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One Hundred and Eight minutes April 12th 1961: Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin opens the gates of the sky

FLORIAN WEIGHARDT

HPC Today

florian@teknoscienze.com

April 12th 1961 – April 12th 2011.
Fifty years have passed from that 108 minutes that stunned the world in which the 27 years old always smiling and pleasant looking cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (1934-1968) became the fi rst human being in space. Today, fi fty years later, Russia and the whole world proudly celebrate this man and the milestone placed by him and by the great team of engineers led by Sergei Korolev who designed and built the Vostok spacecraft.
Today the whole world celebrates Gagarin, but in the early sixties the world was different from today. Paranoia is the keyword best explaining that times: the world was fi ghting the cold war between the Western world and the Soviet block. At that time, Nikita Khrushchev, the successor of Stalin, was ruling the Soviet Union and Gagarin’s successful fl ight was the second major propaganda coup for the Soviet Union in the space race, after the successful launch o f the Sputnik 1 in 1957. The Soviet Union was claiming the technological and ideological superiority of real socialism with respect to capitalism. The mission was kept secret until the last and the announcement of the fi rst man in space wa ...



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