The Next Steps
On a bright spring day in April 1961, a young Russian pilot climbed aboard a new type of vehicle — a manned spacecraft. He was about to attempt what no one had tried before. A former ballistic missile, adapted for carrying a man but not totally safe from error, was going to blast him on an eight-minute ride from Earth into space. For 108 minutes he would fly around his home planet, then endure, inside his protective spacecraft, the fiery heat of re-entry, before ejecting to descend by parachute to his native soil. In those 108 minutes, Yuri Gagarin moved from obscurity to one of the most famous names in human history. No matter how many people follow his trail from Earth, he will always be the first, the pioneer, the one who took mankinds first step out of the cradle. On any listing of most space experience in the 45 years since that flight, Gagarin’s name will appear at the very bottom, but his achievement, his courage and his very persona will forever fly higher than any record book can show.
KeywordsSpace Station Space Shuttle Ballistic Missile Record Book Human Space
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