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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

55 years ago the triumphant Gagarin opened the era of manned spaceflight

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Date April 12 1961 will forever remain one of the brightest days in the history of mankind. Only a half dozen years after the victory in the most devastating war, quickly heal wounds and barely restoring peaceful life, the Soviet Union shocked the world the first manned flight into space. The pioneer space trails became 27-the summer pilot-cosmonaut, major Yuri Gagarin.

General designer of rocket and space technology Sergei Korolev said about this flight: “Gagarin proved that a people — the biggest. He not only revealed to the people of Earth the way into an unknown world, he gave people faith in their own strength, their ability, gave the incentive to be more confident, bolder… That’s Prometeia act.”

Space as a holiday

The TASS announcement about 108-minute flight, Gagarin into one orbit around the Earth has become the most cited news in the world and encouraged all people of the planet regardless of which side of the iron curtain they were. “Simple Soviet man”, as it was called, with a charming smile and disarming candor gave the people a holiday in the busiest time of cold war (the Caribbean crisis broke out the following year).

The history of his triumphant “Mission of peace”, which Gagarin traveled more than three dozen countries on different continents, meeting with presidents and crowned heads, but most importantly — with hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic people who literally wore it on his hands.

Five years ago, when he noted the half century of Gagarin’s flight, the United Nations General Assembly declared 12 April International day of human flight into space (in our country cosmonautics Day is celebrated since 1962). This date is now celebrated annually “to commemorate the beginning of the space era for mankind, Reaffirming the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development and improving the welfare of States and peoples, as well as in ensuring the realization of their aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes”.

The daughter of the first cosmonaut Elena Gagarina, now occupying the post of General Director of Moscow Kremlin Museums, told TASS that the memory of her father causes in people only warm feelings, regardless of the generation to which they belong: “wherever the word “Gagarin” sounds like a password as the key to dealing with foreign partners, creating a unique aura of celebration, spiritual rise”.

It is true that Gagarin is the province of all mankind.

Unifying principle of space cooperation was noted by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin: “Space is a sphere of joint activity, which allows you to forget about all the complexities of international relations, to build our contacts in the most promising high-tech field, thinking about the future, the future of our countries and the future of mankind”.

Space as a feat

Manned flights in those years were perceived as unconditional feat. They were a feat.

The first cosmonaut first group flight of spaceships “Vostok” (Andrian Nikolayev and Pavel Popovich, 1962)

First woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova, 1963)

First multi-man space flight (spacecraft Voskhod, Vladimir Komarov, Konstantin Feoktistov, Boris Yegorov, 1964)

The first person in space (Aleksei Leonov, 1965)

The first docking of manned spacecraft and transfer of crew members from one ship to another (“Soyuz-4 and Soyuz-5”, 1969)

The first manned orbital station (“Salyut-1”, 1971)

Isn’t the feat was space flight in 1968 the pilot-the veteran George Shore, for which he is the title Hero of the Soviet Union received during the great Patriotic war, added a second Gold Star?

Of course, all Soviet (and American) manned space flights of the time were associated with the greatest risk. Space competition between the USSR and USA in the period of tough confrontation of two systems on the international scene were forced sometimes to consciously take such a risk. The death of Vladimir Komarov on the ship “Soyuz-1” in April 1967, the death in 1971 of the crew “Soyuz-11” of Georgiy Dobrovolskiy, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev became the tragedy for the Russian Astronautics and the entire nation.

The biggest loss was, of course, the death of Yury Gagarin during a training flight on a training aircraft on 27 March 1968. He was only 34. The country was declared national mourning — not for the first time in connection with the death of the head of state.

Gagarin became a national and international legend in his lifetime. His name is now his hometown of Gzhatsk, monuments to Gagarin are in many countries of the world, for example, in Houston the American and British Greenwich.

The feat leaves always space, even in a time when space flight became much more commonplace. Suffice it to recall the saving hand maneuver cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko in September 1994, which helped to dock the ship “Progress” with station “the World” and thus bring it in literally a second life. By the way, 54-year-old Malenchenko today and in orbit on the International space station.

Space as a national idea

Domestic achievements in space have become possible, because based on the maximum concentration of efforts of the whole country — its science, engineering, the defence industry, military. The development of the space industry was perceived as a national project, calling a mass labor and enthusiasm rise.

Valentina Tereshkova recalled: “After the terrible and destructive of the great Patriotic war, people had energy and desire. The country got together and in just 16 years has launched Gagarin into space. It’s perseverance, “flight of ideas” with total care and understanding that we live in a country that needs to evolve and try to be the first”.

The names of the astronauts knew by heart, the space was conquered, as said by the world, it was common pride, which is being implemented already and it is a tangible dream.

Space like nothing else symbolized and cultivated in the people and the country desire to be first, which in those years actually served in the role of the national idea. The same Tereshkova complained: “once we have it (the desire to be first — approx. TASS) lost in 90-e years, then immediately stepped back”.

A sharp weakening of state support with the 90s of the last century, a catastrophic shortage of funding, the lack of clearly defined development prospects, within the top management industry, the outflow of personnel, finally, large-scale theft of public funds could not be reflected on the health and state of Russian Astronautics, had fallen into systemic crisis, which the curator of the space industry, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin called “industrial feudalism.”

Were quite painful setbacks such as the loss at the initial stage of the automatic station “Phobos-Grunt”, a few unsuccessful launches of the space truck, the loss of satellites. Russia is increasingly mention as the first space-faring nation, in international cooperation, it was perceived as a Junior partner, capable only for the role of operator of space tourism…

In the last decade, the gap between the rise of national consciousness of the Russians and by the lamentable state of their former pride — national space exploration has become glaring. All this required a radical, radical reform of the industry. By presidential decree, from 1 January 2016 of the Federal space Agency was abolished. Replaced by the state Corporation for outer space activities “Roscosmos” successfully proven type of “Rosatom”.

The state includes about hundreds of companies in the industry. The reform is supported by increased funding. “Will create a fundamentally new rocket and space industry”, — formulates the problem Rogozin. “Return of Russia as space power leadership position is a matter of honor”, he said. And the new structure should take on the role of “an effective instrument to restore our national pride and space science and the aerospace industry”.

The space opening

Russia is gradually but steadily returns its leadership position in space. According to Putin, “in the XXI century Russia must preserve its status of the leading space powers, and the results of outer space activities should give more practical results, to serve as an innovative development, the solution of a wide range of applied problems in industry, medicine, telecommunications, transportation, security of the Russian Federation and its competitiveness in the world.” “Therefore, the development of our space capabilities will continue to be a priority of state policy”, — he said at one of the regular meetings on development of space industry.

Tereshkova is confident in the prospects: “Now very much on the mend, including space exploration. I hope we are and will be the first. Though America and has announced a us “default” — they fly on our ships, and rocket engines we buy. Here to say that we are lagging behind, however. We were, are and will be a great space power”.

According to the head of the state Corporation “Roscosmos” Igor Komarov, the U.S. will continue to be forced to buy the best in the world Russian rocket engines SS-180 for their rockets, despite Congress ban on their use after 2019.

Russia has strengthened a key role in the International space station (ISS): more than five years after the completion of the American program of the ships shuttles all the crews of cosmonauts and astronauts from different countries are delivered to the station by the Russian “Unions”. The project ISS extended to 2024 and remains an invaluable research laboratory and incubator space records. Returning in March to Land the Russian-American crew Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly, conducted at the station 340 days — a record duration flight to the ISS.

Already on April 27, appointed the long-awaited launch of the first unmanned until “Union” with the most modern in the world of Vostochny cosmodrome, the construction of which in the Amur region began in 2010 and has for some time been a serious headache for the government and industry leaders in connection with large-scale embezzlement of funds and a series of criminal cases. A situation under personal control took the President three times visited the construction and, in particular, demanded “to bring to court” all cases of theft.

Dmitry Rogozin actually translated the scene in manual mode. In the end, price of tough administrative decisions, intense efforts, including by reference to past practice, impact youth construction construction time managed to almost straighten out.

In March, the government approved unprecedented amounts of Federal space program for 2016-2025. Although well-known economic difficulties forced to reduce the desired level of funding with $ 2 trillion to a more realistic 1.4 trillion, its plans are impressive. Only on basic research, as reported by the Mosquitoes during these years will be spent 143.2 bln rubles.

According to the surveys, despite the crisis phenomena in the economy, the Russians in the vast majority (over 70%) steadily oppose budget cuts to the space program.

Dreaming of space

Domestic space took place, because from the very beginning set himself the highest and most ambitious goals. And today the industry needs to re-learn how to broaden the horizons. “Russia needs a deep, meaningful program to create a technological reserve in the sphere of space exploration not less than a thirty-year perspective” — said Rogozin. Speech, in particular, about the completion of work on advanced manned spacecraft, interplanetary tugs, and new stages for rockets “Angara”, with which, for example, the realization of the lunar program.

In 1960th years of the USSR gave the United States superiority in the lunar program, although some domestic developments since the legendary Sergei Korolev, Mikhail Yangel and Vladimir Chelomei even surpassed American. The residue from the gap bitter is still in the soul of many industry veterans. Obviously, there comes a time for Russia to catch up, especially as the competition space for all the gestures toward international cooperation has not been canceled.

In “Roscosmos” are increasingly talking not only about a very specific research programs, for example, about the research of the South pole of the moon, but almost fantastic to the layman the establishment of a Russian base on the moon. Assessment repeated record duration flight (6 starts, 803 days in orbit), Executive Director of piloted programs of Roskosmos Sergey Krikalev, we can talk about 2030-2035.

If you think about it, not too long to wait.

The Soviet rocket “Vostok”. Dossier

Soviet spaceship “Vostok”. Dossier

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