On 12 April 1961, after a 108-minute flight which took him all the way around the Earth, Yuri Gagarin landed in the Soviet Union to a hero’s welcome. This historic test flight proved the Vostok spacecraft’s basic systems, but how long could the human body spend in weightlessness? Several months later, Gherman Titov spent a day in space. He felt sick when he moved about in the capsule, but he suffered no lasting effects and was certainly not incapacitated, as some had predicted. In 1962 Andrian Nikolayev extended the record to four days, and in 1963 Valeri Bykovsky flew for five days. Was there no limit? In 1965, as America prepared to send men to the Moon, Frank Borman and James Lovell spent 14 days in Gemini 7 to verify that astronauts would be able to survive a trip to the Moon and back. Two weeks sitting in the cramped capsule, comparable to the front seats of a Volkswagen car, had been no fun, however, and theirs really had been an endurance mission.
KeywordsSolar Panel Orbital Station Crimean Astrophysical Observatory Orbital Module Ground Track
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