7 Reasons To Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of Yuri Gagarin’s Flight Into Space
On 12th April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. To celebrate his achievement there are a variety of events happening all over the world, but here at 7 Reasons we thought we’d give him our own homage.
1. You’re Hired! Way before Mark Burnett invented The Apprentice, Sergei Korolev invented the The Spaceman. It wasn’t actually called that, but it should have been. The premise of The Spaceman was simple, find the world’s first spaceman. After weeks of tasks – that may or may not have included filming an advert for a brand of CCCP cereal – the final came down to a battle between Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov. Right up until the last minute it looked liked Titov was going to get the nod. Then Korolev found out Titov was the son of a teacher and Gagarin was the son of a peasant. The decision was made. One wonders why he didn’t read the applications properly at the beginning. He could have saved a lot of bother.
2. Infinity And Beyond! Due to the length of time The Spaceman would have to spend alone in his shuttle, part of the training process included long stays in an isolation chamber. When each cosmonaut left the chamber they were asked what they did. Titov recited poetry, Popovich sang Ukraniane folk songs, the rest thought about their past. It was only Gagarin who thought of the future. Korolev liked this. He wanted a man who thought he would come back. (Do bear in mind that this was a good few years before the introduction of iPhones and Angry Birds).
3. Clothing. Look what he’s wearing! Just look! Yuri Gagarin went around the earth in a thin orange jump suit! I wear more protective clothing when I use the hob.
4. Humour. Throughout his flight, Gagarin referred to Korolev as ‘Dawn’. What a brilliant way of getting back at the guy who has made you risk your life. In every single transcript of the flight it’s full of Gagarin talking to this mystery character called Dawn. In fairness to Korolev he played along. To be honest, I think they were flirting by the end.
5. Polite. Can you imagine John Terry walking into a press conference and giving the journalists a standing ovation? I doubt it. But that’s exactly what Gagarin did when he attended a British press conference in July 1961. He also brought them flowers. What a nice chap.
6. The Spacewoman. Seeing his new found popularity as an opportunity, Gagarin began his own search to find a woman to send into space. As you can see, there were plenty of candidates. Personally I’d have gone for the woman in the top right hand corner. She looks like she could do with some G-forces.*
7. Serious. At 7 Reasons we don’t like doing serious very often. Serious isn’t funny. Just for today though, I am. I urge you to watch some of the videos here, spend 100 minutes watching this and following as-live coverage of the flight on twitter. It’s all fascinating. Really, really fascinating.**
*This reason may or may not be true.
**I’ve spent so long writing this that Gagarin’s already parachuting into a Russian field. Sorry about that. Worth playing catch up though.