A Cos for Concern

first cosmonaut

April 12, 1961- Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to travel into space. Across Russia, Soviets celebrated this triumph as being not only the first nation to launch something into orbit, but also the first nation to put a live human being into space. Vostok 1 became the first manned spacecraft mission, as it hurled Yuri Gagarin into orbit atop the seventh generation of a German V-2 clone. It seemed as though they had not only caught up to the west but had surpassed the west.

Although the Soviets were proud to have put the first man in space, the had also picked the perfect person to turn into a hero for the Communist cause. Yuri Gagarin was born on a collective farm in 1934. His father worked as a carpenter and his mother was a milkmaid. His family had suffered under Nazi occupation and was forced to live in a small mud hut after being evicted from their home. Yuri Gagarin’s older siblings were also forced into slave labor by the Nazis. Once the war had ended, Yuri Gagarin continued with his education at a vocational school and later joined an aviation club. Soon after being drafted, he was sent to pilot training and graduated at the top of his class. In 1959, he applied to become a cosmonaut and was selected to fly the Vostok 1 space mission.

Upon completion of his 108 minute orbit of the earth, Yuri Gagarin also became an instant international hero. Even American newspapers celebrated the first man in space. He met with many world leaders as an international celebrity.

Here is a clip of communications between Yuri Gagarin and Russian ground control before the launch.

Here is a dramatization of the launch:

Here is an example of the world tours and interviews he gave as the Soviets paraded him around as an international celebrity:

 

Sources:

Picture: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/5a/a3/5/5aa352fa991f43d7ec404e46469b6c27.jpg

Video 1:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyrj0ibxt8c

Video 2:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQMZ-emCG-M

Video 3:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSvAe7_GjJM

17 Moments:http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1961-2/first-cosmonaut/first-cosmonauts-texts/the-capital-meets-its-hero/

17 Moments:http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1961-2/first-cosmonaut/first-cosmonauts-texts/a-familiar-smile/

Current Digest of the Russian Press:http://dlib.eastview.com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/browse/doc/13793186

NASA:http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/sts1/gagarin_anniversary.html

Russian based online article:http://sputniknews.com/science/20110330/163289008.html

Russian based online article:http://www.russianarchives.com/gallery/gagarin/gagarin3.html

 

10 thoughts on “A Cos for Concern”

  1. Good post, I particularly enjoyed the videos. Being able to claim that you are the first person in space is quite the accomplishment, and I find it interesting that not only Soviet sources, but also Western media outlets, were so eager to interview the hero.

  2. Interesting how he became such a celebrity even in America! He is the model the Soviets would want their citizens to admire – grew up through modest means, a military man, and true Soviet patriot. This event must have pushed America to further their space exploration technology. Land on earth was not the only thing these two nations were interested in.

  3. I liked your post. I thought it was interesting and the videos at the end still shows how important this action was on a global scale. The fact that you included how the West saw it, especially America made this point even more clear. Good post, clever title!

  4. I found it interesting that even Americans believed that this was an accomplishment and were keen to interview him. His background story definitely allowed him to provide further moral for the Russian people who were already riding high after the launch of Sputnik I.

  5. From the viewpoint of those of us reading about the first successful human (non suborbital) spaceflight from a political perspective, the most important thing to consider might be the political tool that Gagarin was made to be upon his return. It is ridiculous how much of a propaganda piece this spaceflight was made to be. I also wrote about this, and I think you’re absolutely right when you say he was a hero for the communist cause.

    1. Because he became such a tool, he even became a hardcore alcoholic shortly after he returned to earth.

  6. This is a really interesting post. I’ve always known that he was the first man in space, but I had no idea that he had such an interesting backstory. The Soviets must have took this story and ran with it, using it to influence their own peasants in the farms and those in the West. These videos were both very interesting, though I feel like the USSR had him restricted to what he said in the interview.

  7. I really enjoyed reading your post. It was very descriptive. I liked learning about the background of Gagarin. The videos were really cool and helped to put everything into perspective. It’s interesting to see just how much of an influence Gagarin had on a global scale. Thanks for sharing.

  8. This post, and the comments, illustrate the great significance of Gagarin’s launch as a propaganda tool used by the Soviets. Not only was Gagarin the person rendered invisible by the overwhelming emphasis on communist achievements, but even the scientific accomplishments were obscured by the claims of political superiority for the Soviet system.

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