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Monday, February 19, 2018

Visit of the first cosmonaut in Japan was triumphant

The largest success of the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961, humans in space needs specific comments, clarification of its place in world history.

Admiration for the courage Gagarin often overshadows other aspects of his heroism. The risk of the first flight was great, but we cannot say that Yuri just played (and won) in Russian roulette with four bullets in the cylinder of a revolver! The probability of death of the ship “Vostok-1” was evaluated as 5 to 7, taking into account the probability of an accident: 1) rockets at startup (the emergency rescue system at the start was not envisaged); 2) the space ship series 1K.

photo: From personal archive

Previous statistics program 7 starts: 2 crash of carrier rockets, of 5 perfect flights good only 3 (out of these three before Gagarin’s flight a good two). Academician Chertok believed that the likelihood of a successful return, Gagarin was 50%: “If they put the landfill on the ship “Vostok” and all the major modern (designers) looked at him — no one would vote to launch such an unreliable vehicle. Today I (permission for the flight of “Vostok-1″) wouldn’t sign. Got a lot of experience and realized how much we risked.”

Typical flight may 15, 1960, the first ship 1K, unmanned. Due to a failure of the infrared sensor vertically instead of the brake pulse was accelerating. The ship moved into orbit with an apogee of 690 km and returned to Earth (burned in the atmosphere) only on 15 October 1965 — when there was already a whole five years of manned spaceflight! But Korolev was almost happy: it was the first maneuver in orbit!

That is the true key to the assessment of Gagarin’s flight: to his successful flights — 3 of 7, and after all the “Vostok” and “Sunrise” returned safely. (Cosmonaut Komarov died on the ship of a new series — “the Union”.)

In the era of Gagarin there was virtually no telemetry, work/not working for most systems first became known thanks to the supervision and management of the first man on Board. That’s the essence of scientific achievement, a breakthrough in the history of mankind. Formulating strictly, we can say: 108 minutes of Gagarin’s flight became the period when the growth rate (acceleration) scientific and technological knowledge of mankind was in the twentieth century maximum.

Composure did not betray it, and when on Board he became very sick, went to emergency situations. Brake motor installation was not given to impulse, non separation of compartments… 10 minutes before entry “Vostok-1” randomly tumbled — 1 revolution/second. The refusal of the valve of breath put an astronaut on the brink of death… Reports from orbit plus a detailed report on the Ground, discussions on the state Commission has provided the required feedback, has transformed “the Russian roulette” in a normal, albeit still dangerous branch of technology.


In the conditions of the twentieth century (“cold”, information warfare…) except the events, facts of great importance to their reflection in the consciousness of humanity — moral and political “loop”. Yuri Gagarin was in fact revealed to the world not only the space, but to a large extent and the USSR. He became its representative in the mass consciousness.

In the book “the middle far. Premonition of destiny” on the basis of their own experiences, eyewitness accounts, I recorded the value of the success of Soviet space in the public consciousness of Japan 1960-ies.

In 1962, Japan had issued about 20% of the annual GDP growth — a record still not beaten by any “Asian tiger”. In those same years, Japan was among the main trading partners of the USSR. The nation has been on the rise, interest in science and technology is huge, and that makes the characteristic, an important Japanese perception of space triumph.

Just a week after the flight, Belka and Strelka (19 August 1960), many children Tokyo wore t-shirts with a picture of a rocket (like children draw them — pointed tube with two portholes where photos of our dogs).

A 1962 visit to Japan of Yuri Gagarin has caused extreme excitement. Only wedding, birth of a child in the Imperial family could be compared to it. But nothing in 1962 happened, and a major event in Japan was the visit of Gagarin.

My father, Nicholas, born Shumeyko, working in the technical Commission had public order: to avoid conflicts, misunderstandings to help Soviet colleagues to buy different Japanese technical innovations. The main “hit” was an 8-millimeter movie camera. In 1960 he picked this to Anastas Mikoyan, who led the famous Soviet exhibition in Tokyo (for the purchase of Anastas Ivanovich sent his son). In 1962 he had the opportunity to walk with Yuri Gagarin in a few shops.

The shop owner pleaded with me to take pictures and take the camera as a gift. But allowing that to take some pictures, Yuri Alekseyevich, of course, paid for the purchase. Selected camera very pleased Gagarin — filming became his favorite hobby. At many events, including the “new year party in Ostankino”, he imprinted with her.

In the trade representation of the USSR in Tokyo was a kindergarten — only at all of the socialist countries. In the groups except for the Soviet children were Hungarians, poles, Germans. And when I was told that the reception in honor of Gagarin will be in the trade mission, the entire global diplomatic corps fair means or foul, acquaintances, diplomatic intrigues were trying to get through. Lucky from the socialist camp was terribly proud of it: they pass had (brought-took children). The 1962 record “napetosti” building of the trade mission certainly not beaten to this day.

Choose the room that launched humans to the concentration of the rush hour in the metro, then invited Gagarin, periodaverage this time with us, children, in the room under the stairs. He was a member, was in the middle of the crowd; three to five minutes magnesium photocandy — and he came back to us.

With children Yuri Alekseyevich communicated well — we were the major birthdays that visit. When, with difficulty removing the previous one, has launched a new team, maneuver (invitation Gagarin) was repeated. Witnesses record the riotous atmosphere of joy, shouting: “Comrades! Comrades! A little back stick! A little to the right, comrades!..”

Tellingly, the British, the French, the Americans “comrades” in that day responded properly: obediently leaned back, parted right and left. I still have the pictures of that mess: I now, with great difficulty, it is possible to distinguish “friend” from “gentleman friend”…

Adult testimony — the memoirs of doctor Zinaida Kosenko: “on 12 April in Fukuoka to us, not knowing approached the man and bowed: “my sincere congratulations — now the news: the Soviet man flew into space!” Under camphor trees ran five-year-old boy, the mother was sitting on the bench. Seeing us, stood up, bowed: “please Accept our admiration Gagarin”. Shakhtar: “as soon As I heard on the radio, laid down their pennies and drank beer…” Seller of Newspapers in Kobe gleefully shouted in English: “I ate cereal in Komsomolsk-on-Amur!” Very often we heard: “the Soviet people — the new people…”

A series of exclusive articles about the space race, “Chinese Queen” is published on the website of the strategic culture Foundation.

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