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Space History: 50 Years Later

by / Tuesday, 12 April 2011 / Published in Blog - Space Log

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Have you ever taken a trip only to ask your parents “are we there yet?” Your trip might have taken several hours or even days, depending on how far away your destination was. One very important trip that took place on this day in history lasted only 108 minutes, or 12 minutes shy of 2 hours. Fifty years ago today, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space.


In a Vostok 1 spherical capsule spacecraft, Yuri blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 6:07 a.m. and was home in time for lunch. The vessel traveled so fast, it broke free of the Earth’s gravitational pull and began orbiting around the planet. The trip around Earth took less than an hour and a half because Yuri was going about 17,500 miles per hour.

 

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Yuri’s vehicle did not have any thrusters to help it slow down as it came back to Earth and he was forced to eject from the spacecraft. This detail was kept secret since it might have caused this space flight to be seen as less than successful, but Yuri was indeed the first person in space. The next time you watch a 2 hour movie, think about the fact that you could have been around the Earth and back in the same amount of time. Sort of gives a whole new meaning to “are we there yet?”

{image of Yuri via http://www.nasa.gov/topics/history/features/gagarin/gagarin.html}

 

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