index 8K72K was an expendable carrier rocket used by the Soviet Union for thirteen launches between 1960 and 1964, six of which were manned. It was derived from the earlier Vostok-L; however, it featured uprated engines to improve performance, and enlarge its payload capacity. It was a member of the Vostok family of rockets.

The Vostok-K made its maiden flight on 22 December 1960, three weeks after the retirement of the Vostok-L. The third stage engine failed 425 seconds after launch, and the payload, a Korabl-Sputnik spacecraft, failed to reach orbit. The spacecraft was recovered after landing, and the two dogs aboard the spacecraft survived the flight.

On 12 April 1961, a Vostok-K rocket was used to launch Vostok 1, the first manned spaceflight, which made Yuri Gagarin the first human to fly in space. All six manned missions of the Vostok programme were launched using Vostok-K rockets. The first two Zenit reconnaissance satellites were also launched with the Vostok-K, but it was soon replaced in that capacity with the uprated 8A92 booster. After the conclusion of the Vostok program, there were two remaining 8K72Ks left; these were used to launch four Elektron scientific satellites on January 30 and July 10, 1964.

Vostok (spacecraft)

The Vostok (Russian: Восток, translated as "East") was a type of spacecraft built by the Soviet Union. The first human spaceflight was accomplished with Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961, by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

The spacecraft was part of the Vostok programme, in which six manned spaceflights were made, from 1961–63. Two further manned space flights were made in 1964 and 1965 by Voskhod spacecraft, which were modified Vostok spacecraft. By the late 1960s both were superseded by the Soyuz spacecraft, which are still used as of 2019.

Vostok 2

Vostok 2 (Russian: Восток-2, Orient 2 or East 2) was a Soviet space mission which carried cosmonaut Gherman Titov into orbit for a full day on August 6, 1961 to study the effects of a more prolonged period of weightlessness on the human body. Titov orbited the Earth over 17 times, exceeding the single orbit of Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1 − as well as the suborbital spaceflights of American astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom aboard their respective Mercury-Redstone 3 and 4 missions. Indeed, Titov's number of orbits and flight time would not be surpassed by an American astronaut until Gordon Cooper's Mercury-Atlas 9 spaceflight in May 1963.

After the flight of Vostok 1, Sergei Korolev took a short vacation in Crimea where he began working out the flight plan for the next mission. There were considerable arguments over the duration of the mission as flight doctors argued for no more than three orbits. The flight of Korabl-Sputnik 2 nine months earlier had carried two dogs on a six orbit mission, during which the animals had experienced convulsions and thus all subsequent Vostok missions were limited to three orbits maximum. Although dogs and humans were very different physiologically, the doctors were worried about the risks posed on a longer flight. There was also the purely practical aspect of spacecraft recovery. If Vostok 2 flew three orbits, reentry and landing would take place in the wide open steppes of southern Russia, the landing site moving steadily further west with each orbit. Orbits 8-13 would drop the capsule into the Pacific Ocean, after which landing would again occur in Soviet territory, but in the remote, frozen wastes of Siberia. Thus, it was necessary to spend a full 24 hours in space before it would be once again possible to land in the prime recovery area in southern Russia. The three orbit limit thus would not only make landing easy, but minimize risks to the cosmonaut posed by prolonged weightlessness.

Korolev argued that since it would still take an entire day for landing in southern Russia to be possible again, there was no reason not to go for it. Besides, he argued, missions of the future would inevitably require lengthy stays in space. The flight was targeted for somewhere between July 25 and August 5. To ensure safe radiation levels, balloons equipped with Geiger counters were flown aloft, in addition similar equipment would be carried on Vostok 2. Several enhancements were made to Vostok 2, including an improved TV transmission system and better climate control systems.

Liftoff took place August 6 at 8:57 AM Moscow time and booster performance was almost flawless, placing the spacecraft into a 184x244 km orbit.

The flight was an almost complete success, marred only by a heater that had inadvertently been turned off prior to liftoff and that allowed the inside temperature to drop to 50 °F (10 °C), a bout of space sickness, and a troublesome re-entry when the reentry module failed to separate cleanly from its service module.Unlike Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1, Titov took manual control of the spacecraft for a short while. Another change came when the Soviets admitted that Titov did not land with his spacecraft. Titov would claim in an interview that he ejected from his capsule as a test of an alternative landing system; it is now known that all Vostok program landings were performed this way.The re-entry capsule was destroyed during development of the Voskhod spacecraft.As of 2017, Titov remains the youngest person to reach space. He was a month short of 26 years old at launch.

Vostok programme

The Vostok programme (Russian: Восто́к, IPA: [vɐˈstok], Orient or East) was a Soviet human spaceflight project to put the first Soviet citizens into low Earth orbit and return them safely. Competing with the United States Project Mercury, it succeeded in placing the first human into space, Yuri Gagarin, in a single orbit in Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961. The Vostok capsule was developed from the Zenit spy satellite project, and its launch rocket was adapted from the existing R-7 Semyorka intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) design. The name "Vostok" was treated as classified information until Gagarin's flight was first publicly disclosed to the world press.

The programme carried out six crewed spaceflights between 1961 and 1963. The longest flight lasted nearly five days, and the last four were launched in pairs, one day apart. This exceeded Project Mercury's demonstrated capabilities of a longest flight of just over 34 hours, and of single missions.

Vostok was succeeded by two Voskhod programme flights in 1964 and 1965, which used three- and two-man modifications of the Vostok capsule and a larger launch rocket.

Yuri's Night

Yuri's Night is an international celebration held every April 12 to commemorate milestones in space exploration.

Yuri's Night is named for the first human to launch into space, Yuri Gagarin, who flew the Vostok 1 spaceship on April 12, 1961. The launch of STS-1, the first Space Shuttle mission, is also honored, as it was launched 20 years (with precision to the calendrical day) after Vostok 1: on April 12, 1981. In 2011, Yuri's Night was celebrated at over 567 events in 75 countries on 7 continents.Yuri's Night is often called the "World Space Party".

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin  (Russian: Ю́рий Алексе́евич Гага́рин, IPA: [ˈjʉrʲɪj ɐlʲɪˈksʲejɪvʲɪtɕ ɡɐˈɡarʲɪn]; 9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He became the first human to journey into outer space when his Vostok spacecraft completed one orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961.

Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation's highest honour. Vostok 1 was his only spaceflight, but he served as the backup crew to the Soyuz 1 mission, which ended in a fatal crash. Gagarin later served as the deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre outside Moscow, which was subsequently named after him. Gagarin died in 1968 when the MiG-15 training jet he was piloting crashed. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awards the Yuri A. Gagarin Gold Medal in his honour.


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